Laetoli…43 years on….


I missed a VERY important anniversary to tell you guys all about yesterday!
Not far from Olduvai George, a famous #fossil locality that was frequented by the Leakeys and colleagues, and a very important place where many lithic (stone) tools have been found, at first believed to be from Homo habilis, the first of our genus, but now is thought to be pushed back much farther in time to the Australopithecines.

Well, not far from here, on another excavation, Mary Leakey, wife of Louis Leakey, and discoverer of Zinj and many other important finds, hit the jackpot once again!
Amazingly, she came across a 75-ft trail of hominin footprints!!! It was unlike anything ever seen before!

So what does this mean? Well, as you can tell that is a two-legged, upright walking animal. This means they were #bipedal, which only has occurred habitually in those of our clade, the Hominid family. This was proof, that our ancestors were walking upright at least 3.7 mya. This was the proof that so many had been looking for!

Many more footprints of hominins from Africa and Eurasia have been found since, but there was something special about these, and they’re still is today.

After later excavation by the #Leakeys and Dr. Tim White, it was concluded that the footprints must belong to #Australopithecus #Afarensis, or the species “Lucy” belongs to. Discovered in 1976, this would change our view of humanity forever.

Look at that!

What do you think about this?

Do a little research on the topic and lets start a discussion!

What do you think the #significance of this find is to our understanding of #Human #Origins?

Firstly, questions?

#Paleoanthropology #anthropology #archaeology

The World Before Us The New Science Behind Our Human Origins-A review!!!

This is a new book, published this year around the world, and most recently here in the U.S just the other week! 

Well, I had a chance to “sit down” with the author, Tom Higham, and discuss the field of Anthropology in general, Radio Carbon Dating, and of course, his new book! 

So to go along with our video, we are going to have a quick, but informative review of the book. 

I am going to reveal the review first, and then will be posting our interview at a later time. But I wanted to get this out now! 

Ok, so let me start by saying, I am so delighted to see how many Anthropology books have been published in just the last year. This field is picking up, new blood enters the field each day. The older generation of Anthropologists, such as those of the famed “Hominid Gang”, those that followed was a very different type of scientist, those such as Chris Stringer, Lee Berger, and Tom himself. 

Originally from New Zealand, and who has since called many places home, Professor Tom Higham worked at Oxford in the Radio Carbon laboratory, and now finds himself at the University of Vienna, Germany, is one of the nicest people I have talked to, and I just can’t wait for all of you to watch our talk!! 

It’s also the first video with our new equipment! So that will be fun! 

But back to the book!

So, being an expert, and I do mean that, one of the world’s most renowned Radio Carbon Laboratories in the world, Tom knows a good deal about this technology and how it works. 

Since his age range is boing back about 55k years, his studies surround Anatomically Modern Humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans, and pretty much all Hominins at some point. His masterful way of explaining the complicated concepts that he was communicating is fleshed out in this book in such a way that anyone can pick up the book, and be transported back about 400,000 until today. 

We learn all about the daily life of Neanderthals, and how their culture was so much more advanced than anyone would have thought just twenty years ago. We learn about their anatomy, morphology, and culture. We learn about their evolutionary history and how they relate to us. Everything is explained so concisely and in a way that flows very naturally. 

We then, in the book, travel around a few couple thousand years or so. and discuss the lesser-known Denisovans. Tom has spent an impressive amount of time in the Altai Mountains working on dating these incredible fossils, adding to the story of human origins. 

Eventually, we get to us, (Homo sapiens) and learn about our divergence from a common ancestor with Neanderthals.

The book is well written, clear, and readable at any level. If you want to learn about the Neanderthals, or any Hominin for that fact, that lived in the last half a million years, The author uses common language to describe complex scientific theories and ideas, concepts, and notions. 

Along with Kindred by Rebecca Wragg-Sykes, this is easily in my new top 10 Modern Anthropology Books, and it is a premise source of information for Neanderthals, and other humans living during that time. 

Neanderthals are so delegated to the “Caveman” stereotype, these books will end that for you immediately. They were our cousins, closer to us than we can even imagine. So much closer to ourselves, than scientists ever thought! 

They had rich, diverse culture, critical thinking, language, art, and so much more.

Not only is this a great way to learn about Neanderthals, but it is also a great book to start off learning about Paleoanthropology.

Long story short, this book is a great example of science communication, which is becoming more and more important in our everyday lives. 

So, the last thing I’ll say about Prof. Higham’s new books is….


Do you want US to FEATURE your written work? Learn MORE-It’s FREE!

Do you want to publish, online for #free any #papers, #essays, etc that you have written, or would like to write?

I am happy to tell you that @WrldOfPaleoAnth would be happy to host your work! Again, #FORFREE!!!

We just want to educate!

All rights and credit will remain yours!

stem #anthropologymatters #Species #Homo #science #morphology #anthropology #scicomm #AcademicChatter #skeleton #archaeology #education #paleoanthropology #question #nature #Human


So, I’m ok at genetics, I’ve never studied it specifically outside of Bio 101, but I can keep up.

First week of Human Behavioral Evolution class and

💥 BAM 💥


“You know how, in all k-12 and intro college classes about biology or anthropology, that evolution does not work by traits gained during an individuals life, rather how successful the genes were for their individuals environment.”


The giraffe 🦒 that the learns to stretch its neck that eats more, doesn’t pass on its now stretched neck…..right?


*Traits gained during life can be passed down genetically”. Excuse me? WHY THE LIES?!?! Why didn’t we learn this from the start! Now I have to UNLEARN things! IDK who came up with that idea, but it sure was not a good one.

When I learn more, I’ll do a write up! #anthropology #AcademicChatter #skeleton #scicomm #archaeology #stem #anthropologymatters #Homo #Species #morphology #paleoanthropology #education #Human

Interview #22 Prof. Andrew Kinkella

Today I was joined by one of my former Professors, my Archaeology 101 teacher in fact, who is partially responsible for my love, passion, and dedication to this field.

It was very nice to “meet up” with him after so many years and to have such a great talk. I think it flowed smoothly, and I think everyone will learn a lot!

So check out our chat, and be sure to check out his very own YouTube channel that he posts too frequently!

Find that here:
Let us know what you thought about the chat, and leave your thoughts below!
We will respond, and would love to talk with you!

If you would like to be on the show, have any questions, comments, or ideas, please email me directly at Today I was joined by one of my former teachers, my Archaeology 101 teacher in fact, who is partially responsible for my love, passion, and dedication to this field.

It was very nice to “meet up” with him after so many years and to have such a great talk. I think it flowed smoothly, and I think everyone will learn a lot!

So check out our chat, and be sure to check out his very own YouTube channel that he posts too frequently!

Find that here:
Let us know what you thought about the chat, and leave your thoughts below!
We will respond, and would love to talk with you!

If you would like to be on the show, have any questions, comments, or ideas, please email me directly at!

Look forward to more upcoming interviews with popular Anthropologists and Professors!
And get really excited about what is coming up!

Learn more:

Professor Kinkella has some exciting things coming up and if you are looking into contacting him, you can find and reach him on twitter, or find is email from Moorpark College.



Whats to come…

Hominid Photoshoot! 💀

I noticed I was missing the underside of the Moroccan skull, both H. naledi skulls, and one of the Neanderthal skulls. There are also a few that are out of order, I do not know how that happened, or how to fi it, it occurs in the iCloud album as well. Apologies!

I plan on adding them tomorrow, as well as a caption for each photo giving a glimpse of what information you will get when you watch our new featured video series that we are gearing up for!

I will add to this as I get more skulls, and I hope these 2D images of 3D printed Crania give you an idea of the skulls before us, of their shape and size, their morphology.
I know we have some awesome plans coming up, many interviews already with dates and times, projects with new and exciting Institutes globally. One thing we are very excited for is our upcoming video lecture series where we examine the crania, get introduced to the species as a whole, as well as that particular specimen and its place in the fossil record.

We will also compare the shape and features, also known as morphology between these proto-humans and our own species, H.sapiens, some of our primate relatives, and of course to each other.

I hope you are excited about this new venture, I do not have an exact start day, but the first video will come out ASAP.

A HUGE shoutout to Professor Jeremy DeSilva of Dartmouth for the generous contribution of nearly all the skills presented here.

STEM education is important, the world may literally depend on it, its good to see people who truly care and wish to see others succeed.

Anyone can view this shared album at:

The iCloud album will be kept more up to date, and you can add your own photos, if they follow the rules!

March of Progress? It’s time we had a serious talk.

Hello! Welcome to today’s lesson. It’s an important one! One that addresses years, decades of misinformation, and flawed thinking. 

Check this article out, and have your own discussion, read this on!

Yes, we are talking about the “March of Progress” image. I am sure that many of you are already cringing.

The March of Progress, properly called The Road to Homo Sapiens, is an illustration that presents 25 million years of human evolution. It was created for the Early Man volume of the Life Nature Library, published in 1965, and drawn by the artist Rudolph Zallinger.”

So many people, since then, have used this image to explain our origins, in both scientific, and layman ways. Even today, it is still the most recognized symbol of evolution in the world. No shade to The Leakey Foundation, whom I love, and donate to, but their logo is misleading even to what we now know about Hominid Evolution. 

So scientists started to think, they figured they needed a better way to artistically express the pattern of Human evolution. So we had “The Family Tree” analogy that was introduced. This made a lot more sense to scientists and seemed much more probable. 

This model has worked until recently and is probably still one of the most accepted versions by anthropologists. It does a good job, but not a perfect one and it leaves a great deal to be desired. So what is a good model? What should we be looking at when we want to see our direct hominin line? 

As more and more fossils however make their way back to the surface of the Earth for the first time in thousands, sometimes millions of years. The more we learn, the more we can figure out what the past ecology of the area (Africa) was during the Pleistocene. But even this, still left information to be desired. With so many new species being discovered at what seems to be an incredible rate, we have to re-think how each human species has related to one another in the last 7 million years. 

So what should we do? Is there a better model? Well, of course! Why else would we be here! In the last decade or so, (or maybe longer, it is not like I was around) a new term, and a new method of exploring and viewing our interconnectedness is called the Braided Stream. 

While the idea has been around for a while, and many models have been made, just the other day, Prof. Lee Berger published his graphic of the Braided Stream, and as a huge proponent for the idea of the Braided Stream, I hope he approves of this article. 

So what do we have here? In this image, we can easily depict that Human Evolution did not occur in a line or even a tree. But rather it intertwined with itself here and there, leading to dead ends, or lines of continuing evolution. We can see that species existed often in the same period, and even in the same places, where introgression occurred, 

What is Introgression? Well, let’s define that real quick before continuing, according to Oxford Dictionary, “the transfer of genetic information from one species to another as a result of hybridization between them and repeated backcrossing”. 

Thus, we can see not only genetically but morphologically how species shared features and evolutionary traits until we got some mixture that worked out better than any other and that’s how you get to where we are today! 

So you may be asking, why is this so important? Why must we change how not only scientists and professors understand our evolution, but the layman as well. For the first time in history, as of this date, more than 50% of United States citizens “believe” in evolution. However, that does not mean they understand it. They rely on us, the scientists to make sense of it all and translate it from gibberish to easy to follow and digestible information! 

The more we learn about our shared Human Origins, the more we will realize we are all one, we may come from different corners of the world, but we all come from Africa. We are all, Homo sapiens sapiens. Everything else, is well, extinct. We are the last ones left.

Science education and communication is the future of STEM and thus our future as well. While it might seem like a small and minor thing to correct, you have to start somewhere, and might as well start at the preverbal beginning, just as the March of Progress does. 

If you want to help spread the more correct version of the human phylogeny, then please, feel free to share this article, for I think it is a good place to start. 

We did not evolve from monkeys, are chimps, we evolved from Hominids. There was no “March of Progress”, but a braided stream that is ever flowing in and out of itself. Species living and dying, features appearing and disappearing in the fossil record. It’s time to acknowledge that Human Origins is not just a straight line, but twisted, elusive, and mysterious. 


Fossil Skulls!!!

Today we got a very awesome package delivered!

An amazing gift from Prof. Jeremy DeSilva of Dartmouth!

He was (and is willing in the future) to help us spread our Open Access SciComm!

Thanks to his contributions, we can start a new weekly video series, explaining and examining, comparing morphology, and learning about the species.

Take a look!!!

And even more to come!

Can’t wait to delve deep into the Human Past!

Hominin vs. Hominid by Professor Lee Berger

Viewpoint: Is It Time to Revise the System of Scientific Naming?

Shared with permission from Dr. Berger.

Lee R. Berger

First published for National Geographic News December 4, 2001 A team of researchers led by paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey sparked a controversy among evolutionary scientists and the press alike earlier this year when they announced the discovery of a new genus and species of ape-man. They named their find Kenyanthropus platyops, the "flat-faced man of Kenya." Ordinarily, the find itself would be enough to spark a flame of controversy in the heart of any follower of human origins research.

But this find also highlighted an ongoing debate within the scientific community over the adoption of a new system for naming, ranking, and classifying organisms. The debate is not confined to ivory tower scientists. The fossil discovery was widely reported. The New York Times referred to the new genus as a hominid; National Geographic reported on the find as a hominin.

National Geographic subsequently received several hundred e-mails complaining about the poor editorial work of the staff that had clearly erred by replacing a "d" with an "n." But were they really wrong, and more important, does it really matter?

Linnaean Classification The taxonomic classification system devised by Linnaeus in 1758 is still used in modified form today. Animals are identified, in descending order, as belonging to a Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and finally, a Species. This classification system is based largely on the animal's physical characteristics: things that looked alike were placed together. In the Linnaean system, humans would be categorized first as Animalia; then Chordata because we have a backbone; Mammalia because we have hair and suckle our young; Primates because we share with apes, monkeys, and lemurs certain morphological characteristics; Hominidae because, among a few other criteria, we are separated from the other apes by being bipedal; Homo being our generic classification as human; and finally, sapiens, a species name meaning, rightly or wrongly, "wise." The Linnaean system also recognizes such groupings as superfamilies and sub-families. In the case of the human lineage, the most often recognized superfamily is the Hominoidea (hominoids), which includes all of the living apes.

It is from this point onward that most of the present human origins classification debate begins. The traditional view has been to recognize three families of hominoid: the Hylobatidae, the Hominidae, and the Pongidae. The Hylobatidae include the so-called lesser apes of Asia, the gibbons and siamangs. The Hominidae include living humans and typically fossil apes that possess a suite of characteristics such as bipedalism, reduced canine size, and increasing brain size such as the australopithecines.

The Pongidae include the remaining African great apes including gorillas, chimpanzees, and the Asian orangutan. New Molecular Evidence Modern-day genetic research is providing evidence that morphological distinctions are not necessarily proof of evolutionary relatedness. Recent evidence suggests that humans are in fact more closely related to the chimpanzee and bonobo than either species is to the gorilla. Chimps and humans share something like 98 percent of genes, indicating that we share a common ape ancestor.

Divergence times between the two groups based on a molecular clock suggest that the chimpanzee/human split occurred between five and seven million years ago. In turn, the African apes, including humans, are more closely related to each other than any are to the orangutan. In recognition of these and other genetic relationships, some argue that we must overhaul the present morphologically based classification system for one that is more representative of our true evolutionary relationships as evinced by our genes.

Reworking the Family Tree This is where the term hominin comes into play. Under the newclassification model, hominoids would remain a primate superfamily, as has always been the case. Under this hominoid umbrella would fall orangutans, gorillas, chimps, and humans, all in the Family Hominidae.

In recognition of their genetic divergence some 11 to 13 million years ago, the orangutans would be placed in the sub-family Ponginae and the African apes, including humans, would all be lumped together in the sub-family Homininae. The bipedal apes - all of the fossil species as well as living humans - would fall into the tribe Hominini (thus hominin). All of the fossil genera, such as Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, Kenyanthropus, and Homo, would fall into this tribe.

A few evolutionary biologists want a more extreme classification, which would include humans and chimpanzees within the same genus, the genus Homo. Old Versus New So hominid or hominin? Is it just a matter of semantics that only purists should be worried about? The New York Times' use of "hominid" and National Geographic's use of "hominin" were both right in the broadest sense. In either the "old" or "new" classification system, hominid works, it just means different things. In the old system, hominid refers solely to the bipedal ape lineage. In the new classification system it refers to the broader grouping of all the great apes, which would by definition certainly include the new Kenyanthropus fossils.

The use of hominin by National Geographic is technically more correct in that it recognizes the relationship of Kenyanthropus to the other bipedal apes and distinguishes it from other living and fossil African apes which are not so closely related to us based on the molecular evidence we have to date. In the long run, hominin is likely to win out against the term hominid. It is more precise and recognizes the biological reality that moves beyond physical morphology. Do I like it? Well, I would never try to stand in the way of the advancement of science, but just try saying Hominidae, Homininae, Hominini three times fast in front of a first year Introduction to Anthropology class and you will have some sympathy for the scientist who clings to the term hominid for a few more years.

So, what's in a name? The classification debate is not just a debate for the purist; it cuts to the very core of our understanding of human's place in nature and our evolutionary relationships with our closest living relatives. All hominins are hominids, but not all hominids are hominins.”

Lee Berger.

Dragon Man!!! With Chris Stringer #21

Today, Seth and Chris Stringer, friend of the show, discuss something that is very new on the Paleoanthropological scene that you may have heard of recently!

Today, we will be discussing Dragon Man, or Homo longi! A recently announced new member of our species clade.

Prof. Stringer is actually a part of the team working on this beautiful and important cranium that holds so many secrets about where we came from!

Please Enjoy!

There is a lot to learn!

Thanks, Peeps

Seth Chagi

World of Paleoanthropology

Program Director