In recent years, a field that has traditionally relied on fossil discoveries has acquired helpful new tools: genomics and ancient DNA techniques. Armed with this combination of approaches, researchers have begun to excavate our species’ early evolution, hinting at a far more complex past than was previously appreciated—one rich in diversity, migration, and possibly even interbreeding with other hominin species in Africa.
“To piece together that story, we need information from multiple different fields of study,” remarks Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. “No single one is really going to have all the answers—not genetics, not archaeology, not the fossils, because all of these areas have challenges and limitations.”
Read the full story here or in The Scientist‘s September magazine issue