3.3 million-year-old fossil reveals origins of the human spine

Analysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of [...]

Near to the common ancestor

A recent article published in the scientific journal PLOS One, “Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe”, presents the provocative hypothesis that the earliest human ancestor evolved not in Africa, as all previous evidence indicates, but rather in southeastern Europe. The article describes two fossil specimens, a mandible from Greece, originally [...]

Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks

Fossils discovered by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known existence of microbial life on land. Previously, the world’s oldest evidence for microbial life on land came from 2.7- 2.9 billion-year-old deposits in South Africa [...]

400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal

A large international research team, directed by the Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão and including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam, has found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neandertals. The cranium represents the westernmost [...]