Social SciencesThe social sciences study cultural artifacts, innovations, language and behaviors to discover how humans relate to each other and to society
It's one of the great questions of human evolution: Did Homo sapiens interbreed with Homo neanderthalensis? The two species had many similarities: they lived in caves, used similar types of tools and hunted the same prey. And they lived in the same place for long periods of time, most notably in Eu...
May 07, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Medical 3-D imaging makes it possible to study the world's greatest stringed instruments – and uncover the secrets of its makers
May 2010 | By Erica R. Hendry
Bureaucrat is a dirty word to some people in modern society, so how can a bureaucracy be a good thing? Charles S. Spencer, an anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History, argues this week in PNAS that bureaucracy was essential to the growth and expansion of the first states that formed...
April 21, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Last week I got to look behind the scenes of the entomology collection at the National Museum of Natural History. I learned how the collection of insects and spiders, one of the world's largest, is used by Smithsonian and Department of Agriculture scientists to help port inspectors identify potenti...
April 12, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
Poor Rick Potts. He just put the finishing touches on the National Museum of Natural History's new Hall of Human Origins a few weeks ago, and it's already out of date. Now there's a new branch on the human family tree—Australopithecus sediba—and we can thank a 9-year-old kid for its discovery.Throu...
April 08, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
In Pennsylvania, amateur archaeologists unearth a mass grave of immigrant railroad workers who disappeared in 1832
April 2010 | By Abigail Tucker
From the 9th to the 13th centuries, Angkor was the center of the Khmer Empire and the largest city in the world. Roads and canals connected the sprawling complex, which included hundreds of temples. But it didn't last.Today, two million people each year visit the site in Cambodia, though much of it...
March 30, 2010 | By Sarah Zielinski
A series of statues by sculptor John Gurche brings us face to face with our early ancestors
March 2010 | By Abigail Tucker
The Smithsonian anthropologist turned heads when he proposed that climate change was the driving force in human evolution
March 2010 | By Beth Py-Lieberman
A rare cache of hominid fossils from the Kurdistan area of northern Iraq offers a window on Neanderthal culture
March 2010 | By Owen Edwards
Studies of hominid fossils, like 4.4-million-year-old "Ardi," are changing ideas about human origins
March 2010 | By Ann Gibbons
Fifty years ago, four college students sat down to request lunch service at a North Carolina Woolworth's and ignited a struggle
February 2010 | By Owen Edwards
After decades of research, American archaeologist Mark Lehner has some answers about the mysteries of the Egyptian colossus
February 2010 | By Evan Hadingham
Resolving the dispute over authorship of the ancient manuscripts could have far-reaching implications for Christianity and Judaism
January 2010 | By Andrew Lawler
An amateur archaeologist says he's discovered the world's oldest pyramids in the Balkans. But many experts remain dubious
December 2009 | By Colin Woodard
Heart disease may appear to be a recent problem, brought on by the processed foods and sedentary lifestyles of modern living, but it's been plaguing humanity since ancient times, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.A team of scientists from the United States ...
November 18, 2009 | By Sarah Zielinski
One of the oldest archaeological sites not on a heritage list, this Pacific state, like Easter Island, is an engineering marvel
November 03, 2009 | By Christopher Pala
As demand for its antiquities soars, the West African country is losing its most prized artifacts to illegal sellers and smugglers
November 2009 | By Joshua Hammer
The fight over Robert E. Lee's beloved home—seized by the U.S. government during the Civil War—went on for decades
November 2009 | By Robert M. Poole
At New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Amy Herman schools police in the fine art of deductive observation
October 2009 | By Neal Hirschfeld