The climatic change she observed was already known about. It was the reason people suspected forests had given way to savannah. But, contrary to that suspicion, Dr Feakins has shown that early humanity’s east African homeland was never heavily forested, so the idea that people were constrained to walk upright by the disappearance of the forests is wrong.

Perhaps it was more pull than push—a pre-existing, but empty ecological niche crying out to be filled by an enterprising species that could make the transition. But perhaps those who seek an ecological explanation of this sort are, as it were, barking up the wrong tree”.

***Oh, the drama! Argue amongst yourselves.

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(Text and image source: The Economist; via @DrKillgrove on Twitter)