Category Archives: Anthropology

A new human species? Mystery surrounds 300,000-year-old fossil

Nature reports: A fossilized jawbone discovered in a cave in eastern China bears a curious mix of ancient and modern features, according to a detailed analysis that compares it with dozens of other human specimens. The finding, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, indicates that the 300,000-year-old bone could have belonged to an as-yet… Read More »

What humans can learn from Neanderthals

Michael Segalov writes: “We might not know much about Neanderthals,” [says Ludovic Slimak], “but through what they created, we can see something incredible. When you take Home Sapien tools made of flint, spanning tens of thousands of years, in different parts of the world, they’re always the same. Standardised. It can’t be cultural.” There was… Read More »

It’s reassuring to think humans are evolution’s ultimate destination – but research shows we may be an accident

The Cambrian explosion, about 530 million years ago, was when most of the major groups of animals first appear in the fossil record. canbedone/Shutterstock By Matthew Wills, University of Bath and Marcello Ruta, University of Lincoln Depending upon how you do the counting, there are around 9 million species on Earth, from the simplest single-celled… Read More »

New analysis suggests human ancestors nearly died out

Ars Technica reports: Multiple lines of evidence indicate that modern humans evolved within the last 200,000 years and spread out of Africa starting about 60,000 years ago. Before that, however, the details get a bit complicated. We’re still arguing about which ancestral population might have given rise to our lineage. Somewhere about 600,000 years ago,… Read More »

As men told hunting stories, women hunted

The New York Times reports: It’s often viewed as a given: Men hunted, women gathered. After all, the anthropological reasoning went, men were naturally more aggressive, whereas the slower pace of gathering was ideal for women, who were mainly focused on caretaking. “It’s not something I questioned,” said Sophia Chilczuk, a recent graduate of Seattle… Read More »