Press Releases 2017

Teaser 1513071224

Genetics preserves traces of ancient resistance to Inca rule

December 12, 2017
DNA analysis of present-day populations in the Chachapoyas region of Peru indicates that the original inhabitants were not uprooted en masse by the Inca Empire’s expansion into this area hundreds of years ago. [more]
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Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia

December 07, 2017
Technological advances and multidisciplinary research teams are reshaping our understanding of when and how humans left Africa – and who they met along the way [more]
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Plague Likely a Stone Age Arrival to Central Europe

November 22, 2017
The plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis may have first come to Europe with the large-scale migration of steppe nomads in the Stone Age, millennia before the first known historical epidemics. [more]
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DNA analyses provide information about the settling of the Iberian Peninsula

November 22, 2017
In comparison to central and northern Europe, the Iberian Peninsula saw a faster fusion of early farmer populations, who migrated to the region from the Near East, and local hunter-gatherers. The study, by an international research team including researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, analyzed mitochondrial DNA from the Neolithic and early Bronze Age (5500-1500 BC). [more]
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Neolithic farmers coexisted with hunter-gatherers for centuries after spreading across Europe

November 08, 2017
New research shows that early farmers who migrated to Europe from the Near East spread quickly across the continent, where they lived side-by-side with existing local hunter-gatherers while slowly mixing with those groups over time. [more]
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Legibility emerges spontaneously, rather than evolving over time

October 24, 2017
The orientation of strokes within letters reveals surprising patterns that hardly changed in 3000 years [more]
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The ‘myth’ of language history

October 10, 2017
Languages do not share a single history but different components evolve along different trajectories and at different rates. [more]
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Shedding new light on the Ancient Mediterranean

October 06, 2017
The partners of the new Max Planck-Harvard Research Center are investing a total of five million Euros in order to understand the key processes that shaped human history in the ancient Mediterranean by using cutting-edge scientific approaches. [more]
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First large-scale ancient genomes study from sub-Saharan African skeletons lifts veil on prehistoric populations

September 21, 2017
Genetic analyses uncover lost human populations and surprising relationships, revealing a complex history of population movements in ancient Africa. [more]
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Wolves understand cause and effect better than dogs

September 15, 2017
Study conducted at the Wolf Science Center in Vienna shows that dogs seem to have lost some problem solving abilities when they were domesticated. [more]
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“A turning point in the study of cultural evolution”  

September 11, 2017
The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History welcomes 300 participants from around the globe to Jena to introduce a unique forum for evolutionary research: the Cultural Evolution Society. The Society’s inaugural conference takes place from September 13th to 15th and is organized by the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute.     [more]
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Mobile women were key to cultural exchange in Stone Age and Bronze Age Europe

September 04, 2017
4000 years ago, European women traveled far from their home villages to start their families, bringing with them new cultural objects and ideas. [more]
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Humans learn complex grammatical patterns even in extremely challenging circumstances

September 04, 2017
A large-scaled study of creole languages sheds light on the robustness of language transmission. [more]
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Early Indian Ocean trade routes bring chicken, black rat to eastern Africa

August 17, 2017
New technologies provide evidence in the debate on when and how Asian fauna was introduced to Africa. [more]
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Humans have been altering tropical forests for at least 45,000 years

August 03, 2017
Tens of thousands of years of controlled burns, forest management and clear-cutting have implications for modern conservation efforts – and shatter the image of the “untouched” tropical forest. [more]
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Ancient DNA reveals origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans

August 02, 2017
The mysterious Minoans descended primarily from local Stone Age farmers, as did their cultural counterpart, the Mycenaeans – and their descendants still inhabit Greece today. [more]
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Archaeologists find key to tracking ancient wheat in frozen Bronze Age box      

July 26, 2017
A wooden container found in an ice patch at 2,650m in the Swiss Alps could help archaeologists shed new light on the spread and exploitation of cereal grains following a chance discovery [more]
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Identifying major transitions in human cultural evolution

July 26, 2017
Advances in methods and data reveal the broad patterns of cultural evolution [more]
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Why do human beings speak so many languages?

July 16, 2017
by Michael Gavin [more]
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DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa    

July 03, 2017
Mitochondrial DNA from Neanderthal individual who died in Swabian Jura in modern-day southwest Germany suggests that Neanderthals received genetic contribution from Africa by hominins that are closely related to modern humans more than 220,000 years ago. [more]
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The First Genome Data from Ancient Egyptian Mummies

May 30, 2017
Study finds that ancient Egyptians were most closely related to ancient populations from the Near East. [more]
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Populations along the eastern Mediterranean coast share a genetic heritage that transcends nationality

May 16, 2017
A new study reveals a genetic continuity and adds new aspects to the debate on the diffusion of the Indo-European languages. [more]
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Precision chronology sheds new light on the origins of Mongolia’s nomadic horse culture

April 11, 2017
MPI research suggests that nomadic horse culture can trace its roots back more than 3000 years in the eastern Eurasian Steppes, in the territory of modern Mongolia. [more]
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MPI-SHH supports March For Science

March 27, 2017
The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena (Germany) is pleased to announce its role as an official partner with the March For Science. [more]
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Aboriginal hair shows 50,000 years connection to country

March 08, 2017
DNA in hair samples collected from Aboriginal people across Australia in the early to mid-1900s has revealed that populations have been continuously present in the same regions for up to 50,000 years – soon after the peopling of Australia. [more]
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Persistent tropical foraging in the highlands of terminal Pleistocene/Holocene New Guinea

February 06, 2017
Foraging lifestyles persisted in New Guinean tropical forest environments even after the advent of farming 8,000 years ago [more]
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Computational methods applied to big datasets are compelling tools for historical linguistics

February 06, 2017
Latest study reveals 89% success-rate of computational detection of word relationships across language families [more]
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