How Hawai‘i Forces Us to Redefine the Meaning of ‘Native’

An Environmental Historian Argues That Being Indigenous Is More Alchemy Than Fact

I was born in the Territory of Hawai‘i, three weeks before statehood. As a kid I played in its dirt, ran around in the rain (my hometown of Hilo is one of the two or three rainiest cities in the United States), clambered up trees and vines, and swam in the spectacular ocean waters.

I was of the islands; yet I was not. My dad was from Chicago and my mom from Salt Lake City. Certainly, if anyone had asked me, I would have replied that I was a native—after all, …

Chimpanzee Behavior Isn’t Just Monkey Business. It’s Culture.

Grooming, Using Tools, and Fishing for Termites Show the Humanity of Our Primate Cousins

In 1961, famed primatologist Jane Goodall discovered that wild chimpanzees were fashioning tools from sticks and using them to fish termites out of their nests—revolutionizing our understanding of culture and …

How the Evolution of the Human Brain Led Us to God

Advances in Neuroscience Link Our Cognitive Development to Our Idea of the Divine

The human brain is the most intriguing object in the universe, populated with 100 billion neurons connected by nerve fibers, which, if laid end to end, could circle the earth …

Empathy’s Evolution in the Human Imagination

What Began as an Aesthetic Response to Art Is Now a Highly Complex Neurochemical Reaction

Empathy seems to be one of the most “natural” emotions, but before 1908, no one in the English-speaking world had heard of it.

And when it did appear, “empathy” was …

Why Scurvy Is Still a Snake in Our Nutritional Lost Paradise

To Absolve Mankind’s Genetic Original Sin, Drink Your Orange Juice

At some time in the evolution of the human organism, the gene that had allowed the body to synthesize vitamin C mutated, and the liver enzyme responsible for the synthesis …

What Self-Cloning Salamanders Say About Climate Change

An Evolutionary Outlier Could Inherit the Earth (or at Least Rural Maine)

Birds do it, bees do it, and so the song goes, even educated fleas do it. But unisexual salamanders don’t.

These all-female amphibians clone themselves to make eggs—all girls—and they’ve …