Archaeology News

Archaeology News

Evolutionary biologists solve puzzle of evolutionary relationships among vertebrates

Using the largest and most informative molecular phylogenetic dataset ever analysed, evolutionary biologists were able to construct a new phylogenetic tree of jawed vertebrates. This new tree resolves several key relationships that have remained controversial, including the identification of lungfishes as the closest living relatives of land vertebrates. The evolution of jawed vertebrates is part of our own history since humans belong to the tetrapods more specifically we are mammals, or, even more specifically, primates.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 5:31 pm

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau

Geoscientists have long puzzled over the mechanism that created the Tibetan Plateau, but a new study finds that the landform's history may be controlled primarily by the strength of the tectonic plates whose collision prompted its uplift. Given that the region is one of the most seismically active areas in the world, understanding the plateau's geologic history could give scientists insight to modern day earthquake activity.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 3:35 pm

300 million-year-old 'modern' beetle from Australia reconstructed

He's Australian, around half a centimeter long, fairly nondescript, 300 million years old -- and he's currently causing astonishment among both entomologists and palaeontologists. The discovery of a beetle from the late Permian period is throwing a completely new light on the earliest developments in this group of insects.
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 2:50 pm

Biblical History at What Cost?


Recently, the Hobby Lobby corporation—owned by the Green family—agreed to pay a $3 million fine for the purchase of thousands of artifacts believed to have been smuggled out of Iraq. Given the connection of the Green family and their massive collection of artifacts to the soon-to-be-opened Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., how are we to understand the significance of this civil case? Cultural heritage expert Roberta Mazza of the University of Manchester explains in this guest blog post.

The post Biblical History at What Cost? appeared first on Biblical Archaeology Society.

Author: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff
Posted: July 24, 2017, 1:11 pm

Our ancestors were already warm-blooded just before the Permian-Triassic extinction event

For how long have warm-blooded animals existed? The time at which this character first appeared in the ancestors of mammals has long been debated. Now, dating analyses carried out on 90 fossils have shown that warm-blooded species first appeared among our ancestors during the Late Permian, 252 -- 259 million years ago. In addition, this new character may have enabled them to survive the Permian-Triassic extinction event, 252 million years ago
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Posted: July 24, 2017, 1:10 pm

In saliva, clues to a 'ghost' species of ancient human

In saliva, scientists have found hints that a 'ghost' species of archaic humans may have contributed genetic material to ancestors of people living in sub-Saharan Africa today. The research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that sexual rendezvous between different archaic human species may not have been unusual.
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Posted: July 21, 2017, 3:34 pm

New Kingdom Egypt: The goldsmith’s tomb

Archeologists are studying the impact of intercultural contacts in Ancient Egypt. New excavations in Sudan have uncovered a tomb dating to around 1450 BC on the island of Sai in the Nile.
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Posted: July 21, 2017, 1:01 pm

New Kingdom Egypt: The goldsmith’s tomb

Archeologists are studying the impact of intercultural contacts in Ancient Egypt. New excavations in Sudan have uncovered a tomb dating to around 1450 BC on the island of Sai in the Nile.
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Posted: July 21, 2017, 1:01 pm

5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Billboard Discovered


Egyptologists recently discovered the oldest known monumental hieroglyphs.

The post 5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Billboard Discovered appeared first on Biblical Archaeology Society.

Author: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff
Posted: July 20, 2017, 6:14 pm

Artifacts suggest humans arrived in Australia earlier than thought

Archeologists have found and dated artifacts in northern Australia that indicate humans arrived there about 65,000 years ago -- more than 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.
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Posted: July 19, 2017, 5:22 pm

Thawing permafrost releases old greenhouse gas

The thawing permafrost soils in the Arctic regions might contribute to the greenhouse effect in two respects: on the one hand rising temperatures lead to higher microbial methane production close to the surface. On the other hand thawing subsurface opens increasingly pathways for old, geologic methane.
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Posted: July 19, 2017, 12:48 pm

Sea cave preserves 5,000-year snapshot of tsunamis

Scientists digging in a sea cave in Indonesia have discovered the world's most pristine record of tsunamis, a 5,000-year-old sedimentary snapshot that reveals for the first time how little is known about when earthquakes trigger massive waves.
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Posted: July 19, 2017, 12:48 pm

Did life begin on land rather than in the sea?

A new discovery pushes back the time for the emergence of microbial life on land by 580 million years and also bolsters a paradigm-shifting hypothesis that life began, not in the sea, but on land.
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Posted: July 18, 2017, 6:29 pm

Fused imaging reveals 16th-century writing hidden inside bookbinding

By fusing visible hyperspectral imaging with X-ray fluorescence, researchers have safely revealed Roman law code hidden inside of a 16th century bookbinding.
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Posted: July 18, 2017, 3:37 pm

Why Tyrannosaurus was a slow runner and why the largest are not always the fastest

No other animal on land is faster than a cheetah -- the elephant is indeed larger, but slower. For small to medium-sized animals, larger also means faster, but for really large animals, when it comes to speed, everything goes downhill again. For the first time, it is now possible to describe how this parabola-like relationship between body size and speed comes about.
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Posted: July 17, 2017, 3:56 pm

Climatic stability resulted in the evolution of more bird species

More species of birds have accumulated, in general, inhabiting climatically stable areas.
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Posted: July 17, 2017, 2:04 pm

New species of dinosaur named after Canadian icon

A new species of troodontid theropod dinosaur, Albertavenator curriei, has been identified. It is named after renowned Canadian palaeontologist Dr. Philip J. Currie. Palaeontologists initially thought that the bones of Albertavenator belonged to its close relative Troodon, which lived around 76 million years ago. This new species of troodontid in the Late Cretaceous of North America indicates that small dinosaur diversity in the latest Cretaceous of North America is likely underestimated due to the difficulty of identifying species from fragmentary fossils.
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Posted: July 17, 2017, 1:10 pm

Fossil site shows impact of early Jurassic's low oxygen oceans

Using a combination of fossils and chemical markers, scientists have tracked how a period of globally low ocean-oxygen turned an Early Jurassic marine ecosystem into a stressed community inhabited by only a few species.
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Posted: July 15, 2017, 7:51 pm

Cretaceous Tanaidaceans took care of their offspring more than 105 million years ago

The first evidence of parental care in Tanaidaceans has been found by scientists, dating back to more than 105 million years, according to a new study. These new findings are based on the study of three small crustaceans from different species of the Cretaceous -- Alavatanais carabe, Alavatanais margulisae and Daenerytanais maieuticus -- preserved in amber pieces from the sites in  Peñacerrada (Álava, Spain) and La Buzinie (Charente, France), reference models in the study of fossil records in amber with bioinclusions of the Mesozoic in Europe.
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Posted: July 14, 2017, 11:21 am

Ancient plankton-like microfossils span two continents

Large, robust, lens-shaped microfossils from the approximately 3.4 billion-year-old Kromberg Formation of the Kaapvaal Craton in eastern South Africa are not only among the oldest elaborate microorganisms known, but are also related to other intricate microfossils of the same age found in the Pilbara Craton of Australia, according to an international team of scientists.
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Posted: July 13, 2017, 7:48 pm

Ancient Greek theaters used moveable stages more than 2,000 years ago

Theater has been loved by many people since classical times. Along with its popularity, stage theater construction evolved greatly between the ancient Greek and Roman periods. In this research, an architectural researcher has clarified the development process for some of the stage equipment that was used in the theaters of Messene, an ancient Greek city.
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Posted: July 11, 2017, 1:26 pm

Ancient Greek theaters used moveable stages more than 2,000 years ago

Theater has been loved by many people since classical times. Along with its popularity, stage theater construction evolved greatly between the ancient Greek and Roman periods. In this research, an architectural researcher has clarified the development process for some of the stage equipment that was used in the theaters of Messene, an ancient Greek city.
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Posted: July 11, 2017, 1:26 pm

Easter Island not victim of 'ecocide,' analysis of remains shows

Analysis of remains found on Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island) provides evidence contrary to the widely-held belief that the ancient civilization recklessly destroyed its environment.
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Posted: July 10, 2017, 8:14 pm

X-ray finds unique fingerprint in Medieval manuscript ink

Analyzing pigments in medieval illuminated manuscript pages is opening up some new areas of research bridging the arts and sciences, report investigators.
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Posted: July 10, 2017, 8:09 pm

Big, shape-shifting animals from the dawn of time

Major changes in the chemical composition of the world's oceans enabled the first large organisms -- possibly some of the earliest animals -- to exist and thrive more than half a billion years ago, marking the point when conditions on Earth changed and animals began to take over the world.
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Posted: July 10, 2017, 3:37 pm

On Display in Rome: Images of the Temple Menorah


The Menorah: Worship, History and Myth, a major exhibition on display at the Vatican Museum and the Jewish Museum in Rome, provides dramatic images of the Temple Menorah.

The post On Display in Rome: Images of the Temple Menorah appeared first on Biblical Archaeology Society.

Author: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff
Posted: July 7, 2017, 1:34 pm

Archaeologists put sound back into a previously silent past

Many attempts to explain how past people experienced their wider world have focused on sight at the expense of sound, but researchers have now developed a tool that puts sound back into the ancient landscape.
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Posted: July 6, 2017, 6:31 pm

How humans transformed wild wheat into its modern counterpart

A sophisticated sequencing study reveals genetic changes that emerged in wheat as it became domesticated by agricultural societies in the Fertile Crescent, roughly 10,000 years ago.
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Posted: July 6, 2017, 6:31 pm

Archaeologists put sound back into a previously silent past

Many attempts to explain how past people experienced their wider world have focused on sight at the expense of sound, but researchers have now developed a tool that puts sound back into the ancient landscape.
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Posted: July 6, 2017, 6:31 pm

Fern fossil data clarifies origination and extinction of species

Throughout the history of life, new groups of species have flourished at the expense of earlier ones and global biodiversity has varied dramatically over geologic time. A new study shows that completely different factors regulate the rise and fall of species.
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Posted: July 6, 2017, 3:32 pm

Falling sea level caused volcanoes to overflow

During the transition to the last ice age approximately 80,000 years ago global temperature declined, while the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere remained relatively stable. Scientists have now discovered that a falling sea level may have caused enhanced volcanic activity in the ocean, which can explain the anomaly.
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Posted: July 6, 2017, 3:32 pm

Kinect scan of T. rex skull addresses paleontological mystery

A new system with $150 worth of hardware offers alternative to 3-D scanners that cost 200 times as much, report scientists who have used it on the skull of a T. rex dinosaur.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 8:45 pm

Sticking your neck out: How did plesiosaurs swim with such long necks?

When dinosaurs ruled the land, plesiosaurs ruled the oceans. Famous for their incredibly long necks -- some of which were up to 7 meters long -- plesiosaurs have remained an evolutionary mystery for hundreds of years. Scientists are now simulating plesiosaur locomotion with 3-D models to understand how they could swim with such long necks.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 5:29 pm

DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa

Ancient mitochondrial DNA from the femur of an archaic European hominin is helping resolve the complicated relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals. The genetic data provides a timeline for a proposed migration out of Africa that occurred after the ancestors of Neanderthals arrived in Europe by a lineage more closely related to modern humans.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 5:29 pm

Why does a Yellowstone microorganism prefer meager rations over rich ones?

A microorganism that thrives in a hot spring draws its nutrients from low-energy sources rather than rich ones -- and scientists can't figure out why.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 5:29 pm

Ancient animal thought to be first air breather on land loses claim to fame

Some good scientific sleuthing by an undergraduate student has helped rewrite one of the earliest chapters in the planet's evolutionary history. The research has shown that the millipede thought to be the world's oldest known air-breathing land creature is in fact about 14 million years younger than previously thought and cannot be the original land breather.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 5:29 pm

Australian study uses new technique to challenge brain development hypothesis

A new study, which might be useful for biomedical research, rewrites parts of the rulebook on how mammalian brains -- including our own -- could have evolved. It includes the possibility that distinctive dominance of our own cerebral hemispheres is not, as previously suggested, just a side-effect that forces brains of a particular size to have particular proportions.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 2:41 pm

Breakthrough in dating Viking fortress

In 2014 archaeologists discovered the previously unknown Viking fortress at Borgring south of Copenhagen. Since then the search has been on to uncover the life, function, destruction and, not least, the precise dating of the Viking fortress. Now a new find has produced a breakthrough in the investigation.
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Posted: July 5, 2017, 1:53 pm

Through fossil leaves, a step towards Jurassic Park

The relationships between 200-million-year-old plants have been established for the first time, based on chemical fingerprints. Using infrared spectroscopy and statistical analysis of organic molecules in fossil leaves, they are opening up new perspectives on the dinosaur era.
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Posted: July 4, 2017, 1:39 pm

The Ii Hamina cemetery reveals adaptation to the environment

The medieval cemetery in Ii Hamina in northern Finland on the Iijoki river was originally discovered by accident. A recent study examined the isotope compositions of the teeth of the dead. It turned out that the population in the small village survived throughout the 15th and 16th centuries despite the Little Ice Age.
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Posted: July 4, 2017, 1:39 pm

Gigantic crocodile with T. rex teeth was a top land predator of the Jurassic in Madagascar

Little is known about the origin and early evolution of the Notosuchia, hitherto unknown in the Jurassic period. New research on fossils from Madagascar begin to fill the gap in a million-year-long ghost lineage. Deep and massive jaw bones armed with enormous serrated teeth that are similar in size and shape to those of a T. rex strongly suggest that these animals fed also on hard tissue such as bone and tendon.
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Posted: July 4, 2017, 1:36 pm

Dinosaurs' loss was frogs' gain: The upside of a mass extinction

Based on earlier studies, biologists believed that the vast majority of today's frogs originated in a blossoming of new species 100 million years ago. New and more complete genetic data pinpoints this radiation much earlier: 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, precisely when much of life on Earth was wiped out by a comet or asteroid. Frogs took advantage of flourishing angiosperms to escape to the treetops into many more ecological niches.
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Posted: July 3, 2017, 9:04 pm

Utah is home to earliest use of a wild potato in North America

Potato starch residues have been discovered in the crevices of a 10,900-year-old stone tool in Escalante, Utah -- the earliest evidence of wild potato use in North America. This is the first archaeological study to identify Solanum jamesii, a wild species native to the southwestern United States, as an important part of ancient human diets. The long history could mean that the species was transported, cultivated or even domesticated.
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Posted: July 3, 2017, 9:00 pm

Utah is home to earliest use of a wild potato in North America

Potato starch residues have been discovered in the crevices of a 10,900-year-old stone tool in Escalante, Utah -- the earliest evidence of wild potato use in North America. This is the first archaeological study to identify Solanum jamesii, a wild species native to the southwestern United States, as an important part of ancient human diets. The long history could mean that the species was transported, cultivated or even domesticated.
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Posted: July 3, 2017, 9:00 pm

Ancient concrete: Learning to do as the Romans did

A new look inside 2,000-year-old Roman concrete has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time.
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Posted: July 3, 2017, 5:20 pm

Ancient concrete: Learning to do as the Romans did

A new look inside 2,000-year-old Roman concrete has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time.
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Posted: July 3, 2017, 5:20 pm

Size not important for fish in the largest mass extinction of all time

Understanding modern biodiversity and extinction threats is important. It is commonly assumed that being large contributes to vulnerability during extinction crises. However, researchers have found that size played no role in the extinction of fish during the largest mass extinction of all time.
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Posted: June 30, 2017, 2:50 pm

Ancient Swiss reptile shows its bizarre scale armor for the first time

Grisons, 241 million years ago -- Instead of amidst high mountains, a small reptile suns itself on an island beach in a warm shallow sea, where many fish and marine reptiles frolic. This is the story told by an excellently preserved new discovery of the reptile Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi.
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Posted: June 30, 2017, 12:50 pm

Acoustic scientist sounds off about the location of cave paintings

One popular theory about the Paleolithic cave paintings proposes that sites were chosen based on the acoustics in the caves. The originators of the theory reported a causal connection between the 'points of resonance' in three French caves and the position of Paleolithic cave paintings.
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Posted: June 29, 2017, 9:55 pm

Genetic evidence from the South Caucasus region shows surprising long-term stability

The South Caucasus -- home to the countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan -- geographically links Europe and the Near East. The area has served for millennia as a major crossroads for human migration, with strong archaeological evidence for big cultural shifts over time. And yet, surprisingly, ancient mitochondrial DNA evidence finds no evidence of any upheaval over the last 8,000 years.
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Posted: June 29, 2017, 6:30 pm

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