We can't find the fossils and the genome can give only some hints. How did the first human-like species survive and why did they have to be black. Mel Greaves has the answers.
We can visualise distant ancestral forms of many organisms by imagining similar species alive today, or complete fossils. Here the scarcity of evidence on early mammalian teeth makes it difficult, but not impossible, to show how incredible events shaped our past into the flower, insect and mammal-dominated Paleocene.
While renewable energy struggles to make its mark on politicians, the easy way is to use the good old technology of getting fossils out of the ground and setting them alight. Has anybody remembered the globe is warming quickly now?
The horse, the human and many others are being revealed as stretching way back in time, through ancestries we only dreamed of. The fascination of the horse is because we can truly see what happened because of the great herds that existed and left many useful fossils.
The North American fossils of humming birds are rare compared to other continents. This fossil is early and provides lots of information relevant to swifts and humming birds.
A new study on Neanderthals and the evolution of human ancestors' brains has been published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Pegomastax africanus, a new species of tiny plant-eating dinosaur under two feet long has been found from South African fossils.
63,000 year old skull fragments of modern humans discovered in Laos. Homo sapiens fossils in Asia confirm that 'out of Africa,' humans colonised far and wide, but perhaps earlier than previously thought.
Human origins fascinate some people more than our currently-evolved selves. We have, in Africa, the mother of our species and civilisation. Unfortunately, we were fed a false theory in the beginning and now play catch up with the fossils that give us clues about our adaptive ancestors.
The smallest species of mammoth that ever existed lived on Crete. Fossils of Mammuthus creticus, a dwarf mammoth, were discovered on the Greek island.
Oetzi the iceman should not have had any blood preserved for the length of time (5,300 years) he has been lying in the mountains. But, as ever with this persistent man, Oetzi has come up trumps.
Fossils from a new bird-like dinosaur species have been discovered in Patagonia. At 70 million years old, 'Bonaparte' or Bonapartenykus ultimus has fascinated palaeontologists and closely resembles Patagonykus.
The Burgess Shale fossils are one major example of the Cambrian carbonaceous compressions of small bodied animals in mud.
When we wrote on Oetzi the archer who became 'The Iceman,' we must have missed the point. Now geneticists have jumped into the glacier with him and extracted his DNA for a whole-genome sequence.
Years after a fossilised penguin skeleton was found in New Zealand, scientists say it belonged to possibly the tallest ever prehistoric penguin; Kairuku grebneffi stood almost five feet tall.
Could it be that elephants are our superiors in matrilocal (mother-based), hierarchical and complex social structures? Research into fossil elephant trackways investigates their behavior.
Eels are among the most successful of all fish groups, and that extends back through time to the evolution of the bony teleosts themselves. The new species was named Protanguilla palau, complete with a unique family and genus.
Large colonies of gregarious tulip creatures (Siphusauctum gregarium) from 500 million years ago have been discovered near the town of Field in Mount Stephen's Burgess Shale.
Saber-toothed cats and similar prehistoric predators had large teeth and strong forearms, but their canines were fragile and liable to break, according to a new study
Valentin Fischer of the University of Liege, with several others, including Darren Naisch of the School of Earth Sciences at Southampton University, have illuminated the dark recesses of ichthyosaur biology with the unveiling of a new species.
Lauren Sallan, post-doctoral student at the University of Chicago has equalled her prestigious colleagues with recent achievements in evolutionary understanding. The idea that the development of features in the head precedes that in other areas such as body shape is a hard one to prove.
The discovery of a bronze artifact in a prehistoric Eskimo site. No trace of bronze metallurgy had ever been found in Alaska, until now.
A strange explanation is given for a puzzling arrangement of Triassic era fossils. It could seem strange to apply the word 'artistic' to a Triassic creature but an in-depth examination of Ichthyosaur fossils has renewed the general confusion about what happened to the animals on display at Nevada's Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park.
Scientists have turned to fossils from a previous time of high CO2 concentrations and found that previous temperature predictions have probably been too high. The team studied growth rings in the shells of molluscs and tested other material found in the fossils.
A paper in Nature today shows that anomalocaridids, giant predatory sea-creatures, survived 30 million years longer than was previously believed. The conclusion comes from the study of beautifully preserved soft-bodied fossils, found in Moroccan rocks, from the Ordovician period.
Scientists discover that the 'greenhouse' effect isn't constrained to the atmosphere. A team of geologists from Newcastle University in the UK have discovered evidence that 'greenhouse oceans' occurred in prehistoric times, resulting in areas of ocean with little or no life due to low levels of oxygen in the water.
The study of fossilised mollusks could give scientists an invaluable insight into the way the world will respond to climate change. Researchers at Californian university UCLA say that examining the fossils from 3.5 million years ago has allowed them to build a picture of how the world is reacting to current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a key contributor to global climate change.
A new archaeological find in Texas pushes further back the date when humans arrived in American, spelling the end of the Clovis First theory. The evidence has been found in Texas, where thousands of artefacts were discovered beneath a previous find of Clovis relics. Archaeologists believe the new evidence is between 13,200 and 15,500 years old and shows signs that the Clovis people adapted and improved on previous technologies.
Sudden death and burial by hurricane-displaced sediments has frozen ancient creatures in real-life situations which allow scientists to try and decipher how they behaved. University of Cincinnati palaeontologist Carlton E Brett says colonies of ancient sea creatures have been caught in mid-orgy by sudden downpours of fossilising sediment catching snapshots of life in the way that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius did at Pompeii.
The record of earthquakes past may be preserved in water-lain sediments, according to research from Tel Aviv University. These fossil-quakes leave tell-tale wave marks and help push back the record of seismic activity thousands of years. And the more information on an area's seismic past, the more confidently we can project future risks.
US study indicates that Neanderthal extinction was not due to dietry deficiency. Archaeologists cannot agree whether Neanderthals are a separate human species or a subspecies of modern humans.
Israeli archaeologists believe that remains found in a cave indicate that Homo sapiens roamed Israel 400,000 years ago.
The New York based world monuments fund has undertaken a massive project to restore the damage done to the ruins of ancient Babylon. After years of neglect and violence, archaeologists and preservationists have once again begun working to protect and even restore parts of Babylon.