science
A Toddler Who Lived 3 Million Years Ago Could Walk Upright and Capably Climb Trees

A re-analysis of a three-million-year-old fossil suggests Australopithecus afarensis, an early hominid, had children who were as capable on two feet as they were in the trees—an important discovery that’s shedding new light on this critical stage in hominid evolution. Read More >>

archaeology
Stunning Discovery Shows Early Humans Were Hunting Rhinos in the Philippines Over 700,000 Years Ago

Our species, Homo sapiens, weren’t the first humans to leave Africa—not by a long shot. The remarkable discovery of a 709,000-year-old butchered rhino fossil in the Philippines shows that so-called archaic humans were romping around the islands of southeast Asia a full 400,000 years before our species even existed. Read More >>

science
Did Neanderthals Go Extinct Because of the Size of Their Brains?

Using computers and MRI scans, researchers have created the most detailed reconstruction of a Neanderthal brain to date, offering new insights into the social and cognitive abilities of these extinct humans. But as to whether these characteristics were responsible for their ultimate demise remains an open question. Read More >>

science
Rare Mutation Among Bajau People Lets Them Stay Underwater Longer

The Bajau people of Malaysia and the Philippines are renowned for their free-diving abilities, often working eight-hour shifts in search of fish and other sea critters. Underwater sessions can last upwards of two minutes, with accumulated daily totals of breath-holding often reaching five hours. New research suggests these impressive feats aren’t the result of training, but rather, an example of natural selection at work—which, in this case, has endowed Bajau individuals with abnormally large spleens. Read More >>

science
88,000-Year-Old Finger Found in Saudi Arabia Could Rewrite Human History

It’s just a lone, boney middle finger, but the scientists who found it say it’s the oldest directly dated fossil of our species to ever be found outside of Africa and the Levant, a region that today comprises Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. But the new discovery is not without its critics, who say older evidence of human habitation outside of this region exists elsewhere, and that the finger might not even be human. Read More >>

biology
Why Neanderthals Had Faces That Were So Different From Ours

Compared to modern humans, Neanderthals had heavy eyebrows, huge noses, and large, long faces that bulged forward. Using 3D computer models, an international team of scientists has analysed these facial features in detail, uncovering some likely explanations for these dramatic physical differences. Read More >>

science
Ancient Human Groups Mated With the Mysterious Denisovans At Least Twice

Genetic analysis suggests two populations of Denisovans—an extinct group of hominids closely related to Neanderthals—existed outside of Africa during the Pleistocene, and that both of these populations interacted and interbred with anatomically modern humans. Read More >>

science
Ancient Climate Swings Forced Early Humans to Get Their Shit Together and Innovate

Our species made its debut some 300,000 years ago. During the preceding millenniums, our continent of origin underwent environmental shifts that very likely influenced the trajectory of human evolution. Archaeologists working in Kenya have uncovered new clues to support this assertion, showing the surprising extent to which climate change influenced the behaviour of early humans and their approach to technology. Read More >>

science
These Early Humans Prospered During What Should Have Been a Devastating Volcanic Winter

Around 74,000 years ago, a massive caldera erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a prolonged and devastating volcanic winter. Scientists have speculated that the Toba eruption pruned back human populations to a considerable degree, but new research published today suggests at least one group of humans living in southern Africa not only managed to survive the event—they actually prospered. The Toba eruption, as we’re learning, wasn’t nearly as bad for humans as we thought—and it may not have produced a volcanic winter at all. Read More >>

science
Turns Out the First People in England Were Actually Black

A DNA sample from a 10,000-year-old skeleton discovered in Gough Cave near Cheddar Gorge offers a remarkable revelation: the first modern British people had “dark brown to black skin.” According to recent analysis, they also had dark curly hair and blue eyes. In other words, white people in Europe are a much newer thing than we thought. Read More >>

science
Before Our Species Left Africa, Now-Extinct Humans Made These Fancy Tools in India

Archaeologists have discovered sophisticated stone tools in India dating back some 385,000 years. That’s all sorts of incredible, because Homo sapiens like you and me didn’t leave Africa until about 175,000 years ago. The discovery is resetting what we know about so-called “archaic” humans and the dramatic extent to which they spread out from Africa so very long ago. Read More >>

science
Stunning Fossil Discovery Pushes First Human Migration Out of Africa Back 50,000 Years

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered the partial jawbone from what appears to be a modern human. Dated to between 175,000 to 200,000 years old, the fossil is 50,000 years older than any other human fossil found in the region, suggesting humans left Africa far earlier than previously thought. Read More >>

science
Humans Have Even More Neanderthal DNA Than We Realised

A international team of researchers has completed one of the most detailed analyses of a Neanderthal genome to date. Among the many new findings, the researchers learned that Neanderthals first mated with modern humans a surprisingly long time ago, and that humans living today have more Neanderthal DNA than we assumed. Read More >>

science
Wait, Are Caesareans Really Altering the Course of Evolution?

A new study from the University of Vienna, Austria, suggests that Caesarean sections are changing the trajectory of human evolution, altering physical characteristics in both mothers and babies. Trouble is, the researchers presented virtually no empirical evidence to support their extraordinary claim, and the credulous media simply took it at face-value. Read More >>

science
Skeletal Analysis Suggests Lucy Died After Falling From a Tree

The world’s most famous human ancestor, an extinct hominid named Lucy, died after falling from a tall tree, according to scientists. It’s a revelation that points to tree-dwelling behaviour in recent evolutionary history, but some scientists aren’t convinced. Read More >>