• Ancient Roman road and dock discovered in Venice lagoon

    Ancient Roman road and dock discovered in Venice lagoon
    Find could prove there were human settlements in area centuries before city was foundedThe discovery of the remains of a Roman road and dock submerged in the Venice lagoon could prove there were permanent human settlements in the area centuries before Venice was founded, researchers say.Scuba divers discovered what appeared to be paving stones beneath the lagoon in the 1980s, but only after more recent research were the relics confirmed to have formed part of a road system. Continue reading...
  • The Tollund man's last meal

    The Tollund man's last meal
    Although it is 2400 years since the Tollund man ate his last meal, Danish researchers - from Museum Silkeborg, the National Museum, Moesgaard Museum and Aarhus University - have now succeeded in analyzing what exactly the meal consisted of. It is the most detailed study to date of a stomach and intestinal contents of a bog body, and the results have just been published in the journal Antiquity.
    The amazingly well-preserved head of the Tollund Man - a man who lived
    during the 4th century BC
  • Stone tool tells the story of Neanderthal hunting

    Stone tool tells the story of Neanderthal hunting
    65,000 years ago Neanderthal from the Swabian Jura hunted horses and reindeer with hafted leaf-shaped stone points. A newly discovered leaf point from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hohle Fels Cave documents the evolution of hunting. A team under the direction of Professor Nicholas Conard for the University of Tübingen and the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment in southern Germany recovered the artifact underlying a layer dating to 65,000 years ago, which repre
  • Fossil reveals burrowing lifestyle of tiny dinosaur

    Fossil reveals burrowing lifestyle of tiny dinosaur
    A finger-sized fossil from 308 million years ago unearthed in the United States gives tantalising clues to the habits of tiny dinosaur-like creatures that may be the forerunners of reptiles, researchers revealed Wednesday.
    Microsaurs are a group of small, lizard-like animals that roamed the Earth more thana quarter billion years ago, well before proper dinosaurs made their appearance[Credit: Carleton University/AFP]
    The new species is a microsaur -- small, lizard-like animals that roamed the Ea
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  • The ethics of remote sensing in archaeology

    The ethics of remote sensing in archaeology
    Remote sensing—beginning with aerial photography—has been used for decades in one form or another in archaeology, but, the discussion on the ethical use of the information gathered through these methods is a newer topic, according to a team of researchers.
    When using modern technology in archaeology, researchers can cause potential harm to the
     communities they are observing. A recent paper led by a team of Penn State researchersexplores the ethics of archaeological remote sens
  • Roman road discovered in the Venice lagoon

    Roman road discovered in the Venice lagoon
    The discovery of a Roman road submerged in the Venice Lagoon is reported in Scientific Reports this week. The findings suggest that extensive settlements may have been present in the Venice Lagoon centuries before the founding of Venice began in the fifth century.(Above) the reconstruction of the Roman Road in the Treporti Channel in the Venice Lagoon madeon the basis of the multibeam data. Credit: Antonio Calandriello and Giuseppe D'Acunto.(Below) the same area now submerged [Credit: Fantina M
  • Widespread cultural diffusion of knowledge started 400,000 years ago

    Widespread cultural diffusion of knowledge started 400,000 years ago
    Different groups of hominins probably learned from one another much earlier than was previously thought, and that knowledge was also distributed much further. A study by archaeologists at Leiden University on the use of fire shows that 400,000 years ago knowledge and skills must already have been exchanged via social networks. 
    Credit: Timon Wanner/Unsplash
    "To date it was always thought that cultural diffusion actually started only 70,000 years ago when modern humans, Homo sapiens, starte
  • Chimpanzees have not entered the Stone Age

    Chimpanzees have not entered the Stone Age
    Unlike early human species, chimpanzees do not seem to be able to spontaneously make and use sharp stone tools, even when they have all the materials and incentive to do so. That was the finding of a study of a total of eleven chimpanzees at a zoo in Kristiansand, Norway, and Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, a sanctuary in Zambia. 
    Chimpanzees use various tools, but sharp stone tools are not among them[Credit: Kevin Langergraber]
    The study was conducted by Dr. Elisa Bandini and Dr. Alba Mote
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  • A foot tumor and two tail fractures complicated the life of this hadrosaur

    A foot tumor and two tail fractures complicated the life of this hadrosaur
    When it was discovered in the 1980s in Argentina, this hadrosaur was diagnosed with a fractured foot. However, a new analysis now shows that this ornithopod commonly known as the duck-billed dinosaur actually had a tumour some 70 million years ago, as well as two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, despite which, it managed to survive for some time.
    Despite the seriousness of its foot and tail vertebrae ailments, Bonapartesaurus rionegrensisdid not die immediately after its injuries
  • 15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice

    15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice
    Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China. Most of those viruses, which survived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any viruses that have been cataloged to date.
    Bacteriophages on a bacterium [Credit: WikiCommons]
    The findings, published in the journal Microbiome, could help scientists understand how viruses have evolved over centuries. For this study, the scientists also created a new, ultra-
  • Lisa French obituary

    Lisa French obituary
    Archaeologist involved all her life with Mycenae and an authority on the ancient Greek culture’s terracotta figurinesLisa French, who has died aged 90, was the leading authority on Mycenaean ceramics. The first archaeologist to study systematically the culture’s terracotta animal and human figurines – “dollies”, as she called them – she was also the first female director of the British School at Athens (1989-94).Mycenae, situated in the Argolid region in the e
  • Study highlights need to replace 'ancestry' in forensics with something more accurate

    Study highlights need to replace 'ancestry' in forensics with something more accurate
    A new study finds forensics researchers use terms related to ancestry and race in inconsistent ways, and calls for the discipline to adopt a new approach to better account for both the fluidity of populations and how historical events have shaped our skeletal characteristics.
    Skulls in the lab of Ann Ross at NC State University. Ross is a biological anthropologistand forensic science researcher [Credit: Marc Hall, NC State University]
    "Forensic anthropology is a science, and we need to use term
  • Using archaeology to better understand climate change

    Using archaeology to better understand climate change
    Throughout history, people of different cultures and stages of evolution have found ways to adapt, with varying success, to the gradual warming of the environment they live in. But can the past inform the future, now that climate change is happening faster than ever before?
    Stone foundations of a 1,600-year-old house in the highlands of Bolivia. The mud-brick structure
    was burned, and several large cooking pots were broken and blackened on the clay-lined floor
    [Credit: A. Roddick]Yes, say an in
  • Epicentre of major Amazon droughts and fires saw 2.5 billion trees and vines killed

    Epicentre of major Amazon droughts and fires saw 2.5 billion trees and vines killed
    A major drought and forest fires in the Amazon rainforest killed billions of trees and plants and turned one of the world's largest carbon sinks into one of its biggest polluters.
    A forest fire during the 2015 El Niño [Credit: Erika Berenguer]
    Triggered by the 2015-16 El Niño, extreme drought and associated mega-wildfires caused the death of around 2.5 billion trees and plants and emitted 495 million tonnes of CO2 from an area that makes up just 1.2 per cent of the entire Brazilia
  • DNA duplication linked to the origin and evolution of pine trees and their relatives

    DNA duplication linked to the origin and evolution of pine trees and their relatives
    Plants are DNA hoarders. Adhering to the maxim of never throwing anything out that might be useful later, they often duplicate their entire genome and hang on to the added genetic baggage. All those extra genes are then free to mutate and produce new physical traits, hastening the tempo of evolution.
    New research shows genome duplication in the ancestor of modern gymnosperms,a group of seed  plants that includes cypresses and pines, might have directlycontributed to the origin of the&
  • Fossil rodent teeth add North American twist to Caribbean mammals' origin story

    Fossil rodent teeth add North American twist to Caribbean mammals' origin story
    Two fossil teeth from a distant relative of North American gophers have scientists rethinking how some mammals reached the Caribbean Islands.
    Two teeth discovered in Puerto Rico provide the first evidence of a Caribbean rodent with North
     American roots. Researchers named the new genus and species Caribeomys merzeraudi. Thisartist's reconstruction shows the likely position of the fossil molars in C. merzeraudi's skull
    [Credit: Jorge Velez-Juarbe]
    The teeth, excavated in northwest Puerto Ri
  • Oldest fossils of methane-cycling microbes expand frontiers of habitability on early Earth

    Oldest fossils of methane-cycling microbes expand frontiers of habitability on early Earth
    A team of international researchers, led by the University of Bologna, has discovered the fossilised remains of methane-cycling microbes that lived in a hydrothermal system beneath the seafloor 3.42 billion years ago.
    The locality of the study area in the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa[Credit: A. Hofmann]
    The microfossils are the oldest evidence for this type of life and expand the frontiers of potentially habitable environments on the early Earth, as well as other planets such as Ma
  • The sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Alexandria reveals new archaeological treasures

    The sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Alexandria reveals new archaeological treasures
    During an underwater excavation at the sunken city of Heracleion in Abu Qir bay in Alexandria, the Egyptian-French mission, led by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), uncovered remains of a military vessel and a funerary complex.
    Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
    Mostafa Waziry, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced the discovery of the remains of a military vessel in the submerged city of Thônis-Heracleion, which sank r
  • 3,100-year-old pottery fragment inscribed with biblical name found in southern Israel

    3,100-year-old pottery fragment inscribed with biblical name found in southern Israel
    For the first time an inscription from the time of the biblical Judges and relating to the Book of Judges has been recovered from excavations at Khirbat er-Ra‘i, near Kiryat Gat. The rare inscription bears the name ‘Jerubbaal’ in alphabetic script and dates from around 1,100 BCE. It was written in ink on a pottery vessel and found inside a storage pit that was dug into the ground and lined with stones.
    The fragment found at Horbat al-Ra'I has the complete name written out and
  • Cyprus showcases ancient undersea harbour to draw tourists

    Cyprus showcases ancient undersea harbour to draw tourists
    It's said that Demetrius the Besieger, a mighty warrior king and one of Alexander the Great's successors, built this harbor on Cyprus' southern coast 2,400 years ago to thwart a potential naval invasion from the ruler of Egypt, Ptolemy I, another of Alexander's heirs.
    Cyprus Antiquities Department official Yiannis Violaris snorkels over submerged stone remains ofthe ancient harbour next of Amathus ancient city, in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus[Credit: AP Photo/Petros Karadjias]
    Fre
  • The ancient Thessalonians are here

    The ancient Thessalonians are here
    The researchers refer to him as “501,” as if he were a secret agent. But the man behind the door of the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology in Komotini, a city in northeastern Greece, is long dead, and all that remains is his skeleton, spread out across a large table.
    Thousands of skeletons of the inhabitants of Thessaloniki from the founding of the cityuntil the late Byzantine years are studied in the laboratory in Komotini[Credit: Alexandron Avramidis/Kathimerini]
    Forming a circle
  • Yuan Dynasty tombs with carved brick murals unearthed in Eastern China

    Yuan Dynasty tombs with carved brick murals unearthed in Eastern China
    Archaeologists have excavated 12 ancient tombs dating back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) in Jinan, in east China's Shandong Province, the local archaeology institute said Wednesday. 
    Credit: Jinan Archaeological Research Institute
    The tomb cluster, which includes 11 tombs with exquisitely carved brick murals and one tomb with a stone chamber, was unearthed in the eastern suburbs of the provincial capital, said the institute's director Li Ming. The carved brick murals were created us
  • Ancient meteorite could reveal the origins of life on Earth

    Ancient meteorite could reveal the origins of life on Earth
    A 4.6-billion-year-old meteorite found in the laying in the imprint of a horseshoe is likely a remnant of cosmic debris left over from the birth of the solar system and could answer questions about how life began on Earth.
    The meteorite [Credit: Loughborough University]It was discovered by Derek Robson, of the East Anglian Astrophysical Research Organisation (EAARO), in a Gloucestershire field, in February, after travelling more than 110 million miles from its primordial home between the orbits
  • Newfound sections 'prove' ancient wall protected Jerusalem's east flank

    Newfound sections 'prove' ancient wall protected Jerusalem's east flank
    Archaeologists said Wednesday that the recent discovery of two stretches of stone bulwark from the Iron Age "unequivocally" prove a huge wall once protected the entire eastern flank of ancient Jerusalem.
    The section of the wall that was exposed [Credit: Koby Harati, City of David]
    Previous finds over the decades had uncovered two sections, one stretching for 90 metres and the other 30 metres, but a 70-metre gap between those two segments left doubts as to whether the ancient city of Jerusalem,
  • Remains of 'magnificent' 2,000-year-old public building unearthed near Western Wall in Jerusalem

    Remains of 'magnificent' 2,000-year-old public building unearthed near Western Wall in Jerusalem
    The Western Wall Heritage Foundation and the Israel Antiquities Authority are enabling the public to view impressive new sections of one of one of the most magnificent public buildings uncovered from the Second Temple period. The discovery – the fruit of archaeological excavations recently conducted in the Western Wall Tunnels – will be part of the new route opened to visitors ahead of Rosh Chodesh Elul and Selichot (penitential prayers).
    Remains of the magnificent 2000-year-old bui
  • Cannabis first domesticated in China 12,000 years ago: study reveals

    Cannabis first domesticated in China 12,000 years ago: study reveals
    Cannabis was first domesticated around 12,000 years ago in China, researchers found, after analyzing the genomes of plants from across the world.
    Cannabis landraces in Qinghai province, central China[Credit: Guangpeng Ren]
    The study, published in the journal Science Advances, said the genomic history of cannabis domestication had been under-studied compared to other crop species, largely due to legal restrictions.
    The researchers compiled 110 whole genomes covering the full spectrum of wild-gro
  • Rare stone discovered outlining ancient Rome's city limits

    Rare stone discovered outlining ancient Rome's city limits
    Archaeologists have discovered a rare stone delineating the city limits of ancient Rome that dates from the age of Emperor Claudius in 49 A.D. and was found during excavations for a new sewage system.
    Pomerial cippus in situ [Credit: Ara Pacis Museum]
    Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi was on hand for the unveiling Friday of the pomerial stone, a huge slab of travertine that was used as a sacred, military and political perimeter marking the edge of the city proper with Rome's outer territory.
    It was fou
  • Just 7% of our DNA is unique to modern humans, study shows

    Just 7% of our DNA is unique to modern humans, study shows
    What makes humans unique? Scientists have taken another step toward solving an enduring mystery with a new tool that may allow for more precise comparisons between the DNA of modern humans and that of our extinct ancestors.
    A reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton, right, and a modern human skeleton on display at theMuseum of Natural History in New York [Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II]
    Just 7% of our genome is uniquely shared with other humans, and not shared by other early ancestors, according to a
  • Early Earth was bombarded by series of city-sized asteroids

    Early Earth was bombarded by series of city-sized asteroids
    Scientists know that the Earth was bombarded by huge impactors in distant time, but a new analysis suggest that the number of these impacts may have been x10 higher than previously thought. This translates into a barrage of collisions, similar in scale to that of the asteroid strike which wiped out the dinosaurs, on average every 15 million years between 2.5 and 3.5 billion years ago. Some of these individual impacts may have been much bigger, possibly ranging from city-sized to small province
  • New clues to why there's so little antimatter in the universe

    New clues to why there's so little antimatter in the universe
    Imagine a dust particle in a storm cloud, and you can get an idea of a neutron's insignificance compared to the magnitude of the molecule it inhabits.
    MIT physicists find radioactive molecules are sensitive to subtle nuclear effects, and couldbe ideal probes for explaining why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe[Credit: MIT News]
    But just as a dust mote might affect a cloud's track, a neutron can influence the energy of its molecule despite being less than one-millionth its siz
  • Tree rings show record of newly identified extreme solar activity event

    Tree rings show record of newly identified extreme solar activity event
    The sun constantly emits a stream of energetic particles, some of which reach Earth. The density and energy of this stream form the basis of space weather, which can interfere with the operation of satellites and other spacecraft. A key unresolved question in the field is the frequency with which the sun emits bursts of energetic particles strong enough to disable or destroy space-based electronics.
    This picture shows the growth rings of an unknown tree species at Bristol Zoo in the United King
  • Scientists warn on the harmful implications of losing Indigenous and local knowledge systems

    Scientists warn on the harmful implications of losing Indigenous and local knowledge systems
    Five Simon Fraser University scholars are among international scientists sounding an alarm over the "pervasive social and ecological consequences" of the destruction and suppression of the knowledge systems of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
    Across the vast majority of our planet, the historical and current land-uses of Indigenous Peoplesand local communities, together with their interwoven practices and knowledge systems,are essential for sustaining our planet's biodiversity [Credit:
  • Earth's climate life story, 3 billion years in the making

    Earth's climate life story, 3 billion years in the making
    One of Earth's greatest mysteries is how it transformed itself, ever so gradually, from a barren ball of rock into a launching pad for life.
    Boriana Kalderon-Asael conducts field work at a Middle-Upper Ordovician outcropnear Reedsville, Penn. [Credit: Ashleigh Hood]
    Earth scientists have spent decades piecing together the relevant clues—identifying and studying the planet's complex interplay of geological processes, atmospheric dynamics, and chemical cycles. In particular, scientists have
  • Well-preserved cave painting of honey gathering found in Spain

    Well-preserved cave painting of honey gathering found in Spain
    The findings of a new site of cave paintings in Castellote (Teruel) have brought to light the scene of a person climbing a ladder to get honey from a beehive about 7,500 years ago.
    Man gathering honey ca. 7,500 years ago [Credit: Martínez et al. 2021]
    This is the most elaborate and well-preserved painting on this gatherer activity documented to date within the Levantine art, developed on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The findings took place as part of the European pro
  • Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong

    Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong
    New research from Binghamton University, State University of New York suggests that the demographic collapse at the core of the Easter Island myth didn't really happen.
    Illustration of the moai statuary on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) [Credit: Pixabay]
    You probably know this story, or a version of it: On Easter Island, the people cut down every tree, perhaps to make fields for agriculture or to erect giant statues to honor their clans. This foolish decision led to a catastrophic collapse, with only
  • Pioneering new framework highlights dual role of genetics and culture in inheritance

    Pioneering new framework highlights dual role of genetics and culture in inheritance
    A new framework which reconciles the roles of behavioral genetics and cultural evolution in inheritance—and cuts through the nature/nurture debate—has been put forward by researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
    Credit: London School of Economics
    The model, which is set out in a forthcoming paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, uses a dual inheritance approach to predict how cultural factors—such as technological innovation—can affect
  • New aspects related to plant processing revealed at Çatalhöyük

    New aspects related to plant processing revealed at Çatalhöyük
    A study conducted by researchers from the UPF Culture and Socio-Ecological Dynamics research group (CaSEs) and the University of Leicester (UK) has provided a highly dynamic image surrounding the use and importance of hitherto unknown wild plant resources at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük (Anatolia, Turkey). The researchers carried out their work combining the analysis of microbotanical remains and use-wear traces in various stone implements recovered from the site, which in
  • DNA from 1,600-year-old Iranian sheep mummy brings history to life

    DNA from 1,600-year-old Iranian sheep mummy brings history to life
    A team of geneticists and archaeologists from Ireland, France, Iran, Germany, and Austria has sequenced the DNA from a 1,600-year-old sheep mummy from an ancient Iranian salt mine, Chehrābād. This remarkable specimen has revealed sheep husbandry practices of the ancient Near East, as well as underlining how natural mummification can affect DNA degradation.
    The mummified sheep leg from which DNA was obtained. Image courtesy of Deutsches Bergbau-
    Museum Bochum and Zanjan Cultural Herita
  • Derbyshire cave house identified as ninth-century home to exiled king

    Derbyshire cave house identified as ninth-century home to exiled king
    Anchor Church cave is thought to be one of the oldest intact domestic interiors found in the UKA cave house previously thought to be an 18th-century folly has been identified as one of the oldest intact domestic interiors ever found in the UK and was once, archaeologists tantalisingly believe, the home of an exiled Anglo-Saxon king.In the 18th century, Anchor Church cave in south Derbyshire was used by local gentry as a place for parties, and until now it was officially understood that that was
  • Two Kouros statues found at the Temple of Zeus Lepsinos at Euromos in SW Turkey

    Two Kouros statues found at the Temple of Zeus Lepsinos at Euromos in SW Turkey
    Archaeologists unearthed two 2,500-year-old marble statues and an inscription during excavations at the Temple of Zeus Lepsinos, one of the best-preserved Roman temples of Asia Minor, in Turkey's western Muğla province. Built in the second century AD, the temple is located in the ancient city of Euromos.
    Credit: AA
    Abuzer Kızıl, head of the excavation committee and faculty member at Muğla Sıtkı Kocman University's department of archaeology, told Anadolu Agency (AA)
  • Observation tower, ancient sanctuary from Hellenistic era found near Bulgaria’s Burgas

    Observation tower, ancient sanctuary from Hellenistic era found near Bulgaria’s Burgas
    From the end of May to the end of June, archeological excavations were carried out on Cape Chiroza near the Kraimorie district of Burgas. The excavations were financed by the Municipality of Burgas with scientific supervisor Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov (National History Museum) and Deputy Supervisor Dr. Milen Nikolov from RHM Burgas.
    Credit: RHM Burgas
    Archaeologists from both museums have uncovered the foundations of a wall enclosing an area of ​​1 decare of Cape Chiroza and the foundat
  • Human environmental genome recovered in the absence of skeletal remains

    Human environmental genome recovered in the absence of skeletal remains
    Ancient sediments from caves have already been proven to preserve DNA for thousands of years. The amount of recovered sequences from environmental sediments, however, is generally low, which confounds the analyses performed with these sequences. A study led by Ron Pinhasi and Pere Gelabert of the University of Vienna and published in Current Biology successfully retrieved three mammalian environmental genomes from a single 25,000-year-old soil sample obtained from the cave of Satsurblia in the
  • Graeco-Roman pottery workshop discovered in Egypt

    Graeco-Roman pottery workshop discovered in Egypt
    A Graeco-Roman pottery workshop has been discovered in Egypt, at a site also bearing evidence of use since the Early Dynastic period.
    Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
    The Egyptian mission of the ministry of Tourism and Antiquities working at the site of Tell Kom Aziza in Abu Hummus, Beheira governorate in the Delta (169 km or 105 miles north of Cairo) unearthed remains of a pottery workshop dated to the Graeco-Roman period.
    Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
    Th
  • Songbird ancestors evolved a new way to taste sugar

    Songbird ancestors evolved a new way to taste sugar
    Humans can easily identify sweet-tasting foods—and with pleasure. However, many carnivorous animals lack this ability, and whether birds, descendants of meat-eating dinosaurs, can taste sweet was previously unclear. An international team of researchers led by Maude Baldwin of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology has now shown that songbirds, a group containing over 4.000 species, can sense sweetness regardless of their primary diets. The study, published in Science, highlights a speci
  • Longest known continuous record of the Paleozoic discovered in Yukon wilderness

    Longest known continuous record of the Paleozoic discovered in Yukon wilderness
    Hundreds of millions of years ago, in the middle of what would eventually become Canada's Yukon Territory, an ocean swirled with armored trilobites, clam-like brachiopods and soft, squishy creatures akin to slugs and squid.
    Ordovician black shales of the Mount Hare Formation, Road River Group (approximately 465 million
     years old) rise above conglomerates of the Aberdeen Member. The dangerous rapids of Aberdeen
     Canyon (Nan Zhak Nadhàdlaii), created by the Peel River cutting th
  • Ancient ostrich eggshell reveals new evidence of extreme climate change thousands of years ago

    Ancient ostrich eggshell reveals new evidence of extreme climate change thousands of years ago
    Evidence from an ancient eggshell has revealed important new information about the extreme climate change faced by human early ancestors.
    Ostrich eggshell in calcrete [Credit: Philip Kiberd]
    The research shows parts of the interior of South Africa that today are dry and sparsely populated, were once wetland and grassland 250,000 to 350,000 years ago, at a key time in human evolution.
    Philip Kiberd and Dr Alex Pryor, from the University of Exeter, studied isotopes and the amino acid from ostrich
  • Reading the rocks: Geologist finds clues to ancient climate patterns in chert

    Reading the rocks: Geologist finds clues to ancient climate patterns in chert
    A million years ago, dry seasons became more frequent and forests retreated before the encroaching savanna. Meanwhile, clustered around a nearby lake, our ancient ancestors fashioned stone tools.
    Chert, Lake Magadi, Kajiado County, Kenya [Credit: Toby Peterson]
    During the long press of years, mud and sediment in that East African lake turned to stone, trapping pollen and microscopic organisms in its lattice. Today, researchers like Kennie Leet analyze samples of these ancient sediments, known a
  • A biological fireworks show 300 million years in the making

    A biological fireworks show 300 million years in the making
    Five years ago, researchers at Northwestern University made international headlines when they discovered that human eggs, when fertilized by sperm, release billions of zinc ions, dubbed "zinc sparks."
    Frog eggs like those pictured here release zinc when fertilized,much like mammalian eggs do [Credit: Tero Laakso]
    Now, Northwestern has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Michigan State University (MSU) to reveal that these same sparks fly from hig
  • Climate changed the size of our bodies and, to some extent, our brains

    Climate changed the size of our bodies and, to some extent, our brains
    An interdisciplinary team of researchers, led by the Universities of Cambridge and Tubingen, has gathered measurements of body and brain size for over 300 fossils from the genus Homo found across the globe. By combining this data with a reconstruction of the world's regional climates over the last million years, they have pinpointed the specific climate experienced by each fossil when it was a living human.
    Skulls: Left: Amud 1, Neanderthal, 55.000 years ago, ~1750 cm³, Middle: Cro Magnon,
  • New iguanodon-like dinosaur identified from jawbone fossil from Spain

    New iguanodon-like dinosaur identified from jawbone fossil from Spain
    Scientists say they have discovered a new iguanodon-like dinosaur in Spain. Named Portellsaurus sosbaynati, the dinosaur was likely a 19- to 26-foot long herbivore that scientists think is closely related to species found in modern-day China and Niger.
    Portellsaurus sosbaynati, a new iguanodon-like dinosaur identified from a jawbonefossil found in Spain [Credit: Santos-Cubedo et al, 2021]
    Iguanodons were typically large plant eaters with hoof-like second, third and fourth digits, and in some ca

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