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  • Year in Review

    What will be the big science stories of 2019? Here are our predictions

    Entire disciplines are devoted to predicting the future. Trained forecasters use data, trends, human behavior and more to predict what lies ahead.

    Exactly no one at Science News is a quantitative forecaster or futurist. But we do hear what scientists are buzzing about at meetings, on social media and while reporting stories. So when we asked our writers to predict the big science stories...

    12/28/2018 - 06:00 Science & Society
  • Feature

    Animal hybrids may hold clues to Neandertal-human interbreeding

    Neandertals are the comeback kids of human evolution. A mere decade ago, the burly, jut-jawed crowd was known as a dead-end species that lost out to us, Homo sapiens.

    But once geneticists began extracting Neandertal DNA from fossils and comparing it with DNA from present-day folks, the story changed. Long-gone Neandertals rode the double helix express back to evolutionary relevance as...

    10/05/2016 - 11:00 Human Evolution, Animals
  • Feature

    Year in review: Early human kin could shake up family tree

    Scientists trying to untangle the human evolutionary family’s ancient secrets welcomed a new set of tantalizing and controversial finds this year. A series of fossil discoveries offered potentially important insights into the origins of the human genus, Homo. Most notably, a group of South African fossils triggered widespread excitement accompanied by head-scratching and vigorous debate...

    12/15/2015 - 07:03 Human Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    DNA puts Neandertal relatives in Siberia for 60,000 years

    Mysterious Neandertal relatives known as Denisovans may have hung out in southern Siberia for 60,000 years or so.

    Until now, Denisovans were represented only by DNA from a finger bone found in Siberia’s Denisova Cave in 2008. Evolutionary geneticist Susanna Sawyer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and her colleagues have now extracted nuclear...

    11/16/2015 - 15:00 Anthropology, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    DNA puts Neandertal relatives in Siberia for 60,000 years

    Mysterious Neandertal relatives known as Denisovans may have hung out in southern Siberia for 60,000 years or so.

    Until now, Denisovans were known only by DNA from a finger bone found in Siberia’s Denisova Cave in 2008. Susanna Sawyer of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues have now extracted DNA from two Denisovan teeth found in the...

    11/16/2015 - 15:00 Anthropology, Genetics
  • News

    Long before going to Europe, humans ventured east to Asia

    Modern humans reached southern China at least 35,000 years before setting foot in Europe, new fossil finds suggest.

    These discoveries provide the best evidence to date that Homo sapiens took its first major strides out of Africa deep in the Stone Age and headed east, staying within relatively warm regions similar to those of its East African homeland.

    Excavations in southern China’...

    10/14/2015 - 13:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Neandertal genes point to interbreeding, inbreeding

    A high-quality chunk of DNA extracted from a Neandertal woman’s roughly 50,000-year-old toe bone has sharpened scientists’ view of genetic ties among Stone Age humans and their nearest, now-extinct relatives. The Neandertal fossil comes from a Siberian cave that also yielded a DNA-bearing finger bone from the Denisovans, close genetic relatives of Neandertals.

    Neandertals contributed...

    12/18/2013 - 13:00 Molecular Evolution, Human Evolution, Anthropology
  • News

    Ancient hominid bone serves up DNA stunner

    Scientists have recovered the oldest known DNA from a member of the human evolutionary family. This find raises surprising questions about relationships among far-flung populations of ancient hominids.

    A nearly complete sample of mitochondrial DNA was extracted from a 400,000-year-old leg bone previously found in a cave in northern Spain. The DNA shows an unexpected hereditary link to...

    12/04/2013 - 13:00 Anthropology
  • News

    Ancient people and Neandertals were extreme travelers

    The Stone Age could just as easily be called the Roam Age.

    Two new studies published February 27 in the Journal of Human Evolution advance the idea that ancient people and Neandertals walked or ran far greater distances than any human groups that followed, including more recent hunter-gatherers and today’s long-distance runners. Fossils of humans and their beetle-browed...

    03/08/2013 - 15:38 Humans & Society, Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Ancient human DNA suggests minimal interbreeding

    A 40,000-year-old human skeleton previously excavated in China has yielded genetic clues to Stone Age evolution.

    Ancient DNA from cell nuclei and maternally inherited mitochondria indicates that this individual belonged to a population that eventually gave rise to many present-day Asians and Native Americans, says a team led by Qiaomei Fu and Svante Pääbo, evolutionary geneticists at...

    01/21/2013 - 15:00 Humans & Society, Genes & Cells