Scientists from Leiden University and Delft University of Technology conducted compositional sediment analyses of a 50,000 year old Neanderthal site, Pech-de-l'Azé I in Dordogne in southwest France. Their results are published here.  They found these guys were deliberately selecting manganese dioxide to start fires, not for coloring. We do not know based off of the... Continue Reading →

There have been great debates about the lineage of Homo floresiensis. A new unpublished study in the Journal of Human Evolution used imaging to re-examine the layers of the Liang Bua 1 (nicknamed LB1) skull. lead author Antoine Balzeau, a scientist at France's Natural History Museum and Philippe Charlier, a physician and anthropologist at Paris-Descartes... Continue Reading →

Blombos Cave is an important site discovered in the '90's. It is about 300 km east of Cape Town, South Africa and has yielded phenomenal Middle Stone Age deposits dated at between 100,000 and 70,000 years ago as well as Later Stone Age sequence dated at between 2,000 and 300 years. A new paper in... Continue Reading →

Tattoos are becoming ubiquitous. The art of tattooing is ancient, but when it began is unknown. Written records date the art of tattooing back to fifth-century B.C. in Greece—and maybe centuries earlier in China. It is hard to ever know how old tattoos are. A paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports concludes that the Chinchorro... Continue Reading →

Researchers from Duke University have published a paper in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology. They scoured the scientific literature and compiled a database of sleeping patterns across hundreds of mammals including 21 species of primates -- from baboons and lemurs to orangutans, chimpanzees and people. They then used statistical techniques to account for each species’ position... Continue Reading →

A series of detailed reports on the Paleolithic site of Schöningen in north-central Germany which is best known for the earliest known, completely preserved wooden spear findings have been published online in the Journal of Human Evolution. Altogether, they present a picture of groups of prehistoric hunters who sojourned at sites in the Schöningen area... Continue Reading →

149 stone flakes, hammers and anvils, found off at the Lomekwi 3 site on the shores of Lake Turkana, appears to have been crafted more than 3.3 million years ago — 500,000 years before our genus Homo. The authors reported their findings in Nature this week. Sonia Harmand and her team accidentally stumbled upon the ancient artifacts after taking... Continue Reading →

My first understanding of Cahokia and pre-Columbian cities of the Americas came from the book 1491. Between 1050 and 1200 A.D., Cahokia was North America's largest and most prominent cultural center north of Mexico. It wielded economic power and religious influence from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. A new paper published in... Continue Reading →

Many cultures existed in Europe about 40-45,000 years ago. About 42,000 years ago, in southern Europe, the Protoaurignacian developed and the culture that followed marked a turning point in modern humanity. They made the earliest instruments, the earliest art, and possibly the first representation of a human figure. It has been hard to conclusively prove that the Protoaurignacians... Continue Reading →

Well this is kind of embarrassing but inconsequential... Gary Sawyer and Mike Smith at the AMNH began a reconstruction of Lucy with help from Scott Williams from NYU and noticed that one of the vertebra fragments is smaller than the other! A comparative study to other animal's vertebrae show that it more closely resembles a baboon's vertebrae.  This... Continue Reading →

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