This week in human evolution: climate changing meteors, the first Europeans & more

No preamble this week; we’re straight down to business with this weeks biggest discoveries about our ancestors. Does everyone remember Atapuerca? No? Click here. Finished clicking? Good, so now you know there appears to have been a second wave of migration (possibly the ancestors of


No preamble this week; we’re straight down to business with this weeks biggest discoveries about our ancestors.

  • Does everyone remember Atapuerca? No? Click here. Finished clicking? Good, so now you know there appears to have been a second wave of migration (possibly the ancestors of Neanderthals) characterized by the appearance of new stone tools. Except now archaeologists have found said stone tools at a site almost twice the age they are supposed to be. What on earth is going on? Stay tunes for future updates (source).
  • Speaking of re-dating things; fossils from China may force us to re-evaluate when out ancestors left Africa. It was thought this migration occurred 60 – 100,000 years ago (although most scientists opted for the younger end of the spectrum). However, an analysis of these fossils suggests humans may have been in China by 100,000 years ago; meaning they had to have left Africa even earlier (source; or if you’re interested in a great review of this research James Lumbard has a tippy-top post on the subject).
  • The Younger Dryas was a brief “ice age” that started about 12,000 years ago. Some scientists had hypothesized that a cosmic event, perhaps a meteor impact, may have been responsible. However a new study disproves this idea quite conclusively and is quite scathing in the process. The authors note that this hypothesis is inconsistent “with the basic laws of physics” (source).
  • It seems like every week we learn something about how Neanderthals were more intelligent and capable than we gave them credit for; and this week was no exception. Their latest ability? Turns out they hunted and ate pigeons (source)!

And of course there’s also the news stories covered in more detail here at EvoAnth. We’ve got…

10 thoughts on “This week in human evolution: climate changing meteors, the first Europeans & more”

  1. Paul Braterman says:

    Your source shows that they roasted the pigeons, too!

    1. Adam Benton says:

      Well eating them raw would be just silly

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Adam,

    From the first sentence in that Vallverdu abstract, what the heck is a “short dispersion?”

    1. Adam Benton says:

      I believe it’s talking about a quick one. In some cases migrations occurred in less than a few thousand years, which is quit impressive when you consider the scale of the feat.

  3. Brian says:

    I love scathing disproofs, especially involving physics and other sciences. I was a physics major and have a master’s in radiation physics. And, boy, you weren’t kidding. That abstract is positively brutal. The ultimate line:

    “The data and the hypotheses generated by YDIH proponents are contradictory, inconsistent and incoherent.”

    1. Adam Benton says:

      I always love the veiled insults that get thrown around. A scientist isn’t an idiot, their idea is inconsistent. Their hypothesis isn’t stupid, it lacks evidentiary support.

    2. Storybook says:

      Here Here!

  4. Dennis Siebrits says:

    We live in a country, South Africa, which has persons in which are virtually Stone Age in culture and mentality and yet we have a large part of the so called civilized European type citizens who deny the possibility of evolution, they are still pre-Darwin and prefer to believe that a mysterious invisible deity knocked the whole shebang together. The same spook-
    god, I suppose, that allowed those many thousands to drown in the Tsunami.
    The problem is they have not the wits to read and understand your web-info, a great pity but there it is.
    Regards, Dennis Siebrits, Cape Town, South Africa

  5. Storybook says:

    This bullet pointed format is really nice – a plethora of information (+links) in a quick minute of reading. Thanks!

    1. Adam Benton says:

      Glad you liked it

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