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Stanford scientists link Neanderthal extinction to human diseases
Complex disease transmission patterns could explain why it took tens of thousands of years after first contact for our ancestors to replace Neanderthals throughout Europe and Asia. (2019-11-07)

Study reveals that humans migrated from Europe to the Levant 40,000 years ago
Researchers from Tel Aviv University, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Ben-Gurion University now report that Aurignacians, culturally sophisticated yet mysterious early humans, migrated from Europe to the Levant some 40,000 years ago, shedding light on a significant era in the region's history. (2019-11-05)

The last Neanderthal necklace
For the first time, researchers found evidence of the ornamental uses of eagle talons in the Iberian Peninsula. An article in the cover of Science Advances and led by Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo, researcher at the IDEA and member of the research team in a project of the SERP of the UB, talks about the findings, that widen the temporary limits estimated for this kind of Neanderthal ornaments. (2019-11-01)

New study on early human fire acquisition squelches debate
'Fire was presumed to be the domain of Homo sapiens but now we know that other ancient humans like Neanderthals could create it,' says Daniel Adler of UConn. (2019-10-25)

Modern Melanesians harbor beneficial DNA from archaic hominins
Modern Melanesians harbor beneficial genetic variants that they inherited from archaic Neanderthal and Denisovan hominins, according to a new study. (2019-10-17)

Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed
An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed. (2019-10-16)

Insight into competitive advantage of modern humans over Neanderthals
A team of Japanese and Italian researchers, including from Tohoku University, have evidenced mechanically delivered projectile weapons in Europe dating to 45,000-40,000 years -- more than 20,000 years than previously thought. This study indicated that the spearthrower and bow-and-arrow technologies allowed modern humans to hunt more successfully than Neanderthals -- giving them a competitive advantage. This discovery offered important insight to understand the reasons for the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans. (2019-09-29)

Dishing the dirt on an early man cave
Fossil animal droppings, charcoal from ancient fires and bone fragments litter the ground of one of the world's most important human evolution sites, new research reveals. A team of Russian and Australian scientists have used modern geoarchaeological techniques to unearth new details of day-to-day life in the famous Denisova Cave complex in Siberia's Altai Mountains. (2019-09-26)

One species, many origins
In a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, a group of researchers argue that our evolutionary past must be understood as the outcome of dynamic changes in connectivity, or gene flow, between early humans scattered across Africa. Viewing past human populations as a succession of discrete branches on an evolutionary tree may be misleading, they said, because it reduces the human story to a series of 'splitting times' which may be illusory. (2019-09-23)

Did a common childhood illness take down the neanderthals?
A new study suggests that the extinction of Neanderthals may be tied to persistent, life-long ear infections due to the structure of their Eustachian tubes, which are similar to those of human infants. (2019-09-19)

First glimpse at what ancient Denisovans may have looked like, using DNA methylation data
Exactly what our ancient Denisovan relatives might have looked like had been anyone's guess for a simple reason: the entire collection of Denisovan remains includes a pinky bone, three teeth, and a lower jaw. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Cell have produced reconstructions of these long-lost relatives based on patterns of methylation in their ancient DNA. (2019-09-19)

Long lost human relative unveiled
Many people are familiar with the existence of Neanderthals, the humanoid species that was a precursor to modern humans, but far less is known Denisovans, a similar group that were contemporaries to the Neanderthals and who died out approximately 50,000 years ago. Today, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers Professor Liran Carmel and Dr. David Gokhman unveiled a reconstruction of a Denisovan girl based on patterns of methylation (chemical changes) in their ancient DNA. (2019-09-19)

Scientists solve lingering mystery of poorly understood frog
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at McMaster University, has solved a centuries-old mystery of 'Fraser's Clawed Frog', an unusual and elusive species found in West Africa. (2019-09-11)

What the noggin of modern humans' ancestor would have looked like
Despite having lived about 300,000 years ago, the oldest ancestor of all members of our species had a surprisingly modern skull -- as suggested by a model created by CNRS researcher Aurélien Mounier and Cambridge University professor Marta Mirazón Lahr. After comparing the virtually rendered skull to five African fossil specimens contemporaneous with the first appearance of Homo sapiens, the two researchers posit that our species emerged through interbreeding of South and East African populations. (2019-09-10)

Denisovan finger bone more closely resembles modern human digits than Neanderthals
Scientists have identified the missing part of a finger bone fragment from the Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, revealing that Denisovans -- an early human population discovered when the original fragment was genetically sequenced in 2010 -- had fingers indistinguishable from modern humans despite being more closely related to Neanderthals. This finding uncovers an (2019-09-04)

Humans migrated to Mongolia much earlier than previously believed
Stone tools uncovered in Mongolia by an international team of archaeologists indicate that modern humans traveled across the Eurasian steppe about 45,000 years ago. (2019-08-16)

Neanderthals commonly suffered from 'swimmer's ear'
Abnormal bony growths in the ear canal were surprisingly common in Neanderthals, according to a study published Aug. 14, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Erik Trinkaus of Washington University and colleagues. (2019-08-14)

Maternal secrets of our earliest ancestors unlocked
New research brings to light for the first time the evolution of maternal roles and parenting responsibilities in one of our oldest evolutionary ancestors. Australopithecus africanus mothers breastfed their infants for the first 12 months after birth, and continued to supplement their diets with breastmilk during periods of food shortage. Tooth chemistry analyses enable scientists to 'read' more than two-million-year-old teeth. Finding demonstrates why early human ancestors had fewer offspring and extended parenting role. (2019-07-15)

Ancient molar points to interbreeding between archaic humans and Homo sapiens in Asia
An analysis of a 160,000-year-old archaic human molar fossil discovered in China offers the first morphological evidence of interbreeding between archaic humans and Homo sapiens in Asia. (2019-07-08)

Neanderthals used resin 'glue' to craft their stone tools
Archaeologists working in two Italian caves have discovered some of the earliest known examples of ancient humans using an adhesive on their stone tools -- an important technological advance called 'hafting.' (2019-06-26)

Ancient DNA analysis adds chapter to the story of neanderthal migrations
After managing to obtain DNA from two 120,000-year-old European Neandertals, researchers report that these specimens are more genetically similar to Neandertals that lived in Europe 80,000 year later than they are to a Neandertal of similar age found in Siberia. The findings, which reveal a stable, 80,000-year ancestry for European Neandertals, also suggest that this group may have migrated east and replaced some Siberian Neandertal populations. (2019-06-26)

Dark centers of chromosomes reveal ancient DNA
Geneticists exploring the dark heart of the human genome have discovered big chunks of Neanderthal and other ancient DNA. The results open new ways to study both how chromosomes behave during cell division and how they have changed during human evolution. (2019-06-18)

Homo sapiens may have had several routes of dispersal across Asia in the Late Pleistocene
Homo sapiens may have had a variety of routes to choose from while dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene Epoch, according to a study released May 29, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Feng Li of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and colleagues. (2019-05-29)

Declining fertility rates may explain Neanderthal extinction, suggests new model
A new hypothesis for Neanderthal extinction supported by population modelling is put forward in a new study by Anna Degioanni from Aix Marseille Université, France and colleagues, published May 29, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. (2019-05-29)

Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago
Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, substantially earlier than indicated by most DNA-based estimates, according to new research by a UCL academic. (2019-05-15)

Need for social skills helped shape modern human face
As large-brained, short-faced hominins, our faces are different from other, now extinct hominins (such as the Neanderthals) and our closest living relatives (bonobos and chimpanzees), but how and why did the modern human face evolve this way? (2019-04-15)

The history of humanity in your face
The skull and teeth provide a rich library of changes that we can track over time, describing the history of evolution of our species. Prime factors in the changing structure of the face include a growing brain and adaptations to respiratory and energy demands, but most importantly, changes in the jaw, teeth and face responded to shifts in diet and feeding behavior. (2019-04-15)

Ancient DNA reveals new branches of the Denisovan family tree
A study examining DNA fragments passed down from these ancient hominins to modern people living in Island Southeast Asia and New Guinea now suggests that the ancestry of Papuans includes not just one but two distinct Denisovan lineages, separated from each other for hundreds of thousands of years. The findings, based on a new collection of genome data from the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, Indonesia, appear April 11 in the journal Cell. (2019-04-11)

Woolly mammoths and Neanderthals may have shared genetic traits
A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that the genetic profiles of two extinct mammals with African ancestry -- woolly mammoths and Neanderthals -- shared molecular characteristics of adaptation to cold environments. (2019-04-08)

Two genes explain variation in color and behavior in the wall lizard
How are reptiles capable of generating such a diversity of bright colors? And how is it possible that within a single population of the same species, different individuals exhibit strikingly different coloration patterns? In a new paper published in the journal PNAS an international team of scientists, led by researchers from CIBIO/InBIO (University of Porto) and Uppsala University, reveal two genes implicated in yellow to red pigmentation in reptiles, and demonstrate that these 'pigmentation genes' also affect behavior and other traits. (2019-03-01)

Neanderthals walked upright just like the humans of today
Neanderthals are often depicted as having straight spines and poor posture. However, these prehistoric humans were more similar to us than many assume. University of Zurich researchers have shown that Neanderthals walked upright just like modern humans -- thanks to a virtual reconstruction of the pelvis and spine of a very well-preserved Neanderthal skeleton found in France. (2019-02-25)

Over 800 new genome regions possibly relevant to human evolution identified
Researchers at the UAB have found genetic evidence of adaptations in 2,859 regions of the human genome, including some well-known examples such as those responsible for milk tolerance or high-altitude adaptation. The data is part of the PopHumanScan project, an exhaustive catalog of regions that show evidence of natural selection in the human genome. (2019-02-04)

How new species emerge
International research team reconstructs the evolutionary history of baboons. (2019-01-31)

Modern humans replaced Neanderthals in southern Spain 44,000 years ago
The University of Cordoba, in collaboration with the University of Granada, participated in an international study published today in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, proving that Neanderthals were replaced by modern humans in southern Iberia 5,000 years before than previously thought (2019-01-30)

New studies reveal deep history of archaic humans in southern Siberia
Oxford University scientists have played a key role in new research identifying the earliest evidence of some of the first known humans -- Denisovans and Neanderthals, in southern Siberia. (2019-01-30)

Neanderthal hunting spears could kill at a distance
Neanderthals have been imagined as the inferior cousins of modern humans, but a new study by archaeologists at UCL reveals for the first time that they produced weaponry advanced enough to kill at a distance. (2019-01-25)

Human mutation rate has slowed recently
Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, and Copenhagen Zoo have discovered that the human mutation rate is significantly slower than for our closest primate relatives. The new knowledge may be important for estimates of when the common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees lived -- and for conservation of large primates in the wild. (2019-01-22)

A surprisingly early replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans in southern Spain
A new study of Bajondillo Cave (Málaga, Spain) reveals that modern humans replaced Neanderthals at this site approximately 44,000 years ago. The research shows that the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans in southern Iberia began early, rather than late, in comparison to the rest of Western Europe. (2019-01-21)

Body-painting protects against bloodsucking insects
A study by researchers from Sweden and Hungary shows that white, painted stripes on the body protect skin from insect bites. It is the first time researchers have successfully shown that body-painting has this effect. Among indigenous peoples who wear body-paint, the markings thus provide a certain protection against insect-borne diseases. (2019-01-17)

Artificial intelligence applied to the genome identifies an unknown human ancestor
By combining deep learning algorithms and statistical methods, investigators from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG) of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Genomics Institute at the University of Tartu have identified, in the genome of Asiatic individuals, the footprint of a new hominid who cross bred with its ancestors tens of thousands of years ago. (2019-01-16)

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