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Why we knock on wood, and the truth about 7 other common superstitions

The backstories behind some of the most common superstitions are pretty silly, so why do we still do them today?
The ladder shape composed of red horizontal and vertical lines (centre left) dates to older than 64,000 years and was made by Neanderthals.

Scientists have pinpointed when the first cave paintings were made — and it means Neanderthals were more advanced than they thought

Long before "modern" humans reached Europe, our Neanderthal cousins were creating cultural objects and painting animals in caves in Spain.
Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.

Early human ancestors started migrating around the world far earlier than scientists thought

Humans first started migrating from Africa to Asia 120,000 years ago, recent discoveries have found. These early migrants interbred with other hominin species.

Inequality has been growing for thousands of years — and it could hint at future societal collapse

The research describes a growing trend that could have dire consequences for future societies, provided they fail to become more equal.

A newly discovered baby skull reveals what the common ancestor of humans and apes may have looked like

We know little about the common ancestors that we and other apes had more than ten million years ago. A new 13 million-year-old skull may shed light on them.

Ancient skulls that mirror ours are part of a handful of archaeological findings that rewrite human history

Researchers are discovering evidence that could fundamentally change ancient history by answering questions like how and when our species emerged.

Why IPA beers have ‘India’ in their names — and how they fit into a key part of human history

The British wanted to keep drinking beer while colonizing the world — and hops helped preserve beer for a long, intense journey.

Scientists have found evidence of a mysterious ‘skull cult’ in an ancient temple

A new study published in the journal Science Advances describes at least 691 shards and chunks of bone found at an ancient ritual site in southeast Turkey.

300,000-year-old skulls that look shockingly like ours could rewrite the human origin story

The origins of Homo sapiens have remained a mystery, but a new discovery of 300,000-year-old bones may help solve the puzzle.

Archaeologists have uncovered ancient bones that may rewrite American history

A new archaeological study suggests humans may have set foot in North America 100,000 years earlier than researchers previously thought.