Posts from the ‘anthropology’ Category

Look a little gross? That’s because this lump is not only a brain, but one that is almost 2,700 years old. It was preserved after its home skull was dropped into an oxygen deprived pit of water, probably the result of its owner being hanged and then decapitated.

Scientists described it as “odorless…with a resilient, tofu-like texture.” Yum!


‘Earliest’ evidence of modern human culture found

How far back do you think human culture goes? You know, the sharing of creative ideas like tools and creation?

Decades of study on some basic tools pulled from a cave in South Africa have finally determined that traces of modern human culture surfaced as far back as 44,000 years ago. That’s more than double the last estimates!

The San hunter-gatherers of South Africa (one pictured above) still use basic bone, wood and stone tools. Artifacts found in this South African cave are so close to the tools used today that there’s no doubt that 44,000 years ago, a cultured clan was making and using them regularly. They even mastered organic poisons taken from castor beans to tip their spears with.

This is a very cool find, and adds some detail to the timeline of human evolution. Considering that our modern anatomy only showed up ~150,000 years ago, it’s exciting to discover that shared tool creation and culture weren’t that far behind. 

So let’s all try to act a little cultured today in their honor, shall we??

(via BBC News)

Most scientists have long asserted that the Americas were peopled in one large migration from Siberia that happened about 15,000 years ago, but new full-genome research shows that this central episode was followed by at least two smaller migrations from Siberia, one by people who became the ancestors of today’s Eskimos and Aleutians and another by people speaking Na-Dene, whose descendants (Apache, Navajo, Chipewyan, and others) are confined to North America. The research, which confirms linguist Joseph Greenberg’s rejected 1987 hypothesis, was published online on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Earliest Americans Arrived in 3 Waves, Not 1, DNA Study Finds

Scientists in South Africa have found an unusually complete skeleton of a young hominid, either of an early Homo genus or a very close relative. It seems to be roughly 2 million years old, and contains some of the critical bones for study.

These include a femur, vertebrae, some ribs, a lower jaw, and some limb components that can give important clues as to how the young hominid moved, ate, and thought.

Even more exciting, they plan to establish a special lab near the Cradle of Mankind digsite, allowing anybody to watch palaeontology in action:

The university also announced it would open up the process of exploring and uncovering fossil remains to the public and stream it online in real time.

A special laboratory studio will be built at the Cradle of Humankind.

“The public will be able to participate fully in live science and future discoveries as they occur in real time – an unprecedented moment in palaeoanthropology,” Professor Berger said.