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.

  • 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. […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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. […]

  • Fly away home? Ice age may have clipped bird migration
    on September 20, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    The onset of the last ice age may have forced some bird species to abandon their northerly migrations for thousands of years, says new research led by an ornithologist. The study challenges a long-held presumption that birds merely shortened their migratory flights when glaciers advanced south to cover much of North America and northern Europe about 21,000 years ago. […]

  • 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. […]

  • Fossil footprints challenge established theories of human evolution
    on August 31, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa -- with ape-like feet. […]

  • Inherited herpesvirus study finds links to ancient humans
    on August 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Research into inherited human herpesvirus 6 identifies origins in a small number of people thousands of years ago and highlights the potential to 'reactivate.' […]

  • You and some 'cavemen' get a genetic checkup
    on August 23, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Evolution has weeded out genetic variants associated with diseases for millennia and propagated variants that protect against ailments, a comparative genetics study shows. But in the last 500 to 1,000 years that trend appears to have changed. Is the apparent reversal in genetic health underpinnings real? Or an odd coincidence in the early data set of this very new research field? […]

  • 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. […]