Anthropology news

Dumb Neanderthals

At .... Richard Coss, described as a professor emeritus of psychology, questions why there is no Neanderthal cave art in the archaeological record. He seems to skip the obvious answer - it hasn't been found yet, the blog author says. Coss jumps to the conclusion that modern humans have a superior kind of eye and limb co-ordination. It turns out Coss has taught art as well as psychology - so he should know something about the subject.

Human DNA sequencing

William sent in the link, ... but see also ... where the genetics of modern humans appear to contradict fossil evidence of modern humans. It was suggested in the Phil Salmon post at (see yesterday's post) there was a bottleneck coinciding with the Mount Toba super volcano eruption that has been dated around 74,000 years ago.

Out of Africa Going Backwards

At ... various people sent in links to the same story. William fowarded the link ... an international team led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University have discovered the earliest 'modern human' fossil ever found outside of Afriica. It mentions modern humans must have left Africa much earlier than previously thought.

First Humans Europe

William sent in this excellent link - research refutes theory regarding the dispersal of humans in Europe - go to ... and you can read the full article, if so inclined, (over 30 pages including references) by going to DOI:10.1007/s41982-017-003-5 (click on the link at the bottom of the page above). A paper in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology disagrees with a recent publication that postulates the first humans entered northern and central Europe as early as a million years ago - earlier than previously estimated.

Sungir Homo sapiens

At ... a reconstruction of the faces of the Sungir people who lived in central Russia some 30,000 years ago, has been done (see image below). They have created a virtual reality 3D animation that is said to bring them to life ...


A study in the journal Science pots modern human origins in South Africa back to 300,000 years ago. The DNA from the remains of a 2000 year old boy found at Ballito Bay in Natal during the 1960s has been used to re-write human history - after reconstructing his full genome (and that of 6 others who lived between 2700 and 300 years ago). Three of these people were Khoe-San (which includes Bushmen) and four were of Bantu origin. The genome of the Ballito boy was used to calculate the split between modern humans and earlier human groups and came up with the 300,000 figure.

African DNA

At ... DNA from sub-Sahara Africa has opened a window on prehistoric population movements over the past 8000 years. However, the results are not too much in dispute with African prehistory prior to the use of genetics and the DNA code of humans. In fact, they seem to agree quite remarkably - especially where it concerns the movement of Bantu people from western Africa across the top of the equatorial zone into East Africa and down towards South Africa, a process that was still going on at the start of the colonial period.

Human Origins

An article in New Scientist (26th August 2017) by Colin Barras, p 22-33. said, 'the story of human origins is being re-written. The past 15 years have called into question every assumption about who we are and where we come from' - a sweeping statement. Until recently the consensus was that our great march Out of Africa began 60,000 years ago and that by 30,000 years ago every other contender for humanity had disappeared. Only modern humans remained - a species with a linear evolutionary history stretching back 6 million years.

New Guinea

At ... a huge amount of genetic diversity has been found between different groups and tribes in New Guinea which seems to reflect the length of the period they have been living on the island. This matches the equally diverse number of languages and sub languages spoken on the island - 850 in number. Not only is Papua New Guinea diverse but there is also big differences between people living in the highland zone and those living in the lowlands and along the coastlines.

Clever Chappies

Neanderthals, it would seem, invented the first adhesive (known to archaeology) - see ... Neanderthals, it seems, were nothing like their cave men image. Indeed, they were quite bright and are now being entertained as the inventors of adhesives as used in fixing tools on a haft. Adhesive residue has been found on stone tools going back 200,000 years ago.