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.
When it comes to the evolution of the human brain, size isn't everything. In fact, shape is a huge determinant. A new study from Hawks in PNAS suggests that morphology may proceeded size in the evolution of hominin brains. Hawks and team performed a comparative anatomy study of Homo and Australopithecus brains based on endocasts. Endocasts... Continue Reading →
No one knows exactly the population of Native Americans when contact with Europeans occured. There are some estimates claiming there were 18 million in North America and upwards to 40 million in the combined continents. It’s estimated that the population in the Americas dropped by almost 90% within a few hundred years after the arrival of... Continue Reading →
A very cool series of three studies were published several days ago in Science and Nature that I just have to share. The punchline is ultimately how ancient DNA helps us understand how the horsemen Huns & Mongols of Eurasia supplanted sedentary Indo-European with Hepatitis B and other communicable diseases. Books like the Horse, Wheel... Continue Reading →
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 →
The Bajau people of Indonesia are known as "Sea Nomads," because we've known that for thousands of years they live in houseboats, sustaining their diets after spending hours each day hunting fish or other sea creatures underwater. Bajau divers can spend up to 13 minutes free diving to 70 m depths underwater all with only... Continue Reading →
Earlier this year we learned about the Misliya maxilla which pushed our understanding of out of Africa by 50,000 years. Last week, the discovery of a 87,000-year-old human intermediate phalanx (Al Wusta-1 (AW-1)) from the Nefud desert in Saudi Arabia was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The importance of both discoveries show that modern humans existed outside Africa... Continue Reading →
In 2015 the first African ancient genome of 4,500-year-old human remains found in Ethiopia were published. Now more ancient Africa DNA has been found and published. The study I am referring to came out in Science which outlines the findings of seven 15,000-year-old modern humans from Morocco. This paper now holds the results of the oldest human DNA ever... Continue Reading →
We've been quite limited by our ancient DNA of Neanderthals due to limited sample size from the fossil record and then compounded with degradation and contamination of DNA. Last week, Nature, published a fantastic article ultimately from Svante Pääbo and Janet Kelso on a novel way to extract more DNA from less fossil sample; using... Continue Reading →
The New York Times published a Sunday Review that I think you all will find a balanced opinion on genetics and race.