News - 2020



November 20th, 2020

Hypotheses: one out, one in

November 20, 2020

The "Cradle of Humankind" Northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa comprises a number of limestone cave localities named Kromdraai, Sterkfontein and Swartkrans.

November 12th, 2020

High altitude Tibetan plateau yields Denisovan DNA

November 12, 2020

In a paper authored by Zhang et al. and published in the journal Science on October 30, a research team reports the discovery of Denisovan mitochondrial DNA at 328o meters (10,760 feet)  altitude on the Tibetan Plateau.

November 2nd, 2020

Heat treatment in the news (again!)

November 02, 2020

Heat treatment is the process whereby our ancient ancestors, baked Stone to make the source material for stone tools better suited for the task at hand.

October 21st, 2020

Contest to spur students’ understanding of human exploration and discovery

October 21, 2020

Astronomy and paleoanthropology are two branches of science that generally don’t intersect. But this fall, the Institute of Human Origins (IHO) at Arizona State University is launching a contest for U.S.

September 5th, 2020

The richness of scientific investigation

September 05, 2020

For students generally, and regardless of their particular field of interest, we urge folks to read  the contents of any recent edition of the journals Science or Nature. Even a passing glance makes clear the richness of current scientific investigation, the variety of fields in which investigation is active and the manifold backgrounds and interest of investigators.

May 21st, 2020

Transdisciplinary research in South Africa

May 21, 2020

Dr. Curtis Marean is foundation professor and assistant director at the Institute of Human Origins, School of human evolution and social change, at Arizona State University. He sends this report to

May 20th, 2020

Neanderthal-H. sapiens encounters in Europe

May 20, 2020

Until now the earliest encounters in Europe between members of our species, Homo sapiens, migrating out of Africa and Neanderthals was thought to have occurred around 45,000 years ago. See Earliest Neanderthal Encounters published on this website in 2015.

April 7th, 2020

Broken Hill cranium re-examined

April 07, 2020

In 1921, a well preserved cranium was found at a mining site called Broken Hill  in what is now Zambia, then southern Rhodesia. The cranium was estimated to be half a million years old and was given a new species name, Homo rhodesiensis.

April 2nd, 2020

Three separate species, together in time

April 02, 2020

The side of Drimolem in South Africa has yielded a remarkable array of fossils, it was reported in the journal Science on April 3. The fossil crania found represent two genera, Paranthropus robustus (designated DNH 152) and Homo erectus (DNH 134); they have been dated to a tightly constrained 2.04 to 1.95 million years ago.

January 26th, 2020

DNA from Camaroon

January 26, 2020

A paper published in the journal  Nature on January 22 deals with evidence far more recent than one usually finds on this website. DNA from four children, two of them buried 3000 years ago and two of them buried 8000 years ago, speak to human dispersal in sub Saharan Africa. These four individuals are most closely related to Bantu speaking people today.