In 1965, Harvard paleontologist Bryan Patterson discovered a hominin fossil elbow (specifically, a distal humerus fragment) in the Kanapoi region of Kenya, just west of the southern end of Lake Turkana. Very little follow-up work was done until twenty-five years later, when Maeve Leakey organized digs in the area once again and uncovered fossils that … More A face for Australopithecus anamensis
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!
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
Southeast Asia has long been a location of great interest in the study of fossil hominins. The remains of the famous “Java man” were discovered at a site called Trinil in Java, Indonesia in 1891. Additional fossils were discovered at the nearby site of Sangiran, where the unusual geology preserved the remains of many ancient … More Asian Diversity and the Seafaring Hominin
A new preprint on the Little Foot skull was posted today. Interestingly, the article is written by Ron Clarke and Kathleen Kuman alone. I’m used to seeing a long list of authors on most modern papers, so this one is a bit of a throwback. The article fills in a few more details on the … More The Skull: 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 hybrids reveal more than one human species! … More How many human species?
New research reveals an ancient hybrid human! … More The Girl from Denisova Cave
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
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