A Toast to Darwin’s Origin & Lucy’s Discovery

November 24th is arguably my favorite day of the year. Not because it’s Thanksgiving this year, or because ski season has officially begun (though both of those are great), but because a couple of pretty incredible events occurred on this day in history. On November 24th, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published AND…

Homo naledi Updates: Arms, Legs, & More on the Skull!

While many of us were reeling from recent political events, the Homo naledi team was quietly flooding us with new information about one of the most interesting hominin species of all time. As many of you will remember, naledi was announced in 2015, after being found deep in a cave in South Africa. From the beginning,…

Time Traveling in London

As a historian, I frequently feel like a time traveler. Though my readings focus on science, that science is inevitably infused with details of scientists’ lives: their cultural views, their places of work, and more. My readings fill my mind with images of horse-drawn carriages, Victorian tea parties, and hand-written letters. It’s pretty fun. But every…

An Elaborate Story: Why Lucy’s Death Matters to Us

“LUCY WAS PUSHED!” someone shouted at me through the fibers of the internet. I had just shared the new Lucy study on Twitter, which I’m sure many of you have seen by now: the idea that Lucy–the famous Australopithecus afarensis skeleton–fell to her death 3.2 million years ago. My mother felt just as incredulous as…

Neanderthals and Giant’s Bones

  A Strange Skeleton The bones revealed a human of “extraordinary form,” he concluded. It was January 1857, and Hermann Schaaffhausen had just viewed a fossilized skeleton that was unlike anything he had ever seen. The surviving bits of the skeleton–made up of a partial skull, along with some leg bones, ribs, and other bits…