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Articles on Neanderthals

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Human eyes are unique among primates for their range of iris colours and unpigmented sclera. Wikimedia Commons

Making sense of our evolution

The science about our special senses - vision, smell, hearing and taste - offers fascinating and unique perspectives on our evolution. Yet it remains patchy; we know surprisingly little for example about…
Detail of the engraving on fossil Pseudodon shell (DUB1006-fL) from Trinil. Wim Lustenhouwer, VU University Amsterdam

Marks on an ancient shell lead to a re-think of human history

Zig-zag markings have been discovered on a shell found at Trinil in Java that dates back to between 430,000 and 540,000 years ago, from the site where the original specimens of Homo erectus were found…
Ancient DNA can tell you a lot more than skull shape about the origins of the first Europeans. Flickr/Sebastian Dooris

Ancient DNA sheds light on the origin of Europeans

Much of the evidence of where the first Europeans came from was originally derived from comparisons of skulls but our work looking at ancient DNA is revealing new insight, with results published this month…
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…
The Gibraltar Museum says scratched patterns found in the Gorham’s Cave, in Gibraltar, are believed to be more than 39,000 years old, dating back to the times of the Neanderthals. EPA/Stewart Finlayson

Is that rock hashtag really the first evidence of Neanderthal art?

There has been much excitement over recent reports that something found in a cave in Gibraltar is the first known example of Neanderthal art. But what exactly has been found, can it be believed and, if…
Tom Higham and Katerina Douka uncover evidence that early humans and Neanderthals lived alongside each other for thousands of years. Thomas Higham

Early humans lived with Neanderthal neighbours

A new study has dated the final days of the Neanderthals and found they lived at the same time as the earliest modern humans in Europe. Rather than seeing Neanderthals suddenly vanish at the time modern…
We enjoy a balanced diet today, but it seems our ancestors ate their greens too. Jordan Fischer/Flickr

What the crap? Neanderthals had a taste for vegetables

The evolution of diet is intimately linked to human evolution: from the use of tools to break nuts, collect insects or hunt game, to the use of fire allowing more calories to be extracted from the food…
This half-million year old skull is helping answer controversial archaeological questions. Javier Trueba/Madrid Scientific Films

Chew on this: Neanderthal jaws evolved before brains

Ancient remains have confirmed that the face and jaw evolved before the rest of the skull in Neanderthals and early human…
One fifth of Neanderthal DNA is found in the human genome … how much is in you? Flickr/suchosch

Neanderthals and humans: an interspecies affair to remember

Research out today in leading science journals firms up estimates of interbreeding between the now extinct Neanderthals and the ancestors of living Eurasians. They also provide new explanations about the…
Symbolic behaviour like burial brings us and Neanderthals of the past closer. Gareth Fuller/PA

Neanderthal dispute laid to rest – they buried their dead

Ever since the discovery of the well preserved, nearly complete, 50,000-year-old Neanderthal skeleton in a pit dug in a cave in La Chapelle-aux-Saints, southwest France, it has been long debated as to…
Get the knuckle-dragging caveman image out of your head – Neandertals were master toolmakers. marcovdz

Neandertal toolmakers left a leatherworking legacy

Ever since the Neandertal (Homo neanderthalensis) type fossil was discovered in the Neander Valley of Germany in 1856, the species has been variously portrayed as knuckle-dragging cavemen and primitive…
Babies’ milk teeth carry their early food history, and this remains stable for tens of thousands of years. Allygirl520

Got milk? Our breastfeeding habits are older than you think

We know at least six months of exclusive breastfeeding is the best start to a baby’s life. What’s amazing is it seems ancient hominids knew that too. In a paper published today in Nature, we analysed the…
Researchers decoded the whole mitochondrial DNA of five Neanderthal men, one of whom belonged to the El Sidron site (pictured) in Asturias, northern Spain, in 2009. EPA/CSIC

Caveman ethics? The rights and wrongs of cloning Neanderthals

It now appears that the scientist who seemed to be advocating that we clone Neanderthals was suggesting only that “we need to start talking about it.” Ethics is an essential part of such a conversation…
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…
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…
Genetic estimates of the age of the common ancestor of non-African humans may be wrong. bruncosta

Out of Africa, only to die … new clues on early human migration

How and when did humans colonise the globe? This question has become one of the key concerns of archaeologists, geneticists and human biologists. And now the latest archaeological discovery in Oman in…
When you hear the words “international team of scientists” run for the hills. The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Media puts its Bigfoot in it Yeti again: it’s abominable

What ever happened to quality science reporting in the mainstream media? Why do so many journalists seem to simply accept press releases as fact? Are qualifications no longer relevant when it comes to…

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