The recent discovery of the Denisovan Xiahe mandible brings to mind the question of how the Denisovans compare to other hominin fossils.  In this image, we have replicas of six different hominin jaws to scale, and we can begin exploring the similarity and diversity of these ancient fossils. The Xiahe mandible appears bottom center with … More JAWS!

Denisovans step out of the shadows …very slightly

In 2010, an international team of scientists announced a remarkable discovery from Denisova Cave in Siberia.  A tiny fragment of a finger bone revealed DNA that was distinct from modern humans and from ancient Neandertal DNA.  Further research revealed a handful of other fossils, mostly just teeth.  The genome of these “Denisovans” matched sequences found mostly … More Denisovans step out of the shadows …very slightly

It’s a girl! Early lessons from Little Foot

The first papers describing the infamous Little Foot fossil have started appearing as preprints on bioRxiv. Pieces of Little Foot were originally discovered in 1994—just four bones of the left foot. A further search through the Silberberg Grotto in the Sterkfontein Cave eventually revealed parts of the rest of the skeleton in 1998.  Further excavation … More It’s a girl! Early lessons from Little Foot

Ancient Fire

When did people start making fire?  The earliest discussion of burning or fire I can find in Genesis is Noah’s sacrifice after the Flood.  We might presume that the offering that sparked (see what I did there?) Abel’s murder was also a burnt sacrifice, but Genesis doesn’t say that.  It just says they brought offerings.  … More Ancient Fire

The Art of the Neandertal

New research from the Max Planck Institute implicates Neandertals in the creation of tools and ornaments from the Grotto du Renne deposits in France.  The work by Welker and colleagues describes molecular analysis of bone fragments recovered from the Châtelperronian deposits of Grotto du Renne.  The Châtelperronian is known for its sophisticated tools, body ornaments, and pigments, all of … More The Art of the Neandertal