This weekend, I finished off the last of the 'First Peoples' PBS miniseries on prehistoric humans. If you've watched other documentaries on human prehistory and found them interesting, then you'll want to watch this one to get the latest findings. It was fascinating. (A lot of people have mentioned 'Becoming Human' to me, which I've … Continue reading First Peoples and Neanderthals
I've posted before on prehistorical societies, and the fact that, for virtually all of human history, including the history of our particular sub-species: Homo sapiens, we lived in nomadic hunter gatherer tribes. The evidence points to anatomically modern humans first appearing in Africa over 200,000 years ago, and that much of what we consider normal human society: … Continue reading First Peoples documentary series to air on PBS starting Wednesday
I've noted before that I think capabilities like human language didn't pop into being 50-75 thousand years ago, but developed over hundreds of thousands of years (if not millions). Well, it looks like another piece of behavioral modernity may predate anatomically modern humans: World's Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag. A zigzag engraving on a … Continue reading World’s Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag
The intermixing of modern humans and Neanderthals is back in the news: BBC News - DNA yields secrets of human pioneer. DNA analysis of a 45,000-year-old human has helped scientists pinpoint when our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals. The genome sequence from a thigh bone found in Siberia shows the first episode of mixing occurred between 50,000 … Continue reading Maybe we’ve found Neanderthals, and they are us.
The extinction and competition hypotheses for the demise of the Neanderthals, notably suggested by interdisciplinary scientist and author Jared Diamond, hinge on the idea that humans were more advanced than Neanderthals. Commonly claimed are the following: that humans had more communicative abilities, were more efficient hunters, had superior weaponry, ate a broader diet, and had … Continue reading When It Comes to Neanderthals, Humans May Be the Borg
Neanderthals thrived in a large swath of Europe and Asia between about 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. They disappeared after our ancestors, a group referred to as “anatomically modern humans,” crossed into Europe from Africa. In the past, some researchers have tried to explain the demise of the Neanderthals by suggesting that the newcomers were … Continue reading Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, says CU-Boulder study
The meeting between a Neanderthal and one of the first humans, which we used to picture in our minds, did not happen on the Iberian Peninsula. That is the conclusion reached by an scientists after redoing the dating of the remains in three caves located on the route through the Pyrenees of the first beings … Continue reading Neanderthals and Cro-magnons did not coexist on the Iberian Peninsula, suggests re-analysis of dating — ScienceDaily
I've posted before about how I think that language is very ancient, probably evolving over hundreds of thousands of years, possibly millions. The evidence for this view continues to mount. It now looks like there's stronger evidence that Neanderthals could talk. We humans like to think of ourselves as unique for many reasons, not least … Continue reading Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech
It's been a while since Coolidge and Wynn posted an entry. Now they've done one looking at whether Neanderthals intentionally buried their dead. What did Neandertals do with dead people? And what does this tell us about Neandertal behavior? These questions are perennial favorites for undergraduates and lay persons interested in human evolution. Indeed, one … Continue reading Did Neanderthals have religion?
An analysis of a Neanderthal\'s fossilised hyoid bone - a horseshoe-shaped structure in the neck - suggests the species had the ability to speak. This has been suspected since the 1989 discovery of a Neanderthal hyoid that looks just like a modern human\'s. But now computer modelling of how it works has shown this bone … Continue reading BBC News – Neanderthals could speak like modern humans, study suggests