archaeology
How This Decade of Archaeology Changed What We Know About Human Origins

Unlike humans living today, our distant ancestors exerted a very small footprint on the planet, leaving barely anything behind to chronicle their time on Earth. With the discovery of each new skull fragment, femur, and stone tool, however, archaeologists are methodically piecing together the fractured history of our species and other hominins closely related to us. Read More >>

archaeology
Yet More Evidence That Neanderthal Bling Included Eagle Talons

New fossil evidence suggests the Neanderthal practice of collecting eagle talons, which were likely worn as jewellery or used to create powerful symbols, was more extensive than previously thought. Remarkably, the dating of these artefacts suggests modern humans might have copied this practice. Read More >>

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New Evidence Suggests Neanderthals Were Capable of Starting Fires

Neanderthals were regular users of fire, but archaeologists aren’t certain if these extinct hominins were capable of starting their own fires or if they sourced their flames from natural sources. New geochemical evidence suggests Neanderthals did in fact possess the cultural capacity to spark their own Paleolithic barbecues. Read More >>

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Archaeologists Are Learning More About Who and What Lived in This Famous Siberian Cave

For thousands of years, Siberia’s Denisova Cave was home to various bands of Neanderthals, Denisovans, and modern humans. But as new research shows, animals occupied this cave more frequently than not, showcasing the pains, perils, and complexities of palaeolithic life. Read More >>

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Facial Reconstruction Shows What the Enigmatic Denisovans Might Have Looked Like

A pinky finger bone, some teeth, and a lower jaw. That’s all the physical evidence we have of the mysterious Denisovans, an extinct group of hominins closely related to the Neanderthals. Remarkable new research offers a physical reconstruction of the Denisovans based on genetic evidence, providing our first potential glimpse of this ancient human species. Read More >>

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Trove of Neanderthal Footprints Provide an Unprecedented Glimpse Into Prehistoric Life

Scientists in France have discovered hundreds of fossilised footprints belonging to a single group of Neanderthals. At 80,000 years old, the prints chronicle a single, precious moment in the lives of these extinct hominins. Read More >>

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Ancient Skull Fragment Pushes Back Date of Earliest Humans in Europe

A comprehensive re-analysis of a skull fragment found in a Greek cave back in the late 1970s suggests early modern humans were present in Eurasia some 210,000 years ago. It’s the earliest indication of our species on the continent, but the lack of supporting archaeological evidence raises some questions. Read More >>

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Tooth Analysis Suggests Neanderthals and Modern Humans Split Apart Far Earlier Than We Thought

Dental evidence suggests Neanderthals and modern humans diverged from a common ancestor around 800,000 years ago—hundreds of thousands of years earlier than standard estimates. The finding could finally reveal the provenance of our shared ancestry, but some experts say the new evidence is unconvincing. Read More >>

archaeology
Jawbone Fossil Reveals More About the Denisovans, a Mysterious Species that Mated With Modern Humans

In 2010, archaeologists found evidence of a previously unknown hominin, the Denisovans, in a Siberian cave. Researchers are now reporting the discovery of a 160,000-year-old Denisovan jawbone pulled from a cave on the Tibetan Plateau. The fossil is now the first evidence of this mysterious human species outside of Siberia, and the earliest evidence of a hominin presence in this part of the world. Read More >>

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Climate Change Drove Neanderthals to Cannibalism, New Research Suggests

Neanderthals are famous for having lived through the last major ice age, yet for a period of around 14,000 years they had to endure the effects of a naturally occurring global warming cycle. Struggling to adapt to the changing conditions, the Neanderthals turned to cannibalism in desperation, according to a provocative and timely new study. Read More >>

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Neanderthals and Denisovans Shared a Siberian Cave for Thousands of Years, New Research Suggests

Denisova cave in southern Siberia was home to Neanderthals and Denisovans for thousands of years, but questions remain about the timing of their stay. A pair of new studies traces the history of archaic human occupation at the site, showing who lived there and when—including a possible era during which the two now-extinct species hung out together. Read More >>

archaeology
Neanderthals Weren’t the Violent Brutes We Thought, New Research Finds

The stereotype of a typical Neanderthal life is that it was extraordinarily difficult, violent, and traumatic. But a comparative analysis of the remains left behind by Neanderthals and contemporaneous humans is finally overturning this unwarranted assumption. Read More >>

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Analysis of Neanderthal Teeth Reveals Unexpected Exposure to Lead

Around 250,000 years ago, two Neanderthal children were exposed to excessive levels of lead in what is now France, according to new research. It’s the oldest known case of lead exposure in hominin remains—a discovery that’s presenting an obvious question: How could this have possibly happened so long ago? Read More >>

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Neanderthals Survived in Ice Age Europe Thanks to Effective Healthcare

Neanderthals cared for their sick and wounded, and new research suggests this well-documented behaviour was more than just a cultural phenomenon or an expression of compassion—it really did help them survive. Read More >>

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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 >>