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  • Science Ticker

    North America’s earliest dogs came from Siberia

    North America’s first dogs arrived with humans who crossed a land bridge from Northeast Asia around 10,000 years ago or earlier, an analysis of ancient dogs’ DNA suggests.

    Those early American dogs derived from a Siberian ancestor, not North American wolves as some researchers have presumed, an international team reports in the July 6 Science. Genetic traces of ancient American dogs have...

    07/05/2018 - 14:12 Genetics, Anthropology, Animals
  • 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 in Brief

    Mongolians practiced horse dentistry as early as 3,200 years ago

    Mongolian pastoralists were trying to remove troublesome teeth from horses’ mouths almost 3,200 years ago, making those mobile herders the earliest known practitioners of horse dentistry, a new study finds.

    Those initial, incomplete tooth removals led to procedures for extracting forward-positioned cheek teeth known as first premolars from young horses, say archaeologist William Taylor...

    07/02/2018 - 15:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Animals
  • News

    Koko the gorilla is gone, but she left a legacy

    When Koko died in her sleep in California on June 19, people throughout the world immediately began mourning the gorilla.

    Koko was a charmer and undeniably smart. She took an unusual route to fame. Stanford University graduate student Francine Patterson started teaching Koko a version of sign language in 1972, the year after the infant ape was born. Patterson rapidly developed a deep...

    06/21/2018 - 17:35 Anthropology, Animals
  • News

    A 2,200-year-old Chinese tomb held a new gibbon species, now extinct

    A royal crypt from China’s past has issued a conservation alert for apes currently eking out an existence in East Asia.

    The partial remains of a gibbon were discovered in 2004 in an excavation of a 2,200- to 2,300-year-old tomb in central China’s Shaanxi Province. Now, detailed comparisons of the animal’s face and teeth with those of living gibbons show that the buried ape is from a...

    06/21/2018 - 14:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    This theory suggests few workers were needed to cap Easter Island statues

    The story of how some of the massive stone statues on Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, ended up wearing stone hats involves ramps, ropes and remarkably few workers, a contested new analysis suggests.

    No more than 15 people were needed to manipulate ropes that rolled stone cylinders, or pukao, up ramps to the top of forward-leaning statues, say archaeologist Sean Hixon of Penn State...

    06/08/2018 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    The first Americans could have taken a coastal route into the New World

    Ancient colonizers of the Americas could have traveled down Alaska’s Pacific coast in canoes or other sea vessels around 17,000 years ago, a new study finds.

    At that time, toward the end of the last ice age, glaciers had just receded from a cluster of southern Alaskan islands, say geologist Alia Lesnek of the University at Buffalo in New York and colleagues. Life-supporting habitats...

    05/30/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Ecosystems, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Pregnant bonobos get a little delivery help from their friends

    Like humans, African apes called bonobos may treat birth as a social event with a serious purpose.

    In three recorded instances in captivity, female bonobos stood close by and provided protection and support to a bonobo giving birth to a healthy infant. Female bystanders also gestured as if ready to hold an infant before it was born, or actually held one as it was born, scientists report...

    05/24/2018 - 13:26 Animals, Anthropology, Evolution
  • News

    Ancient Chinese farmers sowed literal seeds of change in Southeast Asia

    People who moved out of southern China cultivated big changes across ancient Southeast Asia, a new analysis of ancient human DNA finds.

    Chinese rice and millet farmers spread south into a region stretching from Vietnam to Myanmar. There, they mated with local hunter-gatherers in two main pulses, first around 4,000 years ago, and again two millennia later, says a team led by Harvard...

    05/17/2018 - 14:14 Anthropology, Genetics, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    Butchered rhino bones place hominids in the Philippines 700,000 years ago

    Stone tools strewn among rhinoceros bones indicate that hominids had reached the Philippines by around 709,000 years ago, scientists report online May 2 in Nature.

    Stone Age Homo species who crossed the ocean from mainland Asia to the Philippines — possibly aboard uprooted trees or some kind of watercraft — may also have moved to islands farther south, the team proposes. Evidence of...

    05/02/2018 - 13:00 Anthropology, Archaeology