A drawing portraying the black silhouette of Pompeii buildings with Mount Vesuvius and the sky behind them
First Human Genome Sequenced from Ancient Pompeii
The genome is from a male who was likely in his late thirties when the historic Mount Vesuvius eruption occurred. The analyses suggest he is related to the diverse Imperial Roman population of the time, and that he may have suffered from spinal tuberculosis.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, BLAMB
First Human Genome Sequenced from Ancient Pompeii
First Human Genome Sequenced from Ancient Pompeii

The genome is from a male who was likely in his late thirties when the historic Mount Vesuvius eruption occurred. The analyses suggest he is related to the diverse Imperial Roman population of the time, and that he may have suffered from spinal tuberculosis.

The genome is from a male who was likely in his late thirties when the historic Mount Vesuvius eruption occurred. The analyses suggest he is related to the diverse Imperial Roman population of the time, and that he may have suffered from spinal tuberculosis.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, BLAMB

archaeology

A fossilized skeleton of an ancient crocodile-like organism that lived in what’s now Brazil.
Q&A: Paleontology’s Colonial Legacy
Dan Robitzski | Mar 3, 2022
Archaeologist and paleontologist Juan Carlos Cisneros tells The Scientist that researchers frequently fail to involve local groups—and sometimes violate laws—when studying Latin American fossils.
mummy
Scratchy Scalps Help Glue Together Pieces of an Ancient Past
Chloe Tenn | Dec 29, 2021
Scientists find human DNA preserved in lice cement from the heads of South American mummies.
small, circular bones individually labeled and packaged in plastic bags
2,000-Year-Old Salmon DNA Reveals Secret to Sustainable Fisheries
Dan Robitzski | Nov 29, 2021
Genomic analysis of ancient chum salmon bones and cultural knowledge from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation suggest that people in the Pacific Northwest managed fisheries for thousands of years by harvesting males and releasing females.
a trench with footprints tagged
Ancient Human Footprints in New Mexico Dated to Ice Age
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Sep 23, 2021
Researchers excavated human footprints out of a small bluff next to a dried-up playa lake and radiocarbon-dated embedded seeds to around 23,000 years ago. Their results suggest that people entered the Americas thousands of years earlier than the accepted estimate.
Opening of Leang Panninge cave in Indonesia
7,200-Year-Old Skeleton Offers Clues to Early Human Migration
Catherine Offord | Aug 29, 2021
Analysis of DNA from remains found in an Indonesian cave provides new insight into human movements among the islands between East Asia and Australia.
 Close-up view of the drapery hosting most of the red stains.
65,000-Year-Old Cave Markings Made by Neanderthals: Study
Lisa Winter | Aug 3, 2021
An analysis concludes that pigments were transported into the cave, and the marks were made with intention, though their ultimate meaning remains unknown.
More Images
An artist's depiction of a new species of Homo, H. longi
“Dragon Man” May Replace Neanderthal as Our Closest Relative
Amanda Heidt | Jun 25, 2021
A massive, well-preserved skull discovered in China in the 1930s belongs to a new species called Homo longi, researchers report, but experts remain skeptical about the evidence.
Seqenenre pharaoh egypt mummy ct scan paleoradiology hyksos murder
Scientists Reconstruct Warrior Pharaoh’s Murder Using CT Scans
Stephenie Livingston | Feb 17, 2021
A forensic investigation of Seqenenre Taa II’s traumatic injuries suggests he died with his hands tied behind his back, perhaps the end result of fighting to liberate his kingdom.
Conch Horn Finds Its Song Again After 17,000 Years
Lisa Winter | Feb 10, 2021
Listen to a musicologist blow through the oldest known shell horn.
Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Jef Akst | Nov 1, 2020
Early investigations of the microbial communities in and around sunken boats reveal that there are patterns to where bacteria settle.
hominin homo sapiens heidelbergensis erectus evolution climate change extinction
Climate Change Helped Drive Homo sapiens’ Cousins Extinct: Study
Katarina Zimmer | Oct 15, 2020
Sharp drops in global temperatures helped seal the fate of three extinct hominin species, including our close relatives, the Neanderthals, according to thousands of archaeological specimens and a model of past climate conditions.
Y Chromosome from Early Modern Humans Replaced Neanderthal Y
Jef Akst | Sep 24, 2020
A selective advantage may have led the modern human Y chromosome to sweep through the Neanderthal population after it was introduced via interbreeding more than 100,000 years ago.
Amazonian Secrets
The Scientist Staff | Sep 1, 2020
Watch researchers travel to a cave deep in the Amazon to search for clues about the first humans to populate the Americas.
Genetics Steps In to Help Tell the Story of Human Origins
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 1, 2020
Africa’s sparse fossil record alone cannot reveal our species’ evolutionary history.
The Peopling of South America
Shawna Williams | Sep 1, 2020
While questions still outnumber answers, new findings from archaeology, genetics, and other disciplines are revealing surprising insights into the early cultures of the most recently populated continent.
Infographic: Meet Your Ancient Ancestors and Relatives in Africa
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 1, 2020
Modern human genomes and bones left behind from ancient hominins in Africa tell a complex story about the origins of our species.
Ancient Grains Hint at Prehistoric Beer Brewing
Amanda Heidt | Sep 1, 2020
Microscopic analysis of charred, shapeless lumps from archaeological sites revealed ancient cereal grains that may have undergone malting to make beer.
Infographic: South America’s Early Prehistory
Shawna Williams | Sep 1, 2020
Genetics and archaeology yield clues as to when humans first arrived on the continent and how these early settlers lived.
Artifacts Point to Humans Living in Mexico 33,000 Years Ago
Abby Olena | Jul 22, 2020
If confirmed, the result means people migrated to North America much earlier than thought, but some experts remain unconvinced.