October 21, 2013
Where Are Humans' Close Cousins?
Science Photo Library
Great apes have not always been humans' closest living relatives. Only a thousand generations ago, we still shared this planet with several upright-walking, fire-controlling, tool-manufacturing cousins, including big Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) and small "hobbits" (Homo floresiensis). With its various bipeds, it was a world reminiscent of Tolkien's Middle Earth. Our ancestors 40,000 years ago would have had much less reason than we have