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Earliest human footprints outside Africa found in Britain

Footprints left by ancient humans 800,000 years ago have been found in Britain, the earliest evidence of such markings outside Africa, scientists said Friday. Researchers discovered the footprints, which were left by both adults and children, in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh in Norfolk, eastern England. The only older footprints found so far are at Laetoli in Tanzania, at about 3.5 million years old, and at Ileret and Koobi Fora in Kenya at about 1.5 million years, they added.

Earliest human footprints outside Africa found in Britain

Footprints left by ancient humans 800,000 years ago have been found in Britain, the earliest evidence of such markings outside Africa, scientists said Friday. Researchers discovered the footprints, which were left by both adults and children, in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh in Norfolk, eastern England. The only older footprints found so far are at Laetoli in Tanzania, at about 3.5 million years old, and at Ileret and Koobi Fora in Kenya at about 1.5 million years, they added.

Modern humans more Neanderthal than once thought, studies suggest

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - It's getting harder and harder to take umbrage if someone calls you a Neanderthal. According to two studies published on Wednesday, DNA from these pre-modern humans may play a role in the appearance of hair and skin as well as the risk of certain diseases.

Neanderthals helped thick-skinned humans

The 1-3 percent of the Neanderthal genome that survives in modern humans likely helped early homo sapiens adapt to cold Europe by conferring a thicker skin, researchers said Wednesday. It may also have transferred a genetically higher risk for diabetes and lupus. Humans acquired Neanderthal DNA through interbreeding between 40,000 and 80,000 years ago which resulted in today's European and East Asian populations, scientists believe.

Gene clue to Latin American risk for diabetes

Scientists on Wednesday said they had found a variant of a gene to explain why Latin Americans are at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, and pointed to a possible DNA legacy from the Neanderthals. The variant lies on a gene called SLC16A11, which plays a part in breaking down fatty molecules called lipids, they said in the journal Nature.

Neanderthal bone highlights human inter-breeding

A tiny toebone from a Neanderthal woman who lived around 50,000 years ago has shown that several branches of early humans interbred before a single group, Homo sapiens, rose to dominate. The bone has provided the final piece to a project, launched in 2006 by European evolutionary anthropologist Svante Paabo, to use ancient DNA to trace the human odyssey. In a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, a team reports that the bone adds hugely to genetic knowledge of our cousins, the Neanderthals, who died out around 30,000 years ago.

Skull discovery suggests early man was single species

A stunningly well-preserved skull from 1.8 million years ago offers new evidence that early man was a single species with a vast array of different looks, researchers said Thursday. With a tiny brain about a third the size of a modern human's, protruding brows and jutting jaws like an ape, the skull was found in the remains of a medieval hilltop city in Dmanisi, Georgia, said the study in the journal Science.

Skull discovery suggests early man was single species

A stunningly well-preserved skull from 1.8 million years ago offers new evidence that early man was a single species with a vast array of different looks, researchers said Thursday. With a tiny brain about a third the size of a modern human's, protruding brows and jutting jaws like an ape, the skull was found in the remains of a medieval hilltop city in Dmanisi, Georgia, said the study in the journal Science.

Unusual bone tools found at Neanderthal site in Europe

Sophisticated leather-working equipment found in a cave in France offer the first evidence that Neanderthals had more advanced bone tools than early modern humans, researchers said Monday. The four fragments of hide-softening bone tools known as lissoirs, or smoothers, were found at two neighboring sites in southwestern France, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Unusual bone tools found at Neanderthal site in Europe

Sophisticated leather-working tools found in a cave in France offer the first evidence that Neanderthals had more advanced bone tools than early modern humans, researchers said Monday. The four fragments of hide-softening bone tools known as lissoirs, or smoothers, were found at two neighboring sites in southern France, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Radiocarbon dating shows that the tools are about 50,000 years old, said scientists.
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