So many of us fall in love with dinosaurs as children that spending time learning about them as an adult feels cheeky, in a nostalgic way. My mum once told me she hadn’t fully appreciated the power of peer pressure until my older brother’s friend, aged six, said a velociraptor lived in the local meadows and she was completely unable to persuade us otherwise. I don’t remember the velociraptor incident but I do remember my brother and I spending hours convincing ourselves that shadowy shapes passing over our house were pterodactyls (almost definitely seagulls).

Palaeontology still strikes us with awe as adults, partly because it holds up a kind of mirror to humankind. Nicholas Longrich tackles some of the biggest questions about evolution in his article about how the extinction of the dinosaurs laid the path forHomo sapiensand how things might have been if Earth hadn’t had a chance collision with an asteroid. Even now I feel a lingering affection for theT. rex, a creature which when alive would have squished me like a bug. So it’s hard not to feel some regret for the world that almost was.

In another incredible story from the deep past, Paul Pearson writes about how new research into a cache of gold coins shows that a Roman emperor, believed to be a myth for over 150 years, was in fact real. Plus we investigated why only a fraction of rape cases reported to the police will make it to a court of law, in a long read that takes an unflinching look at why such little progress is being made on the issue.

Jenna Hutber

Commissioning Editor, Science + Technology

Ajnabia odysseus lived 66 million years ago, making it one of the last dinosaurs on Earth. Raul Martin

What if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct? Why our world might look very different

Nicholas R. Longrich, University of Bath

It’s hard to imagine the world without Homo sapiens. But it’s unlikely we would be here if it wasn’t for a chance asteroid collision.

The coin bearing the head of the mysterious Sponsian. Hunterian Glasgow

How we used ancient coins to show a ‘fake’ Roman emperor was real

Paul Pearson, Cardiff University

Disregarded as ‘fakes’ for decades, new analysis of coins bearing the face of a mysterious emperor is providing answers about a heady gap in Roman history.


Why do so many men get away with rape? Police officers, survivors, lawyers and prosecutors on the scandal that shames the justice system

John Fox, University of Portsmouth

In England and Wales perpetrators of one of the gravest violent crimes, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, are very unlikely to receive any punishment at all

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