The hominin fossil record documents a history of critical evolutionary events that have ultimately shaped and defined what it means to be human, including the origins of bipedalism; the emergence of our genus Homo; the first use of stone tools; increases in brain size; and the emergence of Homo sapiens, tools, and culture. The geological record suggests that some of these evolutionary events were coincident with substantial changes in African and Eurasian climate, raising the intriguing possibility that key junctures in human evolution and behavioral development may have been affected or controlled by the environmental characteristics of the areas where hominins evolved. However, with both a sparse hominin fossil record and an incomplete understanding of past climates, the particular effect of the environment on hominin evolution remains speculative. This presents an opportunity for exciting and fundamental scientific research to improve our understanding of how climate may have helped to shape our species, and thereby to shed light on the evolutionary forces that made us distinctively human.
All New Publications This Week
Promoting Chemical Laboratory Safety and Security in Developing Countries (prepublication)
Evaluation of the Health and Safety Risks of the New USAMRIID High Containment Facilities at Fort Detrick, Maryland (prepublication)
NOAA’s Education Program: Review and Critique (prepublication)
Seventeenth Interim Report of the Committee on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (final)
Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments (final)
Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments (final)