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Neanderthals may have medicated with penicillin and painkillers

Posted on 8 Mar 2017 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

What a difference 1000 kilometres make. Neanderthals living in prehistoric Belgium enjoyed their meat – but the Neanderthals who lived in what is now northern Spain seem to have survived on an almost exclusively vegetarian diet. Image: Paleoanthropology Group MNCN-CSIC

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Traces in rock may be the oldest evidence of life on Earth ever

Posted on 1 Mar 2017 in Earth Science, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Are we closing in on life’s cradle? What is claimed to be the oldest evidence of life on Earth yet found backs the idea that the first microbes originated around hydrothermal vents on the seafloor – but the work is already proving controversial. Image: Matthew Dodd

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Complex life may have had a false start 2.3 billion years ago

Posted on 16 Jan 2017 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism

It was a sign of things to come. About 2.3 billion years ago, our primitive planet was an oxygen-poor world profoundly different from now – but then it briefly and mysteriously gained an oxygen-rich atmosphere. This so-called Lomagundi Event could have provided a fleeting opportunity for complex, animal-like creatures to evolve billions of years before the ancestors of all animals we know today appeared. Image: maxelman

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Baboons recorded making key sounds found in human speech

Posted on 11 Jan 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Baboon grunts and barks have more in common with human speech than we thought. The monkeys routinely produce five of the distinct vowel sounds found in our languages. Image: Derek Keats

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Oldest early human footprints suggest males had several ‘wives’

Posted on 14 Dec 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Three has become five. Laetoli in northern Tanzania is the site of iconic ancient footprints, capturing the moment – 3.66 million years ago – when three members of Lucy’s species (Australopithecus afarensis) strode out across the landscape. Now something quite unexpected has come to light: the footprints of two other individuals. Image: Raffaello Pellizzon

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Skull casket holding human bones reveals weird burial rituals

Posted on 7 Dec 2016 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

Death was a complicated business in prehistoric Brazil. Cadavers were meticulously dismembered and put on public display. Some parts seem to have been cooked and eaten, and then the bones were carefully tidied up and buried. Image: Andre Strauss

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