human evolution

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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 »

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 »

This Tiny Bone Reveals a Big Find in Human Evolution

Oldest humanlike hand bone dates back 2M years: study

(Newser) - Scientists have stumbled upon the oldest known fossil of a hand bone that looks a lot like one found in your own hand, though this one is at least 1.84 million years old. Found in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, the hominin bone—likely from the pinky of a left... More »

Ancient Skull Is the 'Missing Connection' in Human History

Researchers say it points to out-of-Africa migration

(Newser) - An ancient skull found in a cave in Israel is the first solid evidence that our species migrated out of Africa to colonize the rest of the world around 60,000 years ago, researchers say. The 55,000-year-old skull "is the missing connection between African and European populations,"... More »

This Carving May Prove Neanderthals Were Artists

Carving dates to 39K years ago; Neanderthals disappeared around that time

(Newser) - An ancient etching inside a cave in Gibraltar may mean that Neanderthals' knuckles weren't dragging quite as much as we believed, reports the BBC . The design suggests Neanderthals were capable of symbolic thinking, a trait once believed to be unique to modern humans, anthropologist Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar... More »

Kinder, Gentler Humans Built Modern Culture

Study finds link between lower testosterone, evolutionary jump

(Newser) - Maybe all mankind needed to become more civilized was a kinder, gentler touch, suggests a study out of the University of Utah and Duke University. The new research now links a drop in testosterone to our ancestors' sudden jump into civilized behavior about 50,000 years ago. This is when... More »

'Pit of Bones' Yields Oldest Human DNA —and a Mystery

Bones in Spain linked to distant Asian population

(Newser) - Technological breakthroughs have allowed scientists to sequence human DNA from an astonishing 400,000 years ago—but analysis of an ancient leg bone has raised more questions than answers, the BBC reports. Researchers were surprised to find that the early human whose remains were unearthed in Spain's "Pit... More »

1.8M-Year-Old Skull Alters Tale of Human History

'Jaw-dropping' find points to single species spreading from Africa

(Newser) - Many scientists have argued that several different species of human ancestors spread from Africa—but a 1.8 million-year-old skull and the fossilized remains of four other creatures seem to tell a different story. The scientists who found the bones at Dmanisi, in the country of Georgia, in 2005 say... More »

Maybe Neanderthals Weren't Such ... Neanderthals

Scientists find they were making bone tools long before humans arrived

(Newser) - Researchers have found what they say are specialized bone tools made by Neanderthals in Europe thousands of years before modern humans are thought to have arrived to share such skills, a discovery that suggests modern man's distant cousins were more advanced than we thought. In a paper published yesterday... More »

Neanderthals Doomed by ... Big Eyes?

Better eyesight used up vital brain power

(Newser) - The dark and gloomy weather of northern Europe caused the Neanderthals to develop bigger eyes—but their improved vision turned out to be their downfall, a new study finds. More of the Neanderthal brain was devoted to vision at the expense of high-level processing, leaving them ill-equipped to deal with... More »

Humans Had Fire 1M Years Ago

Archeologist say they've found earliest evidence of human fire use

(Newser) - Scientists believe they've uncovered the earliest known evidence of human fire usage. Charred bones and plant ash sediment found in Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa suggest that Homo erectus was playing with fire a whopping 1 million years ago, more than twice as far back as previous evidence had... More »

Scientists Find Bones of Another Pre-Human Walker

They clearly belong to primitive foot of a walking creature

(Newser) - Lucy was not alone. Scientists have unearthed fossilized bones that they believe must have belonged to the foot of another pre-human species that walked upright around 3 million years ago, the AP reports. It's the first evidence of such a species during that era since the one made famous... More »

'Red Deer Cave People' May Be New Human Species

Stone Age remains found in China puzzle researchers

(Newser) - Bones found in southern China may be evidence of a previously unknown human species, researchers say. The "Red Deer Cave People" survived until some 11,000 years ago, but don't appear to have interbred with neighboring peoples, the BBC reports. Their remains have a puzzling mix of ancient... More »

Body Hair Is Bedbug Warning System

Our layer of fine hairs aids parasite detection: study

(Newser) - Scientists who wondered why human skin still boasts as many follicles as that of great apes—ours, of course, grow hair much, much finer—believe our species' continued hairiness serves as an alarm system that protects us from bedbugs and other biting insects, the Economist finds. The researchers, who shaved... More »

'Human Invasion' Killed Off Neanderthals

Modern humans crowded Neanderthals out of Europe, study says

(Newser) - Modern humans may have ended the Neanderthals' 300,000-year dominance of Europe through sheer numbers instead of brain power, a new study claims. The researchers say the "human invasion" 40,000 years ago left the Neanderthals outnumbered 10 to 1 by the newcomers, forcing them into fierce competition for... More »

Study Uncovers Big, Fat (Faced) Liars

Broad faces linked to unethical behavior, finds researchers

(Newser) - Wide-faced men tend to be a lot trickier than their narrow-faced counterparts, according to researchers who measured the faces of hundreds of business school students before running them through assorted behavioral tests. The study found that broad-faced men are three times more likely to lie and nine times more likely... More »

All Languages Tracked to Single African Tongue

Study links language differences to migration route of early humans

(Newser) - The thousands of languages spoken in the world today can be traced back to a "mother tongue of mother tongues" that arose in Africa around 50,000 years ago, a new study suggests. The lead researcher, evolutionary psychologist Quentin Atkinson, borrowed a few ideas from genetic researchers, the Wall ... More »

'Darwin Day' Celebrated in Rural US, Quietly

Biologists take the opportunity to show kids science is 'cool'

(Newser) - How to celebrate "Darwin Day" in rural America? Very carefully, the New York Times reports: When evolutionary biologists set out on a road trip this weekend to Virginia, Nebraska, Montana, and Iowa to promote science in honor of Charles Darwin's 202nd birthday, one high school principal made sure to... More »

Ancient Pinkie Reveals Your New Relatives

DNA helps decode history of Denisovans

(Newser) - A 30,000-year-old finger is pointing the way to a population of humans experts never knew existed. The pinkie bone, discovered in southern Siberia in what's known as the Desinova Cave, contains DNA that scientists used to sequence the entire genome of the young girl it belonged to, NPR reports.... More »

Poll: 40% of Americans Are Creationists

Only 16% believe humanity evolved without God

(Newser) - Creationists beliefs are on the wane but a full 40% of Americans still believe that God created humans in their current form 10,000 years ago, according to the latest Gallup poll. But the proportion of people with creationists beliefs was the lowest since Gallup started asking the question in... More »

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