Oldest human skull outside Africa identified as 210,000 years old

A 210,000-year-old human skull could provide new evidence that our species left Africa much earlier than previously thought. A new study published in Nature of two fossils found in Greece in the 1970s shows that one of them ...

Imitation breeds war in new evolutionary theory

When anthropologists consider the origins of warfare, their evolutionary theories tend to boil it down to the resource-scarcity trifecta of food, territory and mates—three resources that would justify the loss of life and ...

Dark centers of chromosomes reveal ancient DNA

Geneticists exploring the dark heart of the human genome have discovered big chunks of Neanderthal and other ancient DNA. The results open new ways to study both how chromosomes behave during cell division and how they have ...

Oldest axial fossils discovered for the genus Australopithecus

Scientists have published an article describing the oldest axial fossils yet discovered for the genus Australopithecus. Dated 4.2 million years ago, these and other fossils recovered from the Assa Issie site in the Middle ...

Mapping our global human footprint

The number of people flocking to cities in search of employment and better prospects is growing at an unprecedented rate. By 2050, the global population is estimated to reach nine billion, 70% of which will be living in urban ...

3-D technology looks into the distant past

Researchers from the University of Tübingen and their colleagues from Switzerland have studied hundreds of fossil carp teeth for the first time using 3-D technologies. In 4 million-year old lake sediments from what is now ...

Cannibalism was profitable for Homo antecessor

Jesús Rodríguez, Ana Mateos and Guillermo Zorrilla, scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), have just published a study in the Journal of Human Evolution in which they analyze ...

It's time we stopped human evolution, geneticist claims

Measles cases in the US have hit a 25-year high, with 78 new infections in the past week alone. In a sign of the times, a cruise ship with hundreds of Scientologists on board was quarantined in St Lucia after one passenger ...

Brain, shape and fossils

Emiliano Bruner, a paleoneurologist at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has just published an overview article in the Journal of Comparative Neurology on studies of changes in brain ...

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Human evolution

Human evolution, or anthropogenesis, is the part of biological evolution concerning the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species from other hominins, great apes and placental mammals. It is the subject of a broad scientific inquiry that seeks to understand and describe how this change occurred. The study of human evolution encompasses many scientific disciplines, most notably physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, linguistics and genetics.

The term "human", in the context of human evolution, refers to the genus Homo, but studies of human evolution usually include other hominins, such as the Australopithecines. The Homo genus diverged from the Australopithecines about 2 million years ago in Africa. Scientists have estimated that humans branched off from their common ancestor with chimpanzees—the only other living homininis—about 5–7 million years ago. Several species of Homo evolved that are now extinct. These include Homo erectus, which inhabited Asia, and Homo neanderthalensis, which inhabited Europe.

Archaic Homo sapiens evolved between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. The dominant view among scientists is the recent African origin of modern humans (RAO) that H. sapiens evolved in Africa and spread across the globe, replacing populations of H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis. Scientists supporting the alternative hypothesis on the multiregional evolution (ME) view modern humans as having evolved as a single, widespread population from existing Homo species, particularly H. erectus. The fossil evidence is insufficient to resolve this vigorous debate,. Studies of haplogroups in Y-chromosomal DNA and mitochondrial DNA have largely supported a recent African origin, while some researchers argue that evidence from nuclear genes supports a multiregional origin.

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