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  • News

    Oldest known Homo sapiens fossils come from northern Africa, studies claim

    In a surprising and controversial geographic twist, the earliest known remains of the human species, Homo sapiens, have turned up in northwestern Africa, researchers claim.

    Fossils attributed to H. sapiens and stone tools unearthed at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, date to approximately 300,000 years ago, an international team of researchers report June 7 in two papers in Nature. Until now, the...

    06/07/2017 - 13:00 Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Tool sharpens focus on Stone Age networking in the Middle East

    A stone tool found in Syria more than 80 years ago has sharpened scientists’ understanding of Stone Age networking.

    Small enough to fit in the palm of an adult’s hand, this chipped piece of obsidian dates to between 41,000 and 32,000 years ago, say archaeologists Ellery Frahm and Thomas Hauck. It was fashioned out of volcanic rock from outcrops in central Turkey, a minimum of 700...

    05/23/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    European fossils may belong to earliest known hominid

    Europe, not Africa, might have spawned the first members of the human evolutionary family around 7 million years ago, researchers say.

    Tooth characteristics of a chimpanzee-sized primate that once lived in southeastern Europe suggest that the primate, known as Graecopithecus, may have been a hominid, not an ape as many researchers assume. One tooth in particular, the second lower...

    05/22/2017 - 14:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Feature

    Jumping genes play a big role in what makes us human

    Face-to-face, a human and a chimpanzee are easy to tell apart. The two species share a common primate ancestor, but over millions of years, their characteristics have morphed into easily distinguishable features. Chimps developed prominent brow ridges, flat noses, low-crowned heads and protruding muzzles. Human noses jut from relatively flat faces under high-domed crowns.

    Those facial...

    05/16/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Human Evolution, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Homo naledi may have lived at around same time as early humans

    Fossils of a humanlike species with some puzzlingly ancient skeletal quirks are surprisingly young, its discoverers say. It now appears that this hominid, dubbed Homo naledi, inhabited southern Africa close to 300,000 years ago, around the dawn of Homo sapiens.

    H. naledi achieved worldwide acclaim in 2015 as a possibly pivotal player in the evolution of the human genus, Homo. Retrieved...

    05/09/2017 - 04:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News

    Homo naledi’s brain shows humanlike features

    NEW ORLEANS — A relatively small brain can pack a big evolutionary punch. Consider Homo naledi, a famously puzzling fossil species in the human genus. Despite having a brain only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s, H. naledi displays key humanlike neural features, two anthropologists reported April 20 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

    Those...

    04/25/2017 - 12:08 Human Evolution, Anthropology, Language
  • News

    Stone Age hunter-gatherers tackled their cavities with a sharp tool and tar

    Stone Age dentists didn’t drill and fill cavities. They scraped and coated them.

    Two teeth from a person who lived in what’s now northern Italy between 13,000 and 12,740 years ago bear signs of someone having scoured and removed infected soft, inner tissue. The treated area was then covered with bitumen, a sticky, tarlike substance Stone Age folks used to attach stone tools to handles (...

    04/07/2017 - 11:11 Archaeology, Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Cow carved in stone paints picture of Europe’s early human culture

    This stone engraving of an aurochs, or wild cow, found in a French rock-shelter in 2012, provides glimpses of an ancient human culture’s spread across Central and Western Europe, researchers say.

    Rows of dots partly cover the aurochs. A circular depression cut into the center of the animal’s body may have caused the limestone to split in two, says Stone Age art specialist Raphaëlle...

    02/03/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Monsoon deluges turned ancient Sahara green

    Thousands of years ago, it didn’t just rain on the Sahara Desert. It poured.

    Grasslands, trees, lakes and rivers once covered North Africa’s now arid, unforgiving landscape. From about 11,000 to 5,000 years ago, much higher rainfall rates than previously estimated created that “Green Sahara,” say geologist Jessica Tierney of the University of Arizona in Tucson and her colleagues....

    01/18/2017 - 16:37 Climate, Human Evolution
  • News

    Monkeys have vocal tools, but not brains, to talk like humans

    Macaque monkeys would be quite talkative if only their brains cooperated with their airways, a new study suggests.

    These primates possess the vocal equipment to speak much as people do, say evolutionary biologist and cognitive scientist W. Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna and colleagues. But macaques lack brains capable of transforming that vocal potential into human talk. As a...

    12/19/2016 - 07:00 Anthropology, Language, Human Evolution