anthropology

How Neanderthals Influenced Human Genetics at the Crossroads of Asia and Europe

When the ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa, they passed through the Middle East and Turkey before heading deeper into Asia and Europe. Here, at this important crossroads, it’s thought that they encountered and had sexual rendezvous with a different hominid species: the Neanderthals. Genomic evidence shows that this ancient interbreeding occurred, and Western Asia is the most likely…

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Restless Development: Bad Sleep May Be Evolutionary Survival Tool, Study Finds

Poor sleep is often regarded as a modern affliction linked to our sedentary lifestyles, electric lighting and smartphones on the bedside table. However, new research suggests that fitful sleep could be an ancient survival mechanism designed to guard against nocturnal threats. The study, which tracked the sleep patterns of a modern-day hunter-gatherer tribe in northern Tanzania, found that frequent night-time…

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Humans Evolved by Sharing Technology and Culture

New findings from Blombos Cave show that Stone Age man in Africa exchanged technology to a large extent. The more contact between groups, the stronger technology developed. The exchange of tools can explain humans journey from Africa to Europe. “The pattern we are seeing is that when demographics change, people interact more. For example, we have found similar patterns engraved on…

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Scientists Sequence First Ancient Irish Human Genomes

A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen’s University Belfast has sequenced the first genomes from ancient Irish humans, and the information buried within is already answering pivotal questions about the origins of Ireland’s people and their culture. The team sequenced the genome of an early farmer woman, who lived near Belfast some 5,200 years ago,…

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First DNA Extracted From an Ancient African Skeleton Shows Widespread Mixing with Eurasians

Africa is the birthplace of our species and the source of ancient migrations that spanned the globe. But it has missed out on a revolution in understanding human origins: the study of ancient DNA. Although researchers have managed to sequence the genomes of Neandertals from Europe, prehistoric herders from Asia, and Paleoindians from the Americas, Africa’s hot and humid climate…

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