The Prehistoric Era. Selected Articles from Magazines & Newspapers, Podcast episodes. A variety of topics related to prehistoric Earth.
Go to Century Past History Resources for a directory of all pages.
Pity the poor Neanderthal mother: She had to nurse her children through colder winters and more illnesses than the mothers of most prehistoric modern humans in Europe, according to a study of the teeth of two Neanderthal kids who lived 250,000 years ago in France. The study offers a startlingly intimate view of the lives of ancient children.
Ann Gibbons, Science 2018
Researchers have found evidence that suggests the ancestors of Aboriginal Australians landed in the northern part of Australia at least 65,000 years ago. The finding pushes back the timing of when people first came to the continent by about 5,000 to 18,000 years.
Nicholas St. Fleur, NY Times 2017
Neanderthal man arrived on the Italian peninsular some 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. The discovery was made after researchers analyzed radioactive deposits that were found in sediments present inside two Neanderthal skulls unearthed in a gravel pit Saccopastore, Lazio, in the 1930s.
The Local, Italy 2015
Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe? The question, one of the biggest in studies of human evolution, has intrigued scientists for decades. In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses, researchers believe they have found an answer.
Carl Zimmer, NY Times, 2016
Aboriginal people appear to be the oldest living civilization on the planet outside of Africa. After an exodus some 72,000 years ago, they split away from the larger genetic group (along with their future neighbors in Papua New Guinea) 58,000 years ago and arrived on the Australian continent around 8,000 years later.
Rachel Feltman, Washington Post, 2016
A new study draws some remarkable conclusions about the lives of Neanderthals by peering beneath their dental enamel. “Looking at bacteria and pathogens and the evolution of pathogens and the evolution of diets, we have a whole new discipline, a whole new field of study that is going to change the way we look at the past.”
Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post 2017
Ancient teeth found in China suggest Homo sapiens was outwitted by its rivals
Robin McKie, The Guardian 2015
New research shows they shared many behaviors that we long believed to be uniquely human. Why did science get them so wrong?
Jon Mooallem, NY Times Magazine 2017
Jesse Szalay, Live Science 2017
A computer simulation supports the idea that grandmothers helped our species evolve social skills and longer lives
Joseph Stromberg, Smithsonian 2012
Origins: Paleogenetics is helping to solve the great mystery of prehistory: how did humans spread out over the earth?
Most of human history is prehistory. Of the 200,000 or more years that humans have spent on Earth, only a tiny fraction have been recorded in writing.
Jacob Mikanowski, Aeon 2018
James Suzman, NY Times 2017
The Fra Mauro map (mid-15th century) provides a rare lens into the geographical worldview and mental landscapes of the medieval world. By connecting identifiable geography from this map to historical place names, we have begun to discover lost, medieval cities in Ethiopia.
Samuel Walker, Popular Archaeology 2017
Interbreeding with Neanderthals gave some of our ancestors distinctive skin and hair, but also left behind a legacy of disease within our DNA.
Hayley Dunning, Natural History Museum 2014
Tracking the migration of humans isn’t easy, but genetics is helping us uncover new information at breathtaking speed. Now we have sequenced the genomes of seven hunter gatherer groups who reached the last areas of Europe to be inhabited, in Scandinavia, between 6,000 and 9,500 years ago.
Jan Apel, The Conversation 2018
Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe? In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer.
Carl Zimmer, NY Times 2016
Neanderthals and modern humans interbred long ago, but evolution has purged many of our caveman relative’s genes from modern human genomes, a new study finds.
Charles Q. Choi, Live Science 2016
Dating when our ancestors split from Neanderthals and other relatives has long been a puzzle, but DNA advances are making our evolutionary journey clearer
Bridget Alex, The Guardian 2016
Geologists have found something strange under the island of Mauritius. They’re calling it ‘Mauritia’. Mauritia is not something people can see, visit or live on, because it’s buried beneath millions of years’ worth of volcanic material.
Nicholas St. Fleur, NY Times 2017
The author addresses questions that include “How did we come to dominate the world?”, How important was the agricultural revolution in the evolution of the first major civilisations?
Yuval Harari, History Extra 2014
Stephen E. Nash, Discovery 2017
Africa is not the cradle of humankind: that’s the claim by a group of scientists who’ve just published what they describe as evidence of pre-human remains found in Eastern Europe (Greece and Bulgaria). Dr Julien Benoit, a vertebrate palaeontologist and palaeobiologist, chatted to The Conversation Africa about the findings.
Opinion column, IOL, 2017
Homo sapiens reportedly evolved more quickly by mating with Neanderthals and others.
Traci Watson, USA Today, 2016
A comprehensive, hemisphere-spanning study of ancient DNA suggests a highly complex peopling of the American continents. The study involved an analysis of ancient American genomes unearthed in locations spanning from Alaska to Patagonia.
Popular Archaeology 2019
Human skeletons and archaeological remains in Australia can be traced back nearly 50,000 years before the trail disappears. So how did people get there, and when? Where did humans first arrive on the continent, and how did they spread across the entire landmass? Answers to some of these questions are stored in the DNA of Aboriginal Australians.
Carl Zimmer, NY Times 2017