Out of the forest
We have thought of humans for a century or more as creatures of the savannah, shaped in every way by grassland life. Not so
The brain repurposed our sense of physical distance to understand social closeness
Love and friendship
Love is both a wonderful thing and a cunning evolutionary trick to control us. A dangerous cocktail in the wrong hands
Marx’s idea that societies were naturally egalitarian and communal before farming is widely influential and quite wrong
Virtues and vices
Is virtue signalling a vice?
Proclaiming one’s own goodness is deeply annoying. Yet signalling theory explains why it’s a peculiarly powerful manoeuvre
Imagination isn’t just a spillover from our problem-solving prowess. It might be the core of what human brains evolved to do
Music and sex
A song can take you on a journey of ecstatic arousal. Is music imitating sex, inviting it, or something else altogether?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
Sleep and dreams
Why do we sleep?
Adults sleep less than babies. Sperm whales sleep less again. A new mathematical theory unlocks the mysteries of slumber
Van Savage & Geoffrey West
How equality slipped away
For 97 per cent of human history, all people had about the same power and access to goods. How did inequality ratchet up?
We heal one another
When a person is in distress, we can draw on deep, evolved mechanisms to calm the storm, through attention, touch and care
Brains in a dish
What pea-sized brain organoids reveal about consciousness, the self and our future as a species
Animals and humans
The joy of being animal
Human exceptionalism is dead: for the sake of our own happiness and the planet we should embrace our true animal nature
Sitting by the fire with a nomadic tribe, a physicist ponders the many shapes of wisdom
Beyond the !Kung
A grand research project created our origin myth that early human societies were all egalitarian, mobile and small-scale
Not all Neanderthals were ‘cavemen’: half were women. What can archaeologists tell us about how they lived?
Rebecca Wragg Sykes
Is a great team more than the sum of its players? Complexity science reveals the role of strategy, synergy, swarming and more
Jessica Flack & Cade Massey
If trauma can be passed down, could new therapies blunt the transgenerational impact?
Vulnerable yet vital
The dance of love and lore between grandparent and grandchild is at the centre, not the fringes, of our evolutionary story
Cognition and intelligence
On the same wavelength
The urge to align our minds and emotions with those we care for, whether they are near or far, makes our species unique
History of ideas
The self is not always selfish: Mary Midgley takes on Richard Dawkins
Neither nasty nor brutish
The Ik – among the poorest people on Earth – have been cast as exemplars of human selfishness. The truth is much more startling
Language and linguistics
Hand to mouth
If language began with gestures around a campfire and secret signals on hunts, why did speech come to dominate communication?
Ancient yet cosmopolitan
Art, adornment and sophisticated hunting technologies flourished not only in prehistoric Europe but across the globe