Darwin’s Worst Nightmare Part II: I Will Do Anything

Last week, I told the story of the time Darwin received a harrowing letter from Alfred Russel Wallace. The date was June 18th, 1958, and Darwin had potentially lost his originality. His claim to “discovering” evolution through natural selection, an idea he had been working on for twenty years, was seemingly vanishing before his eyes.…

What Difference Does a Damaged Skull Make, Anyhow?

Readers of this blog are familiar with my fascination of the fossils of human ancestors. I’ve written about fossils’ beauty, their strange stories, and the ways they make us question our ideas. Despite these points, critics often ask: do the discoveries of these bits of bone actually make any difference? In other words, why is paleoanthropology important;…

A Day at Liang Bua

In 2004, the discovery of a tiny hominin catapulted the limestone cave of Liang Bua into the scientific spotlight. Few people realize, however, that Liang Bua’s scientific history extends both long before the hobbit’s discovery and continues unfolding to the present day. On a recent trip to the cave, where I was hoping to learn more…