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.

  • New archaeological site revises human habitation timeline on Tibetan plateau
    on November 29, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Human ancestors first set foot on the interior of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau around 30,000-40,000 years ago, according to new research. This new finding moves back the earliest data of habitation in the interior by 20,000 years or more. […]

  • Stone tools linked to ancient human ancestors in Arabia have surprisingly recent date
    on November 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Beginning more than 1.5 million years ago, early humans made stone handaxes in a style known as the Acheulean - the longest lasting tool-making tradition in prehistory. New research has documented an Acheulean presence in the Arabian Peninsula dating to less than 190,000 years ago, revealing that the Arabian Acheulean ended just before or at the same time as the earliest Homo sapiens dispersals into the region. […]

  • Human ancestors not to blame for ancient mammal extinctions in Africa
    on November 23, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    New research disputes a long-held view that our earliest tool-bearing ancestors contributed to the demise of large mammals in Africa over the last several million years. Instead, the researchers argue that long-term environmental change drove the extinctions, mainly in the form of grassland expansion likely caused by falling atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. […]

  • Evolution: South Africa's hominin record is a fair-weather friend
    on November 21, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    The fossil record of early hominins in South Africa is biased towards periods of drier climate, suggests a study of cave deposits. This finding suggests there are gaps in the fossil record, potentially obscuring evolutionary patterns and affecting our understanding of both the habitats and dietary behaviors of early hominins in this region. South Africa's highest concentration of early hominin fossils comes from the 'Cradle of Humankind' caves northwest of Johannesburg. […]

  • The 'Swiss Army knife of prehistoric tools' found in Asia, suggests homegrown technology
    on November 19, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    A study by an international team of researchers have determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. With the find -- and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations -- researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world. […]

  • Late Miocene ape maxilla (upper jaw) discovered in western India
    on November 14, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    An ape maxilla (upper jaw) from the Late Miocene found in the Kutch basin, in western India, significantly extends the southern range of ancient apes in the Indian Peninsula, according to a new study. […]

  • Experts find that stone tools connected communities
    on November 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Stone tools that were discovered and examined by a group of international experts showed for the first time that various communities that lived during the Middle Stone Age period were widely connected and shared ideas around tool design. […]

  • How cancer-causing papillomaviruses evolved
    on November 2, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPVs) diverged from their most recent common ancestors approximately half a million years ago, roughly coinciding with the timing of the split between archaic Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens, according to a new study. […]

  • Earliest recorded lead exposure in 250,000-year-old Neanderthal teeth
    on October 31, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Using evidence found in teeth from two Neanderthals from southeastern France, researchers report the earliest evidence of lead exposure in an extinct human-like species from 250,000 years ago. […]

  • Neanderthal ribcage reconstructed, offering new clues to ancient human anatomy
    on October 30, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Scientists have completed the first 3D virtual reconstruction of the ribcage of the most complete Neanderthal skeleton unearthed to date. Using CT scans of fossils from an approximately 60,000-year-old male skeleton, researchers were able to create a 3D model of the chest -- one that is different from the longstanding image of the barrel-chested, hunched-over 'caveman.' […]

  • Earliest hominin migrations into the Arabian Peninsula required no novel adaptations
    on October 29, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    A new study suggests that early hominin dispersals beyond Africa did not involve adaptations to environmental extremes, such as to arid and harsh deserts. The discovery of stone tools and cut-marks on fossil animal remains at the site of Ti's al Ghadah provides evidence for hominins in Saudi Arabia at least 100,000 years earlier than previously known. Stable isotope analysis indicates a dominance of grassland vegetation at the site, similar to other early hominin environments. […]

  • Drier, less predictable environment may have spurred human evolution
    on October 8, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Evidence of a variable but progressively drying climate coincides with a major shift in stone-tool-making abilities and the appearance of modern Homo sapiens. Sediment cores obtained by the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project provide the first continuous environmental context for the diverse archeological evidence recovered from nearby localities in the East African rift valley. […]

  • Viruses influenced gene sharing between Neanderthals and humans
    on October 4, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Human evolution used to be depicted as a straight line, gradually progressing from an ape-like ancestor to modern Homo sapiens. But thanks to next-generation sequencing, findings in recent years have shown that it wasn't quite so orderly. Now, a new study is reporting new details about the role of viruses in shaping evolution, in particular viral interactions between modern humans and Neanderthals. […]

  • Neanderthal healthcare practices crucial to survival
    on October 4, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Researchers investigated the skeletal remains of more than 30 individuals where minor and serious injuries were evident, but did not lead to loss of life. The samples displayed several episodes of injury and recovery, suggesting that Neanderthals must have had a well-developed system of care in order to survive. […]

  • Teeth of Homo antecessor shed light on trends in Pleistocene hominin dental evolution
    on October 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Some of the dental features characteristic of Neanderthals were already present in Early Pleistocene Homo antecessor, according to a new study. […]

  • Neanderthal-like features in 450,000-year-old fossil teeth from the Italian Peninsula
    on October 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Fossil teeth from Italy, among the oldest human remains on the Italian Peninsula, show that Neanderthal dental features had evolved by around 450,000 years ago, according to a new study. […]

  • 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. […]