In a paper published this week in Science, an international team of scientists share details of the most ancient fossil of Homo erectus known and discuss how these new findings are forcing us to rewrite a part of our species' evolutionary history.
You wait ages for a pterosaur and then four come along at once. Hot on the heels of a recent paper discovering three new species of pterosaur, University of Portsmouth palaeobiologists have identified another new species -- the first of its kind to be found on African soil.
A Homo erectus skullcap found northwest of Johannesburg in South Africa has been identified as the oldest to date, in research published in Science. The hominin is a direct ancestor of modern humans, experienced a changing climate, and moved out of Africa into other continents. The discovery of DNH 134 pushes the possible origin of Homo erectus back between 150,000 and 200,000 years.
The oldest known animals and plants preserved in amber from Southern Gondwana are reported in Scientific Reports this week. Gondwana, the supercontinent made up of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica and Australia, broke away from the Pangea supercontinent around 200 million years ago. The findings further our understanding of ecology in Australia and New Zealand during the Late Triassic to mid-Paleogene periods (230-40 million years ago).
Scientists from the University of Plymouth and the University of Copenhagen led research tracing how the two major human migrations recorded in Holocene Europe -- the northwestward movement of Anatolian farmer populations during the Neolithic and the westward movement of Yamnaya steppe peoples during the Bronze Age -- unfolded.
Researchers have found unexpected fossil traces of a temperate rainforest near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the continent had an exceptionally warm climate in prehistoric times.
New artifacts uncovered at the Waim archaeological site in the highlands of New Guinea -- including a fragment of the earliest symbolic stone carving in Oceania -- illustrate a shift in human behavior between 5,050 and 4,200 years ago in response to the widespread emergence of agriculture, ushering in a regional Neolithic Era similar to the Neolithic in Eurasia.
Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.
Genetic information from an 800.000-year-old human fossil has been retrieved for the first time. The results from the University of Copenhagen shed light on one of the branching points in the human family tree, reaching much further back in time than previously possible.
Ancient crocodilian ancestors that abandoned land for water nearly 200 million years ago supposedly got larger because they were released from the constraints of gravity, territory and diet. But a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Will Gearty suggests that the upper bounds of size in aquatic vs. landlocked crocs were similar -- and that smaller aquatic species got larger mostly to avoid freezing in the frigid, heat-stealing depths.