by Piyush Nandafigures by Corena Loeb Around 600 million years ago, single-celled life transitioned to multicellular life forms, begetting a paradigm shift in the definition of life on earth. This was an event so remarkable in earth’s timeline that it would set the stage for the evolution of complex organisms, from sponges to the human body we each reside in. These complex life forms eventually … Continue reading Grand Evolutionary Transitions: The eruption of multicellularity
An international team of researchers sequenced the microbes from dental scrapings of Neanderthals to understand more about their diet. Continue reading Understanding Our Evolution through our Mouth Microbes
In 2007, during an excavation on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, archeologist Armand Salvador Mijares discovered a 67,000-year-old foot bone that led scientists to rethink the history of human evolution. The bone had features resembling hominins—a subfamily of primates comprised of modern Homo sapiens and others closely related human species. The finding provided the earliest direct evidence of human presence in the Philippines, … Continue reading Evidence of an Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines
If you are looking for an interesting case study on human evolution, look no further than the female pelvis. The shape of the pelvis is thought to be a compromise between two opposing evolutionary pressures. On one hand, a narrow pelvis is ideal for walking on two feet, a trait that gives us a competitive edge over other species. On the other hand, a wide … Continue reading What Pelvis Shape Can Teach Us About Human Evolution
The closest ancestors of modern-day humans (Homo sapiens) and other subspecies of the genus Homo are thought to have originated in Eastern Africa around 2.85 million years ago. Archaeologists interested in the link between the earliest members of the genus Homo and modern humans often study the migration patterns of Homo sapiens and their closest relatives to refine our evolutionary tree. The earliest record of … Continue reading Oldest human fossil found outside of Africa throws popular theory into doubt
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?
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.
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