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The real reason why childbirth is so painful and so dangerous

Posted on 22 Dec 2016 in Evolution, Health, Human Origins, Journalism

Giving birth can be a long and painful process. It can also be deadly. The World Health Organization estimates that about 830 women die every day because of complications during pregnancy and childbirth – and that statistic is actually a 44% reduction on the 1990 level. Image: Chriggy

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Oldest early human footprints suggest males had several ‘wives’

Posted on 14 Dec 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Three has become five. Laetoli in northern Tanzania is the site of iconic ancient footprints, capturing the moment – 3.66 million years ago – when three members of Lucy’s species (Australopithecus afarensis) strode out across the landscape. Now something quite unexpected has come to light: the footprints of two other individuals. Image: Raffaello Pellizzon

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Skull casket holding human bones reveals weird burial rituals

Posted on 7 Dec 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

Death was a complicated business in prehistoric Brazil. Cadavers were meticulously dismembered and put on public display. Some parts seem to have been cooked and eaten, and then the bones were carefully tidied up and buried. Image: Andre Strauss

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Ancient leftovers show the real Paleo diet was a veggie feast

Posted on 5 Dec 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Today’s Paleo diet cookbooks might be missing a few pages. Archaeological excavations at a Stone Age site in Israel have revealed the first direct evidence of the sort of plants that our distant human ancestors ate with their meat and fish. Their tastes were more adventurous than we might expect, with roasted acorns and sedges both on the menu. Image: DubeFranz

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Early hominin Lucy had powerful arms from years of tree-climbing

Posted on 30 Nov 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Lucy, the world famous early bipedal hominin, was a swinger. Scans of her skeleton confirm that she had a powerful upper body, thanks to spending a lot of time in trees. The research is being hailed as the final word on Lucy’s lifestyle. Image: Emmjae

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Watch cockatoo genius chew out a tool from a piece of cardboard

Posted on 15 Nov 2016 in Animal Behaviour, Journalism

It’s toolmaking with intent. Goffin’s cockatoos in the lab use their beaks to carefully cut out a tool from a sheet of cardboard before using it to retrieve an out-of-reach nut. Image: siestakeysunset

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