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Ancient humans: What we know and still don’t know about them

Posted on 3 May 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism

Who were our ancient human relatives? Here is New Scientist’s primer to help you understand a little bit more about seven of the most important human species in our evolutionary tree. Image: Vegansoldier

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Homo naledi is only 250,000 years old – here’s why that matters

Posted on 25 Apr 2017 in Earth Science, Human Origins, Journalism

In 2013, Lee Berger at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and his colleagues made an extraordinary discovery – deep inside a South African cave system they found thousands of bones belonging to a brand new species of early human — and now we finally may know when this species lived and how it fits into our evolutionary tree. Image: pijpers662

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Mystery human species Homo naledi had tiny but advanced brain

Posted on 24 Apr 2017 in Homo floresiensis, Human Origins

It’s not the size of your brain, it’s how you organise it. The most recently discovered species of early human had a skull only slightly larger than a chimpanzee’s, but its brain looked surprisingly like our own – particularly in an area of the frontal lobe with links to language. Image: GovernmentZA

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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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The real reason why childbirth is so painful and so dangerous

Posted on 22 Dec 2016 in Evolution, Health, Human Origins, Journalism

Giving birth can be a long and painful process. It can also be deadly. The World Health Organization estimates that about 830 women die every day because of complications during pregnancy and childbirth – and that statistic is actually a 44% reduction on the 1990 level. Image: Chriggy

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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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