Evolutionary Anthropology News

Einstein’s Corpus Callosum Reveals Clues to His Brilliance

October 7, 2013


Well Connected Hemispheres May Have Contributed to Einsteins Intelligence

A newly published study takes a closer look at the “inside” of Einstein’s brain, revealing that the unusually well connected right and left hemispheres of his brain may have contributed to his intelligence. The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein’s brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his […]

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Discovery Reveals That Neanderthals Were the First in Europe to Make Specialized Bone Tools

August 13, 2013


Neandertals Made the First Specialized Bone Tools in Europe

A new discovery in southwest France reveals that Neanderthals were the first in Europe to make standardized and specialized bone tools. Two research teams from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands have jointly reported the discovery of Neanderthal bone tools coming from their […]

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Biomechanics of Dental Features and Tooth Wear

July 24, 2013


Biomechanics of Dental Features and Tooth Wear

A team of biologists examined the functional biomechanics of dental features and tooth wear, finding that the biomechanical requirements on teeth change during one’s lifetime. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, have conducted stress analyses on gorilla teeth of […]

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Attractive Bonobo Females Are More Likely to Win Conflicts Against Males

July 15, 2013


Attractive Females Are More likely to Win Conflicts Against Males

In a new study, evolutionary anthropologists reveal that attractive bonobo females are more likely to win conflicts against males. Female social dominance over males is rare among mammal species. Bonobos, one of our closest living relatives, are known for females holding relatively high social statuses when compared to males; though this is puzzling as the […]

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Natural Dental Wear Protects Teeth Against Fatigue Failure

April 29, 2013


Natural Dental Wear Protects Teeth Against Fatigue Failure

In a newly published study, researchers analyzed modern human teeth, finding that material loss protects teeth against fatigue failure. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt together with dental technicians have digitally analyzed modern human teeth using an engineering approach, finite element method, to […]

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400,000 Year Old Fossil Helps Shed New Light on Human Evolution

February 11, 2013


Fossil From the Balkans Sheds New Light on Human Evolution

A nearly 400,000 year old human fossil discovered in a Serbian cave is helping scientists shed new light on human evolution. Winnipeg, MB – A fossil fragment of a human lower jaw recovered from a Serbian cave is the oldest human ancestor found in this part of Europe. The newly obtained radiometric date of the […]

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The Hormone Oxytocin Plays a Key Role in Maintaining Social Relations in Chimpanzees

January 23, 2013


The Hormone Oxytocin in Chimpanzees is Likely to Play a Key Role in Maintaining Social Relations

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute have discovered that cooperative relationships between chimpanzees are facilitated by an endocrinological mechanism involving the hormone oxytocin, even when these are between non-kin. Animals which maintain cooperative relationships show gains in longevity and offspring survival. However, little is known about the cognitive or hormonal mechanisms involved in cooperation. Researchers […]

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Cooking Fueled the Growth of the Human Brain

October 24, 2012



A new study has calculated the energetic cost of growing a bigger brain. If humans had been eating a raw food diet exclusively, they would have had to spend more than 9 hours a day eating in order to get enough energy from unprocessed raw food alone to support their large brains. The scientists published […]

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Scientists Agree that Classifying Humans as Monogamous or Polygamous is Difficult

October 15, 2012



Computer simulations have been used to examine the sex lives of ancient hominids for many years, by measuring the circumferences of ancient bones, and by applying the rules of evolution and economics. Currently, only 1 in 6 societies enforces monogamy as a rule. There’s evidence of monogamy going back as far as Hammurabi’s Code, dating […]

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Females Distinguish Colors Better While Men Excel At Tracking Fast Moving Objects

October 2, 2012



After having put young adults with normal vision through a battery of tests, scientists were able to conclude that females are better at discriminating among colors, while males excel at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance. These evolutionary adaptations might be linked to the hunter-gatherer past of humans. The scientists published their […]

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Ancient Genome Reveals Relationships between Denisovans and Present-Day Humans

August 31, 2012


researchers describe Denisovan genome

A newly published study compares the Denisovan genome with those of the Neandertals and eleven modern humans from around the world, finding that modern populations from the islands of southeastern Asia share genes with the Denisovans and that the genomes of people from East Asia and South America include slightly more genes from Neandertals than […]

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Bonobo Genome Completed, Differs from Humans by 1.3 Percent

June 14, 2012


scientists have completed the genome of the bonobo

Biologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have completed the sequencing and analysis of the genome of the bonobo, finding that the bonobo differs by approximately 1.3% from humans. In a project led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, an international team of scientists has completed the sequencing and […]

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Iceman Ötzi’s DNA Reveals Health Risks and Relations

March 7, 2012



Ötzi’s DNA has finally been sequenced. An international team published the almost complete DNA of the Iceman Ötzi from the Tyrolean Alps in the journal Nature Communications. The Iceman’s 5,300-year-old body was discovered in 1991 by hikers near the Italian-Austrian border in the Alps. It was well preserved and has become one of the most […]

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Caves of Nerja Contain Earliest Human Drawings

February 8, 2012



New dating tests have proven that drawings from the Caves of Nerja, in Málaga, Spain, are the oldest paintings in the world made by humans. The pictures apparently depict seals and were painted more than 42,000 years ago, making them the first known cave paintings created by Neanderthals. Before this discovery, the drawings made about […]

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Bonobo Great Apes are Domesticating Themselves

February 7, 2012



While it’s expected that the animal kingdom is a fierce place, where aggression for survival dominates, a new study on bonobos (Pan paniscus) published in January 20th’s Animal Behaviour suggests that some animals outcompete others by becoming ‘nicer’. It’s most apparent in bonobos, which are a close cousin to chimpanzees. Unlike chimps, which can be […]

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