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

Ancient Arabian Stones Hint at How Humans Migrated Out of Africa
Ancient Homo Skull
August 26th, 2014
Ancient stone artifacts recently excavated from Saudi Arabia possess similarities to items of about the same age in Africa — a discovery that could provide clues to how humans dispersed out of Africa, researchers say.
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100,000-Year-Old Case of Brain Damage Discovered
paleolithic child skull reconstruction
July 23rd, 2014
The skeleton of a child who lived 100,000 years ago shows signs of severe brain damage from a head trauma, new research suggests.
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How Evolving Traits Helped Humans Survive Unstable World
the skulls of three early human species, including Homo rudolfensis, Homo habilis and Homo erectus,
July 3rd, 2014
Three different human species may have walked the Earth at the dawn of the human lineage, and the ancestors of modern humans may have survived because of traits such as large brains that helped them adapt to unstable, shifting landscapes, researchers say.
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Humans Did Not Wipe Out the Neanderthals, New Research Suggests
Neanderthal face
August 20th, 2014
Neanderthals went extinct in Europe about 40,000 years ago, giving them millennia to coexist with modern humans culturally and sexually, according to new research that also suggests modern humans didn't cause Neanderthals to die out rapidly.
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Friends Have More DNA in Common than Strangers 
friends genetics similar
July 14th, 2014
People unsuspectingly choose friends who share parts of the same DNA, a new genetic analysis finds.
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Tibetans Thrive at High Altitudes Thanks to Neanderthal Cousin
A researcher collects a blood sample from an ethnic Tibetan man participating in a DNA study.
July 2nd, 2014
Genetic mutations from an extinct human lineage called the Denisovans help Tibetans and Sherpas live at high altitudes. The findings suggest interbreeding with other human lineages provided genetic variations that helped modern humans thrive.
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Human and Chimp Genes May Have Split 13 Million Years Ago
Male Western Chimpanzee
June 12th, 2014
The ancestors of humans and chimpanzees may have begun genetically diverging from one another 13 million years ago, more than twice as long ago as had been widely thought, shedding new light on the process of human evolution, researchers say.
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Why You Don't Look Like a Caveman
an artist's conception of what Homo erectus may have looked like.
August 14th, 2014
As society became friendlier and less aggressive centuries ago, there was less of a need for the robust facial features of a caveman. The result? The feminine faces of modern humans -- thinner skulls, lighter brows and rounder heads.
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Interbreeding Common? Ancient Human Had Neanderthal-Like Ear
Ancient Human's Neanderthal-like Inner Ear
July 7th, 2014
The remains of an ancient human in China not thought to be Neanderthal unexpectedly possesses an inner ear much like that of humans' closest extinct relatives, according to a new study.
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Prehistoric Poop Reveals Neanderthals Ate Plants
El Salt, the excavation site where fossil poop was found.
June 25th, 2014
Traces of 50,000-year-old poop found at a Neanderthal campground in Spain suggest that modern humans' prehistoric cousins may have had a healthy dose of plants in their diet, researchers say.
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