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. 

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...
An artist’s depiction of a family of Neanderthals.

Humans and Neanderthals Branched off 600,000 years ago Due to an Incompatible Y Chromosome

Neanderthals and humans branched off about 600,000 years ago, possibly because of genetic incompatibility in the context of the Y chromosome, a team of researchers has announced. There was some...
New Research Asserts that the Hobbits of Indonesia Vanished Earlier than Previously Believed

New Research Asserts that the Hobbits of Indonesia Vanished Earlier than Previously Believed

The pint-sized Homo floresiensis, nicknamed Hobbits, may have met their demise much earlier than previously believed. Recent research suggests that they lived around 50,000 years ago and not between...
A world map of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry in modern humans

A world map of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry in modern humans

Most non-Africans possess at least a little bit Neanderthal DNA. But a new map of archaic ancestry--published March 28 in Current Biology--suggests that many bloodlines around the world, particularly...
A reconstruction of a male of our evolutionary cousin the Neanderthals (Modified from an image by Cicero Moraes).

A Golden Age of Ancient DNA Science Begins

If I had taken a straw poll among anthropologists 10 years ago asking them how far genetic research would come in the next decade, I doubt anyone would have come close to predicting the big impact...
Main: A DNA molecule (C. Bock/Wikimedia Commons). Inset: Two Melanesian girls

Ancient Denisovan DNA discovered in modern Pacific Islanders

The archaic Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA that persists in modern individuals from the Pacific islands of Melanesia could be a source of new information about early human history, according to a...
Reproduction of Homo neanderthalensis. Museum of Human Evolution (MEH), Burgos, Spain.

Confirmed: The Hominins Found at Atapuerca are the Earliest Genetic Evidence of Neanderthals to Date

After decades of study and many assumptions, the analysis of nuclear DNA has finally confirmed the evolutionary lineage of the inhabitants of the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain. For some time,...
Mysterious Chimpanzee Behavior May Be Evidence of ‘Sacred’ Rituals

Mysterious Chimpanzee Behavior May Be Evidence of ‘Sacred’ Rituals

I trampled clumsily through the dense undergrowth, attempting in vain to go a full five minutes without getting snarled in the thorns that threatened my every move. It was my first field mission in...
A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, is displayed next to a modern human skeleton at the Museum of Natural History in New York.

Neanderthals Mated with Modern Humans Much Earlier than Previously Thought, Study Finds

Using several different methods of DNA analysis, an international research team has found what they consider to be strong evidence of an interbreeding event between Neanderthals and modern humans...
A model of a female Homo floresiensis.

Study Says that Hobbits of Flores Island Are Not Homo Sapiens

The question about the origins of Homo floresiensis has been one of the most important problems of modern science since 2003, when a team of Australian and Indonesian researchers excavated some 18,...
The new study says that Neanderthal DNA influences many physical traits in people of European and Asian heritage.

Study Casts New Light on Diseases We Inherited from Neanderthals

Feeling depressed? Can’t kick the tobacco habit? Sun causing skin lesions? Allergies bothering you? Some people of today may blame their Neanderthal ancestry in part for some of these health problems...

Pages

Top New Stories

The interior of a private library in Chinguetti.
During the Middle Ages, Sahara outposts often found themselves filled with travelers, traders, and pilgrims passing through with their differing tasks. The pilgrims in particular interest us here, as they would sometimes meet and share religious scriptures amongst each other and with their hosts.

Myths & Legends

The Last of the Siberian Unicorns: What Happened to the Mammoth-Sized One-Horned Beasts of Legend?
Elasmotherium, also known as the Giant Rhinoceros or the Giant Siberian Unicorn, is an extinct species of rhino that lived in the Eurasian area in the Late Pliocene and Pleistocene eras. They have been documented from 2.6 million years ago, but the most recent fossils come from around 29,000 years ago.

Ancient Technology

Yacouba Sawadogo planting.
Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A farmer in Burkina Faso looked to his ancestors and came up with an innovative solution.

Ancient Places

Stonehenge at night.
In the 1960s, a portion of a ditch excavated into chalk bedrock west of the henge at Stonehenge was discovered during construction for the pedestrian underpass that provided access to Stonehenge until a year ago. By 2014, geophysical testing confirmed that the ditch stretches over 900 meters (2952.7 ft.) from southwest of the Stonehenge henge to a point near the south ditch line of the Greater Cursus, northwest of Stonehenge.

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)