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.

  • Discovery of the earliest drawing
    on September 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    The oldest known abstract drawing has been found in South Africa's Blombos Cave -- on the face of a flake of siliceous rock retrieved from archaeological strata dated to 73,000 years before the present. The work is at least 30,000 years older than the earliest previously known abstract and figurative drawings. […]

  • Neanderthal mother, Denisovan father! Hybrid fossil
    on August 22, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Up until 40,000 years ago, at least two groups of hominins inhabited Eurasia -- Neanderthals in the west and Denisovans in the east. Now, researchers have sequenced the genome of an ancient hominin individual from Siberia, and discovered that she had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. […]

  • Laziness helped lead to extinction of Homo erectus
    on August 10, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    New archaeological research has found that Homo erectus, an extinct species of primitive humans, went extinct in part because they were 'lazy'. […]

  • Modern Flores Island pygmies show no genetic link to extinct 'hobbits'
    on August 2, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    A modern pygmy population living on an Indonesian island near a cave with Homo floresiensis ('hobbit') fossils appears to have evolved short stature independently. H. floresiensis was significantly smaller than the modern Flores pygmies, standing about 3.5 feet tall (shorter than the average kindergartener), while modern pygmies average about 15 inches taller. Floresiensis also differed from H. sapiens and H. erectus in their wrists and feet. […]

  • Homo sapiens developed a new ecological niche that separated it from other hominins
    on July 30, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    A new study argues that the greatest defining feature of our species is not 'symbolism' or dramatic cognitive change but rather its unique ecological position as a global 'generalist specialist'. […]

  • Evidence of Salmonella Paratyphi C found for the first time in medieval northern Europe
    on July 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Genome research suggests that enteric fever, a potentially lethal disease more commonly found in hot countries, was present in medieval Europe. Salmonella Paratyphi C causes enteric fever, a life-threatening infection, and has been detected in a 800 year old human skeleton discovered in Trondheim, Norway. […]

  • Humans did not stem from a single ancestral population in one region of Africa
    on July 11, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    A scientific consortium has found that human ancestors were scattered across Africa, and largely kept apart by a combination of diverse habitats and shifting environmental boundaries, such as forests and deserts. Millennia of separation gave rise to a staggering diversity of human forms, whose mixing ultimately shaped our species. […]

  • Eating bone marrow played a key role in the evolution of the human hand
    on July 11, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    The strength required to access the high calorie content of bone marrow may have played a key role in the evolution of the human hand and explain why primates hands are not like ours, research has found. […]

  • First dogs in the Americas arrived from Siberia, disappeared after European contact
    on July 5, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    A new study offers an enhanced view of the origins and ultimate fate of the first dogs in the Americas. The dogs were not domesticated North American wolves, as some have speculated, but likely followed their human counterparts over a land bridge that once connected North Asia and the Americas, the study found. […]

  • Our human ancestors walked on two feet but their children still had a backup plan
    on July 4, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    More than 3 million years ago, our ancient human ancestors, including their toddler-aged children, were standing on two feet and walking upright, according to a new study. […]

  • Cranium of a four-million-year-old hominin shows similarities to that of modern humans
    on June 25, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    A cranium of a four-million-year-old fossil, that, in 1995 was described as the oldest evidence of human evolution in South Africa, has shown similarities to that of our own, when scanned through high resolution imaging systems. […]

  • Prehistoric teeth dating back two million years reveal details on Africa's paleoclimate
    on May 29, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    New research shows that the climate of the interior of southern Africa almost two million years ago was much wetter than the modern environment. This first extensive paleoenvironmental sequence for the interior of southern Africa suggests that human ancestors were living in environments other than open, arid grasslands known from East African research of the same time period. […]

  • How humans and apes are different, and why it matters
    on May 24, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Why it's important to study the deep similarities, and the critical differences, between humans and the apes to seek an anthropological and evolutionary explanation. […]

  • Where hominid brains are concerned, size doesn't matter
    on May 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Researchers pieced together traces of Homo naledi's brain shape from an extraordinary collection of skull fragments and partial crania, from at least five adult individuals. One of these bore a very clear imprint of the convolutions on the surface of the brain's left frontal lobe. […]

  • Stone Age hepatitis B virus decoded
    on May 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Scientists have successfully reconstructed genomes from Stone Age and Medieval European strains of the hepatitis B virus. This unprecedented recovery of ancient virus DNA indicates that hepatitis B was circulating in Europe at least 7,000 years ago. […]

  • 78,000-year cave record from East Africa shows early cultural innovations
    on May 9, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Scientists have excavated the Panga ya Saidi cave site, in the coastal hinterland of Kenya. The excavations and analyses represent the longest archaeological sequence in East Africa over the last 78,000 years. The evidence for gradual cultural changes does not support dramatic revolutions, and despite being close to the coast, there is no evidence that humans were using coastal 'super-highways' for migrations. […]

  • Can chimpanzee vocalizations reveal the origins of human language?
    on May 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Fossil primates provide important clues about human evolution, but the sounds they made and the soft tissue involved in making those sounds weren't preserved. So chimpanzees can provide important points of comparison for inferring the sorts of sounds our early ancestors may have made. […]

  • Respect Indigenous ancestors: Scholars urge community engagement before research
    on April 26, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    A new article provides guidance for those intending to study ancient human remains in the Americas. The paper, written by Indigenous scholars and scientists and those who collaborate with Indigenous communities on studies of ancient DNA, offers a clear directive to others contemplating such research: First, do no harm. […]

  • Human-like walking mechanics evolved before the genus Homo
    on April 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    A close examination of 3.6-million-year-old hominin footprints discovered in Laetoli, Tanzania, suggests our ancestors evolved the hallmark trait of extended leg, human-like bipedalism substantially earlier than previously thought. […]

  • Unprecedented wave of large-mammal extinctions linked to prehistoric humans
    on April 19, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and other recent human relatives may have begun hunting large mammal species down to size -- by way of extinction -- at least 90,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a new study. The magnitude and scale of the extinction wave surpassed any other recorded during the last 66 million years, according to the study. […]

  • Some human cancers are 'evolutionary accidents'
    on April 17, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    New research has found some type of cancers unique to humans may be a result of evolutionary accidents. […]

  • Surviving climate change, then and now
    on April 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    An archeological dig in Italy reveals that prehistoric humans made it through a major natural disaster by cooperating with each other -- and that's a lesson for our future. […]

  • The secret life of teeth: Evo-devo models of tooth development
    on April 11, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    A simple, straightforward developmental rule -- the 'patterning cascade' -- is powerful enough to explain the massive variability in molar crown configuration over the past 15 million years of ape and human evolution. […]

  • First human migration out of Africa more geographically widespread than previously thought
    on April 9, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Scientists have discovered a fossilized finger bone of an early modern human in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia, dating to approximately 90,000 years ago. The discovery is the oldest directly dated Homo sapiens fossil outside of Africa and the Levant and indicates that early dispersals into Eurasia were more expansive than previously thought. […]

  • Large carnivores were scarce but very diverse in Europe more than one million years ago
    on April 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    The fauna of large carnivoran in Europe during the Early and Middle Pleistocene was extremely diverse, but the population densities of these species had to be very low, especially in comparison with the population densities of their current analogues in Africa. […]

  • Inner ear provides clues to human dispersal
    on April 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Slight differences can be found in the inner ear of different populations of modern humans. Paleoanthropologists have found that these differences can provide information about the global dispersal of humans from Africa. […]

  • 13,000-year-old human footprints found off Canada's Pacific coast
    on March 28, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Human footprints found off Canada's Pacific coast may be 13,000 years old, according to a new study. The finding adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the hypothesis that humans used a coastal route to move from Asia to North America during the last ice age. […]

  • Secrets of famous Neanderthal skeleton La Ferrassie 1 revealed
    on March 27, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Anthropologists have provided new insights on one of the most famous Neanderthal skeletons, discovered over 100 years ago: La Ferrassie 1. […]

  • 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. […]