Fossil discoveries rewrite our family history

Fossil discoveries rewrite our family history

An international team of researchers that includes anthropologists at Washington University in St. Louis has unearthed the earliest known skull of Homo erectus, the first of our ancestors to be nearly human-like in their anatomy and aspects of their behavior. The effort was led by La Trobe University in Australia.
‘Lost crops’ could have fed as many as maize

‘Lost crops’ could have fed as many as maize

For thousands of years, goosefoot and knotweed were grown as crops, possibly feeding as many indigenous people of North America as corn. But the domesticated forms of these lost crops became lost over the years, and now a Washington University in St. Louis archaeologist is trying to figure out why — and recreate them.
Time to retire the ‘pristine myth’ of climate change

Time to retire the ‘pristine myth’ of climate change

Anthropologist T.R. Kidder in Arts & Sciences contributed to one of the first “big data” studies in archaeology to tackle broader questions of how humans have reshaped landscapes, ecosystems and potentially climate over millennia. The analysis published Aug. 30 in the journal Science challenges conventional ideas that man’s impact has been “mostly recent.”
Pottery reveals America’s first social media networks

Pottery reveals America’s first social media networks

Long before Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and even MySpace, early Mississippian Mound cultures in America’s southern Appalachian Mountains shared artistic trends and technologies across regional networks that functioned in similar ways as modern social media, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.
Food culture along the Silk Road

Food culture along the Silk Road

Like passionate foodies who know the best places to eat in every town, Silk Road nomads may have been the gastronomic elites of the Medieval Ages, enjoying diets much more diverse than their sedentary urban counterparts, suggests a new study in Scientific Reports.
How barley reached China: A story of food globalization

How barley reached China: A story of food globalization

First domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, wheat and barley took vastly different routes to China, with barley switching from a winter to both winter and summer crop during a thousand-year detour along the southern Tibetan Plateau, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.
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