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.

  • Genomes of five late Neandertals provide insights into Neandertal population history
    on March 21, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Researchers have sequenced the genomes of five Neandertals that lived between 39,000 and 47,000 years ago. These late Neandertals are all more closely related to the Neandertals that contributed DNA to modern human ancestors than an older Neandertal from the Altai Mountains that was previously sequenced. Their genomes also provide evidence for a turnover in the Neandertal population towards the end of Neandertal history. […]

  • Discovery of sophisticated 115,000-year-old bone tools in China
    on March 20, 2018 at 2:09 am

    An analysis of 115,000-year-old bone tools discovered in China suggests that the toolmaking techniques mastered by prehistoric humans there were more sophisticated than previously thought. […]

  • New understanding of Kenyan paleoenvironments opens window on human evolution in the area
    on March 16, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Interest in human evolution has stimulated new geological work in the southern rift valley of Kenya. A new article presents the results of more than 15 years of field research on complex strata representing the last 500,000 years of geological history in an active rift system. […]

  • Scientists discover genomic ancestry of Stone Age North Africans from Morocco
    on March 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    An international team of researchers have sequenced DNA from individuals from Morocco dating to approximately 15,000 years ago. This is the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa ever successfully analyzed. The study shows that the individuals, dating to the Late Stone Age, had a genetic heritage that was in part similar to ancient Levantine Natufians and an uncharacterized sub-Saharan African lineage to which modern West Africans are genetically closest. […]

  • Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timeline
    on March 15, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Scientists discovered that early humans in East Africa had -- by about 320,000 years ago -- begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age, tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence has shown in eastern Africa. As earthquakes remodeled the landscape and climate fluctuated between wet and dry conditions, technological and social innovation would have helped early humans survive unpredictable conditions. […]

  • Modern humans interbred with Denisovans twice in history
    on March 15, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Modern humans co-existed and interbred not only with Neanderthals, but also with another species of archaic humans, the mysterious Denisovans. Research now describes how, while developing a new genome-analysis method for comparing whole genomes between modern human and Denisovan populations, researchers unexpectedly discovered two distinct episodes of Denisovan genetic intermixing, or admixing, between the two. This suggests a more diverse genetic history than previously thought between the Denisovans and modern humans. […]

  • Nicotine extracted from ancient dental plaque for the first time
    on February 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    A team of scientists has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from dental plaque on the teeth of ancient tobacco users. Their research provides a new method for determining who was consuming tobacco in the ancient world and could help trace the use of tobacco and other intoxicating plants further back into prehistory. […]

  • Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific
    on February 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    New genetic research reveals the complex demographic history of Vanuatu, explaining how Austronesian languages were retained throughout its history despite near-total replacement of early Austronesian-Lapita with Papuan ancestry. […]

  • Neanderthals were artistic like modern humans
    on February 22, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Scientists have found the first major evidence that Neanderthals, rather than modern humans, created the world's oldest known cave paintings -- suggesting they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own. […]

  • New light shed on prehistoric human migration in Europe
    on February 21, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    The first farmers of northern and western Europe passed through southeastern Europe with limited hunter-gatherer genetic admixture, which occurs when two or more previously isolated populations begin interbreeding. However, some groups that remained mixed extensively -- without the male-biased, hunter-gatherer admixture that prevailed later in the North and West. […]

  • Ancient DNA tells tales of humans' migrant history
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Fueled by advances in analyzing DNA from the bones of ancient humans, scientists have dramatically expanded the number of samples studied -- revealing vast and surprising migrations and genetic mixing of populations in our prehistoric past. […]

  • Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    In the last eight years, the field of ancient DNA research has expanded from just one ancient human genome to more than 1,300. The latest 625 of those genomes debut Feb. 21 in Nature, including the largest study of ancient DNA to date. […]

  • Did humans speak through cave art? Ancient drawings and language's origins
    on February 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests a professor. […]

  • Brain size of human ancestors evolved gradually over 3 million years
    on February 21, 2018 at 2:20 am

    Modern humans have brains that are more than three times larger than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. Scientists don't agree on when and how this dramatic increase took place, but new analysis of 94 hominin fossils shows that average brain size increased gradually and consistently over the past three million years. […]

  • Traces of indigenous 'Taíno' in present-day Caribbean populations
    on February 19, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    A thousand-year-old tooth has provided the first clear genetic evidence that the Taíno -- the indigenous people whom Columbus first encountered on arriving in the New World -- still have living descendants today, despite erroneous claims in some historical narratives that these people are extinct. The findings are likely to have particular resonance for people in the Caribbean and the US who claim Taíno ancestry, but have until now been unable to prove definitively that such a thing is possible. […]

  • Did humans domesticate themselves?
    on February 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Human ‘self-domestication’ is a hypothesis that states that among the driving forces of human evolution, humans selected their companions depending on who had a more pro-social behavior. Researchers have found new genetic evidence for this evolutionary process. […]

  • New insights into human evolution
    on February 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    The evolution of human biology should be considered part and parcel with the evolution of humanity itself, proposes an assistant professor of biological sciences. She explores an interdisciplinary approach to human evolution. […]

  • Neanderthals' lack of drawing ability may relate to hunting techniques
    on February 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Visual imagery used in drawing regulates arm movements in manner similar to how hunters visualize the arc of a spear. […]

  • Face of first Brit revealed: Blue eyes, dark hair and skin
    on February 8, 2018 at 1:24 am

    Researchers have revealed the face of 'Cheddar Man', Britain's oldest nearly complete skeleton at 10,000 years old, with unprecedented accuracy. The results indicate that Cheddar Man had blue eyes, dark colored curly hair and 'dark to black' skin pigmentation. […]

  • Giant viruses may play an intriguing role in evolution of life on Earth
    on February 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    A virus may have influenced the evolution of multicellular life. Biologist have found a virus family that has a similar set of genes as eukaryotes, placing giant viruses in the evolutionary journey of most plants, insects, and animals. […]

  • Solving the puzzle of multicellularity
    on February 2, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    One of the big evolutionary questions in life is how and why single cell organisms organized themselves to live in a group, thereby forming multicellular life forms. Scientists have answered at least part of this question, by decoding the genomic sequence of one of the simplest of all multicellular organisms -- the four-celled alga Tetrabaena socialis. […]

  • First study of the only original fossils conserved of 'Peking Man'
    on February 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Scientists have been studying for the first time the original fossil remains conserved of 'Peking Man.' These six teeth belonging to Homo erectus were found in the mid-twentieth century at the Middle Pleistocene archaeological site of Zhoukoudian (Beijing). […]

  • Modern humans vs. giant animals: Mega-herbivores were displaced by humans who partly took their...
    on January 30, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Scientists have studied the extinction of mega-herbivores -- plant-eating animals that weighed more than one ton -- that occurred approx. 12,000 years ago. The scientists reached the conclusion that, on the one hand, modern man was the cause of these giant terrestrial animals' extinction, and on the other hand, humans took over part of the animals' ecosystem functions. […]

  • How microbes emerged from hot springs to conquer early Earth: DNA exchange
    on January 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Many researchers assume the first life on Earth evolved in hot springs. A new study provides insights into how one type of extremophile microbe may have moved from hot springs to conquer more moderate environments across the globe. The first-ever analysis of DNA of one ammonia-oxidizing hot-spring microbe living today reveals that evolution of the necessary adaptations may have been helped by highly mobile genetic elements and DNA exchange with a variety of other organisms. […]

  • Scientists discover oldest known modern human fossil outside of Africa
    on January 25, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    A large international research team has discovered the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa. The finding suggests that modern humans left the continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. […]

  • Ancient Eurasian DNA sequencing is revealing links with modern humans
    on January 25, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Until recently, very little was known about the genetic relationship between modern humans of the Upper Paleolithic age (the period of time between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, also called the Late Stone age) and today's populations. But with direct DNA sequencing, researchers are discovering unexpected genetic connections between individuals on opposing sides of Eurasia. These suggest a complex history that may represent an early population structure that eventually led to Europeans and Asians. […]

  • Researchers pose revolutionary theory on horse evolution
    on January 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    While it is largely believed that horses simply evolved with fewer digits, researchers pose a new theory that suggests remnants of all five toes are still present within the hooves of the horse. […]

  • Modern human brain organization emerged only recently
    on January 25, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Homo sapiens fossils demonstrate a gradual evolution of the human brain towards its modern globular shape. […]

  • Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery
    on January 17, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Using 'next generation' DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous 'Two Brothers' mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers. The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men -- Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh -- dating to around 1800 BC. […]

  • Ancient Phoenician DNA from Sardinia, Lebanon reflects settlement, integration, mobility
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Ancient DNA from the Phoenician remains found in Sardinia and Lebanon could provide insight into the extent of integration with settled communities and human movement during this time period, according to a new study. The researchers looked at mitochondrial genomes, which are maternally inherited, in a search for markers of Phoenician ancestry. […]