Human Ancestor

“Hobbits” Had Million-Year History on Island?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 17, 2010   View Article

Newfound stone tools suggest the evolutionary history of the “hobbits” on the Indonesian island of Flores stretches back a million years, a new study says—200,000 years longer than previously thought.

The hobbit mystery was sparked by the 2004 discovery of bones on Flores that belonged to a three-foot-tall (one-meter-tall), 55-pound (25-kilogram) female with a grapefruit-size brain.

The tiny, hobbit-like creature—controversially dubbed a new human species, Homo floresiensis—persisted on the remote island until about 18,000 years ago, even as “modern” humans spread around the world, experts say.

Oldest Human Footprints With Modern Anatomy Found

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 26, 2009   View Article

About 1.5 million years ago, human ancestors walked upright with a spring in their steps just as modern humans do today, suggests an analysis of ancient footprints found in northern Kenya.

The prints are the oldest known to show modern foot anatomy.

The discovery also helps round out the picture of a cooling and drying episode in Africa that compelled tree-dwelling human ancestors to venture into the open landscape for food, said John Harris, a paleoanthropologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

“Hobbits” Were Separate Species, Skull Suggests

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 23, 2009   View Article

The skull of the so-called hobbit discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 suggests its owner was an archaic human ancestor, not a diminutive or diseased modern human, according to a new study.

The conclusion stems from a comparison of the skull to the noggins of modern humans and apes, as well as the fossil brain cases of early human ancestors.

Ten fossils that evolved the tale of our origins

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 16, 2008   View Article

Where did we come from? Many truth seekers turn to faith and religion and therein find their answers. Others approach the question through a scientific lens and the theory of evolution. They have pieced together a tale of human origins from the fossils of our ancestors. The tale is incomplete and its telling reshaped with fresh interpretation of the growing fossil record.

Neanderthals Ate Dolphins, Seals, Cave Remains Suggest

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 22, 2008   View Article

Neanderthals living in a pair of caves on the Mediterranean Sea regularly feasted on mussels, fish, and other types of marine life, according to a new study.

The finding suggests that Neanderthals actively foraged for seafood just like early modern humans, according to Clive Finlayson, an anthropologist at the Gibraltar Museum.

Big Brains Arose Separately in Multiple Primate Groups

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 18, 2008   View Article

The ancestors of modern-day primates in the Americas had tiny brains just like their counterparts in Africa and Eurasia, according to a new study.

Because modern anthropoid, or humanlike, primates in both regions have large brains relative to their body sizes, the finding suggests that one of the hallmarks of primate biology—increasing brain size—happened independently in isolated groups.

Ancient Bones of Small Humans Discovered in Palau

Publication: National Geographic Magazine   Date: March 10, 2008   View Article

Thousands of human bones belonging to numerous individuals have been discovered in the Pacific island nation of Palau.

Some of the bones are ancient and indicate inhabitants of particularly small size, scientists announced today.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach