January 23, 2003 |
Chinese researchers announced Wednesday the discovery of a feathered dinosaur that glided on four wings -- a diminutive plumed dragon that could be a long-sought evolutionary link between dinosaurs and the first true birds. As the remnants of nature's earliest experiments with avian flight, they rank among the most important fossil finds of the last century, several experts on avian evolution said.
December 14, 2002 |
Natives of India's Andaman Islands, once famed for their ferocity and unique appearance, are genetically separate from their neighbors and may be descendants of Stone Age settlers, researchers said. Analysis of DNA from samples taken in recent times and 100 years ago show the Andaman Islanders, which include a group known as the Jarawa, are genetically different from other South Asians. The islanders, who are on the verge of extinction, have a distinct language and culture.
November 23, 2002 |
Of all the things that distinguish humans and other primates -- thumbs, the ability to leap and forward-facing eyes -- it was the ability to grasp that evolved first, researchers reported in this week's issue of Science. A 56-million-year-old skeleton found in Wyoming shows that one of the earliest primate ancestors had an opposable big toe, allowing it to creep to the outermost branches of trees for nuts and fruit. It also probably kept a sharp eye out to avoid becoming someone else's meal.
October 12, 2002 |
Is it the skull of an ancient ancestor of modern humans, or does it belong to an ape that lived 7 million years ago? That depends on whom you ask. The skull unearthed in the desert of Chad was hailed as arguably the most important discovery in living memory when it was revealed and made world headlines in July.
March 7, 2002 |
Spreading out of Africa like starlings, early humans conquered the world by embracing the strangers they encountered around the globe, not by forcing them into extinction, as many researchers believed, according to a new analysis of human genetic history. In the textbook view, the founding fathers of modern humanity emerged suddenly from Africa about 100,000 years ago and swept into oblivion all other prehuman species--Neanderthals, for example--that they encountered.
July 12, 2001 |
Remains of what may be humanity's earliest direct ancestor, a chimp-sized creature that walked the cool, wooded highlands of East Africa more than 5 million years ago, have been discovered in Ethiopia, an international team of researchers announced Wednesday. "This is the first evidence that we have for the existence of hominids between 5.2 million and 5.8 million years ago," said Yohannes Haile-Selassie, an Ethiopian graduate student at UC Berkeley who discovered the fossils.