About Johns Hopkins

Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

Newly Discovered Foot Points to a New Kid on the Hominin Block

It seems that “Lucy” was not the only hominin on the block in northern Africa about 3 million years ago. A team of researchers that included Johns Hopkins University geologist Naomi Levin has announced the discovery of a partial foot skeleton with characteristics (such as an opposable big toe bone) that don’t match those of Lucy, the human ancestor (or hominin) known to inhabit that region and considered by many to be the ancestor of all modern humans.

Crocodile and Hippopotamus Served as “Brain Food” for Early Human Ancestors

Your mother was right: Fish really is “brain food.” And it seems that even pre-humans living as far back as 2 million years ago somehow knew it. A team of researchers that included Johns Hopkins University geologist Naomi Levin has found that early hominids living in what is now northern Kenya ate a wider variety of foods than previously thought, including fish and aquatic animals such as turtles and crocodiles. Rich in protein and nutrients, these foods may have played a key role in the development of a larger, more human-like brain in our early forebears, which some anthropologists believe happened around 2 million years ago, according to the researchers’ study.

Early Human Habitat Was Savanna, Not Forest

Pre-humans living in East Africa 4.4 million years ago inhabited savannas — grassy plains dotted with trees and shrubs — according to a team of researchers that includes earth scientist Naomi Levin of The Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Levin’s team published a commentary on this topic in the May 27 issue of the journal Science.