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

Drunken Monkeys: Does Alcoholism Have an Evolutionary Basis?
mother monkey feeds her baby fruit
April 11th, 2014
Why do humans seek out alcohol even though it can lead to destructive behavior? One biologist looked to evolution for an answer, and came up with The Drunken Monkey Hypothesis.
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At least 20% of Neanderthal DNA Is in Humans
Neanderthal statue with modern human
January 29th, 2014
Some 300 sexual hookups between Neanderthals and modern humans could explain the lurking caveman DNA, say the scientists who found those genes have influenced humans' skin and hair.
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'Nutcracker Man' Ate Tiger Nuts (Not What it Sounds Like)
the skull of human relative called the Nutcracker Man
January 8th, 2014
Because of the hominin's powerful jaw, it was long assumed P. boisei ate nuts, seeds and other hard items. Now scientists have figured out what the extinct creature that roamed across East Africa 1.4 million to 2.4 million years ago really ate.
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Humans Evolved 'Game Face' As Plea for Help, Study Suggests
Chimpanzee playing chess
March 5th, 2014
Humans, unlike chimpanzees, show their determination with a facial expression, perhaps one that evolved as part of humanity's extreme sociality.
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300,000-Year-Old Caveman 'Campfire' Found in Israel
Qesem cave being excavated
January 27th, 2014
A newly discovered hearth full of ash and charred bone in a cave in modern-day Israel hints that early humans sat around fires as early as 300,000 years ago — before Homo sapiens arose in Africa.
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Human Hand Fossil Turns Back Clock 500,000 Years on Complex Tool Use
Researchers have discovered a 1.42-million-year-old hand fossil that possesses the styloid process, a vital anatomical feature that allows the hand to lock into the wrist bones, giving humans the ability to make and use complex tools.
December 16th, 2013
The discovery of a 1.4-million-year-old hand-bone fossil reveals that the modern human ability to make and use complex tools may have originated far earlier than scientists previously thought, researchers say.
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Odd Cause of Humans' Dark Skin Proposed
Black and white skin
February 25th, 2014
The early deaths of modern people in Africa who have albinism, a lack of body pigment, suggest that skin cancer pushed humanity to evolve black skin coloration.
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7,000-Year-Old Human Bones Suggest New Date for Light-Skin Gene
illustration of ancient hunter gatherer
January 26th, 2014
An ancient hunter-gatherer from Spain had blue eyes and dark skin, suggesting that light skin evolved much later in Europe than previously thought.
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What We Learned About Human Origins in 2013
The 1.8-million-year-old skull unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia, suggests the earliest members of the <em>Homo</em> genus belonged to the same species, say scientists in a paper published Oct. 18, 2013 in the journal Science.
December 28th, 2013
From the possibility that the earliest humans were one species rather than many, to the discovery of the oldest known human DNA, LiveScience reviews what we learned about human origins in 2013.
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