Human Origins

A fragment of early human bone uncovered in the excavation in Ranis, Germany

Humans and Neanderthals Lived Side by Side in Northern Europe 45,000 Years Ago, Study Finds

Archaeologists identified bone fragments of prehistoric modern humans in Germany, suggesting several millennia of coexistence with Neanderthals before the species disappeared

Genes that significantly increase risk of developing multiple sclerosis were introduced to northwestern Europe by herders who migrated from the east around 5,000 years ago.

Ancient DNA From Eurasian Herders Sheds Light on the Origins of Multiple Sclerosis

Genetic variants linked to the risk of MS were brought to Europe during a migration around 5,000 years ago, a new study finds—and they might have helped herders survive

An artist's depiction of a person carving a pendant from bones of a giant sloth roughly 25,000 to 27,000 years ago. Research this year suggested humans and the sloths lived in Brazil at the same time, strengthening evidence that our ancestors populated the Americas earlier than thought.

Thirteen Discoveries Made About Human Evolution in 2023

Smithsonian paleoanthropologists reveal some of the year’s most fascinating findings about human origins

Neanderthals have held our fascination ever since we first identified their remains.

Here's What We Know About Neanderthals So Far

Today, thanks to new artifacts and technologies, findings about our closest relatives are coming thick and fast

Bonobos from different social groups will groom each other and share food.

Like Humans, Some Bonobos Cooperate With Outsiders

We might not be the only primates to display helpful behavior toward members of a different social group, a new study suggests

An illustration of the Homo erectus child with her mother in the Ethiopian highlands, two million years ago

Two Million Years Ago, This Homo Erectus Lived the High Life

Dating of a child's fossilized jaw and teeth suggest our relatives lived at altitude earlier than once thought

Artistic reconstruction of a group of hominins in direct competition for carrion with a hyena

One Million Years Ago, Our Human Relatives May Have Challenged Giant Hyenas for Carcasses

Groups of hominins might have successfully scavenged large kills, new modeling finds

The excavation team uncovering the wooden structure. It was unearthed along the Kalambo River in Zambia at a site called Kalambo Falls.

Archaeologists Uncover Notched Logs That May Be the Oldest Known Wooden Structure

The interlocking pieces, found near a waterfall in Zambia, date to 476,000 years ago—before Homo sapiens evolved

The core formula of a new study in Science that suggests our ancestors may have survived a bottleneck 900,000 years ago

Our Human Ancestors Very Nearly Went Extinct 900,000 Years Ago, Genetics Suggest

A study proposes that the population that gave rise to modern humans may have been reduced to roughly 1,300 reproducing individuals

Skull of Homo erectus from the Republic of Georgia

An Extreme Ice Age May Have Wiped Out Europe's Earliest Humans 1.1 Million Years Ago

New research suggests the continent was devoid of hominins for about 200,000 years after a previously unknown cold snap

Scientists found that carvings on the bones of giant sloths were made within a few years of the animals' deaths.

Humans May Have Arrived in the Americas Earlier Than Previously Thought

Researchers say that humans coexisted with giant sloths in Brazil some 25,0000 years ago

Archaeologist Letty Ingrey measures one of the hand axes.

Giant Hand Axes Discovered in England Point to Prehistoric Humans' 'Strength and Skill'

A trove of artifacts found in a valley in Kent includes the third largest hand ax found in the country to date

Women in foraging societies may have been just as skillful hunters as men were, but researchers have historically dismissed their hunting contributions.

Early Women Were Hunters, Not Just Gatherers, Study Suggests

Regardless of maternal status, women hunted in almost 80 percent of recent and present-day foraging societies in a new study

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner came across this hominin tibia in Kenya’s Nairobi National Museum. The magnified area shows cut marks.

Our Human Relatives Butchered and Ate Each Other 1.45 Million Years Ago

Telltale marks on a bone from an early human’s leg could be the earliest evidence of cannibalism

Natufian artworks, such as this figurine, became common around 15,000 years ago. Few artworks predating that period have been found in the Levant.

When Did Humans Start Settling Down?

In Israel, new discoveries at one of the world's oldest villages are upending the debate about when we stopped wandering

The new research sequenced the genomes of more than 230 primate species, 58 percent of which are threatened with extinction.

What the Largest-Ever Study of Primate DNA Reveals About Ourselves

The findings cover not only conservation and primate evolution, but also human health and diseases

Researchers take sediment samples in the excacation pit in the Tam Pà Ling cave in Laos, where two newly uncovered human bones—part of a skull and a shin bone—were found.

Archaeologists Uncover Earliest Evidence of Modern Humans in Southeast Asia

The fossils from a cave in Laos, which date to between 68,000 and 86,000 years ago, challenge several ideas about early human migration

Two views of a composite reconstruction of the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils, which were discovered six years ago in Morocco and date to around 300,000 years ago.

DNA Suggests Modern Humans Emerged From Several Groups in Africa, Not One

Scientists used computer modeling and the genomes of several hundred living people to examine our prehistoric origins

Flint points from Grotte Mandrin in France and Ksar Akil in Lebanon

54,000 Years Ago, Humans and Neanderthals May Have Inhabited Europe Together

Similarities between artifacts found in Lebanon and France suggest Homo sapiens migrants brought tool traditions with them

The bone fragment from four different angles, with a white scale bar representing one centimeter. The flat side of the bone contains puncture marks that suggest it was a punch board used for tailoring hides.

This 39,600-Year-Old Bone May Have Been Used by Prehistoric Tailors

New research suggests early Homo sapiens punched holes in leather hides to create seams for clothing

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