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 painting of a Muscogee (Creek) village in the 1790s shows a circular council house next to four clan structures positioned around a square. The village is on the banks of a pond and surrounded by trees.

    Indigenous Americans ruled democratically long before the U.S. did

    Oklahoma’s Muscogee people, among others, promoted rule by the people long before the U.S. Constitution was written.

  2. 3-D models of an upper leg bone and two forearm bones, each shown from two angles

    7-million-year-old limb fossils may be from the earliest known hominid

    An earlier report on one of the bones of a 7-million-year-old creature that may have walked upright has triggered scientific misconduct charges.

  3. a grayscale drawing of native Hawaiians rowing long boats, one of which has a sail

    ‘The Five-Million-Year Odyssey’ reveals how migration shaped humankind

    A globe-trotting trek through history shows how past population migrations changed the course of human biology and culture.

  4. a child holding a glass of milk grimaces

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  8. portrait of brown chicken with lots of head feathers

    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.

  9. lidar image of Cotoca site

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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.