Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago

The Toba super-eruption was one of the largest volcanic events over the last two million years, about 5,000 times larger than Mount St. Helen’s eruption in the 1980s. The eruption occurred 74,000 years ago on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was argued to have ushered in a “volcanic winter” lasting six to ten years, … Read more Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago

Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

A natural experiment created by an active volcano gives new insight into the long-term negative impacts of human colonisation of tropical forest islands. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal, Journal of Ecology. Researchers from the University of Réunion island surveyed vegetation on more than 600 years of lava flows on the slopes … Read more Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

Australia’s first plant foods – eaten by early populations 65,000 years ago – have been discovered in Arnhem Land. Preserved as pieces of charcoal, the morsels were recovered from the debris of ancient cooking hearths at the Madjedbebe archaeological site, on Mirarr country in northern Australia. University of Queensland archaeobotanist Anna Florin said a team … Read more Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Catfish and tilapia make up many of the animal remains uncovered in the Saharan environment of the Takarkori rock shelter in southwestern Libya, according to a study published February 19, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wim Van Neer from the the Natural History Museum in Belgium, Belgium and Savino di Lernia, Sapienza University of … Read more Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Ancient gut microbiomes shed light on human evolution

The microbiome of our ancestors might have been more important for human evolution than previously thought, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. An adaptive gut microbiome could have been critical for human dispersal, allowing our ancestors to survive in new geographic areas. “In this paper, we begin to consider what … Read more Ancient gut microbiomes shed light on human evolution

Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

The first articulated Neanderthal skeleton to come out of the ground for over 20 years has been unearthed at one of the most important sites of mid-20th century archaeology: Shanidar Cave, in the foothills of Iraqi Kurdistan. Researchers say the new find offers an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the “mortuary practices” of this lost species … Read more Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

Researchers were not right about left brains

The left and right side of our brain are specialized for some cognitive abilities. For example, in humans, language is processed predominantly in the left hemisphere, and the right hand is controlled by the motor cortex in the left hemisphere. The functional lateralization is reflected by morphological asymmetry of the brain. Left and right hemisphere … Read more Researchers were not right about left brains

‘Ghost’ of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes

Ancestors of modern West Africans interbred with a yet-undiscovered species of archaic human, similar to how ancient Europeans mated with Neanderthals, researchers report. Their work helps inform how archaic hominins added to the genetic variation of present-day Africans, which has been poorly understood, in part because of the sparse fossil record in Africa and the … Read more ‘Ghost’ of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes

Himalayan glacier shows evidence of start of Industrial Revolution

Human beings altered one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas hundreds of years before a person ever set foot there, new research has found. The study, publishing today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that the byproducts of burning coal in Europe in the late 18th century made their way to … Read more Himalayan glacier shows evidence of start of Industrial Revolution

What puts women off bearded men?

Women who find bearded men less attractive may be deterred due to their potential risk for carrying ticks, bugs and lice, according to a University of Queensland study published today. Senior author Dr Barnaby Dixson from UQ’s School of Psychology said the findings suggested that when women judged men for their eligibility as a partner … Read more What puts women off bearded men?