See Inside August 2010

Origins: Going Back to Where the Story Really Starts

Sometimes we forget where a story really starts. Are electric cars new? Where did malaria start? Who invented spaghetti? Read on, for the surprising origins of many strange and familiar things

We are always telling stories about the world, the universe, ourselves. It helps to make sense of things. But sometimes, through familiarity or neglect, we get lost. We forget where a story really starts, losing sight of where it’s headed. What is biodiversity? Are electric cars new? Even the well-worn tale of human origins is missing a key chapter: how a small band of hunter-gatherers survived a climate disaster, becoming ancestors of us all. Here we provide the surprising origins of some strange and familiar things.

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