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The reason humans get goosebumps – or, to be technical, experience horripilation – when scared is simple enough: perceived threats are met with a rush of adrenaline through the bloodstream, causing muscle contractions that make hairs stand on end. This made our much hairier ancestors appear larger to potential predators. But why does our skin react this way when we’re cold or when we’re moved by a song, a landscape or a painting? Or even when we drink lemon juice? This video from NPR’s Skunk Bear probes some of the evolutionary origins of our skin’s most mysterious adaptation.
Producers: Adam Cole, Ryan Kellman
How would a piano sound on Mars? Embark on an interplanetary sonic journey
When two punk bands came to a psychiatric hospital, beautiful chaos ensued
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
An ode to the humble rotifer – one of nature’s simplest and strangest creatures
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
Cognition and intelligence
How a ‘periodic table’ of animal intelligence could help to root out human bias
A climate activist living off-grid faces her toughest challenge yet – a new primary school
The city as an emergent life form, with architecture as the skeleton and roads as veins
What it’s like to have aphantasia, the inability to visualise images in the mind’s eye