Tales of a Fossil Hunter

If looking for ancient bones to dig up sounds like hard work, that's because it is. According to anthropologist Donald Johanson, even modern tools such as GPS don't save scientists from having to "look and look and look and look" for fossils. Yet as the discoverer of the famous "Lucy" skeleton knows, one big find can be life-altering, world-shaking, and downright funas when he and his then-girlfriend named the skeleton after a Beatles song they were listening to at the time.

In his Big Think interview, Johanson discusses the scientific legacy of the "Lucy" find, as well as the "First Family" group of fossils thatwhile less of a media sensationmay actually have been his most important discovery. He also weighs in on the mystery of the Neanderthals' disappearance and illuminates the origins of human creativity, arguing that art did not begin in the Lascaux cave era but rather accompanied us out of Africa.

It's precisely the story of "the emergence of ourselves" on the African savannah that excites Johanson most about anthropology. He believes that as we learn more and more about the biology, behavior, and culture of early homo sapiens, we must increasingly confront the implications of the fact that, "regardless of what we look like on the outside, genetically, on the inside, everyone is an African."

Biohacking: Why I'll live to be 180 years old

From computer hacking to biohacking, Dave Asprey has embarked on a quest to reverse the aging process.

  • As a teenager, founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, began experiencing health issues that typically plague older adults.
  • After surrounding himself with anti-aging researchers and scientists, he discovered the tools of biohacking could dramatically change his life and improve his health.
  • He's now confident he'll live to at least 180 years old. "It turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass," he says.
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First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
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European wind farms could meet global energy demand, researchers now say

A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.

Surprising Science
  • A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
  • The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
  • Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.
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