Neanderthals were remarkably less genetically diverse than modern humans, with Neanderthal populations typically smaller and more isolated, researchers say.
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.
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.
Humans, unlike chimpanzees, show their determination with a facial expression, perhaps one that evolved as part of humanity's extreme sociality.
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.
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.
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.
An ancient hunter-gatherer from Spain had blue eyes and dark skin, suggesting that light skin evolved much later in Europe than previously thought.
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.
The first high-quality genome sequence also found the Neanderthal woman's parents were closely related, possibly half-siblings, suggesting inbreeding may have been common among her recent ancestors.
The thighbone of this hominid has revealed the oldest known human DNA yet. The results suggest human evolution was even more confusing than before thought, researchers say.
New, complete genome sequences from Neanderthals and ancient human relatives called Denisovans suggest that these groups and modern humans interbred with a fourth, unknown, early hominid relative.
Pesky parasites can tell their own version of our history, including the idea that modern humans intermingled with Neanderthals and that humans may have first put on clothing before leaving Africa.
A newly discovered 1.8 million-year-old skull from Eastern Europe has been pitched as disproving a decades-old paradigm in human evolution.