Here is your daily reminder that humans are just one animal among many that have existed on Earth, and that our species’ history is minute compared to the history of the rest of our planet.
Archaeologist Stephen Munro nearly fell off his chair when he noticed patterns of straight lines purposefully etched on a fossilized clamshell. The engravings were half a million years old, which meant they'd been made by a Homo erectus—an extinct human species that predated Homo sapiens by upwards of 300,000 years.
For the next month, the Journal of Zoology's special issue on paleoethology (the study of how extinct species behaved) is totally free to read (and download).
Two million years ago in South Africa, part-human and part-ape-like individuals existed — and now we know what they looked like and how they behaved: They had a primitive, pigeon-toed gait, human-like front teeth, ate mostly veggies and spent a lot of time swinging in the trees.
The Khoe-San people of Southern Africa have long been argued as one of the oldest distinct populations in the world — but it wasn't until now that we realized just how long ago that split actually happened.
If you hail from outside of Africa, there's a decent chance that you share as much as 4% of your DNA with a long-extinct lineage of Neanderthals. Many scientists agree that this small percentage of shared genetic information is evidence that humans and Neanderthals interbred with one another in Europe tens of…
This skull has a weird mix of ancient and modern traits. It was discovered in a cave in southwest China and dates to between 14,500 and 11,500 years ago. And it might represent the newest humanoid species to coexist with humans.
Over the past decade, you may have noticed more and more articles referring to "hominins" rather than "hominids." Just why are Homo sapiens and her ancestors now called hominins? The answer isn't just semantic — it has to do with a revolution in the way evolutionary biologists perceive humans' place in the tree of…
From law-violating subatomic particles to entirely new, earth-like worlds, 2011 was an incredible year for scientific discovery. In the past 12 months, scientific breakthroughs in fields ranging from archaeology to structural biochemistry have allowed humanity to rewrite history, and enabled us to open to brand new…
Abalone shell-you can see some of the ochre rich deposit. Image: Science/AAAS
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient workshop that was used by early homo-sapiens to make, mix and store ochre. It's the oldest "art workshop" ever uncovered.
Shellfish has a surprisingly important place in our evolutionary story. One theory says shellfish fueled the expansion of our brains, while another gives it credit for saving our species. Turns out Neanderthals liked shellfish just as much as we did.
We know that as ancient humans expanded into Eurasia, they began interbreeding with our Neanderthal cousins. But it now appears that the fun didn't start there - our ancestors also reproduced with precursors like Homo erectus and Homo habilis.
Modern humans spend significantly less time feeding than non-human primates. You spend an average of 5% of your waking hours consuming food, while your typical chimpanzee spends upwards of 33%. And it's all because of cooking. Now, newly published research suggests that our ancestors' abilities to whip up a hot meal…
Late last year, we learned that early humans and Neanderthals once shared Eurasia with a third hominin group, known as Denisovans. Now, the new discovery of a Denisovan toe bone might indicate that these three hominin groups were pretty much constantly interbreeding.
The evidence has been mounting for years that early humans and Neanderthals interbred, but now it's pretty much a certainty. Part of the X chromosome found in people from outside Africa originally comes from our Neanderthal cousins.
There's still a lot we don't know about our evolutionary history, but one generally agreed upon point is that humans originated in eastern Africa, around what's now Ethiopia. But a new genetic study suggests we came from somewhere else entirely.
A Neanderthal burial site in Italy reveals hundreds of bird bones mixed in with those of our hominid cousins. The bones had the feathers scraped off, as though the Neanderthals had removed them on purpose - and the only plausible reason they would do that is to wear the feathers. It's more evidence that Neanderthals…
One of the traits that gave humans an evolutionary advantage was their ability to run for long distances. It helped humans catch energy-rich meat to grow big brains. It also looks like it helped us leave Neanderthals in the dust.