My New Novel, Secrets of Hominea!

My new novel just went on sale! Secrets of Hominea is a magical middle grade fantasy novel: a tale of giants, gnomes, queens, and adventurers — and of science and history. It’s for readers age 9 to 14.

middle grade novel

My first novel, The Jericho River, won multiple awards, including wins at the Next Generation Indie awards and the London Book Festival, as well as a bronze medal in the Readers’ Favorite awards. Continue reading “My New Novel, Secrets of Hominea!”

Punctuated Equilibrium: Natural History’s Pattern, and History’s Too

Biologists no longer consider evolution a steady or gradual process. New traits often spread suddenly, and a new species may crop up in tens of millennia or less. These “punctuated” or fast evolutions happen when a population faces a new stress or opportunity, particularly when a group stumbles into a new environment and gets isolated from the rest of the species. (I’ve blogged about a couple examples: the abrupt Stone Age appearance of a new subspecies of wolf, the dog, as well as the even faster rise of dog-like domestic foxes during the late 20th Century.) Biologists disagree about what happens between these bursts of evolution — how much the species changes — but they agree that any change then is slow, often noticeable only after millions of years. The resulting theory is punctuated equilibrium: the idea that evolution alternates between sudden change and stability. I think history works the same way. Continue reading “Punctuated Equilibrium: Natural History’s Pattern, and History’s Too”

Were We Just Bystanders in Dog Domestication?

This post has been updated. See, Who Thought Up Dog Domestication, People or Dogs?

Scientists used to think prehistoric hunter-gatherers created the dog by adopting wolf pups and breeding the friendliest of them, for centuries or longer. A more recent theory, however, suggests that humans served as little more than bystanders in dog domestication. The transformation from wolves was already complete, the theory goes, before the first dog-owners adopted their pets. Continue reading “Were We Just Bystanders in Dog Domestication?”