Homo naledi May Have Made Tools, Buried Dead, Lived Alongside Humans

A couple weeks ago, I introduced that H. naledi may be much younger than we thought it was. Razib's recent post points out three new eLife open access papers from Berger and Hawks that continues this discussion. These papers specifically document new remains from the Rising Star cave system and the dating of these remains. In 2013, the remains of 12... Continue Reading →

At last week's Biology of Genomes meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, Qiaomei Fu, a palaeogenomicist at Harvard Medical School, raised the concept that modern humans were mating with Neanderthals right near the time they became extinct. She and her team estimate that 5–11% of the genome of the 40,000 year old mandible from... Continue Reading →

A human skull found in 2009 and a jaw discovered in late 2010 from cave site known as Tam Pa Ling, Laos is the oldest modern human fossil found in Southeast Asia. We knew this back in a 2012 PNAS paper. The discovery pushes back modern human migration to that region by about 20,000 years... Continue Reading →

Evolution by Fire

For many years, the use of fire has been central to the discussion of human evolution. When was fire first controlled, and when was it first actually made by man? These are questions that rise again and again, but with scant early proof. Recently in the online journal Fire Ecology, an environmental scientist discusses what... Continue Reading →

Neandertal Social Groups

Very rarely is an entire family group of hominins buried and fossilized at the same time. It is even rarer for paleoanthropologists to discover such an assemblage. Fortunately for science but unfortunately for the hominins, caves occasionally collapsed on entire social groups. At a site known as El Sidrón in Spain, excavations have been ongoing... Continue Reading →

I Believe in Evolution

Do you believe in evolution?  Forty percent of Americans don't (more on that later).  A student asked me this question on day one of the first introductory anthropology class I ever taught.  I believe that any difficult-to-answer question is a good one, and this one baffled me with its simplicity. Short answer: yes, I believe... Continue Reading →

Hobbits Might Not Be A Homo After All

The controversies over the hobbits or Homo floresiensis just refuse to end. It seems that the hobbits might not be a Homo after all. I guess they found the index and ring fingers of the hobbits (Sorry, inside joke. Read this post if you want). Homo floresiensis (LB1) skull. Photo from Science Museum. Homo floresiensis,... Continue Reading →

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