Today Nutcracker Man turns… 1 year-old!

Today 5/5/15 this blog celebrates its first year. As quick summary, I will not give boring details but just a brief list of what was the best of the year and what can be improved… (in my opinion)

I count on you all for this second year that starts today !!!

The best

Top 5 most read posts in English

  1. A summary of AAPA annual meeting 2015 (in 101 tweets!)
  2. The oldest human footprints by continent
  3. The 9 oldest artworks in Europe
  4. Meet Bodo and Herto
  5. Focus on the Sima de los Huesos

Top 5 most read posts in Spanish

  1. Desde cuándo los hombres son diestros y por qué
  2. Una caja de herramientas de 2 millones de años
  3. Bastones perforados: ejemplar de la cueva El Castillo
  4. ¿Qué nos falta por saber de Lucy?
  5. Las evidencias más antiguas de control del fuego


  • 14th position in the 2014 Bitácoras Awards in the category of Science blogs [see Final ranking].
  • Top 5% most read presentations in SlideShare, thanks to the posts with embedded slides.

The worst 

The series of posts

I like them much as a concept, and I would like to write more series of posts, but I am not fully convinced yet… It is said that ‘sequels are never any good’. This first year I have posted 3 series:

News highlights

On September 2014 I started writing quarterly or monthly summaries of the latest news. Fortunately, the ‘boom’ of news in the field of human evolution is spectacular in the last times, but unfortunately… I could not keep up!

Two posts with few visits (but I like them much!)

– And finally a BIG THANK YOU to all who read me –

Nutcracker Man vs. Roberto Sáez

Nutcracker Man vs. Roberto Sáez

Meet Bodo and Herto

Who are Bodo and Herto? Or first of all -should we say- where are Bodo and Herto?

‘Bodo’ is a hominin fossil named after its site of discovery (in 1976): Bodo d’Ar in the middle Awash Valley of Ethiopia. ‘Herto’ is one of the earliest-know anatomically modern humans (AMH), named after the Herto Bouri Formation where it was found (in 1997) also in the middle Awash Valley.

Bodo and Herto are key fossils to understand the emergence of our species Homo sapiens. Probably the ancient populations of Bodo (‘archaic Homo sapiens’) could have been distant relatives of the Herto modern sapiens populations in the same area.


Photo: Roberto Sáez

Sigue leyendo

A summary of AAPA annual meeting 2015 (in 101 tweets!)

arco-gateway-6The American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) had its 84th annual meeting last week in St. Louis, Missouri. The AAPA is the world’s leading professional organization for physical anthropologists. Its annual meetings draw 1,000+ scientists and students.

I followed most of the event on twitter and really enjoyed this experience, thanks to 20+ attendees who were tweeting live the key moments of the meetings. Therefore I decided to add another small contribution by sorting and posting the 101 tweets I collected during the event.

Thank you very much @HermanPontzer @johnhawks @HumanOrigins @APV2600 @Fidydvm @thewildniche  @GPOrangutans  @Paleophile @AAAGenetics  @Anthro_Austin @mitoPR @LittleMsFossil @AlesiaAlesiaki @lancegravlee @darcy_shapiro @osteo_jo @DrKillgrove @rgairnelson @lancegravlee @ZThrockmorton @LoVUMass  — Sorry if I’m missing someone – and happy to receive any correction or further contribution!

The post structure is:  [ Session | Presenter: Summary ]

Sigue leyendo

Hidden treasures at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History

The Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, located in South Africa, contains some of the most important hominid fossils to understand Human Evolution in the range of 1.5-2.8 million years.

They are housed in the Broom room, named after Dr Robert Broom, which has public access to any visitor of the museum!

The following slides have great pics of the Broom room’s original fossils (source: Ted C. MacRae 2011)

All the hominin type specimens

The type specimen of a species is the particular fossil to which the species name was first applied. The following table lists the type specimens of all the hominin species which have a wide acceptance by the Paleoanthropology community. It indicates the name of the species, the fossil record number, and the date & location of the specimen discovery.  Sigue leyendo

Focus on the Sima de los Huesos

Probably in the next months we will have results about the nuclear DNA analysis of the hominid bones found in the Sima de los Huesos, dated to 430,000 years. I wanted to recap the background and importance of Sima, its findings, and what’s going on there at the present time.

Sima de los Huesos (‘Pit of Bones’) is one of the world’s most important sites of human fossils.  Located in Atapuerca, Spain, it is a sock-shaped pit with a 12 m deep vertical shaft, which turns into an inclined passage 10 meters in length, opening onto a 15 m2 chamber. So far, 7,000 hominid fossils have been found in this chamber… Sigue leyendo

Easter Island: a paradise for anthropologists

Easter Island appears regularly on the scientific papers because of its particular interest for anthropologists as an extremely isolated small world, and hence its huge potential to study its colonization, the rise and demise of the native population and the ecology. For me it is a special satisfaction to write about it as a visitor to this impressive place.

Sigue leyendo

Humor Evolution 2014

In Spain, Latin America and the Philippines, December 28th is a day for pranks, commemorating the biblical episode of The Massacre of the Innocents. This day is equivalent to the April Fool’s Day in the Anglo-Saxon countries.

To celebrate it, here is the top pranks around Human Evolution I have seen in this year 2014 😀

The Top 10 hominin #FossilFriday tweets of 2014

As we approach the end of the year, it’s time for summaries. This is my little contribution! From number 10 to 1, below is the list of my favorite #FossilFriday tweets in 2014.

For those who don’t know what “FossilFriday” means… Every Friday on twitter, scientists and interested amateurs share pics of their favorite fossils, related scientific papers or blog posts, by using the hashtag #FossilFriday. This is a great manner to show famous or rare pieces of museum collections, and to share research works. I usually join this and tweet about a different hominid fossil every Friday. Now, let’s start!  Sigue leyendo

Meet Ardi

ardipithecus-ramidusOn Dec 17th 1992 Gen Suwa discovered the first molar of a new hominid in Aramis, Ethiopia. Some more teeth and bone fragments were found between 1992-94 amounting to 45% of the total skeleton of a specimen nicknamed Ardi, alias of the species defined Ardipithecus ramidus. Curiously, the % of recovered skeleton is similar to what was found from Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) only 74 km north of Ardi’s place.

Ardi is a female, 120 cm, 50 kg and dated to 4.4 mya. She is the most complete of the early hominids we have found so far, including some key bones: skull, teeth, pelvis, hands, arms, legs and feet. This has increased our knowledge on our earlier ancestors, especially with regards to their locomotion. “Ardi” means “ground floor” and “ramid” means “root” in the Afar language, suggesting that Ardi lived on the ground and was the root of the human family tree.

An area of just 9 km in the Middle Awash valley has produced bones from 35 specimens of Ar. ramidus and more than 6,000 fossils of a vast range of animals. The Middle Awash region is very well known for a few other sites with very important fossils found there, like Bodo (H. rhodesiensis), Herto (H. sapiens of 150 kya), Bouri-Hata (Au. garhi) and Daka (H. erectus).  Sigue leyendo