ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "human evolution"

@ScientificAmerican

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. [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Debate Flares over Identity of Celebrated Human Fossils

Australopithecus sediba lower jaws

CALGARY—In 2010 paleoanthropologists announced to great fanfare that they had recovered from a South African cave two partial skeletons of a previously unknown member of the human family that lived nearly two million years ago. The skeletons—a young male and an adult female referred to as MH1 and MH2, respectively–were said to exhibit a striking melange [...]

Keep reading »
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 [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

The Most Fascinating Human Evolution Discoveries of 2013

Sahelanthropus tchadensis

Wow. I’ve just spent the last couple days going through the paleoanthropology news that broke in 2013 and I must say it was a banner year. There were so many exciting new findings that bear on scientists’ understanding of just about every chapter of humanity’s seven-million-year saga—from our ancestors’ first upright steps to the peopling [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Space Ape Parody Shows Why Aquatic Ape Theory Is All Wet

chimp astronaut

This past weekend the misguided aquatic ape theory surfaced for air, only to get sunk in the most entertaining way.  The theory holds that many traits of humans—including our naked skin, upright posture and large brains–evolved as adaptations to living in an aquatic environment. But fossil and archaeological evidence simply does not support this scenario, [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Did Human Ancestors “Walk” Up Trees? [Video]

human ancestors walk tree

A new study suggests that we might be thinking about tree climbing in our recent ancestors all wrong. The traditional idea that our ancestors descended from the trees and gradually—and exclusively—began walking upright might be a gross over simplification. Fossil evidence from early hominins suggests that adaptations for tree climbing, such as long arms and [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

The Most Fascinating Human Evolution Discoveries of 2012

Australopithecus sediba skull

Recent years have brought considerable riches for those of us interested in human evolution and 2012 proved no exception. New fossils, archaeological finds and genetic analyses yielded thrilling insights into the shape of the family tree, the diets of our ancient predecessors, the origins of art and advanced weaponry, the interactions between early Homo sapiens [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Ode to the Last Neandertal [Video]

Gorham's Cave

On a recent visit to Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar I stood in the dark, damp recesses of the seaside limestone cavern and cried. I had come to see the site of the last known Neandertals, who lived here some 28,000 years ago. Situated on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar was a refuge [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

In Prehistoric Britain Cannibalism Was Practical and Ritualistic

Human fossil from Gough

BORDEAUX—Mealtime in Gough’s cave in Somerset, England, 14,700 years ago, was not for the faint of heart. Humans were on the menu, for consumption by their own kind. Anthropologists have long studied evidence for cannibalism in the human fossil record, but establishing that it occurred and ascertaining why people ate each other have proved difficult [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Caveman Couture: Neandertals Rocked Dark Feathers

Neandertal wearing feathers

GIBRALTAR—Jordi Rosell removes a thumbnail-size piece of reddish-tan bone from a sealed plastic bag, carefully places it under the stereomicroscope and invites me to have a look. Peering through the eyepieces I see two parallel lines etched in the specimen’s weathered surface. Tens of thousands of years ago, in one of the seaside caves located [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Was Australopithecus sediba Polygamous? Paleontologist Answers Reader Questions about New Early Human Fossils

Lee Berger

During a recent reporting trip to South Africa for a forthcoming feature article on a new fossil human species called Australopithecus sediba, I asked readers to submit their questions about this dazzling find. Inquiries about the nearly two-million-year-old hominin–which has been held up as a possible ancestor of our genus, Homo–came in via Twitter, Google Plus [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>

X

Email this Article

X