Our first steps? Fossil may boost case for earliest ancestor

This photo provided by the University of Poitiers in August 2022 shows from left, the femur, in posterior and medial view, and the right and left ulnae, in anterior and lateral view of Sahelanthropus tchadensis. These remains were discovered in 2001 by the Franco-Chadian Paleoanthropological Mission (MPFT). Based on arm and leg fossils, scientists concluded … Read more

Fossil provides earliest evidence of fruit-eating by any animal

The Cretaceous bird Jeholornis pooping out seeds from fruit, helping fruit-bearing plants take over the world. Credit: Zhixin Han and Yifan Wang. Hundreds of animals eat fruit, from toucans to fruit bats to maned wolves to humans. But most fruit-bearing plants evolved relatively recently in Earth’s history, showing up for the first time in the … Read more

Fossil tooth analysis brings to light earliest humans from southern Africa

Figure 1: geometric morphometric analyses of the enamel-dentine junction. Credit: Southern Cross University Fossil tooth analysis by Southern Cross University geochemist Dr. Renaud Joannes-Boyau has played a central role in an international collaboration that has properly identified the earliest humans. The new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesdemonstrates that … Read more

Ancient DNA yields surprising findings on world’s earliest seafarers

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain New genetic research from remote islands in the Pacific offers fresh insights into the ancestry and culture of the world’s earliest seafarers, including family structure, social customs, and the ancestral populations of the people living there today. The work, described in the journal Sciencereveals five previously undocumented migrations into a subregion … Read more

Earliest geochemical evidence of plate tectonics found in 3.8-billion-year-old crystal

Creative destruction: a thinner ocean plate sides under a continental plate, melting and recycling the ocean crust into the Earth’s interior and birthing volcanoes in this illustration of subduction, a consequence of modern plate tectonics. Credit: Nikolas Midttun A handful of ancient zircon crystals found in South Africa hold the oldest evidence of subduction, a … Read more