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Science

Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science
Medieval manuscript illustration of a dragon with a red head, green and blue wings, and a snake-like tail, standing on a hill. The dragon is bordered by a decorative green frame with circular patterns and a blue border with white rings. The background features golden leaf motifs.
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video

Animals and humans

Why be dragons? How massive, reptilian beasts entered our collective imagination

58 minutes

Illustration of a prehistoric forest with various dinosaurs, including herbivores, a pterosaur flying, and a small carnivorous mammal-like creature.
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essay

Palaeontology

The dinosaurs didn’t rule

When we think of changes in Earth’s history as changes of dynasty we miss out on understanding how life really works

Riley Black

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essay

Deep time

The Rift

Splitting the African continent, it is the only place where our human story can be read continuously from the very start

Tristan McConnell

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essay

Palaeontology

A dinosaur is a story

As Brontosaurus tells us, in science as in fiction, the stories we tell to understand the world are always being revised

Nathaniel Goldberg & Chris Gavaler

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essay

Palaeontology

This riotous life

There’s no rhythm to mass extinctions, no pattern to evolutionary recovery. Life bursts forth, in cacophonous adaptation

Riley Black

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idea

Palaeontology

Investigating Homo floresiensis and the myth of the ebu gogo

Paige Madison

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video

Human evolution

Last hominin standing – charting our rise and the fall of our closest relatives

6 minutes

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video

Human evolution

Why did our sea-dwelling ancestors leap to land? It might have been the view

4 minutes

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essay

Earth science and climate

The shape of life

The ancient Earth was profoundly alien. How do we distinguish between the living and non-living in the fossil record?

Sophia Roosth

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History of science

What a fossil revolution reveals about the history of ‘big data’

David Sepkoski

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idea

History of science

The missing fossils matter as much as the ones we have found

Adrian Currie & Derek Turner

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essay

Palaeontology

What say you, dinosaur?

Did Neanderthals speak? Did dinosaurs roar? And when did birds begin to sing? The soundscape of deep time is coming back

Alex Riley

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idea

Human evolution

Anthropology is far from licking the problem of fossil ages

Paige Madison

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video

Evolution

Great for killing, and for research: the lethal fangs of saber-toothed cats

5 minutes

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essay

Deep time

A tyrannosaur of one’s own

Dinosaur collecting isn’t just for museums any more – film stars and sheikhs do it too. What drives a man to covet big bones?

Laurie Gwen Shapiro

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essay

Palaeontology

Origins

Paleogenetics is helping to solve the great mystery of prehistory: how did humans spread out over the earth?

Jacob Mikanowski

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essay

Biology

Once and future cats

Sabercats were magnificent, powerful predators – what does their extinction tell us about the future of life on Earth?

Riley Black