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  • News

    Longer gaps between births can halve infant deaths in developing nations

    In some of the world’s least-developed countries, spacing births two years apart, instead of one, can nearly halve infant mortality rates, a study finds. But in more developed nations, increasing the interval between successive childbirths makes little difference to infant deaths, researchers report July 3 in Demography. 

    “At low levels of development, birth spacing is really important...

    07/19/2019 - 07:00 Science & Society, Human Evolution
  • News

    A Greek skull may belong to the oldest human found outside of Africa

    A skull found in a cliffside cave on Greece’s southern coast in 1978 represents the oldest Homo sapiens fossil outside Africa, scientists say.  

    That skull, from an individual who lived at least 210,000 years ago, was encased in rock that also held a Neandertal skull dating to at least 170,000 years ago, contends a team led by paleoanthropologist Katerina Harvati of the University of...

    07/10/2019 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    DNA reveals a European Neandertal lineage that lasted 80,000 years

    Neandertals had evolutionary stamina. An unbroken genetic line of the jut-jawed, powerfully built human relatives inhabited Europe for at least 80,000 years until dying out around 40,000 years ago, scientists say.

    DNA extracted from fossils of two roughly 120,000-year-old European Neandertals displays closer genetic links to 40,000-year-old European Neandertals than to a Siberian...

    06/26/2019 - 14:00 Genetics, Human Evolution
  • News

    Lost wallets are more likely to be returned if they hold cash

    If you’re prone to losing your wallet, keep it filled with cash.

    That’s a tip from researchers who “lost” over 17,000 wallets in 40 countries. In all but two countries, the likelihood of a stranger returning a wallet increased if there was money inside. And the more money in the wallet, the higher the rate of return, the researchers report June 20 in Science. 

    “We were expecting a...

    06/20/2019 - 15:45 Science & Society, Human Evolution
  • 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