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Paleoanthropology and Human Evolution

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African genes tracked back. The first humans left Africa some 200,000 years ago, dispersing to populate the rest of the world. But this was not a one-way trip: some people came back. Scientists say that they have traced a reverse migration that, in two steps, carried genes from the rest of the world back to southern Africa, long before European colonizers arrived. The findings are part of a flurry of research enabled by better tools to survey African genomes. For the first time, population geneticists can examine the complex history of human migration in Africa effectively, a field long dominated by the analysis of bones, artefacts and languages.

“Up until now this was mostly done based on linguistics and archaeology, and now we can use genetics to test ideas,” says Carina Schlebusch, a geneticist at Uppsala University in Sweden. “It’s a really exciting time for African genetics.” Genetic signs of reverse migrations had been spotted before. A new analysis connects these two migrations.

Skulls from Spanish cave illuminate human evolution. Article created on Friday, July 11, 2014 Researchers studying a collection of skulls in a Spanish cave identified both Neanderthal-derived features and features associated with more primitive humans in these bones. This “mosaic pattern” supports a theory of Neanderthal evolution that suggests Neanderthals developed their defining features separately, and at different times – not all at once. Having this new data from the Spanish cave site of Sima de los Huesos has allowed scientists to better understand hominin evolution during the Middle Pleistocene, a period in which the path has been controversial. “The Middle Pleistocene was a long period of about half a million years during which hominin evolution didn’t proceed through a slow process of change with just one kind of hominin quietly evolving towards the classic Neanderthal,” said lead author Juan-Luis Arsuaga, Professor of Palaeontology at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Key questions Extraordinary collection of hominin fossils. Neanderthal trait found in archaic early human skull. Article created on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neanderthals. “The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils,” said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Not so simple Erik Trinkaus, anthropologist, Washington University in St.

“It suggests, instead, that the later phases of human evolution were more of a labyrinth of biology and peoples than simple lines on maps would suggest.” Typically Neanderthal “We were completely surprised,” Trinkaus said. The Xujiayao 15 temporal bone, with the extracted temporal labyrinth and its position in the temporal bone. Archaic Human Skull Discovery in China Sheds New Light on Later Human Evolution. Surprising finding could lead to rethinking evolution of modern humans during the late Pleistocene. Once again, scientists examining an ancient human fossil are finding that the path of human evolution, at least over the last 100,000 years, is not as simple as evolutionists have thought.

In a recent study, researchers Xiu-Jie Wu, Wu Liu and Song Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijing, Isabelle Crevecoeur of PACEA, Université de Bordeaux, France, and Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis, re-examined a circa 100,000-year-old archaic human skull originally found during excavations 35 years ago at the Xujiayao site in China's Nihewan Basin. Based on their micro-CT scans of the interior configuration of the temporal bone, they found that the inner-ear formation closely resembled a formation long thought to occur only in Neanderthals. "We were completely surprised," Trinkaus said.

On the go? Neandertal desapareceu devido a olhos grandes, diz estudo - BBC Brasil - Notícias. The Archaeology News Network: Skulls with mix of Neanderthal and primitive traits illuminate human evolution. Researchers studying a collection of skulls in a Spanish cave identified both Neanderthal-derived features and features associated with more primitive humans in these bones. This "mosaic pattern" supports a theory of Neanderthal evolution that suggests Neanderthals developed their defining features separately, and at different times – not all at once.

Having this new data from the Sima de los Huesos site, as the Spanish cave is called, has allowed scientists to better understand hominin evolution during the Middle Pleistocene, a period in which the path of hominin evolution has been controversial. "The Middle Pleistocene was a long period of about half a million years during which hominin evolution didn't proceed through a slow process of change with just one kind of hominin quietly evolving towards the classic Neanderthal," said lead author Juan-Luis Arsuaga, Professor of Paleontology at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Arsuaga and his team were delighted to work on this effort. UNE News and Events | Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech. We humans like to think of ourselves as unique for many reasons, not least of which being our ability to communicate with words. But ground-breaking research by an expert from the University of New England shows that our ‘misunderstood cousins,’ the Neanderthals, may well have spoken in languages not dissimilar to the ones we use today.

Pinpointing the origin and evolution of speech and human language is one of the longest running and most hotly debated topics in the scientific world. It has long been believed that other beings, including the Neanderthals with whom our ancestors shared the Earth for thousands of years, simply lacked the necessary cognitive capacity and vocal hardware for speech. “To many, the Neanderthal hyoid discovered was surprising because its shape was very different to that of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzee and the bonobo. However advances in 3D imaging and computer modelling allowed A/Professor Wroe’s team to revisit the question. Neanderthal viruses found in modern humans | Archaeology News and Archeology Magazine - HeritageDaily. Ancient viruses from Neanderthals have been found in modern human DNA by researchers at Oxford University and Plymouth University. The researchers compared genetic data from fossils of Neanderthals and another group of ancient human ancestors called Denisovans to data from modern-day cancer patients.

They found evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan viruses in the modern human DNA, suggesting that the viruses originated in our common ancestors more than half a million years ago. This latest finding, reported in Current Biology, will enable scientists to further investigate possible links between ancient viruses and modern diseases including HIV and cancer, and was supported by the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council (MRC). Around 8% of human DNA is made up of ‘endogenous retroviruses’ (ERVs), DNA sequences from viruses which pass from generation to generation. This is part of the 90% of our DNA with no known function, sometimes called ‘junk’ DNA. The First Americans.

In the 1970s, college students in archaeology such as myself learned that the first human beings to arrive in North America had come over a land bridge from Asia and Siberia approximately 13,000 to 13,500 years ago. These people, the first North Americans, were known collectively as Clovis people. Their journey was made possible, according to archaeologists far and wide, by a corridor that had opened up between giant ice sheets covering what is now Alaska and Alberta. Thus did the Clovis people move down through the North American continent, carrying their distinctive tools to various sites in the Plains States and the Southwest and then moving eastward.

And all of this they did very quickly. Significant evidence of Clovis culture had been discovered in New Mexico. In 1908, a rancher riding along an arroyo on his property near Folsom noticed what looked like large bones embedded in the embankment. Miller wondered what else lay beneath that patch of soil. The crew chief was David T. Theory About Human Evolution. Timeline of human origins revised. Article created on Thursday, July 3, 2014 Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa.

Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them. A large brain, long legs, the ability to craft tools and prolonged maturation periods were all thought to have evolved together at the start of the Homo lineage as African grasslands expanded and Earth’s climate became cooler and drier.

However, new climate and fossil evidence analysed by a team of researchers, including Smithsonian paleoanthropologist Richard Potts, Susan Antón, professor of anthropology at New York University, and Leslie Aiello, president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, suggests that these traits did not arise as a single package. An innovative approach New climate framework Fossil evidence A flexible diet Source: Smithsonian. DNA humano de 400 mil anos de idade é sequenciado | Discovery Notícias. O DNA de um representante do Homo heidelbergensis de 400 mil anos acaba de ser recuperado e sequenciado. Seu sequenciamento mitocondrial quase completo, detalhado na revista Nature, é agora o mais antigo do gênero entre as espécies humanas. Ele revelou que o Homo heidelbergensis, o Homem de Heidelberg, viveu durante o Pleistoceno Médio e tinha um ancestral comum com os hominídeos de Denisova, um grupo que migrou da África para a Sibéria com outras espécies do gênero Homo.

“Na África de um milhão de anos atrás, eles provavelmente constituíam um único grupo; mais tarde, os ancestrais dos seres humanos atuais e os neandertais se separaram dos ancestrais do povo com o DNA mitocondrial de Denisova”, explica o co-autor do estudo, Svante Pääbo, diretor do Instituto Max Planck de Antropologia Evolucionária. “As análises genéticas mais recentes confirmam que agora podemos estudar o DNA de ancestrais humanos de centenas de milhares de anos”, revela. Osso revela que neandertais falavam como o homem moderno | Discovery Notícias. Esqueleto do homem de Neandertal Um osso altamente especializado, essencial para a fala nos humanos modernos, foi encontrado em fósseis de neandertais, reforçando a teoria de que nosso primos distantes também eram capazes de vocalizar. O hioide, um osso em forma de ferradura, sustenta a base da língua e é fundamental para a fala, segundo reportagem da BBC. Os primatas superiores, como os macacos, não possuem esse osso, o que explica sua incapacidade de falar, com raras exceções.

Uma equipe internacional de pesquisadores criou um modelo 3D do osso hioide de um neandertal e descobriu que ele funcionava exatamente como o do Homo Sapiens. “Acreditamos que é um avanço muito significativo. Demonstramos que o hioide Kebara 2 não só se parece com o dos humanos modernos, mas também era usado de uma forma muito similar”, declarou à BBC Stephen Wroe, da Universidade da Nova Inglaterra, Austrália. Mungo Man: The Story Behind The Bones That Forever Changed Australia’s History. This is a story about bones. About what can and can’t be explained by them, and the tales we choose for them to tell.

It spans more than 50,000 years, but it begins like it ends, in a remote corner of the red-rubbled Australian Outback some 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Sydney known as Lake Mungo. Lake Mungo isn’t actually a lake -- at least not anymore. But up until about 20,000 years ago, this lunar-like landscape of silver-blue saltbush and antagonistic flies was a lush lagoon teeming with fish and waterbirds. It was an Aboriginal paradise with easy hunting and abundant resources. We know a lot of this, of course, because of the bones. “There is a 90 percent chance we’ve got a cremated human right beneath us,” my traditional Paakantji Aboriginal guide Graham Clarke shares as we walk through the sands of time back to the start of Australia’s human history.

“Over here we’ve got a fossilized eucalyptus tree,” he continues. ‘We’re Here Now And We’ve Always Been Here A Home For Bones. Earliest human footprints outside Africa found – in Norfolk. Feb 07, 2014 News, Slider 1 These footprint hollows, shown in situ on the beach at Happisburgh, Norfolk, are the oldest human footprints known from outside Africa.Photo: Martin Bates Archaeologists have found the earliest human footprints known outside Africa, at Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast. Dating back 800,000 years, the prints are thought to have been made by five individuals, including both adults and children.

They were identified by a team of scientists led by the British Museum, Natural History Museum, and Queen Mary University of London, after heavy seas removed beach sands to reveal a series of hollows in the silt at low tide. Analysis of digital images of these hollows confirmed that they were ancient human footprints, direct evidence of the earliest known humans in northern Europe. In some cases the prints were so clear that the heel, arch, and even toes could be identified. He added: ‘This is an extraordinarily rare discovery. InShare0. D4500 & D2600, A Complete Skull from Dmanisi, Georgia. Ramidus Returns. Oldest Hominin Footprints Found Outside of Africa.

The Laetoli hominin footprints have finally met their match. A group of footprints dating between 850,000 and 950,000 years ago were reported in coastal Happisburgh, the United Kingdom, as seen in a publication in Plos One today. The work was headed by Nick Ashton of the British Museum. Laetoli Footprints, Tanzania. Photo by Tim Evanson Footprints are rarely preserved prehistorically—their survival generaly requires just the right level of moisture and sediment composition, followed by a low-energy depositional context to gently cover the impression.

The reported age of the geological layers exceeds the date of the oldest site in the region by 350,000 years, pushing back known human occupation in Northern Europe significantly. Happisburgh hominin footprints, from Ashton et al. 2013. The researchers approximated the height of individuals in the group to be just below one meter, to 1.73 meters tall based on foot size to stature ratios. Matthew Magnani Like this: Like Loading... A New Twist in the Neandertal Lineage. Just in from Atapuerca, northern Spain: mitochondrial DNA has been retrieved from the bones of Homo heidelbergensis. The Sima de los Huesos, or pit of bones, has been a treasure trove of human remains, and has yielded a minimum number of 28 individuals dating to at least 300,000 years ago. This type of preservation and concentration of human remains is rare—most excavations are lucky to turn up a stray hominin tooth every couple of seasons. Homo heidelbergensis cranium number five from the Sima. Photo by José-Manuel Benito Álvarez Not to mention mitochondrial DNA typically does not have such a long shelf-life.

The Heidelberg femur that yielded the mtDNA. The outcome of the mtDNA analysis demonstrates that the Sima matrilineal tree shares its roots with Denisovan populations, a group of archaic humans discovered recently in Siberia. So what exactly does this mean for our current understanding of human evolutionary models? Right now, there isn’t one answer. Matthew Magnani Like this: Modern Human faces Neanderthal across the Danube. Neandertais foram quase extintos antes do surgimento dos humanos | Discovery Notícias.