Anthropology news

Humans in South America

At the height of the Late Glacial Maximum, 22,000 years ago, humans were living in NE Brazil, according to a new evaluation of the disputed evidence. Of course, a lot of resistance is to be expected but Christelle Lahaye (French) and colleagues have reached this decision after excavating a rock shelter that was clearly of great age. However, the dates are derived from the sediments in which the stone tools were found, leaving the controversy open to criticism. This has began already - questioning the ability of the team to do their job properly (but only in so many words).

American Roots

At ... some new work on the early settlement of the Americas by the University of Barcelona (with an emphasis on South America) which has been published by PLOS Genetics. The study of DNA has shown that indigenous Americans, as opposed to more recent immigrants, people the Americas in several waves - with long periods of separation between each episode.

Sami Rock Art

At ... we have a lovely piece, several pages of printout, on Sami rock art, by Inga-Marie Mulk, an archaeologist from northern Sweden. It is a interpretation of images scratched, etched and engraved, or even painted on rocks in northern Fenno-Scandia, some of which is thought to represent an earth mother goddess.

Neanderthals and Rabbits

A rather strange story at ... and concerns the absence of rabbits and similar small animals in the diet of Neanderthals. It seems a very big assumption is being made here and it is taken further by the claim they failed to hunt rabbits, or were unable to hunt them because their technology was inadequate, and this led to their decline. I'm sure if Neanderthals were hungry they would eat anything they could catch, including our small furry friends with the long ears.

European genes --- where might they have travelled to or from?

Chiefio has turned his mind to genes and has a spiffing post on Native Americans and European roots, all nicely speculative but interesting never the less, not so much science as observation by the eye - see In a distribution map of Haplogroup R Y-DNA one can see a close connection between western Europe, on the one hand, and the Great Lakes region, on the other. He also notes the use of long houses among the Iroquois peoples, and others such as the Cherokee.

Out of Africa - revised version now on the conveyor belt

The Out of Africa hypothesis - humans are said to have migrated out of Africa around 60,000 years ago, has remained remarkably robust in spite of a lot of contradictory evidence in recent times. It has achieved consensus status and therefore a lot of shove is required for a relook at the basics of what has become an article of faith rather than a purely scientific model. At ...

Native Americans and Northern Europeans are closely related

This story pops up at ... and at (and various other sites). To a certain extent this amounts to a recycling of old news as it has been recognised that one strand of Palaeolithic people entered Europe from the NE direction (see for example Clive Finlayson, The Humans that went Extinct, Oxford University Press: 2009).

The knotty subject of cave art ... did Neanderthals have the ability to stick their hands in paint and leave marks on the walls, or better still, did they actually compose pictures

The comes from Current World Archaeology 55 (november 2012 issue) see, and 'Redating Ice Age Art: were Neanderthals the first artists in Europe?' which comes as a result of a new dating technique, and was first reported in the journal Science earlier in the year.

Stone Age technology

At ... a Canadian team of anthropologists say they have found evidence humans were using stone tipped weapons to hunt as long ago as 500,000 year - somewhat earlier than was led to believe. Neanderthal and modern humans alike used such stone tools but now, we are being assured, so too did Homo Heidelbergensis, in the Middle Pleistocene.

We all speak Egyptian

We all speak Egyptian, it seems, not the Arab variety introduced by a colonialist invaders around 1400 hundred years ago, but the real Egyptian language as spoken by pharaohs and their subjects. It was known to the Greeks as the language of demes, the common people, and this has given rise to the Demotic Dictionary - see ...