What to expect from the cutting edge of science and tech in 2020

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From anti-ageing drugs to self-driving cars and long-lost human ancestors, New Scientist experts reveal what the biggest science stories will be in 2020



Earth



18 December 2019

NASA/GSFC/Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen

Our distant relatives

Alison George

This time next year, our understanding of our origins will have been transformed.

Molecules in the fossils of our ancestors are increasingly opening a new window on the evolution of the first hominids. Recently, the limits of this approach have been pushed further, with analysis of dental enamel proteins from a 2-million-year-old fossil of the extinct giant ape Gigantopithecus. And DNA as old as 400,000 years has been recovered from hominin ancestors of Neanderthals. So the ability to identify even older skeletal remains looks promising.

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