Anthropology

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

L to R: Zelia Nutall, Mary Mahoney and Bertha Parker

Women Who Shaped History

Looking Beyond the Female Firsts of Science History

Two authors ask readers to change their understanding of what science is and who gets to participate

The defeated Carthaginians constructed this Temple of Victory at Himera, Sicily, following the first Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.

Contrary to Popular Lore, Ancient Greek Armies Relied on Foreign Mercenaries

Scientists studying fifth-century B.C. soldiers' teeth found evidence of military support from faraway lands

“We think of fire often as this destructive tool,” says lead author Jessica Thompson. “That doesn’t have to be the case.”

Cool Finds

Did Stone Age Humans Shape the African Landscape With Fire 85,000 Years Ago?

New research centered on Lake Malawi may provide the earliest evidence of people using flames to improve land productivity

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

The Sts’ailes forest garden near Vancouver, British Columbia seen from the air.

New Research

Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia Tended 'Forest Gardens'

Found near villages, research suggests the Indigenous population intentionally planted and maintained these patches of fruit and nut trees

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

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

A fragment of 1,500-year-old cloth is still attached to a metal brooch found at the site.

Cool Finds

Rare Scraps of Mineralized Anglo-Saxon Textiles Found in England

Archaeologists unearthed the cloth, as well as 3,000 grave goods and assorted ancient structures, ahead of construction

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

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

Hieroglyphs line the walls in a shrine
to the goddess Hathor at Serabit el-Khadim.

Who Invented the Alphabet?

New scholarship points to a paradox of historic scope: Our writing system was devised by people who couldn’t read

A woman hugs her granddaughter. Some scientists believe child care from grandmothers influenced human evolution.

How Much Did Grandmothers Influence Human Evolution?

Scientists debate the evolutionary benefits of menopause

A female macaque relaxes at Jigokudani. The Japanese word means “hell’s valley,” after the volcanic activity that heats the springs.

What Japan's Wild Snow Monkeys Can Teach Us About Animal Culture

Scientists have been studying the primates at some of the nation's hot springs, and what they have learned about evolution is astonishing

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