When did the Americas encounter the first human?

It is widely believed that humans first arrived in the Americas around 13,000 to 15,000 years ago. Discoveries at archeological sites such as Mesa Verde in Chile and Meadowcroft, PA have long supported this view. At a dig in Southern California, possible traces of human activity from over 130,000 years ago have been discovered. Researchers at the site recovered the partial skeleton of a mastodon, an … Continue reading When did the Americas encounter the first human?

Human evolution. Discovery of fossils in Indonesia provide further evidence for “hobbit-like” ancient humans.

The 2004 discovery of a 1-meter-tall, ancient human (named Homo floresiensis, and nicknamed “the hobbit”) sparked great interest in the scientific community, but until recently only a single fossil had been found. Last month, however, scientists discovered another fossil on the Indonesian island of Flores, only 74 kilometers from the original dig. In an article published in the journal Nature, researchers described the fossil, which … Continue reading Human evolution. Discovery of fossils in Indonesia provide further evidence for “hobbit-like” ancient humans.

Tibetans adapted to high altitudes thanks to an extinct group of humans

How did groups of modern humans inhabiting high-altitude environments adapt to live in such low oxygen levels? Some, such as the Andeans, cope with these conditions by increasing their capacity for oxygen. Tibetans have adapted by doing the opposite but have evolved ways to use the scarce oxygen more efficiently. They have a unique version of a gene called EPAS1 that is thought to reduce … Continue reading Tibetans adapted to high altitudes thanks to an extinct group of humans