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  • Year in Review

    Human smarts got a surprisingly early start

    Archaeological discoveries reported this year broadened the scope of what scientists know about Stone Age ingenuity. These finds move the roots of innovative behavior ever closer to the origins of the human genus, Homo.

    Example No. 1 came from Kenya’s Olorgesailie Basin, where fickle rainfall apparently led to a wave of ancient tool and trading advances (SN: 4/14/18, p. 8). Frequent...

    12/17/2018 - 08:18 Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    ‘Little Foot’ skeleton analysis reignites debate over the hominid’s species

    A nearly complete hominid skeleton known as Little Foot has finally been largely freed from the stony shell in which it was discovered in a South African cave more than 20 years ago. And in the first formal analyses of the fossils, researchers say the 3.67-million-year-old Little Foot belonged to its own species.

    In four papers posted online at bioRxiv.org between November 29 and...

    12/12/2018 - 06:00 Human Evolution, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Stone Age people conquered the Tibetan Plateau’s thin air

    People settled down high up — really high up — as early as around 40,000 years ago. That’s when humans first inhabited East Asia’s Tibetan Plateau, about 4,600 meters above sea level, scientists say.

    Until now, evidence of humans colonizing this high-altitude region extended no further back than around 8,000 years ago (SN: 2/4/17, p. 8). Some researchers have argued that the first...

    11/30/2018 - 12:58 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Stone-tool makers reached North Africa and Arabia surprisingly early

    Ancient stone-tool makers spread into largely unstudied parts of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula surprisingly early, two new studies find. Discoveries in Algeria and Saudi Arabia underscore how toolmaking traditions enabled Stone Age Homo groups to travel long distances and adapt to different environments, researchers say.

    Hominids used simple cutting and chopping implements to...

    11/29/2018 - 14:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Skull damage suggests Neandertals led no more violent lives than humans

    Neandertals are shaking off their reputation as head bangers.

    Our close evolutionary cousins experienced plenty of head injuries, but no more so than late Stone Age humans did, a study suggests. Rates of fractures and other bone damage in a large sample of Neandertal and ancient Homo sapiens skulls roughly match rates previously reported for human foragers and farmers who have lived...

    11/14/2018 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Like Europe, Borneo hosted Stone Age cave artists

    Discoveries on the island of Borneo illustrate that cave art emerged in Southeast Asia as early as in Western Europe, and with comparable complexity, researchers say.

    A limestone cave in eastern Borneo features a reddish-orange painting of a horned animal, possibly a type of wild cattle that may have been found on the island at the time. The painting dates to at least 40,000 years ago,...

    11/07/2018 - 13:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution