Humans news stories

The Dinka People of Sudan
23rd October 2017 | | Humans

Two photographers have spent more than 30 years of taking pictures of ceremonies, rituals and everyday life of African tribal people. These extraordinary photos narrate some the story of the Dinka tribe in Sudan.  The Dinka people’s lifestyle varies by season.  During the rainy season they live in savannah settlements and raise grain crops such as millet, while during the dry season they herd cattle along the rivers around their region.

The Struggle to Protect a Tree at the Heart of Hopi Culture
22nd October 2017 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

In the American Southwest, the loss of juniper trees at the hands of mining and development could cost the Hopi a crucial part of their heritage.  The juniper provides Hopis the basics of warmth, shelter, tools, and food. Hopis do not cut down junipers, but rather collect deadwood for winter fires and for building houses, corrals, and fences. Juniper roots which can stretch downward 200 feet are carved into cradleboards, bows and arrows, and hairpieces used for the famous squash-blossom hairdo of Hopi maidens.  Juniper berries are considered a “starvation food” for when the tribe’s crops fail.

Skeptic “Disproves” Theory of California’s 130,000 year old First Americans
22nd October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

Early in 2017, evidence of 130,000 year old Ancient Americans was found at the Cerutti Mastodon Site in San Diego, California. This is more than 100,000 years older than the First Americans should be.  So is it right?  Editorial article from Adam Benton’s Filthy Monkey Men website challenges recent findings.

The Many Hands Shirt: Reuniting an Oglala Lakota Family and an Heirloom
22nd October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

The symbolic Many Hands shirt was made around 1910 by the wife of Chief Daniel Black Horn of the Oglala Lakota. He had traveled extensively with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and other shows of the period. He went to Europe several times and, though he spoke no English, he met many members of European royal families and government officers with whom he had to shake hands.

Why the Famous Folsom Point, New Mexico, isn’t a Smoking Gun
22nd October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

Nine decades after the original Folsom excavation team labored in the hot summer sun of northeastern New Mexico, recent research continues to shed new light on our understanding of Ancient America.  Frankly, the story just keeps getting better and better.

How Smart Were the First Toolmakers?
22nd October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

The stone tools that have survived in the archaeological record can tell us something about the intelligence of the people who made them. Even our earliest human ancestors were no dummies; there is evidence for stone tools as early as 3.3 million years ago, though they were probably making tools from perishable items even earlier.

DNA Analysis of 40,000 year old Tianyuan Man Reveals Complicated Genetic History of Asia
22nd October 2017 | Ancient, Humans

Though several ancient humans have been sequenced in Europe and Siberia, few have been sequenced from East Asia, particularly China, where the archaeological record shows a rich history for early modern humans. This new study on Tianyuan man marks the earliest ancient DNA from East Asia, and the first ancient genome-wide data from China.

Evidence of Ritualistic Violence in Early Andean Socieites
22nd October 2017 | Ancient, Humans

Pacopampa in Peru’s northern highlands was home to a complex society founded on ritual activity.  Researchers excavating an ancient ceremonial site there say the culture engaged in violent, non-lethal rituals of bloodletting.

The Face of Peru’s 4,500 year old “Lady with the 4 Brooches” Recreated
22nd October 2017 | Ancient, Humans

Scientists have recreated the face of a 4,500 year old mummy, unearthed last year in an archaeological site in the coastal ruins of Aspero, north central Peru.  The findings shed new light on the important role of women who lived in an ancient gender-equal South American culture called the Caral civilisation.

When Wealth Inequality Arose
22nd October 2017 | Ancient, Humans

For eons, our hunter-gatherer ancestors shared their spoils with one another, didn’t own much and had very little social hierarchy.  The fact that individuals had so few personal possessions took the bitter dish of economic inequality off the table.  But now, Neolithic burial sites offer evidence of the growing divide between the rich and the poor.  As time passed, farmers owning fertile fields got rich, while farmers with rocky plots got by or found other work.

An Autumn Bounty of Citizen Science
22nd October 2017 | Humans, Misc.

Help scientists document nature and health changes near you to study and predict future trends. Discover Magazine’s editors selected five projects to get you started. Find more citizen science projects on SciStarter’s Project Finder.

Indigenous ‘Thunderbird Strike’ Videogame Lets You Destroy Black Snake Oil Pipelines and Restore Buffalo
21st October 2017 | Earth, Humans, Tech

The symbolism of the thunderbird and the snake are prevalent in Anishinaabe culture and others. According to one version of the story, thunderbirds were a clan of people who were asked to return to the waters because the lightning from their eyes would kill others.  In this new videogame from Native American developers, you control a big greenish-blue thunderbird—hand-drawn and animated in a traditional woodland style—that flies around the screen and charges up electricity. Players then use its thunder to restore the local wolf, caribou, and buffalo populations, and also destroy vehicles and pipeline construction sites that threaten the environment.

Last Common Ancestor of Humans and Apes was the Size of a Gibbon
21st October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

New research suggests that the last common ancestor of apes ~ including great apes and humans ~ was much smaller than previously thought, about the size of a gibbon. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, are fundamental to understanding the evolution of the human family tree.

Should the Funerary Industry Decide What Happens to Your Body After You Die?
21st October 2017 | | Humans, Weird

In some Indonesian villages, families live with and care for the bodies of their loved ones for months or years after they die. In Mexico, mummified babies and children were once revered, and people would hold parties and games for them. The new book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, written by a female mortician, crisscrosses the globe to look at how diverse and even healing death can be.

The Pot-Smoking Warriors Who Turned Human Teeth into Earrings
21st October 2017 | | Ancient, Humans

The British Museum’s latest exhibit on the Scythians of Siberia is an exhilarating look at a ferocious people with a unexpectedly delicate side.

Can Psychedelics Tune You Into the Divine?
21st October 2017 | Earth, Humans, Weird

The field of archaeology has provided fossil evidence showing that the use of psychedelic substances in ritual ceremonies goes back 10,000 years. Psychoactive plants were used for centuries by indigenous Amazonians, who believed they permitted their “holy men” to treat physical and mental diseases and communicate with forebears and gods.

News stories covering humans, psychology and health.