Ancient cave dwellers some 800,000 years ago were trailblazers. They lit small, controlled fires in what is now southeastern Spain, a new study finds.
This discovery provides the oldest evidence of fire-making in Europe. It also supports the idea that members of Homo (the same genus as modern people) regularly lit fires at least 1 million years ago.
Michael Walker is a...Readability Score: 7.4
In at least one part of Stone Age Europe, Neandertals were lords of the rings. Neandertals are close evolutionary cousins of modern humans. Some 176,500 years ago, these ancient folk built large, circular structures, researchers now report. Found on the floor of a cave in southern France, the circles had been built from broken-off mounds of minerals. These natural stone mounds are known as...Readability Score: 8.1
A group of Stone Age people butchered a mastodon — or at least scavenged its carcass — some 14,550 years ago. These were hunter-gatherers that lived on what is now Florida’s Gulf Coast. Researchers discovered their stone tools in an underwater sinkhole. The finds may help scientists resolve when humans first came to the Americas.
For much of the 20th century, scientists thought that the...Readability Score: 8.4
ATLANTA, Ga. — Midnight Terror Cave has a name that really fits. Grim discoveries there are shedding light on a long tradition of child sacrifices. They happened long, long ago.
Researchers have often emphasized that human sacrifices in ancient Central American and Mexican civilizations targeted adults. Clearly, however, not all were adults. In fact, these rituals occurred so long ago...Readability Score: 7.3
Unlike people in the rest of world, some modern-day Pacific Islanders have inherited genes from two different groups of Stone Age relatives. That’s the conclusion of new research. And the ancient DNA they carry still affects their health and well-being — in a good way.
Melanesians live in a group of islands northeast of Papua New Guinea. Their ancestors mated with Neandertals, the new...Readability Score: 8.5
Early members of Homo — the human genus — had a flair for preparing raw sliced meat, a new study suggests. That meaty diet may have literally changed the face of Homo evolution. It also may have enabled advances in talking and walking.
The early human ancestor that used stone tools to slice up raw meat before eating it is known as Homo erectus. These early hominids lived some 1.8 million...Readability Score: 6.9
Humans and Neandertals may have hooked up much earlier than previously thought.
Neandertals — Homo neanderthalensis — are ancient members of the human family tree. New evidence has just turned up early ancestors of humans in Africa mated with Neandertals about 110,000 years ago. The clue to that mixing is in the DNA of a Neandertal woman in Siberia, Russia.
Many humans today carry...Readability Score: 7.6
Modern humans — our species — go back roughly 200,000 years. But over much of their early history they weren’t the only hominids walking the Earth. Among well-known fellow travelers were Neandertals (which died out around 30,000 years ago). A line of hominids closely related to them is known as the Denisovans (Deh-NEE-so-vins). Over time, Neandertals and Denisovans interbred with humans. But...Readability Score: 8.3
Starting around 1,500 years ago, bouts of plague swept through Europe and Asia, killing millions of people. But previously unknown variants of the plague germ had begun infecting people in both places much, much earlier. That’s the conclusion of a new study.
Eske Willerslev works at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. As an evolutionary geneticist, he studies how the genes in DNA...Readability Score: 8.2
Signs that ancient Britons mummified their dead were kept under wraps — until now.
The Bronze Age corpses had been buried at sites throughout Great Britain. Close inspection of their bones indicate the bodies had been intentionally mummified, a new study finds. The remains date to between about 4,200 and 2,750 years ago.
Thomas Booth of the Natural History Museum in London and his...Readability Score: 8.2