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.

The Presence of the Frontal Opercula in Homo naledi

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 →

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 →

Denisovans & Modern Humans Introgressed At Least Twice

Sharon Browning and colleagues published a paper in Cell last week that shows there are uniquely different Denisovan genomes in the DNA of East Asian individuals, indicating that interbreeding with Homo sapiens happened in two independent episodes. See we already knew Aboriginal genomes from Australia and Papua New Guinea contain fragments of Denisovan DNA. Introgression of... Continue Reading →

As mentioned yesterday, Jebel Irhoud documents an early African Homo sapiens. The specimen represents mixture of archaic and modern features, such as an elongated braincase compared to the face and teeth, respectively. In a new paper published in Science Advances, researchers Simon Neubauer, Jean-Jacques Hublin and Philipp Gunz used CT scans to create virtual endocasts... Continue Reading →

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