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.

  • Arrival of modern humans in Southeast Asia questioned
    on August 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Humans may have exited out of Africa and arrived in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought, a new study suggests. Findings also suggest humans could have potentially made the crossing to Australia even earlier than the accepted 60,000 to 65,000 years ago. […]

  • Human bones may have been engraved as part of a cannibalistic ritual
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Human bones may have been engraved as part of a cannibalistic ritual during the Paleolithic period, according to a new study. […]

  • New look at archaic DNA rewrites human evolution story
    on August 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    A new method for analyzing DNA sequence data has been developed to reconstruct early history of archaic human populations, revealing an evolutionary story that contradicts conventional wisdom about modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans. They found that Neanderthal-Denisovan lineage nearly went extinct after separating from modern humans. Just 300 generations later, Neanderthals and Denisovans diverged around 744,000 years ago. The global Neanderthal population grew to tens of thousands of individuals living in fragmented, isolated populations. […]

  • Origin of human genus may have occurred by chance
    on August 4, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    An often cited claim that humans, who are smarter and more technologically advanced than their ancestors, originated in response to climate change is challenged in a new report. […]

  • On the early human's menu: Mammoth and plenty of raw vegetables
    on August 4, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Scientists have studied the diet of anatomically modern humans, and are able to refute the theory that the diet of early representatives of Homo sapiens was more flexible than that of Neanderthals. Just like the Neanderthals, our ancestors had mainly mammoth and plants on their plates. The researchers were unable to document fish as part of their diet. Therefore, the international team assumes that the displacement of the Neanderthals was the result of direct competition. […]

  • Genome sequencing shows spiders, scorpions share ancestor
    on August 1, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Researchers have discovered a whole genome duplication during the evolution of spiders and scorpions. […]

  • Identifying major transitions in human cultural evolution
    on July 26, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Over the past 10,000 years human cultures have expanded from small groups of hunter-gatherers to colossal and complexly organized societies. The secrets to how and why this major cultural transition occurred have largely remained elusive. A new article outlines how advances in computational methods and large cross-cultural datasets are beginning to reveal the broad patterns and processes underlying our cultural histories. […]

  • Cultural flexibility was key for early humans to survive extreme dry periods in southern Africa
    on July 26, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    The early human techno-tradition, known as Howiesons Poort, associated with Homo sapiens who lived in southern Africa about 66,000 to 59,000 years ago indicates that during this period of pronounced aridification they developed cultural innovations that allowed them to significantly enlarge the range of environments they occupied. […]

  • 'Residual echo' of ancient humans in scans may hold clues to mental disorders
    on July 26, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Researchers have produced the first direct evidence that parts of our brains implicated in mental disorders may be shaped by a 'residual echo' from Neanderthal DNA in our genomes. Evidence from MRI scans suggests that such ancient genetic variation may affect the way our brains work today -- and may hold clues to understanding deficits seen in schizophrenia and autism-related disorders. […]

  • In saliva, clues to a 'ghost' species of ancient human
    on July 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    In saliva, scientists have found hints that a 'ghost' species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in sub-Saharan Africa today. The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual. […]

  • Artifacts suggest humans arrived in Australia earlier than thought
    on July 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Archeologists have found and dated artifacts in northern Australia that indicate humans arrived there about 65,000 years ago -- more than 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. […]

  • DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa
    on July 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Ancient mitochondrial DNA from the femur of an archaic European hominin is helping resolve the complicated relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals. The genetic data provides a timeline for a proposed migration out of Africa that occurred after the ancestors of Neanderthals arrived in Europe by a lineage more closely related to modern humans. […]

  • Analysis of Neanderthal teeth grooves uncovers evidence of prehistoric dentistry
    on June 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    A discovery of multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations by a Neanderthal of 130,000 years ago are evidence of a kind of prehistoric dentistry, according to a new study researcher. […]

  • 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. […]