The Theory of Evolution states that modern man evolved from the ape family. This can not be verified as the 'missing link' has not as yet been found. There is no conclusive evidence to prove that man evolved from apes. Footprints of modern man have been found side by side with dinosaur tracks. Archeological evidence exists that contradicts this theory of 'the origin of man'. Modern human artifacts have been found in all layers of geological strata some going back hundreds of millions of years. These artifacts prove that modern man may be million of years older than history tells us. Paleontology

In biology, evolution is the change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations, as determined by the shifting allele frequencies of genes. Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of life: all contemporary organisms are related to each other through common descent, products of cumulative evolutionary changes over billions of years. Over time, new species evolve from existing species through speciation, and other species become extinct, resulting in the ever-changing biological world reflected in the fossil record.

The basic mechanisms that produce evolutionary change are natural selection (which includes ecological and sexual selection) and genetic drift acting on the genetic variation created by mutation, genetic recombination and gene flow. Natural selection is the process by which individual organisms with favorable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. If those traits are heritable, they pass them to their offspring, with the result that beneficial heritable traits become more common in the next generation. Given enough time, this passive process can result in varied adaptations to changing environmental conditions.

The modern understanding of evolution is based on the theory of natural selection, which was first set out in a joint 1858 paper by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and popularized in Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species.

In the 1930s, scientists combined Darwinian natural selection with the theory of Mendelian heredity to form the modern evolutionary synthesis, also known as "Neo-Darwinism". The modern synthesis describes evolution as a change in the frequency of alleles within a population from one generation to the next. This theory has become the central organizing principle of modern biology, relating directly to topics such as the origin of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, eusociality in insects, and the staggering biodiversity of the living world. Because of its potential implications for the origins of humankind, evolutionary theory has been at the center of many social and religious controversies since its inception. Read more ...

Theoretical Physics or Not

Reality is a biogenetic experiment set in linear time to experience emotions - where all things happen simultaneously. Time is an illusion ergo so is everything else. That being said, there really is no evolution of species, but more the evolution of consciousness in the simulation we call our reality or the alchemy of time. It is often referred to as the Holographic Universe. Presumably there was a beginning when the first inserts were placed into the hologram, as now we come to the end.

Once in a while what is believed to be a new humanoid species is discovered. So I had to scramble to get information on whether or not it is part of the human genome. For the most part it is just another insert in the hologram that seemingly was missed by scientists in the past and has now surfaced. Think hologram was simulation.

In the News ...

In saliva, clues to a 'ghost' species of ancient human   Daily Mail - July 21, 2017
Scientists have found hints that a 'ghost' species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in sub-Saharan Africa today. The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual.The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual. Past studies have concluded that the forebears of modern humans in Asia and Europe interbred with other early hominin species, including Neanderthals and Denisovans. The new research is among more recent genetic analyses indicating that ancient Africans also had trysts with other early hominins.

Ancient Fossils from Morocco Mess Up Modern Human Origins   Scientific American - June 8, 2017
Dated to more than 300,000 years ago, the finds raise key questions about the defining features of Homo sapiens and how our kind came to be. The year was 1961. A barite mining operation at the Jebel Irhoud massif in Morocco, some 100 kilometers west of Marrakech, turned up a fossil human skull. Subsequent excavation uncovered more bones from other individuals, along with animal remains and stone tools. Scientists’ best guess was that the remains were about 40,000 years old and represented African versions of Neandertals. In the decades that followed, researchers shifted their stance on the identity of the remains, coming to see them as members of our own species, Homo sapiens - and they redated the site to roughly 160,000 years ago. Still, the Jebel Irhoud fossils remained something of a mystery, because in some respects they looked more primitive than older H. sapiens fossils.

The fossils that rewrite human history: 300,000-year-old bones found in Morocco reveal Homo Sapiens evolved across Africa 100,000 years earlier than thought   Daily Mail - June 8, 2017

Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find   The Telegraph - May 22, 2017

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield. But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago. The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknamed ‘El Graeco' by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid. An international team of researchers say the findings entirely change the beginning of human history and place the last common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans - the so-called Missing Link - in the Mediterranean region.

'Humanlike' ways of thinking evolved 1.8 million years ago   Science Daily - May 9, 2017
By using highly advanced brain imaging technology to observe modern humans crafting ancient tools, a neuroarchaeologist has found evidence that human-like ways of thinking may have emerged as early as 1.8 million years ago. The results place the appearance of human-like cognition at the emergence of Homo erectus, an early apelike species of human first found in Africa whose evolution predates Neanderthals by nearly 600,000 years.

Humanity's mystery new cousin is surprisingly young: 335,000-year-old fossils of Homo naledi transform our understanding of human evolution   Daily Mail - May 9, 2017

Deep within the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa, archaeologists have discovered the remains of at least three Hominin naledi. The age of the remains has been revealed to be startlingly young, suggesting the species was alive sometime between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago. This places this population of primitive small-brained hominins at a time and place that it is likely they lived alongside modern humans. This is the first time that it has been demonstrated that another species of hominin survived alongside the first humans in Africa.

South African cave yields yet more fossils of a newfound relative   Science Daily - May 9, 2017
Probing deeper into the South African cave system known as Rising Star, which last year yielded the largest cache of hominin fossils known to science, an international team of researchers has discovered another chamber with more remains of a newfound human relative, Homo naledi. The discovery of the new fossils representing the remains of at least 3 juvenile and adult specimens includes a 'wonderfully complete skull,' says an anthropologist.

Human skull evolved along with two-legged walking, study confirms   Science Daily - March 17, 2017

The evolution of bipedalism in fossil humans can be detected using a key feature of the skull -- a claim that was previously contested but now has been further validated by researchers at Stony Brook University and The University of Texas at Austin. Compared with other primates, the large hole at the base of the human skull where the spinal cord passes through, known as the foramen magnum, is shifted forward. While many scientists generally attribute this shift to the evolution of bipedalism and the need to balance the head directly atop the spine, others have been critical of the proposed link. Validating this connection provides another tool for researchers to determine whether a fossil hominid walked upright on two feet like humans or on four limbs like modern great apes.

Scientists find 'oldest human ancestor'   BBC - January 31, 2017

Researchers have discovered the earliest known ancestor of humans - along with a vast range of other species. They say that fossilized traces of the 540-million-year-old creature are "exquisitely well preserved". The microscopic sea animal is the earliest known step on the evolutionary path that led to fish and - eventually - to humans. Details of the discovery from central China appear in Nature journal. The research team says that Saccorhytus is the most primitive example of a category of animals called "deuterostomes" which are common ancestors of a broad range of species, including vertebrates (backboned animals). Saccorhytus was about a millimetre in size, and is thought to have lived between grains of sand on the sea bed.

How evolution has equipped our hands with five fingers   Science Daily - October 5, 2016

Have you ever wondered why our hands have exactly five fingers? Scientists have uncovered a part of this mystery, and their remarkable discovery is outlined in a new report. We have known for several years that the limbs of vertebrates, including our arms and legs, stem from fish fins. The evolution that led to the appearance of limbs, and in particular the emergence of fingers in vertebrates, reflects a change in the body plan associated with a change of habitat, the transition from an aquatic environment to a terrestrial environment. How this evolution occurred is a fascinating question that goes all the way back to the work of Charles Darwin.

Geologists search for Anthropocene 'golden spike'   BBC - August 30, 2016

The notion that we have entered a new geological age is real and should be formally recognized, according to an international report. The verdict comes from a panel set up to judge the merits of adding an Anthropocene ("Age of Humans") time segment to the history of the Earth. The group delivered its preliminary evidence and recommendations. It now needs to identify a suitable marker in the environment that epitomizes the start of the new phase. The hunt is now on for a "golden spike", as it is known - the marker that scientists can point to years hence - perhaps millions of years hence - and say, "There! That's the start of the Anthropocene Epoch."

Earth entered new Anthropocene epoch in 1950, scientists say   Telegraph - August 29, 2016
The rapid industrialization of the last century has caused the Earth to enter its first new geological epoch in more than 11,500 years, scientists believe.

New techniques boost understanding of how fish fins became fingers   Science Daily - August 18, 2016

Markers of the wrists and digits in the limb of a mouse (left) are present in fish and demarcate the fin rays (right). The wrist and digits of tetrapods are the cellular and genetic equivalents of the fin rays of fish. The cells that make fin rays in fish play a central role in forming the fingers and toes of four-legged creatures, one of the great transformations required for the descendants of fish to become creatures that walk on land.

Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass extinction   PhysOrg - May 23, 2016

Two hundred and fifty million years ago, life on earth was in a tail-spin - climate change, volcanic eruptions, and rising sea levels contributed to a mass extinction that makes the death of the dinosaurs look like child's play. Marine life got hit hardest - 96% of all marine species went extinct. For a long time, scientists believed that the early marine reptiles that came about after the mass extinction evolved slowly, but the recent discovery of a strange new fossil brings that view into question.

Predicting human evolution: Teeth tell the story   PhysOrg - February 24, 2016

The evolution of human teeth is much simpler than previously thought, and that we can predict the sizes of teeth missing from human fossils and those of our extinct close relatives (hominins). The research confirms that molars, including wisdom teeth, do follow the sizes predicted by what is called 'the inhibitory cascade' - a rule that shows how the size of one tooth affects the size of the tooth next to it. This is important because it indicates that human evolution was a lot simpler than scientists had previously thought. There seems to be a key difference between the two groups of hominins - perhaps one of the things that defines our genus, Homo.

Fossils Shed New Light on Human-Gorilla Split   Live Science - February 11, 2016
Fossils of what may be primitive relatives of gorillas suggest that the human and gorilla lineages split up to 10 million years ago, millions of years later than what has been recently suggested, researchers say. The finding could help resolve a controversy over the continent where the ape and human lineages first evolved, the scientists added. Although the fossil record of human evolution is still patchy, it is better understood than that of great apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas. Since few great ape fossils have been found in Africa so far, some scientists have forcefully suggested that the ancestors of African apes and humans must have emerged in Eurasia. To shed light on the evolution of the ape and human lineages, Suwa and his colleagues investigated the Afar rift of Ethiopia. Previous research at the Afar rift unearthed fossils of some of the earliest known hominins - that is, humans and related species dating back to the split from the ape lineages.

Revealed - the single event that made complex life possible in our oceans   PhysOrg - December 1, 2015

The catalyst that allowed the evolution of complex life in Earth's oceans has been identified by a University of Bristol researcher. Up to 800 million years ago, the Earth's oceans were deprived of oxygen. It was only when microorganisms called phytoplankton, capable of performing photosynthesis, colonized the oceans - covering two thirds of our planet - that production of oxygen at a massive scale was made possible.

Ancestors of land plants were wired to make the leap to shore   PhysOrg - October 5, 2015
When the algal ancestor of modern land plants first succeeded in making the transition from aquatic environments to an inhospitable shore 450 million years ago, it changed the world by dramatically altering climate and setting the stage for the vast array of terrestrial life. But the genetic and developmental innovations plants used to make the leap to land have been enduring secrets of nature.

Human Hands Are Primitive   Live Science - July 14, 2015

Human hands may be more primitive than those of chimpanzees, more closely resembling the hands of the last common ancestor of humans and chimps, researchers say. These results suggest that since the overall hand proportions of humans are largely primitive, when the first members of the human lineage started to use and produce complex stone tools in a systematic way, their hands were already pretty much like ours today. A key trait that distinguishes humans from all other species alive today is the capability to make and use complex tools. This ability depends not only on the extraordinarily powerful human brain, but also the dexterity of the human hand.

Jurassic saw fastest mammal evolution   PhysOrg - July 17, 2015
Mammals were evolving up to ten times faster in the middle of the Jurassic than they were at the end of the period, coinciding with an explosion of new adaptations, new research shows.

Repeated marine predator evolution tracks changes in ancient and Anthropocene oceans   Science Daily - April 16, 2015
Scientists synthesized decades of scientific discoveries to illuminate the common and unique patterns driving the extraordinary transitions that whales, dolphins, seals and other species underwent as they moved from land to sea. Drawing on recent breakthroughs in diverse fields such as paleontology, molecular biology and conservation ecology, their findings offer a comprehensive look at how life in the ocean has responded to environmental change from the Triassic to the Anthropocene.

Evolution of marine mammals to water life converges in some genes   PhysOrg - January 27, 2015

When marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, manatees and walruses moved from land to water, a series of physical abilities - limbs adapted for swimming, less dense bones that make them more buoyant and a large store of oxygen relative to their body size – made it possible. Yet these animals made the transition from land to water millions of years apart. Researchers looked at the genomes of these four marine mammals and compared them to their closest land kin. The genomes of the whale and dolphin were compared to that of the cow, the walrus to the dog and the manatee to the elephant. The marine mammals shared the traits needed to live in a marine environment, but they developed their traits separately – a process called convergent evolution.

Prominent Chemist Says Scientists Don’t Really Understand Evolution   Epoch Times - October 3, 2014
Behind closed doors, the leading chemists in the world will admit they have no idea how evolution works. He's called out to the scientific community in search of anyone who can explain to him how macro-evolution could work, and not a single chemist has met the challenge.

How Pygmy People Got Their Short Stature   Live Science - August 19, 2014

Pygmy traits independently evolved many times among different peoples around the world, because shorter heights may have helped them live in rainforests, researchers say. The small body sizes known as pygmy traits are seen worldwide, limited to peoples who traditionally hunted and gathered food in tropical rainforests, such as in Central Africa and Southeast Asia. These small statures apparently developed independently in these populations, an example of convergent evolution, much as fish and dolphins both evolved streamlined bodies to better swim in their watery worlds.

Viral relics show cancer's 'footprint' on our evolution   Science Daily - July 23, 2014
Cancer has left its 'footprint' on our evolution, according to a study which examined how the relics of ancient viruses are preserved in the genomes of 38 mammal species. The team found that as animals increased in size they 'edited out' potentially cancer-causing relics from their genomes so that mice have almost ten times as many ERVs as humans. The findings offer a clue as to why larger animals have a lower incidence of cancer than expected compared to smaller ones, and could help in the search for new anti-viral therapies.

Taller, Fatter, Older: How Humans Have Changed in 100 Years   BBC - July 22, 2014

Humans are getting taller; they're also fatter than ever and live longer than at any time in history. And all of these changes have occurred in the past 100 years, scientists say. So is evolution via natural selection at play here? Not in the sense of actual genetic changes, as one century is not enough time for such changes to occur, according to researchers. Most of the transformations that occur within such a short time period "are simply the developmental responses of organisms to changed conditions," such as differences in nutrition, food distribution, health care and hygiene practices.

Timeline of human origins revised: New synthesis of research links changing environment with Homo's evolutionary adaptability   Science Daily - July 5, 2014
Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them. Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them.

Skulls with mix of Neandertal and primitive traits illuminate human evolution   Science Daily - June 21, 2014
Researchers studying a collection of skulls in a Spanish cave identified both Neandertal-derived features and features associated with more primitive humans in these bones. This "mosaic pattern" supports a theory of Neandertal evolution that suggests Neandertals developed their defining features separately, and at different times - not all at once. Having this new data from the Sima de los Huesos site, as the Spanish cave is called, has allowed scientists to better understand hominin evolution during the Middle Pleistocene, a period in which the path of hominin evolution has been controversial.

La Brea Tar Pit fossil research shows climate change drove evolution of Ice Age predators   PhysOrg - April 10, 2014
Concerns about climate change and its impact on the world around us are growing daily. New scientific studies at the La Brea Tar Pits are probing the link between climate warming and the evolution of Ice Age predators, attempting to predict how animals will respond to climate change today.

Bee Fossils Provide Rare Glimpse into Ice Age Environment   Live Science - April 10, 2014

A new analysis of rare leafcutter-bee fossils excavated from the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Southern California has provided valuable insight into the local environment during the last Ice Age. The La Brea Tar Pits, located in Los Angeles, contain the world's richest deposits of Ice Ace fossils, and are best known for their collection of saber-toothed cats and mammoths. In the new study, researchers used high-resolution micro-computed tomography (CT) scanners to analyze two fossils of leaf-cutter-bee nests excavated from the pits. By examining the nest cell architecture and the physical features of the bee pupae (stage of development where the bee transforms into an adult from a larva) within the leafy nests, and cross-referencing their data with environmental niche models that predict the geographic distribution of species, the scientists determined their Ice Age specimens belonged to Megachile gentilis, a bee species that still exists today.

How did we get four limbs? Because we have a belly   Science Daily - January 28, 2014

As with any long-standing question in evolutionary biology, numerous ideas have been proposed to explain different aspects of the origin of paired appendages in vertebrates known as gnathostomes, which includes all living and extinct animals having both a backbone and jaw.

Survival of the prettiest: Sexual selection can be inferred from the fossil record   PhysOrg - January 29, 2013

Sexual selection, a concept introduced by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, is a significant element of his theory of natural selection. The term "sexual selection" refers to the evolutionary pressures that relate to a species' ability to repel rivals, meet mates and pass on genes. We can observe these processes happening in living animals but how do paleontologists know that sexual selection operated in fossil ones? Historically, paleontologists have thought it challenging, even impossible, to recognize sexual selection in extinct animals. Many fossil animals have elaborate crests, horns, frills and other structures that look like they were used in sexual display but it can be difficult to distinguish these structures from those that might play a role in feeding behavior, escaping predators, controlling body temperature and so on. However in their review, the scientists argue that clues in the fossil record can indeed be used to infer sexual selection.

Human Evolution Enters an Exciting New Phase   Wired - November 29, 2012
If you could escape the human time scale for a moment, and regard evolution from the perspective of deep time, in which the last 10,000 years are a short chapter in a long saga, you’d say: Things are pretty wild right now. In the most massive study of genetic variation yet, researchers estimated the age of more than one million variants, or changes to our DNA code, found across human populations. The vast majority proved to be quite young. The chronologies tell a story of evolutionary dynamics in recent human history, a period characterized by both narrow reproductive bottlenecks and sudden, enormous population growth. The evolutionary dynamics of these features resulted in a flood of new genetic variation, accumulating so fast that natural selection hasn’t caught up yet. As a species, we are freshly bursting with the raw material of evolution.

New Kenyan fossils shed light on early human evolution   PhysOrg - October 3, 2012
Fossils discovered east of Africa's Lake Turkana confirm that there were two additional species of our genus - Homo - living alongside our direct human ancestral species, Homo erectus, almost two million years ago. The finds, announced in the journal Nature, include a face, a complete lower jaw, and part of a second lower jaw.

Many human 'prototypes' coexisted in Africa   BBC - August 9, 2012

Fossils from Northern Kenya show that a new species of human lived two million years ago, researchers say. The discoveries suggests that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa. The research adds to a growing body of evidence that runs counter to the popular perception that there was a linear evolution from early primates to modern humans.

New Flat-Faced Human Species Possibly Discovered   Live Science - August 8, 2012
New fossils from the dawn of the human lineage suggest our ancestors may have lived alongside a diversity of extinct human species, researchers say. Although modern humans, Homo sapiens, are the only human species alive today, the world has seen a number of human species come and go. Other members perhaps include the recently discovered "hobbit" Homo floresiensis. The human lineage, Homo, evolved in Africa about 2.5 million years ago, coinciding with the first evidence of stone tools. For the first half of the last century, conventional wisdom was that the most primitive member of our lineage was Homo erectus, the direct ancestor of our species. However, just over 50 years ago, scientists discovered an even more primitive species of Homo at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania they dubbed Homo habilis, which had a smaller brain and a more apelike skeleton.

New Kenyan fossils shed light on early human evolution   PhysOrg - August 8, 2012
Exciting new fossils discovered east of Lake Turkana confirm that there were two additional species of our genus - Homo - living alongside our direct human ancestral species, Homo erectus, almost two million years ago. The finds, announced in the prestigious scientific journal Nature on August 9, include a face, a remarkably complete lower jaw, and part of a second lower jaw.

The mystery of how Earth's primordial soup came to life   MSNBC - February 20, 2012
Just as species are believed to have evolved over time, the individual molecules that form the basis of life also likely developed in response to natural selection, scientists say. Life on Earth first bloomed around 3.7 billion years ago, when chemical compounds in a "primordial soup " somehow sparked into life, scientists suspect. But what turned sterile molecules into living, changing organisms? That's the ultimate mystery. By studying the evolution of not just life, but life's building blocks as well, researchers hope to come closer to the answer.

Humans Are Still Evolving, Study Says   Live Science - October 4, 2011
Humans, like all other organisms on Earth, are subject to the pressures of evolution. New research suggests that even in relatively modern societies, humans are still changing and evolving in response to the environment.

Climatic Fluctuations Drove Key Events in Human Evolution, Researchers Find   Science Daily - September 26, 2011
Research at the University of Liverpool has found that periods of rapid fluctuation in temperature coincided with the emergence of the first distant relatives of human beings and the appearance and spread of stone tools.

  Skull points to a more complex human evolution in Africa   BBC - September 16, 2011
Professor Chris Stringer compares one of the 13,000-year-old skulls (centre) with modern (l) and ancient (r) African fossils. Scientists have collected more evidence to suggest that ancient and modern humans interbred in Africa. Reanalysis of the 13,000-year-old skull from a cave in West Africa reveals a skull more primitive-looking than its age suggests.

Pre-human fossils viewed as 'game-changer' for evolution   MSNBC - September 8, 2011
An analysis of 2 million-year-old bones found in South Africa offers the most powerful case so far in identifying the transitional figure that came before modern humans - findings some are calling a potential game-changer in understanding evolution.

Complex Life Emerged from Sea Earlier Than Thought   Live Science - April 14, 2011
Life on Earth began in the oceans, but new fossils are showing that complex algae-like organisms left these salty seas earlier than thought, about 1 billion years ago, and spent more time evolving on land.

A new evolutionary history of primates   PhysOrg - March 17, 2011
A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues in primate taxonomy. The genomes of living primates harbor remarkable differences in diversity and provide an intriguing context for interpreting human evolution. The phylogenetic analysis was conducted by international researchers to determine the origin, evolution, patterns of speciation, and unique features in genome divergence among primate lineages.

New plant species gives insights into evolution   PhysOrg - March 17, 2011
A new University of Florida study shows when two flowering plants are crossed to produce a new hybrid, the new species' genes are reset, allowing for greater genetic variation.

New Statistical Model Moves Human Evolution Back Three Million Years   Science Daily - November 6, 2010
Evolutionary divergence of humans and chimpanzees likely occurred some 8 million years ago rather than the 5 million year estimate widely accepted by scientists, a new statistical model suggests.

How plants drove animals to the land   PhysOrg - September 30, 2010
A new study of ancient oxygen levels presents the first concrete evidence that after aquatic plants evolved and boosted the levels of oxygen aquatic life exploded, leading to fierce competition that eventually led some fish to try to survive on land.

Animal- Human Connection: Crucial in Human Evolution   Science Daily - July 21, 2010
It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species -- "the animal connection" -- played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.

New hypothesis for human evolution and human nature   PhysOrg - July 21, 2010
t's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals. But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species - "the animal connection" - played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years.

  South African fossils could be new hominid species   BBC - April 9, 2010
The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. The fossils of a female adult and a juvenile male - perhaps mother and son - are just under two million years old. They were uncovered in cave deposits at Malapa not far from Johannesburg.

"Key" Human Ancestor Found: Fossils Link Apes, First Humans?   National Geographic - April 8, 2010

An Australopithecus sediba skull bears both human and ape traits.

New species of early hominid found   PhysOrg - April 6, 2010

A previously unknown species of hominid that lived in what is now South Africa around two million years ago has been found in the form of a fossilized skeleton of a child and several bones of adults. The new species may be a transitional stage between ape-like hominids and Homo habilis, the first recognizably human ancestor of Homo sapiens.

Scientists reveal driving force behind evolution   PhysOrg - February 25, 2010
The team observed viruses as they evolved over hundreds of generations to infect bacteria. They found that when the bacteria could evolve defences, the viruses evolved at a quicker rate and generated greater diversity, compared to situations where the bacteria were unable to adapt to the viral infection.

Intelligent people have 'unnatural' preferences and values that are novel in human evolution   PhysOrg - February 25, 2010
More intelligent people are significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

DNA evidence tells 'global story' of human history   PhysOrg - February 22, 2010
In recent years, DNA evidence has added important new tools for scientists studying the human past. Now, a collection of reviews published by Cell Press in a special issue of Current Biology published online on February 22nd offers a timely update on how new genetic evidence, together with archaeological and linguistic evidence, has enriched our understanding of human history on earth.

Cultural views of evolution can have important ethical implications   PhysOrg - February 21, 2010
Cultural views of evolution can have important ethical implications, says a Duke University expert on theological and biomedical ethics. Because the popular imagination filters science through cultural assumptions about race, cultural history should be an essential part of biomedical conversations.

Evolution may take giant leaps   PhysOrg - December 12, 2009
A new study of thousands of species of plants and animals suggests new species may arise from rare events instead of through an accumulation of small changes made in response to changes in the environment.

Feeding birds 'changes evolution'   BBC - December 3, 2009
Bird-feeders, hung in many a garden, can affect the way our feathered friends evolve, say scientists. European birds called blackcaps follow a different "evolutionary path" if they spend the winter eating food put out for them in UK gardens. The birds' natural wintering ground is southern Spain, where they feed on the fruits that grow there.

Mammoth dung unravels extinction   BBC - November 19, 2009

Mammoth dung has proved to be a source of prehistoric information, helping scientists unravel the mystery of what caused the great mammals to die out. An examination of a fungus that is found in the ancient dung and preserved in lake sediments has helped build a picture of what happened to the beasts.

The Future of Evolution: What Will We Become?   Live Science - November 16, 2009
The past of human evolution is more and more coming to light as scientists uncover a trove of fossils and genetic knowledge. But where might the future of human evolution go? There are plenty of signs that humans are still evolving. However, whether humans develop along the lines portrayed by hackneyed science fiction is doubtful.

Reproduction: Why Having A Mate Provides An Evolutionary Advantage Over Self-fertilization   Science Daily - October 22, 2009
OK, it takes two for human reproduction, and now it seems that plants and animals that can rely on either a partner or go alone by self-fertilization give their offspring a better chance for longer lives when they opt for a mate. Sex with self in the animal and plant world is known as selfing. Offspring born from selfing share all of their genes in common with their parent, and each is capable of producing another generation of offspring. Offspring from outcrossing share 50-percent of each parent's genes, and some are born males incapable of bearing offspring. Selfing populations don't have to deal with pesky males for reproduction.

The first men and women from the Canary Islands were Berbers   PhysOrg - October 21, 2009
A team of Spanish and Portuguese researchers has carried out molecular genetic analysis of the Y chromosome (transmitted only by males) of the aboriginal population of the Canary Islands to determine their origin and the extent to which they have survived in the current population. The results suggest a North African origin for these paternal lineages which, unlike maternal lineages, have declined to the point of being practically replaced today by European lineages.

Are humans still evolving? Absolutely, says new analysis of long-term survey of human health   PhysOrg - October 19, 2009
Although advances in medical care have improved standards of living over time, humans aren't entirely sheltered from the forces of natural selection, a new study shows.

"Darwin's Wing" Fills Evolution Gap   National Geographic - October 14, 2009

It may seem as unlikely as a jackalope, but this newfound pterosaur "hodgepodge" is the real deal, paleontologists say. Scientists at the U.K.'s University of Leicester initially saw images of the flying reptile fossils earlier this year, and "our first thought was, The 160-million-year-old creature has the big head of its descendants, while the rest of its body including its very long tail seems cobbled together from more primitive forms of the predators. But later studies of more than 20 fossil skeletons, unearthed from an ancient lakebed in northeast China, convinced the team that the crow-size pterosaur was a real find. The newfound fossil's sharp teeth and long jaws, as well as its presumed awkwardness on the ground, mean it may have hunted like a modern-day hawk, Unwin said.

Ratchet-like genetic mutations make evolution irreversible   PhysOrg - September 24, 2009
The team used computational reconstruction of ancestral gene sequences, DNA synthesis, protein engineering and X-ray crystallography to resurrect and manipulate the gene for a key hormone receptor as it existed in our earliest vertebrate ancestors more than 400 million years ago. They found that over a rapid period of time, five random mutations made subtle modifications in the protein's structure that were utterly incompatible with the receptor's primordial form.

Research team finds first evolutionary branching for bilateral animals   PhysOrg - September 23, 2009
When it comes to understanding a critical junction in animal evolution, some short, simple flatworms have been a real thorn in scientists' sides. Specialists have jousted over the proper taxonomic placement of a group of worms called Acoelomorpha. This collection of worms, which comprises roughly 350 species, is part of a much larger group called bilateral animals, organisms that have symmetrical body forms, including humans, insects and worms. The question about acoelomorpha, was: Where do they fit in?

New Understanding of the Heart's Evolution   Live Science - September 3, 2009
Humans, like other warm-blooded animals, expend a lot of energy and need a lot of oxygen. Our four-chambered hearts make this possible. It gives us an evolutionary advantage: We're able to roam, hunt and hide even in the cold of night, or the chill of winter. Now scientists have a better understanding how the complex heart evolved. The story starts with frogs, which have a three-chambered heart that consists of two atria and one ventricle. As the right side of a frog's heart receives deoxygenated blood from the body, and the left side receives freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs, the two streams of blood mix together in the ventricle, sending out a concoction that is not fully oxygenated to the rest of the frog's body.

First genetic link between reptile and human heart evolution   PhysOrg - September 2, 2009
Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease have traced the evolution of the four-chambered human heart to a common genetic factor linked to the development of hearts in turtles and other reptiles.

Why Did People Become White?   Live Science - September 2, 2009

Humans come in a rainbow of hues, from dark chocolate browns to nearly translucent whites. This full kaleidoscope of skin colors was a relatively recent evolutionary development, according to biologists, occurring alongside the migration of modern humans out of Africa between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago. The consensus among scientists has always been that lower levels of vitamin D at higher latitudes - where the sun is less intense - caused the lightening effect when modern humans, who began darker-skinned, first migrated north.

Humans Walked After Tree-Climbing Era, Study Indicates   Live Science - August 10, 2009
Many scientists think early humans walked on their knuckles before evolving the ability to walk upright, but a new study suggests they may have bypassed that step. Researchers examined the wrist bones of several primate species, and found that humans more likely evolved from a tree-climbing ancestor, rather than a knuckle-walking one. The new model reignites a longstanding debate about the origin of walking on two legs, or bipedalism, in humans.

Extinct Walking Bat Found; Upends Evolutionary Theory   National Geographic - August 10, 2009
A walking bat in New Zealand took its marching orders from an ancestor, a new fossil-bat discovery reveals. Scientists had long thought that the lesser short-tailed bat evolved its walking preference independently.

Mobile DNA elements in woolly mammoth genome give new clues to mammalian evolution   PhysOrg - June 8, 2009
The woolly mammoth died out several thousand years ago, but the genetic material they left behind is yielding new clues about the evolution of mammals. In a study published online in Genome Research, scientists have analyzed the mammoth genome looking for mobile DNA elements, revealing new insights into how some of these elements arose in mammals and shaped the genome of an animal headed for extinction.

"Human"-Faced Missing Link Found in Spain?   National Geographic - June 11, 2009

An 11.9-million-year-old fossil ape species with an unusually flat, "surprisingly human" face has been found in Spain. The discovery suggests humans' ape ancestors split from primitive apes in Europe, not Africa the so-called cradle of humanity a new study says. The species, Anoiapithecus brevirostris, may also represent the last known common ancestor of humans and living great apes - including orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees—researchers say.

  Scientists hail stunning fossil of a 47-million-year-old, lemur-like creature   BBC - May 19, 2009
The beautifully preserved remains of a 47-million-year-old, lemur-like creature have been unveiled in the US. The preservation is so good, it is possible to see the outline of its fur and even traces of its last meal. The fossil, nicknamed Ida, is claimed to be a "missing link" between today's higher primates - monkeys, apes and humans - and more distant relatives. But some independent experts, awaiting an opportunity to see the new fossil, are skeptical of the claim. And they have been critical of the hype surrounding the presentation of Ida.

Blog: Why 'Ida' Inspires Navel-Gazing at Our Ancestry   Live Science - May 20, 2009
The newly claimed primate genus and species Darwinius masillae, said to be an ancestor of humans. The fossil dates to 47 million years ago. The abdomen contains organic remains of food in the digestive tract. The skeleton was split into two parts before scientists put it all back together, leading to today's announcement. One long line of evidence that supports evolution is the ongoing discovery of "transitional" fossils that bridge the gap between one obvious kind of species and another. Nowhere are these transitional animals more interesting than when looking backwards through time at the human lineage.

Ancient Human Ancestor 'Ida' Discovered - Missing Link?   Live Science - May 19, 2009
A discovery of a 47-million-year-old fossil primate that is said to be a human ancestor was announced and unveiled today at a press conference in New York City. Known as "Ida," the nearly complete transitional fossil is 20 times older than most fossils that provide evidence for human evolution. It shows characteristics from the very primitive non-human evolutionary line (prosimians, such as lemurs), but is more related to the human evolutionary line (anthropoids, such as monkeys, apes and humans), said Norwegian paleontologist JŅrn Hurum of University of Oslo Natural History Museum. However, she is not really an anthropoid either, he said.

New Fossil Primate Links Humans, Lemurs?   National Geographic - May 19, 2009

Meet "Ida," the small "missing link" found in Germany that's created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins. In a new book, documentary, and promotional Web site, paleontologist Jorn Hurum, who led the team that analyzed the 47-million-year-old fossil seen above, suggests Ida is a critical missing-link species in primate evolution.

Common Ancestor Of Humans, Modern Primates? 'Extraordinary' Fossil Is 47 Million Years Old   Science Daily - May 19, 2009
In what could prove to be a landmark discovery, a leading paleontologist said scientists have dug up the 47 million-year-old fossil of an ancient primate whose features suggest it could be the common ancestor of all later monkeys, apes and humans.

Ten fossils that evolved the tale of our origins   MSNBC - October 17, 2008
Where did we come from? Many truth seekers turn to faith and religion and find their answers therein. Others approach the question through a scientific lens and the theory of evolution. They have pieced together a tale of human origins from the fossils of our ancestors. The tale is incomplete and its telling reshaped with fresh interpretation of the growing fossil record. Click on the "Next" label to learn about ten fossil discoveries that have evolved the scientific rendering of human origins. In this image, a reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton is compared to a modern human.

Details Of Evolutionary Transition From Fish To Land Animals Revealed   Science Daily - October 16, 2008
New research has provided the first detailed look at the internal head skeleton of Tiktaalik roseae, the 375-million-year-old fossil animal that represents an important intermediate step in the evolutionary transition from fish to animals that walked on land.

Fish With First Neck Evolved Into Land Animal -- Slowly National Geographic - October 15, 2008
The skull of a 375-million-year-old walking fish reveals new clues to how our fish ancestors evolved into land dwellers.The fossil fish—called Tiktaalik roseae was discovered in the Canadian Arctic in 2004 and provides the 'missing link' between fish and land vertebrates, according to scientists. It's also the proud owner of the world's first known neck.

Details Of Evolutionary Transition From Fish To Land Animals Revealed Science Daily - October 16, 2008

New research has provided the first detailed look at the internal head skeleton of Tiktaalik roseae, the 375-million-year-old fossil animal that represents an important intermediate step in the evolutionary transition from fish to animals that walked on land. A predator, up to nine feet long, with sharp teeth, a crocodile-like head and a flattened body, Tiktaalik's anatomy and way of life straddle the divide between fish and land-living animals.

Evolutionary Origin Of Mammalian Gene Regulation Is Over 150 Million Years Old Science Daily - July 3, 2008
Scientists have found that a complex, highly conserved and extremely important mechanism of controlling genes is over 150 million years old. The findings have provided new insights into the evolution of genomic or parental imprinting and epigenetic regulation in mammals. A failure of these sophisticated processes is associated with many human genetic diseases, psychiatric and autoimmune disorders and aging.

'Mitochondrial Eve' Research: Humanity Was Genetically Divided For 100,000 Years Science Daily - May 16, 2008
Humanity was genetically divided for as much as 100,000 years, according to new findings. Climate change, reduction in populations and harsh conditions may have caused and maintained the separation. TThe human race was divided into two separate groups within Africa for as much as half of its existence, says a Tel Aviv University mathematician. Climate change, reduction in populations and harsh conditions may have caused and maintained the separation.

Reason For Almost Two Billion Year Delay In Animal Evolution On Earth Discovered   Science Daily - March 27, 2008
Scientists from around the world have reconstructed changes in Earth's ancient ocean chemistry during a broad sweep of geological time, from about 2.5 to 0.5 billion years ago. They have discovered that a deficiency of oxygen and the heavy metal molybdenum in the ancient deep ocean may have delayed the evolution of animal life on Earth for nearly 2 billion years.

Geologists Say 'Wall Of Africa' Allowed Humanity To Emerge   Science Daily - December 22, 2007
Scientists long have focused on how climate and vegetation allowed human ancestors to evolve in Africa. Now, University of Utah geologists are calling renewed attention to the idea that ground movements formed mountains and valleys, creating environments that favored the emergence of humanity.

Mountains of Evidence Suggest Human Evolution Had Rocky Start   Live Science - December 20, 2007
Geology may be a long-overlooked, major factor that created conditions favoring the evolution of modern humans. It's fairly well-established that changing climate, and thus vegetation, in East Africa spurred human evolution, but there has been no agreement about what exactly caused that change, said Royhan Gani

Primitive early relative of armadillos helps rewrite evolutionary family tree PhysOrg - December 12, 2007
A team of U.S. and Chilean scientists working high in the Andes have discovered the fossilized remains of an extinct, tank-like mammal they conclude was a primitive relative of today’s armadillos.

Human evolution is 'speeding up'   BBC - December 11, 2007
Humans have moved into the evolutionary fast lane and are becoming increasingly different, a genetic study suggests. In the past 5,000 years, genetic change has occurred at a rate roughly 100 times higher than any other period, say scientists in the US. This is in contrast with the widely-held belief that recent human evolution has halted.

How did we go from ape to airplane?   NBC - August 9, 2007
Shakespeare, hip hop, airplanes and millions of other innovations are all products of one of mankind's most distinguishing characteristics: human culture. While it's clear that our brains hold a remarkable capacity to think and create, other animals demonstrate what some consider cultural behaviors. How the astounding complexity and diversity of human cultures sprang from the much simpler traditions found in animal communities has remained a puzzle.

Finds test human origins theory   BBC - August 8, 2007
Two hominid fossils discovered in Kenya are challenging a long-held view of human evolution. The broken upper jaw-bone and intact skull from humanlike creatures, or hominids, are described in Nature. Previously, the hominid Homo habilis was thought to have evolved into the more advanced Homo erectus, which evolved into us. Now, habilis and erectus are thought to be sister species that overlapped in time. The new fossil evidence reveals an overlap of about 500,000 years during which Homo habilis and Homo erectus must have co-existed in the Turkana basin area, the region of East Africa where the fossils were unearthed.

Elephants, Human Ancestors Evolved in Synch, DNA Reveals   National Geographic - July 24, 2007
The tooth of a mastodon buried beneath Alaska's permafrost for many thousands of years is yielding surprising clues about the history of elephants and humans. A team of researchers recently extracted DNA from the tooth to put together the first complete mastodon mitochondrial genome.

Interspecies Sex: Evolution's Hidden Secret?   National Geographic - March 15, 2007
The act of mating with a species other than your own may not be as ill advised or peculiar as it seems. Recent research indicates that hybridization is not only widespread in nature but it might also spawn many more new species than previously thought. A growing number of studies has been presented as evidence that two animal species can combine to produce a third, sexually viable species in a process known as hybrid speciation. Newly identified examples include both insects and fish. This evolutionary process, while known to be common in plants, has long been considered extremely rare among animals. Animals are generally thought to evolve the opposite way, when a single species gradually splits into two over many generations.

Robo-salamander's evolution clues   BBC - March 9, 2007
A robot is being used to investigate how the first land animals on Earth might have walked. The bot looks a lot like a salamander; and the scientists can change the way it swims, slithers and crawls with commands sent wirelessly from a PC.

Evolution Getting Faster Thanks to Germs, Viruses, Study Says National Geographic - March 7, 2007
Viruses and bacteria have sped up the process of evolution by rapidly transferring DNA from one species to another, a new study suggests. Gene-mapping projects over the past decade have already shown that genes can move between species via tiny microorganisms.

Researchers Study Formation Of Chemical Precursors to Life   PhysOrg - August 7, 2006

In just two years of work, an international research team has discovered eight new complex, biologically-significant molecules in interstellar space using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia.

Evolution Reversed in Mice   BBC - August 7, 2006
US researchers have taken a mouse back in time some 500 million years by reversing the process of evolution.

Fossil Fish With "Limbs" Is Missing Link, Study Says   National Geographic - April 6, 2006
Fossil hunters may have discovered the fish that made humans possible. Found in the Canadian Arctic, the new fossil boasts leg-like fins, scientists say. The creature is being hailed as a crucial missing link between fish and land animals including the prehistoric ancestors of humans.

Arctic fossils mark move to land   BBC - April 5, 2006

Fossil animals found in Arctic Canada provide a snapshot of fish evolving into land animals, scientists say. The finds are giving researchers a fascinating insight into this key stage in the evolution of life on Earth.

Ancient skull found in Ethiopia  BBC - March 27, 2006

Fossil hunters in Ethiopia have unearthed an ancient skull which they say could be a "missing link" between Homo erectus and modern people.

Human Genome Shows Proof of Recent Evolution, Survey Finds   National Geographic - March 8, 2006

Signs of recent evolution by natural selection are widespread across the human genome, experts say. Genome researchers at the University of Chicago have identified more than 700 regions in human DNA where apparently strong selection has occurred, driving the spread of genes linked to a broad range of characteristics.

Evolution Revolution: Two Species Become One   National Geographic - July 27, 2005
A newfound insect shows that two species can combine to create a third species, and that humans may be unknowingly encouraging evolution, according to researchers. Most new animal species are believed to arise when a single species splits into two. But new animals can also be created when two species come together to create a single new species, the researchers say.

Butterfly unlocks evolution secret  BBC - July 24, 2005

Why one species branches into two is a question that has haunted evolutionary biologists since Darwin. Given our planet's rich biodiversity, "speciation" clearly happens regularly, but scientists cannot quite pinpoint the driving forces behind it. Now, researchers studying a family of butterflies think they have witnessed a subtle process, which could be forcing a wedge between newly formed species.

Human evolution at the crossroads   NBC - May 2, 2005

Scientists are fond of running the evolutionary clock backward, using DNA analysis and the fossil record to figure out when our ancestors stood erect and split off from the rest of the primate evolutionary tree. But the clock is running forward as well. So where are humans headed? Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says it's the question he's most often asked, and "a question that any prudent evolutionist will evade." But the question is being raised even more frequently as researchers study our past and contemplate our future. Paleontologists say that anatomically modern humans may have at one time shared the Earth with as many as three other closely related types - Neanderthals, Homo erectus and the dwarf hominids whose remains were discovered last year in Indonesia.

Scientists Find Portal To Show Animals Evolve   Science Daily - February 8, 2005
Like the gaudy peacock or majestic buck, the bachelor fruit fly is in a race against time to mate and pass along its genes. And just as flashy plumage or imposing antlers work to an animal's reproductive advantage, so, too, do the colored spots that decorate the wings of a particular male fruit fly.

Earliest Bilateral Fossil Discovered   Astrobiology - June 2004

Scientists have reported that bilateral animals appeared 600 million years ago, about 50 million years before the Cambrian Explosion. Before the Cambrian 550 million years ago, most life on Earth was composed of bacteria and single-celled animals. But then something happened to cause an "explosion" of complex multi-cellular body forms. Scientists have long been puzzled about why this burst of diversity occurred. Some have suggested that a sudden rise in oxygen allowed larger and more complex life forms to appear and develop. Others have suggested that animal complexity started long before the Cambrian, and that we had only failed to find fossil evidence of it.

Prehistoric DNA to Help Solve Human-Evolution Mysteries?   National Geographic - March 25, 2004
Experts speaking at a chemistry conference held in Chicago earlier this month argued that ancient genetic material could be used to better understand the relationships among hominids and answer questions about the evolution of speech and other defining traits of humans.

Evolution's Twist: USC Study Finds Meat-tolerant Genes Offset High Cholesterol And Disease   Science Daily - March 22, 2004
When our human ancestors started eating meat, evolution served up a healthy bonus - the development of genes that offset high cholesterol and chronic diseases associated with a meat-rich diet, according to a new USC study. Those ancestors also started living longer than ever before – an unexpected evolutionary twist.

Snake Ancestors Lost Limbs on Land, Study Says   National Geographic - February 11, 2004
Since the 19th century naturalists have debated whether the ancestors to modern snakes lost their limbs at sea or on land. Recently the discovery of early marine fossil snakes with tiny hind limbs reignited the controversy.

Availability of Oxygen Triggered The Evolution Of Complex Life Forms   Space Daily - January 29, 2004
Oxygen played a key role in the evolution of complex organisms, according to new research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. The study shows that the complexity of life forms increased earlier than was thought, and in parallel with the availability of oxygen as an energy source.

Cave colors reveal mental leap   BBC - December 11, 2003
Red-stained bones dug up in a cave in Israel are prompting researchers to speculate that symbolic thought emerged much earlier than they had believed. Symbolic thought - the ability to let one thing represent another - was a giant leap in human evolution. It was a mental ability that allowed sophisticated language and maths.

Scientists Find Evolution Of Life Helped Keep Earth Habitable   Science Daily - October 31, 2003
The researchers used a computer model describing the ocean, atmosphere and land surface to look at how atmospheric carbon dioxide would change as a result of glacier growth. They found that, in the distant past, as glaciers started to grow, the oceans would suck the greenhouse gas -- carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere -- making the Earth colder, promoting an even deeper ice age. When marine plankton with carbonate shells and skeletons are added to the model, ocean chemistry is buffered and glacial growth does not cause the ocean to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Worms hold 'eternal life' secret   BBC - October 23, 2003

A tiny round worm can live six times longer than normal if certain genes and hormones are tweaked. The worms, Caenorhabditis elegans, had a metabolic hormone inhibited and their reproductive systems removed. They went on to stay healthy and active for a human equivalent of 500 years, which is the longest life-span extension ever achieved by scientists.

The creativity gene that maketh man   BBC - February 18, 2003
The gene is found only in human-like primates US scientists have identified a gene which they say could explain why humans are unique. It seems to have arisen between 21 and 33 million years ago, when primates were becoming more human-like. The gene emerged about the time the path that led to humans, chimps, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas was splitting off from that of old and new world monkeys. The gene could have duplicated itself, creating many new ones specific to humans.

All humans are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago   National Geographic - January 21, 2003

By analyzing DNA from people in all regions of the world, geneticist Spencer Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 60,000 years ago. Modern humans, he contends, didn't start their spread across the globe until after that time. Most archaeologists would say the exodus began 100,000 years ago - a 40,000-year discrepancy. Wells' take on the origins of modern humans and how they came to populate the rest of the planet is bound to be controversial.

Fossil find stirs human debate   BBC - January 31, 2003
The fossil of an early human-like creature (hominid) from southern Africa is raising fresh questions about our origins. Remains from the Sterkfontein Caves near Johannesburg suggest our ancestors were less chimp-like than we thought. The revelation follows the discovery of missing bones from a 3.5 million-year-old skeleton found in 1998. Fragments of pelvis, upper leg, ribs and backbone have recently been dug out of the rock, allowing scientists to piece together its gait.

Documentary Redraws Humans' Family Tree   January 21, 2003 - National Geographic
By analyzing DNA from people in all regions of the world, geneticist Spencer Wells has concluded that all humans alive today are descended from a single man who lived in Africa around 6,000 years ago. Modern humans, he contends, didn't start their spread across the globe until after that time. Most archaeologists would say the exodus began 100,000 years ago - a 40,000-year discrepancy. Wells's take on the origins of modern humans and how they came to populate the rest of the planet is bound to be controversial.

13,000 year old Human skulls are 'oldest Americans'   BBC - December 3, 2002

Tests on skulls found in Mexico suggest they are almost 13,000 years old - and shed fresh light on how humans colonized the Americas. The human skulls are the oldest tested so far from the continent, and their shape is set to inflame further a controversy over native American burial rights.

Life 'began on the ocean floor'   BBC - December 4, 2002

A new and controversial theory on the origin of life on Earth is causing a stir among scientists. And one of the implications is that life could be more likely on planets where it was previously thought unlikely to flourish. The theory claims that living systems originated in so-called "inorganic incubators" - small compartments in iron sulphide rocks.

Origin Of Bipedalism Tied To Environmental Changes   May 9, 2002 - Science Daily
During the past 100 years, scientists have tossed around a great many hypotheses about the evolutionary route to bipedalism, and what inspired our prehuman ancestors to stand up straight and amble off on two feet. Now, after an extensive study of evolutionary, anatomical and fossil evidence, a team of paleoanthropologists has narrowed down the number of tenable hypotheses to explain the origin of bipedalism and our prehuman ancestors' method of navigating their world before they began walking upright. The hypothesis they found the most support for regarding the origin of bipedalism is the one that argues our ancestors began walking upright largely in response to environmental changes -- in particular, to the growing incidence of open spaces and the way that changed the distribution of food.