Science News

  • Ancient Roman port history unveiled
    on July 15, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Researchers have applied marine geology techniques at an ancient harbor archaeological site to uncover ancient harbor technologies of the first centuries AD. […]

  • Ancient genomics pinpoint origin and rapid turnover of cattle in the Fertile Crescent
    on July 11, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Ancient DNA has revealed how the prehistory of the Near East's largest domestic animal, the cow, chimes with the emergence of the first complex economies, cities and the rise and fall of the world earliest human empires. […]

  • Lead pollution in Arctic ice shows economic impact of wars and plagues for past 1,500 years
    on July 8, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    A research team used 13 ice cores from Greenland and the Russian Arctic to measure, date, and analyze lead emissions captured in ice from 500 to 2010 CE. They found that increases in lead concentration in the ice cores track closely with periods of expansion in Europe, the advent of new technologies, and economic prosperity. Decreases in lead, on the other hand, paralleled climate disruptions, wars, plagues, and famines. […]

  • Scientists develop new method for studying early life in ancient rocks
    on July 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Scientists have developed a new method for detecting traces of primordial life in ancient rock formations using potassium. […]

  • Ancient DNA sheds light on the origins of the Biblical Philistines
    on July 3, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    An international team analyzed for the first time, genome-wide data from people who lived during the Bronze and Iron Age in the ancient city of Ashkelon, one of the core Philistine cities. The team found that a European derived ancestry was introduced in Ashkelon around the time of the Philistines' estimated arrival, suggesting that ancestors of the Philistines migrated across the Mediterranean. These results are a critical step toward understanding the origins of the Philistines. […]

  • Levänluhta jewellery links Finland to a European exchange network
    on June 25, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    A recently completed study indicates that the material of the jewellery found together with human remains at the Levänluhta water burial site originates in southern Europe, contrary to what researchers had previously thought. […]

  • Archaeological mystery solved with modern genetics
    on June 20, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Researchers have conducted a census of the Japanese population around 2,500 years ago using the Y chromosomes of men living on the main islands of modern-day Japan. This is the first time analysis of modern genomes has estimated the size of an ancient human population before they were met by a separate ancient population. […]

  • Human migration in Oceania recreated through paper mulberry genetics
    on June 19, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    The migration and interaction routes of prehistoric humans throughout the islands of Oceania can be retraced using genetic differences between paper mulberry plants, a tree native to Asia cultivated for fibers to make paper and introduced into the Pacific in prehistoric times to make barkcloth. […]

  • Dinosaur bones are home to microscopic life
    on June 18, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Scientists went looking for preserved collagen, the protein in bone and skin, in dinosaur fossils. They didn't find the protein, but they did find huge colonies of modern bacteria living inside the dinosaur bones. […]

  • Past climate change: A warning for the future?
    on June 17, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    A new study of climate changes and their effects on past societies offers a sobering glimpse of social upheavals that might happen in the future. The prehistoric groups studied lived in the Amazon Basin of South America hundreds of years ago, before European contact, but the disruptions that occurred may carry lessons for our time. […]

  • Origins of cannabis smoking
    on June 12, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    A chemical residue study of incense burners from ancient burials at high elevations in western China has revealed psychoactive cannabinoids. The finding provides some of the earliest evidence for the use of cannabis for its psychoactive compounds. […]

  • Diet at the docks: Living and dying at the port of ancient Rome
    on June 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Researchers present the results of an analysis of plant, animal and human remains, reconstructing both the diets and geographic origins of the inhabitants of Portus, the maritime port of Imperial Rome. […]

  • Breakthrough in the discovery of DNA in ancient bones buried in water
    on June 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Fresh evidence rewrites the understanding of the most intriguing archaeological burial site in western Finland. New DNA technology gives significant information on the bones buried in water. The DNA matches present day Sámi people, who nowadays live far from the site. The question why the bones were buried in water remains a mystery and demands further investigation. […]

  • Ancient DNA from Roman and medieval grape seeds reveal ancestry of wine making
    on June 10, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    A grape variety still used in wine production in France today can be traced back 900 years to just one ancestral plant, scientists have discovered. […]

  • Dramatic change in ancient nomad diets coincides with expansion of networks across Eurasia
    on June 10, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Strengthening of political networks coincided with the intensification of agricultural production, resulting in the widespread adoption of millet by populations across Eurasia. […]

  • Hoard of the rings: Unusual rings are a novel type of Bronze Age cereal-based product
    on June 5, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Strange ring-shaped objects in a Bronze Age hillfort site represent a unique form of cereal-based product, according to a new study. […]

  • DNA from 31,000-year-old milk teeth leads to discovery of new group of ancient Siberians
    on June 5, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Two children's milk teeth buried deep in a remote archaeological site in north eastern Siberia have revealed a previously unknown group of people lived there during the last Ice Age. The finding was part of a wider study which also discovered 10,000 year-old human remains in another site in Siberia are genetically related to Native Americans -- the first time such close genetic links have been discovered outside of the US. […]

  • Ancient DNA sheds light on Arctic hunter-gatherer migration to North America around 5,000 years ago
    on June 5, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    An ancient population of Arctic hunter-gatherers, known as Paleo-Eskimos, made a significant genetic contribution to populations living in Arctic North America today, new research shows. […]

  • Details of first historically recorded plague pandemic revealed by ancient genomes
    on June 5, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Analysis of eight new plague genomes from the first plague pandemic reveals previously unknown levels of plague diversity, and provides the first genetic evidence of the Justinianic Plague in the British Isles. […]

  • Oldest flaked stone tools point to the repeated invention of stone tools
    on June 3, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    A new archaeological site discovered by scientists working in Ethiopia shows that the origins of stone tool production are older than 2.58 million years ago. Previously, the oldest evidence for systematic stone tool production and use was 2.58 to 2.55 million years ago. […]

  • In hot pursuit of dinosaurs: Tracking extinct species on ancient Earth via biogeography
    on May 31, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Identifying the movements of extinct species from millions of years ago can provide insights into ancient migration routes, interaction between species, and the movement of continents. […]

  • Ancient feces reveal parasites in 8,000-year-old village in Turkey
    on May 31, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Earliest archaeological evidence of intestinal parasitic worms in the ancient inhabitants of Turkey shows whipworm infected this population of prehistoric farmers. […]

  • Ancient DNA tells the story of the first herders and farmers in east Africa
    on May 30, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    A collaborative study led by archaeologists, geneticists and museum curators is providing answers to previously unsolved questions about life in sub-Saharan Africa thousands of years ago. […]

  • Early humans used northern migration routes to reach eastern Asia
    on May 29, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Northern and Central Asia have been neglected in studies of early human migration, with deserts and mountains being considered uncompromising barriers. However, a new study argues that humans may have moved through these extreme settings in the past under wetter conditions. By analyzing past climate, northern Asia emerges as a potential route of human dispersal, as well as a zone of potential interaction with other hominins such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. […]

  • Research reveals the link between primate knuckles and hand use
    on May 29, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Researchers have found differences between the knuckle joints of primates that will enable a better understanding of ancient human hand use. […]

  • Early humans deliberately recycled flint to create tiny, sharp tools
    on May 29, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    A new study finds that prehistoric humans 'recycled' discarded or broken flint tools 400,000 years ago to create small, sharp utensils with specific functions. The artifacts were discovered at the site of Qesem Cave, located just outside Tel Aviv. […]

  • Unique Iron Age shield gives insight into prehistoric technology
    on May 23, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    A unique bark shield, thought to have been constructed with wooden laths during the Iron Age, has provided new insight into the construction and design of prehistoric weaponry. […]

  • Researchers examine the age of groundwater in Egyptian aquifers
    on May 23, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Groundwater in Egypt's aquifers may be as much as 200,000 years old, and that's important to know as officials in that country seek to increasing the use of groundwater, especially in the Eastern Desert, to mitigate growing water stress and allow for agricultural projects. […]

  • Cocktails with Cleopatra?
    on May 22, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    A team of scientists in Israel has created ancient alcohol from ancient yeast. […]

  • Eastern forests shaped more by Native Americans' burning than climate change
    on May 21, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Native Americans' use of fire to manage vegetation in what is now the Eastern United States was more profound than previously believed, according to a researcher who determined that forest composition change in the region was caused more by land use than climate change. […]

  • Earliest evidence of the cooking and eating of starch
    on May 17, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    New discoveries made at the Klasies River Cave in South Africa's southern Cape, where charred food remains from hearths were found, provide the first archaeological evidence that anatomically modern humans were roasting and eating plant starches, such as those from tubers and rhizomes, as early as 120,000 years ago. […]

  • Museum volunteers discover new species of extinct heron at North Florida fossil site
    on May 17, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    When the bones of an ancient heron were unearthed at a North Florida fossil site, the find wasn't made by researchers but by two Florida Museum of Natural History volunteers. A previously unknown genus and species, the heron has been named Taphophoyx hodgei. […]

  • Chewing gums reveal the oldest Scandinavian human DNA
    on May 15, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    The first humans who settled in Scandinavia more than 10,000 years ago left their DNA behind in ancient chewing gums, which are masticated lumps made from birch bark pitch. […]

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