Category Archives: Human Evolution

When did we become fully human? What fossils and DNA tell us about the evolution of modern intelligence

When did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there's remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around 300,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archeology—tools, artifacts, cave art—suggest that complex technology and cultures, "behavioral modernity," evolved more recently: 50,000-65,000 years ago. Some scientists interpret this…
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Humans and monkeys show similar thinking patterns

Humans and monkeys may not speak the same lingo, but our ways of thinking are a lot more similar than previously thought, according to new research from UC Berkeley, Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University. In experiments on 100 study participants across age groups, cultures and species, researchers found that indigenous Tsimane' people in Bolivia's…
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When three species of human ancestor walked the Earth

An international team, including Arizona State University researcher Gary Schwartz, have unearthed the earliest known skull of Homo erectus, the first of our ancestors to be nearly human-like in their anatomy and aspects of their behavior. Years of painstaking excavation at the fossil-rich site of Drimolen, nestled within the Cradle of Humankind (a UNESCO World Heritage…
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Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed

An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed. The findings, published today in the journal Science Advances, are based on years…
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Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, new research shows

Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, substantially earlier than indicated by most DNA-based estimates, according to new research by a UCL academic. The research, published in Science Advances, analysed dental evolutionary rates across different hominin species, focusing on early Neanderthals. It shows that the teeth of hominins from Sima de los Huesos,…
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Neanderthals walked upright just like the humans of today

Neanderthals are often depicted as having straight spines and poor posture. However, these prehistoric humans were more similar to us than many assume. University of Zurich researchers have shown that Neanderthals walked upright just like modern humans -- thanks to a virtual reconstruction of the pelvis and spine of a very well-preserved Neanderthal skeleton found…
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Human mutation rate has slowed recently

Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, and Copenhagen Zoo have discovered that the human mutation rate is significantly slower than for our closest primate relatives. The new knowledge may be important for estimates of when the common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees lived -- and for conservation of large primates in the wild. Over the past…
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Artificial intelligence applied to the genome identifies an unknown human ancestor

By combining deep learning algorithms and statistical methods, investigators from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG) of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Institute of Genomics at the University of Tartu have identified, in the genome of Asian individuals, the footprint of a new hominid who…
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