Anthropology

An illustration of a Neanderthal father and his daughter

Cool Finds

Ancient DNA Reveals the First Known Neanderthal Family

The lived with a small community in a Siberian cave some 54,000 years ago

Two Hadza men in Tanzania carry bows and their catch.

Our Ancestors Ate a Paleo Diet, With Carbs

A modern hunter-gatherer group known as the Hadza has taught researchers surprising things about the highly variable menu consumed by humans past

The archaeological site at Himera in Sicily

Mercenaries Were More Common in Greek Warfare Than Ancient Historians Let on

New research finds that many soldiers who fought in the fifth-century B.C.E. battles at Himera were born outside of the empire

The uncovered skeleton shows where the lower left leg was amputated at the tibia and fibula.

Earliest Known Amputation Was Performed in Borneo 31,000 Years Ago

Prehistoric hunter gatherers carried out the surgery thousands of years before the previous recognized example

A vendor displays chili peppers at a local market in India. 

Why Do Some Humans Love Chili Peppers?

An anthropologist traces the origins and paths of one of his favorite kinds of plants

Sahelanthropus likely walked on the ground and used all its limbs to move around in trees.

Seven Million Years Ago, the Oldest Known Early Human Was Already Walking

Analysis of a femur fossil indicates that a key species could already move somewhat like us

Roughly two million years old, this tool, known as the Kanjera stone, was part of a new Stone Age technology that helped make better-fed, smarter hominins.
 

This Is the Oldest Human-Made Object in the Smithsonian Collections

Roughly two million years ago, simple items like the Kanjera tool sparked a revolution in the way humans lived

Part of the Field Museum’s new permanent exhibition "Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories."

Past Imperfect

Field Museum Confronts Its Outdated, Insensitive Native American Exhibition

Co-created with Indigenous partners, the new permanent installation reckons with past harm

Researchers dated the skulls to between 900 and 1200 C.E.

Skulls Thought to Belong to Modern Murder Victims Actually Date to the Pre-Hispanic Period

Found in a cave in Mexico in 2012, the 10th- through 13th-century bones may have been displayed in a ritual tower of craniums

Archaeologists found the calendar fragment among a total of 249 pieces of painted plaster and painted masonry block. 

Cool Finds

Fragment of Oldest-Known Maya Calendar Discovered in Guatemalan Pyramid

A glyph representing "7 Deer" marks the earliest known use of the historical system—for now

Archaeologists and members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe worked together on the project, which revealed the longstanding genetic roots of the region's Native peoples. 

Innovation for Good

This Native American Tribe Wants Federal Recognition. A New DNA Analysis Could Bolster Its Case

The new findings could help Mukwema Ohlone prove they never went "extinct"

In 51 B.C.E., Julius Caesar noted that people in Britain did not eat hares due to their religious significance.

The Ancient Origins of the Easter Bunny

A scholar traces the folk figure's history from the Neolithic era to today

The Roman elite viewed public toilets as an instrument that flushed the filth of the plebes out of their noble sight.

How the Ancient Romans Went to the Bathroom

A new book by journalist Lina Zeldovich traces the management of human waste—and underscores poop's potential as a valuable resource

Early Etruscans had advanced knowledge of art, farming and metallurgy, leading some historians to believe the civilization originated elsewhere before settling in what is now Italy. DNA analysis shows they were actually locals.

New Research

Where Did the Ancient Etruscans Come From?

A new DNA analysis suggests the enigmatic civilization was native to the Italian Peninsula

The Tuxtla statuette, discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1902, now resides in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Secrets Does This 1,800-Year-Old Carved Stone Hold?

The Tuxtla Statuette illuminates an endangered Latin American culture

Edward Sherriff Curtis, Diomede Mother and Child

Trove of Unseen Photos Documents Indigenous Culture in 1920s Alaska

New exhibition and book feature more than 100 images captured by Edward Sherriff Curtis for his seminal chronicle of Native American life

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

The cranium of an adult male, likely 25 to 30 years old, shows healed trauma affecting the upper jaw. The injury was probably caused by a punch from another individual in a fight.

Human Remains From the Chilean Desert Reveal Its First Farmers Fought to the Death

Three thousand years ago desert dwellers fatally stabbed and bashed each other, possibly due to diminishing resources

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

While this year’s Arctic sea ice extended further than last year’s, there still wasn’t as much of it as there was only two decades ago. Thinner and younger sea ice in winter and less ice in the summer are two of the many elements of the Arctic’s new reality.

Smithsonian Voices

Climate Change Redefines Meaning of Normal in the Arctic

As Earth’s climate changes, people around the world are witnessing insidious changes and responding to their new normal

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