Articles on Anthropology

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The hominid skull that gave rise to Homo floresiensis - but is it really a new species? Flickr/NCSSM

‘Hobbit’ more likely had Down Syndrome than a new species

Many people believe that what was found in Liang Bua Cave on the island of Flores in Indonesia in 2003-2004 was some variety of hobbit-like human or prehuman. Our research published today argues that it…
Food from the Stone Age has raised doubts about the causes of the human revolution. Breville

Shellfish size may disprove cause of ‘human revolution’

About 50,000 years ago, modern humans left Africa and began occupying the rest of the world. The common thought is that a…
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…
Infamous street artist Banksy’s precursors have been found in South Africa. Lord Jim

Birth of bling: world’s first art studio found in South Africa

Could we have found the first artist’s studio in human history? We may well have. We all recognise the material signs of wealth. Fast cars, large yachts and sparkling bling all tell us who has more. Crowns…
So what’s it to be, buddy, my cave or yours? Kaptain Kobold

Sex with our evolutionary cousins? What’s not to love?

We humans had sex with Neandertals; we bonked the relatives of Neandertals; we got down and dirty with members of an as-yet unrecognised African population; and we, of course, got jiggy with each other…

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