World’s Strangest

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Scientist: Humans Have Been Getting Stupider for Thousands of Years

Idiocracy wasn’t a movie, but a documentary. Gerald Crabtree, the leader of a genetics laboratory at Stanford University, argues that humans evolved to be hunter/gatherers–a high risk occupation that tended to keep the gene pool tidy. We have departed from that self-correcting lifestyle: Life as a hunter-gatherer was probably more intellectually demanding than widely supposed, he [...]

The Last Five Members of the Akuntsu Tribe

Dan Lewis runs the popular daily newsletter Now I Know (“Learn Something New Every Day, By Email”). To subscribe to his daily email, click here. Rondônia is a state in the northwest of Brazil that shares a border with Bolivia. Covered mostly by rain forest (or, more commonly, deforested area that was once rain forest), Rondônia [...]

Stone Age Amputation Provides Evidence of Fairly Sophisticated Medicine

At a site south of Paris, France, archaeologists Cécile Buquet-Marcon and Anaick Samzun discovered what they believe to be evidence of a successful and intentional arm amputation: The man, who lived in the Linearbandkeramik period, when European hunter-gatherers began subsistence farming, was found to be missing his forearm and hand bones.[...] Pain-killing plants such as the hallucinogenic [...]

Humans Evolved to Be Long-Distance Runners

Tara Parker-Pope writes in The New York Times about the conclusions of some medical researchers that long-distance running is a major evolutionary advantage for humans. The ability to remain cool by sweating instead of panting and a foot structure ideal for running helped early humans hunt: Most mammals can sprint faster than humans — having four [...]