What if humans had tails?

From mermaids to the ancient Babylonian scorpion people, stories of humans with tails abound in mythologies from around the world. Often, these figures possess some sort of magic power or wisdom beyond mortal understanding. But what would it be like if humans actually had tails? How would the extra appendage change our daily lives? And […]

Are humans limited to 150 friends?

For most of human history, our forebears were content to live in compact, largely self-sufficient communities. Living and working beside strangers, as is now common in cities and towns across the planet, would have been unheard of; traditionally, everyone would have known their neighbors and the role they played in their tight-knit society. And, according […]

The mysterious history of druids, ancient ‘mediators between humans and the gods’

Druids were religious leaders in what is now Britain and France. They were “philosophers, teachers, judges, the repository of communal wisdoms about the natural world and the traditions of the people, and the mediators between humans and the gods,” Barry Cunliffe, an emeritus professor of European archaeology at the University of Oxford, wrote in his […]

Wrinkly ‘sac’ with no anus probably isn’t humans’ earliest ancestor. (Thank goodness!)

A 3D digital model of Saccorhytus coronarius. (Image credit: Philip Donoghue et al) (opens in new tab) An ancient creature that looks like an “angry Minion” with no anus is more closely related to penis worms and mud dragons than to humans, a new study suggests.  The 500 million-year-old Saccorhytus coronarius was previously tied to […]

37,000-year-old mammoth butchering site may be oldest evidence of humans in North America

An artist’s interpretation of an early human hunting a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). (Image credit: Shutterstock) (opens in new tab) A 37,000-year-old mammoth butchering site, uncovered in New Mexico, might be the earliest evidence of humans in North America, controversial research finds. Some of the bones at the site show signs of being handled by […]

Octopuses may be so terrifyingly smart because they share humans’ genes for intelligence

Octopuses are brainy creatures with sophisticated smarts, and now scientists have uncovered a clue that may partly explain the cephalopods’ remarkable intelligence: Its genes have a genetic quirk that is also seen in humans, a new study finds. The clues that scientists uncovered are called “jumping genes,” or transposons, and they make up 45% of […]