10 things we learned about our human ancestors in 2020

Early humans left behind clues — footprints, chiseled rocks, genetic material and more — that can reveal our species survived and spread across Earth. These ancient people weren’t so different from us; they traveled far and wide, hooked up with one another and even mined for natural resources (in this case, the reddish mineral ochre). Here are 10 things we learned about our human ancestors in 2020.

1. Mystery lover

An unidentified ancestor that interbred with humans may have been Homo erectus (skull shown here). (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Early humans (Homo sapiens) didn’t sleep with just one other. About 1 million years ago, H. sapiens had several rendezvous with another mystery species, and our species still carries some of these genes today, a study in the journal PLOS Genetics found.

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