Category Archives: Physical Anthropology

NOVA – Interactive Exhibit for Bog Bodies

NOVA has launched a website with an interactive bog body exhibit. You can follow the maps of important finds and learning about more than 80 finds.

Neanderthal’s Last Refuge

Yesterday, I posted a story about the recent Neanderthal site discovered in Russia. You can re-read it again here.

The story has gained a great deal of following and interest.  Check out the latest story on National Geographic and Science News.

Mummified Head of Maori Warrior Returned to New Zealand

Today, France has returned the first in a series of Mummified remains to New Zealand. The tatooed, mummified head of an 18th century Maori Warrior is on its way home after a long, drawn-out legal battle with the French Government; a move hailed by most as a step forward in relations with Indigenous Peoples and Archaeological ownership.

“This is a great step forward in a vital ethical debate over our museum collections, and above all over human remains that were at times acquired illegitimately,” said Valerie Fourneyron, Mayor of Rouen.

The head will receive further scientific attention in New Zealand before it is reburied with full Maori honors and traditions. You can read about the story in this Reuters Article.

‘Cousin’ moved to ‘Grand Parent’ in Human Family Tree

Homo heidelbergensis, commonly called the “Heidelberg Man” has been upgraded from ‘cousin’ in the human family tree to ancestor. New research suggests that he co-existed with early man as soon as 400,000 years ago.

You can read about the new evolutionary theories in these two Discovery News Articles: “Mysterious Man Coexisted with Neanderthals: Photos” and “Heidelberg Man Links Humans.”

“Nutcracker Man” Primarily ate Grass

Paranthropos boisei, often termed the “nutcracker man” did not use his large jaw bones to crack nuts, but rather to chew grass.

Read about the new findings pertaining to this hominid in Discovery and Yahoo News.

Most Neanderthals Were Righties – Sorry Lefties…

Sorry lefties, it looks like right-handedness has been around longer than modern civilization and well into the early hominid tree. Current data on stone-tools indicate that the overwhelming majorities of Neanderthals (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) were righties. Additionally, current theories on brain mapping link ‘handedness’ to hard-wired language found only in Homo sapiens:

Scientists have linked prevalent right-handedness in human populations to a left brain hemisphere that controls right-sided body movements and enables critical language functions.

Current studies on the wear pattern of early hominid teeth suggests that our ancestors enjoyed blabbering away! Read more about these developments in Science News.