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evolutionary biology

  • Originally published 11/01/2017

    Humans didn’t outsmart the Neanderthals. We just outlasted them.

    In a new paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, Oren Kolodny and his colleague Marc Feldman test a basic hypothesis — that the extinction of the Neanderthals was simply a consequence of population dynamics and bad timing.

  • Originally published 03/12/2013

    Biologist debunks myth that humans peaked in Paleolithic

    The abundance of Paleo diet and lifestyle recommendations suggests the answer is yes. But University of Minnesota evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk is skeptical. The Paleo ideal is a myth based on speculation rather than science, she says. As a skilled writer with an engaging sense of humor, she does an informative and entertaining job of debunking this myth in her new book, "Paleofantasy: "What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet and How We Live," to be published by W.W. Norton on March 11. Paleo proponents claim that humans fully evolved as hunter-gatherers and that the development of agriculture triggered a downward spiral, causing disease and social conflicts. But that, Zuk says, is a paleofantasy without scientific basis.