The textbook narrative of human evolution casts Homo sapiens as evolving from a single ancestral population in one region of Africa around 300,000 years ago. However, in a commentary published July 11 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, an interdisciplinary group of researchers concludes that early humans comprised a subdivided, shifting, pan-African meta-population with physical and cultural diversity. This framework better explains existing genetic, fossil, and cultural patterns and clarifies our shared ancestry.
A scientific consortium led by Dr. Eleanor Scerri, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, has found that human ancestors were scattered across Africa, and largely kept apart by a combination of diverse habitats and shifting environmental boundaries, such as forests and deserts. Millennia of separation gave rise to a staggering diversity of human forms, whose mixing ultimately shaped our species.
Two thousand years ago the Mediterranean Sea was a haven for two species of whale which have since virtually disappeared from the North Atlantic, a new study analyzing ancient bones suggests. The discovery of the whale bones in the ruins of a Roman fish processing factory located at the strait of Gibraltar also hints at the possibility that the Romans may have hunted the whales.
Recent discoveries at Huqoq in Israel's Galilee, led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Jodi Magness, shed new light on the life and culture of an ancient Jewish village. The discoveries indicate villagers flourished under early fifth century Christian rule, contradicting a widespread view that Jewish settlement in the region declined during that period. The large size and elaborate interior decoration of the Huqoq synagogue point to an unexpected level of prosperity.
This project, the result of a five-year collaboration between the Universities of Seville, Huelva, Cardiff and the Museum of Valencina, includes a statistical modelled complex of the radiocarbon datings to give a more precise approximation of the time of use of the Valencina site, and to know in a more detailed manner the social processes and cultural phenomena that occurred there
Two competing theories about the human occupation of Southeast Asia have been debunked by groundbreaking analysis of ancient DNA extracted from 8,000-year-old skeletons.
Dogs have been man's best friend for more than 10,000 years, but a new study shows it has been a doggone tough road to get here: their ancestors in the Americas likely came from Siberia, and these early dog populations almost totally disappeared, but not before leaving a cancerous tumor that is still found in their canine descendants today.
Goat domestication was a mosaic -- not a singular -- process, with capture from the wild impacting genetic diversity in different regions of the Fertile Crescent. These wild populations have left different genetic legacies in Asian, African and European populations today. Farmers were selecting specific traits in goats such as coat color and production ability as early as 8,000 years ago.
A study reported in the journal Science offers an enhanced view of the origins and ultimate fate of the first dogs in the Americas. The dogs were not domesticated North American wolves, as some have speculated, but likely followed their human counterparts over a land bridge that once connected North Asia and the Americas, the study found.
The arrival of Europeans to the Americas, beginning in the 15th century, all but wiped out the dogs that had lived alongside native people on the continent for thousands of years, according to new research published in Science. But one close relative of these native dogs lives on in an unexpected place -- as a transmissible cancer whose genome is that of the original dog in which it appeared, but has since spread throughout the world.