Anthropology, News

Earliest baboon found in a cave littered with hominid fossils

Olive baboon

A beautifully preserved skull fragment belonging to the earliest baboon species was found in a South African cave. The site in Malapa has constantly offered archaeologists and anthropologists plenty of work, since it was populated by various hominid species across millions of years. In fact, it is here that scientists discovered a distinct hominid species, Australopithecus sediba, for the first time. Apart from the ancient baboon, no other non-hominid animal was found in the cave.

Anthropology, Archaeology, News

Scientists find 1.85 million year old human-like bone

The hand is one of the critical features distinguishing humans, and even a 3.6 cm(1.5-inch), two-million-year-old fragment provides valuable clues. Image credits: M. Domínguez-Rodrigo.

Anthropologists have discovered the oldest known fossil of a bone resembling that of humans; the 1.85 million year old bone is the oldest evidence of a ‘modern’ hand and suggests that ancient humans may have been much larger than previously thought. A key feature that distinguishes humans from other species is the ability to create and use tools. But in order to

Anthropology, Biology, News

Bonobos use flexible “baby communication”

Bonobo (Pan paniscus) mother and infant at Lola ya Bonobo

Researchers have found that just like babies, bonobos exhibit a type of communication in which they use the same sound with different intonations to say different things. They use these high pitch “peeps” to express their emotions.

Anthropology, Archaeology, News

Amateur archaeologists find 560,000 year old human tooth

Volunteer archaeologists Camille and Valentin pose for the cameras in the Arago cave. Camille, 16, found the adult tooth, which dates back 565,000 years

A half a million year old human tooth was discovered in France in a place called Tautavel, one of Europe’s most important prehistoric caves. Anthropologists hailed the discovery as an extremely important one, with chief researcher Tony Chevalier calling it a “major discovery”.

Agriculture, Anthropology, History, News, Science

And then i threw it on the ground: first signs of farming come from the middle east, some 23,000 years ago

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Who, where and when “invented” farming? A new study pushes back the advent of farming by a couple of thousand years.

Anthropology, Archaeology, News

The golden enigma: archaeologists find trove of mysterious golden spirals

Bronze Age gold spirals found in Boeslund, 900-700 BC. Credit: Morten Petersen / Zealand Museum.

A team of archaeologists working in Denmark have made a puzzling discovery: they found nearly 2,000 spectacular gold spirals dating from the Bronze age. The reason why they were made, especially in such a large number, is a mystery and the trove baffled scientists. The spirals are made from pure gold, hammered down to just 0.1 millimeters thick, and measure up to

Anthropology, Genetics, News

The first Americans came from Russia’s frozen expanse, Siberia, some 23,000 years ago

This map shows the outlines of modern Siberia (left) and Alaska (right) with dashed lines. The broader area in darker green (now covered by ocean) represents the Bering land bridge near the end of the last glacial maximum, a period that lasted from 28,000 to 18,000 years ago when sea levels were low and ice sheets extended south into what is now the northern part of the lower 48 states. University of Utah anthropologist Dennis O'Rourke argues in the Feb. 28 issue of the journal Science that the ancestors of Native Americans migrated from Asia onto the Bering land bridge or "Beringia" some 25,000 years ago and spent 10,000 years there until they began moving into the Americas 15,000 years ago as the ice sheets melted.
Credit: Wlliam Manley, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado

The first humans to reach the Americas came from Siberia in a single group some 23,000 years ago, at the height of the last Ice Age, says the new study. On their way to Alaska, they hanged around in the northern regions for a few thousands of years before moving deeper into North and South America.

Anthropology, News

An ancient monkey skull hints to how primate brains might have evolved

The brain scan of the monkey skull

Duke University researchers made micro CT scans of the skull of ancient monkey and found its brain, though tiny by modern standards, was far more complex than previously thought. The fossils, discovered in Kenya in 1997, belong to a monkey ancestor who lived some 15 million years ago.

Anatomy, Anthropology, News

Bonobo anatomy offers clues on how our body evolved

Claudine Andre, the founder of Lola ya bonobo, and the “friends of the bonobos of the Congo’, an NGO which works in DRC with Timbo, one of her best bonobo friends. Photo courtesy of Christian Ziegler.

A pair of anthropologists compared the anatomical features o bonobos to those of homo sapiens and other apes to infer any clues that might help us understand how we evolved to look the way we do.

Anthropology, News

Leaving the nest: early humans migrated from Africa through North, rather than South

spreading homo sapiens

Archaic homo sapiens left Africa, the wellspring of humanity, some 60,000 years ago migrating North, via a route passing through what is known today as Egypt, rather than South, through the Arabian Peninsula, as previously proposed. The findings were reported by an international team of researchers which used novel techniques to produce whole-genome sequences from 225 people from modern Egypt and Ethiopia (six modern Northeast African populations). This is far from the last word, but the picture the researchers paint seems to be consistent with other evidence, such as early human-made tools and human fossils found on the proposed route (Israel), and is in better agreement with what we already know about the genetic mixture of all non-Africans with Neanderthals.