An extinct strain of the human Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been discovered in Bronze Age human skeletons found in burial sites across Europe and Asia.
The largest study to date of body sizes over millions of years finds a “pulse and stasis” pattern to hominin evolution, with surges of growth in stature and bulk occurring at different times. At one stage, our ancestors got taller around a million years before body mass caught up.
A project exploring the role of East Africa in the evolution of modern humans has amassed the largest and most diverse collection of prehistoric bone harpoons ever assembled from the area. The collection offers clues about the behaviour and technology of prehistoric hunter-gatherers.
Several major studies, published today, concur that virtually all current global human populations stem from a single wave of expansion out of Africa. Yet one has found 2% of the genome in Papuan populations points to an earlier, separate dispersal event – and an extinct lineage that made it to the islands of Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Review of latest genetic evidence suggests infectious diseases are tens of thousands of years older than previously thought, and that they could jump between species of ‘hominin’. Researchers says that humans migrating out of Africa would have been ‘reservoirs of tropical disease’ – disease that may have sped up Neanderthal extinction.
Skeletal remains of a group of foragers massacred around 10,000 years ago on the shores of a lagoon is unique evidence of a violent encounter between clashing groups of ancient hunter-gatherers, and suggests the “presence of warfare” in late Stone Age foraging societies.
Marta Mirazon Lahr (Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies) discusses the discovery, made by her and her team, of the oldest known case of violence between two groups of hunter gatherers.
New digital techniques have allowed researchers to predict structural evolution of the skull in the lineage of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, in an effort to fill in blanks in the fossil record, and provide the first 3D rendering of their last common ancestor. The study suggests populations that led to the lineage split were older than previously thought.
DNA from 4,500-year-old Ethiopian skull reveals a large migratory wave of West Eurasians into the Horn of Africa around 3,000 years ago had a genetic impact on modern populations across East Africa.