From the Field
Leakey Foundation grantee Deming Yang has recently returned from his data collection trips to the Turkana Basin in northern Kenya and Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the questions his dissertation research project hopes to address is how the paleoenvironments in the Turkana Basin varied across space and time.
How, when, and why did pair-bonding and monogamy evolve in our human lineage? Leakey Foundation grantee Alba García de la Chica is a PhD candidate from the University of Barcelona. She was awarded a Leakey Foundation Research Grant in fall 2017 to study the mechanisms that allow the maintenance of pair bonds and monogamy in owl monkeys.
We know that some modern human genomes contain fragments of DNA from an ancient population of humans called Denisovans, the remains of which have been found at only one site, a cave in what is now Siberia. Two recent papers published in Nature give us a firmer understanding of when these little-known archaic hominins lived.
An extinct branch of hominins called the Denisovans is one of the most elusive members of our extended family tree: So far there have been only four individuals found in a single Siberian cave. Now researchers have done the painstaking work of dating the fossils, sediments, and artifacts found in that famous cave, including what might be the first evidence for crafts made by our long-lost cousins.
Our microbiome, the complex community of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other microorganisms in and on our bodies, reflects the way we live. Most microbiome analyses have focused on people living in developed nations, but in the last several years, scientists have begun to investigate whether people in non-industrialized societies possess distinctly different microbiomes and, if so, what factors shape those differences.
Now, 10 years later after the discovery of Malapa, full descriptions of the Australopithecus sediba fossil material, as well as raw measurement data and surface scans of the fossils which are available at Morphosource.org, have been published in a special issue of the open access journal, PaleoAnthropology.
Less than two years after the first report of wild chimpanzees in Uganda dying as a result of a human “common cold” virus, a new study has identified two other respiratory viruses of human origin in chimpanzee groups in the same forest.
When did early humans first arrive in the Mediterranean? New archaeological evidence published in the journal Science and funded in part by The Leakey Foundation indicates their presence in North Africa at least 2.4 million years ago.
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