Homo sapiens evolved in the East African rift valley…but then what happened?
A manifesto from 23 researchers challenges old models, and outlines the major new directions archaeology should follow to solve the puzzling origins of modern humans.
: Ian Cartwright/Michael Petraglia/Palaeodeserts Project
How we found the oldest human fossil ever discovered outside Africa and the Levant.
By about 320,000 years ago, humans in Kenya began using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools.
Human Origins Program, Smithsonian
Scientists have discovered sophisticated tools in Kenya that are much older than expected.
The Spinosaurus was just one example of a dinosaur that roamed Africa hundreds of millions of years ago.
By Mike Bowler from Canada (Spinosaurus) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You might recognise Spinosaurus, from Jurassic Park 3, but did you realise it is 100% an African dinosaur?
Middle Palaeolithic artefacts emerged during excavation at Attirampakkam.
Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India
Modern humans could have left Africa shortly after evolving, making it to India in tens of thousands of years.
Fossilized teeth from a modern human who lived in Israel close to 200,000 years ago.
Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University
New discoveries are changing archaeologists' ideas about the origins of our own species and our migration out of Africa. This fossil pushes Homo sapiens' African exodus date back by 50,000 years.
The story of where we come from evolves almost every year.
The story of where humans come from is growing as new evidence -- and new methods of analysis -- emerge all the time.
The genetics of Indonesian people are a mix between different groups of humans.
I try to learn who are the ancestors of Indonesian people through genetics. The genetics of Indonesian people are a mix between different groups of humans.
The pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
The belief that ancient Egyptians needed help from supernatural beings to built the Giza pyramids relies, unavoidably, on racism and colonial attitudes.
Just like us, but different: recently-discovered
Homo sapiens fossils have a modern face, but an ancient brain case.
Philipp Gunz, MPI EVA Leipzig
New paired research papers have pushed back by 100,000 years the time frame in which humans (Homo sapiens) are thought to have lived in Africa.
Jean-Jacques Hublin, MPI-EVA, Leipzig
A researcher tells the story of how he and his team discovered the oldest Homo Sapiens fossil bones to date in Morocco.
Our cells have a built-in genetic clock, tracking time… but how accurately?
Stopwatch image via www.shutterstock.com.
How do scientists figure out when evolutionary events – like species splitting away from a common ancestor – happened? It turns out our DNA is a kind of molecular clock, keeping time via genetic changes.
Homo neanderthalensis reconstruction.
Matteo De Stefano/MUSE Science ms
A new study estimates the nutritional value of human flesh and challenges the belief that prehistoric humans engaged in cannibalism just to fill their stomachs.
Excavations at the limestone cave of Leang Bulu Bettue on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Justin Mott (Mott Visuals)
Ancient bone and teeth ornaments found in an Indonesian cave advance our knowledge of the culture and traditions of some of the earliest people in our region.
The Vision and Creed of Piers Plowman.
The environment minister recently told a conference that agriculture is as old as 'mankind'. She's out by a few million years.
A wax figure of Charles Darwin, whose theories about species have influenced science for centuries.
Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters
Humans have an innate interest and ability in naming biologically meaningful entities, or species. Taxonomy, then, vies for the title of world's “oldest profession”.
Aubrey Lynch, elder from the Wongatha Aboriginal language group, participated in one of the studies.
Preben Hjort, Mayday Film.
New research into how early humans spread across the world settles several long-running debates.
A prehistoric hand-held multipurpose stone tool the size of a person’s palm recovered by a farmer in Kenya. More tools were found during a search.
Scientists are hoping that ancient stone tools found on a family farm in Kenya will add to a clearer picture of the first appearance, duration and variation of prehistoric technologies found so far.
A replica of the remains of “Lucy” at the National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
When it comes to valuable African fossils, much is at stake. They often unearth disputed ways of debating archaeology as a science of ‘discovery’.
Australopithecus afarensis, the ultimate human ancestor.
Why being human can't be traced back to hunting, fire or any other single event.