Our Uniquely Lopsided Brain

We all know that the human brain is ridiculously large, but how many of us realise that it’s lopsided as well? It turns out that the cockeyed shape of our brains is as important to understanding human evolution as its size is. The brain’s lopsidedness is most evident through our hand preferences. Roughly nine out…

Food for Thought? Diet Helps Explain Unique Human Brainpower

It’s the mystery of all mysteries of science. Why is it that humans are so unusual compared to all other life? The key to solving this riddle lies in explaining the evolution of our large brains and exceptional intelligence. For as long as humanity has been contemplating our existence we must surely have been struck…

Without Grandmothers We Might Not Be Here At All

As adults, we’re often nostalgic for our childhood. A time when life seemed so much simpler. When we were free from the hassles of money, pressures of work and responsibilities of family and care. When we were free to play and imagine people and worlds far from reality, and almost everything we did was new,…

Why Are Humans Unique? It’s the Small Things That Count

Can there be any more important a question than, ‘How did we get here?’ Of course, I don’t mean those books we all gawked at as tweens desperate to understand our transforming pubescent bodies. I mean, ‘How did we get here, as a species?’ ‘How did we come to be so different to all other…

Our Ancient Obsession with Food: Humans as Evolutionary Master Chefs

Amateur cook-offs like the hugely popular MasterChef series now in its seventh season in Australia have been part of our TV diet for almost two decades. These shows celebrate the remarkable lengths we humans will go to to whet the appetite, stimulate the senses, fire our neural reward systems and sustain the body. Yet, few…

Human Environmental Footprint Reaches Far Back in Time

You’d literally have to be a cave dweller to be oblivious to the major global environmental changes happening in the world today. It reads like a litany of crimes against the planet: The many and far reaching impacts of global warming. Disruption of the planet’s chemical cycles, such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and others. Air…

The Curious Story of the Human Backside

The human posterior is rather peculiar compared with the backsides of our close primate cousins. Its unusual form tells the story of our evolution like no other part of the human body. Few parts of the body elicit such a mixed reaction as the human backside. We have an uneasy relationship with this most fundamental…

The Extraordinary Beginnings of Human Consciousness

Our consciousness sets us apart from all other life. Yet, its evolutionary appearance highlights the accidental nature of our origins. The beginning of our species is one of the most significant events in the Earth’s — some say the universe’s — history. At its centre is answering big questions like the beginnings of consciousness. The…

Brain Versus Brawn: Evolution of the Bubble-Headed Weakling

One of the most important questions we can ask – and one that continues to take up much of the time of scientists, philosophers and the religious minded alike – is why are humans so different to the rest of the living world? Philosophers and physicists have even celebrated the appearance of humans 200,000 years…