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Descent of Man
In this lecture, beginners can familiarize themselves with basic information and terms used to describe the evolution of humanity beginning with the origin of primates through the comings and goings of Genus Homo.
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April 2006

Anthropologists Discover A 'Missing Link'
Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2006
Anthropologists Discover A 'Missing Link' in Human Evolution

By Jessica Berman,

An international team of anthropologists has discovered fossils in eastern Ethiopia that they say may be a missing link between our earliest and more modern ape-man ancestors. Scientists say the discovery fills a major gap in human evolution.
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Fossil find fills evolution gap

4-million-year-old teeth, bones found Belong to ape-like man-creature

An international team of scientists has discovered 4.1-million-year-old fossils in eastern Ethiopia that fill a missing gap in human evolution.

The teeth and bones belong to a primitive species of Australopithecus known as Au. anamensis, an ape-man creature that walked on two legs.

Because the fossils are from the same human ancestral hot spot in Ethiopia as remains from seven other human-like species, scientists can now fill in the gaps for the most complete evolutionary chain so far.

"We just found the chain of evolution, the continuity through time," said Ethiopian anthropologist Berhane Asfaw, co-author of the study being reported today in the journal Nature.

"One form evolved to another. This is evidence of evolution in one place through time."
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Stone age man used dentist drill
Posted: Friday, April 7, 2006
Source: BBC

Stone age people in Pakistan were using dental drills made of flint 9,000 years ago, according to researchers.

Teeth from a Neolithic graveyard in Mehgarh in the country's Baluchistan province show clear signs of drilling.

Analysis of the teeth shows prehistoric dentists had a go at curing toothache with drills made from flint heads.

The team that carried out the work say close examination of the teeth shows the tool was "surprisingly effective" at removing rotting dental tissue.

A total of eleven drilled crowns were found, with one example showing evidence of a complex procedure involving tooth enamel removal followed by carving of the cavity wall.

Four of the teeth show signs of decay associated with the drilled hole.

"In all cases, marginal smoothing confirms that drilling was performed on a living person who continued to chew on the tooth surfaces after they had been drilled," the reserchers reported.

The form of dental treatment seen at Mehrgarh continued for about 1,500 years, before the practice was stopped in the area.

Flint drill heads are found abundantly at the Mehrgarh site, among assemblages of beads made of bones, shell and turquoise. Writing in Nature, the authors suggest that skills developed by bead craftsmen also worked well on teeth.

Mehrgarh straddles a route between Afghanistan and the Indus Valley to the south.

The researchers, led by Roberto Macchiarelli of the University of Poitiers, France, said it was an early site for agriculture, where barley, wheat, and cotton were grown.

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