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Posts Tagged "human evolution"

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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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Bering in Mind

A Good Man Is Hard to Find, So Here’s an (Evolutionary) Tip

We’re herd animals… especially the female members of our species when it comes to their dating instincts. That’s the conclusion one might reasonably draw from the results of a new study in press at the journal Human Nature. In it, psychologists Ryan Anderson and Michele Surbey from James Cook University in Australia showcase a common—but [...]

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Bering in Mind

Voices Carry (Signals of Your Sexual Intent and Reproductive Value)

If you really want to know if someone is into you – as in, wants to have your babies – never mind what they say. It’s all in how they say it. A team of researchers led by Juan David Leongómez, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, has discovered that certain “paralingual” features of [...]

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Observations

The Fossil That Revolutionized the Search for Human Origins: A Q&A with Lucy Discoverer Donald Johanson

Don Johanson and Maurice Taieb with Lucy

Forty years ago today, a young American paleoanthropologist named Donald Johanson made the discovery of a lifetime in the arid badlands of Ethiopia’s remote Afar region: a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton of a small-brained creature that walked upright like we do. It was a primitive hominin, a member of the human family. To scientists it is known [...]

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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

Did Climate Shocks Shape Human Evolution? [Video]

In a video, noted scientists debate the connections between ancient climate changes and the emergence of modern human traits.

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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 [...]

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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

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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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, [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

De Loys’ Ape and what to do with it

Ameranthropoides imagined as a 'real' platyrrhine primate: image by C. M. Kosemen, from the 2013 book Cryptozoologicon Volume I (Conway et al. 2013).

Purely because the time feels about right, I thought I’d post an excerpt from the cryptozoology-themed book that John Conway, Memo Kosemen and myself published last year – Cryptozoologicon Volume I (Conway et al. 2013). The book is still available for purchase here; previously featured excerpts are linked to at the bottom of this article, [...]

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