Human Behavior

Sometimes, it's okay to skip leg day.

For Men, Gains in the Gym May Come at a Cost to Sperm

There might be a tradeoff between how strong men look and sperm count

A butcher in Meizhou, China

Will China's Growing Appetite for Meat Undermine Its Efforts to Fight Climate Change?

The country consumes 28 percent of the world's meat—twice as much as the United States. And that figure is only set to increase.

‘Earthrise,’ which appeared on the cover of the second and third Whole Earth Catalog, was taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders during lunar orbit, Dec. 24, 1968.

50 Years Ago, the Whole Earth Catalog Launched and Reinvented the Environmental Movement

The publication gave rise to a new community of environmental thinkers, where hippies and technophiles found common ground

If you've waited this long for it, it must be good, right?

Both Mice and Men Struggle to Abandon Their Best-Laid Plans

Rodents suffer from the same sunk cost fallacy that makes it so hard for humans to call it quits

Coming together for a solstice feast in ancient Peru.

How Feasting Rituals Help Shape Human Civilization

These transformative practices—and the cooperation they require—are a cornerstone of societies the world over

Due to their ubiquity at archaeological sites, teeth are like the pennies of ancient human remains. But unlike pennies, fossil chompers can be a treasure trove.

How Ancient Teeth Reveal the Roots of Humankind

From diet to evolution, prehistoric chompers tell archaeologists a surprising amount about our ancestors

Contrary to popular beliefs, Neanderthals lived in complex societies and hunted prey cooperatively.

New Research

Neanderthals Hunted in Groups, One More Strike Against the Dumb Brute Myth

The skeletons of deer killed 120,000 years ago offer more evidence of cooperative behavior and risk-taking among our hominin relatives

Defense is the only option against a never-ending onslaught.

The Original 'Space Invaders' Is a Meditation on 1970s America's Deepest Fears

One of the first digital shooting games reflected a fear of, well, invaders—a fear that still resonates today

Elephants communicate in low rumbles, each listening for the resulting vibrations in the ground with their feet.

New Research

Some Animals Take Turns While Talking, Just Like Humans. Why?

Understanding their courteous exchanges—from frog croaks to elephant rumbles—could shed light on the origins of human conversation

Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand partially collapsed after a 2011 earthquake.

How Computer Scientists Model the Role of Religion in Society

Virtual simulations attempt to show how faith influences human behavior in the face of terror

Sacred Sites Can Also Be Hotspots of Conservation

Protecting burial grounds, temples and churchyards can bolster wildlife and forests

Polar bears have come to be known as climate change's ultimate victim, but in some places, they're still a menace to humans.

Where the Doomed, Beloved Polar Bear Is Still a Dangerous Predator

A grassroots guard in Alaska works to keep people safe from bears, while also keeping bears safe from people

Stephen Hawking's Stark Warning for Humans to Leave Earth

In one of his final on-camera appearances, iconic physicist Stephen Hawking issued a warning to humanity about the existential threats we face

Nisarg Desai observes wild chimps known as Sandi, Ferdinand and Siri in Tanzania.

What Can Chimpanzee Calls Tell Us About the Origins of Human Language?

Scientists follow and record chimps in the wild to find out if they talk to each other—and to fill in details about how and why language evolved in humans

Though the differences between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens may seem pronounced, scientists didn't always embrace the idea that humans evolved from other species.

How Do Scientists Identify New Species? For Neanderthals, It Was All About Timing and Luck

Even the most remarkable fossil find means nothing if scientists aren’t ready to see it for what it is

When the director of DARPA heard about the blasts and their purpose, he had an immediate reaction: “Holy shit. This is dangerous.”

How Soviet Bomb Tests Paved the Way For U.S. Climate Science

The untold story of a failed Russian geoengineering scheme, panic in the Pentagon, and a Nixon-era effort to study global cooling

Attenborougharion rubicundus is one of more than a dozen species named after the legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Why Scientists Name Species

From the Beyonce fly to the David Attenborough possum, the names we bestow on animals have real conservation impacts

Human evolution is “one of the highest hurdles — if not the highest hurdle — to science education in America,” says Smithsonian's Rick Potts. Here, an early human fossil found in Broken Hill, Zambia.

How to Talk With Evangelicals About Evolution

For two years, researchers from the Smithsonian traveled the country explaining the science of our shared origins

These unusual cats may have some advantages for allergic owners, but to call them hypoallergenic would be a stretch.

There's No Such Thing as a Hypoallergenic Cat

With its short tight curl, many claim that the Cornish Rex is proof that cats can be allergen-free. Nope

Several views of a fossilized finger bone found Al Wusta site, Saudi Arabia.

New Research

Rare 85,000-year-old Finger Bone Complicates Our Understanding of African Migration

The fossil builds on the theory that humans left Africa in multiple waves, and suggests they made it as far as the Arabian Desert

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