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Human Evolution

Human Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

  55 million years ago (MYA)

First primitive primates evolve 8 - 6 MYA

First gorillas evolve. Later, chimp and human lineages diverge 5.8 MYA

Orrorin tugenensis, oldest human ancestor thought to have walked on two legs

 



Five skulls belonging to some ancestors and relatives of modern humans. From left to right, the skulls are: Australopithecus africanus (3-1.8 mya); Homo habilis (or H. rudolfensis, 2.1-1.6 mya); Homo erectus (or H. ergaster, 1.8-0.3 mya, although the ergaster classification is generally recognised to mean the earlier part of this period); a modern human (Homo sapiens sapiens) from the Qafzeh site in Israel, which is around 92,000 years old; and a French Cro-Magnon...

Origins of farming in Europe result of human migration and cultural change, study suggests

1000pa (Feb. 22, 2011) — It has long been debated as to whether the transition from a largely hunter-gatherer to an agricultural subsistence strategy in Europe was the result of the migration of farmers from the Near East and Anatolia, or whether this transition was primarily cultural in nature. A new study, co-authored by researchers at University College Cork and the University of Kent suggests that the prehistoric adoption of farming...

1000pa (Feb. 22, 2011) — It has long been debated...

Subtle shifts, not major sweeps, drove human evolution

1000pa (Feb. 28, 2011) — The most popular model used by geneticists for the last 35 years to detect the footprints of human evolution may overlook more common subtle changes, a new international study finds.

Classic selective sweeps, when a beneficial genetic mutation quickly spreads through the human population, are thought to have been the primary driver of human evolution. But a new computational analysis, published in the February 18,...

1000pa (Feb. 28, 2011) — The most popular model...

New view of human evolution? 3.2 million-year-old fossil foot bone supports humanlike bipedalism in Lucy's species

1000pa (Feb. 11, 2011) — A fossilized foot bone recovered from Hadar, Ethiopia, shows that by 3.2 million years ago human ancestors walked bipedally with a modern human-like foot, a report that appears Feb. 11 in the journal Science, concludes. The fossil, a fourth metatarsal, or midfoot bone, indicates that a permanently arched foot was present in the species Australopithecus afarensis, according to the report authors, Carol Ward of the...

1000pa (Feb. 11, 2011) — A fossilized foot bone...

Foot bone suggests Lucy's kin had arched foot, for walking

1000pa (Feb. 10, 2011) — Feet arches give humans a spring in their steps, shock absorbing abilities, and stiff platforms to propel themselves forward, allowing them to walk upright consistently. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and Arizona State University have found proof that arches existed in a predecessor to the human species that lived more than 3 million years ago. This discovery could change scientists' views of human...

1000pa (Feb. 10, 2011) — Feet arches give humans...

Ancient teeth raise new questions about origins of modern humans

1000pa (Feb. 9, 2011) — Eight small teeth found in a cave near Rosh Haain, central Israel, are raising big questions about the earliest existence of humans and where we may have originated, says Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam.

Part of a team of international researchers led by Dr. Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University, Qaum and his colleagues have been examining the dental discovery and recently published their joint...

1000pa (Feb. 9, 2011) — Eight small teeth found...

Genetic archaeology finds parts of human genome more closely related to orangutans than chimps

1000pa (Jan. 26, 2011) — In a study published online in Genome Research, in coordination with the publication of the orangutan genome sequence, scientists have presented the surprising finding that although orangutans and humans are more distantly related, some regions of our genomes are more alike than those of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee.

The fossil record helped to establish evolutionary relationships and estimate...

1000pa (Jan. 26, 2011) — In a study published online...

Orangutan DNA more diverse than human's, remarkably stable through the ages

1000pa (Jan. 26, 2011) — Among great apes, orangutans are humans' most distant cousins. These tree dwellers sport a coat of fine reddish hair and have long been endangered in their native habitats in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia.

Now, an international team of scientists, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has decoded, or sequenced, the DNA of a Sumatran orangutan. With this genome as a...

1000pa (Jan. 26, 2011) — Among great apes...

Genome analysis outlines variations in orangutans of Borneo, Sumatra

1000pa (Jan. 26, 2011) — In the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, orangutans -- the "men of the forest" in the language of Malaysia-swing among the trees, an endangered primate population so similar and yet different from man -- and from each other, according to a recently published genome analysis of the two populations of orangutans still existing in the world.

The multi-national study led by scientists from Baylor College of Medicine and...

1000pa (Jan. 26, 2011) — In the forests of...

Was Israel the birthplace of modern humans?

1000pa (Dec. 31, 2010) — It has long been believed that modern humans emerged from the continent of Africa 200,000 years ago. Now Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Homo sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago -- the earliest evidence for the existence of modern humans anywhere in the world.

The findings were discovered in the Qesem Cave, a pre-historic site located near Rosh...

1000pa (Dec. 31, 2010) — It has long been believed...

Neandertals’ extinction not caused by deficient diets, tooth analysis shows

1000pa (Jan. 1, 2011) — Researchers from George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered evidence to debunk the theory that Neandertals' disappearance was caused in part by a deficient diet -- one that lacked variety and was overly reliant on meat. After discovering starch granules from plant food trapped in the dental calculus on 40-thousand-year-old Neandertal teeth, the scientists believe that Neandertals...

1000pa (Jan. 1, 2011) — Researchers from George...

Brains of Neanderthals and modern humans developed differently

1000pa (Nov. 9, 2010) — Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany have documented species differences in the pattern of brain development after birth that are likely to contribute to cognitive differences between modern humans and Neanderthals.

Whether cognitive differences exist between modern humans and Neanderthals is the subject of contentious disputes in anthropology and archaeology....

1000pa (Nov. 9, 2010) — Researchers at the Max...

World's oldest ground-edge implement discovered in northern Australia

1000pa (Nov. 8, 2010) — The oldest ground-edge stone tool in the world has been discovered in Northern Australia by a Monash University researcher and a team of international experts.

Evidence for stone tool-use among our earliest hominid ancestors dates to 3.4 million years ago. However, the first use of grinding to sharpen stone tool edges such as axes is clearly associated with modern humans, otherwise known as Homo sapiens sapiens.

Monash...

1000pa (Nov. 8, 2010) — The oldest...

New statistical model moves human evolution back three million years

1000pa (Nov. 5, 2010) — Evolutionary divergence of humans and chimpanzees likely occurred some 8 million years ago rather than the 5 million year estimate widely accepted by scientists, a new statistical model suggests.

The revised estimate of when the human species parted ways from its closest primate relatives should enable scientists to better interpret the history of human evolution, said Robert D. Martin, curator of biological...

1000pa (Nov. 5, 2010) — Evolutionary divergence of...

Neanderthals were more promiscuous than modern humans, fossil finger bones suggest

1000pa (Nov. 5, 2010) — Fossil finger bones of early human ancestors suggest that Neanderthals were more promiscuous than human populations today, researchers at the universities of Liverpool and Oxford have found.

Scientists, in collaboration with researchers at the universities of Southampton and Calgary, used finger ratios from fossilised skeletal remains of early apes and extinct hominins, as indicators of the levels of exposure species...

1000pa (Nov. 5, 2010) — Fossil finger bones...

'Hobbit' was an iodine-deficient human, not another species, new study suggests

1000pa (Sep. 28, 2010) — A new paper is set to re-ignite debate over the origins of so-called Homo floresiensis -- the 'hobbit' that some scientists have claimed as a new species of human.

The University of Western Australia's Emeritus Professor Charles Oxnard and his colleagues, in a paper in PLoS ONE have reconfirmed, on the post-cranial skeleton, their original finding on the skull that Homo floresiensis in fact bears the hallmarks of...

1000pa (Sep. 28, 2010) — A new paper is set to...

Why are there no hyenas in Europe?

1000pa (Sep. 27, 2010) — A team from the National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC) has analysed the impact of climate change on spotted hyena survival in Europe over 10,000 years ago. These changes played an important role, but the scientists say studies are still needed to look at the influence of human expansion and changes in herbivorous fauna on the definitive extinction of this species across the continent.

"Climate change in the past...

1000pa (Sep. 27, 2010) — A team from the...

Neanderthals more advanced than previously thought: They innovated, adapted like modern humans, research shows

1000pa (Sep. 22, 2010) — For decades scientists believed Neanderthals developed `modern' tools and ornaments solely through contact with Homo sapiens, but new research from the University of Colorado Denver now shows these sturdy ancients could adapt, innovate and evolve technology on their own.

The findings by anthropologist Julien Riel-Salvatore challenge a half-century of conventional wisdom maintaining that Neanderthals were...

1000pa (Sep. 22, 2010) — For decades scientists believed...

Evolution rewritten, again and again

1000pa (Sep. 1, 2010) — Palaeontologists are forever claiming that their latest fossil discovery will "rewrite evolutionary history." Is this just boasting or does our "knowledge" of evolution radically change every time we find a new fossil?

A team of researchers at the University of Bristol decided to find out, with investigations of dinosaur and human evolution. Their study, which is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B,...

1000pa (Sep. 1, 2010) — Palaeontologists are...

Dwindling green pastures, not hunting, may have killed off the mammoth

1000pa (Aug. 18, 2010) — A massive reduction in grasslands and the spread of forests may have been the primary cause of the decline of mammals such as the woolly mammoth, woolly rhino and cave lion, according to Durham University scientists.

The findings of the new study challenge the theory that human beings were the primary cause of the extinction of mammals through hunting, competition for land and increased pressure on habitats.

The...

1000pa (Aug. 18, 2010) — A massive reduction in...

'Mitochondrial Eve': Mother of all humans lived 200,000 years ago

1000pa (Aug. 17, 2010) — The most robust statistical examination to date of our species' genetic links to "mitochondrial Eve" -- the maternal ancestor of all living humans -- confirms that she lived about 200,000 years ago. The Rice University study was based on a side-by-side comparison of 10 human genetic models that each aim to determine when Eve lived using a very different set of assumptions about the way humans migrated, expanded and...

1000pa (Aug. 17, 2010) — The most robust...

First Bird

First Bird
What was the earliest known bird?

Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?
 

Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...