At a remote region in southwestern Ethiopia, the Omo River and its long-vanished tributaries have laid bare rugged bluffs and hillsides, exposing a layer cake of ancient sediments and the trapped remains of early humans. Before the Covid pandemic, Céline Vidal and colleagues journeyed to this site known as the Kibish Formation to work in scorching temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, picking through the ashes of ancient volcanic eruptions to learn more about some of the oldest members of our species.
Fur is a controversial fashion statement these days. But stepping out in a wildcat cape or jackal wrap was de rigueur for Pleistocene humans, according to the recent discovery of a 120,000-year-old leather and fur production site that contains some of the oldest archaeological evidence for human clothing.
New scholarship points to a paradox of historic scope: Our writing system was devised by people who couldn’t read.
Tens of thousands of years ago, Homo sapiens—the modern-day human—roamed the world with at least two archaic human species: the famous Neanderthals and their lesser known cousins, the Denisovans. Untangling the relationship between these groups has been an ongoing challenge for scientists.
In the ninth century A.D., the Maya abandoned the great city of Tikal after hundreds of years of prosperity and expansion. Researchers have long sought to explain how and why the city collapsed, but despite extensive study of the site, unanswered questions remain. Continue reading Why Did the Maya Abandon the Ancient City of Tikal?
In his essay, Why Africana History?, the great scholar and historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke wrote: “The Europeans not only colonialized most of the world, they began to colonialize information about the world and its people. In order to do this, they had to forget, or pretend to forget, all they had previously known about the Africans.” Dr. Clarke’s words are still very relevant today, evident by the fact that textbooks in Texas recently began referring to enslaved Africans as “workers” rather than a group of people who were forcibly taken from their homes in bondage. In addition, the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti was recently portrayed as a white woman by a scientist claiming to have created a scientifically accurate facial reconstruction based on her skull. Continue reading Neanderthals Vs. Africans: Who Was the First to Create Art?
For decades, scientists have speculated about when exactly the bipedal apes known as Homo sapiens left Africa and moved out to conquer the world. That moment, after all, was a crucial step on the way to today’s human-dominated world. For many years, the consensus view among archaeologists placed the exodus at 60,000 years ago—some 150,000 years after the hominins first appeared.