I’m a bit apologetic about being vegetarian. I can see the defensiveness rise in people’s eyes when I order a veggie burger but I’m mortified by the idea I would tell anyone else what to eat. I don’t really have a good argument for my dietary preferences. I just get sad about baby animals. But I did enjoy a smug moment when I read Paul Pettitt’s article about how Neanderthals’ mostly carnivorous diet may have led to their extinction.

They made excellent hunters and took down animals that weighed nearly a tonne with little more than a bayonet spear and determination. They had a spear first, ask questions later strategy. Their diet was so high in protein it’s up there with modern wolves. But their over reliance on meat was also their downfall.

Talking of ancient people who met an untimely demise, this week is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamum’s tomb. The boy king, who died aged about 19, still fascinates us a century on. Of course we shouldn’t let that distract from the interesting facts science has revealed, in part thanks to salacious rumours of a curse. Of course we shouldn’t let that distract from the interesting facts science has revealed about his life — though it’s fascinating to learn how the pharaoh emerged as a favourite in spiritualist circles.

Meanwhile Arnald Puy writes about how the race to discover new mathematical models can lead to science that gives more detail than can be any use.

Jenna Hutber

Commissioning Editor, Science + Technology

3D rendering of an Neanderthal man. RaveeCG/Shutterstock

Neanderthals: how a carnivore diet may have led to their demise

Paul Pettitt, Durham University

Zinc in their bones reveal that these early humans were top of the food chain.

Howard Carter examining the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. IanDagnall Computing/Alamy

Why Tutankhamum’s curse continues to fascinate, 100 years after his discovery

Claire Gilmour, University of Bristol

From the curse that the papers latched on to new research suggesting that Howard Carter stole objects from the tomb, Tutankhamun’s discovery continues to grab attention.

The mathematical concept of a fractal is a never-ending pattern. G. DAWSON/Flickr

How a quest for mathematical truth and complex models can lead to useless scientific predictions – new research

Arnald Puy, University of Birmingham

The assumption that more detail is better is questioned by a new study.

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