August 11th, 2010

Earliest stone tool evidence revealed

August 11, 2010

Until  now the earliest evidence of stone tools was found at Gona in Ethiopia in 1994.  The artifacts have been securely dated to 2.6 million years and  were clearly manufactured, as opposed to shapes formed naturally by erosion or being tumbled in streams.  They corresponded in size, shape and apparent usage to the most rudimentary stone tool technology, called Oldo

August 10th, 2010

How Science Is Done: field schools

August 10, 2010

Field schools offer university level students an intensive, hands on way to sharpen their paleontological and archaeological knowledge.  Field schools are operated by academic institutions at working sites.  Students accepted at field school pay tuition, as a rule, and receive credit in equivalent classroom hours after a number of weeks' instruction in geology, mapping, searching for and catalo

July 10th, 2010

New Fossil Find in Ethiopia

July 10, 2010

Field work beginning in 2002 in the Afar Depression (Ethiopia) culminated in an announcement three weeks ago of a new addition to the species Australopithecus afarensis.

June 29th, 2010

Look Ma, No Bones!

June 29, 2010

For most of the twentieth century what we knew about human evolution derived from the finding and analysis of fossilized bone.  Reconstruction of bone fragments, comparison with previous finds and contemporary ape and human anatomy kept pushing our understanding of human origins deeper in time.  A dramatic example of this point was the 1974 discovery of AL-288-1, the partial Au.

May 20th, 2010

The Neanderthal - modern human connection?

May 20, 2010

A sixty percent complete, “first draft” of the Neanderthal genome has been prepared by scientists with the Max Planck Institute in Germany and there is evidence there was interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans about 80,000 years ago in the Levant.  This announcement appeared in the journal Science on May 8 and has had a mixed reception.

April 30th, 2010

Remarkable New Fossils Found

April 30, 2010

Two nearly complete skeletal fossils, one a juvenile male and the other an adult female, were found a year ago in South Africa and announced last month  in two articles in the journal Science.  Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist with University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg was mapping cave site near that city when his son Matthew, a short distance away with his dog, called out h

April 28th, 2010

Transcript Available in Chinese

April 28, 2010

Some visitors to this website have difficulty with spoken English, either because they are hearing impaired or English is not their first language.  We have created transcripts so these visitors can more fully experience the Documentary narrated by Don Johanson.

February 12th, 2010

Timeline Enhanced

February 12, 2010

The timeline on this website, The Human Lineage Through Time, added last September, is being expanded.  Starting this week and continuing through mid March, we will have an essay for each of the hominin species shown on the timeline.

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.