The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, L is for Limpet and what they can tell us about Mesolithic middens, seasonal changes in the Atlantic Ocean, and the lives of people living on the remote Isle of Oronsay 6,000 years ago.
New research shows that males with higher ‘reproductive potential’ are better distance runners. This may have been used by females as a reliable signal of high male genetic quality during our hunter-gatherer past, as good runners are more likely to have other traits of good hunters and providers, such as intelligence and generosity.
New research harnessing fragmentary fossils suggests our genus has come in different shapes and sizes since its origins over two million years ago, and adds weight to the idea that humans began to colonise Eurasia while still small and lightweight.
Researchers used the new survey of the Messak Settafet to estimate that enough stone tools were discarded over the course of human evolution in Africa to build more than one Great Pyramid for every square kilometre of land on the continent.
Hunter-gatherer past shows our fragile bones result from physical inactivity since invention of farming22 Dec 2014
Latest analysis of prehistoric bones show there is no anatomical reason why a person born today could not develop the skeletal strength of a prehistoric forager or a modern orangutan. Findings support the idea that activity throughout life is the key to building bone strength and preventing osteoporosis risk in later years, say researchers.
Ancient DNA shows earliest European genomes weathered the ice age, and shines new light on Neanderthal interbreeding and a mystery human lineage06 Nov 2014
A genome taken from a 36,000 year old skeleton reveals an early divergence of Eurasians once they had left Africa, and allows scientists to better assess the point at which ‘admixture’ - or interbreeding - between Eurasians and Neanderthals occurred. The latest research also points to a previously unknown population lineage as old as the first population separations since humans dispersed out of Africa.
Recent finds at Willendorf in Austria reveal that modern humans were living in cool steppe-like conditions some 43,500 years ago – and that their presence overlapped with that of Neanderthals for far longer than we thought.