Early Humans

Early Humans News -- ScienceDaily Read about early humans in this anthropology news section. Early human development, early human migration, culture and more. Photos.

  • The locomotion of hominins in the Pleistocene was just as efficient as that of current humans
    on December 15, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Researchers have analyzed the influence of body proportions on the cost of locomotion by means of an experimental energetic study with 46 subjects of both sexes, whose results indicate that the walk of Pleistocene hominins was no less efficient energetically than that of current humans. […]

  • African genetic diversity to unlock disease susceptibility
    on December 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Scientists have sequenced the genetic makeup of 24 South African individuals of different ethnolinguistic origins. The first government-funded human genomics research study performed on African soil, aimed at unlocking the unique genetic character of southern African populations, has revealed a high level of genetic diversity. […]

  • Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia
    on December 7, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Most people are now familiar with the traditional 'Out of Africa' model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, are revising this story. Recent discoveries show that humans left Africa multiple times prior to 60,000 years ago, and that they interbred with other hominins in many locations across Eurasia. […]

  • Litte Foot takes a bow
    on December 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Little Foot is the only known virtually complete Australopithecus fossil discovered to date. It is by far the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor older than 1.5 million years ever found. It is also the oldest fossil hominid in southern Africa, dating back 3.67 million years. For the first time ever, the completely cleaned and reconstructed skeleton was viewed by the national and international media. […]

  • New approach measures early human butchering practices
    on December 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Researchers have found that statistical methods and 3-D imaging can be used to accurately measure animal bone cut marks made by prehistoric human butchery, and to help answer pressing questions about human evolution. […]

  • Genes identified that distinguish mammals from other animals
    on December 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    What distinguishes Homo sapiens from other living beings? And the group of mammals? What makes them different? Researchers analysed the already-sequenced genomes of 68 mammals and identified 6,000 families of genes that are only found in these animals. These are genes with no homologues outside mammals, in other words, they are not present in other hairless species. In humans, it is estimated that they represent 2.5% of the genes that code for proteins. […]

  • Growing teeth and a backbone: Studies trace early origins of skeletal tissues
    on November 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Two new studies on the evolutionary origin of teeth and of vertebra further illuminate the human connection to marine organisms that goes back millions of years. Both studies were conducted in the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea). […]

  • Human evolution was uneven and punctuated
    on November 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Neanderthals survived at least 3,000 years longer than we thought in Southern Iberia -- what is now Spain -- long after they had died out everywhere else, according to new research. […]

  • Chimp study reveals how brain's structure shaped our evolution
    on November 15, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Chimpanzee brains may be more different from those of humans than was previously thought, according to new research that sheds light on our evolution. […]

  • Height and weight evolved at different speeds in the bodies of our ancestors
    on November 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    The largest study to date of body sizes over millions of years finds a 'pulse and stasis' pattern to hominin evolution, with surges of growth in stature and bulk occurring at different times. At one stage, our ancestors got taller around a million years before body mass caught up. […]

  • How far did you fall from the tree?
    on November 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Mutations generate genetic variation, and are a major driving force of evolution. Therefore, examining mutation rates and modes are essential to better understand the genetic basis for physiology and evolution. […]

  • The secret lives of ancient land plants
    on November 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Researchers have unraveled the genome of the common liverwort -- Marchantia polymorpha -- gaining new insight into how the modest land plants evolved. […]

  • Early humans and dawn of human information sharing
    on November 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Researchers are challenging a widely accepted notion, first advanced by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, that a 2-million-year-old rock represents the dawn of human ancestors sharing information with each other. […]

  • 6,000-year-old skull could be from the world's earliest known tsunami victim
    on October 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Scientists have discovered what they believe is the skull of the earliest known tsunami victim, a person who lived 6,000 years ago in Papua New Guinea. The skull itself was found almost a hundred years ago, but recent analysis of the sediments found with the skull reveals that they bear distinctive hallmarks of tsunami activity. […]

  • Could squirrel fur trade have contributed to England's medieval leprosy outbreak?
    on October 25, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Genetic analysis of a pre-Norman skull unearthed in a garden in Suffolk has added to a growing body of evidence that East Anglia may have been the epicentre of an epidemic of leprosy that spread through medieval England. The authors of the new study suggest that an explanation for the prevalence of leprosy in medieval East Anglia may possibly be found in the sustained Scandinavian trade in squirrel fur -- an animal known to carry the disease. […]

  • How Neanderthals influenced human genetics at the crossroads of Asia and Europe
    on October 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    A new study explores the genetic legacy of ancient trysts between Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern humans, with a focus on Western Asia, the region where the first relations may have occurred. […]

  • Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past
    on October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that the saber-toothed cats shared a common ancestor with all living cat-like species about 20 million years ago. The two saber-toothed cat species under study diverged from each other about 18 million years ago. […]

  • Newfoundland populated multiple times by distinct groups, DNA evidence shows
    on October 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Researchers who've examined genetic evidence from mitochondrial DNA provide evidence that two groups of indigenous people in Canada, known as the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk, brought different matrilines to the island, adding further support to the notion that those groups had distinct population histories. […]

  • Last common ancestor of humans and apes weighed about five kilograms
    on October 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    New research suggests that the last common ancestor of apes -- including great apes and humans -- was much smaller than previously thought, about the size of a gibbon. The findings, published today in the journal Nature Communications, are fundamental to understanding the evolution of the human family tree. […]

  • Evolutionary stepping stone to beet-red beets discovered
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Scientists describe an ancient loosening up of a key biochemical pathway that set the stage for the ancestors of beets to develop their characteristic red pigment. […]

  • Prehistoric humans are likely to have formed mating networks to avoid inbreeding
    on October 5, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Early humans seem to have recognized the dangers of inbreeding at least 34,000 years ago, and developed surprisingly sophisticated social and mating networks to avoid it, new research has found. […]

  • Meet the hominin species that gave us genital herpes
    on October 2, 2017 at 2:53 am

    New research uses innovative data modeling to predict which species acted as an intermediary between our ancestors and those of chimpanzees to carry HSV2 -- the genital herpes virus -- across the species barrier. […]

  • New clues from brain structures of mantis shrimp
    on September 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    New research sheds new light on the evolution of some of the earliest brain structures, and stirs up new, intriguing questions about the origins of centers that support learning and memory. […]

  • Modern humans emerged more than 300,000 years ago new study suggests
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    A genomic analysis of ancient human remains from KwaZulu-Natal revealed that southern Africa has an important role to play in writing the history of humankind. […]

  • Ancient DNA data fills in thousands of years of human prehistory in Africa
    on September 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    By sequencing the ancient genomes of 15 individuals from different parts of Africa, researchers reporting in the journal Cell on Sept. 21 have reconstructed the prehistory of humans on the continent, going back thousands of years. The findings shed light on which human populations lived in eastern and southern Africa between 8,000 and 1,000 years ago, the researchers say. […]

  • Reconstructing how Neanderthals grew, based on an El Sidrón child
    on September 21, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    How did Neanderthals grow? Does modern man develop in the same way as Homo neanderthalensis did? How does the size of the brain affect the development of the body? Researchers have studied the fossil remains of a Neanderthal child's skeleton in order to establish whether there are differences between the growth of Neanderthals and that of sapiens. […]

  • Dino-killing asteroid's impact on bird evolution
    on September 21, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Human activities could change the pace of evolution, similar to what occurred 66 million years ago when a giant asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, leaving modern birds as their only descendants. […]

  • 3-D analysis of dog fossils sheds light on domestication debate
    on September 20, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    In an effort to settle the debate about the origin of dog domestication, a technique that uses 3-D scans of fossils is helping researchers determine the difference between dogs and wolves. […]

  • Humans no longer have ancient defense mechanism against viruses
    on September 15, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Insects and plants have an important ancient defense mechanism that helps them to fight viruses. This is encoded in their DNA. Scientists have long assumed that vertebrates -- including humans -- also had this same mechanism. But researchers have found that vertebrates lost this particular asset in the course of their evolution. […]

  • When ancient fossil DNA isn't available, ancient glycans may help trace human evolution
    on September 11, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new kind of glycan (sugar chain) that survives even in a 4-million-year-old animal fossil from Kenya, under conditions where ancient DNA does not. While ancient hominin fossils are not yet available for glycan analysis, this proof-of-concept study sets the stage for unprecedented explorations of human origins and diet. […]