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Industrial revolution sealed Neanderthals’ fate

Posted on 28 Jul 2011 in Human Origins, Journalism, Life

Forget peaceful interbreeding: a new analysis of archaeological sites in south-west France has resurrected the idea that it was good old-fashioned competition that led to the demise of the European Neanderthals in the face of modern humans, and not the interbreeding which we now know occurred. Image: erix!

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Richard Leakey: Passionate, prickly and principled

Posted on 14 Oct 2009 in Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

He looks impatient, like a slightly older, more restless version of Indiana Jones, only trapped in the foyer of a hotel near Edinburgh Castle rather than some exotic citadel. But this is Richard Leakey, a member of the clan whose name is synonymous with palaeoanthropology. And while he may have quit the field some time ago, its rows still touch a nerve. Image: Ryan Somma

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‘First European’ had a mountain retreat in Spain

Posted on 26 Mar 2008 in Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

It’s being called “the first European” – rather a grand tag for a fragmentary jawbone and some worn teeth. Nevertheless, fossils have been unearthed in northern Spain that are 1.1 to 1.2 million years old and have been assigned to one of our hominin ancestors. Image: Nature

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New bones suggest ‘hobbits’ were modern pygmies

Posted on 11 Mar 2008 in Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

The “hobbit” discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 is thought by some to be a new species of human. Now researchers have discovered that a nearby island was overrun by diminutive humans as recently as 1400 years ago – but despite their size these people clearly belonged to our species. Image: Ryan Somma

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Gigantic volcano did not decimate humans

Posted on 14 Jul 2007 in Earth Science, Evolution, Human Origins, Journalism

In the face of global climate change 74,000 years ago, humans came up trumps. Evidence from India shows that the global cooling following a massive volcanic eruption at the time did not decimate human populations as originally thought. Some have proposed that human populations shrank during the “volcanic winter” following the Toba eruption, but new data suggests otherwise. Image: widakso

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