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  • News

    ‘Little Foot’ skeleton analysis reignites debate over the hominid’s species

    A nearly complete hominid skeleton known as Little Foot has finally been largely freed from the stony shell in which it was discovered in a South African cave more than 20 years ago. And in the first formal analyses of the fossils, researchers say the 3.67-million-year-old Little Foot belonged to its own species.

    In four papers posted online at bioRxiv.org between November 29 and...

    12/12/2018 - 06:00 Human Evolution, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Stone Age people conquered the Tibetan Plateau’s thin air

    People settled down high up — really high up — as early as around 40,000 years ago. That’s when humans first inhabited East Asia’s Tibetan Plateau, about 4,600 meters above sea level, scientists say.

    Until now, evidence of humans colonizing this high-altitude region extended no further back than around 8,000 years ago (SN: 2/4/17, p. 8). Some researchers have argued that the first...

    11/30/2018 - 12:58 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Stone-tool makers reached North Africa and Arabia surprisingly early

    Ancient stone-tool makers spread into largely unstudied parts of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula surprisingly early, two new studies find. Discoveries in Algeria and Saudi Arabia underscore how toolmaking traditions enabled Stone Age Homo groups to travel long distances and adapt to different environments, researchers say.

    Hominids used simple cutting and chopping implements to...

    11/29/2018 - 14:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Skull damage suggests Neandertals led no more violent lives than humans

    Neandertals are shaking off their reputation as head bangers.

    Our close evolutionary cousins experienced plenty of head injuries, but no more so than late Stone Age humans did, a study suggests. Rates of fractures and other bone damage in a large sample of Neandertal and ancient Homo sapiens skulls roughly match rates previously reported for human foragers and farmers who have lived...

    11/14/2018 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Like Europe, Borneo hosted Stone Age cave artists

    Discoveries on the island of Borneo illustrate that cave art emerged in Southeast Asia as early as in Western Europe, and with comparable complexity, researchers say.

    A limestone cave in eastern Borneo features a reddish-orange painting of a horned animal, possibly a type of wild cattle that may have been found on the island at the time. The painting dates to at least 40,000 years ago,...

    11/07/2018 - 13:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Fossils hint hominids migrated through a ‘green’ Arabia 300,000 years ago

    Although now characterized by inhospitable deserts, the Arabian Peninsula was a green hot spot for migrating members of the human genus, Homo, at least 300,000 years ago, scientists say.

    Stone tools found among fossils of antelopes, elephants and other animals at Saudi Arabia’s Ti’s al Ghadah site date to between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago, archaeologist Patrick Roberts and his...

    11/01/2018 - 11:13 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    A 90,000-year-old bone knife hints special tools appeared early in Africa

    Africa’s Stone Age was also a Bone Age.

    Ancient Africans took bone tools to a new level around 90,000 years ago by making pointed knives out of animals’ ribs, scientists say. Before then, bone tools served as simpler, general-purpose cutting devices.  

    Members of northern Africa’s Aterian culture, which originated roughly 145,000 years ago, started crafting sharp-tipped bone knives...

    10/03/2018 - 14:00 Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Butchered bird bones put humans in Madagascar 10,500 years ago

    Humans made their mark on Madagascar around 6,000 years earlier than previously thought, scientists say. Those early migrants hunted massive, flightless birds once native to the island off southeast Africa, leaving butchery marks on the bird bones that enabled the new timeline.

    Cuts and fractures on three previously unearthed leg and foot bones from one of Madagascar’s extinct elephant...

    09/12/2018 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    This South African cave stone may bear the world’s oldest drawing

    A red, crosshatched design adorning a rock from a South African cave may take the prize as the oldest known drawing.

    Ancient humans sketched the line pattern around 73,000 years ago by running a chunk of pigment across a smoothed section of stone in Blombos Cave, scientists say. Until now, the earliest drawings dated to roughly 40,000 years ago on cave walls in Europe and Indonesia.

    ...
    09/12/2018 - 13:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Stone tools put early hominids in China 2.1 million years ago

    Members of the human genus, Homo, left Africa far earlier than thought, reaching what’s now central China by around 2.12 million years ago, a new study finds.

    Some stone tools unearthed at China’s Shangchen site date to roughly 250,000 years before what was previously the oldest Eurasian evidence of Homo, say geologist Zhaoyu Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou and his...

    07/11/2018 - 13:33 Archaeology, Human Evolution