Another Big Month for Paleoanthropology: April Roundup

Last month I rounded up some March’s biggest moments for paleoanthropology, combining huge news of the Ledi-Geraru jaw with other intriguing stories that almost slipped under my radar! I argued then it would be a tough month to beat. Well, April certainly gave March a run for its money! Take a minute to recap all the crazy happenings from April with me, and check out any ones you might have missed. Here’s my April roundup, which include my top 5 favorite stories!

  1. Homo erectus footprints, dating back to 1.5 million years ago, suggest these hominins move in groups. The footprints, which number in the dozens, were found in Kenya. More about them by NatureNews.
  2. 3.3 million year old stone tools found in Kenya move accepted date of stone tool making back 700,000 years, opening up the possibility that Australopithecus was a tool maker. Many more implications, more on it through Scienceand a thoughtful discussion from Nature.

    altamura-man

    Image Credit: Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Superintendent of the Archeology of Puglia. http://www.livescience.com/50458-oldest-neanderthal-dna-found.html

  3. Oldest Neandertal DNA recovered from Altamura man in Italy. The remains date back to 170,000 years ago. More on the find. This also gets the award for best.photo.ever. The paper can be found here.
  4. More butchered bones of Neandertals, raising questions of cannibalism, ritual, or possibly a little of both. The bones were found in France and date back about 57,000 years. Report of the find, and original paper.
  5. Fossils from Laos suggest human diversity around 40,000 years ago. Find reported here, and original paper in PLOSOne.

Bonus stories:

  1. Sophisticated tools may have spelled doom for Neandertals.
  2. But WAIT! Human hunting weapons may not have caused the demise of the Neanderthals.
  3. Scientists argue that one of Lucy’s vertebrae was a mix up, and actually that of a baboon. Though this has not been confirmed, I wrote a little about it here.

    Image Credit: Fabrice Demeter

    Image Credit: Fabrice Demeter

These are only a few of the interesting things that happened this month. I wish I had more time to include more, but it’s just that time in the semester! Thanks for reading and cheers to another exciting month in paleoanthropology!

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