'What is Life?' 2023

The World Before Us: What happened when Neanderthals (and Denisovans) met early humans – Prof. Thomas Higham, University of Vienna 50,000 years ago, we were not the only species of human on the planet. There were at least four others. These included the Neanderthals; the enigmatic Homo floresiensis, or ‘Hobbits’, from the island of Flores; Homo luzonesis, found in the Philippines in 2019, and the Denisovans, discovered using ancient genetics from a tiny bone excavated in a cave in Siberia. For more than a decade I have been working at the eponymous cave in Siberia where the Denisovans were first discovered, and undertaking research into the disappearance of Neanderthals across Eurasia, using the latest cutting-edge technology and archaeological fieldwork. In this talk I will outline some of the latest results that have shed incredible new insights into the world of humans and our evolution, and why it is we are the last branch of humanity remaining today.