Editor's note

Patrice Désilets made his name as the creator of Assassin’s Creed, a series of video games known for their detailed and accurate depictions of Renaissance Italy or crusader-era Jerusalem. His latest project puts the player in charge of an ape in Africa 10m years ago, and challenges them to evolve into a Homo erectus. The details needed to be spot on, so he turned to Mark Maslin, an expert in human evolution and a regular author for The Conversation.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey has now been released, and Mark looks at how the game manages to convey the chaos and curiosity involved in real life evolution. For scientists like him, this is an exciting moment – thousands of people are playing a game that illustrates their research. He writes about how the game tracks the start of our evolution from vulnerable prey into the world’s apex predator.

In other news, fruit juice is good for you after all (but stay off the Sunny D), while violence against shop workers is on the rise – we hear from the victims.

Will de Freitas

Environment + Energy Editor

Top stories

Panache Digital

‘Ancestors’: a new game provides insights into how the first humans evolved

Mark Maslin, UCL

As a human evolution researcher, I was very excited to work with the creator of the Assassin's Creed games.

Yes, fruit juice contains natural sugar, but it has other benefits over sugar-sweetened drinks. Carlos Horta/Shutterstock

Pure fruit juice: junk food or health food?

David Benton, Swansea University

People often avoid fruit juice due to its sugar content and low fibre, but it still contains lots of good chemicals our bodies need.


Rising violence and verbal abuse towards retailers – stories from shop floor reveal lifelong impact

Emmeline Taylor, City, University of London

There were 590,000 incidents of assaults and threats on shop workers in 2018.

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