Source: The vitamin D hypothesis: Dead or alive? – Elias – 2016 – American Journal of Physical Anthropology – Wiley Online Library

The ancestry of the European bison (wisent) remains a mystery. Here, Cooper and colleagues examine ancient DNA from fossil remains of extinct bison, and reveal the wisent originated through the hybridization of the extinct Steppe bison and ancestors of modern cattle.

Source: Early cave art and ancient DNA record the origin of European bison : Nature Communications

Past volcanic eruptions along the densely populated Ethiopian Rift valley remain poorly constrained despite the present day hazard. Hutchison et al. show that a large volcanic flare up along a 200 km section of the rift occurred between 320–170 ka dramatically affecting the landscape and hominin population.

Source: A pulse of mid-Pleistocene rift volcanism in Ethiopia at the dawn of modern humans : Nature Communications

Source: On the calculation of occlusal bite pressures for fossil hominins

Of all the human uniqueness claims proposed over the years, theory of mind enjoys perhaps the most prominent status. The term “theory of mind” refers to the ability to know what others know, that is, to attribute mental states such as intentions, goals, and knowledge to others. It is widely held to be unique to humans. Yet, given the results reported by Krupenye et al. on page 110 of this issue, this claim is starting to wobble ( 1 ). The authors show that apes can correctly anticipate where human actors will look for a hidden item, even if the apes know that the item is no longer there. Ironically, this finding brings us back to square one, because apes played a major role in the formulation of the theory of mind concept.

Source: Apes know what others believe | Science

National Academy of Sciences

Source: Variation in the molecular clock of primates

Source: Dietary flexibility of Australopithecus afarensis in the face of paleoecological change during the middle Pliocene: Faunal evidence from Hadar, Ethiopia