Researchers from the University of Birmingham (UK) and the University of Neuchatel (Switzerland) have found that wild bonobos, our closest living relatives in the primate world, communicate using a high-pitched call type, or “peep,” that requires context to be understood. The findings, published in the journal PeerJ, echo the context dependent manner in which human […]
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Did feminization create modern humans?
Duke University anthropologists have been measuring more than 1,400 ancient and modern skulls, leading them to theorize that modern humans emerged at the same time as a lowering of testosterone levels. While modern humans appear in the fossil record from around 200,000 years ago, it was only about 50,000 years ago that the creation of […]
Prehistoric token “bookkeeping” persisted long into age of written language
An archaeological dig in Turkey has uncovered a large number of clay tokens that were used as records of trade until the advent of writing around 3,000 B.C. But the newly found tokens show the rudimentary accounting system didn’t die out with the invention of writing, and persisted for at least another 2,000 years. Lead […]
The War on Drugs in 10,000 B.C.
New research published in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory suggests that the use of alcohol and drugs by prehistoric Europeans was highly regulated and restricted to sacred burial rituals, where intoxication was believed to be an integral part of communication with the spirit world. Despite the fact that the consumption of mind-altering substances […]
Good Housekeeping, Neanderthal style
Neanderthals were far from primitive in their domestic living arrangements, say anthropologists who have unearthed evidence that our prehistoric cousins organized their living spaces in ways that would be familiar to modern humans. The excavations took place at Riparo Bombrini, a collapsed rock shelter in northwest Italy where both Neanderthals and, later, early humans, lived […]
New evidence for climate change creating modern humans
While archaeological and genetic evidence suggest that Homo sapiens originated in Africa around 200,000 years ago, it is more difficult to identify when modern human behaviors emerged. Intriguingly, recent archaeological excavations in southern Africa have shown that technological innovation, linked to the emergence of culture and modern behavior, took place relatively suddenly on more than […]
Neanderthal bone reveals modern day affliction
The first-known case of a bone tumor has been discovered in a fragment of the rib of a young Neanderthal who lived about 120,000 years ago in what is now present-day Croatia. The fragment, which comes from the archaeological cave site of Krapina, contains by far the earliest bone tumor ever identified. Bone tumors are […]
Torturous terrain behind human bipedal evolution?
Archaeologists at the University of York say challenging terrain could have been the driving force behind our earliest ancestors leaving the trees and becoming upright bipeds. Writing in the journal Antiquity, the researchers suggest that our upright gait may have its origins in the rugged landscape of East and South Africa which was shaped during […]
Fossil analysis indicates dinosaurs used feathers for courtship
A University of Alberta scientist says that fossilized dinosaur tail bones provide strong evidence that feathered dinosaurs used tail plumage to attract mates, much like modern-day peacocks. The fossil evidence, detailed in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, centers on a peculiar fusing together of vertebrae at the tip of the tail of four different species […]
Extinction of dinosaurs a given thanks to fragility of their ecosystem
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the ecological structure of dinosaur communities made them sitting ducks for extinction after the Chicxulub asteroid impact 65 million years ago. For the study, scientists from the University of Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Field Museum of Natural […]