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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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The wild courtship moves of the Carola’s parotia

2 minutes

A bird-of-paradise must become a lord of the dance to woo a discerning mate

Far from amateurs on the dancefloor, males of the bird-of-paradise species known as Carola’s parotia practise their moves for hours a day before finally performing for a tough crowd of desirable females in a one-of-a-kind competition. Their nearly predator-free existence on Papua New Guinea has allowed the birds to develop an elaborate courtship dance of jumping, shimmying and shaking that is one of the most complex in the animal world.

ORIGINAL
Video/Cognition & Intelligence

For millennia, we’d never seen anything like film cuts. How do we process them so easily?

7 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/History of Ideas

Music is marvellous, but not mysterious: an interview with Lydia Goehr

6 minutes

Video/Mathematics

Going from A to B isn’t always a straight line – but it can be very good fun

2 minutes

Idea/Space Exploration

To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

Ramin Skibba

Video/Cosmology

We are born of supernovas – our spectacular and totally ordinary origin story

4 minutes

Essay/Human Evolution

Sex makes babies

As far as we can tell, no other animal knows this. Did our understanding of baby-making change the course of human history?

Holly Dunsworth & Anne Buchanan

Idea/History of Science

The most wonderful words in science: ‘We have no idea… yet!’

Daniel Whiteson

Video/Physics

Why the apparent flatness of space is an enduring cosmological mystery

4 minutes

Essay/Evolution

Aliens in our midst

The ctenophore’s brain suggests that, if evolution began again, intelligence would re-emerge because nature repeats itself

Douglas Fox