early humans

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Bones Found in 2nd Chamber of Cave Spur Huge Questions

More bones unearthed from H. naledi species, upending evolution beliefs

(Newser) - In 2015 it was a discovery described as "unlike anything we have seen." Now even more so. A second chamber in a South African cave system has produced bones belonging to Homo naledi, a species scientists now believe may have existed around the same time as Homo sapiens... More »

Mastodon Bones Spark Major Claim—and Major Doubt

Did humans live in California 130K years ago?

(Newser) - Exactly how long have humans been in the Americas? A wealth of evidence suggests they arrived as early as 20,000 years ago, while the earliest record of modern humans in the world dates back 200,000 years to Africa (and they probably didn't leave until around 50,000... More »

How a Bit of Cave Dirt Just Changed Archaeology

In first, scientists pull ancient human DNA from dirt

(Newser) - The study of humans has long relied on bones to reveal human DNA. The problem is that those bones are hard to come by. As the Atlantic points out, scientists have only a finger bone and two teeth belonging to the Denisovans, cousins of Neanderthals. It's no wonder then... More »

Sorry, Cannibals: Humans Just Aren't That Nutritious

Try a boar instead

(Newser) - A human heart might seem like a hefty chunk of meat, but its 650 calories would hardly fill up a hungry cannibal living in Paleolithic times. It's a finding that is forcing researchers to rethink why cannibalism was practiced in that period if not as a last resort to... More »

Ancients' Skulls Pose a Puzzle for Our Family Tree

They're not quite Neanderthal and not quite Homo sapien

(Newser) - First, back in 2007, they found tools. Then, a bone. Now archaeologists who've continued to return to the same dig in Lingjing, China, report in the journal Science that they've unearthed more than 40 separate skull fragments to pull together two partial skulls that date back 100,000... More »

Meet the World's Oldest Known Righty

Telltale scratches on teeth go back nearly 2M years

(Newser) - A lot has changed over 1.8 million years, but perhaps not the tendency of hominids to favor their right hand. An upper jawbone belonging to a human relative who lived in what is now Tanzania almost 2 million years ago has been discovered with scratches on its still-intact teeth,... More »

Scientists Find Earth's Oldest Civilization

Indigenous Australians, Papuans can trace DNA back 50K years

(Newser) - New research suggests that the title of world's oldest civilization goes to the indigenous populations of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Scientists say the DNA of these people can be traced back to an original wave of settlers from Africa more than 50,000 years ago, reports the Guardian ... More »

We All Come From Single Wave of African Migrants

Humans that populated the world left Africa 50K to 80K years ago

(Newser) - While all modern humans originated in Africa around 200,000 years ago, scientists have long debated on exactly when and how we spread across the globe. A trio of studies published this week posits that, with one tiny exception, all people living today are descended from the same wave of... More »

This Is the Oldest Evidence of Cancer in Humans

It comes from 1.7M-year-old foot bone

(Newser) - The oldest evidence of cancer in human relatives has long been a 120,000-year-old Neanderthal. A single foot bone changes that, by a lot. Belonging to an early hominin who lived 1.7 million years ago in South Africa, it holds the oldest example of a malignant tumor in a... More »

Scientists: We've Found a New Human Relative

Experts say Homo naledi may have buried its dead, but others aren't convinced

(Newser) - Scientists say it's a find "unlike anything that we have seen." Deep within a South African cave, experts claim to have uncovered the remains of a previously unknown human ancestor that stood about 5 feet tall, weighed 100 pounds, used tools, and may have buried its dead—... More »

Chimps Are More Advanced Than Us in One Specific Way

Their hands have evolved more dramatically than humans'

(Newser) - Consider yourself more advanced than a chimpanzee? When it comes to your hands, at least, you might be wrong. American and Spanish researchers who studied the hands of chimps, orangutans, humans, as well as those of human ancestors and ancient apes, say a chimp’s hands have evolved significantly since... More »

Scientists Find Evidence of 'History's First Murder'

Victim was bashed in head, chucked down cave shaft

(Newser) - An examination of ancient remains from a cave in Spain turned into an episode of CSI: Middle Pleistocene when scientists found evidence of what they say is the first known murder. The skull found in the "Pit of Bones" site belongs to a young adult who lived around 430,... More »

Early Humans Ate Animals We Call Pets

Human bite marks found on small-carnivore remains

(Newser) - Europeans have dined on dogs, foxes, badgers, and wild cats, a new study says—although admittedly it's been a while. Researchers base this on ancient small-carnivore remains discovered in a Spanish cave, the Telegraph reports. Dating back 3,100 to 7,200 years, the remains show signs of human... More »

Turkey's Oldest Tool Alters European History

Study: Early humans moved from Asia to Europe 1.2M years ago

(Newser) - An early human dropped a stone tool on a floodplain in what is now Turkey about 1.2 million years ago. Today, its discovery is helping scientists pinpoint when humans began their move from Asia to Europe. The quartzite flake, described in Quaternary Science Reviews , is "the earliest securely-dated... More »

Behind Our Delicate Bones: Modern Man's Lower Activity

Switch to farming 12K years ago resulted in weaker bones

(Newser) - Our fragile bones may be a result of a long history of sedentary lifestyles. This goes back well beyond the advent of the couch potato: The bones of modern humans aren't as tough as those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and researchers are linking it to farming. "Modern human... More »

Ancient Zigzag Means First Artist Wasn't Exactly Human

Scratches on shell pre-date Homo sapiens

(Newser) - A human ancestor carved a zigzag onto the shell of a mussel some 430,000 years ago. Now that shell, recovered from a riverbank in Indonesia in 1891, could alter our understanding of what it means to be human. Artistic creativity has long been considered unique to Homo sapiens: Before... More »

Cave Paintings Change Story of Ancient Art

Indonesian art goes back at least 39K years

(Newser) - A closer look at cave paintings in Indonesia may redraw the map of prehistoric art and show us that the world's first artists were in Africa, National Geographic reports. An article in Nature says that cave paintings on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, once considered up to 12,000... More »

Reason Mammoths Went Extinct? Blame Humans

Massive die-off correlates with us, not so much climate change

(Newser) - What caused the extinctions of the wooly mammoth, giant sloth, mastodon, and other beasts? A new study makes a strong case that the answer is us. Scientists have long argued over the cause of the "Quaternary extinction"—which took out vast numbers of large mammals about 12,000... More »

Humans: We're Terrible, Always Have Been

Fossil records shows we've left waves of extinction in our wake: George Monbiot

(Newser) - If you're looking to read about the transcendent majesty of humankind, you might want to skip George Monbiot's column in the Guardian . As he puts it, the piece will leave you with a "soul scraping sadness—without an obvious antidote." Essentially, we've made a mess... More »

1 in 13 Humans Have Feet Like Apes

Floppy feet offer small piece of evolutionary puzzle

(Newser) - No one wants to be told their feet look like an ape's, but scientists say that many humans' do, and there's a good reason why: It's evolution, baby. Humans typically have rigid feet, held together by stiff ligaments, explains the BBC . But researchers studied the feet of... More »

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