The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
I am Dr. Kate Clancy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. On top of being an academic, I am a mother, a wife, an athlete, a labor activist, a sister, and a daughter. My beautiful blog banner was made by Jacqueline Dillard. Context and variation together help us understand humans (and any other species) as complicated. But they also help to show us that biology is not immutable, that it does not define us from the moment of our birth. Rather, our environment pushes and pulls our genes into different reaction norms that help us predict behavior and physiology. But, as humans make our environments, we have the ability to change the very things that change us. We often have more control over our biology than we may think.