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Keyword: paleoanthropology

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  • DNA From 12,000-Year-Old Skeleton Helps Answer the Question: Who Were the First Americans?

    05/16/2014 5:30:54 AM PDT · by Renfield · 35 replies
    Smithsonian Magazine ^ | 5-15-2014 | Mohi Kumar
    ome 12,000 years ago, a teenage girl took a walk in what’s now the Yucatan Peninsula and fell 190 feet into a deep pit, breaking her pelvis and likely killing her instantly. Over time, the pit—part of an elaborate limestone cave system—became a watery grave as the most recent ice age ended, glaciers melted and sea levels rose. In 2007, cave divers happened upon her remarkably preserved remains, which form the oldest, most complete and genetically intact human skeleton in the New World. Her bones, according to new research published in Science, hold the key to a question that has...
  • Paleoartist Brings Human Evolution to Life

    05/09/2014 3:07:16 PM PDT · by Renfield · 24 replies
    Smithsonian Magazine ^ | 5-7-2014 | Helen Thompson
    A smiling 3.2-million-year-old face greets visitors to the anthropology hall of the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City. This reconstruction of the famous Australopithecus afarensis specimen dubbed “Lucy” stands a mere 4 feet tall, is covered in dark hair, and displays a pleasant gaze. She’s no ordinary mannequin: Her skin looks like it could get goose bumps, and her frozen pose and expression make you wonder if she’ll start walking and talking at any moment. This hyper-realistic depiction of Lucy comes from the Atelier Daynès studio in Paris, home of French sculptor and painter Elisabeth Daynès. Her...
  • Brutish and short? DNA 'switch' sheds light on Neanderthals

    04/19/2014 11:20:50 PM PDT · by blueplum · 35 replies
    Reuters ^ | April 17, 2014 3:28pm EDT | SHARON BEGLEY
    New York (Reuters) - How can creatures as different in body and mind as present-day humans and their extinct Neanderthal cousins be 99.84 percent identical genetically? Four years after scientists discovered that the two species' genomes differ by a fraction of a percent, geneticists said on Thursday they have an explanation: the cellular equivalent of "on"/"off" switches that determine whether DNA is activated or not. :snip: Calling the work "pioneering," and "a remarkable breakthrough," paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London said in an interview that the HOXD gene finding "may help to explain how these ancient...
  • A Mesolithic face from Southern Europe

    03/12/2014 4:00:53 AM PDT · by Renfield · 11 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | 3-9-2014
    The Mesolithic, a transitional period that lasted from circa 11,000 to 5,000 years ago (between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic), ends with the advent of agriculture and animal husbandry and the concurrent arrival of new genetic material from the Middle East. The arrival of the Neolithic farmers, with their carbohydrate-based and domesticated animal diet, along with food-borne pathogens and the inherent metabolic /immunological challenges can be reflected in genetic adaptations of post- Mesolithic populations.Pre-Neolithic genetic material The individual at the centre of the study belongs to a group prior to this influx of new genetic material.“The biggest surprise was to discover...
  • On the Variability of the Dmanisi Mandibles

    03/04/2014 7:46:09 AM PST · by Renfield · 18 replies
    Plos One ^ | 2-20-2014 | Bermúdez de Castro JM et al
    Abstract The description of a new skull (D4500) from the Dmanisi site (Republic of Georgia) has reopened the debate about the morphological variability within the genus Homo. The new skull fits with a mandible (D2600) often referred as ‘big’ or ‘enigmatic’ because of its differences with the other Dmanisi mandibles (D211 and D2735). In this report we present a comparative study of the variability of the Dmanisi mandibles under a different perspective, as we focus in morphological aspects related to growth and development. We have followed the notion of modularity and phenotypic integration in order to understand the architectural differences...
  • 2 million years ago, human relative ‘Nutcracker Man’ lived on tiger nuts

    01/13/2014 3:35:18 PM PST · by Renfield · 46 replies
    An Oxford University study has concluded that our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million-1.4 million years ago survived mainly on a diet of tiger nuts. Tiger nuts are edible grass bulbs still eaten in parts of the world today. The study published in the journal, PLOS ONE, also suggests that these early hominins may have sought additional nourishment from fruits and invertebrates, like worms and grasshoppers. Study author Dr Gabriele Macho examined the diet of Paranthropus boisei, nicknamed “Nutcracker Man” because of his big flat molar teeth and powerful jaws, through studying modern-day baboons in Kenya....
  • New Study Finds No Last Common Ancestor of Modern Humans and Neanderthals

    10/23/2013 1:22:55 PM PDT · by Renfield · 65 replies
    SciNews ^ | 10-22-2013
    A dental study of 1,200 molars and premolars from 13 hominin species shows that no known species matches the expected profile of the last common ancestor of Homo neanderthalensis and anatomically modern Homo sapiens. The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provides evidence that the lines that led to Neanderthals and modern humans diverged about 1 million years ago – much earlier than previous studies have suggested.“Our results call attention to the strong discrepancies between molecular and paleontological estimates of the divergence time between Neanderthals and modern humans. These discrepancies cannot be simply...
  • First Love Child of Human, Neanderthal Found

    03/30/2013 4:48:56 AM PDT · by Renfield · 101 replies
    Discovery News ^ | 3-27-2012 | Jennifer Viegas
    The skeletal remains of an individual living in northern Italy 40,000-30,000 years ago are believed to be that of a human/Neanderthal hybrid, according to a paper in PLoS ONE. If further analysis proves the theory correct, the remains belonged to the first known such hybrid, providing direct evidence that humans and Neanderthals interbred. Prior genetic research determined the DNA of people with European and Asian ancestry is 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal. The present study focuses on the individual’s jaw, which was unearthed at a rock-shelter called Riparo di Mezzena in the Monti Lessini region of Italy. Both Neanderthals and...
  • Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    03/21/2013 7:05:11 AM PDT · by Renfield · 15 replies
    UANews ^ | 3-1-2013 | Daniel Stolte
    UA geneticists have discovered the oldest known genetic branch of the human Y chromosome – the hereditary factor determining male sex. The new divergent lineage, which was found in an individual who submitted his DNA to Family Tree DNA, a company specializing in DNA analysis to trace family roots, branched from the Y chromosome tree before the first appearance of anatomically modern humans in the fossil record. The results are published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. "Our analysis indicates this lineage diverged from previously known Y chromosomes about 338,000 ago, a time when anatomically modern humans had not...
  • Stone Age hunters liked their carbs

    01/20/2013 6:21:05 PM PST · by Renfield · 23 replies
    ScienceNordic ^ | 1-4-2013 | Tania Lousdal Jensen
    Analyses of Stone Age settlements reveal that the hunters were healthy and would gladly eat anything they could get their hands on, including carbohydrates – contrary to the modern definition of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age diet. The Stone Age hunter’s food contained large amounts of protein from fish, lean mean, herbs and coarse vegetables and has formed the basis of one of today’s hottest health trends: the paleo diet. The modern version of the Stone Age diet excludes foods rich in carbohydrates. This exclusion of carbs is based on the idea that Stone Age hunters didn’t have access to...
  • Native Americans and Northern Europeans Paleolithic Cousins

    12/17/2012 3:35:35 AM PST · by Renfield · 14 replies
    Frontiers of Anthropology ^ | 12-16-2012 | Dale Drinnon
    The strong linkage between these populations has always been empirically apparent. This finally settles what has been obvious and clearly establishes the time line. Thus later incursions merely topped up an already European palette. What has been more troubling has been the avoidance of this topic from the academics. Now DNA research is systematically reducing sophism for what it truly is. Ignoring and even denying obvious evidence should be made into a capital crime in academe. It all starts with denigrating the technical abilities of our ancients by denying them the natural wits we are all born with. We...
  • Skeletons in Cave Reveal Mediterranean Secrets

    12/12/2012 8:25:47 AM PST · by Renfield · 15 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 11-28-2012 | Marcello A. Mannino, et al
    Skeletal remains in an island cave in Favignana, Italy, reveal that modern humans first settled in Sicily around the time of the last ice age and despite living on Mediterranean islands, ate little seafood. The research is published November 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Marcello Mannino and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany. Genetic analysis of the bones discovered in caves on the Egadi islands provides some of the first mitochondrial DNA data available for early humans from the Mediterranean region, a crucial piece of evidence in ancestry analysis. This analysis reveals...
  • How scientists recreated Neanderthal man

    10/23/2012 10:06:27 AM PDT · by Renfield · 29 replies
    BBC ^ | 10-23-2012
    A team of scientists has created what it believes is the first really accurate reconstruction of Neanderthal man, from a skeleton that was discovered in France over a century ago. In 1909, excavations at La Ferrassie cave in the Dordogne unearthed the remains of a group of Neanderthals. One of the skeletons in that group was that of an adult male, given the name La Ferrassie 1. These remains have helped scientists create a detailed reconstruction of our closest prehistoric relative for a new BBC series, Prehistoric Autopsy. La Ferrassie 1 is one of the most important discoveries made in...
  • Neanderthals and human lived side by side in Middle Eastern caves and even interbred

    09/30/2012 5:19:02 AM PDT · by Renfield · 131 replies
    Daily Mail (UK) ^ | 9-29-2012
    Neanderthals may have lived side by side with early humans and possibly interbred with them, according to new research. Stone axes and sharp flint arrowheads of both branches of the human race have been discovered in limestone caves in northern Israel. The findings, reported in the Times, have led archeologists to believe the two sub-species found harmony in a coastal mountain range that today is in a state of war with its neighbours...
  • Prehistoric Animated Cave Drawings Discovered In France

    09/12/2012 5:47:16 AM PDT · by Renfield · 21 replies
    Web Pro News ^ | 6-14-2012 | Amanda Crum
    News out of France concerning Prehistoric cave drawings that were animated by torch-light is taking the art history world by storm, and has overwhelmed this artist to the point of awe. The cave drawings were found by archaeologist Marc Azema and French artist Florent Rivere, who suggest that Paleolithic artists who lived as long as 30,000 years ago used animation effects on cave walls, which explains the multiple heads and limbs on animals in the drawings. The images look superimposed until flickering torch-light is passed over them, giving them movement and creating a brief animation. “Lascaux is the cave with...
  • The Greek Crisis: Palaeoanthropology and Archaeology

    08/31/2012 6:42:42 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    Heritage Daily.com ^ | August 29, 2012 | Charles t. g. Clarke
    Greece has been in the grip of a financial crisis for the last few years now and Greek heritage sites are hit the worst. There is however, an unseen, less well known crisis and it involves Greek palaeoanthropology -- the study of hominin evolution. It is not so much a crisis as a metaphorical drought of artefacts and fossil evidence, which remains the best way to understand human evolution in Greece. An understanding of tectonic activity and the ever changing relationship between the Aegean Sea and mainland Greece are crucial to understanding why so little Lower Palaeolithic Hominin material has...
  • Most Neanderthals Were Right-Handed Like Us

    08/26/2012 9:13:15 AM PDT · by Renfield · 54 replies
    Live Science ^ | 8-24-2012 | Megan Gannon
    Right-handed humans vastly outnumber lefties by a ratio of about nine to one, and the same may have been true for Neanderthals. Researchers say right-hand dominance in the extinct species suggests that, like humans, they also had the capacity for language. A new analysis of the skeleton of a 20-something Neanderthal man confirms that he was a righty like most of his European caveman cousins whose remains have been studied by scientists (16 of 18 specimens). Dubbed "Regourdou," the skeleton was discovered in 1957 in France, not far from the famous network of caves at Lascaux....
  • Oregon cave discovery suggests lost ancient American culture (Pre-Clovis)

    07/13/2012 5:29:43 AM PDT · by Renfield · 13 replies
    Christian Science Monitor ^ | 7-12-2012 | Wynne Parry
    Ancient stone projectile points and fossilized feces suggest a previously unknown culture that existed on the West Coast some 13,000 years ago. Ancient stone projectile points discovered in a Central Oregon cave complex have cast new light on the identity of the first Americans. ~~~snip~~~ These stone points, a type known as Western temmed points, are narrower and lack the distinctive flute, or shallow groove, found on Clovis points. Researchers believe the two types of points represent different technologies, produced by different cultures....
  • Genetic Studies of Modern Populations Show Varying Neandertal Ancestry

    03/20/2012 4:55:36 AM PDT · by Renfield · 83 replies · 2+ views
    The complex world of human genetics research speaks a language unfamiliar to most of us, but it has opened up a new window on our understanding of the dynamics of ancient populations; and few areas of research have been more tantalizing than that surrounding the questions of how modern humans are related to the Neandertals, an ancient species of human whose morphology or physical characteristics disappeared from the human fossil record roughly 30,000 years ago. The most recent studies have provided evidence about when the Neandertal (Homo neandertalensis) and modern human populations (Homo sapiens) first diverged from a common ancestral...
  • Neanderthals were ancient mariners

    03/02/2012 7:31:23 AM PST · by Renfield · 55 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 2-29-2012 | Michael Marshall
    IT LOOKS like Neanderthals may have beaten modern humans to the seas. Growing evidence suggests our extinct cousins criss-crossed the Mediterranean in boats from 100,000 years ago - though not everyone is convinced they weren't just good swimmers. Neanderthals lived around the Mediterranean from 300,000 years ago. Their distinctive "Mousterian" stone tools are found on the Greek mainland and, intriguingly, have also been found on the Greek islands of Lefkada, Kefalonia and Zakynthos. That could be explained in two ways: either the islands weren't islands at the time, or our distant cousins crossed the water somehow....
  • Meet the Contenders for Earliest Modern Human

    01/12/2012 5:17:15 AM PST · by Renfield · 22 replies
    Smithsonian.com ^ | 1-11-2012 | Erin Wayman
    Paleoanthropologists agree that modern humans evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago, yet the fossil evidence for the earliest examples of Homo sapiens is scarce. One problem is the difficulty in recognizing true modern humans in the fossil record: At this time, many of the fossils thought to be early members of our species possess a mix of modern and primitive traits. For some paleoanthropologists, it means our species once had a greater range of physical variation than we do today. For others, it means more than one species of Homo may have lived in Africa at this time, sharing...
  • Human ancestors interbred with related species

    09/08/2011 5:17:24 PM PDT · by Renfield · 69 replies · 2+ views
    Naturenews ^ | 09-05-2011 | Matt Kaplan
    Our ancestors bred with other species in the Homo genus, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1. The authors say that up to 2% of the genomes of some modern African populations may originally come from a closely related species. Palaeontologists have long wondered whether modern humans came from a single, genetically isolated population of hominins or whether we are a genetic mix of various hominin species. Last year, an analysis comparing the Neanderthal genome sequence to that of modern H. sapiens showed that some interbreeding did take place between the two...
  • Hand axes unearthed in Kenya are oldest advanced stone tools ever found

    09/01/2011 3:26:16 AM PDT · by Renfield · 18 replies
    Guardian (UK) ^ | 8-31-2011 | Ian Sample
    A rare haul of picks, flakes and hand axes recovered from ancient sediments in Kenya are the oldest remains of advanced stone tools yet discovered. Archaeologists unearthed the implements while excavating mudstone banks on the shores of Lake Turkana in the remote north-west of the country. The largest of the tools are around 20cm long and have been chipped into shape on two sides, a hallmark of more sophisticated stone toolmaking techniques probably developed by Homo erectus, an ancestor of modern humans. Trenches dug at the same site revealed remains of long-gone species that shared the land with those who...
  • Earliest Europeans Were Cannibals, Wore Bling

    07/10/2011 7:44:31 AM PDT · by Renfield · 28 replies
    Discovery News ^ | 7-6-2011 | Jennifer Viegas
    * The earliest known modern humans from southeast Europe wore shell and mammoth jewelry. * The same early humans also likely practiced cannibalism. * The cannibalism was tied to funeral rituals, since the bones were not butchered like meat. Early humans wore jewelry and likely practiced cannibalism, suggest remains of the earliest known Homo sapiens from southeastern Europe. The remains, described in PLoS One, date to 32,000 years ago and represent the oldest direct evidence for anatomically modern humans in a well-documented context. The human remains are also the oldest known for our species in Europe to show post-mortem cut...
  • Heidelberg Man Links Humans, Neanderthals

    05/09/2011 11:34:59 AM PDT · by Renfield · 43 replies
    Discovery News ^ | 05-04-2011 | Jennifer Viegas
    The last common ancestor of humans and Neanderthals was a tall, well-traveled species called Heidelberg Man, according to a new PLoS One study. The determination is based on the remains of a single Heidelberg Man (Homo heidelbergensis) known as "Ceprano," named after the town near Rome, Italy, where his fossil -- a partial cranium -- was found. Previously, this 400,000-year-old fossil was thought to represent a new species of human, Homo cepranensis. The latest study, however, identifies Ceprano as being an archaic member of Homo heidelbergensis......
  • Lucy's Ancestor, 'Big Man,' Revealed: Could reshape what scientists know about Lucy & her species

    06/21/2010 11:50:06 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 19 replies
    Discovery News ^ | June 21, 2010 | Bruce Bower
    An older guy has sauntered into Lucy's life, and some researchers believe he stands ready to recast much of what scientists know about the celebrated early hominid and her species. Excavations in Ethiopia's Afar region have uncovered a 3.6-million-year-old partial male skeleton of the species Australopithecus afarensis. This is the first time since the excavation of Lucy in 1974 that paleoanthropologists have turned up more than isolated pieces of an adult from the species, which lived in East Africa from about 4 million to 3 million years ago. A nearly complete skeleton of an A. afarensis child has been retrieved...
  • Did humans really evolve from ape-like creatures?

    02/17/2009 7:35:18 PM PST · by GodGunsGuts · 215 replies · 5,295+ views
    AiG ^ | Dr. David N. Menton
    In one of the most remarkably frank and candid assessments of the whole subject and methodology of paleoanthropology, Dr. David Pilbeam (a distinguished professor of anthropology) suggested the following: "Perhaps generations of students of human evolution, including myself, have been flailing about in the dark; that our data base is too sparse, too slippery, for it to be able to mold our theories. Rather the theories are more statements about us and ideology than about the past. Paleoanthropology reveals more about how humans view themselves than it does about how humans came about. But that is heresy."...
  • Oldest hominid discovered is 7 million years old: study

    02/28/2008 4:21:27 AM PST · by Renfield · 33 replies · 737+ views
    Yahoo News ^ | 2-27-08
    CHICAGO (AFP) - French fossil hunters have pinned down the age of Toumai, which they contend is the remains of the earliest human ever found, at between 6.8 and 7.2 million years old. The fossil was discovered in the Chadian desert in 2001 and an intense debate ensued over whether the nearly complete cranium, pieces of jawbone and teeth belonged to one of our earliest ancestors. Critics said that Toumai's cranium was too squashed to be that of a hominid -- it did not have the brain capacity that gives humans primacy -- and its small size indicated a creature...
  • Neanderthals didn't breed with men

    10/29/2007 5:17:44 AM PDT · by Renfield · 30 replies · 40+ views
    ANSA ^ | 10-26-07
    ANSA) - Florence, October 26 - A new study of Neanderthal bones in Italy and Spain claims to have proved they did not breed with humans - potentially settling one of the biggest riddles in anthropology. The DNA study, which involved Italian, Spanish and German scientists, examined fossilised bones found in the northern Italian mountains near Verona and a cave in Asturia, Spain. Analysing a gene involved in the production of the skin pigment melanin, the team concluded that Neanderthals were predominantly fair-skinned and red-headed - like many people in countries like Ireland, Scotland and Wales today. This was consistent...
  • Earliest Scots Braved Ice Age Conditions

    10/18/2007 3:57:59 AM PDT · by Renfield · 30 replies · 627+ views
    Discovery.com ^ | 10-05-07 | Jennifer Viegas
    Oct. 5, 2007 — During the last ice age, Scotland was likely a desolate place covered by glaciers, but new evidence suggests intrepid settlers braved the elements by establishing a community there as early as 13,000 years ago. The determination, published in the latest British Archaeology, further suggests the earliest Scots shared a common ancestor with the first Norwegians, meaning that some people of Scottish descent could be distantly related to modern Norwegians. "So often we hear that conditions in Scotland during the late Paleolithic and early Mesolithic would have prohibited human settlements because the landscape was cold and icy,...
  • The man who died half a million years ago

    10/05/2007 4:25:03 AM PDT · by Renfield · 52 replies · 618+ views
    Boxgrove The man who died half a million years ago In a gravel pit at Boxgrove, just outside Chichester, the remains of a man have been discovered, half a million years old. Only a shin bone and two teeth were discovered, but his position, under thick layers of gravel show that he is the oldest 'man' so far discovered in Britain. The Boxgrove quarry The discovery was made in a gravel quarry. The gravel was laid down in a later Ice Age on top of a chalk bed, which is visible in the upper squares. Originally a stream flowed from...
  • Go East old man: Neanderthals reached China's doorstep

    10/01/2007 10:11:19 AM PDT · by Renfield · 5 replies · 171+ views
    AFP ^ | 9/30/07
    PARIS (AFP) — European Neanderthals, modern man's ill-fated cousins who died out mysteriously some 28,000 years ago, migrated much further east than previously thought, according to a study released Sunday. Remains from the slope-browed hominid have previously been found over an area stretching from Spain to Uzbekistan, but the new study extends the eastern boundary of their wanderings another 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) deep into southern Siberia, just above the western tip of what is today China. The fossils underpinning the study are not new, but the techniques used to analyse them are. Geneticist Svante Paabo of the Max Planck...
  • Turns out Neanderthals had good oral hygiene

    09/13/2007 4:14:34 AM PDT · by Renfield · 14 replies · 297+ views
    MSNBC ^ | 9-11-2007
    Two molar teeth of around 63,400 years old show that Neanderthal predecessors of humans may have been dental hygiene fans, the Web site of newspaper El Pais reported on Tuesday. The teeth have "grooves formed by the passage of a pointed object, which confirms the use of a small stick for cleaning the mouth," Paleontology Professor Juan Luis Asuarga told reporters, presenting an archaeological find in Madrid. The fossils, unearthed in Pinilla del Valle, are the first human examples found in the Madrid region in 25 years, the regional government's culture department said.......
  • Dramatic climate shift didn't kill Neanderthals

    09/13/2007 4:11:20 AM PDT · by Renfield · 26 replies · 298+ views
    MSNBC ^ | 9-12-07 | Michael Kahn
    LONDON - Neanderthals probably fell victim to taller and superior Cro-Magnons rather than catastrophic climate change, researchers said on Wednesday. Using a new method to calibrate carbon-14 dating, the international team found the last Neanderthals died at least 3,000 years before a major change in temperatures occurred. This suggests either modern humans or a combination of humans and less severe climate change caused the species' demise some 30,000 years ago, said Chronis Tzedakis, a paleoecologist at the University of Leeds, who led the study published in the journal Nature.....