anthropology

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First Americans Didn't Arrive on a Land Bridge

They 'must have taken a different route'

(Newser) - You probably remember the Bering Land Bridge theory from history class: North America's first inhabitants traveled along a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska and discovered an immense new world less than 15,000 years ago. Just like the land bridge did 10,000 years ago, that belief now... More »

Florida Divers Bring Up Signs of People 14K Years Ago

'Bering Strait theory' takes another knock

(Newser) - What divers found in a Florida sinkhole may help overturn a long-held theory—that people first colonized the Americas thousands of years ago by crossing the Bering Strait, the Guardian reports. Scientists say that fossilized dung, mastodon bones, and a stone knife discovered at the site near Tallahassee suggest people... More »

Study Determines How Many Best Friends We Have

4 ... or maybe 5

(Newser) - British anthropologist Robin Dunbar made a name for himself in the '90s when he hypothesized that there is a strong correlation among primates between brain size and social circles—and he most notably suggested that we humans can only really maintain close relationships with five people, reports MIT Technology... More »

Pol: Army Tricked Taxpayers With 'Dead' $725M Program

Controversial program is actually still up and running and may even get more funding

(Newser) - Its name was the Human Terrain System, what USA Today labels a "controversial battlefield anthropology program" supposedly shut down by the US Army in 2014 after allegations of racism, sexual harassment, and funny business with time sheets, among other issues. Or so its demise was believed: The initiative—which... More »

Irish Bones May Settle 'Archaeological Controversy'

What researchers learned from 4 sets of remains

(Newser) - It's a "long-standing archaeological controversy": whether the Irish shifted from hunter-gatherers to farmers because of adaptation or migration. A new DNA analysis of remains from several people, dating back thousands of years, may settle the question—as well as provide a better sense of where the Irish came... 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 »

Neanderthals Got Tumors, Too

Researchers find the oldest one ever

(Newser) - Looks like cavemen had to deal with tumors, too. Scientists have found evidence of the oldest tumor on record in the rib of a Neanderthal who lived roughly 130,000 years ago, they revealed in PLOS One yesterday. The inch-long bone was dug up more than 100 years ago, but... 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 »

Introducing the 'World's Dullest Culture'

The Baining of Papua New Guinea ban kids from playing

(Newser) - A Papua New Guinea group known to anthropologists as "the dullest people on Earth" do everything they can to discourage children from playing, writes Peter Gray at Psychology Today . The Baining—who have caused at least one frustrated anthropologist to give up studying them—are small-scale farmers almost entirely... More »

First Americans Arrived Via Land Bridge in 3 Waves

But those waves may have intermingled

(Newser) - The Americas weren't initially populated in one sweeping migration across the land bridge from Siberia, but in three distinct waves, according to a new DNA study. By comparing genetic markers on 52 modern day Native American populations and 17 Siberian ones, they've concluded that while the Americas were... More »

The 13 Most Worthless Majors

Want a job? Avoid fine art, according to 'Daily Beast' list

(Newser) - Hey, college students: If your life plans include getting an actual job, you may want to avoid the stars of the Daily Beast 's "most useless" majors list. Majors are ranked in terms of employment, taking into account unemployment rates among recent and experienced grads, earnings, and likely... More »

Holding a Gun Makes You Look Bigger

Appearance of physical power increases when holding a weapon: Study

(Newser) - A person wielding a gun appears bigger and brawnier than a person without a gun, according to a new UCLA study. Researchers showed photographs of hands clutching guns, power drills, handsaws, and other tools to test subjects and then asked them to guess the size and muscularity of the person... More »

Men, Women Starting to Look More Alike

Study of ancient skulls shows fewer differences

(Newser) - Anthropologists comparing ancient skulls to modern ones say it's getting harder to tell the girls from the boys. North Carolina State researchers who examined skulls from Spain and Portugal going back to the 16th century say that the differences between male and female specimens have diminished over the ages, reports... More »

Humans Left Africa Far Earlier Than We Thought

Stone tools defy genetic story

(Newser) - Stone tools discovered in the Arabian peninsula suggest modern humans may have left Africa 125,000 years ago—some 50,000 years earlier than previously believed. Genetic data points to humans departing Africa around 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, the BBC notes. But the genetic data is "... 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 »

In Spanish Cave, Neanderthal Bones Tell of Cannibalism

Fragments come from group of 12, possibly related

(Newser) - In the forests of northern Spain is a cave named El Sidrón, and inside lies one of the richest troves of Neanderthal remains known to man. Since explorers first stumbled upon jawbones in 1994, 1,800 Neanderthal bone fragments have been discovered there, some of which contain accessible bits... More »

Early Man Survived By Growing Up Slowly

It's how we outsmarted the Neanderthals

(Newser) - Immaturity may be the key to the human race’s dominance. Neanderthals have brains roughly the same size as early humans, and their tools were just as good, so scientists have long puzzled over how Homo sapiens became the top primates on the block. Now, some scientists think they have... More »

Neanderthals: Smarter Than We Thought

They were 'more like our brothers and sisters,' anthropologists say

(Newser) - Turns out the Geico cavemen have a point: Neanderthals have been getting a bad rap. Until recently, scientists assumed that Neanderthals only learned advanced survival skills when they met more modern humans. But scientists have now found evidence that they developed human-like skills—like creating new tools, hunting more elusive... More »

Meat Made Us Smarter

...and learning how to cook it made us human

(Newser) - Sorry, vegetarians: Humans have meat to thank for the evolutionary changes that made us the large-brained tool-users we are today. Some 2.3 million years ago, our ancestors made the jump from gnawing all day on leaves and nuts to scavenging carcasses. This, anthropologists say, was the magic moment when... More »

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