Science News

  • Assessing geographic origins of ancient humans
    on January 28, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Working with lead isotopes taken from tooth enamel of prehistoric animals, researchers have developed a new method for assessing the geographic origins of ancient humans.

  • New study debunks myth of Cahokia's Native American lost civilization
    on January 27, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    An archaeologist has dug up ancient human feces, among other demographic clues, to challenge the narrative around the legendary demise of Cahokia, North America's most iconic pre-Columbian metropolis.

  • Driven by Earth's orbit, climate changes in Africa may have aided human migration
    on January 27, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    New research describes a dynamic climate and vegetation model that explains when regions across Africa, areas of the Middle East, and the Mediterranean were wetter and drier and how the plant composition changed in tandem, possibly providing migration corridors throughout time.

  • Tw writers penned landmark inscriptions in 8th-century BCE Samaria
    on January 22, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    A new study reveals that only 2 writers penned landmark inscriptions on an 8th-century BCE Samarian ostraca. The discovery illuminates the bureaucratic apparatus of an ancient kingdom of Israel.

  • Anthropologists confirm existence of specialized sheep-hunting camp in prehistoric Lebanon
    on January 22, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Anthropologists have confirmed the existence more than 10,000 years ago of a hunting camp in the mountains along the modern-day border between Lebanon and Syria -- one that straddles the period marking the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural settlements at the onset of the last stone age. Analysis of decades-old data collected from Nachcharini Cave shows it was a short-term hunting camp and that sheep were the primary game.

  • Native Americans did not make large-scale changes to environment prior to European contact
    on January 22, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Contrary to long-held beliefs, humans did not make major changes to the landscape prior to European colonization, according to new research. These new insights into the past could help to inform how landscapes are managed in the future.

  • Fossil is the oldest-known scorpion
    on January 16, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Scientists studying fossils collected 35 years ago have identified them as the oldest-known scorpion species, a prehistoric animal from about 437 million years ago. The researchers found that the animal likely had the capacity to breathe in both ancient oceans and on land.

  • The Vikings erected a runestone out of fear of climate catastrophe
    on January 8, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Several passages on the Rök stone -- the world's most famous Viking Age runic monument -- suggest that the inscription is about battles and for over a hundred years, researchers have been trying to connect the inscription with heroic deeds in war. Now, thanks to an interdisciplinary research project, a new interpretation of the inscription is being presented. The study shows that the inscription deals with an entirely different kind of battle: the conflict between light and darkness, […]

  • Over-hunting walruses contributed to the collapse of Norse Greenland, study suggests
    on January 6, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    Norse Greenlanders may have chased dwindling walrus herds ever farther north in an effort to maintain their economy, when the value of walrus ivory tanked after the introduction of elephant tusks into European markets in the 1200s.

  • Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago
    on January 2, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170,000 years ago. This discovery is much older than earlier reports for cooking similar plants and it provides a fascinating insight into the behavioral practices of early modern humans in southern Africa.

  • New archaeological discoveries reveal birch bark tar was used in medieval England
    on December 19, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Scientists have, for the first time, identified the use of birch bark tar in medieval England -- the use of which was previously thought to be limited to prehistory.

  • Ancient Mediterranean seawall first known defense against sea level rise and it failed
    on December 18, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Ancient Neolithic villagers on the Carmel Coast in Israel built a seawall to protect their settlement against rising sea levels in the Mediterranean, revealing humanity's struggle against rising oceans and flooding stretches back thousands of years.

  • Archaeologists find Bronze Age tombs lined with gold
    on December 17, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Archaeologists have discovered two Bronze Age tombs containing a trove of engraved jewelry and artifacts that promise to unlock secrets about life in ancient Greece.

  • Celebrated ancient Egyptian woman physician likely never existed
    on December 16, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    For decades, an ancient Egyptian known as Merit Ptah has been celebrated as the first female physician and a role model for women entering medicine. Yet a researcher now says she never existed and is an example of how misconceptions can spread.

  • A new early whale, Aegicetus gehennae, and the evolution of modern whale locomotion
    on December 11, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    A newly discovered fossil whale represents a new species and an important step in the evolution of whale locomotion.

  • Researchers analyze artifacts to better understand ancient dietary practices
    on December 11, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    New research from anthropologists is shedding light on ancient dietary practices, the evolution of agricultural societies and ultimately, how plants have become an important element of the modern diet.

  • When penguins ruled after dinosaurs died
    on December 10, 2019 at 12:34 am

    The newly described Kupoupou stilwelli has been found near New Zealand's South Island and it appears to be the oldest penguin known with proportions close to its modern relatives.

  • Long-distance timber trade underpinned the Roman Empire's construction
    on December 4, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    The ancient Romans relied on long-distance timber trading to construct their empire, according to a new study.

  • Imaging uncovers secrets of medicine's mysterious ivory manikins
    on November 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Little is known about the origins of manikins -- small anatomical sculptures thought to be used by doctors four centuries ago -- but now advanced imaging techniques have offered a revealing glimpse inside these captivating ivory dolls. Researchers using micro-CT successfully identified the material composition and components of several ancient ivory manikins, according to a new study.

  • Human migration out of Africa may have followed monsoons in the Middle East
    on November 26, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    A new study by geoscientists and climatologists provides evidence that summer monsoons from Asia and Africa may have reached into the Middle East for periods of time going back at least 125,000 years, providing suitable corridors for human migration.

  • Scientist excavates medieval Uzbek cemetery
    on November 25, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    An Otago scientist has been digging up human remains in the backyards of Uzbek villagers to discover how people lived in the Middle Ages.

  • Only eat oysters in months with an 'r'? Rule of thumb is at least 4,000 years old
    on November 20, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Foodie tradition dictates only eating wild oysters during months containing the letter 'r' -- from September to April. Now, a new study suggests people have been following this practice for at least 4,000 years.

  • Early DNA lineages shed light on the diverse origins of the contemporary population
    on November 15, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    A new genetic study demonstrates that, at the end of the Iron Age, Finland was inhabited by separate and differing populations, all of them influencing the gene pool of modern Finns. The study is so far the most extensive investigation of the ancient DNA of people inhabiting the region of Finland.

  • Megadrought likely triggered the fall of the Assyrian Empire
    on November 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    The Neo-Assyrian Empire, centered in northern Iraq and extending from Iran to Egypt -- the largest empire of its time -- collapsed after more than two centuries of dominance at the fall of its capital, Nineveh, in 612 B.C.E. Despite a plethora of cuneiform textual documentation and archaeological excavations and field surveys, archaeologists and historians have been unable to explain the abruptness and finality of the historic empire's collapse.

  • Ancient Egyptians gathered birds from the wild for sacrifice and mummification
    on November 13, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    In ancient Egypt, sacred ibises were collected from their natural habitats to be ritually sacrificed, according to a new study.

  • Extinct giant ape directly linked to the living orangutan
    on November 13, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Researchers have succeeded in reconstructing the evolutionary relationship between a two million year old giant primate and the living orangutan. It is the first time genetic material this old has been retrieved from a fossil in a subtropical area. This allows the researchers to accurately reconstruct animal, including human, evolutionary processes way beyond the limits known today.

  • World's oldest glue used from prehistoric times till the days of the Gauls
    on November 13, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    By studying artefacts that date back to the first 6 centuries AD through the lens of chemistry, archaeology, and textual analysis, researchers have discovered birch tar was being used right up to late antiquity, if not longer. The artefacts in question -- found in a region where birch is scarce, thus raising the question of how it was procured -- are testimony to the strength of tradition among the Gauls.

  • This is what the monsoon might look like in a warmer world
    on November 12, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    In the last interglacial period on Earth about 125,000 years ago, the Indian monsoon was longer, more extreme and less reliable than it is today. This is the conclusion drawn after analyses of a dripstone from a cave in north-eastern India, combining various methods that provide information about supra-regional and local weather phenomena and the climate dynamics of the past.

  • Scientists explore Egyptian mummy bones with X-rays and infrared light
    on November 12, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Experiments are casting a new light on Egyptian soil and ancient mummified bone samples that could provide a richer understanding of daily life and environmental conditions thousands of years ago.

  • Researchers lay out first genetic history of Rome
    on November 7, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Despite extensive records of the history of Rome, little is known about the city's population over time. A new genetic history of the Eternal City reveals a dynamic population shaped in part by political and historical events.

  • Humans migrated from Europe to the Levant 40,000 years ago
    on November 5, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Researchers now report that Aurignacians, culturally sophisticated yet mysterious early humans, migrated from Europe to the Levant some 40,000 years ago, shedding light on a significant era in the region's history.

  • What we can learn from Indigenous land management
    on November 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    First Nations peoples' world view and connection to Country provide a rich source of knowledge and innovations for better land and water management policies when Indigenous decision-making is enacted, Australian researchers say. Incorporating the spirit and principles of Aboriginal people's appreciation and deep understanding of the landscape and its features has been overlooked or sidelined in the past - to the detriment of the environment, the report says.

  • Ancient bone protein reveals which turtles were on the menu in Florida, Caribbean
    on November 4, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Thousands of years ago, the inhabitants of modern-day Florida and the Caribbean feasted on sea turtles, leaving behind bones that tell tales of ancient diets and the ocean's past. An international team of scientists used cutting-edge technology to analyze proteins from these bones to help identify which turtle species people fished from the ocean, helping inform conservation efforts today.



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