Evolution & Human Origins

In this section we will examine latest news and discoveries relating to human origins and evolution.  It was once thought that that the origin and evolution of man could be explained and understood through a simple family tree. However, in the last decade, numerous findings across the world have revealed that the evolution of human beings is far from simple. The more fossils that are unearthed, the more researchers admit that there is much that is still unknown about the evolution of humans. 

New research challenges a previous view that humans got to America via this area, where an ice-free corridor existed during the last ice age.

Textbook Story of How Humans Populated America is Biologically Unviable, Study Finds

Using ancient DNA, researchers have created a unique picture of how a prehistoric migration route evolved over thousands of years – revealing that it could not have been used by the first people to...
Biggest Known Genetic Difference Between Humans and Neanderthals May Be Related to Autism

Biggest Known Genetic Difference Between Humans and Neanderthals May Be Related to Autism

A recent study says that a genetic change suddenly arose in the primate family tree about about 280,000 years ago. The researchers claim it is responsible for the largest genetic difference between...
A view of the fossilized, 1.7-million-year-old hominin toe bone upon which the cancerous tumor was diagnosed.

Researchers Diagnose Earliest Known Cancer on 1.7-Million-Year-Old Hominin Fossil

Scientists have identified a particularly lethal form of cancer on the fossilized toe bone of an early human relative who lived about 1.7 million years ago in South Africa. The tumor is the oldest...
A model of the face of an adult female Homo erectus. Reconstruction by John Gurche, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Scientists Say A Mystery Species Bred with Ancient Humans in Distant Past

A new study of the genomes of Australasians has revealed sections of DNA that do not match any known hominin species. The dramatic findings mean that a mystery species bred with ancient humans in the...
An Illustration of ancient farmers. Copyright Nicholls (2008)

Ancient Skeletons Change History: Farming Invented Multiple Times Across the Globe

An international research team led by Mainz palaeogeneticists demonstrates that populations in the ancient Fertile Crescent are the ancestors of modern day South Asians but not of Europeans...
Painting of Neanderthals by Charles Robert Knight, 1920

Neanderthal Group Cannibalized their Dead and Used Human Bones as Tools

Evidence shows Neanderthals were killing each other and eating the remains about 40,000 years ago in a cave in Belgium, new research shows. They apparently extracted marrow from the bones and used...
Inbred Neanderthals Left Humans with a Genetic Burden

Inbred Neanderthals Left Humans with a Genetic Burden

The Neanderthal genome included harmful mutations that made the hominids around 40% less reproductively fit than modern humans, according to estimates published in the latest issue of the journal...
The mammoth was found on the left bank of Yenisey river, not far from Sopochnaya Karga meterological station.

The smoking gun 'proving ancient man killed woolly mammoth 45,000 years ago'

By Anna Liesowska / Siberian Times When Science journal earlier this year highlighted an ancient woolly mammoth with suspected spear wounds it provoked media interest around the world. Until now, the...
2,500-Year-Old Phoenician DNA Linked to Rare and Ancient European Ancestry

2,500-Year-Old Phoenician DNA Linked to Rare and Ancient European Ancestry

Researchers have sequenced the first complete mitochondrial genome of an ancient Phoenician. The results of the studies of the remains of a man called the "Young Man of Byrsa" and "Ariche” has linked...
The Genetic History of Ice Age Europe

The Genetic History of Ice Age Europe

Analyses of ancient DNA from prehistoric humans paint a picture of dramatic population change in Europe from 45,000 to 7,000 years ago, according to a new study led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute...
An artist's impression of Neanderthal life.

Teeth vs. tools: Neanderthals and Homo sapiens had different dietary strategies

Over hundreds of thousands of years, the Neanderthal lineage developed successfully in western Eurasia and survived severe fluctuations between colder and warmer climactic cycles of the Ice Age. The...
Imaginative depiction of the Stone Age, by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Just a Few Men Controlled Reproduction in Prehistory and Dominate World Genetics Today

A new genetic study of male ancestry shows there were periods in human prehistory when just a few elite men controlled reproduction. For example, one man about 190,000 years ago was the ancestor of 1...
Homo erectus Skull Discovered in Central Java Provides More Evidence for Ancient Hominids in the Area

Homo erectus Skull Discovered in Central Java Provides More Evidence for Ancient Hominids in the Area

The skull of a Homo erectus has been found in the area near the Bojong River in Manyarejo village, Sragen, Central Java, Indonesia. It is the first discovery of a human fossil in this area in 80...
One Million Years of the Human Story at the Natural History Museum.

Bigger Brains Led to Bigger Bodies in Our Ancestors

New research suggests that humans became the large-brained, large-bodied animals we are today because of natural selection to increase brain size. The work, published in the journal Current...
Caravan on the Silk Road, 1380.

DNA Suggests Yiddish Began on the Silk Road

Amy Pullan-Sheffield For decades, linguists have questioned the origin of Yiddish, the millennium-old language of Ashkenazic Jews. Now, the Geographic Population Structure (GPS), which converts DNA...
Neanderthals May have been Infected by Diseases carried out of Africa by Humans, say Researchers

Neanderthals May have been Infected by Diseases carried out of Africa by Humans, say Researchers

A review of the latest genetic evidence suggests infectious diseases are tens of thousands of years older than previously thought, and that they could jump between species of ‘hominin’. Researchers...

Pages

Human Origins

Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene.
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research

Ancient Technology

Detail of a star chart dating to the Middle Kingdom.
The calendar is one of mankind’s most important inventions. Calendars allowed societies to organize time for religious, social, economic, and administrative purposes. The calendar, or rather, two sets of calendars, were invented by the ancient Egyptians. One of these was a lunar calendar, which was used mainly for the organization of religious festivals.

Ancient Places

Smuts house
The farmstead of General Jan Smuts on the outskirts of Pretoria, is reputed to be one of the most haunted private homes in the country, according to Mr Mark Rose-Christie, raconteur and social scientist, who regularly takes brave visitors on a tour of haunted sites on his mystery ghost bus.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)