Science News

  • The testimony of trees: How volcanic eruptions shaped 2000 years of world history
    on September 28, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Researchers have shown that over the past two thousand years, volcanoes have played a larger role in natural temperature variability than previously thought, and their climatic effects may have contributed to past societal and economic change.

  • Chromium steel was first made in ancient Persia
    on September 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Chromium steel - similar to what we know today as tool steel - was first made in Persia, nearly a millennium earlier than experts previously thought, according to a new study.

  • Wild birds as offerings to the Egyptian gods
    on September 22, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Millions of mummified ibis and birds of prey, sacrificed to the Egyptian gods Horus, Ra or Thoth, have been discovered in the necropolises of the Nile Valley. Such a quantity of mummified birds raises the question of their origin: were they bred, like cats, or were they hunted? According to a team of scientists that carried out extensive geochemical analyses on mummies, they were wild birds.

  • Archaeology uncovers infectious disease spread 4000 years ago
    on September 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    New bioarchaeology research has shown how infectious diseases may have spread 4000 years ago, while highlighting the dangers of letting such diseases run rife.

  • Raids and bloody rituals among ancient steppe nomads
    on September 18, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Traces of violence on 1700 year old skeletons allow researchers to reconstruct warfare and sacrifices of nomads in Siberia. An international and interdisciplinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists and specialists in forensic sciences performed a detailed and revealing analysis of the traumas found on the skeletal remains.

  • World's largest DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren't all Scandinavian
    on September 16, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Invaders, pirates, warriors - the history books taught us that Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond. Now cutting-edge DNA sequencing of more than 400 Viking skeletons from archaeological sites scattered across Europe and Greenland will rewrite the history books.

  • To recreate ancient recipes, check out the vestiges of clay pots
    on September 11, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    UC Berkeley archaeologists have discovered that unglazed ceramic cookware can retain the residue of not just the last supper cooked, but earlier meals as well, opening a window onto gastronomic practices possibly going back millennia.

  • Skeletal study suggests at least 11 fish species are capable of walking
    on September 9, 2020 at 12:05 am

    An international team of scientists has identified at least 11 species of fish suspected to have land-walking abilities.

  • The mathematical values of Linear A fraction signs
    on September 8, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    A recent study has shed new light on the Minoan system of fractions, one of the outstanding enigmas tied to the ancient writing of numbers.

  • Ancient bony fish forces rethink of how sharks evolved
    on September 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Sharks' non-bony skeletons were thought to be the template before bony internal skeletons evolved, but a new fossil discovery suggests otherwise.

  • Study reveals lactose tolerance happened quickly in Europe
    on September 3, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    A new study published in Current Biology reveals that the ability for humans to digest milk (lactase persistence) spread through Central Europe quickly in evolutionary terms.

  • New mathematical method shows how climate change led to fall of ancient civilization
    on September 3, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    A researcher developed a mathematical method that shows climate change likely caused the rise and fall of an ancient civilization. A new article outlines the technique he developed and shows how shifting monsoon patterns led to the demise of the Indus Valley Civilization, a Bronze Age civilization contemporary to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.

  • Radiocarbon dating and CT scans reveal Bronze Age tradition of keeping human remains
    on September 1, 2020 at 2:40 am

    Using radiocarbon dating and CT scanning to study ancient bones, researchers have uncovered for the first time a Bronze Age tradition of retaining and curating human remains as relics over several generations.

  • Helminth infections common in Medieval Europe, grave study finds
    on August 27, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Although helminth infections -- including tapeworms and roundworms -- are among the world's top neglected diseases, they are no longer endemic in Europe. However, researchers report that these infections were common in Medieval Europe, according to grave samples analyzed from across the continent.

  • Vast stone monuments constructed in Arabia 7,000 years ago
    on August 25, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    New archaeological research in Saudi Arabia documents hundreds of stone structures interpreted as monumental sites where early pastoralists carried out rituals.

  • How dinosaur research can help medicine
    on August 24, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    The intervertebral discs connect the vertebrae and give the spine its mobility. The disc consists of a cartilaginous fibrous ring and a gelatinous core as a buffer. It has always been assumed that only humans and other mammals have discs. A misconception, as a research team has now discovered: Even Tyrannosaurus rex could have suffered a slipped disc.

  • Medieval texts reveal false Royal Navy origins
    on August 24, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    England's proud maritime history credits Alfred the Great as having established the Royal Navy but evidence from a medieval text show this popularly held belief to be false.

  • New species of Cretaceous brittle star named in honor of Nightwish vocalist
    on August 24, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Palaeontologists have discovered a previously unknown species of brittle star that lived in the shallow, warm sea which covered parts of the present-day Netherlands at the end of the Dinosaur Era. The starfish-like creature was unearthed more than 20 years ago but has only now been identified as new to science.

  • Animal mummies unwrapped with hi-res 3D X-rays
    on August 20, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Three mummified animals from ancient Egypt have been digitally unwrapped and dissected by researchers, using high-resolution 3D scans that give unprecedented detail about the animals' lives -- and deaths -- over 2000 years ago. The three animals - a snake, a bird and a cat - are from the collection held by the Egypt Centre at Swansea University. Previous investigations had identified which animals they were, but very little else was known about what lay inside the mummies.

  • Remains of 17th century bishop support neolithic emergence of tuberculosis
    on August 14, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Researchers present analysis of the highest quality ancient Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome to date, suggesting the pathogen is much younger than previously believed.

  • 200,000 years ago, humans preferred to kip cozy
    on August 14, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Researchers in South Africa's Border Cave have found evidence that people have been using grass bedding to create comfortable areas for sleeping and working on at least 200,000 years ago.

  • Syphilis may have spread through Europe before Columbus
    on August 13, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Columbus brought syphilis to Europe -- or did he? A recent study now indicates that Europeans could already have been infected with this sexually transmitted disease before the 15th century. In addition, researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown pathogen causing a related disease. The predecessor of syphilis and its related diseases could be over 2,500 years old.

  • The oldest known cremation in the Near East dates to 7000 BC
    on August 12, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Ancient people in the Near East had begun the practice of intentionally cremating their dead by the beginning of the 7th millennium BC, according to a new study.

  • Australian Indigenous banana cultivation found to go back over 2,000 years
    on August 12, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Archaeologists have found the earliest evidence of Indigenous communities cultivating bananas in Australia. The evidence of cultivation and plant management dates back 2,145 years and was found at Wagadagam on the tiny island of Mabuyag in the western Torres Strait.

  • Exact climate data from the past
    on August 10, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Corals and cave carbonates can reveal the temperatures that prevailed at the Earth's surface at the time they formed. An international team of geoscientists has developed a new method that makes it possible to identify whether the composition of these deposits was exclusively controlled by temperature, or if the formation process itself exerted an additional control. The new method allows scientists to determine past Earth surface temperatures more reliably.

  • DNA from an ancient, unidentified ancestor was passed down to humans living today
    on August 6, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor.

  • Cooling of Earth caused by eruptions, not meteors
    on July 31, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Ancient sediment found in a central Texas cave appears to solve the mystery of why the Earth cooled suddenly about 13,000 years ago.

  • What happens in Vegas, may come from the Arctic?
    on July 22, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Ancient climate records from Leviathan Cave, located in the southern Great Basin, show that Nevada was even hotter and drier in the past than it is today, and that one 4,000-year period in particular may represent a true, ''worst-case'' scenario picture for the Southwest and the Colorado River Basin -- and the millions of people who rely on its water supply.

  • Foxes have been eating humans' leftovers for 42,000 years
    on July 22, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    The diets of ancient foxes were influenced by humans, and these small carnivores might be tracers of human activity over time.

  • Earliest humans stayed at the Americas 'oldest hotel' in Mexican cave
    on July 22, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    A cave in a remote part of Mexico was visited by humans around 30,000 years ago - 15,000 years earlier than people were previously thought to have reached the Americas. Excavations of Chiquihuite Cave, located in a mountainous area in northern Mexico controlled by drugs cartels, uncovered nearly 2000 stone tools from a small section of the high-altitude cave. Analysis of the sediment in the cave uncovered a new story of the colonisation of the Americas.

  • Climate scientists increasingly ignore ecological role of indigenous peoples
    on July 20, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    In their zeal to promote the importance of climate change as an ecological driver, climate scientists increasingly are ignoring the profound role that indigenous peoples played in fire and vegetation dynamics, not only in the eastern United States but worldwide, according to researchers.

  • Hyksos, 15th Dynasty rulers of Ancient Egypt, were an internal takeover
    on July 15, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    The Hyksos, who ruled during the 15th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, were not foreign invaders, but a group who rose to power from within, according to a new study.

  • Rewriting history: New evidence challenges Euro-centric narrative of early colonization
    on July 15, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    New research provides evidence that Indigenous people continued to live in southeastern US and actively resist European influence for nearly 150 years after the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1500s.

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