Human Origins

Humans are unique creatures on the planet, though it wasn't always this way. Long ago, some bizarre human relatives, such as Nutcracker Man and a Homo species whose miniature bodies resembled the hobbits on Lord of the Rings, roamed Earth. Scientists are even finding evidence that modern humans crossed paths with some of our relatives, with fossils suggesting Homo sapiens may have had sex with Neanderthals and even a newly discovered species called the Denisovans. In news and features, we will cover human evolution and origins, revealing the mysteries of humanity, details on human ancestors and the evolutionary steps that led to modern humans.
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Latest Articles

Neanderthals Wore Eagle Talons As Jewelry 130,000 Years Ago
eagle talons
March 11th, 2015
Long before they shared the landscape with modern humans, Neanderthals in Europe developed a sharp sense of style, wearing eagle claws as jewelry, new evidence suggests.
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Earliest Human Species Possibly Found in Ethiopia
A close-up view of the mandible from an early Homo species.
March 4th, 2015
A human with a mix of primitive and more modern traits who lived 2.8 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia may be a newfound species and the earliest human ever discovered. The finding reveals humans arose 500,000 years earlier than thought.
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Valentine's Science: How Mouth Germs Shape Attraction
couple kissing
February 13th, 2015
In addition to good looks, charm and intelligence, there's a more surprising reason two people may choose to spend Valentine's Day together: having similar microbes.
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Photos: Earliest Known Human Fossils Discovered
A close-up view of the mandible from an early Homo species.
March 4th, 2015
Scientists have discovered 2.8-million-year-old fossils of what may be a new human species in Ethiopia.
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'Big Brain' Gene Found in Humans, Not Chimps
mouse brain with neurons in red
February 26th, 2015
A single gene that is found only in Homo species may partly explain why the human neocortex, the seat of higher cognitive functions, is so large.
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Waiting for Mr. Right May Be an Evolutionary Wrong
woman thinking with man in background
February 9th, 2015
With Valentine's Day around the corner, the pressure is on to find and keep a romantic partner. But settling for someone who is good enough may be more evolutionarily advantageous than waiting for the perfect match, a new study finds.
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Gripping Tale: Hominin Hands Hold Clues to Tool Use
An example of a human precision grip, grasping an Australopithecus africanus first metacarpal of the thumb (3-2 million years old).
January 22nd, 2015
The ancestors of humans may have evolved powerful, precise humanlike hands enough to use stone tools long before such tools were even developed, researchers say.
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Jaws, Not Brains, Define Early Human Species
Researchers used bones of the Olduvai Hominid to reconstruct the Homo habilis skull, with the transparent parts based on a cranium from Kenya.
March 4th, 2015
The extinct human species long thought of as the earliest known member of the human family may be at least a half million years older than previously thought, according to state-of-the-art computer models of the species.
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Stone Age Skull Reveals Astonishing Human Diversity
skull image
February 19th, 2015
A partial skull found at a site called Lukenya Hill in Kenya suggests that early populations of modern humans in Africa had greater diversity than previously thought.
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55,000-Year-Old Skull Fragment May Be Linked to 1st Europeans
Ancient Skull Fragment
January 28th, 2015
Discovery of partial skull in Israel may provide insights on humans' migration out of Africa and when they first interbred with Neanderthals.
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