The Discovery of a 3.8 Million Year Old Australopithecus anamensis

The discovery of a mostly intact a 3.8 million year old fossil skull found buried within sandstone, from the Waranjo-Mille site in the Afar region of Ethiopia, was announced last week in Nature. Based on the size and shape of its canines, which has certain anatomical features that make it stand out from A. afarensis and other... Continue Reading →

Apidima 1 – A New Look At Old Skull

In the 1970's, the Apidima Cave site in Greece was excavated by archaeologists. Lodged within a chunk of rock was the Apidima 1 specimen. It was found adjacent to a distorted 170,000 year old Neanderthal skull called Apidima 2. In the image below you can see how close in proximity the two specimens were discovered.... Continue Reading →

Seven Million Years of Human Evolution

This fascinating visual presentation from the American Museum of Natural History outlines what we know about human evolution by combining a timeline, a map, animation, photographs, and artistic representations of various hominins.

How did the Eastern Island Maoi Get 13-Ton Hats

One of my interests in the peopling of the Americas are the Easter Island maoi statues made by the Rapanui people. I've posted before about how they were moved. As if the moai themselves weren't impressive enough, a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science looks at how this preindustrial society put 13-ton hats or... Continue Reading →

A new paper in Nature Communications documents a strange bottleneck event occurring about 7,000 years ago, where the genetic diversity of the Y chromosome completely collapsed leaving about one male to 17 females. We all know the agricultural revolution happened around 12,000 years ago. Societies grew in size and many organized around patrilineal kinships. Turning... Continue Reading →

Growing ‘Mini-Brains’ With Neanderthal DNA

Svante Pääbo, director of the genetics department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany wants to grow brain organoids from human stem cells that are edited to contain "Neanderthalized" versions of several genes. These blobs of brain are incapable of thoughts or feelings, but replicate basic structures of the brain, such... Continue Reading →

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