Anthropology news

Lucy's Foot

At ... the bones of a human foot curve upwards to form arches and this feature has been found in a 3.2 million year old Australpithecus afarensis to fossil in East Africa - a relative of Lucy.

Human evolution - the spats

At ... is based on a paper in the Journal of Human Evolution that contradicts the long held belief that the noses of Neanderthals were adapted to extreme weather - the cold climate at the edge of a huge ice sheet.

Early Human Revisions

At ... there is a report on the recent discovery of the remains of humans found at Qesem Cave near Rosh Ha'ayin in modern Israel. Incredibly, these have been dated via cave floor detritus, to some 400,000 years ago. Now, according to this post the consensus Out of Africa hypothesis is under pressure.

A tale of a finger bone and a tooth

This story has been on BBC News and you can read about it at a variety of blogs, including which is a report on a paper in the December 23rd issue of Nature about the fingerbone of a young girl found in a cave in southern Siberia and dated 30,000 years ago. She was neither a modern human or a Neanderthal but belonged, it is said, to a previously unknown human species - possibly hybrid.

Lost World

At ... a paper in Current Anthropology speculates that the Persian Gulf was an oasis during the last Ice Age - and even in the early Holocene. It was not until around 6000BC that the floor of the Gulf was flooded - and it was dry land during the last Ice Age too. The actual Indian Ocean coastline during the Pleistocene may also have differed - but this is not mentioned. Suffice to say, Arabia was joined to Iran.

Dogs and Maths

At,1518,732654,00.html 'Egyptian dog bones could help solve canine conundrum'. Scientists are trying to work out how the wolf evolved into 400 breeds of dog - and they have turned their attention on Egypt and the cult of Anubis, the Jackal god. Thousands of mummified dogs (as well as jackals, foxes, and hyenas) were placed in what is a huge cave. Other cemeteries exist of other cult animals - such as cats, snakes, baboons, mice, fish, crocodiles and bulls.

Melanesians in the Americas and European genes among the Chinese

At ... this is a post going back to October 26th 1999 and is probably out of reach of a simple click. A skull of a human fossil found in Brazil appears to have an origin in Melanesian people on the other side of the Pacific. In fact, there seems to have been a cemetery of them but only one of them was sent to the University of Manchester to be analysed.

Keeping Neandertals brutish

At ... it seems that archaeologists have new decided the major site at Aray-sur-Cure in central France, the so called reindeer cave, is so jumbled up - Neanderthal remains and artefacts mixed with those of Homo sapiens, the site should be disqualified from the debate over Neanderthal mental attributes and symbolism. The problem has been caused by new radio carbon dating at the site.

The Toba volcano and Out of Africa

New Scientist 17th April, 2010 ... had an interesting story on the so called Toba super volcano which blew its head on what is now Sumatra - 74,000 years ago. Various articles appeared that seemed to suggest it was a massive catastrophic event that almost wiped out humanity from the face of the earth - creating a genetic bottlekneck in Africa. The severity of the Toba eruption was not actually based on reality but on a series of computer simulations.