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

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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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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Taller, Fatter, Older: How Humans Have Changed in 100 Years
A short man fixes bow tie of taller man.
July 21st, 2014
Humans are getting taller; they're also fatter than ever and live longer than at any time in history. And all of these changes have occurred in the past 100 years, scientists say.
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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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Ancient Skulls Reveal 'Mixed' Neanderthal-Like Lineage
A hominin skull (dubbed Skull 17) from the Sima de los Huesos cave site in Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain.
June 19th, 2014
Hominin skulls discovered in a Spanish cave showed a mix of traits from Neanderthals and more primitive human lineages, suggesting Neanderthal features evolved separately at different times.
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Humans Sacrificed Brawn for Brains, Study Suggests
Human brain illustrated with interconnected small nerves - 3d render
May 27th, 2014
Humans possess more complex, powerful brains compared with humanity's closest living relatives, such as monkeys and apes. One reason behind this jump in brainpower may lie in how much of the human metabolism is devoted to the human brain.
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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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