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  • 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
  • News

    New dates narrow down when Denisovans and Neandertals crossed paths

    Mysterious ancient hominids known as Denisovans and their evolutionary cousins, Neandertals, frequented a southern Siberian cave starting a surprisingly long time ago, two new studies find.

    Evidence for visits by those populations to Denisova Cave, beginning by around 200,000 years ago for Neandertals and possibly as early as about 300,000 years ago for Denisovans, appears in the Jan. 31...

    01/30/2019 - 13:00 Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • The Science Life

    Why modern javelin throwers hurled Neandertal spears at hay bales

    Archaeologist Annemieke Milks had convened a sporting event of prehistoric proportions.

    The athletes: Six javelin throwers who approached the physical strength of Neandertals. The weapon: Two replicas of a 300,000-year-old wooden spear, one of nine ancient hunting tools discovered at Germany’s Schöningen coal mine (SN: 3/1/97, p. 134). The test: Could Neandertals, the likely makers of...

    01/28/2019 - 13:51 Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    An ancient child from East Asia grew teeth like a modern human

    An ancient child with a mysterious evolutionary background represents the oldest known case of humanlike tooth growth in East Asia, researchers say.

    The child’s fossilized upper jaw contains seven teeth that were in the process of developing when the roughly 6½-year-old youngster died at least 104,000 years ago and possibly more than 200,000 years ago. Using X-rays to examine the teeth’s...

    01/16/2019 - 14:12 Anthropology, Human Evolution, Human Development