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Apadana Hall, fifth-century BC carving of Persian archers and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots)

Kings of the Umman Manda (Media): Their Hidden Origins and History – Part I

The term Medes, as a single ethnic group that encompasses all Media, is generic. It seems that the region of Media encompassed many smaller and independent principalities ruled by chieftains instead...
Hanuman and Ravana in Tholu Bommalata, the shadow puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh, India.

The Ancient Beginnings of the Art of Shadow Puppetry

In his Republic, Plato mentions a cave in India with an inscription from the second century BCE. The inscription refers to a shadow play performance where puppets of humans and animals were...
Ancient Deep Skull Still Holds Big Surprises 60 Years After it was Unearthed

Ancient Deep Skull Still Holds Big Surprises 60 Years After it was Unearthed

Thousands of years ago, the ancestors of modern humans left Africa to embark on a journey that would eventually take them across the globe. Yet we still know precious little about the momentous...
A particularly fruitful moment for technological innovation?

Why does culture sometimes evolve via sudden bursts of innovation?

Human beings inherit many genetic traits directly from their parents. However, cultural traits – tools, beliefs and behaviors that are transmitted by learning – can be passed on not only by parents...
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...
Detail of the runic inscription found on the 6th- or 7th-century Björketorp Runestone located in Blekinge, Sweden

Discover the Hidden Roots of the Runes

A long time ago, runes were used by the Shamans of Scandinavia and the word “rune” at its origin made reference to mystery. Runes were used as protective symbols and were carved in wood, bone, or...
Replicas of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond – The Mountain of Light.

Mountain of Light: The History and Lore of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond

One of the most famous diamonds in the world, and once considered to be the world’s largest, the Koh-i-Noor is deeply shrouded in mystery and myth, alongside factual origins. The diamond in its...
Skeletons unearthed at a 3,000-year-old cemetery in Vanuatu.

Ancient Skulls Give Insights into Origins of Polynesians

Due to an analysis of the oldest-known cemetery in the South Pacific, the long-standing debate over the origins and ancestry of Polynesians may finally be resolved. A group of scientists, who studied...
Top 10 Human Origins Discoveries in 2015

Top 10 Human Origins Discoveries in 2015

In 2015, DNA analysis provided deeper insight into the lives of our ancient ancestors. Studies of their appearance, diet, living conditions, and the human family tree, were all hot topics. Research...
Country Church on Christmas Day

The Story of Silent Night

Walk into any public square or shopping mall at this time of year and an encounter with a traditional Christmas carol is well-nigh unavoidable. We may not sing them ourselves with anything like the...
Artist’s reconstruction of a Red Deer Cave man.

Bone suggests Red Deer Cave people were a mysterious species of human

It has been an exciting year for human evolution with several discoveries dramatically rewriting major episodes of our ancient past. Some of this progress stems from major advances in fields like...
Traditional ceremonial dress at Mount Hagan, Papua New Guinea.

Why are humans unique? It’s the small things that count

Can there be any more important a question than, ‘How did we get here?’ Of course, I don’t mean those books we all gawked at as tweens desperate to understand our transforming pubescent bodies. I...
Slaves cutting sugar cane. Island of Antigua (1823).

A history of sugar – the food nobody needs, but everyone craves

It seems as though no other substance occupies so much of the world’s land, for so little benefit to humanity, as sugar. According to the latest data, sugarcane is the world’s third most valuable...
Deriv; Woman with veil and scarf and Khor Ash Sham, Musandam Peninsula, Oman.

Are the Reclusive Shihuh People of Musandam the Original Arabians?

Two hours’ drive from Dubai in the mountains of Musandam lives a reclusive tribe of people who appear culturally unrelated to any others in the Arabian Peninsula, yet who may well be its original...
Artist’s depiction of ancient hominids.

How Ancient Hominid Interbreeding has Shaped Humans Today

Over the past half-decade, ancient DNA research has revealed some surprising aspects to our evolutionary history during the past 50,000 years. Perhaps the most startling of these has been the extent...
It was here in the Deinsova Cave in 2008 that Siberian scientists discovered a finger bone fragment of 'X woman', a juvenile female.

New DNA tests on ancient Denisovan people shows them occupying Altai cave 170,000 years ago

It has been called the cave that holds the key to man's origins, and it keeps producing more surprises. It was here in the Deinsova Cave in 2008 that Siberian scientists discovered a finger bone...

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