Human Behavior

In the late 19th century, Ellen Swallow Richards worked to equip women with the tools of chemistry.

Women Who Shaped History

The First Female Student at MIT Started an All-Women Chemistry Lab and Fought for Food Safety

Ellen Swallow Richards applied chemistry to the home to advocate for consumer safety and women's education

Redwood forest in California, similar to some of the terrain Josiah Gregg and his team crossed at the height of the California Gold Rush.

The Ill-Fated Expedition of a 19th-Century Scientist to Explore the California Wilderness

Even facing exposure and starvation, Josiah Gregg insisted on stopping to take measurements and observations, much to his companions' distress

Homo neanderthalensis, the earlier relatives of Homo sapiens, also evolved to shed most of their body hair.

Why Did Humans Lose Their Fur?

We are the naked apes of the world, having shed most of our body hair long ago

The Cruces de Molinos site in the Chilean Andes contains rock art depictions of llama caravans, possibly marking a ceremonial site for caravaners passing through the mountains.

Thousand-Year-Old Rock Art Likely Served as a Gathering Point for Llama Caravans Crossing the Andes

Trade caravans, whether supported by mules, camels or llamas, have helped archaeologists piece together the past in many corners of the world

Hand axes from the site of Saffaqah, Saudi Arabia.

Stone Tools at Arabian “Crossroads” Present Mysteries of Ancient Human Migration

Hominins made stone tools in central Arabia 190,000 years ago, and the hand axe technology raises questions about just who they were

A pipe from the Lower Yukon region of Alaska.

North America's Earliest Smokers May Have Helped Launch the Agricultural Revolution

As archaeologists push back the dates for the spread of tobacco use, new questions are emerging about trade networks and agriculture

Several of the newly identified stone tools – unearthed from a museum collection.

A Fresh Look at These Stone Tools Reveals a New Chapter of Ancient Chinese History

Archaeologists thought these ancient tools, 80,000 years old at least, were brought to China by migrants—but now it appears they were invented locally

This painting of a cattle-like animal in a Borneo cave has been dated at at least 40,000 years old, making it the oldest known figurative rock art in the world.

World’s Oldest Known Figurative Paintings Discovered in Borneo Cave

Dated to at least 40,000 years old, the depiction of a cattle-like animal has striking similarities to ancient rock art found in other parts of the world

Zelia Nuttall, who began an academic career in archaeology after she divorced her archaeologist husband in 1888, is best known for her work on ancient Mexican manuscripts.

Women Who Shaped History

The Archaeologist Who Helped Mexico Find Glory in Its Indigenous Past

Disrupting a stereotype of Mesoamerican savagery, Zelia Nuttall brought the ingenuity of Aztec civilization to the fore

Khoikhoi of South Africa dismantling their huts, preparing to move to new pastures—aquatint by Samuel Daniell (1805). Pastoralism has a rich history in Africa, spreading from the Saharan region to East Africa and then across the continent.

Ritual Cemeteries—For Cows and Then Humans—Plot Pastoralist Expansion Across Africa

As early herders spread across northern and then eastern Africa, the communities erected monumental graves which may have served as social gathering points

Tlingit artist Arthur B. Nelson’s Devil Fish Halibut Hook, 2012, is an impressive example of a contemporary wooden halibut hook designed to be a piece of art rather than a functional example of halibut fishing equipment. The carving depicts raven, frog, octopus, and human spirits.


The Traditional Wooden Halibut Hook That's Still Snagging Fish Off Alaska

An Indigenous method of catching halibut on the northwest coast of North America mixes expert craftsmanship with spirituality—and the fish are biting

Deep inside Monte Kronio, hot, humid and sulfurous caves held an ancient secret.

Prehistoric Wine Reveals Missing Pieces of Ancient Sicilian Culture

In a 5,000 year-old jar, archaeologists discovered the remnants of wine

The beginning of excavations at Çatalhöyük.

Ancient Proteins From Unwashed Dishes Reveal the Diets of a Lost Civilization

Material pulled from ceramic sherds reveals the favored foodstuffs in the 8,000-year-old city of Çatalhöyük in Turkey

Researchers discovered hnefatafl game pieces made of whale bone in upper- and middle-class Vendel graves.

Viking Chess Pieces May Reveal Early Whale Hunts in Northern Europe

The board game <i>hnefatafl</i>, commonly called Viking chess, pits an attacking player against another trying to defend the king

Comparison of Modern Human and Neanderthal skulls from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Ancient Teeth With Neanderthal Features Reveal New Chapters of Human Evolution

The 450,000-year-old teeth, discovered on the Italian Peninsula, are helping anthropologists piece together the hominid family tree

When stimulated, OLM cells in the brain encourage risk-taking behavior.

The Brain's "Bravery Cells" Encourage Risky Behavior

Cells in the hippocampus help determine whether to be apprehensive in stressful situations, and they could be stimulated to treat anxiety

The Cahokia Mounds along the Mississippi River in Illinois is the site of the largest pre-Colombian Native American city built in the United States.

How the Remnants of Human Poop Could Help Archaeologists Study Ancient Populations

Undigested molecules persist in soil for hundreds or even thousands of years, acting as biomarkers that show the ebbs and flows of bygone civilizations

Puma skull from the Motmot burial.

The Maya Captured, Traded and Sacrificed Jaguars and Other Large Mammals

New archeological findings suggest the Maya city state Copan dealt in a robust jaguar trade

Blombos Cave drawing with ochre pencil on silcrete stone.

Stone Age Markings May Be the Oldest Drawing Ever Discovered

The crosshatch symbol was made with a red ochre utensil more than 70,000 years ago

How Scientists Can Learn About Human Behavior From Closed-Circuit TV

While researchers used to rely on interviews and experiments, raw video reveals subtle, previously hidden reactions

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