It has not been an easy year, and if you thought of just getting into bed and telling the world “wake me when it’s over,” you were almost certainly not alone.

And there’s some scientific evidence that one of the ancestors of modern humans tried out hibernation, though it may not have gone all that well.


As Popular Mechanics reported recently, paleoanthropologists have been studying fossils from a half million years ago, in the caves of Atapuerca, Spain.

That’s a place where anthropologists have found thousands of human fossils that date back to key moments in the evolution of our species.

The record there appears to show that in many cases, individuals tried to ride out the harsh, cold winter months by staying in caves.

This sounds logical; after all, we know a lot about how mammals will hibernate to minimize exposure to the cold and conserve their energy at a time when food can be scarce.

But the researchers found evidence that cave life led to weakened skeletons and vitamin D deficiencies, among many other health conditions.

Human metabolism isn’t really built to hole up that way for long stretches.

So even now, when there are plenty of reasons to stay in, every once in a while it’s good to get up, get out, get some fresh air. Especially if you happen to live in a cave.

Typically, if you’re near Times Square in New York City for New Year’s Eve you have your eye on the ball – literally – when midnight rolls around.

But that’s not the only tradition out there.

Mount Olive, North Carolina, of pickle company fame, has become even more famous for its annual pickle drop!

A three-foot pickle falls down a flagpole into a special new year’s tank.

And it happens at 7 pm, so you don’t even have to stay up all night to celebrate.

Humans Used to Be Able to Hibernate, Evidence Suggests (Popular Mechanics)

This Town Celebrates New Year’s Eve With A Pickle Drop (Delish)

Happy new year to all, but especially to our backers on Patreon!

Hibernation photo by Chad Horwedel via Flickr/Creative Commons