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

'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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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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Different Tastes: How Our Human Ancestors' Diets Evolved
neanderthals-02
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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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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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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