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

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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Different Tastes: How Our Human Ancestors' Diets Evolved
January 16th, 2015
Our human ancestors began tasting food differently sometime after the human family tree branched off from the ancestors of chimpanzees, researchers say.
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Photos: Ancient Shell Carving Is Oldest On Record
Homo erectus shell tool
December 3rd, 2014
A second look at a century-old shell collection uncovered remarkable engravings made on a freshwater shellfish shell in Java, Indonesia.
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Ancient Human Fossil Could Be New Primitive Species
Ancient Human Fossil - Penghu 1
January 27th, 2015
An ancient human fossil discovered from the seafloor near Taiwan reveals that a primitive group of humans, potentially an unknown species, once lived in Asia, researchers say.
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Bone Density Drop in Modern Humans Linked to Less Physical Activity
Human Bone Evolution
December 23rd, 2014
The relatively lightly built skeletons of modern humans developed late in evolutionary history, and may have been the result of a shift away from a nomadic lifestyle to a more settled one, according to a new study.
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Origins of Human Alcohol Consumption Revealed
Friends toast with their drinks.
December 1st, 2014
The ancestors of modern humans began evolving the ability to digest alcohol about 10 million years ago, new research finds.
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Ancient Human Skulls Reveal When Europeans Could Drink Milk
A Late Bronze Age burial from the site of Ludas-Varjú-dulo, Hungary dated to about 1200 B.C.
October 21st, 2014
The DNA from 13 ancient humans reveals the evolution of lighter skin and lactose tolerance. The skeletons were found in archaeological burial sites unearthed during highway construction in the Great Hungarian Plain in Central Europe.
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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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Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week
King Richard III's skull
December 7th, 2014
The start of alcohol consumption, the missing y chromosome and even the auction of a corpse plate are just a few of this weeks cool science stories.
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Ancient and Modern Europeans Have Surprising Genetic Connection
Kostenki Skull
November 6th, 2014
There is a surprising genetic unity between the earliest known Europeans and contemporary Europeans, ancient DNA reveals. This finding suggests that a complex network of sexual exchange may have existed across Europe over the past 50,000 years.
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