Anthropology news

This Week in Science

This Week in Science April 8th (Science volume 328 issue 5975) ... our genus Homo is thought to have evolved a little more than 2 million years ago from the earlier hominid Australopithecus - but there are few fossil remains that can inform us about the transition. Two skeletons found in a cave in South Africa, it is hoped, will provide more information on the subject as they belong to a new species of Australopithecus.

Out of Africa - new episode

At April 9th ... a British archaeologist, Jeremy Rose, has found evidence of human settlement in Oman at 125,000 years ago. However, there is a caveat not mentioned but discernible by reading between the lines.

Anglo Dutch relationships 300,000 + years ago

See ... amateur archaeologist Pieter Stoel has found splinters and cores of flint that are thought to date back 370,000 years ago. They were sucked out of a sump pit at a depth between 27 and 36m (in the Netherlands). On the opposite side of the North Sea basin, at Pakefield in Suffolk, 225km from Woerden, a similar discovery has been made, suggesting people walked across the North Sea sea bed, which was dry land during the Ice Ages (but drowned during the interglacials).

New Species of Hominid?

The Daily Galaxy March 25th ( has a story that was also featured on Science News ( ) a day or so earlier. Mitochondrial DNA analysis of a finger bone found in a cave high in the Altai mountians of southern Siberia suggests a group of unknown hominids ventured out of Africa less than a million years ago. Why?

Messenger of Life and Death

At ... an article by Bill Napier can be read on the Cosmic Tusk web site which was published in 'God, the Universe and Man - Why do we exist?', Patrus, Dusseldorf: 2003 (original in Deutsche).

Caer Sidi ... an interesting web site which initially involved a former member of SIS. Basically, Caer Sidi is first heard in the Welsh poem Hanes Taliesin (see Mike Baillie and Patrick McCafferty, The Celtic Gods) and controversy has stalked the poem as far as modern interpretation is concerned - especially in scholarly circles. Who was the author? When was it written down? and who was Taliesin?


See for a rambling story, 'Petroglyphs of Hawaii' which does not actually describe them as such but goes into a preamble about stones and birthing and quite unrelated material. It is some 16 pages in all and as usual the last few pages are the most useful. John Billingsley, author of books and editor of Northern Earth magazine paid a visit to Hawaii and this article was written as a result. It is not absolute, in other words, and somewhat speculative.

One Big Head ... a replica of a Cro Magnon skull has provided evidence that the human brain has been shrinking. The skull comes from a skeleton found in a cave in the Dordogne and dates back 28,000 years ago. Scientists digitally scanned the interior of the empty skull which revealed the impression left by the brain on the neuro cranium - which then revealed the brain was 20 per cent larger than that of modern humans. 

Hobbit Fued March 6th ... this is another version of a story posted last week but has some interesting detail not in the initial news report. Indonesian archaeologists on the island of Flores are scouring the cave complex for clues about the ancestors of the fossilised skeleton of the Hobbit. On one side are those who claim the Hobbit is a throwback to much earlier times and critics who say they are modern humans with a genetic disorder that caused the body and brain to shrink - or become dwarf.

Out of Africa id186064617 February 22nd ... a special issue of Current Biology is devoted to human beginnings and how genetic evidence, along with archaeological and linguistic research, is being used to bolster the Out of Africa hypothesis - the consensus view. A flavour of the articles can be guaged from an introduction by Colin Renfrew.