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Did two pulses of evolution supercharge human cognition?

An intriguing new study tries to tabulate the ages of genetic variants associated with human phenotypes, but its claims about recent brain evolution may not pan out.

A stylized image of a brain with lightning pulsing through it
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Many people have a little Neandertal in the brain. Does it matter?

Research has started to show the ways that introgressed genes from Neandertals affect brain shape in living people.

Anatomical model of a brain
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Brain-body allometry revisited across mammals

Reviewing a 2021 paper in Science Advances by J. B. Smaers and coworkers, which looks at brain-body allometry across mammals.

Skull of a tree shrew in the eye orbit of a human skull
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Return of the “amazing” Boskops

Bringing some scientific reality to an excerpt from a book that tries to revive the myth of an ancient, large-brained race of humans.

Photo of the Boskop skull fragments next to a drawing of a reconstruction
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Notes on Ashley Montagu, recent human evolution, and human equality

The anthropologist argued that humans have stopped evolving, but that isn't the way we understand human evolution today.

Poster reading "Every human has rights"
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The “amazing” Boskops

A book tries to revive the myth of a large-brained ancient race in southern Africa. It was wrong in 1958 and remains wrong today.

Photo of Boskop skull fragments next to a line drawing of the reconstructed skull
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Ninety percent of your brain is (not) useless

A close look at the idea that most of the brain is superfluous space, with a review of people who get by with extraordinarily small brain mass.

Ninety percent of your brain is (not) useless