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Latest Prehistoric Africa Stories

2011-02-17 12:46:23

New fossil discoveries have provided a glimpse into the biogeographic configuration of Africa over the last seven million years. Modern-day Africa south of the Sahara is home to a unique variety of mammals, a great number of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Biogeographers have long recognized that sub-Saharan Africa constitutes one of the world's six major mammalian biogeographic divisions, termed 'realms'. However, the historical development of these continental regions of...

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2011-02-17 09:26:11

"Too simple" and "not so fast" suggest biological anthropologists from the George Washington University and New York University about the origins of human ancestry. In the upcoming issue of the journal Nature, the anthropologists question the claims that several prominent fossil discoveries made in the last decade are our human ancestors. Instead, the authors offer a more nuanced explanation of the fossils' place in the Tree of Life. They conclude that instead of being our ancestors the...

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2011-02-11 06:25:00

A fossilized arched foot bone recovered from Ethiopia shows that our human ancestors walked upright 3.2 million years ago, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The fossil, a fourth metatarsal, or midfoot bone, belongs to a group of the famed hominid Lucy, and indicates that a permanently arched foot was present in the species Australopithecus afarensis.  The findings are the first evidence to address the question of how this species moved around. "This fourth...

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2011-02-09 11:29:39

Eight small teeth found in a cave near Rosh Haain, central Israel, are raising big questions about the earliest existence of humans and where we may have originated, says Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam. Part of a team of international researchers led by Dr. Israel Hershovitz of Tel Aviv University, Qaum and his colleagues have been examining the dental discovery and recently published their joint findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Excavated at Qesem...

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2010-11-04 10:11:20

Was it the evolution of the hand, or of the brain, that enabled prehistoric toolmakers to make the leap from simple flakes of rock to a sophisticated hand axe? A new study finds that the ability to plan complex tasks was key. The research, published today in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, is the first to use a cyber data glove to precisely measure the hand movements of stone tool making, and compare the results to brain activation. "Making a hand axe appears to require...

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2010-11-03 10:00:00

Human ancestors from over four million years ago were quite promiscuous, with monogamous relationships developing as hominins evolved over time, claims a new study published in the British scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The research, which was led by Emma Nelson of the University of Liverpool's School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, involved the study of the fossilized fingers of Neanderthals and ancient apes, as well as the species Ardipithecus ramidus and...

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2010-08-12 06:10:00

Fossilized bones from two ancient animals in Ethiopia show signs of human butchering, pushing back the earliest known evidence for the use of stone tools by nearly a million years, according to researchers.  The bones appear to have been butchered about 3.4 million years ago, and are the first evidence of the use of stone tools for meat consumption by Australopithecus afarensis, the species best known for the fossil called "Lucy," Zeresenay Alemseged, Curator of Anthropology at the...

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2010-06-22 07:05:00

Within the coarsening base of an ancient mudstone exposure in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, researchers say they found evidence that provides new information about the best-known early human ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis. Yohannes Haile-Selassie--curator and head of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History--and an international team of scientists dug up a 3.6 million-year-old partial skeleton of the same species as the famed hominid "Lucy." It's only the second...

2010-06-16 22:04:17

Almost two million years ago, early humans began eating food such as crocodiles, turtles and fish "“ a diet that could have played an important role in the evolution of human brains and our footsteps out of Africa, according to new research. In what is the first evidence of consistent amounts of aquatic foods in the human diet, an international team of researchers has discovered early stone tools and cut marked animal remains in northern Kenya. The work has just been published in the...

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2010-05-07 06:00:00

According to a genetic study, researchers have found that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred, most likely at the time when early humans first began to migrate from Africa. In Friday's issue of the journal Science, researchers report that people of European, Asian and Australian origin all have Neanderthal DNA. They discovered, however, that people from Africa have no traces of the ancient genome. Researchers believe the study will help resolve a long-lasting debate over whether...


Latest Prehistoric Africa Reference Libraries

Australopithecus garhi
2013-11-29 11:38:51

Australopithecus garhi is a gracile australopithecine species whose fossils were discovered in 1996 by a research team led by Ethiopian paleontologist Berhane Asfaw ad Tim White, an American paleontologist. The remains are believed to be a human ancestor species and most likely the direct ancestor to the human genus Homo. Tim White was the scientist to find the first of the key A. garhi fossils in 1996 within the Bouri Formation found in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression....

Homo sapiens
2013-09-24 13:55:52

Homo sapiens is the scientific name for the human species. Homo is the human genus, which also includes Neanderthals and various other extinct species of hominid. H. sapiens is the only surviving species of the genus Homo. Modern humans are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, distinguished from their direct ancestor, Homo sapiens idaltu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens_idaltu). Subspecies of H. sapiens include Homo sapiens idaltu, roughly translated as “elder wise human” and...

Homo sapiens idaltu
2013-09-24 12:20:45

Homo sapiens idaltu is an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens that lived nearly 160,000 years ago during the Pleistocene in Africa. “Idaltu” comes from the Saho-Afar word meaning “elder” or “first born”. The fossilized remains of H. s. idaltu were uncovered at Herto Bouri near the Middle Awash site of Ethiopia’s Afar Triangle in the year 1997 by Tim White, but were first revealed in 2003. Herto Bouri is a portion of Ethiopia under volcanic layers. By using radioisotope dating,...

Homo floresiensis
2013-09-16 13:06:40

Homo floresiensis Homo floresiensis, or Flores Man, nicknamed “hobbit” and “Flow”, is an extinct species in the genus Homo. The remains of an individual that would have stood about 3 feet in height were uncovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Incomplete skeletons of nine individuals have been recovered, including one complete cranium. These remains have been the focus of intense research to establish whether they represent a species distinctive from modern humans....

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