Anthropology news

Humans in Tibet

At ... human occupation of the Tibetan plateau is now thought to go back to between 40 and 30 thousand years ago. The high altitude, atmospheric hypoxia, and generally cold all year environment (as well as low rainfall) is a challenging place for humans to set down roots - but has it always been like that?

At ... a study suggests Neanderthals interbred with early humans on multiple occasions. On the other hand, they may have not.

Sentinel Island

A fascinating tale from the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal (between India and SE Asia). The story came about after the killing by islanders on one of these outliers (30 miles from Thailand) of an American student on a mission to make contact with them. Clearly they are opposed to contact with the outside world and over the last few hundred years they have managed to keep the outside world at bay - see ...

Modern Human Dilemma

At ... as the argument on what constitutes a modern human heats up and the date to be assigned to their migration Out of Africa we now have another spanner in the works (or sort of as these are old humans with modern human embellishments.


At ... genetic studies are said to have shown a connection between the Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe and the Jews. This apparently supports the theory of Robin Brown-Lowe in his book, 'The City of Solomon' (Sutton Publishing:2003). The World Jewish Congress article goes back to 2010 and a report of the story broadcast by the BBC. The Lemba live in central Zimbabwe and northern South Africa, about 80,000 strong.

Neanderthals and Boats

At ... it seems that Neanderthals may have been using boats to reach islands in the Mediterranean. In this instance, the Greek island of Naxos. This follows the discovery a decade ago of a cache of Neanderthal stone tools on the island of Crete - dating back 130,000 years ago. Crete, it is thought, has been an island for a very long time (although some people may argue otherwise).

Easter Island DNA

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, in the SE Pacific, has spawned various theories and one of these is that the inhabitants, prior to the arrival of Europeans, was a mixture of Polynesian voyagers, and South Americans (the nearest land mass). In fact, a genetic test a few years ago, showed an 8 per cent South American ancestry. We are then told this study was based on 'modeling' - an area of genetic research that can be imprecise). In other words, they admit modeling is inexact - but only because they wish to drive their own piece of genetic research to the forefront.

Human Footprints

At ... human footprints found off Canada's Pacific coast may be 13,000 years old according to a study in PLoS ONE online journal (March 20th 2018) by a team from Hakai Institute and the University of Victoria. In other words, humans prior to the Younger Dryas Event - which is post-Ice Age proper. Nowadays, the Pacific coast of British Columbia is thickly forested and most of it is only accessible by boat. Archaeology is few and far between.

Out of Africa

Chris Catling, in World Current Archaeology 88 sets his eye on recent DNA research. In issue 85 he drew attention to the lack of a consensus among archaeologists over the dates for the evolution of modern humans and the first Out of Africa migration (as new finds were pushing dates earlier and earlier). In issue 88 Professor Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University was involved in the the discovery of a jawbone in a cave on Mount Carmel dating back 177,000 years ago.

DNA home truth

I was looking through a press release at ... which is about the genomes of five late Neanderthals that lived between 39,000 and 47,000 years ago. They contributed DNA to modern human ancestors which is okay - so far. We are then told the Neanderthals overlapped with the arrival of modern human, which is partly based on the fact that modern humans have a small amount of Neanderthal DNA (so they must have overlapped, must they not?). Did they? Did late Neanderthals pass on their genes to modern humans by mating with them - which is the nub of the issue.

Denisova DNA

At ... the discovery of fossils belonging to a new group of people, the Denisovans (in central Asia) a few years back has led to some DNA linkages to modern people - but only in a small way. The first link was to Austronesian people - such as the inhabitants of New Guinea. DNA links have also been found in southern Asia in general - but now we are told the biggest genetic signature is among the East Asians (China, Korea, Japan etc).