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  • 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
  • News

    Foot fossil pegs hominid kids as upright walkers 3.3 million years ago

    Walking was afoot long ago among toddler-aged members of a hominid species best known for Lucy’s partial skeleton.

    A largely complete, 3.3-million-year-old child’s foot from Australopithecus afarensis shows that the appendage would have aligned the ankle and knee under the body’s center of mass, a crucial design feature for upright walking, scientists report July 4 in Science Advances....

    07/04/2018 - 14:50 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Modern chimp brains share similarities with ancient hominids

    Groove patterns on the surface of modern chimpanzee brains throw a monkey wrench into proposals that some ancient southern African hominids evolved humanlike brain characteristics, a new study suggests.

    MRIs of eight living chimps reveal substantial variability in the shape and location of certain features on the brain surface. Some of these brains showed surface creases similar to ones...

    03/26/2018 - 15:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Ancient climate shifts may have sparked human ingenuity and networking

    Dramatic shifts in the East African climate may have driven toolmaking advances and the development of trading networks among Homo sapiens or their close relatives by the Middle Stone Age, roughly 320,000 years ago. That’s the implication of discoveries reported in three papers published online March 15 in Science.

    Newly excavated Middle Stone Age tools and red pigment chunks from...

    03/15/2018 - 14:48 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Humans don’t get enough sleep. Just ask other primates.

    People have evolved to sleep much less than chimps, baboons or any other primate studied so far.

    A large comparison of primate sleep patterns finds that most species get somewhere between nine and 15 hours of shut-eye daily, while humans average just seven. An analysis of several lifestyle and biological factors, however, predicts people should get 9.55 hours, researchers report online...

    03/07/2018 - 07:00 Anthropology, Animals, Human Evolution
  • News

    Cave art suggests Neandertals were ancient humans’ mental equals

    Neandertals drew on cave walls and made personal ornaments long before encountering Homo sapiens, two new studies find. These discoveries paint bulky, jut-jawed Neandertals as the mental equals of ancient humans, scientists say.

    Rock art depicting abstract shapes and hand stencils in three Spanish caves dates back to at least 64,800 years ago, researchers report in the Feb. 23 Science....

    02/22/2018 - 14:12 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Human brains rounded into shape over 200,000 years or more

    Big brains outpaced well-rounded brains in human evolution.

    Around the time of the origins of our species 300,000 years ago, the brains of Homo sapiens had about the same relatively large size as they do today, new research suggests. But rounder noggins rising well above the forehead — considered a hallmark of human anatomy — didn’t appear until between about 100,000 and 35,000 years ago...

    01/24/2018 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution