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anthropology

Ancient DNA Tells a New Story of Human-Neanderthal Coexistence

Human bone fragment from the new excavations at Ranis. Credit: Tim Schüler, TLDAA genetic study of a German archaeological site reveals that modern humans lived in Northern Europe 45,000 years ago, overlapping with Neanderthals, and altering our understanding of early human history in the region.A genetic analysis of bone fragments unearthed at an archaeological site in central Germany shows conclusively that modern humans — Homo sapiens — had already reached Northern Europe 45,000 years ago, overlapping with Neanderthals…

How an Obsidian Blade Rewrites the Trail of Conquistadors

A small obsidian artifact found in the Texas Panhandle provides compelling evidence of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s expedition across the area over 470 years ago. (Artist’s concept.) Credit: SciTechDaily.comCould a family’s obsidian blade be a clue to the expedition’s trail?It’s a small piece of obsidian, just over 5 centimeters long, likely found on a hard-scrabble piece of ranchland in the Texas panhandle. But when SMU anthropologist Matthew Boulanger looks at it, he gets a mental image of Spanish explorer Francisco…

Ancient DNA Reveals First Known Case of Edwards Syndrome in Prehistoric Humans

A groundbreaking study analyzing ancient DNA has revealed instances of Down and Edwards syndrome in prehistoric human remains, dating back as far as 4,500 years. This research indicates that individuals with these conditions were valued and integrated members of their ancient societies, offering new insights into the treatment and recognition of chromosomal disorders in history. Above are the remains of individual “CRU001”, who the researchers discovered had Down syndrome. The remains were found at a site in Spain dating…

Reviving Ancient Skills to Solve Prehistoric Puzzles

Tokyo Metropolitan University researchers have made a significant breakthrough in understanding the use of Stone Age tools by crafting replicas and using them in various tasks. Their findings reveal that specific macroscopic and microscopic wear patterns can indicate whether tools were used for wood-felling or other purposes. Credit: SciTechDaily.comUsed stone edges might help illuminate timber use by early humans.Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University crafted replica Stone Age tools and used them for a range of…

Groundbreaking New Research Reveals That Early Human Diets Were Primarily Plant-Based

Recent research challenges the traditional view of early human diets in the Andes, suggesting a shift from “hunter-gatherers” to “gatherer-hunters.” The study, analyzing remains from the Wilamaya Patjxa and Soro Mik’aya Patjxa sites in Peru, reveals an 80 percent plant-based and 20 percent meat diet among early Andeans. This finding, based on isotope chemistry and statistical modeling, contradicts previous beliefs and influences current perceptions of diets such as the Paleodiet. It also indicates a need to reassess…

How Early Primates Paved the Way for Our Love of Sugar

Skulls of 29 million-year-old primates used in this study Aegyptopithecus on left Parapithecus on right. Credit: Matt BorthsA study led by the University of Otago reveals that humans’ preference for sweet flavors traces back to our early primate relatives. This research illuminates the eating behaviors of ancient anthropoids, encompassing extinct monkeys and apes, by examining patterns of tooth chips and cavities.Published in the American Journal of Biological Anthropology, the study used fossils from the Fayum Depression…

Andean Archery Found To Be 5,000 Years Old, Far Earlier Than Previous Estimates

New research led by a University of California, Davis, anthropologist reveals that archery technology in the Andes dates back to approximately 5,000 years ago. This earlier emergence aligns with societal shifts towards village life and expanded trade networks. The study suggests that the adoption of bow-and-arrow technology may have been instrumental in establishing new social norms and institutions. Credit: SciTechDaily.comWhen did archery arise in the Americas? And what were the effects of this technology on…

The True Story of Stone Age Innovators

Researchers propose a reevaluation of the cultural evolution of Homo sapiens during their dispersal across Eurasia, suggesting a gradual and complex process rather than a swift revolution. Their study challenges traditional views by focusing on the evolution of stone tool technology, indicating that significant innovations occurred after the initial dispersal of Homo sapiens, particularly with the development of bladelet technology. Credit: SciTechDaily.comContrary to previous beliefs, significant advancements in stone…

The Genetic Footprint of Thailand’s Lost Civilizations Revealed in Iron Age Log Coffins

Caves and rock shelters dot the mountains in the northwestern highlands of Thailand. Over 40 in Mae Hong Son province contain wooden coffins on stilts, dating back 1,000 – 2,300 years. Credit: © Selina CarlhoffAncient DNA helps researchers elucidate the structure of a prehistoric community from Southeast Asia.A mortuary practice known as Log Coffin culture characterizes the Iron Age of highland Pang Mapha in northwestern Thailand. Between 2,300 and 1,000 years ago, individuals were buried in large wooden coffins on…

Geospatial Analysis Reveals Ancient “Mobility Highways” on the Roof of the World

By Washington University in St. Louis February 2, 2024Simulated “mobility highways” of farmer-herder interactions overlaid with the geolocated archaeological sites dated between ca. 3600 and 2200 before present. Credit: Xinzhou ChenThrough advanced geospatial modeling, new research uncovers the ancient “mobility highways” that connected communities across the Tibetan Plateau, shedding light on the role of environmental adaptability in shaping human social relationships and cultural identity.The 1 million-square-mile…