New Skulls from China Have Scientists and the Media in a Muddle

Just a decade ago we thought we had solved the mystery of mysteries. We were confident we had finally puzzled out the evolutionary origins of modern humans. Two hundred thousand years ago our species evolved in sub-Saharan Africa and by around 60,000 years ago strode out to settle Asia, Australia, Europe and eventually the Americas,…

Where Were All the Women in the Stone Age?

Were there any women around in the Palaeolithic Era? If popular culture is any guide you’d think not. And even archaeology itself has a long way to go to address a deeply ingrained bias towards men. It’s obvious that without women Homo sapiens could hardly be here today. But our cultural imaginings of the Palaeolithic…

The Biggest Mistake in the History of Science

Science is one of the most remarkable inventions of humankind. It has been a source of inspiration and understanding, lifted the veil of ignorance and superstition, been a catalyst for social change and economic growth, and saved countless lives. Yet, history also shows us that its been a mixed blessing. Some discoveries have done far…

Paleopups and Paleopussies: Is a Paleodiet For Your Pet a Step Too Far?

Will 2016 be the year the world finally lost interest in the paleodiet? Believe it or not, it’s already happened! ‘Peak-paleo’ passed without notice way back in January 2014. We’re often a little behind the global trends down-under, so Australia’s own peak-paleo occurred almost two years after the rest of the planet. This might explain…

FactCheck Q&A: Do We Only Have Space for About 150 People in Our Lives?

The Conversation is fact-checking claims made on Q&A, broadcast Mondays on the ABC at 9:35pm. Thank you to everyone who sent us quotes for checking via Twitter using hashtags #FactCheck and #QandA, on Facebook or by email. We, on average, for our entire history have associated with about 150 other people, and now after millions…

Spare Your Health, Budget, and the Planet: Ditch the Palaeodiet

Interest in the diet of our evolutionary ancestors would ordinarily be a topic of curiosity in only the most obscure of scientific circles. But the popularity of the so-called palaeodiet has brought unprecedented attention to the foods consumed by Stone Age or Palaeolithic people. And, it might ultimately be doing us all more harm than…

Aboriginal History Rewritten Again by Ignorant Political Class

Last week Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm was widely reported as suggesting that people other than Aboriginal Australians may have occupied the Australian continent in the past. At a doorstop at Parliament House he apparently couldn’t name his sources when pressed by journalists and seemed rather vague on the details. His doubt was apparently based…