36,000-year-old Human DNA Reveals Europe's Deep Past

He was a European with dark skin and dark eyes. And his ancestry was mixed. A group of geneticists have sequenced DNA from the remains of a man who died 36,000 years ago in Kostenki, Russia, near the Ukraine border. The results are surprising, and could reveal a lot about how modern humans spread out of Africa. » 11/07/14 6:30pm 11/07/14 6:30pm

Misogyny is not human nature. That's what evolutionary biology researcher Eric Michael Johnson explains in Slate, where he explores the connections between male baboon behavior and male human behavior during "The Fappening." Turns out that patriarchy actually undermines our fitness as a species. » 9/25/14 12:26pm 9/25/14 12:26pm

Dramatic Cave Art Confirms that Neanderthals Were Basically Humans

They made jewelry, buried their dead, and left behind haunting abstract paintings on the walls of their caves. Now a new finding in Gibraltar, one of the last regions of the world where Neanderthals survived, is further evidence that Neanderthals had a recognizably human culture. » 9/02/14 9:33am 9/02/14 9:33am

Why Are So Few People Left-Handed?

Today marks the 22nd annual International Left-Handers Day. To celebrate, let's look at why only around one in ten people is left-handed. Why, pray tell, are lefties are so rare – or, said another way, why are most of us righties? It seems like a simple question, but it's actually one of the biggest mysteries in all… » 8/13/14 12:20pm 8/13/14 12:20pm

Evidence Challenges the "Out of Africa" Timeline of Human Evolution

One dominant idea among evolutionary biologists is that Homo sapiens left Africa about 60 or 70 thousand years ago, spreading across the world from there. It's called the "out of Africa" theory. But now, more evidence is challenging it. » 8/11/14 11:40am 8/11/14 11:40am

This Incredible Paleontologist Has Been Missing for Decades

The paleontologist known only as Yusra has been missing since the 1940s. And yet she's responsible for finding one of the world's most important early human fossils. We're still trying to piece together what happened to her. » 7/07/14 12:25pm 7/07/14 12:25pm

Our distant hominid ancestors were far more human-like than we thought. A revision of the human origins timeline shows that many traits, like long limbs, a large brain, and the ability to craft tools, did not arise at the same time. Surprisingly, some traits appeared as long as 3 to 4 million years ago. » 7/04/14 2:30pm 7/04/14 2:30pm

Tibetans Got Their High-Altitude Gene From An Extinct Human Species

In what's considered one of the finest examples of natural selection in action, Tibetans have acquired the ability to thrive at extremely high altitudes. Incredibly, researchers say the gene required for this adaptation was inherited from the now-extinct Denisovans. » 7/03/14 7:40am 7/03/14 7:40am

"One Can Make Up an Evolutionary Explanation for Anything"

Evolutionary biologist Michael Eisen has just written a terrific response to the idea that cultural characteristics of a group are the result of "natural selection." No, he says, there's no evidence that the ability to create a democratic government — or to foster social unrest — is genetic. » 6/09/14 9:38am 6/09/14 9:38am

7 Signs That Humans Are Domestic Animals

Tens of thousands of years ago, humans were wild animals. Our ancestors roamed the land in search of food by day, and huddled together for safety by night. But then something changed. We domesticated ourselves, and this process didn't just change us profoundly — it changed a lot of other life forms around us, too. » 6/05/14 10:00am 6/05/14 10:00am

Beringia, the Lost Territory Where Americans Evolved

During the last ice age, an enormous stretch of fertile grassland connected Eurasia and the Americas. Known today as Beringia, this lost landscape was home to a small but important population of humans. Now, the discovery of one skull in an underwater cave tells an intriguing story about what happened to the… » 5/16/14 2:56pm 5/16/14 2:56pm

Men Without Beards Could Soon Have An Evolutionary Advantage

Hipsters take note: Beards may be all the rage — and they might be making you more attractive for now — but this is a fashion trend that could ultimately be the cause of its own undoing. » 4/16/14 12:40pm 4/16/14 12:40pm

Why Does It Matter If Homo sapiens Had Sex With Neanderthals?

Evidence has been piling up for a while that early humans in Europe had children with the Neanderthals who had been living there for probably 500 thousand years before humans arrived. Very few Neanderthal genes are left in humans today, so what difference does it make? A lot, both genetically and philosophically. » 4/02/14 8:48pm 4/02/14 8:48pm

An epic look at early humans

We love this stately museum poster. These early humans look like they could be our ancestors Homo erectus, or maybe Homo habilis. It's a reminder that our species is always changing, but one thing stays the same: We always look awesome when posed with wild elephants. » 2/28/14 9:59pm 2/28/14 9:59pm

How did Neanderthal genes affect humanity? Here are some answers.

If you're a non-African person, you've got a little Neanderthal in your genome. In fact, maybe you have some other hominins in there, too. But just what kind of genetic legacy did some of us inherit from the Neanderthals? Two new scientific papers provide some intriguing hints. » 1/29/14 2:55pm 1/29/14 2:55pm

Early Europeans had dark skin and blue eyes

In 2012, archaeologists made an amazing find in a Spanish cave: the intact, 8,000-year-old skeleton of a man who lived in the area. Now they've sequenced his genome, and discovered quite a bit about life among hunter-gatherers in southern Europe. » 1/27/14 3:39pm 1/27/14 3:39pm

A chart that sums up who had sex with whom during the Pleistocene

Call it the Pleistocene hanky panky chart. Now that scientists have sequenced a complete Neanderthal genome, we have more evidence than ever that early Homo sapiens had children with Neanderthals and Denisovans tens of thousands of years ago. » 12/19/13 2:50pm 12/19/13 2:50pm

The mystery of the human intelligence explosion

Over the past 200,000 years since Homo sapiens evolved, something extraordinary happened. Somehow, we went from being clever monkeys with stone tools, to being insanely brilliant masterminds who use complex language, and control the planet with agriculture and technology. How did we start the intelligence explosion… » 12/05/13 3:42pm 12/05/13 3:42pm

8 Incredible Facts You May Not Know About Human Evolution

Homo sapiens evolved about 200-150,000 years ago in Africa, but our story as a species stretches back much further than that with early human ancestors. And the evolution of Homo sapiens is itself a tangled tale, full of unanswered questions and gothic family melodrama. Here are a few facts you may not know about the… » 11/15/13 10:52am 11/15/13 10:52am

More evidence that Neanderthals made jewelry and art

Neanderthals have a reputation as grunting dimwits who lived animalistic lives in caves. But modern scientific discoveries have changed this picture dramatically. The latest discovery to overturn this myth offers evidence that Neanderthals painted shells like this one, and kept them as art or jewelry. » 7/17/13 5:00pm 7/17/13 5:00pm