Bruce Bower

Bruce Bower

Behavioral Sciences Writer

Bruce Bower has written about the behavioral sciences since 1984. He often writes about psychology, anthropology, archaeology and mental health issues. Bruce has a master's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Following an internship at Science News in 1981, he worked as a reporter at Psychiatric News, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, until joining Science News as a staff writer. In 1996, the American Psychological Association appointed Bruce a Science Writer Fellow, with a grant to visit psychological scientists of his own choosing. Early stints as an aide in a day school for children and teenagers with severe psychological problems and as a counselor in a drug diversion center provided Bruce with a surprisingly good background for a career in science journalism.

All Stories by Bruce Bower

  1. a child holding a glass of milk grimaces
    Anthropology

    Famine and disease may have driven ancient Europeans’ lactose tolerance

    Dealing with food shortages and infections over thousands of years, not widespread milk consumption, may be how an ability to digest dairy evolved.

  2. a 14,000-year-old partial skull of an ancient hominid shown from multiple angles
    Humans

    Ancient DNA links an East Asian Homo sapiens woman to early Americans

    Genetic clues point to a Late Stone Age trek from southwestern China to North America.

  3. photo of a hand ax in the palm of someone's hand
    Archaeology

    Britons’ tools from 560,000 years ago have emerged from gravel pits

    A new study confirms that an archaeological site in southeastern England called Fordwich is one of the oldest hominid sites in the country.

  4. a drawing of the citizens of Tournai, Belgium digging graves and carrying caskets during the Black Death
    Archaeology

    Ancient bacterial DNA hints Europe’s Black Death started in Central Asia

    Archaeological and genetic data pin the origins of Europe’s 1346–1353 bubonic plague to a bacterial strain found in graves in Asia from the 1330s.

  5. portrait of brown chicken with lots of head feathers
    Anthropology

    A new origin story for domesticated chickens starts in rice fields 3,500 years ago

    Chickens, popular on today’s menus, got their start in Southeast Asia surprisingly recently, probably as exotic or revered animals, researchers say.

  6. lidar image of Cotoca site
    Archaeology

    Lasers reveal ancient urban sprawl hidden in the Amazon

    South America’s Casarabe culture built a network of large and small settlements in what’s now Bolivia centuries before the Spanish arrived.

  7. a fossil tooth that may have belonged to a Denisovan girl, shown from multiple angles
    Anthropology

    A Denisovan girl’s fossil tooth may have been unearthed in Laos

    A molar adds to suspicions that mysterious hominids called Denisovans inhabited Southeast Asia's tropical forests.

  8. photo of the remains of an Inca child bundled in a textile and wearing a ceremonial headdress
    Archaeology

    A special brew may have calmed Inca children headed for sacrifice

    The mummified remains contained a substance that may reduce anxiety and is found in ayahuasca, a psychedelic ceremonial liquid still drunk today.

  9. carved relief of an ancient Egyptian queen smelling a lotus flower
    Archaeology

    Ancient ‘smellscapes’ are wafting out of artifacts and old texts

    In studying and reviving long-ago scents, archaeologists aim to understand how people experienced, and interpreted, their worlds through smell.

  10. Homo heidelbergensis skull
    Anthropology

    How ancient, recurring climate changes may have shaped human evolution

    Climate changes drove where Homo species lived over the last 2 million years, with a disputed ancestor giving rise to H. sapiens, a new study claims.

  11. illustration of an ancient trepanation surgery
    Anthropology

    North America’s oldest skull surgery dates to at least 3,000 years ago

    Bone regrowth suggests the man, who lived in what’s now Alabama, survived a procedure to treat brain swelling by scraping a hole out of his forehead.

  12. photo of an orangutan looking directly at the camera through trees
    Anthropology

    Social mingling shapes how orangutans issue warning calls

    The new findings hint at how modern language may have taken root in sparse communities of ancient apes and humans.