Human Evolution

Human Evolution News -- ScienceDaily Findings in human evolution. Read science articles on early humans, human and primate genetics and more. Articles and photos.

  • Reconstruction of ancient chromosomes offers insight into mammalian evolution
    on June 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Researchers have gone back in time, at least virtually, computationally recreating the chromosomes of the first eutherian mammal, the long-extinct, shrewlike ancestor of all placental mammals. […]

  • Dawn of humanity: Neanderthal-Homo sapiens transition
    on June 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Archaeologists have provided a window into one of the most exciting periods in human history -- the transition between Neanderthals and modern humans. […]

  • Homo sapiens 100,000 years earlier: Ancestors' diet of game revealed
    on June 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    New fossil finds from Morocco do more than push back the origins of our species by 100,000 years. They also reveal what was on the menu for our oldest-known Homo sapiens ancestors 300,000 years ago: Plenty of gazelle. […]

  • Genetic study shakes up the elephant family tree
    on June 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago -- ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct -- is more closely related to today's African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant. Understanding elephant evolution is key to protecting present-day elephants from extinction, researchers say. […]

  • Genomics tracks migration from lost empires to modern cities
    on May 28, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    New genomic tools are enabling researchers to overturn long-held beliefs about the origins of populations. Until recently, assumptions about origins were based on where people were buried, but this does not take into account the migrations that scientists now know took place thousands of years ago. […]

  • 7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains found in the Balkans
    on May 23, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Scientists analyzing 7.2 million-year-old fossils uncovered in modern-day Greece and Bulgaria suggest a new hypothesis about the origins of humankind, placing it in the Eastern Mediterranean and not -- as customarily assumed -- in Africa, and earlier than currently accepted. The researchers conclude that Graecopithecus freybergi represents the first pre-humans to exist following the split from the last chimpanzee-human common ancestor. […]

  • 3.3-million-year-old fossil reveals origins of the human spine
    on May 23, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Analysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of years earlier than previously thought. […]

  • Tooth truth: Human teeth tell the story of humanity through our fragile relationship with the sun
    on May 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Researchers have developed a new method to read imperfections in teeth caused by a lack of sunlight, creating a powerful tool to trace events ranging from human evolution and migration out of Africa to the silent damage of vitamin D deficiency that continues to affect 1 billion worldwide. […]

  • Grassy beginning for earliest Homo
    on May 15, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Following the discovery of the Ledi-Geraru jaw, an environmental study of the eastern African Plio-Pleistocene was conducted to investigate the long-standing hypotheses that the transition from Australopithecus to Homo was linked to the spread of more open and arid environments. […]

  • South African cave yields yet more fossils of a newfound relative
    on May 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Probing deeper into the South African cave system known as Rising Star, which last year yielded the largest cache of hominin fossils known to science, an international team of researchers has discovered another chamber with more remains of a newfound human relative, Homo naledi. The discovery of the new fossils representing the remains of at least 3 juvenile and adult specimens includes a 'wonderfully complete skull,' says an anthropologist. […]

  • Homo naledi's surprisingly young age opens up more questions on where we come from
    on May 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Scientists today announced that the Rising Star Cave system has revealed yet more important discoveries, only a year and a half after it was announced that the richest fossil hominin site in Africa had been discovered, and that it contained a new hominin species named Homo naledi by the scientists who described it. […]

  • Primitive hominid lived alongside modern humans
    on May 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Scientists have discovered that primitive hominids lived in Africa at the same time as humans -- the first time this has been established. […]

  • 'Humanlike' ways of thinking evolved 1.8 million years ago
    on May 8, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    By using highly advanced brain imaging technology to observe modern humans crafting ancient tools, a neuroarchaeologist has found evidence that human-like ways of thinking may have emerged as early as 1.8 million years ago. […]

  • First clues about the social lives of extinct human relatives
    on May 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    A new study of the bony head-crests of male gorillas could provide some of the first clues about the social structures of our extinct human relatives, including how they chose their sexual partners. […]

  • Bonobos may be better representation of last common ancestor with humans than chimps
    on April 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    A new study examining the muscular system of bonobos provides firsthand evidence that the rare great ape species may be more closely linked, anatomically, to human ancestors than common chimpanzees. […]

  • DNA from extinct humans discovered in cave sediments
    on April 27, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Researchers have developed a new method to retrieve hominin DNA from cave sediments -- even in the absence of skeletal remains. […]

  • Origins of Indonesian Hobbits finally revealed
    on April 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    The most comprehensive study on the bones of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, has found that they most likely evolved from an ancestor in Africa and not from Homo erectus as has been widely believed. […]

  • Genetic evidence points to nocturnal early mammals
    on April 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    New genetic evidence suggesting that early mammals had good night-time vision adds to fossil and behavioral studies indicating that early mammals were nocturnal. […]

  • 10,000 years of genetic continuity in northwest North America, study reveals
    on April 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    A study of the DNA in ancient skeletal remains adds to the evidence that indigenous groups living today in southern Alaska and the western coast of British Columbia are descendants of the first humans to make their home in northwest North America more than 10,000 years ago. […]

  • Prehistoric art and ornaments from Indonesian 'Ice Age'
    on April 3, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    A joint Indonesian-Australian team has unearthed a rare collection of prehistoric art and 'jewellery' objects from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, dating in some instances to as early as 30,000 years ago. […]

  • Human skull evolved along with two-legged walking, study confirms
    on March 17, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    The evolution of bipedalism in fossil humans can be detected using a key feature of the skull -- a claim that was previously contested but now has been further validated by researchers. […]

  • 100,000-year-old human skulls from east Asia reveal complex mix of trends in time, space
    on March 2, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Two partial archaic human skulls, from the Lingjing site, Xuchang, central China, provide a new window into the biology and populations patterns of the immediate predecessors of modern humans in eastern Eurasia. […]

  • New evidence on the diet of the 'Homo antecessor' from Atapuerca
    on February 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    The Homo antecessor, a hominin species that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula around 800,000 years ago, would have a mechanically more demanding diet than other hominin species in Europe and the African continent. This unique pattern, which would be characterized by the consumption of hard and abrasive foods, may be explained by the differences in food processing in a very demanding environment with fluctuations in climate and food resources, according to a study. […]

  • Ancient humans arrived in South America in multiple waves
    on February 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Paleoamericans share a last common ancestor with modern native South Americans outside, rather than inside, the Americas and new findings underscore the importance of looking at both genetic and morphological evidence, each revealing different aspects of the human story, to help unravel our species' history. […]

  • Europeans brought new strains of ulcer-causing bacterium to pre-Columbian Americas
    on February 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    A genomic study of a harmful stomach bacterium finds that foreign strains intermingled with and replaced local strains after the arrival of Europeans and African slaves across the Americas. […]

  • Neanderthal DNA contributes to human gene expression
    on February 23, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    The last Neanderthal died 40,000 years ago, but much of their genome lives on, in bits and pieces, through modern humans. The impact of Neanderthals' genetic contribution has been uncertain. Researchers now report evidence that Neanderthal DNA sequences still influence how genes are turned on or off in modern humans. Neanderthal genes' effects on gene expression likely contribute to traits such as height and susceptibility to schizophrenia or lupus, the researchers found. […]

  • Giving weight to Darwin's theory of 'living fossils'
    on February 22, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Scientists studying the 'living fossil' Sphenodon -- or tuatara -- have identified a new way to measure the evolutionary rate of these enigmatic creatures, giving credence to Darwin's theory of 'living fossils.' […]

  • Genetic data show mainly men migrated from the Pontic steppe to Europe 5,000 years ago
    on February 21, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    A new study, looking at the sex-specifically inherited X chromosome of prehistoric human remains, shows that hardly any women took part in the extensive migration from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe approximately 5,000 years ago. The great migration that brought farming practices to Europe 4,000 years earlier, on the other hand, consisted of both women and men. The difference in sex bias suggests that different social and cultural processes drove the two migrations. […]

  • Chimpanzee feet allow scientists a new grasp on human foot evolution
    on February 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    An investigation into the evolution of human walking by looking at how chimpanzees walk on two legs is the subject of a new research paper. […]

  • Discovery adds rock collecting to Neanderthal's repertoire
    on January 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Researchers have discovered a brownish piece of split limestone in a site in Croatia that suggests Neanderthals 130,000 years ago collected the rock that stands out among all other items in the cave. […]