10 things learned about human origins in 2020 + Warm oceans aided human migration

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Ten New Things We Learned About Human Origins in 2020

INTRO: The pandemic this year changed a lot about the world and the way we lived, including the way that paleoanthropologists, archaeologists and other fieldwork-based researchers operate. This year, we want to highlight the different lines of evidence that are used in human origins research -- so we’ve organized our ten highlighted discoveries into four broader “lines of evidence” categories. Since many scientific articles are years in the making, despite our inability to get out in the field, a lot of critical and exciting discoveries were still revealed in 2020... (MORE)


Fossil Footprints Reveal Where and How Modern Humans Traveled: While we may not be able to move around much this year, three studies on fossil human footprints published in 2020 revealed a lot more about where ancient humans traveled and how they moved together in groups. Unlike body fossils, footprints (and other “trace fossils”) offer us a snapshot of an exact moment in time, or at least a very short time interval...

Fossils Show Ancient Primates Also Undertook Major Journeys: While discoveries directly related to humans’ evolutionary journey are important, understanding how now-extinct primates survived, thrived and traveled across the globe is just as exciting...

New Hominin Fossils From Drimolen, South Africa: No list of important finds in human evolution would be complete without fossil evidence of hominins themselves, and this year the site of Drimolen in South Africa was the big winner...

Denisovan DNA Found in Cave Sediments and Modern Humans: Back to our theme of migration. (Can you tell we miss being able to, you know, go places?)...

Warm oceans helped first human migration from Asia to North America

RELEASE: New research reveals significant changes in the circulation of the North Pacific Ocean and their impact on the initial migration of humans from Asia to North America. The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study published in Science Advances provides a new picture of the circulation and climate of the North Pacific at the end of the last ice age, with implications for early human migration.

Scientists used sediment cores from the deep sea to reconstruct the circulation and climate of the North Pacific during the peak of the last ice age. The results reveal a dramatically different circulation in the ice age Pacific, with vigorous ocean currents creating a relatively warm region around the modern Bering Sea. The warming from these ocean currents created conditions favorable to early human habitation, helping address a long-standing mystery about the earliest inhabitants of North America.

"According to genetic studies, the first people to populate the Americas lived in an isolated population for several thousand years during the peak of the last ice age, before spreading out into the American continents," said co-author Ben Fitzhugh of the University of Washington.

That has been termed the "Beringian Standstill" hypothesis. A significant question is where the population lived after separation from Asian relatives and before deglaciation allowed them to reach and spread throughout North and South America. The new research suggests that these early Americans may have dwelled in a relatively warm refugium in southern Beringia, on now-submerged land beneath the Bering Sea. Due to the extremely cold climate that dominated other parts of this region during the ice age, it has been unclear, until now, how habitable conditions could have been maintained.
Zinjanthropos Offline
About #1 on the list of things we learned about human origins....

I can't believe the Smithsonian would depict a female hominid from 13,000 years ago as a white woman, nice teeth, body and clothing clean showing a nice pair of hairless legs, hair on the head neatly combed/brushed & parted, wearing a deerskin mini in what looks like driving rain, with either a mastodon, mammoth or elephant close by. She reminds me of Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC. The well fed chubby kid is wearing nothing at all and is clean as a whistle. Maybe they were at the beach and got caught in the rain or got rushed by a stampede of the Elephantidae family. My guard went up immediately after seeing this artist rendition.

Was not 11-13 thousand years ago the date of the suspected meteorite hit that was the beginning of the large mammal extinction period in Americas? Maybe she saw it and that's not rain in the artist's depiction. I saw a show where they proved a hit had occurred and just recently read that the crater was located under ice in Greenland. Can't vouch for the accuracy of that.

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