If you’re a foodie and can’t resist experimenting with new seasonings or savouring your favourite comfort food, you’re not a glutton. You’re following an ancient tradition dating back at least 70,000 years. New research published by archaeologist Ceren Kabukcu shows early humans and Neanderthals weren’t necessarily tearing into raw food with animalistic abandon. Analysis of food fragments found in two caves show they were laboriously grinding together mixtures of seeds with pulses. They took care to create dishes with a mild bitter taste and sharp flavours.

When I read that research methods included examining the tartar left on Neanderthal teeth my first thought was, “That’s fascinating,” but my second thought was, “They did what?” Is there no privacy even in death? I nibbled my afternoon crumpets and marmite feeling self conscious about what stories my teeth will tell researchers in the year AD 3000. It’s hard to imagine nutritionists of the future encouraging people to adopt a strict western millennial diet. If anything, public health campaigns would point to our eating habits as a prime example of what not to do.

Meanwhile, Indyref campaigners will be disappointed after the UK supreme court ruled Scotland cannot launch a referendum of its own volition. This explainer sets out how the judges came to their verdict and exactly what it means. And, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering why some cities feel greener than others, researchers from the University of Sheffield may have the answer. They assessed cities to find the most and least green urban places to live in Great Britain.

Jenna Hutber

Commissioning Editor, Science + Technology


The real Paleo diet: new archaeological evidence changes what we thought about how ancient humans prepared food

Ceren Kabukcu, University of Liverpool

New study shows Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens had a taste for sharp and bitter food.

Meet the winner: Exeter. Panoptic Motion / shutterstock

We found Britain’s greenest city centre – and its least green

Jake M Robinson, Flinders University; Paul Brindley, University of Sheffield

Where does your city rank?


UK supreme court rules Scotland cannot call a second independence referendum – the decision explained

Michael Gordon, University of Liverpool

The Scottish government wanted to trigger a second independence vote without consulting Westminster but that has been deemed not legally permissable.

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