Modern Human Current Events

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The emerging fate of the Neandertals
In an article appearing the week of April 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, has brought together the available data, which shows that early modern humans did exhibit evidence of Neandertal traits. (2007-04-23)

Modern humans emerged far earlier than previously thought
An international team of researchers based at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, including a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has discovered well-dated human fossils in southern China that markedly change anthropologists perceptions of the emergence of modern humans in the eastern Old World. (2010-10-25)

New evidence for the earliest modern humans in Europe
The timing, process and archeology of the peopling of Europe by early modern humans have been actively debated for more than a century. Reassessment of the anatomy and dating of a fragmentary upper jaw with three teeth from Kent's Cavern in southern England has shed new light on these issues. (2011-11-02)

Neandertal genes alter neurodevelopment in modern human brain organoids
Building modern human brain organoids with the Neanderthal variant of a gene has provided a glimpse into the way substitutions in this gene impacted our species' evolution. (2021-02-11)

Modern Melanesians have retained Denisovan DNA
Modern Melanesians harbor genetic components passed on from Denisovans, a new study suggests. In the past, ancestors of many modern human populations interbred with other hominin species that have since become extinct, such as the Neandertals and Denisovans. (2016-03-17)

Genomic differentiation of Neandertals and humans
Dr. Lutz Bachmann and colleagues have found evidence that significant differences exist between the genomes of Neandertals and modern humans. A DNA hybridization method indicated little cross-hybridization between DNA from the two types of fossils. These results refute the classification of Neandertals as a subspecies of Homo sapiens. (2000-04-27)

30,000-year-old teeth shed new light on human evolution
The teeth of a 30,000-year-old child are shedding new light on the evolution of modern humans, thanks to research from the University of Bristol published this week in PNAS. (2010-01-07)

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)

Neanderthal infant yields DNA evidence
Modern forensic DNA techniques normally used to determine the identity of modern humans have been applied to a Neanderthal infant. This is only the second time molecular analysis of a Neanderthal has been possible. The results show that modern man was not in fact descended from Neanderthals. (2000-03-28)

'Ghost' of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes
Ancestors of modern West Africans interbred with a yet-undiscovered species of archaic human, similar to how ancient Europeans mated with Neanderthals, researchers report. Their work helps inform how archaic hominins added to the genetic variation of present-day Africans, which has been poorly understood, in part because of the sparse fossil record in Africa. (2020-02-12)

China's earliest modern human
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing have been studying a 40,000-year-old early modern human skeleton found in China and have determined that the (2007-04-02)

How modern were European Neanderthals?
Neandertals were much more like modern humans than had been previously thought, according to a re-examination of finds from one of the most famous palaeolithic sites in Europe by Bristol University archaeologist, Professor Joao Zilhao, and his French colleagues. (2006-08-24)

More human-Neandertal mixing evidence uncovered
A reexamination of ancient human bones from Romania reveals more evidence that humans and Neandertals interbred. Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., Washington University Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts and Sciences, and colleagues radiocarbon-dated and analyzed the shapes of human bones from Romania's Petera Muierii ( (2006-11-02)

Modern humans, not Neandertals, may be evolution's 'odd man out'
New research at Washington University in St. Louis suggests that rather than the standard straight line from chimps to early humans to us with Neandertals off on a side graph, it's equally valid, perhaps more valid based on what the fossils tell us, that the straight line should be from the common ancestor to the Neandertals and the Modern Humans should be the branch off that. (2006-09-07)

Putting a face on the earliest modern Europeans
The earliest modern humans in Europe were not completely (2007-01-15)

The 'spread of our species'
In a major new development in human evolutionary studies, researchers from the University of Cambridge argue that the dispersal of modern humans from Africa to South Asia may have occurred as recently as 70,000 years ago. (2005-11-04)

Longevity unlikely to have aided early modern humans
Life expectancy was probably the same for early modern and late archaic humans and did not factor in the extinction of Neanderthals, suggests a new study by a Washington University in St. Louis anthropologist. (2011-01-10)

Following genetic footprints out of Africa
A new study, using genetic analysis to look for clues about human migration over sixty thousand years ago, suggests that the first modern humans settled in Arabia on their way from the Horn of Africa to the rest of the world. (2012-01-26)

Status and reproduction in humans: New evidence for the validity of evolutionary explanations
Men holding high positions within a hierarchical organisation have more offspring than those in other positions within the same organisation. This unexpected result, recently published in Ethology, has been found in a contemporary sample of male university employees. Although a positive relationship between male status and offspring count has been predicted by evolutionary theory and found in animal species and (2005-09-19)

Skulls inform biology of predecessors of modern humans in Eastern Eurasia
Two human skulls unearthed in central China have provided novel insights into an otherwise poorly understood area of human evolution; namely, the biology of the immediate predecessors of modern humans in eastern Eurasia. (2017-03-02)

Following the first steps out of Africa
A new study uses genetic analysis to look for clues about the migration of the first modern humans who moved out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago. The research, published Jan. 26 by Cell Press in the American Journal of Human Genetics provides intriguing insight into the earliest stages of human migration and suggests that modern humans settled in Arabia on their way from the Horn of Africa to the rest of the world. (2012-01-26)

Neandertal-derived DNA may influence depression and more in modern humans
Researchers have found correlations between Neandertal-derived genes and disease states in modern humans -- including those influencing the skin, the immune system, depression, addiction, and metabolism. (2016-02-11)

Redating of the latest Neandertals in Europe
Two Neantertal fossils excavated from Vindija Cave in Croatia in 1998, believed to be the last surviving Neandertals, may be 3,000-4,000 years older than originally thought. (2006-01-05)

Spread of modern humans occurred later than previously thought, profs say
The spread of modern humans out of Africa occurred 40,000 to 50,000 years later than previously thought, according to researchers including one Texas A&M University anthropologist. (2007-01-11)

Differences in human and Neanderthal brains set in just after birth
The brains of newborn humans and Neanderthals are about the same size and appear rather similar overall. It's mainly after birth, and specifically in the first year of life, that the differences between our brains and those of our extinct relatives really take shape, according to a report published in the Nov. 9 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. (2010-11-08)

Scientists discover oldest known modern human fossil outside of Africa
A large international research team, led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University and including Rolf Quam from Binghamton University, State University of New York, has discovered the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa. The finding suggests that modern humans left the continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. (2018-01-25)

First direct evidence of substantial fish consumption by early modern humans in China
Freshwater fish are an important part of the diet of many peoples around the world, but it has been unclear when fish became an important part of the year-round diet for early humans. A new study by an international team of researchers, including Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in arts & sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, shows it may have happened in China as far back as 40,000 years ago. (2009-07-06)

Diet, population size and the spread of modern humans into Europe
Stable isotope data published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and Michael Richards of the University of British Columbia and the Max Planck Institute, suggests that at least some of the European early modern humans consistently consumed fish, supplementing their diet of terrestrial animals. (2009-08-11)

A relative from the Tianyuan Cave
Ancient DNA has revealed that humans living some 40,000 years ago in the area near Beijing were likely related to many present-day Asians and Native Americans. (2013-01-21)

Fish on the menu of our ancestors
The isotopic analysis of a bone from one of the earliest modern humans in Asia, the 40,000 year old skeleton from Tianyuan Cave in the Zhoukoudian region of China, has shown that this individual was a regular fish consumer (2009-07-07)

New research proves single origin of humans in Africa
New research published in the journal Nature July 19 has proved the single origin of humans theory by combining studies of global genetic variations in humans with skull measurements across the world. The research, at the University of Cambridge and funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, represents a final blow for supporters of a multiple origins of humans theory. (2007-07-18)

40,000-year-old skull shows both modern human and Neandertal traits
Humans continued to evolve significantly long after they were established in Europe, and interbred with Neandertals as they settled across the continent, according to new research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2007-01-15)

New method rescues DNA from contaminated Neandertal bones
Retrieval of ancient DNA molecules is usually performed with special precautions to prevent DNA from researchers or the environment to get mixed in with the DNA from the fossil. However, many ancient fossils have been lying in museum collection for decades, and are contaminated with present-day human DNA before they enter the DNA-laboratory. A new method presented in the online edition of the journal PNAS this week provides a solution to this problem. (2014-01-27)

The largest to have existed - giant rat fossils
Archaeologists with The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered fossils of seven giant rat species on East Timor, with the largest up to 10 times the size of modern rats. (2015-11-05)

100,000-year-old human skulls from east Asia reveal complex mix of trends in time, space
Two partial archaic human skulls, from the Lingjing site, Xuchang, central China, provide a new window into the biology and populations patterns of the immediate predecessors of modern humans in eastern Eurasia. (2017-03-02)

The Iceman's gut microbes shed light on ancient human geography
Analysis of microbes from the gut of the 'Iceman,' a famous 5,300-year-old European glacial mummy, provides insights into not only his health status right before he was murdered, but historical human geography as well. (2016-01-07)

Altai Neanderthal shows gene flow from early modern humans
Using several genetic analytical methods, an international research team has identified an interbreeding event between Neanderthals and modern humans that occurred about 100,000 years ago -- tens of thousands of years earlier than previous scientific estimates. (2016-02-21)

Oldest human fossil outside of Africa discovered, with tools nearby
A human fossil found in Israel substantially shifts the estimated timeframe for when humans first left Africa, suggesting they did so approximately 40,000 to 50,000 years sooner than previously thought. (2018-01-25)

Two ancient human fossils from Laos reveal early human diversity
An ancient human skull and a jawbone found a few meters apart in a cave in northern Laos add to the evidence that early modern humans were physically quite diverse, researchers report in PLOS ONE. The skull has fully modern features while the jaw is a mix of modern and archaic traits. (2015-04-07)

Middle Pleistocene human skull reveals variation and continuity in early Asian humans
A team of scientists led by LIU Wu and WU Xiujie from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported the first ever Middle Pleistocene human skull found in southeastern China, revealing the variation and continuity in early Asian humans. (2019-04-30)

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