Here are 10 amazing things we discovered about ancestors in 2022

Although there are many different types of humans, we all belong to the same species, Homo sapiens, and have a similar ancestor. But as researchers uncover new information, the tale of how we emerged, spread across the globe, and behaved along the way continues to take shape. Here are 10 amazing things we discovered about prehistoric people in 2022, along with how they change how we view humanity’s evolution.


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1. A fresh “Out of Africa” project

An Israeli vertebra estimated to be 1.5 million years old provides evidence that early humans may have left Africa in more than one wave. Although there is currently only one species of Homo, there were once several different species in the genus. It is unknown to which species of Homo the bone belongs.

A now-extinct human species may have left Africa for Eurasia at least 1.8 million years ago, and there is evidence that modern humans may have done the same as early as 270,000 years ago. Now, the discovery of this vertebra—the oldest human bone ever discovered in Israel—shows that people have most likely left Africa more than once.

2. Planetary family tree

Making your own family tree is challenging enough; now, researchers are attempting to make a tree of all human relations. The researchers examined thousands of genome sequences from 215 populations from all over the world, including ancient and modern humans as well as our ancestors from prehistoric times.

The team was able to determine who was related to and descended from whom by using a computer algorithm that examined genetic variations in different genomes. The researchers made a map for this enormous family tree after estimating where these ancestors lived. It all starts with Africa, as one might anticipate.

3. Performing the two-step (7 million years ago)

Researchers discovered that walking on our own two feet is a remarkable accomplishment that our ancestors accomplished as long ago as 7 million years ago. A thigh bone and two forearm bones from the 7-million-year-old Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which may be the earliest known hominin and a relative of humans from the time after our ancestors split off from other primates, were studied by researchers.

The 7-million-year-old Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which may be the oldest known hominin and a relative of humans dating from the time after our ancestors split off from those of modern apes, yielded the thigh bone and two forearm bones that led to the discovery. S. tchadensis, which was discovered in Chad, is thought to have been able to climb trees and walk on two feet.

4. Europe’s oldest known living relative

What If Everyone Spoke The Same Language? is a related video. (Dailymotion). The oldest known human relative in Europe may have left behind a jawbone that dates back 1.4 million years, according to researchers. It appears that the upper jawbone is more similar to contemporary humans than it is to ape-like primates because it exhibits characteristics that show the evolution of the human face.

Homo antecessor, whose place in the human family tree is debatable but who may be a relative of modern humans and Neanderthals, maybe the owner of this jawbone (Homo neanderthalensis). Prior to this discovery, the oldest human relative in Europe was estimated to have lived 1.2 million years ago.

5. Redating bones changes the course of evolution

Old, human-like bones underwent a new analysis that suggested they may be older than previously thought—possibly by more than a million years. These Australopithecus bones from Sterkfontein, South Africa, have a new age range that puts them between 3.4 and 3.7 million years old, which increases the likelihood that this species gave rise to humans. (Australopithecus africanus remains are found at Sterkfontein, but it is unknown if the studied bones come from this species.)

If confirmed, the discovery could fundamentally alter how we think about how humans first appeared because the fossils would predate the famous “Lucy” specimen, an Australopithecus afarensis from East Africa that was thought to be our closest living relative at the time of its discovery 3.2 million years ago.

6. Unknown human relative hailed from Southeast Asia

The Denisovans are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans, along with Neanderthals, although little is known about them. These humans, who were named after the Denisova Cave in southern Siberia where their first-known remains were discovered, have very few fossils to their name. Their remains have also been discovered in China over the years. Now, it has been discovered that the Denisovans also lived in Southeast Asia, at low altitudes where it was warm and humid, 164,000 years ago, in Laos.

7. Amputations were performed medically 31,000 years ago.

The oldest recorded medical amputation dates back to a Stone Age patient who lost a leg in Borneo 31,000 years ago, according to researchers. A young patient’s leg was amputated by a skilled surgeon, and the stump began to heal. An examination of the patient’s tooth enamel revealed that the young hunter-gatherer continued to live for another six to nine years after the operation. The oldest recorded medical amputation up until that point was from 7,000 years ago.

8. Ice age obstruction

The people who left Eurasia to become the first Americans may have been stopped by a huge icy barrier that was up to 300 stories high. This icy barrier’s presence suggests that these people did not walk across the Bering land bridge from Asia to America, but rather traveled along the coast in boats. This result was reached after 64 geological samples collected at six different sites around the ancient bridge area were analyzed. A confusing date given that other evidence suggests the first Americans arrived much earlier and the Clovis culture discovered in New Mexico was already established at that time is the discovery that the ice-free corridor didn’t completely open until about 13,800 years ago.

9. Children from the Ice Age jumped in mud puddles.

Little ones today enjoy running around and splashing in muddy puddles, and earlier generations did the same. About 30 child footprints were discovered by researchers on top of the tracks left by a giant sloth, one of the large animals that once roamed the Americas. The sloth’s prints, which were discovered 11,000 years ago in what is now New Mexico, appear to have become muddy, making them an ideal place for jumping.

10. The UK’s ancient superhighway was a popular destination

Researchers in England are calling a stretch of coastline where ancient humans and animals left their footprints a superhighway because it dates back thousands of years. Several thousand years after the end of the last ice age, some of the tracks date back to about 8,500 years. In addition to human footprints, researchers also discovered the remains of red deer, wild boars, wolves, lynxes, and cranes. It’s possible that these ancient people were hunting the species of animals whose prints are also preserved, based on the arrangement of some of the human footprints.