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Albatross marriages in hot water Monogamous albatrosses don’t stay together for the kids when things aren’t working, and warming waters could increase pressure to ‘divorce’, according to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. International researchers studied a wild population of albatrosses in the Falkland Islands for 15 years and found that … Continue reading You may have missed…

Neanderthals painted stalagmites red

Deep in Cueva de Ardales (Cave of Ardales) in Spain, stalagmites have been painted red by artistic Neanderthals, according to a study published in PNAS. Stalagmites, or flowstones, are long, hanging spikes made from calcite and other carbonate materials that form where water flows down cave walls and floors. The stalagmites in Cueva de Ardales, … Continue reading Neanderthals painted stalagmites red

How to give a Neanderthal a blood transfusion

It began as a joke. A paleoanthropologist, a geneticist and a blood specialist were hanging around an espresso machine – and one of them wondered: how would you give a Neanderthal a blood transfusion? By the time they’d finished their short blacks and lattes, the researchers from the mixed lab at Aix-Marseille Université in France … Continue reading How to give a Neanderthal a blood transfusion

Meet the new relative: ‘Dragon Man’

Research into an impeccably preserved skull, known as the Harbin cranium, has suggested it might belong to a new human species – Homo longi or ‘Dragon Man’ – that may have been a closer living relative than even the Neanderthal. The largest skull so far discovered from a Homo species contained a brain the size … Continue reading Meet the new relative: ‘Dragon Man’

Zlatý kůň: The oldest human genome

Scientists have identified potentially the oldest human genome from a 45,000-year-old skull. When humans and Neanderthals interbred, they shared DNA. Over time, as this breeding discontinued, the amount of Neanderthal DNA in the human genome dropped to around 2-3% for people outside of Africa. However, this percentage is useful for determining how old the genome … Continue reading Zlatý kůň: The oldest human genome

Neanderthals were capable of human speech

The closest ancestor to modern humans – Neanderthals – were capable of understanding and producing human speech, according to a new study published by an international team in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. “This is one of the most important studies I have been involved in during my career,” says anthropologist Rolf Quam, of … Continue reading Neanderthals were capable of human speech

Neanderthal milk teeth reveal their secrets

Neanderthal children grew and were weaned in much the same way as Homo sapiens, new research suggests. This contradicts a previous hypothesis that Neanderthals weaned their children later than modern humans do, and that such late weaning may have limited population growth and contributed to their decline. An Italian-led team analysed milk teeth from three … Continue reading Neanderthal milk teeth reveal their secrets

More surprises about Palaeolithic humans

New clues continue to unravel the compelling Palaeolithic mystery of modern human movements and the Neanderthal transition, suggesting the two groups overlapped by several thousand years and may have even interacted. Archaeological evidence points to modern human settlement in westernmost Eurasia around 5000 years earlier than previous estimates, toppling suggestions that Neanderthals prevented our ancestors’ … Continue reading More surprises about Palaeolithic humans

Early humans were promiscuous

Turns out that our ancient ancestors weren’t exactly shy when it came to trying new things. A new analysis has revealed that as the ancestors of modern humans (homo sapiens) moved out of Africa and across Eurasia, they would try get it on with just about anyone they came across. In fact, genetic analysis has … Continue reading Early humans were promiscuous