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Ancient skull from China may rewrite the origins of our species

Posted on 14 Nov 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism

The origins of our species might need a rethink. An analysis of an ancient skull from China suggests it is eerily similar to the earliest known fossils of our species –found in Morocco, some 10,000 kilometres to the west. The skull hints that modern humans aren’t solely descended from African ancestors, as is generally thought. Image: Sheela Athreya

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Exploding stars could have kick-started our ancestors’ evolution

Posted on 9 Oct 2017 in Environment, Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

Was the rise of humankind written in the stars? A nearby star exploding 8 million years ago might have triggered more frequent lightning on Earth. Wildfires ignited by that lightning could help explain the rise of east African savannahs – which many researchers think provided a vital backdrop for the early evolution of hominins. Image: USFWS/Southeast

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The fossil finder extraordinaire who’s rewriting human evolution

Posted on 27 Sep 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism, Uncategorized

Lee Berger is the palaeoanthropologist behind the recent discoveries of not one but two new species of human ancestor. The finds were so remarkable that, by some accounts, they are rewriting the story of human evolution, and Berger, his team and his methods are at the centre of it. Image: pijpers662

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Bare bones: Five human ancestors known only from a few fossils

Posted on 27 Sep 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism

Some of our ancestors are known only by the merest fossils – a toe bone here, a jaw fragment there. In those cases, it’s all we have to build the story of human evolution. But with spectacular recent finds such as Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi, that story is starting to be rewritten in ways we never imagined. Image: James St. John

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Controversial footprints suggest we evolved in Europe not Africa

Posted on 4 Sep 2017 in Featured, Human Origins, Journalism

A set of ancient footprints has been found on a Greek island. They are extremely old – 5.7 million years – yet they seem to have been made by one of our hominin ancestors. At that time, hominins are thought to have been confined to Africa. The discovery supports the controversial suggestion that they may also have been living in eastern Europe. Image: zbigphotography

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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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