human evolution

Developing a large brain comes at a price: An infant expends around two-thirds of its energy alone on supplying nourishment to its brain. First milk and then other food makes this huge amount of energy available continuously. The females of many large-brained animal species cannot bear the energetic costs of rearing offspring on their own… Read more

People from all cultures and continents are mostly able to spot the difference between a fake laugh and a real one, according to a new study. For almost a decade, UCLA communication researcher Greg Bryant has studied the nature of laughter — and what it reveals about the evolution of human communication and cooperation. His… Read more

A trio of three nearly identical genes found only in humans plays a crucial role in the development of our large brains, a study led by researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz suggests. The genes appeared between 3 and 4 million years ago, just before the period when fossils show a dramatic increase… Read more

The Y chromosome may be a symbol of masculinity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is anything but strong and enduring. Although it carries the “master switch” gene, SRY, that determines whether an embryo will develop as male (XY) or female (XX), it contains very few other genes and is the only chromosome… Read more

What Are Mitochondria?

We’ve probably all heard of mitochondria, and we may even remember learning in school that they are the “powerhouses of the cell” – but what does that actually mean, and how did they evolve? To answer this question, we have to go back about two billion years to a time when none of the complexity… Read more