- 2009



November 23rd, 2009

More on Heat Treatment and Stone Tool Making

November 23, 2009

Two months ago scientists announced that heat treatment -  controlled baking of stone in order to improve it as a raw material for shaping into tools - had far earlier origins than had been thought previously.  See the article "Heat Treatment Makes Better Stone Tools", below.  We now have video discussing heat treatment, or fire hardening.

November 7th, 2009

Signs of Early Homo sapiens in China?

November 07, 2009

The announcement from China of the discovery of tantalisingly few fossils raise the possibility Homo sapiens arrived in eastern Asia far earlier than first supposed.  These finds also revive the controversy surrounding two contending hypotheses of human evolution, the multi regional versus  African origin.

October 2nd, 2009

Ardipithecus ramidus revealed

October 02, 2009

The discovery in Ethiopia during the course of 1992 to 1994 of fossils more than four million years old was finally revealed to the scientific world on October 2 of this year in a special edition of the journal Science.  Many thousands of pieces of fossilized bone were recovered,m reconstructed and shown to be the most complete, oldest specimen on the human lineage and named Ardipi

September 30th, 2009

The Evidence for Evolution

September 30, 2009

Two new books examine the evidence for evolution, each author approaching this timely and controversial subject from a slightly different perspective but each finding the evidence solid and irrefutable. Reviewer Laurence D.

September 10th, 2009

Interactive Timeline Added to BecomingHuman

September 10, 2009

A timeline has been added to this website.  Titled "The Human Lineage Through Time" the timeline shows the temporal relationship among the eighteen hominin species preceding ourselves on the human evolutionary tree.

September 6th, 2009

A New Stone Technology Enters Europe

September 06, 2009

The finding of the earliest Achulean lithics in Europe was reported in last week’s Nature by researchers Gary Scott and Luis Gilbert, with the Berkeley Geochronology Center.

August 17th, 2009

Heat Treatment Makes Better Stone Tools

August 17, 2009

The first evidence for the controlled use of fire appears about 790,000 years ago when fire was used for simple tasks like cooking, heat production, light, and protection from predators.

May 13th, 2009

The Oldest Sculpted Artwork

May 13, 2009

The journal Nature reports this week: “Six fragments of carved ivory recovered from the Hohle Fels in Germany represent the oldest figurative art yet discovered. Dating to at least 35,000 years ago, the Venus has grotesquely exaggerated sexual features and is 5,000 years older than well-known ‘Venuses’ from the Gravettian culture.

May 9th, 2009

The "Hobbit" Debate Continues

May 09, 2009

The puzzling fossils known as Homo floresiensis, nicknamed “Hobbit”, continue to provoke discussion.  (See the story “Hobbit Symposium Held”, below)  Although given the genus name Homo, the fossils found a few years ago in Indonesia exhibit many traits, especially in the hands and feet, of much earlier members of the hominin lineage, particularly Australopithecus afarensis

May 8th, 2009

The Knee Joint From Hadar

May 08, 2009

The discovery in November 1974 of a nearly complete, three million year old skeleton, nicknamed “Lucy”, overshadowed a quite remarkable find twelve months before.  In 1973, Donald Johanson found two fragments of fossilized bone, the proximal or near end of a tibia and the distal or far end of a femur, otherwise known as a shinbone and thighbone, which together form the knee.  The distal end of