Articles by Brian Handwerk

A bone tool from Contrebandiers Cave likely used for making clothes out of the skin of predators.

Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World's Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave

Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago

Working with the Papuan Past Project, François-Xavier Ricaut measures the lung function of a highlander study participant at St. Therese’s School at Denglagu mission.

Why Papua New Guinea's Highlanders Differ Physically From Those Living Near Sea Level

New research shows villagers living at high altitude are shorter, have higher lung capacity and have smaller waistlines

A recreation of Dragon Man

A 146,000-Year-Old Fossil Dubbed 'Dragon Man' Might Be One of Our Closest Relatives

A mysterious Middle Pleistocene skull from a Chinese well has inspired debate among paleoanthropologists

A virtual reconstruction of the child’s remains found in Panga ya Saidi cave in Kenya

Scientists Discover Oldest Known Human Grave in Africa

The unearthing of a tiny child suggests Africa’s Stone Age humans sometimes practiced funerary rites and had symbolic thoughts about death

Scientists excavate bones at Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria. Four modern human bones were recovered from this layer along with a rich stone tool assemblage, animal bones, bone tools and pendants.

Some of Europe's Oldest-Known Modern Humans Are Distantly Related to Native Americans

Genome sequencing shows some individuals share family ties with surprising populations, and all boast plenty of Neanderthal relatives

A creek runs by moss-covered rocks not far From Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park. Researchers have found that listening to natural sounds like running water may benefit human health.

Listening to Nature Gives You a Real Rocky Mountain High

Sounds like birdsong and flowing water may alleviate stress, help lower blood pressure and lead to feelings of tranquility

These five skulls, which range from an approximately 2.5-million-year-old Australopithecus africanus on the left to an approximately 4,800-year-old Homo sapiens on the right, show changes in the size of the braincase, slope of the face and shape of the brow ridges over just less than half of human evolutionary history.

An Evolutionary Timeline of Homo Sapiens

Scientists share the findings that helped them pinpoint key moments in the rise of our species

This image diagrams the difference between human and chimpanzee models of thumb muscles, which the researchers used to study the evolution of thumb dexterity.

How Dexterous Thumbs May Have Helped Shape Evolution Two Million Years Ago

Fossils and biochemical models show tool-wielding hominins used their hands like we do today

Seabird guano covers a small island off the coast of Peru.

Ancient South American Civilizations Bloomed in the Desert Thanks to Seabird Poop

Prehistoric farmers fertilized their crops with the waste, which they imported from the coast

Scientists estimate this pig painting was drawn 45,500 years ago.

45,000-Year-Old Pig Painting in Indonesia May Be Oldest Known Animal Art

Ice Age cave painters flourished in Southeast Asia, where their work adorned rock walls

An overview of the Olorgesailie basin landscape, where the archeological site exists that contains stone weapons and tools

To Adapt to a Changing Environment 400,000 Years Ago, Early Humans Developed New Tools and Behaviors

When the East African Rift Valley transformed dramatically, new weapons arose and trade expanded

A stone point from Chiquihuite cave

Discovery in Mexican Cave May Drastically Change the Known Timeline of Humans' Arrival to the Americas

In a controversial new study, scientists cite artifacts dating the event to more than 26,000 years ago

Sunrise at the Tongariki site on Easter Island

Native Americans and Polynesians Met Around 1200 A.D.

Genetic analysis of their modern descendants shows that people from the Pacific Islands and South America interacted long before Europeans arrived

Greenland sled dogs at work

Husky Ancestors Started Hauling Sleds for Humans Nearly 10,000 Years Ago

A genetic study shows that today's Arctic sled dogs have something curious in common with polar bears

“Footprints give us information about anatomy and group dynamics that you just can’t get from bones,” says the Smithsonian's Briana Pobiner.

Ancient Toes and Soles of Fossilized Footprints Now 3-D Digitized for the Ages

New research suggests that for the prehistoric foragers that walked this path, labor was divided between men and women

Kilauea fissure 8 lava fountains reached as high as about 50 m (164 ft) on June 20, 2018

Could Rainfall Have Triggered the 2018 Eruption of Hawaiian Volcano Kīlauea?

A new study posits that groundwater pressure might have been a tipping point for the magma system near the eruption

In the Catalina Mountains in southern Arizona, forests struggle to keep up with recent increases in drought and wildfire activity, which are expected to continue due to human-caused climate change.

The American West May Be Entering a ‘Megadrought’ Worse Than Any in Historical Record

A new study of ancient climate has a dire warning about today's dry conditions

The Drimolen excavations and excavated fossils.

In Groundbreaking Find, Three Kinds of Early Humans Unearthed Living Together in South Africa

The different hominid species, possibly including the oldest-known Homo erectus, existed in the region's hills and caves

Reconstruction of Dineobellator notohesperus and other dinosaurs from the Ojo Alamo Formation at the end of the Cretaceous Period in New Mexico by Sergey Krasovskiy. This reconstruction shows three Dineobellator near a water source, with the ceratopsid Ojoceratops and  sauropod Alamosaurus in the background.

New Feathered Carnivorous Dinosaur Found in New Mexico

Dineobellator was a formidable predator and boasts the battle scars to prove it.

The remains of the newly discovered structure.

A Mysterious 25,000-Year-Old Structure Built of the Bones of 60 Mammoths

The purpose of such an elaborate structure remains a big open question

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