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 →

What happens when you get a archaeologist, an ecologist, and a paleontologist to in the same room to look at old data with a new lens? You get, "Productivity, biodiversity, and pathogens influence the global hunter-gatherer population density," published in PNAS, where the influence of environmental conditions on the abundance of pre-industrial humans is investigated.... 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 →

Homo naledi, the mosaic of archaic and modern human, whose discovery two years ago was published in the journal Elife was touted to be around 3 million years old. New dating evidence places Homo naledi in the 300,000 to 200,000 time period where they could have have overlapped with early examples of our own kind, Homo sapiens. John Hawks, from the... Continue Reading →

Have you ever wondered what language sounded like in the past? In the mid-19th century, actually 1868, German linguist,  August Schleicher, published his Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages. Schleicher attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European language, or PIE, in the form of a fable, an auditory experiment, called “The Sheep and the Horses," or... Continue Reading →

Jolyana Begay-Kroupa (@jolyanab), a Stanford language lecturer, hopes to digitize 300 reels of tape, holding thousands of hours of Navajo oral history. These tapes were likely recorded in the '60's, on reels, perhaps 1968, when funding from the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity – was used to begin recording oral histories. Misplaced and never cataloged, only to... Continue Reading →

The team behind Ötzi the Iceman reconstructed his vocal cords using a series of CT scans. They announced the project back in February. After recontrustrion of the length of the larynx, they then ran that data through mathematical models and special software to simulate how the vocal tract works. The result—presented yesterday at a conference is a rough... Continue Reading →

In two papers published in the South African Journal of Science, researchers say they've found the oldest definitive evidence of malignancy in a hominid. Prior to this discovery, the oldest known hominin tumor was found in the rib of a Neanderthal dating back to around 120,000 years ago.

Neanderthal remains from Troisième Caverne in Goyet, Belgium have cut marks that imply they were butchered and processed for consumption similar to remains of reindeer and horse from the same site. With most of the bone fragments are from the tibia and femur bones, the researchers hypothesized those were consumed for their higher in meat... Continue Reading →

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