Human Evolution

Whether the ten hand and footprints constitute art is up for debate, scholars say.

Cool Finds

These 200,000-Year-Old Hand and Footprints Could Be the World's Earliest Cave Art

Found at a hot spring on the Tibetan Plateau, the impressions were likely left by hominin children

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

Mother and pup of the bat species Saccopteryx bilineata. Similar to human infants, pups begin babbling at a young age as they develop language skills.

Baby Bats Babble—Just Like Human Infants

Both species make similar sounds as they develop language skills at an early age

Before engaging in social behaviors like grooming, bonobos (pictured) employed a "hello" greeting during 90 percent of observed interactions and bid their peers farewell 92 percent  of the time.

Bonobos and Chimps Appear to Have 'Hello' and 'Goodbye' Greetings

Like humans, these apes share salutations to start and end interactions

Olympic runners compete during the 10,000 meters race in Tokyo. In ancient times, running was likely used to push animals to exhaustion during hunting.

Five Ways Humans Evolved to Be Athletes

An archaeologist explores how our prowess in sport has deep roots in evolution

The bone carving shows a deliberate pattern.

Cool Finds

Is This 51,000-Year-Old Deer Bone Carving an Early Example of Neanderthal Art?

Made at least a millennium before modern humans' arrival in what is now Germany, the engraved object may reflect abstract thinking

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 young puppy responds to a human pointing to a treat during an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona.

New Research

Puppies Are Born Ready to Communicate With Humans

A new study finds very young dogs with little human contact can understand pointing gestures—and that the ability has a strong genetic basis

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter arrived on Mars on February 18, 2021.

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The researchers identified 65 species that make noise when they play by looking at existing studies. They estimate there certainly could be more chuckling critters out there.

New Research

Dogs Do It, Birds Do It, and Dolphins Do It, Too. Here Are 65 Animals That Laugh, According to Science

Researchers suggest that laughter in the animal kingdom may help creatures let each other know when it's playtime, so that play fights don't escalate

A close-up of fossilized plaque on an ancient human tooth.

New Research

Neanderthals Ate Carb-Heavy Diets, Potentially Fueling Brain Growth

Study finds evidence that ancient humans and their Neanderthal cousins ate lots of starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods

Recent research unearthed a trove of remains at a site that first yielded a Neanderthal skull in 1939.

Cool Finds

Remains of Nine Neanderthals Butchered by Hyenas Found in Italian Cave

The fossilized bones appear to belong to one woman, seven men and a young boy

“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

Researchers discovered 87 Neanderthal footprints, as well as a number of tracks left by prehistoric animals.

Cool Finds

100,000-Year-Old Fossilized Footprints Track Neanderthals' Trip to Spanish Coast

Some of the imprints appear to have been left by a child "jumping irregularly as though dancing," researchers say

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

Ancient people brought the crystals to the rock shelter.

Cool Finds

Crystals Found in Kalahari Desert Challenge Assumptions About Where in Africa Human Culture Arose

The 105,000-year-old items may have held religious meaning

Hunter-gatherers in what is now Russia likely viewed the wooden sculpture as an artwork imbued with ritual significance.

New Research

This Wooden Sculpture Is Twice as Old as Stonehenge and the Pyramids

New findings about the 12,500-year-old Shigir Idol have major implications for the study of prehistory

Some of the marks seen on the woman's skull predated her death, while others were likely left by natural forces following her burial.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Solve Mystery of 5,600-Year-Old Skull Found in Italian Cave

Natural forces moved a Stone Age woman's bones through the cavern over time

A hallmark of our cognitive abilities is to be able to calculate and respond to future probabilities. We will have to adapt to this pandemic reality, but adaptation is something that humans are famously good at.

Covid-19

Why This Pandemic Won't Be the Last

Smithsonian biological anthropologist Sabrina Sholts says Covid-19 illustrates that what makes us human also makes us more vulnerable to global contagions