Human Evolution

Researchers analyzed teeth from a carp-like fish.

New Research

Early Humans May Have Cooked Fish 780,000 Years Ago

New research adds to the debate about when humans began cooking with fire

Darwin's signature on the note

Charles Darwin's Rare Autographed Manuscript Could Sell for $800,000

The English naturalist was responding to a magazine editor who had asked for a handwriting sample

Hand axes made of quartzite from between 100,000 and 40,000 B.C.E. at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. 

Neanderthals and Modern Humans May Have Shared Ideas for Tools

Modeling research provides a “good starting point” for finding where these species overlapped

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

Svante Pääbo poses with a model of a Neanderthal skeleton after winning the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Svante Pääbo Wins Nobel Prize for Unraveling the Mysteries of Neanderthal DNA

The Swedish geneticist used 40,000-year-old bones to sequence the early humans' genome

The Gogo fish fossil 

World's Oldest Vertebrate Fossil Heart Found in Australia

The 380-million-year-old heart came from a prehistoric fish that is our earliest jawed ancestor

Skull of a Neanderthal, or Homo neanderthalensis

What's the Difference Between a Human and Neanderthal Brain?

One small variation in DNA may have helped Homo sapiens out-compete our ancient relatives

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

Researchers found chewing gum can increase metabolic rates by up to 15 percent. 

 

Chewing Uses More Energy Than You'd Think

And it may have influenced the way our jaws and teeth evolved

By studying the throats of 43 primate species, researchers found they all had vocal membranes that destabilized their voices. Humans, on the other hand, do not.

The Evolutionary Trait That May Have Led to Human Speech

“Vocal membranes” in primates make their speech grating and unpredictable, study suggests. Humans have no such thing

Based on the remnants left on pottery fragments, researchers can say northern Europeans have been drinking milk for 9,000 years.

Why Did Europeans Evolve Into Becoming Lactose Tolerant?

Famine and disease from millennia ago likely spurred the rapid evolution of the trait on the continent

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

Researchers analyzed flint tools found at the Evron Quarry in Israel.

Cool Finds

When Did Early Humans Start Using Fire? To Find Answers, Scientists Enlist Artificial Intelligence

By analyzing flint tools, researchers find new evidence of an 800,000-year-old fire in northern Israel

The tooth from Laos thought to belong to a Denisovan girl

Ancient Molar Found in Laos Could Help Fill in a Gap in Human History

Researchers believe the tooth belongs to a Denisovan girl, making it the first fossil evidence of these hominins in Southeast Asia

A gorilla sleeps in a forest in Rwanda.

Why Humans Sleep Less Than Their Primate Relatives

Ancient humans may have evolved to slumber efficiently—and in a crowd

Homo heidelbergensis, a species whose skull is pictured here, likely lived in regions that overlapped with Neanderthals in Europe and Homo sapiens in Africa—according to climate modeling results released this week.

How Did Climate Change Affect Ancient Humans?

Sophisticated climate models were paired with evidence from the archaeological record to reveal where ancient humans may have lived and evolved

Filling in genome gaps could help scientists better the genetic basis for certain diseases and lead to new medical discoveries.

Good News

Scientists Have Finally Sequenced a 'Gapless' Human Genome

Scientists have deciphered the missing eight percent of our genetic blueprint, setting the stage for new discoveries in human evolution and disease

Using human genomes, researchers have developed a massive family tree identifying nearly 27 million ancestors dating back more than 100,000 years ago. 

New Research

Largest Human Family Tree Identifies Nearly 27 Million Ancestors

Researchers create massive genealogical network dating back 100,000 years

Scientists tested 16 hearth locations inside Lazaret Cave near Nice, France, to determine how early humans used fire.

New Research

Why Early Humans Built Fires in the Center of Lazaret Cave

A new study suggests pre-Neanderthals carefully placed their hearths to minimize smoke exposure while maximizing room for activities

Neronian points found in Grotte Mandrin

Discovery of Ancient Baby Tooth Places Humans in Western Europe 10,000 Years Earlier Than Previously Thought

The archeologists also uncovered a number of Neanderthal artifacts suggesting the two species coexisted in the area

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