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The footprints of the dead have revealed new secrets

Posted on 15 Apr 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

It is astonishing what we can learn from studying the prehistoric footprints left in caves by ancient humans – and not just using state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Now careful analysis of ancient footprints is also being performed by professional trackers from Namibia’s indigenous Ju/’hoansi-San population. Image: Andreas Pastoors et al

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How humanity first killed the dodo, then lost it as well

Posted on 9 Apr 2016 in Archaeology, Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

Many people think they know what happened to the dodo – but the popular story of its extinction is actually littered with errors. It’s symptomatic of the shameful way the iconic bird has been treated since its extinction. Arguably, we have lost the dodo twice more since then. Image: L. Claessens

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Has ritual human sacrifice shaped societies and class systems?

Posted on 4 Apr 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

Are modern societies built on bloody foundations? Ritual human sacrifice seems to be key to the emergence of inherited class systems: powerful members of society carried out these killings to control, terrorise and impress the lower ranks. Image: Ilhuicamina

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The birds that are winning and losing thanks to climate change

Posted on 31 Mar 2016 in Conservation, Journalism, Life

They may be separated by an ocean, but birds in the US and Europe are responding to climate change in a surprisingly similar way: winners are outperforming losers to a comparable degree. Image: Andy Morffew

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Europe was once home to a wild ape unlike all others

Posted on 28 Mar 2016 in Evolution, Journalism, Life

Europe had been home to several species of ape since about 17 million years ago, but by seven million years ago all but one of these apes had vanished. An Italian ape called Oreopithecus was the last species standing from Europe’s golden age of apes. Arguably, it was the strangest of the lot. Image: Ghedoghedo

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The evolution of the nose: why is the human hooter so big?

Posted on 24 Mar 2016 in Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

It’s an evolutionary mystery that’s literally as plain as the nose on your face. Why did our ancestors develop a prominent protruding nose when most primates have flat nasal openings? Image: M&R Glasgow

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