All posts tagged with Late Pleistocene

Link: Expedition journal from Niah Caves

less than 1 minute read

I was really pleased to see a post by Darren Curnoe recounting his team’s recent field season in Niah Caves in Borneo: “We Found Evidence of Early Humans in ...

Notable: The cranial injury of Qafzeh 11

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Notable paper: Coqueugniot H, Dutour O, Arensburg B, Duday H, Vandermeersch B, Tillier, A-M. (2014) Earliest Cranio-Encephalic Trauma from the Levantine Midd...

La Cotte de St. Brelade profiled

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The BBC is running a nice article about the ongoing excavations on the island of Jersey at La Cotte de St. Brelade. “Neanderthal survival story revealed in J...

Older and younger Acheulean in India

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Shanti Pappu and colleagues Pappu:2011 report on date estimates resulting from new excavations at the old site of Attarampakkam, India. The news element is t...

Orangutan dynamics of Borneo

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Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are the most highly divergent subspecies within any of the living species of great apes. The two farther apart even than chim...

Zhirendong puts the chin in China

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A 100,000-year-old modern human from China? That’s the claim made by Liu and colleagues Liu:Zhirendong:2010, who report on a mandible and isolated teeth from...

The Neandertals of Mount Doom

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Well, I already snarked on the science headlines that have been claiming volcanoes “wiped out” the Neandertals. Some variation of this story, swapping in a d...

Lost in Arabia

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The BBC is reporting on a talk by archaeologist Michael Petraglia, at the British Science Festival:


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Today’s sketchbook:

The Darra-i-Kur temporal bone

4 minute read

Wouldn’t it be fun to compile a list of skeletal specimens that might prove interesting for DNA analysis? Near the top of my list is the only Middle Paleolit...

Return of the Neanderchimps

7 minute read

Back in 2005, I reviewed the first description of fossil chimpanzee teeth, from the Middle Pleistocene of the Kapthurin Formation, Kenya, dating to around 50...

Crete: Pleistocene port of call?

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Bruce Bower reports on excavations by Thomas Strasser on the Mediterranean island of Crete: “Ancient hominids may have been seafarers”.

Seeds of MSA diet breadth

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Julio Mercader reports in a short Science paper that the MSA stone artifacts from Ngalue cave, Mozambique, preserve thousands of grains of sorghum starch, al...

Qafzeh teeth like Neandertals

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Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg and Donald Reid report on the perikymata spacing of a sample of fourteen anterior teeth from Qafzeh. These are “early modern humans...

It came from Guangxi

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Science journalist Richard Stone writes in the current Science about new Late Pleistocene skeletal remains from Guangxi: “Signs of Early Homo sapiens in Chin...

Shell instead of stone

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Discovery News has a short article about Australian archaeologist Katherine Szabo’s analyses of tools made of shell instead of stone in Late Pleistocene cont...

D'Errico on Neandertal language

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Edmund Blair Bolles is reporting from the Evolang conference in Barcelona. Unfortunately I had to cancel my presentation there, but it has been great to rea...

A Mongolian hominid

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Yves Coppens and colleagues have found a frontal bone, and a bit more, in Mongolia. They do not report a date for the specimen beyond Late Pleistocene; it c...

The "dark matter" of modern human origins

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I'm just looking through the January/February 2008 Evolutionary Anthropology, which is all about modern human origins in Africa. The special issue resulted ...

The hygienic dater

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I've just been reading a useful paper by Andrew Millard, which reviews the chronometric dates of African and Near Eastern fossil hominids from the Middle an...

Serial founder effects, again

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A flush of papers this week (two today in Nature, one tomorrow in Science) describe new analyses of SNPs across the genome. Two of the papers sample SNPs in...

Tracking back to acceleranistas

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I've had a very busy couple of days, and haven't been maintaining my reading-and-linking as much as I had hoped. So I wanted to take a few minutes to do a q...

Why human evolution accelerated

17 minute read

n. b. This is a story about my work on recent human evolution, describing some of the main results and how the work came about. The story refers to my paper ...

Human evolution has accelerated

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The embargo has now ended on the second, and far more important paper that I mentioned the other day. It is a product of work I've been doing with Bob Moyzi...

Introgression encore

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Although I've had a number of papers come out this year, there are two in particular that I've been working on for quite a long time. Both papers began thei...

The amazing talking Neandertals

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This week, Johannes Krause and colleagues from the Max Planck Evolutionary Anthropology institute announced that they had tickled FoxP2 out of two Neanderta...

The genetics of refugia

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The NY Times gave a short writeup earlier this week to a paper about ancient DNA from arctic foxes:

The island rule

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Mark Lomolino has been one of the central figures in recent work on body size, energetics, and evolution -- especially with respect to the evolution of body...


6 minute read

OK, NEWS FLASH: "Out of Africa dispersal was not as simple as once thought."

The initial Upper Paleolithic at Kostenki

11 minute read

In one of those interesting twists of bibliographic fate, before today's announcement about the new dates for the initial Upper Paleolithic at Kostenki, I h...

Microbiomic metagenomics

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At the movies last night I saw a preview for Superman, and now Science tells me that humans are superorganisms!

Sangoan pigment grinding

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I was reading this 2003 paper by Philip Van Peer and colleagues, which is a quick introduction to the site 8-B-11, Sai Island, Sudan. I wanted to make a not...

How monolithic was the Acheulean?

9 minute read

I'm taking some notes on change and stasis during the Acheulean, and they're not entirely complete, but in the interest of clearing my desktop I'm going to ...

Sahara at least 7 million years old

4 minute read

A concise 4-paragraph article by Mathieu Schuster and colleagues reports on dune deposits that show the Sahara formed during the Late Miocene.

Tilting at absent Asian australopithecines

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In Nature a couple of weeks ago, Robin Dennell and Wil Roebroeks had a provocative paper exploring the possibility that early humans (i.e. Homo erectus) ori...

Vindija G1 now 32,000 BP

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A paper (PDF) by Tom Higham and colleagues presents a redated chronology for the late Neandertals from Vindija, Croatia. There are two directly dated homini...

One model, hold the extra parameters

9 minute read

Ray et al. (2005) (full text from Genome Research) compare two classes of models of modern human origins to observed data from human microsatellites. They f...

Serial founder effects

13 minute read

This post is from 2005, and reflects my analysis at the time. The concepts here remain correct but the current state of evidence about human genetic variatio...

From one microcephalic to twenty

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Falk et al. (2005a) compared the LB1 endocast to one microcephalic skull and concluded it didn't match. Now Jochim Weber and colleagues (2005) have compared...

Flores update, October 2005

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This week's Nature is carrying a paper by Morwood, Brown, and colleagues (2005) presenting additional skeletal material from Liang Bua as well as a commenta...


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I'm starting a new tradition here, the "Broadly Consistent Watch." If you see that headline, you can be sure I'll be noting an abuse of the term "broadly co...

What happened to the Australian megafauna?

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Australia is well known for its unique animals. It has the most extensive diversity of marsupial mammals found anywhere in the world. Together with nearby N...

Allostasis in human evolution

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McEwen and Wingfield (2003) discuss the concept of allostasis. I was unfamiliar with this concept myself until an interesting presentation by one of our gr...

Bringing down "Goliath"

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This post is from 2005. More recent research has shifted much of what scientists used to think about Middle Pleistocene hominins in Africa. This research is ...

Dental growth in early Homo

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Dean and colleagues (2001) present a study of perikymata counts of anterior teeth (incisors and canines) in early humans and australopithecines, compared to...

Continents of continuity

7 minute read

Harding and McVean (2005) present a review of current genetic evidence addressing the origin of modern humans. Unlike other recent reviews, they do not pres...

Can somebody find these hobbits a mommy?

4 minute read

More on the evolving story of the hobbit remains in this story ( Like most custody battles, the fight over these little guys is burning a lot o...

Brain expansion in A. boisei

12 minute read

Elton and colleagues (2001) examined the record of brain size in early Homo with the following question in mind: we know that brain size increased in this l...

Neandertals in NYC

20 minute read

I'm sitting at my gate at LaGuardia, returning from a conference at NYU, titled "Neanderthals revisited: New approaches and perspectives," cosponsored by th...

What restrained the chimpanzees?

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Working on a paper about early hominid lineage diversity, Milford [Wolpoff] has pointed out a sticking point in consideration of niche breadth in early homin...