recent discoveries in human evolution 2020

Save my name and email for the next time I comment. This year was one of the strangest in recent history. In the past decade we’ve seen many discoveries that add to our understanding of our origins. While we may not be able to move around much this year, three studies on fossil human footprints published in 2020 revealed a lot more about where ancient humans traveled and how they moved together in groups. Every so often the adult footprints pause and are joined by a child’s footprints. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. This was based on the pioneering work of Allan Wilson of the University of Berkeley, California. In partnership with the Kenya Museums, Potts leads ongoing excavations in southern and western Kenya. This, it was believed, was the cradle of humanity and where we acquired our distinct physical features and cognitive skills. A human jawbone found in Israel measured 177,000 years old pushed the migration theory even further back and confirmed that Homo sapiens left Africa far earlier than 60,000 years ago. Another 2020 announcement, this one in May from Chatham University’s Kevin Hatala and colleagues (including Briana Pobiner), analyzed the largest … Does the Recent Homo Discovery Change Our Understanding of Human Evolution? In the past ten years, we’ve found fossils that widen both the geographic and time range of several early human species. ), analyzed the largest fossil footprint assemblage in Africa. Nuño Domínguez. Denisovan DNA found in cave sediments and modern humans. Fossil discoveries tell more of our story. Fossil footprints tell us where and how modern humans traveled the globe. The jaw ended up being 174,000-185,000 years old. The research team also found charcoal from fires Denisovans built in the cave, as well as stone tools and fossil animal bones. It was once held that H. sapiens first emerged in Eastern Africa and flourished in some Stone Age ‘ Eden’. These late Miocene fossils indicate that this ecologically versatile and adaptable ancient monkey lived in Asia at the same time as apes – and the likely descendants of this species (modern colobines of Asia) have continued this trend by inhabiting some of the most highly seasonal and extreme habitats occupied by nonhuman primates. 2. Fossil primates also undertook major journeys. We long thought our ancestors began making these tools about 2.6 million years ago. And, now, it’s even older than we thought. 10 Popular Scientific Discoveries from 2020 smithsonianmag.com - Erin Malsbury. And no other animal bones were found in the cave except for the bones of a single owl. She has conducted fieldwork in the US, Kenya, and South Africa. DNA tells us a lot about who we are now. Issued on: 29/08/2019 ... 20/07/2020. 4. To their surprise, the remains dated to about 300,000 years ago, which means that our species originated 100,000 years earlier than we thought. First things first: A “human” is anyone who belongs to the genus Homo(Latin for “man”). Featured image by Karen Carr/National Park Service. Another really exciting fossil find from this year was not a … Speaking of extreme – did you know that researchers think monkeys rafted all the way across the Atlantic? Continue Human evolution: 20 years of discoveries Posted by EarthSky Voices in Human World | January 11, 2020 The pace of archaeological discoveries has picked up in recent … In December, the longest trackway of fossil human footprints was announced by Matthew R. Bennett and colleagues. Finally, in September, a team led by Hunter College’s Christopher C. Gilbert announced another new fossil primate: this time a ~13 million year old ape, Kapi ramnagarensis, from a fossil molar found at Ramnagar in northern India. 10/22/2013 10:12 am ET Updated Dec 22, 2013 The recent discovery of a fantastically complete early Homo skull from Dmanisi, Georgia (dated to about 1.8 million years old) has set off a proverbial "bomb" in the paleoanthropological community ( PDF here ). These stones are larger and simpler than those that were previously thought to be the oldest stone tools. And aspiring paleoanthropologists, check this out: Jesse Martin and Angeline Leece, who were both students attending a field school at Drimolen when DNH 143 was found in 2015, got to clean and reconstruct the skull. As anthropologists discovered new fossils and artifacts in 2020, our understanding of human history has changed. The human genome is a wondrous archive of our relationships with ancient species no longer around. Instead, it belonged to a previously undiscovered species of early humans now called Denisovans. But, in 2018, scientists dated new stone tools and fossils from China to about 2.1 million years ago, pushing the Homo erectus migration to Asia back by 400,000 years. Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article titled “These are the Decade’s Biggest Discoveries in Human Evolution.” It opens by saying: Human evolution is one of the most vibrant areas of scientific investigation. via Business Insider, 05 January 2020: A great summary article about recent discoveries in human origins and evolution that changed our conventional understanding of how humans came to populate the world. Researchers in South Africa’s Border Cave, a well-known archaeological site perched on a cliff between eSwatini (Swaziland) and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, have found evidence that people have been using grass bedding to create... Archaeology / Dating / Ecology / Environment / … Because the Denisovan DNA sequences in these fossils around not found in present-day Oceanians (Australian Aboriginals and New Guineans), but they are found in present-day East Asians, modern humans must have met and exchanged genes with two different populations of Denisovans one in Southeast Asia, and one in mainland Asia. In the meantime, museums are continuing to work on digitization programs so that scientists can study and have access to collections regardless of pandemics or long distances: the National Museums of Kenya and our own Smithsonian institution have already been working to make 3D reconstructions of their fossils available to researchers from around the world. No list of important finds in human A Thriller Author Talks about How to Sell Science. The 2010s was a bad decade for the study of human evolution. Human evolution is one of the most vibrant areas of scientific investigation. But it is. It's five years later and we still aren’t sure how they got there. When the decade first started, scientists recovered ancient genetic material from a fossilized finger bone found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia. Fossils older than 3.5 million years are extremely rare. A team led by Dongju Zhang from Lanzhou University wanted to test the hypothesis that a ~160,000 year old partial jawbone found by a Buddhist monk in Baishiya Karst Cave might be the remains of a Denisovan. A ~50-Year-Old Global Warming Forecast That Still Holds Up - Almost 50 years ago the Russian scientist Mikhail Budyko predicted 1°C of warming by 2019 and the disappearance of … They found that both fossils contain DNA from both Neanderthals and Denisovans. ... » Human evolution … See how science is making today’s news. Required fields are marked *, ORCID I’ve always been fascinated by how things work. All modern humans likely have a bit of Neanderthal in their DNA, including Africans who had previously been thought to have no genetic link to humanity's extinct human relative, a new study finds. Another 2020 announcement, this one in May from Chatham University’s Kevin Hatala and colleagues (including Briana Pobiner! Two sharp quartzite stones carved by a hominid … Add your ORCID here. Not all fossil discoveries lead to a new species. Learn about the early human … Using CT scans, the scientists confirmed that the remains belonged to our species. Before this discovery, the earliest evidence of humans moving into the heart of Arabia dated back to ~85,000 years ago. Just three years ago, a team of scientists made a discovery that pushed back the origin of our species, Homo sapiens. I loved the episode showing…, As more learning occurs online and at home with the global pandemic, keeping students engaged in learning about science is a challenge…, By Brad Parks A few years back, while driving to my favorite daily writing haunt, the local radio station spit out one…. Smithsonian Voices National Museum of Natural History. After excavating and analyzing stone tools from southern Kenya, the team found that the stones chemically matched to obsidian sources in multiple directions of up to 55 miles away. But for our ancestors millions of years ago, it would have been stone tools. ... of human evolution. They had to hold the specimen, which consisted of more than 150 pieces of a ~3 year old child, together – without coughing, sneezing, or even talking, and controlling their breathing – for up to 40 minutes at a time! Updated Oct 22, 2020; Posted Oct 22, 2020 . The 408 footprints left behind by 17 individuals help us understand not only the heights and weights of the footprint-makers, but using statistical analysis based on a large data set of modern human feet, the team determined that the walking group probably consisted of 14 female and 2 male individuals. Ancient skull discovery yields new clues on human evolution. They lived in a grassland area where game was plentiful or near an estuary rich in fish. Her research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as human cannibalism and chimpanzee carnivory. The fossil was a male Paranthropus robustus, a species that existed alongside our early human … She joined the Smithsonian in 2017. But did Pleistocene humans always travel solo? It was the first time a new species has been identified using ancient DNA. (e.g. Ella Beaudoin is a Paleolithic archaeologist whose research interests span from cultural adaption and resistance to colonialism, to early hominin cultural evolution and landscape use. Paleoanthropologist Dr. Rick Potts heads the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. ... in March and April 2020. Human evolution is one of the most vibrant areas of scientific investigation. First, in 2019, they used a new method based on protein variations to identify the jaw as Denisovan; but the novel method and unknown exact location of where the jaw was found in the cave led to continued skepticism. There’s no evidence they were dragged there by predators or washed in by water. In the past decade we’ve seen many discoveries that add to our understanding of our origins. Sounds improbable, but monkeys can survive without access to fresh water if they get enough food – like fruit that could have been on a tree on the vegetation raft. Over the past decade, we welcomed four new species to our family tree, including the mysterious Homo naledi. They also used modern dating techniques on the remains. Human evolution: The astounding new story of the origin of our species Forget the simple out-of-Africa idea of how humans evolved. Human Origins 101. Certain Neanderthal genes, researchers found, code for proteins that convey a The discovery of a remarkably well-preserved fossil from the extinct human species Paranthropus robustus suggests rapid evolution during a turbulent period of … While discoveries directly related to humans’ evolutionary journey are... 3. Between 6,000 – 19,000 years ago, a group of modern humans walked through a mudflow in the shadow of the Oldoinyo L’engai volcano in Tanzania. If so, by whom? The situation in Venezuela is dire. Early Man Studies Are a Moving Target: a Perennial Re-writing of Our Alleged History. This ~11,500-13,000 year old, 1.3 km/0.8 mile long trackway, roughly the length of 14 football fields, was made by a woman (or juvenile male) holding a 2-3 year old toddler while on their journey through a rough and dangerous landscape. When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. He is the curator of the Smithsonian’s "Hall of Human Origins" and the traveling exhibit “Exploring Human Origins.” He also authored the exhibit companion book What Does It Mean To Be Human? Our mission is to help scientists accelerate discovery by operating a platform for research communication that encourages and recognises the most responsible behaviours in science. No list of important finds in human evolution would be complete without fossil evidence of hominins themselves, and this year the site of Drimolen in South Africa was the big winner. Well, it was… complicated. Her favorite field moments include falling asleep in a tent in the Serengeti in Tanzania while listening to the distant whoops of hyenas, watching a pride of lions eat a zebra carcass on the Kenyan equator, and discovering fossil bones that were last touched, butchered and eaten by one of her 1.5-million-year-old ancestors. What we do know is that the remains are from 335,000-236,000 years ago and show a unique mix of ancient and human traits, making Homo naledi one of several species that overlapped in time with our own. Human evolution is one of the most vibrant areas of scientific investigation. Did you watch Mr. Roger’s neighborhood while growing up? This suggests that Denisovans once inhabited a pretty large area of Asia. (e.g. The pandemic changed a lot about the world including the ways in which paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, and other fieldwork-based researchers operate. Edited by Jason Organ, PhD, Indiana University School of Medicine. Heck no! But one of the most exciting discoveries is of a nearly complete 3.8-million-year-old cranium of Australopithecus anamensis from Woronso-Mille, Ethiopia. We thought Homo erectus spread beyond Africa as far as eastern Asia by about 1.7 million years ago. 2020 has been… quite the year! Humans are too. The research team found pieces of altered stone in Lomekwi, Kenya, that date to 3.3 million years ago. or First, in April, a team led by Andy I. R. Herries from La Trobe University announced new fossils of both Paranthropus robustus (DNH 152) and Homo erectus (DNH 134) dating to between ~2.04 and 1.95 million years ago, making these the oldest fossils of both of these hominin species. The footprints go in a straight and definite line, and pretty fast, indicating a deliberate end target; they then return in the opposite direction, this time without the child. This year, we want to highlight the different lines of evidence that are used in human origins research – so we’ve organized our nine highlighted discoveries into four broader “lines of evidence” categories. When you think of technology today, you might picture computers, smartphones, and gaming consoles. Human skull model. Scientists still don’t know exactly when or how the first humans evolved, but they’ve identified a few of the oldest ones. These modern humans first conquered the continent and later spread all over the world . Since many scientific articles are years in the making, a lot of exciting discoveries were still revealed in 2020! In 2015, scientists announced the discovery of fossils of at least 15 individuals of this species in a deep, dark chamber of the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa. There is a mention of the Homo Luzonensis find that was first described last year. The story of human evolution began about seven million years ago, when the lineages that lead to Homo sapiens and chimpanzees separated. It’s a mystery still to be solved. The analysis of this specimen led by Jesse M. Martin from La Trobe University was published this year in November, and especially comparisons to other adult male Paranthropus robustus fossils from Drimolen and elsewhere in South Africa, suggests that differences previously ascribed to sexual dimorphism (differences between males and females) are actually examples of microevolution related to ecological change within this early hominin species. by Jerry Bergman, PhD “New fossils, tools and analyses of genomes have thrown everything in disarray,” announced author Graham Lawton in the cover story in the latest issue of the British science magazine New Scientist. 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