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Image of the Week

A Modest Mussel Is Making Waves


Image: A mussel shell engraved by Homo erectus between 540,000 and 430,000 years ago Credit: Wim Lustenhouwer, VU University Amsterdam Source: Kate Wong’s World’s Oldest Engraving Upends Theory of Homo sapiens Uniqueness on Observations These scratches may not look like much but they predate the existence of our species, Homo sapiens, and upend any claim [...]

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Not bad science

Spiders sniff out humans

This is a jumping spider, and it is unusual in more ways than just its looks. The jumping spider, Evarcha culicivora, or the ‘vampire spider’ is the only animal which chooses its prey based on what the latter has just eaten: it attacks mosquitoes that have recently sucked blood, rather than other types of food.1 [...]

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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 [...]

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Vikings Spread the Humble House Mouse During Ancient Conquests

house mouse

Four-legged stowaways hitched a ride aboard the wooden 10th- and 11th-century Viking ships that braved the northern seas. The probably numerous passengers aboard hailed from Mus musculus domesticus, the small, fleet-of-foot rodent otherwise known simply as the house mouse. Opportunistic hangers-on have accompanied human migrations throughout history. From the louse to the mouse, scientists have [...]

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Not Neandertal: Genome from fossil fingers a new, recently extinct human

fossil human tooth from siberian cave might be from Denisovans

What can be gleaned from a fragment of a 30,000- to 50,000-year-old finger? With highly sensitive genetic sequencing technology, researchers now claim to have spotted a new form of extinct humans that were neither Neandertals nor modern humans. Meet the Denisovans, whose existence was deduced not from a skull or piecemeal skeleton, but mostly from [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Humans among the primates

A montage of modern primates. From left to right: human, tarsier, eastern gorilla, bonobo, orangutan, crested gibbon, capuchin, macaque, lemur. Image by Darren Naish.

It is not in the least bit controversial to picture humans* within the context of the placental mammal group that we belong to, the primates. Nor is it unusual for primatologists, anthropologists or biologists of other sorts to compare the anatomy, social or sexual behaviour, lifestyles or cognitive abilities of humans with those of other [...]

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