Human evolution in the news

Innovative scientific techniques and fresh discoveries are adding to our knowledge on some of the most fundamental questions about humankind at an unprecedented rate. Here you can keep up to date with the most recent findings.   

Keith collection Missing human fossils rediscovered - 23/06/2014

A treasure trove of important human fossils missing for decades has been identified among the Museum’s collections.

Sima skull Grandpa Neanderthal? ‘Pit of bones’ clues suggest closer link - 20/06/2014

New research confirms the theory that modern humans and Neanderthals had a common ancestor about 500,000 years ago.

Happisburgh-3D-print We were here: earliest humans leave prints on Norfolk beach - 07/02/2014

Clues to early human existence revealed during ongoing excavation of Happisburgh archaeological site.

Neanderthal and human models from Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story exhibition The pros and cons of dating a Neanderthal - 03/02/2014

Breeding with Neanderthals allowed our ancestors to better cope with European winters, but also passed on diseases we suffer today.

Severe tooth decay Ancient hunter-gatherers' diet gave them toothache - 06/01/2014

Museum study shows earlier processing of carbohydrates caused dental problems for ancient humans.

Neanderthal skull Neanderthal inbreeding could be a factor in their demise - 19/12/2013

Genetic code of a Neanderthal woman reveals her parents were half-siblings.

Oldest DNA Oldest human DNA uncovered - 06/12/2013

Ancient DNA pushes the human genetic story back a further 300,000 years.

Homo erectus skulls from Dmanisi, Georgia. Ancient skull could change the story of human evolution - 18/10/2013

1.8-million-year-old skull shows there may have been fewer species of early human.

Neanderthal skull Neanderthals may have made a meal of animal stomachs - 16/10/2013

Evidence from tooth plaque suggests Neanderthals had a diverse diet.

European-men-growing-taller Evolution pushes on as European men grow taller - 05/09/2013

As research shows European men have grown taller, Prof Chris Stringer explains why our height varies throughout history.

Shell beads from around 75,000 years ago unearthed at Blombos Cave, South Africa Wet weather helped human culture grow - 21/05/2013

Some of the earliest signs of modern human culture are linked to periods where the climate changed rapidly to wetter conditions.

This reindeer antler has part of a stylised horse engraved on it. Lost and found, the first find of an early human artwork - 20/03/2013

A 14,000-year-old engraved reindeer antler is possibly the first piece of early human art ever found.

The La Ferrassie 1 (Neanderthal) and Cro-Magnon 1 (early modern) skulls Neanderthal vision focus gives clues to extinction - 13/03/2013

Neanderthals' brains had less room for complex functions, which may have played a role in their demise.

Neanderthal illustration Neanderthal extinction earlier than previously thought? - 05/02/2013

Museum human origins expert Chris Stringer comments on research that re-dates the last evidence of Neanderthals in Europe.

Replica of the finger bone fragment from the ancient Denisovan human who lived about 75,000 years ag Denisovan DNA suggests a dark complexion and interbreeding - 31/08/2012

Chris Stringer comments on the ancient human genome research.

Volcanic glass particles called cryptotephra Invisible volcanic ash gives clues to Neanderthal demise - 03/08/2012

Scientists detect microscopic volcanic glass from an ancient Italian eruption, providing clues about why the Neanderthals died out.

Fossil skull from Sima de los Huesos in Spain has many Neanderthal features. Largest group of fossil humans are Neanderthals after all - 12/06/2012

The world's largest known sample of fossil humans are Neanderthals, according to a study by the Museum's Chris Stringer.

Digital painting of Neanderthals clinging on to life in a refuge as the climate deteriorated. Did taking refuge from climate change spur human evolution? - 16/03/2012

Models of ice age plant and animal movements reveal clues to human evolution.

Areas of the brain (Neanderthals on the left and modern humans on the right) show differences Did a good sense of smell give us an evolutionary advantage? - 13/12/2011

Sense of smell may have been as important as language in giving modern humans an evolutionary advantage over other human relatives.

CT scan of Kent’s Cavern maxilla before reconstruction. Devon jawbone reveals earliest NW European - 02/11/2011

A jawbone from Kent's Cavern has revealed that modern humans were living in northwestern Europe between 41,000 and 44,000 years ago.

Iwo Eleru skull from Nigeria (on the right) dates to 13,000 years ago but shows more ancient feature Mystery of a West African skull from 13,000 years ago - 16/09/2011

Humans with primitive skull features were still living in West Africa 13,000 years ago.

Fossil skull of the 1.98-million-year-old Sediba human ancestor uncovered in South Africa Sediba human ancestor could shift our origins to South Africa - 08/09/2011

A human-like species may shift the likely location of early human origins from East Africa to South Africa.

Map of southern Africa, where some scientists suggest modern humans evolved. Previously, most eviden Modern humans came from southern Africa, study suggests - 22/03/2011

A genetic study suggests modern humans evolved in southern Africa rather than in the east.

Human skulls made into cups uncovered in Gough's Cave in Somerset are the oldest known so far. Earliest human skull-cups made in the UK - 16/02/2011

The earliest known examples of human skull-cups have been uncovered in the UK, Natural History Museum scientists report.

The Denisova human shared a common ancestor with modern humans and Neanderthals (cranium shown right Ancient Denisovans and the human family tree - 12/01/2011

A new group of ancient humans interbred with our species and left behind a genetic trace. Chris Stringer talks about the research.

Synchrotron image of the upper jaw (maxilla) of a Neanderthal child showing the permanent teeth insi Neanderthal teeth reveal they grew up quicker than us - 22/11/2010

A high-tech study of tooth growth lines reveals that Neanderthals had shorter childhoods and reached maturity earlier than modern humans.

Illustrated scene with ancient human relative Australopithecus afarensis Oldest tool use and meat-eating revealed - 12/08/2010

Ancient human relatives used stone tools to help them eat animals more than 3 million years ago.

Scene of Happisburgh, Norfolk, UK, 800,000 years ago Ancient Britons were earliest northern Europeans - 07/07/2010

Ancient humans lived in Britain more than 800,000 years ago Museum scientists report.

Model head of a Neanderthal man First genetic code of Neanderthal reveals interbreeding - 06/05/2010

The genetic code of the Neanderthals has been revealed for the first time, giving surprising clues to their intimate relations with modern humans.

Evolution app for iPad

Our new Evolution app for iPad

Explore more than 650 million years of Earth's extraordinary history with our first app for iPad, NHM Evolution.

Learn about more than 800 creatures and plants, examine spectacular 360° high definition fossil images and watch specially-commissioned videos of Museum experts discussing the latest evolutionary theories.

More about the NHM Evolution app

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