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The top 10 discoveries about ancient people from DNA in 2022

Research on ancient genomes has moved way beyond population mixture into broader questions about how ancient people lived and interacted with their environments.

A researcher wearing protective mask, hair net, and gloves is reaching toward an archaeological profile with a test tube.
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A Neandertal recipe that tasted like the foods of later people

Looking at a fascinating new study that finds mixtures of different plants within ancient morsels of charred foods.

A micrograph with a grass leaf cell structure visible surrounded by chunky blobs of stuff
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Bison bones from Gran Dolina show butchery practices 400,000 years ago

Ancient people left a bone bed of bison killed in two seasons and butchered at the site with expedient tools.

Panoramic image of excavation at Gran Dolina with archaeologists at work.
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Research highlight: Sexual dimorphism in the relationship between the gut and pelvis

We test the notion that pelvis dimensions can yield accurate estimates of gut size in fossil hominins by looking at today's people.

A plot showing the inferior transverse outlet versus gut volume in men and women.
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Evidence of cooking rhizomes from an early Middle Stone Age context in Border Cave, South Africa

Border Cave has exceptional preservation of plant remains, giving a window into the diets of hominins.

View from inside a cave looking at railing and sandbags
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An unusual rate of dental chipping may give clues about Homo naledi's diet

Research by Ian Towle and coworkers finds that Homo naledi may have been eating foods with lots of grit.

A close-up photo of a Homo naledi tooth with a large chip on the edge
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Why are humans evolving to lack their wisdom teeth?

The frequency of M3 agenesis varies greatly among human populations. It may have to do with agricultural diets, but anthropologists aren't sure.

Panoramic X-ray image of human teeth in the upper and lower jaws
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Why do male bonobos have such low body fat?

Work by Adrienne Zihlman and Debra Bolter looks at the interesting tissue proportions and what they may imply about energy and diet.

Bonobo leaning toward the left into the camera frame, with green vegetation background
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Remarkable preservation of an Acheulean campsite at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov

My notes on a publication describing evidence for cooking and eating fish, crabs, and plants

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A new study of old shells shows shoreline resource use by Homo erectus

Notes on a study by José Joordens and coworkers on the Trinil collection associated with Eugene Dubois' original Pithecanthropus dig

A photo from a distance showing large river terrace excavation and river flowing in front.