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Gene study shows human skin tone has varied for 900,000 years

Posted on 12 Oct 2017 in Evolution, Genetics, Journalism

Skin tone has varied greatly among humans for at least the last 900,000 years. So concludes an analysis of the genetic variants associated with skin pigmentation in people from several regions of Africa. The latest findings suggest that some particularly dark skin tones evolved relatively recently from paler genetic variants. Image: llamnudds

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Tiny worm burrows may reveal when first complex animals evolved

Posted on 11 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

A set of tiny burrows could resolve a big puzzle: how complex animals evolved and spread around the world without revealing their presence. Image: Luke Parry/Russell Garwood

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Ankle fossil suggests our ancient ancestors leapt like acrobats

Posted on 9 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

For years, many biologists have argued that the common ancestor of all primates was a small animal that scampered along thin tree branches. Now a fossil discovered in France suggests the first primate might actually have been a bizarre monkey-like animal capable of acrobatic leaping. Image: Shinagawa

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Weird fish fossil changes the story of how we moved onto land

Posted on 4 Sep 2017 in Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

The evolutionary story we have written to explain our ancestors’ move from sea to land may need a rethink. A fossil fish from this era has been discovered with several of the features of land animals – yet it was only distantly related to them. Image: Brian Choo

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Who are you? How the story of human origins is being rewritten

Posted on 23 Aug 2017 in Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

Over the past 15 years, almost every part of our story, every assumption about who our ancestors were and where we came from, has been called into question. The new insights have some unsettling implications for how long we have walked the earth, and even who we really are. Image: Ryan Somma

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Child tooth is fourth fossil clue to mysterious Denisovan humans

Posted on 7 Jul 2017 in Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

Three becomes four. The extraordinarily sparse fossil record of the Denisovans – an ancient form of human – has gained one more specimen: a tiny, worn tooth belonging to a young girl. Image: Slon et al. Sci. Adv. 2017; 3: e1700186

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