A complete 1.8 million year old skull found from Dmanisi, Georgia could be evidence that early hominids are actually all members of a single species. Researchers published their analysis in Science today and argue that the skull’s combination of primitive and more evolved features, such as a small braincase (546 cubic cm) with a large... Continue Reading →

The Diversity of the African Genome & Traces of an Unknown Hominin

The most comprehensive look at the genome of Africans is published in the journal Cell today. The paper titled, "Evolutionary History and Adaptation from High-Coverage Whole-Genome Sequences of Diverse African Hunter-Gatherers," focused on three hunter-gatherer populations; Pygmies from Cameroon and two groups from Tanzania, the Khoesan-speaking Hadza and Sandawe. The publication covered each of the genomes of five... Continue Reading →

Complete Denisova Genome Released

We've covered the mitochondrial genome of the Denisova individual 2 years ago, back in March 2010. For those not familiar with the Denisova hominin, this specimen represents an archaic human species present at least 41,000 years ago - coexisting with Neandertals and modern humans in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. The species is represented by a tooth and phalange. A draft... Continue Reading →

Anthropocene Now?

By Jay Fancher To paraphrase Carl Sagan, science has a way of deflating human conceits.  Anthropology reveals that humans are special - just not for many of the reasons proposed throughout our history.  Thanks to biology, astronomy, and geology, we now know that: Modern humans are one species among many, not the pinnacle of all... Continue Reading →

The Arched Metatarsal of Australopithecus afarensis

Carol Ward1, William Kimbel, and Donald Johanson have published a paper in Science on the arch seen in a newly discovered fourth metatarsal of Australopithecus afarensis (AL 333-160). A lot of the popular press are publishing misleading headlines that this proves bipedalism in australopithecines. No, we've known they were bipedal -- we just didn't have... Continue Reading →

125,000 Year Old Hand Axes From Jebel Faya, UAE

Hans-Peter Uerpmann of the University of Tubingen has lead a team excavating the Jebel Faya site in the United Arab Emirates, right near the Straits of Hormuz. They've found 125,000 year old stone tools that look like early modern human tools from East Africa around the same time. They've published their findings in today's Science,... Continue Reading →

Is the Neandertal Nose Adapted to Cold?

Neandertals have long been touted as a species with “hyperarctic” adaptations. Their stout proportions and shortened distal limb segments are often explained to conserve heat. Similarly, the Neandertal cranium is traditionally said to be cold adapted. An article released on December 22nd in the Journal of Human Evolution challenges these traditional notions, specifically those about... Continue Reading →

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