Anthropology

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.

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.

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 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

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

While fieldwork was postponed, scientists made discoveries studying fossil footprints, ancient apes, monkeys and hominins.

Ten New Things We Learned About Human Origins in 2020

Smithsonian’s archaeologist Ella Beaudoin and paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner reveal some of the year’s best findings in human origins studies

Researchers identified seven prehistoric human footprints at Alathar, a dried-up lake bed in Saudi Arabia.

Human Footprints Found in Saudi Arabia May Be 120,000 Years Old

If confirmed, the footfalls would represent the oldest evidence of Homo sapiens' presence on the Arabian Peninsula

Drone images show the location of a council circle found on an ancestral Wichita site in Kansas.

Drone Imaging Reveals Pre-Hispanic 'Great Settlement' Beneath Kansas Ranch

The 164-foot-wide earthwork is the sixth ancestral Wichita "council circle" discovered in the region

The charred shoulder blade of a young adult who was cremated in northern Israel some 9,000 years ago. The bone contains the embedded point of a flint projectile.

Humans in the Near East Cremated Their Dead 9,000 Years Ago

Archaeologists found the charred bones of a young adult in the ancient Israeli village of Beisamoun

Cryptids like Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch or the mis-translated "Abominable Snowman" abound in folk tales.

Why Bigfoot and the 'Abominable Snowman' Loom Large in the Human Imagination

In cultures around the world, folklore of a 'Wild Man' share a common narrative

Anthropologist S. Ann Dunham (above, left) documented traditional crafts in Indonesia. Her field notes are now digitized and the Smithsonian is looking for digital transcribers.

Help Transcribe Field Notes Penned by S. Ann Dunham, a Pioneering Anthropologist and Barack Obama's Mother

Newly digitized, Dunham’s papers reflect her work as a scholar and as a scientist and as a woman doing anthropology in her own right

Discovered at the Yilbilinji rock shelter in northern Australia's Limmen National Park, the drawings are between 400 and 500 years old.

Rare Form of Miniature Stenciled Rock Art Found in Australia

New research suggests the small-scale illustrations may have been made with beeswax

“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

Researchers excavate an altar in the capital of the Maya kingdom of Sak Tz'i'.

Community-Researcher Collaboration Reveals Ancient Maya Capital in Backyard

A recent excavation located the first physical evidence of the capital of the Maya kingdom of Sak Tz'i', founded in 750 B.C.

The Smithsonian's “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” exhibition is joining other efforts to combat misinformation about COVID-19 on multiple fronts. Volunteers, public programs and forthcoming content updates are providing visitors with access to credible and relevant information.

How Museums Can Help the Public Make Sense of Pandemics

We can’t let fear overrun science, says Sabrina Sholts, the Smithsonian’s curator of biological anthropology

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