Even amid the pandemic, anthropologists and archaeologists around the world have continued to make mind-boggling discoveries about our human ancestors this year.
One analysis revealed that the earliest known example of interbreeding between different human populations was 700,000 years ago — more than 600,000 years before modern humans interbred with Neanderthals. Findings from a Mexican cave, meanwhile, offered evidence that the earliest humans came to the Americas via boat, not land bridge. And researchers also found new reason to believe climate change was responsible for the extinction of many of our ancestors.
Taken together, these discoveries and others bolster and complicate our understanding of human history — the story of who our ancestors were, where they came from, and how they lived.
Here are some of the most eye-raising anthropological findings of 2020.