An inside view of this fossil Pseudodon shell shows that the hole made by Homo erectus is exactly at the spot where the muscle attached to the shell. Poking at that spot would force the shell open. Henk Caspers/Naturalis Leiden/The Netherlands hide caption

itoggle caption Henk Caspers/Naturalis Leiden/The Netherlands

Researcher Svante Pääbo, was able to extract a complete genome from this ancient human leg bone. Bence Viola/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology hide caption

itoggle caption Bence Viola/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

A stencil of an early human's hand in an Indonesian cave is estimated to be about 39,000 years old. Kinza Riza/Courtesy of Nature.com hide caption

itoggle caption Kinza Riza/Courtesy of Nature.com

Research excavations like these in Siberia's Denisova Cave are yielding clues to the mating choices of early hominids. Bence Viola/Nature hide caption

itoggle caption Bence Viola/Nature

The first prehistoric chef who looked out at a field of grass in Africa and said, "dinner!" may have helped our ancestors use new resources in new locations. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images