December 23rd, 2011
The phenomenon of sociability in primates, including our own species, is examined in a paper published in Nature last month and discussed in the science section of the New York Times this week.The social brain hypothesis - “... that intelligence and brain volume increase with group size because individuals must manage more social relationships” (quoted from the New York Times) - is challenged in this new paper.
December 19th, 2011
Reports from South Africa in recent months have shed new light on the activities of members of our species at critical junctures in human evolution. The first of these was a series of papers elaborating upon the initial announcement of the discovery of a new species(Au. sediba) which is said to be possibly an example of early Homo; this was followed by further evidence of the use of ochre as decoration; and in the past two weeks evidence of using tree boughs as bedding material.
November 2nd, 2011
The re-dating of the tooth of an infant found in Italy in the Sixties, and the more recent find of a mandible with three teeth in England, have pushed back the time it is thought our species, Homo sapiens, migrating out of Africa arrived in Europe.
October 5th, 2011
The fossil evidence has long indicated there were two great migrations out of Africa.
September 21st, 2011
Early Craftsmanship, to the right of this column, is a new feature on BecomingHuman. This 18-minute video is an introduction to humankind's first surviving technology, demonstrates how stone tools were made and looks at how this technology became more complex.
September 1st, 2011
Stone tools played an important role in human evolution and one of the most significant stone technologies was the Acheulean, distinguished by the tools' characteristic tear drop and oval shaped handaxes. This technology, named for the place in France where some of the first examples were found in the 19th century, was thought to have originated around 1.4 million years ago (ma).
June 17th, 2011
A summary article in Science this week asks this question, after revealing the results of another study of ancient eating habits, and in general revisits the many questions connected with this much debated ancestor.
June 5th, 2011
The New York Times, citing a paper in Nature, reported last week “Researchers studying the diet of human ancestors who lived two million years ago in southern Africa have unexpectedly come across a crucial clue to their social structure. The males never strayed far from home, and the females dispersed after puberty to neighboring groups”
May 18th, 2011
Neanderthals were back in the news last week. But then, Neanderthals are seldom out of the news and have not ceased to fascinate us since they were discovered and named about 150 years ago.
May 9th, 2011
Two renowned fossil hunters, once rivals, met before an appreciative audience in New York last week and discussed the significance of their finds and the importance of increased public understanding of evolution.