The most fascinating and awesome discovery

Ancient humans: Skulls, chewing gum and a prehistoric Picasso

We learned a lot more about our ancient relatives in 2020 — other species of humans that existed before and, in some cases, alongside early Homo sapiens in the centuries and millennia before we emerged as the lone hominin survivor.
The oldest skull belonging to Homo erectus, the earliest humans to have body proportions similar to Homo sapiens and known for migrating out of Africa, was found in pieces in the Drimolen archaeological site just outside Johannesburg. It belonged to a young child, only about 2 or 3 years old, and was dated to between 1.95 and 2.04 million years ago. Until this discovery, the oldest erectus fossil came from Dmanisi, Georgia, and was dated to 1.8 million years ago.
A piece of late Stone Age chewing gum also yielded an extraordinary story.
Geneticists were able to sequence the genome and oral microbiome of the last person to chew the birch pitch — a girl who lived 5,700 years ago in what’s now Denmark. Scientists were able to deduce what she had for her last meal and that she couldn’t stomach dairy. It was the first time human genetic material had successfully been extracted from something besides human bones.
Shown here is a piece of birch pitch from Syltholm, southern Denmark.

The art in this Sulawesi cave is thought to depict half-animal, half-human hybrids.

Dinosaurs, crazy beasts and other ancient life

Dinosaur bellies and evidence of their diets are rarely preserved in the fossil record. The last meal eaten by an armored nodosaur just before it died, however, was captured in exquisite detail, according to a study of a unique fossil published in June.
This discovery gave definitive evidence of what a large herbivorous dinosaur ate — in this case, a lot of chewed-up fern leaves, some stems and twigs. The details of the plants were so well preserved in the stomach that they could be compared to samples taken from modern plants today.
The fossil of the nodosaur is incredibly well preserved.

This depicts the reconstructed skeleton of Adalatherium hui, aka crazy beast, a newly discovered mammal from the Late Cretaceous period of Madagascar.