The World Is Our Niche

Our unique adaptability may explain why we’re the last humans on Earth.

Humans have gone where no ape has gone before. Unlike our closest primate cousins, who are confined to the tropics, Homo sapiens inhabit all corners of the planet, including harsh deserts, oxygen-thin altitudes and Arctic lands. “People just don’t seem to have a lot of constraints on where they could live,” says Brian Stewart, an archaeologist at the University of Michigan. Which is odd, ecologically speaking. Most animals stick to particular habitats, related to where the...

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in.