New research shows that all present-day non-Africans can trace their origins to a single wave of migrants who left Africa 72,000 years ago, and that indigenous Australians and Papuans are descended directly from the first people to inhabit the continent some 50,000 years ago. That makes them world’s longest running…
Centuries before the Black Death decimated the population of Western Europe, an earlier plague epidemic took out over 50 million people (about 15 percent of the population) in the Byzantine empire. A team of German scientists has confirmed that the two plagues were caused by the same bacterium, albeit genetically…
The world’s most famous human ancestor, an extinct hominid named Lucy, died after falling from a tall tree, according to scientists. It’s a revelation that points to tree-dwelling behavior in recent evolutionary history, but some scientists aren’t convinced.
Archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of ancient stone tools at a dig near Azraq, Jordan, some of which still contain traces of animal residue. A number of food items on this bona fide paleolithic menu will be familiar to the modern eater, while others, well, not so much.
Two recent recent discoveries, of a 1.7 million-year-old cancerous foot bone and a 2 million-year-old vertebrae ravaged by tumors, show that cancer has been bothering us for a while. So it’s not strictly a modern disease.
Meet Pliobates catalonia, an extinct species of ape that roamed the jungles of Catalonia some 11.5 million years ago. Because of this ancient creature’s many surprising physical characteristics, researchers are having to revise their conceptions of what the last common ancestor of all living apes—humans included—might…
Researchers working in Kenya's archaeologically prolific Lake Turkana region claim to have uncovered a set of 3.3-million-year-old stone tools. That's 700,000 years older than the previous record, and predates evidence for the evolutionary origins of the genus Homo by half a million years.
Archaeologists have identified a remarkable piece of Neanderthal jewelry comprised of eight white-tailed eagle talons. Worn 130,000 years ago, the discovery shows that Neanderthals were capable of making sophisticated ornaments long before modern humans appeared on the scene.
In 1998, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger teamed up with National Geographic to create a blog about his team's search for humanity's origins in Africa. The site (or, at least, parts of it) is still live.
The recent discovery of 50,000-year-old human faecal remains in a Spanish cave shows that Neanderthals, in addition to consuming meat, ate lots of vegetables. It's the best proof yet that Neanderthals were omnivores — a diet that modern paleo-eaters will find very familiar.
You know what's rare? Woolly mammoth skeletons. You know what's even rarer? Beautifully preserved, near-complete, French woolly mammoth skeletons. Archaeologists just dug up the latter.
Homo erectus was not alone in ancient Africa. Newly discovered fossil evidence, detailed in the latest issue of Nature, strongly suggests that no fewer than three distinct species of early humans from the genus Homo co-existed on the continent between 1.7 and 2 million years ago.
Neanderthals may have been our closest evolutionary ancestors, but they had at least one feature that alway set them apart from early humans: their incredibly large noses. But just why Neanderthals had such huge noses is an enduring evolutionary mystery.
It turns out humanity has been almost wiped out a few times in our distant past. How did it happen, and what does it mean for the future of human evolution?