Human Behavior

Anthropologists recently found fossils of Paranthropus robustus, also called robust australopithecines, in an excavation site in South Africa. Paranthropus coexisted with human ancestors Homo habilis and Homo erectus as recently as 1.5 million years ago. Some anthropologists had believed that Paranthropus' limited diet caused its extinction, but new evidence from the fossils suggests that Paranthropus had a varied diet that included both hard and soft plants as well as herbivores.

Teeth Tales

Fossils tell a new story about the diversity of hominid diets

What do dancing and scientific research have in common? "Creativity," says Jarvis (performing in high school in the early 1980s), and "hard work."

Song and Dance Man

Erich Jarvis dreamed of becoming a ballet star. Now the scientist's studies of how birds learn to sing are forging a new understanding of the human brain


Wild Things: Life As We Know It

Human behavior, primate intelligence, meal planning, tree-dwelling orchids and detangling history

Lepeadon, the "fierce man" of the Letin clan.

Raffaele Among the Korowai

Paul Raffaele describes his adventures (and misadventures) in Indonesian New Guinea, reporting on the Korowai

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

A Nobel laureate holds forth on flies, genes and women in science


Neil Shubin, Paleontologist, University of Chicago

The "missing link?" At least a step in a new direction

35 Who Made a Difference: Douglas Owsley

Dead people tell no tales—but their bones do, when he examines them

Riceville, Iowa, was the unlikely setting for a controversial classroom exercise created by Jane Elliott. She insists it strengthened their character. Critics say it abused their trust.

Lesson of a Lifetime

Her bold experiment to teach Iowa third graders about racial prejudice divided townspeople and thrust her onto the national stage

Outdoor proceedings on July 20, 1925, showing William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow.

Evolution on Trial

Eighty years after a Dayton, Tennessee, jury found John Scopes guilty of teaching evolution, the citizens of "Monkeytown" still say Darwin's for the birds


The (Scientific) Pursuit of Happiness

What does the Dalai Lama have to teach psychologists about joy and contentment?


Reading Faces

Is that a scowl or just disgust? Facial expressions can be harder to interpret than most of us realize, but help is on the way

Having logged thousands of hours observing chimpanzees and other apes, Frans de Waal (left, at his Atlanta field station) argues that primates, including humans and bonobos, are more cooperative and less ruthless than once thought.

Rethinking Primate Aggression

Researcher Frans de Waal shows that apes (and humans) get along better than we thought

"Among dung beetles, for instance, the smallest sneaker males relentlessly attempt to slip into tunnels where females are sequestered while Mr. Big, the guarding male, is looking the other way."

Close Encounters of the Sneaky Kind

When it comes to mating, the brawny guy is supposed to get the girl, but biologists are finding that small, stealthy suitors do just fine

Margaret Mead

Coalition of the Differing

It took Margaret Mead to understand the two nations separated by a common language

Indicating that Neanderthals buried their dead, a stone-lined pit in southwest France held the 70,000-year-old remains of a man wrapped in bearskin. The illustration is based on a diorama at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Rethinking Neanderthals

Research suggests they fashioned tools, buried their dead, maybe cared for the sick and even conversed. But why, if they were so smart, did they disappear?

A 6-year-old girl played with the radioactive material, coating her hands with the cesium dust while eating.

The Hunt for Hot Stuff

In the former Soviet Union, "rad rangers" are racing to find lost radiation devices before terrorists can turn them into "dirty bombs"


Testimony from the Iceman

The 5,000-plus-year-old Neolithic man discovered a decade ago is telling scientists how he lived and died


Following the Track of the Cat

The Bushmen of Namibia are so good at reading the language of footprints they can tell what a leopard did the day before they started pursuing it


We're in a Jam

Easing the nation's growing traffic congestion has experts all backed up


Happily Ever After?

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