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Walking on two feet

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Ancient human figures painted in red on a rock shelter in northern Australia (Source: Google Art Project, Griffith University). Wikimedia Commons

Ancient Australia: world’s first nation of innovators

For the first couple of centuries of European occupation of Australia the history of its Indigenous people, as written by white fellas, drew heavily on adjectives like ‘primitive’. As both a white fella…
Ancient Roman relief carving of a midwife (Wellcome Trust, photo NO. M0003964EB). Wikimedia Commons

Need help with that delivery? Call the monkey midwife!

When I think back to the traumatic birth of my own daughter - and how I would have lost her and my partner if it hadn’t been for some swift medical intervention - I can’t help but wonder how the heck we’ve…
A forensic reconstruction of the appearance of Homo floresiensis (Credit: Cicero Moraes et alii). Wikimedia Commons

The Hobbit gets a little older, and science a little wiser

When a skeleton of the so-called ‘Hobbit’ - scientific name Homo floresiensis - was unearthed in Indonesia in 2003 it would go on to cause a major furor in anthropological circles like few others before…
A reconstruction of a male our evolutionary cousin the Neanderthals (Modified from an image by Cicero Moraes). Wikimedia Commons

A golden age of ancient DNA science begins

If I had taken a straw poll among anthropologists 10 years ago asking them how far genetic research would come in the next decade, I doubt anyone would have come close to predicting the big impact fossil…
An Aboriginal rock painting in Kakadu National Park of an early European ship. Wikimedia Commons, Google Art & Griffith University

An ancient Australian connection to India?

When was the remote Australian continent first settled? Where did these ancient Australians come from? Was the island settled once, or on multiple occasions? Is there a genealogical connection between…
Cranium of Sahelanthropus tchadensis: a 7 million year old member of the human evolutionary lineage from Chad. Wikimedia Commons

When humans split from the apes

When and where did humans split from the apes to become a separate branch of bipeds? Are we an ape or not? If so, which of the living Great Apes is the closest to humans? European philosophers and scientists…
The Siwalik sandstone complex taken in the city of Jawalamukhi, Northern India. Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter Clift, LSU Geology and Geophysics. Wikimedia Commons

Asia is the gift that keeps on giving in prehistory

Political and economic pundits constantly remind us that this is the ‘Asian Century’, and it’s shaping up to be that way also for human origins science. I’ve only recently waxed lyrical about the enormous…
Facial reconstruction of Homo erectus from China. Wikimedia Commons

East Asia makes a comeback in the human evolution stakes

Archaeological discoveries in East Asia over the last decade or so have dramatically rewritten our understanding of human evolution. But the implications don’t sit easily with many scholars internationally…
Rice terraces reshape mountains in southern China. Wikimedia commons

In the driver’s seat of evolution

Humans have had a profound influence over evolution; ours and the evolution of many other species. So much so today that we are without doubt in the driver’s seat of evolution for many species, including…