Anthropology

Human Evolution Speeding Up, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 11, 2007   View Article

Explosive population growth is driving human evolution to speed up around the world, according to a new study.

The pace of change accelerated about 40,000 years ago and then picked up even more with the advent of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, the study says.

African Slaves Brought First Rice Riches to U.S.?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 28, 2007   View Article

A rice variety that made many a colonial plantation owner rich was brought to the United States from West Africa, according to preliminary genetic research.

The finding suggests that African slaves are responsible for nearly every facet of one of the first rice varieties grown in the U.S., as well as one of the most lucrative crops in early American history.

“Hobbit” Human Was Unique Species, Wrist Bones Suggest

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 20, 2007   View Article

The proof is in the wrist: The “hobbit” human found on the Indonesian island of Flores is indeed a unique species, not a diseased modern human, a new bone analysis suggests.

Since the discovery of the hobbit’s remains was announced in 2004, researchers have debated whether the find represent a new, small-bodied species called Homo floresiensis or a diseased modern human.

Kenyan Fossils May Add New Branch to Human Family Tree

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 8, 2007   View Article

A pair of fossils recently discovered in Kenya is challenging the straight-line story of human evolution.

Traditional evolutionary theories of the genus Homo suggest a successive progression: Homo habilis gave rise to Homo erectus, which then begat modern humans, Homo sapiens.

Comet Wiped Out Early North American Culture, Animals, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 23, 2007   View Article

A comet exploded over North America about 13,000 years ago, causing a long bout of climate cooling, according to a controversial new theory presented today.

The extraterrestrial impact may help explain massive mammal die-offs and the demise of one of the earliest American cultures.

Ancient Climate Change Rocked Tibetan Cultures, Research Suggests

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 22, 2007   View Article

An abrupt change in weather 700 years ago may have forced people on the Tibetan plateau to abandon their farms and reorganize their society, an anthropologist says.

Mark Aldenderfer of the University of Arizona is leading a research project in far western Tibet to piece together how the Asian monsoon—a system of summer winds that brings heavy rain—shifted and how the culture adapted.

Human Ancestor Had Lime-Size Brain

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 14, 2007   View Article

An extraordinarily complete skull of a 30-million-year-old human ancestor once held a brain about the size of a lime, according to a new study.

The skull—of a species related to apes, humans, and monkeys—is evidence that the more advanced and bigger brains of African primates developed later than previously believed, researchers said.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach