Tagged With early humans

Christopher Columbus reached the New World in 1492, but some experts say Polynesian explorers beat him to it. There's little evidence to support this fringe theory, but scientists have pointed to the presence of sweet potatoes, a plant thought to be native to the Americas, in the South Pacific as potential proof. A genetic analysis of the popular tuberous root and its relatives has now effectively quashed this hypothesis.

It's just a lone, bony middle finger, but the scientists who found it say it's the oldest directly dated fossil of our species to ever be found outside of Africa and the Levant, a region that today comprises Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. But the new discovery is not without its critics, who say older evidence of human habitation outside of this region exists elsewhere, and that the finger might not even be human.

Back in 2012, archaeologists concluded that a series of cave paintings in Spain were created by Neanderthals, not early humans as was previously assumed. Critics complained about the dating method used, and more contentiously, claimed that only modern humans had the capacity for symbolic thought. Now, using an updated dating technique, scientists have shown yet again that Neanderthals are the most likely source of the paintings -- but will it be enough to finally dispel outdated notions of Neanderthal intelligence?

A DNA sample from a 10,000-year-old skeleton discovered in Gough Cave near Cheddar Gorge, England, offers a remarkable revelation: The first modern British people had "dark brown to black skin". According to recent analysis, they also had dark curly hair and blue eyes. In other words, whiteness in Europe is a much newer thing than we thought.

A re-analysis of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal skull shows that, in addition to enduring multiple injuries and debilitations, this male individual was also profoundly deaf. Yet he lived well into his 40s, which is quite old by Paleolithic standards. It's an achievement that could have only been possible with the help of others, according to new research.

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of ancient stone tools at a dig near Azraq, Jordan, some of which still contain traces of animal residue. A number of food items on this bona fide paleolithic menu will be familiar to the modern eater, while others, well, not so much.