Dorien de Vries is tracing the evolutionary history of two groups of mammals that share some surprising similarities. Anthropoid primates (like humans, gorillas, baboons, and capuchins) and a group of rodents called the hystricognaths (like capybaras, guinea pigs, and naked mole rats). Their migratory histories make these animals excellent case studies for studying how ecological factors may have affected the evolution of their diversity.
New discoveries and new methods in paleoanthropology are helping to refine the human story. Just 20 years ago, no one could have imagined what scientists now know about humanity’s deep past, let alone how much knowledge could be extracted from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space.
Journal Article, Guest Post
Human beings used to be defined as “the tool-maker” species. But the uniqueness of this description was challenged in the 1960s when Dr. Jane Goodall discovered that chimpanzees will pick and modify grass stems to use to collect termites. Her observations called into question homo sapiens‘ very place in the world. Since then scientists’ knowledge of animal tool use has expanded exponentially.
Grants, In the News, The Leakey Foundation
The Leakey Foundation is proud to announce the Joan Cogswell Donner Field School Scholarship which will provide grants of up to $2,000 to students from countries where there are abundant scientific resources but limited resources for academic development.
Teach a chimpanzee to fish for insects to eat, and you feed her for a lifetime. Teach her a better way to use tools in gathering prey, and you may change the course of evolution.
By Adam Brumm, Griffith University; Adhi Oktaviana, Griffith University, and Maxime Aubert, Griffith University Our team has discovered a cave painting in Indonesia that is at least 44,000 years old and which may cast new light on the beginnings of modern religious culture. This ancient painting from the island of Sulawesi consists of a scene portraying part-human, part-animal figures hunting wild… more »
In this episode of our Origin Stories podcast, Leakey Foundation grantee Bence Viola tells the story of the Denisovans. This group of archaic humans was first discovered through a tiny fragment of a pinky bone found in a Siberian cave. Ancient DNA inside the fossil hid a previously unknown history of humankind. Now new research is uncovering more information about the mysterious Denisovans.
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