early humans

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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 »

Here's How an Ancient Iceman Kept Warm

Clothing made from bear, sheep, goat, deer, cattle—you name it, Oetzi wore it

(Newser) - Scientists say Oetzi the Iceman , whose mummified body has been studied extensively since it was discovered on a glacier near the Italian-Austrian border in 1991, wore clothes made of brown bear pelt and roe deer when he died in the Alps 5,300 years ago. Researchers in Italy used genetic... 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 »

Sudden Climate Change Forced Evolution: Scientists

Early humans saw woodland shift to grassland

(Newser) - Early humans evolved in fits and starts due to rapid environmental changes—not gradually as scientists used to think, according to a new study. Analyzing lake sediments in northern Tanzania, scientists from Penn State and Rutgers University concluded that climate change altered the landscape back and forth from grassland to... More »

Experts Decode Ancient Girl's Genome

Pinky bone reveals eye, hair color of child who lived 80K years ago

(Newser) - You can tell a lot about someone from her finger bone—even if it's 80,000 years old. Using the bone, scientists were able to sequence an ancient Siberian girl's genome 31 times; now, they can tell you her hair, eyes, and skin color, Science reports. (All were... More »

New Fossils Reveal More Human Species

Early human evolution was more crowded than we thought: Leakeys

(Newser) - The discovery of three new fossils, unveiled today, illuminate and confirm a line of human evolution that is more complicated than scientists once thought. The groundbreaking bones, about 2 million years old and unearthed in Kenya, prove that there were at least two Homo species—in addition to Homo erectus—... More »

Earliest Matches Found at Dig Site

Stone and clay relics in Israel are 8,000 years old

(Newser) - Archaelogists say a set of peculiar, ancient artifacts might just be the earliest known matches. The cylindrical objects, fashioned from stone and clay, date back nearly 8,000 years. At first, scientists thought they were phallic cultural symbols, but then a group of Israeli researchers noticed a striking similarity to... More »

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