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John Hawks

I'm a paleoanthropologist exploring the world of ancient humans and our fossil relatives.

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New insights into the biology of Homo luzonensis

Studies of teeth from Callao Cave yield information about the pace of development in this species and its possible connections with Homo erectus.

image of two people within a very large cave with green color on stalactites in the background
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Why did the ancients make gigantic handaxes?

Looking at new research on the distribution and function of curiously large bifacial tools

Two very large handaxes
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Four amazing Stone Age sites with wooden artifacts

From Africa, Asia, and Europe, these sites give us a rare window into the ways that organic technology shaped ancestral lives.

Four views of a double-pointed throwing stick in center, with detail of sharpened points at top left and bottom right.
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How many bathrooms have Neanderthals in the tile?

A Reddit poster finds an ancient jaw in his parents' new travertine. It may be more common than most people imagine.

Two fragments of a skull, bearing a browridge and truncated by slice marks
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Eclipses for the ancestors

Culture shapes our experience of these astronomical events, and would have done so for Neanderthals and other ancestral hominins.

Solar eclipse with bright point of sunlight just emerging from the moon's edge at right of image
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A remembrance of Frans de Waal

Among many highlights of this primatologist's work, he maintained that humans are not unique or separated from other primates.

Frans de Waal giving a lecture
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Vagrant birds and ancient human habitats

People killed the Carolina parakeet. An inquiry into their historic population range helps illustrate the challenges of understanding ancient human populations.

A painting showing several green parakeets in varied poses
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Guide to Paranthropus species

Long known as a group of human relatives with big teeth and jaws, these ancient species lived for at least two million years alongside our ancestors.

A closeup of the front of the SK 48 fossil skull showing the eye orbits
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Secrets within the teeth of the first Homo fossils

New studies of the enamel-dentin junction show that early members of our genus may have been less distinctive than we think

Closeup of three left mandibular molars with cracks and wear
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Top 10 discoveries about ancient people from DNA in 2023

This year's highlights include ways of finding ancient relatives, how some phenotypes evolved in ancient people, and trace evidence from artifacts.

DNA molecular models on a cloudy background