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  • News in Brief

    DNA reveals ancient Siberians who set the stage for the first Americans

    Northeastern Siberia hosted migrations of three consecutive ancient populations that created a genetic framework for Siberians and Native Americans today, scientists say.

    While each incoming population largely replaced people already living there, mating between newcomers and old-timers also occurred, conclude evolutionary geneticist Martin Sikora of the University of Copenhagen and...

    06/07/2019 - 12:00 Genetics, Human Evolution, Ancestry
  • News in Brief

    Cave debris may be the oldest known example of people eating starch

    Small fire pits in a South African cave have yielded what researchers regard as the oldest known examples of a key dish in ancient humans’ daily menu. No, not dessert. Think roasted plant starches.

    Charred plant remains found in Klasies River Cave date to as early as around 120,000 years ago, and as late as roughly 65,000 years ago, say archaeologist Cynthia Larbey of the University of...

    05/31/2019 - 09:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Africa’s first herders spread pastoralism by mating with foragers

    Ancient sheep, goat and cattle herders made Africa their home by hooking up with the continent’s native hunter-gatherers, a study suggests.

    DNA analysis shows that African herders and foragers mated with each other in two phases, says a team led by archaeologist Mary Prendergast of Saint Louis University in Madrid. After entering northeastern Africa from the Middle East around 8,000...

    05/30/2019 - 14:00 Anthropology, Genetics, Human Evolution
  • News

    Fossil teeth push the human-Neandertal split back to about 1 million years ago

    People and Neandertals separated from a common ancestor more than 800,000 years ago — much earlier than many researchers had thought.

    That conclusion, published online May 15 in Science Advances, stems from an analysis of early fossilized Neandertal teeth found at a Spanish site called Sima de los Huesos. During hominid evolution, tooth crowns changed in size and shape at a steady rate,...

    05/15/2019 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    A jawbone shows Denisovans lived on the Tibetan Plateau long before humans

    Denisovans reached what’s now called “the roof of the world” at least 160,000 years ago.

    Found in a Tibetan Plateau cave, a partial lower jawbone represents a Denisovan who is the oldest known hominid to reach the region’s cloud-scraping heights, researchers report online May 1 in Nature.

    The fossil suggests that these perplexing, extinct members of the human lineage weathered the...

    05/01/2019 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    A new hominid species has been found in a Philippine cave, fossils suggest

    A new member of the human genus has been found in a cave in the Philippines, researchers report.

    Fossils with distinctive features indicate that the hominid species inhabited the island now known as Luzon at least 50,000 years ago, according to a study in the April 11 Nature. That species, which the scientists have dubbed Homo luzonensis, lived at the same time that controversial half-...

    04/10/2019 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    The first known fossil of a Denisovan skull has been found in a Siberian cave

    CLEVELAND — A palm-sized section of a braincase is the first Denisovan skull fossil ever found.

    Discovered in two pieces in Siberia’s Denisova Cave in August 2016, the find joins only a handful of fragmentary fossils from these mysterious, extinct hominids. Mitochondrial DNA, a type of genetic material typically inherited from the mother, extracted from the skull pegged it as Denisovan,...

    03/29/2019 - 11:01 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    The rise of farming altered our bite and changed how people talk

    Humankind’s gift of gab is not set in stone, and farming could help to explain why.

    Over the last 6,000 years or so, farming societies increasingly have substituted processed dairy and grain products for tougher-to-chew game meat and wild plants common in hunter-gatherer diets. Switching to those diets of softer, processed foods altered people’s jaw structure over time, rendering certain...

    03/14/2019 - 14:00 Language, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Hominids may have hunted rabbits as far back as 400,000 years ago

    In Europe, Stone Age hominids began adding small, fast animals to their menus much earlier than previously thought, scientists say.

    Now-extinct members of the human genus, Homo, hunted rabbits and, to a lesser extent, hares in southern France and probably other Mediterranean parts of Europe by around 400,000 years ago, researchers report online March 6 in Science Advances. Hunters also...

    03/06/2019 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    African hominid fossils show ancient steps toward a two-legged stride

    Fossils unearthed from an Ethiopian site not far from where the famous hominid Ardi’s partial skeleton was found suggest that her species was evolving different ways of walking upright more than 4 million years ago.

    Scientists have established that Ardi herself could walk upright (SN Online: 4/2/18). But the new fossils demonstrate that other members of Ardipithecus ramidus developed a...

    02/22/2019 - 11:11 Anthropology, Human Evolution