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.
Tag Archives: Human Evolution
Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World’s Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave
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.
How Human Y Chromosomes Replaced Those of Neanderthals in a Quiet Genetic Takeover
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.
Rare 85,000-year-old Finger Bone Complicates Our Understanding of African Migration
For years, archaeologist Huw Groucutt and his team had driven one particular stretch of desert on their way to dig sites in Saudi Arabia. As they drove they caught glimpses of what looked like bones, emerging from the slowly eroding sand. Finally, in 2014, the team decided to explore the array of bones at Al Wusta. Within two years, amidst more than 800 fossilized animal bones and nearly 400 stone artifacts, they discovered something remarkable: the middle digit of a finger bone, from what appeared to be a modern human. Continue reading Rare 85,000-year-old Finger Bone Complicates Our Understanding of African Migration
Earliest Human Remains Outside Africa Were Just Discovered in Israel
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.
Continue reading Earliest Human Remains Outside Africa Were Just Discovered in Israel
Archaeologists Unearth ‘Grave of Giants’ in China
Researchers in China have uncovered the skeletal remains of an unusually tall group of individuals who lived in China’s Shandong province some 5,000 years ago. With some reaching heights well over six feet, these Neolithic humans were a sign of things to come.
Continue reading Archaeologists Unearth ‘Grave of Giants’ in China
Ancestral Remains of Mysterious ‘Hobbit’ Species Uncovered on Indonesian Island
Bones and teeth belonging to the ancestors of the short-statured human lineage known as “the Hobbits” have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores. The fossils, which date back 700,000 years, are offering fresh insights into the origin of this mysterious species.
Continue reading Ancestral Remains of Mysterious ‘Hobbit’ Species Uncovered on Indonesian Island