An international team of researchers have sequenced DNA from individuals from Morocco dating to approximately 15,000 years ago. This is the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa ever successfully analyzed. The study, published in Science, shows that the individuals, dating to the Late Stone Age, had a genetic heritage that was in part similar to ancient Levantine Natufians and an uncharacterized sub-Saharan African lineage to which modern West Africans are genetically closest.
Scientists discovered that early humans in East Africa had -- by about 320,000 years ago -- begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age, tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence has shown in eastern Africa. As earthquakes remodeled the landscape and climate fluctuated between wet and dry conditions, technological and social innovation would have helped early humans survive unpredictable conditions.
They have an unwarranted image as brutish and uncaring, but new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was.
Nutrient-rich ash from an enormous flare-up of volcanic eruptions toward the end of the dinosaurs' reign kicked off a chain of events that led to the formation of shale gas and oil fields from Texas to Montana.
A palaeogenomic study investigates early medieval migration in southern Germany and the peculiar phenomenon of artificial skull deformation.
Fossils of six new species of pterosaurs -- giant flying reptiles that flew over the heads of the dinosaurs -- have been discovered by a research team led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, revealing that this lineage was killed off in its prime. An analysis of the fossils, publishing March 13 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology shows that, contrary to previous studies, there was still remarkable diversity among pterosaurs up to the point of their extinction.
Early modern humans living in South Africa around 74,000 years ago prospered through the cataclysmic eruption of the Toba supervolcano in Sumatra. The Toba eruption was one of the Earth's most explosive volcanic events. The environmental effects of this event have been heavily debated, with some researchers having previously proposed that the eruption led to a worldwide volcanic winter that devastated contemporaneous human populations.
New research describes finding glass shards from a volcanic eruption at two archaeological sites in coastal South Africa, tracing those shards to Mount Toba in Indonesia through chemical fingerprinting and documenting a continuous human occupation across the volcanic event.
In a multidisciplinary study published in PNAS, an international team of researchers combined archaeological, genetic and stable isotope data to encapsulate 4000 years of Iberian biomolecular prehistory.
Researchers from The Australian National University have helped put together the most comprehensive study ever conducted into the origins of people in Vanuatu -- regarded as a geographic gateway from Asia to the Remote Pacific.