Brown, beige, and red stone shapes lie on a black background above a black-and-white measuring block.

Five Breakthrough Signs of Early Peoples in the Americas

More and more archaeological finds reveal a complex picture of how and when people first arrived in North America.
Casts of two different sized skulls side by side made of grey, white, and brown matter.

Five Human Species You May Not Know About

Homo sapiens is currently the only member of the genus Homo alive. There’s only one species of human—but it wasn’t always so.
Five runners in running shorts and athletic tops are pictured mid-stride as they move down a street blocked off by orange and white pylons and bars.

Five Ways Humans Evolved to be Athletes

An archaeologist explores human athletic paleobiology to explain how our prowess in sport has deep roots in evolution.
In a valley, an archaeological site is carved into a mountainside, at the base of which tourists gather. A bright sun and blue sky are in the background.

Five Solstice Sites That Aren’t Stonehenge

Across time and around the world, many ancient monuments were built as calendars to track the sun’s journey.
magnetic field reversal neanderthal - Some researchers suggest that the red ochre used in cave art in Europe almost 42,000 years ago was also used as an ancient sunscreen.

Did a Magnetic Field Reversal Doom Neanderthals?

A Neanderthal expert weighs in on a new theory that proposes a swap in the planet’s poles triggered a climate catastrophe that killed off our evolutionary cousins.
human genome project Neanderthals - Humans have more than 3 billion letter pairs of DNA in their genome, and only about 0.1 percent of that differs between any two people.

Mapping Human and Neanderthal Genomes

The Human Genome Project first published the modern human genome 20 years ago, and the Neanderthal genome was sequenced a little more than a decade ago. What do these maps mean for our understanding of humanity?
why does comfort food feel good - Grated horseradish is a popular garnish in the Baltics.

The Evolution of Comfort Food

An archaeologist considers the history and biology of what defines a taste of home.
Neanderthal tools

A Spark of Insight Into Neanderthal Behavior

Not just for trampoline jumpers and sweater wearers, static electricity is helping archaeologists illuminate the behavior of our ancient cousins.

Do I Have Microremains in My Teeth?

Tiny particles called “microremains” that get trapped in dental plaque tell a story of long ago diets and ecosystems.
coronavirus and coping with death

Coronavirus and Coping With Death

Anthropologists often study people who have died. Can the field provide context and comfort during a pandemic?
On a mountainous landscape with sunlight shining in from the top right corner, a naked person with short brown hair holds a spear horizontally with both hands and points it ahead of them.

Neanderthals: Body of Evidence

Take a tour of the Neanderthal body that pinpoints clues about ancient life gleaned from ancient bones.
Figure Title: Examples of external auditory exostoses (EAE) among Neandertal specimens.

The Neanderthal Ear—Prone to Irritating Infections

Skeletal remains show signs of flat ear tubes and bony growths that suggest Neanderthal ears were plagued by bacteria.
neanderthal locomotion

Neanderthal Legs and Feet—Suited to Sprinting

The Neanderthal leg proportions and tendons, along with their genes, made our ancient cousins designed for short bursts of speed.

Neanderthal Bones: Signs of Their Sex Lives

With whom did Neanderthals mate? In some cases, inbreeding looks likely.
Neanderthal diet - Teeth and bones from Neanderthals found in Belgium’s Goyet Cave show they had a diet rich in meat such as horse and reindeer.

The Neanderthal Diet—From Teeth to Guts

Neanderthals’ tooth enamel, torsos, and even fossilized poop reveal that they ate much more than meat.

The Neanderthal Arm—Hints About Handedness

Stone tools and skeletons suggest that Neanderthals were mostly right-handed.

The Neanderthal Throat—Did Neanderthals Speak?

The third installment of our head-to-toe tour of the Neanderthal body tackles how our close ancestors might have sounded.
Neanderthal brain - Chris Stringer a Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum, London, face to face with a Neanderthal skull at the press launch of the Museum’s new Treasures Gallery.

The Neanderthal Brain—Clues About Cognition

This installment of our head-to-toe tour of the Neanderthal body tackles hominin smarts.
neanderthal body

A Head-to-Toe Tour of the Neanderthal

The Neanderthal body has stories to tell about the life and times of our ancient hominin cousins.

For One Forensic Anthropologist, Resilience Is Bone Deep

From medieval villages in Transylvania to war-torn countries in South America and North Africa, evidence of human endurance and strength is everywhere—even in the midst of devastation.
This illustration shows several of the steps in archaeologist Kevin Smith’s process for creating a shell fishhook out of abalone.

How an Archaeological Experiment Revealed California’s Ancient Past

Complex toolmaking strategies were the heart of survival on San Nicolas Island.
butter clams alaska - People in Alaska have been eating butter clams like these for millennia.

What Clam Thermometers Tell Us About Past Climates

Scientists are taking an unusual approach to studying how Native Alaskans lived and hunted thousands of years ago—and how they may have adapted to climate change.
Bone-handled toothbrushes excavated from the privy at 27–29 Endicott Street illustrate the importance of dental hygiene for the women who worked and lived at this brothel.

Secrets of a Brothel Privy

The outhouse of a 19th-century Boston brothel might not be the first place you’d think to look for revealing clues about the past—but maybe it should be.
Homo floresiensis rat bones - Veatch examines a “hobbit,” or Homo floresiensis, skull from Liang Bua Cave.

Can Rat Bones Solve an Island Mystery?

A study of rats on Flores, once home to Homo floresiensis , reveals new ideas about the diminutive hominin species affectionately termed the “hobbit.”
primate birth evolution - Natalie Laudicina demonstrates the twists and turns required for human babies to make it through the birth canal.

Watching Ancient Hominins Giving Birth

The human birthing process is more difficult than that of any other primate. One researcher is using bones and computers to figure out why—and what to do about it.