Nightfall in the Hobbit Cave

“This is what Homo floresiensis must have felt like,” a paleoanthropologist mused through the darkness. It is almost 8pm on a Thursday and I am sitting on the floor of the cave known as Liang Bua. Other researchers stand only a meter from me, but I cannot see them, my eyes have yet to adjust…

The Hobbit is Real: 4 Reasons Why the Mata Menge Fossils Matter

  New fossils have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores. The bones appear to be an ancestor of the hominin species named Homo floresiensis (known as the hobbits)! The bones–some teeth and part of a jaw–were uncovered in an area called Mata Menge, only 74 kilometers from the cave in which the hobbits themselves had been found back…

New Fossils, Sima DNA, & more: 2016 so far!

It’s only March (on a related note–how is it already March?!), and already a TON has happened in paleoanthropology this year. So far in 2016, we’ve seen announcements on everything from teeth to DNA. I thought I’d recap some of the big finds, but as always, I have to include the disclaimer that these announcements are…

Jaws, DNA, & Diversity: Best Paleoanthropology Discoveries of 2015!

  In the study of human evolution, 2015 was an insane year. Paleoanthropologists made discoveries that increased our knowledge about everything from stone tools to Neandertal ancestry. The announcements were surprising, enlightening, and drawn from all corners of the scientific discipline. Some discoveries were those of new fossils, while others drew from ancient DNA, and others still reconstructed…

Homo naledi: Why These Fossils are SO Friggen Cool!

It seems as though every time a hominin fossil is discovered, sensational headlines follow. Major news sources claim that a discovery is unprecedented, or that some new fossil rewrites everything we know about human origins. So is this excitement warranted? Should we be making such a big deal over the fossils? In the case of the Homo…

The Ledi Jaw: 3 things we know so far (& 2 things we don’t)

An exciting fossil discovery of a possible early member of the Homo genus was announced this week through Science. Summaries of the fossil, which is a jawbone dating back to 2.8 million years ago, are all over the web (my personal favorite being a video and press release through ASU). However, the fossil publication was only one of three published…