Science News

  • DNA tool allows you to trace your ancient ancestry
    on January 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Scientists at the University of Sheffield studying ancient DNA have created a tool allowing them to more accurately identify ancient Eurasian populations, which can be used to test an individual's similarity to ancient people who once roamed the earth. […]

  • 15-meter-long ancient whale Basilosaurus isis was top marine predator
    on January 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    The stomach contents of ancient whale Basilosaurus isis suggest it was an apex predator, according to a new study. […]

  • Illuminating women's role in the creation of medieval manuscripts
    on January 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Researchers have revealed direct evidence of medieval women's involvement in the production of illuminated manuscripts. Lapis lazuli in the dental calculus of a woman buried at a 12th-century German monastery suggests that she created richly illustrated religious texts. […]

  • Genetic study reveals how citrus became the Med's favorite squeeze
    on December 20, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Genetic detective work has illuminated the important role of Jewish culture in the widespread adoption of citrus fruit by early Mediterranean societies. […]

  • Peering into Little Foot's 3.67-million-year-old brain
    on December 18, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    MicroCT scans of the Australopithecus fossil known as Little Foot shows that the brain of this ancient human relative was small and shows features that are similar to our own brain and others that are closer to our ancestor shared with living chimpanzees. […]

  • Early animals: Death near the shoreline, not life on land
    on December 13, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils -- the tracks and trails left by ancient animals -- in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents. […]

  • Oldest known plant virus found at ancient settlement
    on December 13, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Researchers studying ancient corncobs found at a Native American archeological site have recovered a 1,000-year-old virus, the oldest plant virus ever reported. […]

  • First-ever look at complete skeleton of Thylacoleo, Australia's extinct 'marsupial lion'
    on December 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Thyalacoleo carnifex, the 'marsupial lion' of Pleistocene Australia, was an adept hunter that got around with the help of a strong tail, according to a new study. These insights come after newly discovered remains, including one nearly complete fossil specimen, allowed these researchers to reconstruct this animal's entire skeleton for the first time. […]

  • Chickens to be marker of Anthropocene
    on December 12, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    New research shows the age of man -- the Anthropocene -- will be defined by the chicken. […]

  • An ancient strain of plague may have led to the decline of Neolithic Europeans
    on December 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Researchers have identified a new strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, in DNA extracted from 5,000-year-old human remains. Their analyses suggest that this strain is the closest ever identified to the genetic origin of plague. Their work also suggests that plague may have been spread among Neolithic European settlements by traders, contributing to their decline. […]

  • Prehistoric cave art suggests ancient use of complex astronomy
    on November 27, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    As far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using relatively sophisticated knowledge of the stars, new research shows. […]

  • First ancient DNA from mainland Finland reveals origins of Siberian ancestry in region
    on November 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    A new study shows that the genetic makeup of northern Europe traces back to migrations from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago and that, as recently as the Iron Age, ancestors of the Saami lived in a larger area of Finland than today. […]

  • The 'Swiss Army knife of prehistoric tools' found in Asia, suggests homegrown technology
    on November 19, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    A study by an international team of researchers have determines that carved stone tools, also known as Levallois cores, were used in Asia 80,000 to 170,000 years ago. With the find -- and absent human fossils linking the tools to migrating populations -- researchers believe people in Asia developed the technology independently, evidence of similar sets of skills evolving throughout different parts of the ancient world. […]

  • Climate change likely caused migration, demise of ancient Indus Valley civilization
    on November 15, 2018 at 4:48 am

    A new study found evidence that climate change likely drove the Harappans to resettle far away from the floodplains of the Indus. […]

  • Primates of the Caribbean: Ancient DNA reveals history of mystery monkey
    on November 13, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Analysis of ancient DNA of a mysterious extinct monkey named Xenothrix -- which displays bizarre body characteristics very different to any living monkey -- has revealed that it was in fact most closely related to South America's titi monkeys (Callicebinae). Having made their way overwater to Jamaica, probably on floating vegetation, their bones reveal they subsequently underwent remarkable evolutionary change. […]

  • New light cast on fishing throughout history
    on November 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    A new study has revealed new insights into ancient fishing throughout history, including what type of fish people were regularly eating as part of their diet. […]

  • The new face of South American people
    on November 9, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Study by 72 researchers from eight countries concludes that the Lagoa Santa people are descendants of Clovis culture migrants from North America. Distinctly African features attributed to Luzia were wrong. […]

  • Experts find that stone tools connected communities
    on November 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Stone tools that were discovered and examined by a group of international experts showed for the first time that various communities that lived during the Middle Stone Age period were widely connected and shared ideas around tool design. […]

  • Ancient DNA evidence reveals two unknown migrations from North to South America
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    A team has used genome-wide ancient DNA data to revise Central and South American history. Their analysis of DNA from 49 individuals spanning about 10,000 years in Belize, Brazil, the Central Andes, and southern South America has concluded that the majority of Central and South American ancestry arrived from at least three different streams of people entering from North America, all arising from one ancestral lineage of migrants who crossed the Bering Strait. […]

  • DNA of world's oldest natural mummy unlocks secrets of Ice Age tribes in the Americas
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    A wide ranging international study that genetically analysed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America has discovered that the Spirit Cave remains -- the world's oldest natural mummy - was a Native American. They were also able to dismiss a longstanding theory that a group called Paleoamericans existed in North America before Native Americans. […]

  • Ancient child's tooth reveals picture of Alaska's early inhabitants
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Research on a newly rediscovered 9,000-year-old child's tooth has reshaped our understanding of Alaska's ancient people, their genetic background and their diets. The tooth is only the second known remnant of a population of early migrants known as Ancient Beringians. Combined with previous research, the find indicates that Ancient Beringians remained in Alaska for thousands of years after first migrating across the Bering Land Bridge that connected eastern Asia and Alaska. […]

  • Oldest evidence of dairying on the East Asian Steppe
    on November 5, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Although dairy pastoralism once made Mongolian steppe herders successful enough to conquer most of Asia and Europe, the origins of this way of life on the East Asian steppe are still unclear. Now an international team of researchers has uncovered evidence that dairying arrived in Mongolia as early as 1300 BC through a process of cultural transmission rather than population replacement or migration. […]

  • Fern plant infusion keeps the doctor away in Medieval Europe
    on November 5, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    The remains of a medieval skeleton has shown the first physical evidence that a fern plant could have been used for medicinal purposes in cases such as alopecia, dandruff and kidney stones. […]

  • Neanderthal ribcage reconstructed, offering new clues to ancient human anatomy
    on October 30, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Scientists have completed the first 3D virtual reconstruction of the ribcage of the most complete Neanderthal skeleton unearthed to date. Using CT scans of fossils from an approximately 60,000-year-old male skeleton, researchers were able to create a 3D model of the chest -- one that is different from the longstanding image of the barrel-chested, hunched-over 'caveman.' […]

  • Interior northwest Nez Perce used tobacco long before European contact
    on October 29, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Researchers have determined that the Nez Perce grew and smoked tobacco at least 1,200 years ago, long before the arrival of traders and settlers from the eastern United States. Their finding upends a long-held view that indigenous people in this area of the interior Pacific Northwest smoked only kinnikinnick or bearberry before traders brought tobacco starting around 1790. […]

  • Sweet discovery pushes back the origins of chocolate
    on October 29, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    As Halloween revelers prepare to feast on chocolate, a new study from an international team of researchers is pushing back the origins of the delicious sweet treat. […]

  • Climate change: US desert areas to become even drier
    on October 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Geologists study rainfall patterns in the distant past to better understand how deserts in the southwest United States will be impacted by future climate change. […]

  • Societies can remain distinct despite migration
    on October 17, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Countries around the world can retain distinct cultures despite migration, new research shows. […]

  • Parasites from medieval latrines unlock secrets of human history
    on October 15, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    A radical new approach combining archaeology, genetics and microscopy can reveal long-forgotten secrets of human diet, sanitation and movement from studying parasites in ancient excrement, according to new research. […]

  • Extensive trade in fish between Egypt and Canaan 3,500 years ago
    on October 15, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Some 3,500 years ago, a brisk trade in fish on the shores of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea had already begun. This conclusion follows from the analysis of 100 fish teeth that were found at various archeological sites in what is now Israel. […]

  • 'Vampire burial' reveals efforts to prevent child's return from grave
    on October 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Archaeologists found the remains of a 10-year-old child with a stone inserted into his or her mouth at a fifth-century Italian cemetery. They think the stone was meant to keep the child from rising from the dead and spreading malaria to the living. […]

  • Statistical method recreates the history of a long-abandoned village
    on October 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Archaeologists now have new tools for studying the development of medieval villages and the transformation of the historical landscapes surrounding them. Scientists have attempted to reconstruct the history of Zornoztegi, an abandoned medieval village located in the Basque Country, Spain. […]

  • Broad genetic variation on the Pontic-Caspian Steppe
    on October 4, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    The genetic variation within the Scythian nomad group is so broad that it must be explained with the group assimilating people it came in contact with. This is shown in a new study on Bronze and Iron Age genetics of the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, situated in the Black Sea region. […]

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