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Mining has become an industrial actor central to many of the most compelling political and social debates of our time. AAP/Dan Peled

Anthropology exposes how miners shape our world and our views of it

Miners do much more than extract minerals and make profits. All over the world mining corporations are collaborating with governments, local populations and NGOs. Their logos, mottoes and CEOs seem to…
Thomas Sutikna holds the skull of LB1, the type specimen of the ‘Hobbit’, Homo floresiensis. Indonesian National Centre for Archaeology (ARKENAS)/University of Wollongong

A decade on and the Hobbit still holds secrets

Ten years ago today in Australia and Indonesia the scientific world was turned on its head. By a very small head, as it happens. We were part of the original joint Australian-Indonesian research team involved…
Behold the femur. Bence Viola, MPI EVA

Ancient human bone reveals when we bred with Neanderthals

When a human bone was found on a gravelly riverbank by a bone-carver who was searching for mammoth ivory, little did he know it would provide the oldest modern-human genome yet sequenced. The anatomically…
Jared Diamond has worked extensively in New Guinea, the foundation for his latest book on traditional societies and what they can teach us. AAP/Lloyd Jones

In Conversation with Jared Diamond: “Traditional societies are not frozen models of the past”

American scientist and author Jared Diamond was recently in Australia promoting his 5th book The World Until Yesterday: What can we learn from traditional societies? Jared has worked extensively in New…
The discovery of the skeleton of the Homo floresiensis has sparked significant debate among evolutionary scientists. Ryan Somma

Saga of ‘the Hobbit’ highlights a science in crisis

To state the obvious: human evolution is not without its drama – and the latest salvo in the ongoing Hobbit, or Homo floresiensis, battle confirms this yet again. The 2004 announcement of Homo floresiensis…
It may be some time before we hear the pitter-patter of Neandertal feet. flequi

Women sought for Neandertal surrogacy? Not Yeti, thankfully

In a sort-of Ice Age version of Jurassic Park, Harvard University’s Professor George Church has suggested – to much media coverage – that, one day soon, scientists somewhere will place a very unusual personal…

Voters take candidates on face value

In modern politics, a candidate’s image is everything, linguistic anthropologists researching US presidential campaigns have…
The date of the earliest anatomically modern humans in Asia has sparked some debate.

Cave of the Monkeys find – a response to The Conversation

I would like to rectify a couple of statements made by Darren Curnoe in his recent Conversation article which, in turn, was a reaction to an article I published recently with my colleagues in Proceedings…
Researchers excavate the Tam Pa Ling cave in Laos, where skeletal evidence of “the earliest” modern humans in Asia was discovered. P. Duringer

Cave of the Monkeys find complicates our Asia story

Did our Asian story just get more complicated? It seems so. An article published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Fabrice Demeter and co-workers describes a new modern…
New evidence has cast doubt on one of the accepted truths of archeaogenetics.

Sex with our evolutionary ancestors? Proceed with caution

A paper published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides a compelling alternative to the idea that we Homo sapiens interbred with Neandertals or Denisovans as had previously…
Media commentators have been eager to paint Neandertals as artists – but why? Federico Gambarini/AAP

The art of loving Neandertals – they’re like us, but different

An article published recently in Science sheds new light on paintings found in 11 cave sites in Spain. At 40,800 years old, some of these paintings could be among the oldest anywhere in the world. But…
Bones recovered from northern Ethiopia have forced a major rethink about how bipedalism evolved. Lars Plougmann

Ancient toe gets a foothold in bipedal evolution

A report published today in Nature by Yohannes Hailie-Selassie and co-workers outlines the importance to our evolutionary story of some very ancient foot bones discovered recently in the Rift Valley of…

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