Science News

  • The surprising origins of the Tarim Basin mummies
    on October 27, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Researchers have determined the genetic origins of Asia's most enigmatic mummies. Once thought to be Indo-European speaking migrants from the West, the Bronze Age Tarim Basin mummies are revealed to be a local indigenous population with deep Asian roots and taste for far-flung cuisine.

  • Vitamin D deficiency for the first time visible after cremation
    on October 25, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    The cremation process destroys a lot of information that can usually be obtained from the human skeleton. Especially diseases are difficult to observe. Researchers have now found a way to reveal some of the information. For the first time, they have succeeded in detecting vitamin D deficiency in cremated human remains.

  • Europeans in the Americas 1000 years ago
    on October 20, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    The Vikings were active in North America in the year 1021 AD. This now represents the earliest -- and only -- known year in which Europeans were present in the Americas prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1492 AD. It also represents a definitive point in time by which the Atlantic Ocean had been traversed and human migration had finally encircled the globe.

  • Popular theory of Native American origins debunked by genetics and skeletal biology
    on October 13, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    A widely accepted theory of Native American origins coming from Japan has been attacked in a new scientific study, which shows that the genetics and skeletal biology 'simply does not match-up.'

  • Scientists report evidence for a new -- but now extinct -- species of ancient ground-dwelling sloth
    on October 12, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Scientists report new evidence that some 5,000 years ago, a sloth smaller than a black bear roamed the forest floor of what is now the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea, living a lowland life different from its cousins on the other side of the island.

  • Ancient city could have been destroyed by cosmic airburst, evidence suggests
    on October 8, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Researchers have presented evidence that a Middle Bronze Age city called Tall el-Hammam, located in the Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea, was destroyed by a cosmic airburst.

  • Roman noblewoman’s tomb reveals secrets of ancient concrete resilience
    on October 8, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Over time, concrete cracks and crumbles. Well, most concrete cracks and crumbles. Structures built in ancient Rome are still standing, exhibiting remarkable durability despite conditions that would devastate modern concrete. One of these structures is the large cylindrical tomb of first-century noblewoman Caecilia Metella. New research shows that the quality of the concrete of her tomb may exceed that of her male contemporaries' monuments because of the volcanic aggregate the builders chose and […]

  • Ten millennia of hepatitis B virus evolution described
    on October 7, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Researchers uncover the evolution of the hepatitis B virus since the Early Holocene by analyzing the largest dataset of ancient viral genomes produced to date.

  • Multiple individuals are buried in the Tomb of Nestor’s Cup, study finds
    on October 6, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    The Tomb of Nestor's Cup, a famous burial in Italy, contains not one deceased individual, but several, according to a new study.

  • Earliest evidence yet of huge hippos in Britain
    on October 4, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Palaeobiologists have unearthed the earliest evidence yet of hippos in the UK. Excavations at Westbury Cave in Somerset have uncovered a million-year-old hippo tooth which shows the animal roamed Britain much earlier than previously thought.

  • What the fate of ancient cities can teach us about surviving climate change
    on September 28, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    Why did some ancient Khmer and Mesoamerican cities collapse between 900-1500CE, while their rural surrounds continued to prosper? Intentional adaptation to climate changed conditions may be the answer, suggests a new study.

  • Cosmic impact destroyed a biblical city in Jordan Valley
    on September 28, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    In the Middle Bronze Age (about 3600 years ago or roughly 1650 BCE), the city of Tall el-Hammam was ascendant. Located on high ground in the southern Jordan Valley, northeast of the Dead Sea, the settlement in its time had become the largest continuously occupied Bronze Age city in the southern Levant, having hosted early civilization for a few thousand years. At that time, it was 10 times larger than Jerusalem and 5 times larger than Jericho.

  • In Guatemala, archaeologist helps to uncover hidden neighborhood in ancient Maya city
    on September 28, 2021 at 11:50 am

    The newly discovered structures provide game-changing evidence that the imperial power of Teotihuacan exerted considerable influence on Tikal, an ancient Maya capital, as part of a campaign of conquest.

  • The origin and legacy of the Etruscans
    on September 24, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Researchers present comprehensive ancient DNA data retrieved from peoples culturally affiliated with the iconic Etruscans, settling a long-lasting debate on the origins of this highly skilled and enigmatic culture.

  • Ancient DNA analysis sheds light on dark event in medieval Spain
    on September 23, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    Researchers used ancient DNA analysis to identify a member of a population expelled from medieval Spain known as the 'Segorbe Giant'. The results have shed light on the brutal political decision that led to a dramatic change in population following the Christian reconquest of Spain.

  • Those earrings are so last year – but the reason you're wearing them is ancient
    on September 22, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Shell beads found in a cave in Morocco are at least 142,000 years old. The archaeologists who found them say they're the earliest known evidence of a widespread form of human communication.

  • Early Homo sapiens groups in Europe faced subarctic climates
    on September 22, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    Using oxygen stable isotope analysis of tooth enamel from animals butchered by humans at the site of Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria, researchers show that human groups belonging to an early wave of dispersal of our species into Europe were faced with very cold climatic conditions while they occupied the cave between about 46,000 and 43,000 years ago. Archaeological remains at Bacho Kiro Cave currently represent the oldest known remnants of Upper Palaeolithic Homo sapiens in Europe, and thus open a […]

  • Blowing up medieval gunpowder recipes
    on September 22, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    First used for battle in China in about 900 A.D., gunpowder spread throughout Eurasia by the end of the 13th century, eventually revolutionizing warfare as a propellant in firearms and artillery. Meanwhile, master gunners tinkered with gunpowder formulas, trying to find the ideal concoction. Now, researchers have recreated medieval gunpowder recipes and analyzed the energies released during combustion, revealing that the evolution of the perfect powder was a slow, trial-and-error process.

  • Four dinosaurs discovered in Montana, including a possible rare ostrich-mimic Anzu
    on September 21, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    A team of paleontologists excavated four dinosaurs in northeastern Montana this summer. The four dinosaur fossils are: the ilium -- or hip bones -- of an ostrich-sized theropod, the group of meat-eating, two-legged dinosaurs that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and raptors; the hips and legs of a duck-billed dinosaur; a pelvis, toe claw and limbs from another theropod that could be a rare ostrich-mimic Anzu, or possibly a new species; and a Triceratops specimen consisting of its skull and other […]

  • Roman-era mixers and millstones made with geology in mind
    on September 21, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    A study on stone tools from an outpost of the Roman Empire has found that for ancient bakers and millers, having the right tools was a matter of geology.

  • Maya rulers put their personal stamp on monumental complexes
    on September 21, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    Early Maya cities featured monumental complexes, which centered on a shared form of religion but these complexes transformed radically once kingship emerged in 400 B.C. To solidify their power, rulers throughout the Maya lowlands would change these complexes, installing their mark on the landscape and reshaping how people remember it, according to a new study.

  • Ancient DNA rewrites early Japanese history -- modern day populations have tripartite genetic origin
    on September 17, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Researchers have extracted Ancient DNA from human bones to re-write early Japanese history by underlining that modern day populations in Japan have a tripartite genetic origin -- a finding that refines previously accepted views of a dual genomic ancestry.

  • Giant Waikato penguin: School kids discover new species
    on September 16, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    A giant fossilized penguin discovered by New Zealand school children has been revealed as a new species.

  • Ancient bone tools found in Moroccan cave were used to work leather, fur
    on September 16, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    When researchers first started to look at animal bones from Contrebandiers Cave, Morocco, they wanted to learn about the diet and environment of early human ancestors who lived there between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago. But they soon realized that the bones they had found weren't just meal scraps. They'd been shaped into tools, apparently for use in working leather and fur.

  • Milk enabled massive steppe migration
    on September 15, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    The long-distance migrations of early Bronze Age pastoralists in the Eurasian steppe have captured widespread interest. But the factors behind their remarkable spread have been heavily debated by archaeologists. Now a new study provides clues regarding a critical component of the herders' lifestyle that was likely instrumental to their success: dairying.

  • Hand and footprint art dates to mid-Ice Age
    on September 14, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Researchers have identified what may be the oldest work of art, a sequence of hand and footprints discovered on the Tibetan Plateau.

  • Ancient teeth reveal surprising diversity of Cretaceous reptiles at Argentina fossil site
    on September 8, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Where skeletons are rare, isolated teeth can flesh out our understanding of ancient reptile-dominated ecosystems, according to a new study.

  • ‘MRI’ scan reveals spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea
    on September 8, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Spectacular ice age landscapes beneath the North Sea have been discovered using 3D seismic reflection technology. Similar to MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) the images reveal in unprecedented detail huge seafloor channels - each one 10 times wider than the River Thames.

  • New insights on date palm evolution using 2,200-year old leaf found in ancient Egyptian temple
    on September 7, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Using a leaf uncovered from the archaeological site of an ancient Egyptian temple, researchers from NYU Abu Dhabi's (NYUAD) Center for Genomics and Systems Biology have successfully determined the ancient hybrid origin of some date palms, which could prove useful for modern date palm breeding as the plant remains a cornerstone of Middle Eastern and North African agriculture.

  • Transatlantic slave trade introduced novel pathogenic viruses in the Americas
    on September 7, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Cutting-edge genetic techniques are shedding new light on how European colonists and their enslavement of African people may have contributed to epidemics among Indigenous communities in North America.

  • New evidence supports idea that America’s first civilization was made up of ‘sophisticated’...
    on September 2, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    New evidence discovered at Poverty Point in northern Louisiana by anthropologists challenges previous beliefs about how pre-modern hunter-gatherers behaved.

  • New evidence supports idea that America's first civilization was made up of 'sophisticated'...
    on September 2, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    New evidence discovered at Poverty Point in northern Louisiana by anthropologists challenges previous beliefs about how pre-modern hunter-gatherers behaved.

  • Learning from a 'living fossil'
    on August 30, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    As we live and breathe, ancient-looking fish known as bowfin are guarding genetic secrets that that can help unravel humanity's evolutionary history and better understand its health.

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