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Evolution & Human Origins

We bring you all the latest news and discoveries relating to human origins and evolution. The more fossils that are unearthed, the more researchers admit that there is much that is still unknown about the evolution of humans.

Why is it that hominoids have experienced tail loss, while other primates have not? Source: v_blinov / Adobe Stock

25-Million-Year-Old DNA Explains Why Humans and Apes Don’t Have Tails

While many primate species have tails, humans and their ape cousins do not. For many years scientists have debated the reasons for this curious tail loss variation, trying to understand the reasons...
Two parrots spreading their flight feathers. Source: ondrejprosicky/Adobe Stock

New Rule for Flight Feathers Could Reveal Which Dinosaurs Could Fly

Birds can fly— at least, most of them can. Flightless birds like penguins and ostriches have evolved lifestyles that don’t require flight. However, there’s a lot that scientists don’t know about how...
Dinocephalosaurus fossil which is reminiscent of the mythical Chinese dragon.            Source: Nicholas C. Fraser/Naturkundemuseum

Aquatic Reptile From 240 Million Years Ago Resembling the ‘Chinese Dragon’ Uncovered

In the ‘Year of the Dragon’, a poetically perfect discovery has been made as the complete fossil of an aquatic creature that resembles the mythical ‘Chinese Dragon’ has been uncovered! The entire...
Archaeologists analyzing the remains from excavations at the Cova dels Xaragalls burial cave in Catalonia. Source: IPHES-CERCA

Prehistoric Catalonia Burial Cave Reveals Over 7,000 Human Remains

Archaeologists in Catalonia, northeastern Spain, have unearthed human and animal remains and ornamental objects spanning from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The Cova dels Xaragalls cave, located in...
Reconstruction of how the stone artifact with the handle made of the bitumen-ocher mixture could be held by a Neanderthal woman. 	Source: © Berlin State Museums, Museum of Prehistory and Early History, illustration: Daniela Greinert

Adhesive Grips on Neanderthal Tools Reveals Species’ Advanced Creativity

A team of researchers from Germany and the United States recently published a study that suggests Neanderthals might have had far more creative intelligence than previously believed. The study,...
Modern day woman with Down syndrome looking at you while group of girls practicing yoga in gym. Source: pressmaster/Adobe Stock

Signature of Down Syndrome Found in Ancient Humans

A brilliant and comprehensive new study has analyzed the DNA of almost 10,000 people from ancient and pre-modern societies, and found 6 cases of Down syndrome in past or ancient human populations...
Representative image of the impact of ancient retrovirus on evolution. Source: alexkich / Adobe Stock

Brain’s Evolutionary Explosion Linked to Ancient Retrovirus Infection

A new study has unraveled a mystery that is key to understanding the course of human and animal evolution. A team of genetic researchers from Altos Labs at the Cambridge Institute of Science in the...
Representation of hunter-gatherers in Scandinavia. Source: HaiderShah/Adobe Stock

Scandinavia's First Farmers Slaughtered the Hunter-gatherer Population

Lund University Following the arrival of the first farmers in Scandinavia 5,900 years ago, the hunter-gatherer population was wiped out within a few generations, according to a new study from Lund...
Panoramic photograph of the rocky shore platform on the Larache area coast of Morocco where the 90000-year-old footprints were found. The area delimited by the dotted red line corresponds to the footprint discovery zone. Source: M. Sedrati, et al/Nature

90,000-Years-Old Footprints Discovered On Moroccan Beach

85 human footprints dating to 90,000-years-ago have been found on a beach in Morocco. But how did they get there, and what were the people doing? In 1964, when Margaret Fishback Powers wrote the...
Analysis of over 1,000 animal bones from Ranis showed that early Homo sapiens processed the carcasses of deer but also of carnivores, including wolf. Source: Geoff M. Smith / CC-BY-ND 4.0 / Nature

New Evidence of Early Humans Crossing the Alps 45,000 Years Ago

Between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago, the lands of present-day Europe and Asia experienced a population exchange between Homo sapiens (modern humans) and Neanderthals , with the former steadily...
Reconstruction of the locomotor behavior and paleoenvironment of Lufengpithecus.	Source: Illustration by Xiaocong Guo; image courtesy of Xijun Ni, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

How Did Humans Learn to Walk? New Evolutionary Study Offers an Earful

New York University Humans and our closest relatives, living apes, display a remarkable diversity of types of locomotion—from walking upright on two legs to climbing in trees and walking using all...
Aymara woman by the Titicaca Lake, collecting staples of an Andean Paleo diet.. Source: Rafal Cichawa/Adobe Stock

Andean Hunter-Gatherers Gathered Far More Than They Hunted!

A new study of human remains found at two archaeological sites in the mountains of Peru calls into question the primacy of hunting in ancient South American hunting-gathering cultures. While there is...
Reconstruction of Shiyu "horse-hunters", earliest known modern humans in China. Source: GUO Xiaocong/Nature

New Evidence Shows Modern Humans First Arrived in China 45,000 Years Ago

A new study presents evidence showing that Homo sapiens (modern humans) arrived in China approximately 45,000 years ago, or several thousand years earlier than previously suspected. The original...
Matthew Wooller, professor in the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, sits among mammoth tusks in the collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Source: JR Ancheta/UAF

Tusk Records Woolly Mammoth’s 620-Mile Life Journey, and Alaska’s Earliest Hunting Camps

Jeff Richardson /University of Alaska Fairbanks Researchers have linked the travels of a 14,000-year-old woolly mammoth with the oldest known human settlements in Alaska, providing clues about the...
Archaeologists unearthed 43 human skeletons and in excess of 100,000 artifacts in a construction site in Sao Luis, Brazil. Source: Iphan handout

9,000-year-old Human Skeletons and Over 100,000 Artifacts Unearthed in Brazil

Surveyors in Brazil were appraising a site identified for the building of a new apartment complex. However, they downed tools, and called in archaeologists when they started finding bones and shards...
Artist's illustration symbolically depicting the research results. Source: Sayo Studio/Nature

Ancient DNA Reveals Reason for High Multiple Sclerosis Rates in Europe

Researchers have created the world's largest ancient human gene bank by analyzing the bones and teeth of almost 5,000 humans who lived across Western Europe and Asia up to 34,000 years ago. By...
An artist impression of a group of Gigantopithecus blacki within a forest in southern China. Source: Garcia/Joannes-Boyau, Southern Cross University/Nature

The Extinction of the Giant Ape: A Long-standing Mystery Solved

Giants once roamed the karst plains of southern China, three-meter-tall apes weighing in at 550 pounds (250 kilograms). These very distant human ancestors - Gigantopithcus blacki - went extinct...
Representational image of human teeth used to analyze details about Native American migration. Source: ia_64 / Adobe Stock

Study of Ancient Teeth Shows Single Native American Migration from Asia

The analysis of human teeth recovered during archaeological excavations has remained a standard means of investigating ancient migration patterns for the last five decades. In fact, this tried-and-...
AI representation of Beringia migration with mammoths and humans.            Source: Skrotaa/Adobe Stock

First Americans May Have Arrived by Sea Ice Highway as Early as 24,000 Years Ago

By Liza Lester/AGU One of the hottest debates in archaeology is how and when humans first arrived in North America. Archaeologists have traditionally argued that people walked through an ice-free...
Representative image of a Neanderthal man. Source: sam / Adobe Stock

Do Morning People Have Neanderthals to Thank for Being Early Risers?

Are you a morning person? You might have Neanderthals to thank for that! In a revelatory study, scientists have unearthed a fascinating genetic link between modern humans and our Neanderthal...
Woman measuring her height.	Source: kei907/Adobe Stock

Cultural Practices Helped Make Women Shorter than Men in Neolithic Times

There is an assumption even today that height is determined almost exclusively by genetics. But this is based on a type of genetic determinism that underestimates the role of culture and environment...
Three-quarter and frontal views of Homo neledi skull from Lesedi Chamber, South Africa. Source: Hawks, J et al/Elife Sciences

Controversial Claims About Homo Naledi Are Stirring Up Evolution Research

Mike W. Morley et al. / The Conversation In June, researchers led by paleoanthropologist Lee Berger published sensational claims about an extinct human species called Homo naledi online and in the...
Artist's reconstruction of a group of Neanderthals butchering a straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus). (It is unknown whether Neanderthals wore any type of clothing, so the depiction reflects artistic license). Source: Alex Boersma/PNAS

Neanderthals Hunted Elephants Twice the Weight of Modern Ones

Evidence has emerged from Germany dated to 125,000 years ago showing Neanderthals hunted elephants twice the size of contemporaneous ones. Building on that information, which provides new insight...
Map by the study authors depicting the location of the Buran Kaya III (1), Zlatý Kůň (2), Fournol (3), Serinyà (4), Krems-Wachtberg (5) and Věstonice (6) archeological sites, whose remains were were analyzed in the study. Also shown are one of the analyzed skull fragments and pierced beads discovered with the bone fragments from the Buran Kaya III site, as well as the Venus statuettes from Věstonice, Willendorf and the Dame de Brassempouy (from right to left).  Source: E-M. Geigl, provided by the author/The

Skulls in Ukraine Reveal Early Modern Humans Came From the East

By Eva-Maria Geigl & Thierry Grange/The Conversation How did our species, Homo sapiens , arrive in Western Europe? Published in Nature Ecology & Evolution , our new study analyses two skull...

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