SOURCE: History channel
Did the First Human Ancestor Emerge in Europe, Not Africa?
New analysis of two fossil specimens found in Greece and Bulgaria has led a team of international scientists to a stunning conclusion: The fossilized lower jawbone and teeth, which date back some 7.2 million years, belonged not to an ape but to a hominin, or early human ancestor.
New diet, sexual attraction may have spurred Europeans' lighter skin
For the longest time, skin color was thought to be a climatic adaptation. That may only be part of the story.
SOURCE: New York Times
Tracing Ancestry, Researchers Produce a Genetic Atlas of Human Mixing Events
The genetic atlas of human mixing events was published on Thursday in the journal Science.
SOURCE: BBC News
Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk
Details of the extraordinary markings have been published in the science journal Plos One.
Carbon dates cast doubt on Near East's role in human migration
Early humans may have colonized the Near East much later than originally thought.
SOURCE: The Independent
Revealed: how prehistoric 'des res' gave Stone Age Brits a perfect diet
25-site survey shows that early humans chose predominantly to live on islands in the flood plains of major rivers.
SOURCE: New York Times
Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins
The new discovery is the oldest known fossil of the hominid Denisovan.
SOURCE: National Geographic
Oldest Javelins Predate Modern Humans, Raise Questions on Evolution
The oldest known stone-tipped projectiles have been discovered in Ethiopia.
Bigger groups mean complex cultures
Two studies show that larger groups of people are better at maintaining and improving cultural knowledge.
SOURCE: The Independent
Perfectly preserved 1.8 million-year-old skull 'could re-write history of human evolution'
The skulls probably belong to homo erectus, but that means that the earlier hominid homo habilis may be the same as homo erectus.
Early Modern Humans Arrived in Near East 42,000 Years Ago
This new data challenges the existing consensus about the timeline of human migration.
Scientists have found new evidence to show how early humans migrated into Europe
Humans originated in Africa. But what route did they take as they began to disperse around the world 60,000 years ago? A new professor at the University of Huddersfield has played a key role in finding the answer to one of the most fundamental questions in the history of mankind.Professor Richards, who moved to Huddersfield from the University of Leeds, is a pioneer in the field -- one of just two professors of archaeogenetics in the world. He uses DNA evidence to study human origins, comparing data from modern samples across the world and occasionally to that which can be obtained from ancient sources such as skeletal remains and fossilised teeth. It leads to a vivid picture of the migration patterns of humankind and the origins of civilisation....
SOURCE: The Scotsman (UK)
5,000-year-old Neolithic art found in Orkney dig
An intricately-inscribed stone was discovered by excited archaeologists at the Ness of Brodgar on Wednesday.Nick Card, the excavation team director at the dig – which lies in the heart of Neolithic Orkney, between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Strenness – said the latest find had created a “huge buzz” on the site.The stone is unusual as it is artistically decorated on both sides and has impressive deep incisions.Mr Card, of the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology and based at the University of the Highlands and Islands in the islands, said: “It is perhaps the finest piece of art we have recovered from the site, and one of the finest from the UK ever – amazing and awe-inspiring.”...
Archaeology: The milk revolution
In the 1970s, archaeologist Peter Bogucki was excavating a Stone Age site in the fertile plains of central Poland when he came across an assortment of odd artefacts. The people who had lived there around 7,000 years ago were among central Europe's first farmers, and they had left behind fragments of pottery dotted with tiny holes. It looked as though the coarse red clay had been baked while pierced with pieces of straw.Looking back through the archaeological literature, Bogucki found other examples of ancient perforated pottery. “They were so unusual — people would almost always include them in publications,” says Bogucki, now at Princeton University in New Jersey. He had seen something similar at a friend's house that was used for straining cheese, so he speculated that the pottery might be connected with cheese-making. But he had no way to test his idea....
D.N.A. backs lore on pre-Columbian dogs
BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — Inside a fenced acre on the swampy Lynches River flood plain in central South Carolina, seven of Don Anderson’s primitive dogs spring into high alert at approaching strangers. Medium-sized, they fan out amid his junkyard of improvised habitat: a few large barrels to dig under, an abandoned camper shell from a pickup, segments of black plastic water pipe and backhoed dirt mounds overgrown with waist-high ragweed....Some Carolina dogs still live in the wild, and local people have long thought they were one of the few breeds that predated the European arrival in the Americas: “Our native dog,” as Michael Ruano, another enthusiast who often works with Mr. Anderson, put it. “America’s natural dog.”
The Problem with Evolutionary Psychology
by Marlene Zuk
Credit: Wiki Commons.
SOURCE: Discovery News
Ötzi the Iceman suffered head injury
Ötzi the Iceman, Europe's oldest mummy, likely suffered a head injury before he died roughly 5,300 years ago, according to a new protein analysis of his brain tissue.Ever since a pair of hikers stumbled upon his astonishingly well-preserved frozen body in the Alps in 1991, Ötzi has become one of the most-studied ancient human specimens. His face, last meal, clothing and genome have been reconstructed — all contributing to a picture of Ötzi as a 45-year-old, hide-wearing, tattooed agriculturalist who was a native of Central Europe and suffered from heart disease, joint pain, tooth decay and probably Lyme disease before he died.None of those conditions, however, directly led to his demise. A wound reveals Ötzi was hit in the shoulder with a deadly artery-piercing arrow, and an undigested meal in the Iceman's stomach suggests he was ambushed, researchers say....
African roots of the human family tree
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- How would you feel knowing you are related to your boss, your neighbor, or better yet your partner? Don't worry, you may have to go back 1,000, 20,000 or maybe even 100,000 years to find a common ancestor, but generally speaking it is true.Advanced DNA testing combined with recently unearthed discoveries are bolstering the belief that if you look back far enough, all living human beings are the descendents of a small, innovative and ambitious set of people on the African continent.With the mapping of the human genome in 2003, combined with thousands of people around the world submitting their DNA for testing, there's now mounting physical proof we all started in Africa before migrating around the world....
Neanderthal molar suggests early weaning
Modern mothers love to debate how long to breast-feed, a topic that stirs both guilt and pride. Now — in a very preliminary finding — the Neanderthals are weighing in.By looking at barium levels in the fossilized molar of a Neanderthal child, researchers concluded that the child had been breast-fed exclusively for the first seven months, followed by seven months of mother’s milk supplemented by other food. Then the barium pattern in the tooth enamel “returned to baseline prenatal levels, indicating an abrupt cessation of breast-feeding at 1.2 years of age,” the scientists reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature.While that timetable conforms with the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics — which suggests that mothers exclusively breast-feed babies for six months and continue for 12 months if possible — it represents a much shorter span of breast-feeding than practiced by apes or a vast majority of modern humans. The average age of weaning in nonindustrial populations is about 2.5 years; in chimpanzees in the wild, it is about 5.3 years. Of course, living conditions were much different for our evolutionary cousins, the Neanderthals, extinct for the last 30,000 years....
SOURCE: CS Monitor
Why did our ancestors start walking upright?
Being four-legged has its perks. As a quadruped, your center of gravity is lower, there's less wind resistance when you're running, and, best of all, you can use your hind foot to scratch your ear.All of this raises a big question: What were our apelike ancestors thinking when they started walking upright? A prevailing hypothesis is that they were prompted by climate change. As African forests declined due to temperature fluctuations some 2.5 million years ago, the hypothesis goes, our australopithecine ancestors descended from the trees and ventured out into the open savanna, an environment thought to be friendlier for those standing on two feet....
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