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 and Humans First Mated 50,000 Years Ago, DNA Reveals
Study researcher Svante Pääbo examines a 45,000-year-old femur from a Siberian man that is helping scientists pinpoint when Neanderthals and modern humans interbred.
October 22nd, 2014
The DNA from a 45,000-year-old bone of a man from Siberia is helping to pinpoint when modern humans and Neanderthals first interbred, researchers say. The man was born thousands of years after such interspecies mating occurred.
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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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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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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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Does the Brain's Cerebellum Make Humans Special?
The human brain with the cerebellum highlighted.
October 2nd, 2014
The brains of apes and humans evolved unusually quickly when it came to the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved in control of movement, researchers say. The finding may change what is considered special about the human brain.
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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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