Courtesy of Gary Staab

You know those gigantic dinosaur models you see in natural history museums, frozen in mid-roar? There's a good chance they were made in Kearney, Missouri by a guy named Gary Staab. From his encounter with Lucy (the famous skeleton of our human ancestor) to a mummified human known as the Ice Man, Gary Staab takes us face to face with prehistoric life. 

Courtesy of Gary Staab

Gary Staab might appear to be an ordinary guy.

He lives in small-town, rural Kearney, Missouri, with his wife, Lissi, and their two teenage sons, Max and Owen. He plays guitar for the Mechanical Prairie Dogs, and is learning to play cello in his spare time.

But for a living, Staab sculpts prehistoric monsters and ancient human ancestors. He constructs wooden skeleton bases, shapes and welds bodies with wire, crafts muscles and eyeballs and molds resin flesh with epoxy.

Harum Kelmy / KBIA

It's not every day a researcher stumbles on 1.9 million year-old fossils of human ancestors. But the University of Missouri's Carol Ward did just that on a trip to Kenya. Discoveries made by Ward and her team have huge implications for our evolutionary past.


  • Carol Ward, professor, pathology and anatomical sciences, The University of Missouri
Penguin Group (Canada)

The publisher of Nature's Nether Regions begins the book summary this way: "What’s the easiest way to tell species apart? Check their genitals."

Tkgd2007 / wikimedia commons

State and local-level school officials would be required to develop guidelines for teaching evolution under legislation making its way through the Missouri House.

She certainly shook up our family tree that day in 1974. The human family tree that is.

Charlie Upchurch / KCUR

In the early 19th century, it was commonly believed that humans were a relatively new species, existing for only about 6,000 years. 

Wikimedia Commons

Matt Tocheri knows hobbits pretty well: he’s been studying their wristbones for years.

Well, not quite hobbits, per se, but homo floresiensis, a hominid fossil discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia, which at first glance appeared to be a small version of a modern human. However, researchers argue that these ‘hobbits’ are in fact h. floresiensis, and make up a new branch of the human evolutionary tree.

He certainly shook up our family tree that day in 1974. The human family tree that is.

The Struggle Over Teaching Evolution

Feb 15, 2012
Oxford University Press

From the Scopes trial of the 1920s to intelligent design today,  teaching evolution remains a most divisive issue in America.   Across the battlegrounds of pulpits, classrooms and courtrooms, opposing forces have struggled with what the curriculum should include.