Anthropology news

Out of Taiwan

You've heard of Out of Africa - it seems there is also an Out of Taiwan theory that is proving to be difficult to uphold - see

Chauvet Painting

At ... three French researchers have published an article on the online journal PLoS One saying they think one the paintings in the famous Chaauvet cave in SE France is of an erupting volcano, daubed in red and white pigments over other paintings. The big point is this reliably dated. Prehistoric cave art is notoriously difficult to date - and the parameters are controversial.

Homo erectus

At ... the Chinese have unearthed a well preserved skull of Homo erectus which will be invaluable to anthropologists and people specialising in human evolution. It was excavated in Dongzhi County in Anhai Province and it has already been named Dongzhi Man. It was buried amongst a number of stone implements, the teeth of other humans together with bone fragments, and some 6000 bones of animals that it is claimed, had been slaughtered and prepared by humans.

human origins

An alternative theory to Out of Africa can be found at ... Ronald Fonda places the origins of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) in northern Eurasia rather than Africa but his arguments are too lengthy to outline here so you will have to read what he says for yourself and make up your own mind.

getting earlier

Out of Africa has more problems - see ... and the acrobats necessary to keep the politically correct meme alive and kicking is quite amusing. The latest torpedo is that modern humans have been found in China between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago - which will cause some alteration in the mapping of human migration. The Out of Africa theory is that all humans are descended from a pristine version of the human tree that first came to fruition in Africa. Subsequently, these modern humans left Africa 50,000 years ago.

Denisova dated

The Denisova cave in the NW Altai caused a bit of a stir a couple of years ago when the tooth of an individual was DNA tested and found to be a new species of human, a sort of cross between Homo erectus and Neanderthals. Dates were provisional. These have now been more thoroughly ascertained  and the finger bone and molar go back 50,000 years ago and a few other bones go back 110,000 years ago (just after the last Interglacial period came to an end).

update on Naledi

It seems a more sober assessment of Homo naledi is now emerging after the media went over hype. At ... more details have emerged and scientists, it seems, are not agreed if the bones come from apes or from hominids. See the cave diagram below - well out of the way for a drop in from above

Homo Naledi

At ... another story picked up by the media in general without a lot of thought about what was being said in the press release. The link above is an anthropology blog, and a post by one Tim Jones.

Homo habilis

This is a piece of tweaking the nose of the Leakey's - those avid finders of fossil humans in the African Rift Valley - see

Altai Man

  at ... and this time it is a skull and rib - dating back at least 50,000 years ago, or earlier. However, they also found a small piece of finger bone that is estimated to be around 35,000 years ago (in a layer above the skull).