Among the hominin fossils found at the Mata Menge site on the Indonesian island of Flores was part of a lower jaw. Kinez Riza/Nature hide caption

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Fossils Suggest That Island Life Shrank Our 'Hobbit' Relatives

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Human sacrifice helped solidify systems of social hierarchy, according to a new study of traditional cultures in the Pacific Ocean. Here, an engraving shows English explorer James Cook witnessing a human sacrifice ritual in Taihiti in the 1770s. The image comes from the 1815 edition of Cook's Voyages. Universal Images Group/Getty Images hide caption

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Easter Island is known best for its hundreds of colossal stone statues depicting human figures. The causes of its societal and economic collapse centuries ago are fiercely debated among scientists. Luis C. Cobo/Flickr hide caption

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Sebastian Preuber/Flickr; Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

A sample of Georgian from the UCLA Phonetics Lab

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3-D renderings of four skeletons found buried near the altar of an early church in the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. Smithsonian X 3D hide caption

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Bones In Church Ruins Likely The Remains Of Early Jamestown's Elite

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This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man, who died about 8,500 years ago in what's now southeast Washington, was based on forensic scientists' study of the morphological features of his skull. Brittney Tatchell/Smithsonian Institution hide caption

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DNA Confirms Kennewick Man's Genetic Ties To Native Americans

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Humans have influenced Earth's history for thousands of years, though some scientists count changes of the last two centuries as especially notable. (Left to right) Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images; Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Liszt Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images; Joint Task Force One/AP hide caption

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When Did Humans Start Shaping Earth's Fate? An Epoch Debate

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During a wildlife survey in Madagascar, Mayor discovered a new species of mouse lemur. "[It] weighs less than two ounces, fits in the palm of your hands," she says. Mark Thiessen/Courtesy of Mireya Mayor hide caption

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Trading Pom-Poms For Field Boots: Mireya Mayor's Big Break

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In this June 2013 photo provided by National Geographic, diver Susan Bird, working at the bottom of Hoyo Negro, a large dome-shaped underwater cave in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, brushes the Naia skull found at the site. Paul Nicklen/AP hide caption

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Ancient Skeleton In Mexico Sheds Light On Americas Settlement

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