How much evidence is enough to declare a new species of human from a Philippines cave site?

The announcement of a new species of ancient human (more correctly hominin) from the Philippines, reported today in Nature, will cause a lot of head-shaking among anthropologists and archaeologists. Some will greet the publication with wild enthusiasm, believing it confirms their own views about our evolutionary past. Others will howl angrily, believing the declaration goes […]

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The Hobbit Took Our Breath Away: Now it’s the New Normal

It’s been a big year for the early human species Homo floresiensis – aka ‘the Hobbit’ – and the scientists who found it. Way back in 2004 this was the discovery that threatened to rewrite the textbooks and the one that took every anthropologist’s breath away. It was the first early human from the island […]

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The Hobbit Gets a Little Older, and Science a Little Wiser

When a skeleton of the so-called ‘Hobbit’ – scientific name Homo floresiensis – was unearthed in Indonesia in 2003 it would go on to cause a major furor in anthropological circles like few others before it. More than a decade on, the dust has largely settled on the debate about its status as a legitimate […]

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Bone Suggests ‘Red Deer Cave People’ a Mysterious Species of Human

It’s been an exciting year for human evolution with several discoveries dramatically rewriting major episodes of our ancient past. Some of this progress stems from major advances in fields like ancient genomics, while much has resulted from new fossil and archaeological discoveries made in Africa and China. What’s interested me the most has been the […]

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Saga of the Hobbit: A Decade in the Making

It’s 10 years since the discovery of Homo floresiensis (aka the “Hobbit”) was announced. The bones – and debate they’ve generated – can tell us a lot about our evolution and the scientists who reconstruct it. I remember the day well: the 28th of October 2004 is firmly embedded in my memory, when the discovery of Homo […]

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Why Are We So Fascinated by the Neanderthals?

The Neanderthals (scientific name: Homo neanderthalensis) are a species of extinct human relative (technically ‘hominin’) that occupied Europe, West and Central Asia from around 400,000 to a little less than 40,000 years ago. Science has known about them for more than 180 years now and they were the first extinct hominin to be discovered. sapiensH. […]

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