In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a genetic variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment. However, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today's northern populations.
A research team has sequenced the genome of a 45,000-year-old modern human male from western...
By analyzing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists...
Life in the universe could be much older than previously thought, forming as early as 15 million years after the Big Bang, according to a provocative new idea proposed by an astrophysicist. In this scenario for the early universe, rocky planets born from the dregs of massive, primordial stars would have been warmed by the heat of a radiation that permeated all of space, which was much hotter back then than it is now.
Ryan McKellar’s research sounds like it was plucked from Jurassic Park: he studies pieces of amber found buried with dinosaur skeletons. But rather than re-creating dinosaurs, McKellar uses the tiny pieces of fossilized tree resin to study the world in which the now-extinct behemoths lived.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families. Now, a new study refutes that claim, finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.
Scientists have found evidence for a huge mountain range that sustained an explosion of life on Earth 600 million years ago. The mountain range was similar in scale to the Himalayas and spanned at least 2,500 kilometers of modern west Africa and northeast Brazil, which at that time were part of the supercontinent Gondwana.
An international team of advisors is dedicated to creating a museum complex in Tanzania showcasing perhaps the most important collection of hominin footprints in the world today.
More than 100 years since they were first discovered, some of the world's most bizarre fossils have been identified as distant relatives of humans. The fossils belong to 500-million-year-old blind water creatures. Alien-like in appearance, they were filter-feeders shaped like a figure eight. Their strange anatomy has meant that no one has been able to place them accurately on the tree of life, until now.
A new paper posits that the Pleistocene members of the now-extinct family of sthenurine kangaroos were likely bipedal walkers. The scientists make their case based on a rigorous statistical and biomechanical analysis of the bones of sthenurines and other kangaroos past and present.
For millennia, malaria has been a major killer of children in Africa and other parts of the world. In doing so, it has been a major force of evolutionary selection on the human genome.
Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Now, zoologists have discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites.
The spider's iconic leggy shape can abruptly yank our attention, even when we’re focused on something else, according to a new study. Other shapes such as houseflies and hypodermic needles don’t draw our attention in the same way. This suggests that spiders may be hardwired into our visual systems, helping us avoid a threat that our ancestors faced for millions of years.
Archaeologists have unearthed a hoard of rare bronze fittings from a 2nd or 3rd century BC chariot that appears to have been buried as a religious offering. The pieces appear to have been gathered in a box, before being planted in the ground upon a layer of cereal chaff and burnt as part of a religious ritual.
Using a first-of-its-kind, high-resolution numerical model to describe ocean circulation during the last ice age about 21,000 year ago, an oceanographer has shown that icebergs and melt water from the North American ice sheet would have regularly reached South Carolina and even southern Florida.
Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analysis. While historical chronologies traditionally place the end of the Greek Bronze Age at around 1025 BCE, this latest research suggests a date 70 to 100 years earlier.
Ancient cave drawings in Indonesia are as old as famous prehistoric art in Europe, according to a new study that shows our ancestors were drawing all over the world 40,000 years ago. And it hints at an even earlier dawn of creativity in modern humans— going back to Africa— than scientists had thought.
A new study could rewrite the story of ape and human brain evolution. While the neocortex of the brain has been called "the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess," newly reported evolutionary rate comparisons show that the cerebellum expanded up to six times faster than anticipated throughout the evolution of apes, including humans.
The Turkana Basin, which stretches from northern Kenya to southern Ethiopia, is one of the most continuous fossil records of the Plio-Pleistocene, with some fossils as old as the Cretaceous period. This August and September, the treasure trove of prehistoric records was studied by paleontologist Louise Leakey, the granddaughter of the famous Louis and Mary Leakey.
What can DNA from the skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tell us about ourselves as humans? A great deal when his DNA profile is one of the earliest diverged– oldest in genetic terms– found to date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.
About 210 million years ago, entirely different kinds of reptiles called phytosaurs and rauisuchids were at the top of the food chain. It was widely believed the two top predators didn’t interact much as the former was king of the water, and the latter ruled the land. But those ideas are changing, thanks largely to the contents of a single bone.
New findings suggest that an evolutionary arms race between rival elements within the genomes of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of genes in every cell of our bodies.
A new discovery of thousands of Stone Age tools has provided a major insight into human innovation 325,000 years ago and how early technological developments spread across the world. Researchers have found evidence that challenges the belief that a type of technology known as Levallois was invented in Africa and then spread to other continents as the human population expanded.
Land ice decay at the end of the last five ice ages caused global sea levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 meters per century, according to a new study. Researchers have developed a 500,000 year record of sea level variability to provide the first account of how quickly sea level changed during the last five ice age cycles.
Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work has found that much of our Solar System’s water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space.
Scientists have found evidence in the fossil record that complex multicellularity appeared in living things about 600 million years ago– nearly 60 million years before skeletal animals appeared during a huge growth spurt of new life on Earth known as the Cambrian Explosion.
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.
The mystery of what kick-started the motion of our earth's massive tectonic plates across its surface has been explained by researchers. Their new model also makes a number of predictions explaining features that have long puzzled the geoscience community.
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