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Posts Tagged "Homo sapiens"

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Popular special edition adapted for eBook format: Becoming Human: Our Past, Present and Future*

Becoming Human cover

We humans are a strange bunch. We have self-awareness and yet often act on impulses that remain hidden. We were forged in adversity but live in a world of plenty. Who are we? What is to become of us? To these age-old questions, science has in recent years brought powerful tools and reams of data. [...]

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Culturing Science

Urban ecology doesn’t have enough humans in it

citynature2

When you read the word “nature,” what do you think of? Maybe you imagine a dark wood with sunlight reaching a mottled floor of foliage, thrushes singing and chipmunks hopping. Maybe you peer through grassy dunes at sanderlings running back and forth in the surf , occasionally halting to frantically peck at the sand. Or [...]

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Observations

Ancient Indonesian Cave Paintings Force Rethink of Art’s Origin

Cave painting of a babirusa

Archaeologists have determined that artwork found in limestone caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is far older than previously thought. First documented in the 1950s, the images–stencils of human hands and depictions of animals—were assumed to be less than 10,000 years old. Paintings older than that would not survive in such a tropical environment, [...]

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Observations

Sex with Neandertals Introduced Helpful and Harmful DNA into the Modern Human Genome

Neandertal skull

Over the past few years a number of studies of ancient and contemporary genomes have reached the same stunning conclusion: early human species interbred, and people today carry DNA from archaic humans, including the Neandertals, as a result of those interspecies trysts. Now two new analyses of modern human genomes are providing insights into how [...]

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Observations

Finding My Inner Neandertal

Odds are you carry DNA from a Neandertal, Denisovan or some other archaic human. Just a few years ago such a statement would have been virtually unthinkable. For decades evidence from genetics seemed to support the theory that anatomically modern humans arose as a new species in a single locale in Africa and subsequently spread [...]

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Observations

Human Ancestors Made Deadly Stone-Tipped Spears 500,000 Years Ago

Reproductions of ancient spears

Human ancestors were fashioning sophisticated hunting weapons half a million years ago. An analysis of stone points from a site in South Africa called Kathu Pan 1 indicates that they were attached to shafts of wood and used as spears. The finding pushes the earliest appearance of hafted multicomponent tools back by some 200,000 years. [...]

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Observations

Oldest Arrowheads Hint at How Modern Humans Overtook Neandertals

Tiny stone points from Pinnacle Point

Archaeologists excavating a cave on the southern coast of South Africa have recovered remains of the oldest known complex* projectile weapons. The tiny stone blades, which were probably affixed to wooden shafts for use as arrows, date to 71,000 years ago and represent a sophisticated technological tradition that endured for thousands of years. The discovery [...]

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