Science News

  • Bronze Age cemetery reveals history of a high-status woman and her twins
    on July 29, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Ancient urn graves contain a wealth of information about a high-ranking woman and her Bronze Age Vatya community, according to a new study.

  • Neanderthal and Denisovan blood groups deciphered
    on July 28, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    The blood groups of three Neanderthals one Denisovan have been determined by a team including a palaeoanthropologist, population geneticists, and haematologists. Their research provides new data for understanding the origins, history, and health of these extinct hominin lineages.

  • Human environmental genome recovered in the absence of skeletal remains
    on July 12, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    Ancient sediments from caves have already proven to preserve DNA for thousands of years. The amount of recovered sequences from environmental sediments, however, is generally low, which complicates analyses. A study has now successfully retrieved three mammalian environmental genomes from a single soil sample of 25,000 years BP obtained from the cave of Satsurblia in the Caucasus (Georgia).

  • Neanderthal artists? Bones decorated over 50,000 years ago
    on July 6, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    Since the discovery of the first fossil remains, the image of the Neanderthal has been one of a primitive hominin. People have known for a long time that Neanderthals were able to fashion tools and weapons. But could they also make jewellery or even art? Researchers analyzed a new find from the Unicorn Cave in the Harz Mountains in Germany and conclude that Neanderthals had remarkable cognitive abilities.

  • Where are the Foreigners of the First International Age?
    on June 30, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    A new study reports genetic and oxygen and strontium isotopic data for individuals buried at Alalakh, finding little evidence for the foreigners mentioned in texts.

  • Bronze Age: how the market began
    on June 29, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Knowing the weight of a commodity provides a way to value goods in the marketplace. But did a self-regulating market even exist in the Bronze Age? And what can weight systems tell us? Researchers investigated the dissemination of weight systems throughout Western Eurasia. Their simulation indicates that the interaction of merchants, even without intervention from institutions, is likely to explain the spread of Bronze Age technology to weigh goods.

  • This 5,000-year-old man had the earliest known strain of plague
    on June 29, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    The oldest strain of Yersinia pestis -- the bacteria behind the plague that caused the Black Death, which may have killed as much as half of Europe's population in the 1300s -- has been found in the remains of a 5,000-year-old hunter-gatherer. A genetic analysis reveals that this ancient strain was likely less contagious and not as deadly as its medieval version.

  • How humans brought change to a tropical paradise
    on June 29, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    After centuries of human impact on the world's ecosystems, a new study details an example of how a common native bee species has flourished since the very first land clearances by humans on Fiji.

  • A new type of Homo unknown to science
    on June 24, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    The bones of an early human, unknown to science, who lived in the Levant at least until 130,000 years ago, were discovered in excavations at the Nesher Ramla site, near the city of Ramla. Recognizing similarity to other archaic Homo specimens from 400,000 years ago, found in Israel and Eurasia, the researchers reached the conclusion that the Nesher Ramla fossils represent a unique Middle Pleistocene population, now identified for the first time.

  • Comet strike may have sparked key shift in human civilization
    on June 24, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    A cluster of comet fragments believed to have hit Earth nearly 13,000 years ago may have shaped the origins of human civilization, research suggests.

  • Being Anglo-Saxon was a matter of language and culture, not genetics
    on June 23, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Archaeologists have provided important new evidence to answer the question 'who exactly were the Anglo-Saxons?' New findings based on studying skeletal remains clearly indicates the Anglo-Saxons were a melting pot of people from both migrant and local cultural groups and not one homogenous group from Western Europe.

  • Pleistocene sediment DNA from Denisova Cave
    on June 23, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Researchers have analyzed DNA from 728 sediment samples from Denisova Cave. Their study provides unprecedented detail about the occupation of the site by both archaic and modern humans over 300,000 years. The researchers detected the DNA of Neandertals and Denisovans, the two forms of archaic hominins who inhabited the cave, and the DNA of modern humans who appeared around the time of the emergence of an archaeological culture called the Initial Upper Paleolithic around 45,000 years ago.

  • Ancient bones provide clues about Kangaroo Island's past and future
    on June 21, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    A study of ancient bones on South Australia's Kangaroo Island has provided new information about the Island's past fauna and an insight into how species may live there in the future.

  • Bronze Age Scandinavia's trading networks for copper
    on June 17, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Five hundred years after the full implementation of copper technology in Scandinavia, the trade that brought the much needed copper to Denmark and southern Sweden also expanded across the Alps. At this time, Bronze Age Scandinavians already traded frequently in central Europe and across the North Sea.

  • Light in darkness: An experimental look at Paleolithic cave lighting
    on June 16, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    A recreation of three common types of Paleolithic lighting systems (torches, grease lamps, and fireplaces) illuminates how Paleolithic cave dwellers might have traveled, lived, and created in the depths of their caves, according to a new study.

  • Ten years of ancient genome analysis has taught scientists 'what it means to be human'
    on June 16, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    A ball of 4,000-year-old hair frozen in time tangled around a whalebone comb led to the first ever reconstruction of an ancient human genome a decade ago. The hair, which was preserved in arctic permafrost in Greenland, was collected in the 1980s. It wasn't until 2010 that evolutionary biologists were able to use pioneering shotgun DNA sequencing to reconstruct the genetic history of the hair. It sparked a 'decade of discovery.'

  • At underwater site, research team finds 9,000-year-old stone artifacts
    on June 16, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Underwater archaeologists have been studying 9,000-year-old stone tool artifacts discovered in Lake Huron that originated from an obsidian quarry more than 2,000 miles away in central Oregon. The obsidian flakes from the underwater archaeological site represent the oldest and farthest east confirmed specimens of western obsidian ever found in the continental United States.

  • Early migrations of Siberians to America tracked using bacterial population structures
    on June 14, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Early migrations of humans to the Americas from Siberia around 12,000 years ago have been traced using the bacteria they carried by an international team.

  • Fashion for pointy shoes unleashed plague of bunions in medieval Britain
    on June 11, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Researchers analysing skeletal remains in the city of Cambridge find a dramatic increase in 'hallux valgus' around the time that pointed shoes became de rigueur in the 1300s. They also uncover a link between this minor deformity and increased risk of fractures.

  • Researchers link ancient wooden structure to water ritual
    on June 10, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    A team used dendrochronology and a form of radiocarbon dating called 'wiggle-matching' to pinpoint, with 95% probability, the years in which an ancient wooden structure's two main components were created: a lower tank in 1444 B.C., and an upper tank in 1432 B.C.

  • How the amphibians got their vertebrae
    on June 9, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    A group of ancient amphibians called temnospondyls evolved stiffer spinal columns to adapt to aquatic life, contrary to previous hypotheses, according to a new study.

  • Archaeology uncovering lost Indigenous NE Florida settlement of Sarabay
    on June 8, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Archaeology team is now fairly confident they have located the lost Indigenous northeast Florida community of Sarabay, a settlement mentioned in both French and Spanish documents dating to the 1560s but had not been discovered until now.

  • 10,000-year-old DNA pens the first tales of the earliest domesticated goats
    on June 7, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    New research has revealed the genetic makeup of the earliest goat herds. The findings, assimilated from DNA taken from the remains of 32 goats that died some 10,000 years ago in the Zagros mountains, provide clues to how early agricultural practices shaped the evolution of these animals.

  • Ancient chickens lived significantly longer than modern fowl because they were seen as sacred, not...
    on June 7, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Ancient chickens lived significantly longer than their modern equivalents because they were seen as sacred -- not food -- archaeologists have found.

  • Underwater ancient cypress forest offers clues to the past
    on June 3, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Marine geologists and paleoclimatologists new research findings uncover new information about the underwater ancient cypress forest and the Gulf Coast's past.

  • New evidence may change timeline for when people first arrived in North America
    on June 1, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    An unexpected discovery suggests that the first humans may have arrived in North America more than 30,000 years ago - nearly 20,000 years earlier than originally thought.

  • Ancient fish bones reveal non-kosher diet of ancient Judeans, say researchers
    on May 25, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Ancient Judeans commonly ate non-kosher fish surrounding the time that such food was prohibited in the Bible, suggests a new study.

  • Entire genome from Pestera Muierii 1 sequenced
    on May 20, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Researchers have successfully sequenced the entire genome from the skull of Pestera Muierii 1, a woman who lived in today's Romania 35,000 years ago. Her high genetic diversity shows that the out of Africa migration was not the great bottleneck in human development but rather this occurred during and after the most recent Ice Age.

  • Ancient horse DNA reveals gene flow between Eurasian and North American horses
    on May 18, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    A new study of ancient DNA from horse fossils found in North America and Eurasia shows that horse populations on the two continents remained connected through the Bering Land Bridge, moving back and forth and interbreeding multiple times over hundreds of thousands of years.

  • Archaeologists teach computers to sort ancient pottery
    on May 17, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    A machine learns to categorize pottery comparable to expert archaeologists, matches designs among thousands of broken pieces.

  • Who fought in the ancient Greek Battles of Himera? Chemical evidence provides answers
    on May 12, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    Geochemical evidence reveals that armies in the Battles of Himera were a mixture of locals and outsiders, according to a new study. These data contradict certain claims made in historical accounts by ancient Greek writers.

  • Ancient gut microbiomes may offer clues to modern diseases
    on May 12, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    Scientists have found dramatic differences between gut microbiomes from ancient North American peoples and modern microbiomes, offering new evidence on how these microbes may evolve with different diets.

  • The Aqueduct of Constantinople: Managing the longest water channel of the ancient world
    on May 11, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    Aqueducts are very impressive examples of the art of construction in the Roman Empire. Even today, they still provide us with new insights into aesthetic, practical, and technical aspects of construction and use. Scientists investigated the longest aqueduct of the time, the 426-kilometer-long Aqueduct of Valens supplying Constantinople, and revealed new insights into how this structure was maintained back in time.

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