Tag: Prehistory

Neanderthals: Javelin athletes helped us show how effective they were at hunting with weapons

Reading time: 5 minutes
Neanderthals used to be portrayed as unintelligent and technologically deficient, a species that went extinct because of its inferiority to humans. But researchers now generally agree that Neanderthals were adept predators, innovative builders and symbolic thinkers. So how were early humans actually different from Neanderthals? It’s getting increasingly difficult to tell. But the capability to kill at a distance – such as with a bow and arrow – has long been thought of thought of as one important threshold in our human success story.

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Old teeth from a rediscovered cave show humans were in Indonesia more than 63,000 years ago

Reading time: 6 minutes

Modern humans were present in Southeast Asia about 20,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to new evidence published in Nature today.

An international research team led by Macquarie University applied new archaeological techniques to a longstanding question – were the human teeth discovered more than 120 years ago from Lida Ajer cave really modern human? The techniques allowed us to identify and date ancient human teeth from this Sumatran cave.

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A snapshot of our mysterious ancestor Homo erectus

Reading time: 6 minutes
Homo erectus is now extinct. This enigmatic human ancestor probably evolved in Africa more than 2 million years ago, although the timing of their disappearance is less clear.

Homo erectus was in the news over 2018 thanks to new discoveries in the Philippines and China, which have transformed our understanding of this not too distant family member.

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When did Homo erectus die out? A fresh look at the demise of an ancient human species over 100,000 years ago

Reading time: 11 minutes
A key site in our understanding of Homo erectus, at Ngandong, in Java, Indonesia, has until now defeated all attempts at reliable dating since it was first excavated more than 90 years ago. With the aid of new techniques, we have now found that the Ngandong Homo erectus fossils are the most recent known specimens, dating from between 117,000 and 108,000 years ago.

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