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

May 4th, 2009

“Peking Man” Cave To Be Reworked

May 04, 2009

The famous cave outside Beijing in the Dragon Teeth Hills, called Zhoukoudian and made famous by excavations in the 1920s, will be reopened for excavation this year, it was announced by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, an arm of the Chinese government.  The cave was worked sporadically in the Sixties, following the formal cessation of work in 1937 when the Japanese invaded China.<

April 28th, 2009

"Hobbit" Symposium Held

April 28, 2009

An inconclusive meeting was held April 21-23, 2009 at Stony Brook, New York that shed very little new light on the puzzling fossils nicknamed “Hobbit” and formally named Homo floresiensis.  The fossils were discovered in a cave on the island of Flores in Indonesia, southeast of Java, in 2003.  Researchers were puzzled from the start by the diminutive stature (three feet tall), small br

April 20th, 2009

Two New Neanderthal Studies

April 20, 2009

The always fascinating Neanderthals were the subject of two studies announced in recent weeks.  The first revealed at least three and possibly four genetically distinct subgroups of Homo neanderthalensis, while the second disputed the contention Neanderthals were cannibals at a Croatian site.

March 26th, 2009 Announces Timeline

March 26, 2009, launched in 2000 and upgraded earlier this year, alerts visitors to expect a timeline and associated material to appear within a few months.  The site is developing this new module, according to webmaster Jay Greene, to fill a clear need: teachers, students and others interested in human origins can see on one page all the species that make up the human evolutionary tree.

March 12th, 2009

“Peking Man” Older Than First Thought

March 12, 2009

A new dating method indicates the stone tools found at Zhoukoudian in China are considerably older than first believed, according to a paper published in the journal Nature this week.  Zhoukoudian, not far from Beijing, then called Peking in the West, is the site of a cave first excavated by Franz Weidenreich starting in the late Twenties and during the decade of the Thirties.  Fossili

March 4th, 2009

Newly Discovered Hominin Footprints in Kenya

March 04, 2009

Human footprints, whether encountered on a beach or after the snow has stopped falling, have an effable quality.  Bones and human artifacts, after examination by specialists, can tell us much about how life was lived in earlier times but footprints are full of wonder for us.  They may have been made yesterday or, as occurs so rarely, a million years ago and we feel a connection with the unknown

January 27th, 2009

How Science is Done (2)

January 27, 2009

In our occasional series, How Science Is Done, we attempt to show how real scientists, working on real questions, find answers - if not final answers, then suggestive answers that expand our knowledge into hitherto murky areas.

May 7th, 2008

How DID Lucy Walk?

May 07, 2008

"Lucy" is the three million year old fossil discovered in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974 by Don Johanson. For more than three decades this remarkable find, which has told us so much about out origins, has been the subject of controversy.