Science News

  • Paleontologists report world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex
    on March 22, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Paleontologists have just reported the world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex and the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Canada. The 13-metre-long T. rex, nicknamed 'Scotty,' lived in prehistoric Saskatchewan 66 million years ago. […]

  • North Africans were among the first to colonize the Canary Islands
    on March 20, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    People from North Africa are likely the main group that founded the indigenous population on the Canary Islands, arriving by 1000 CE, reports a new study. […]

  • Hepatitis B virus sheds light on ancient human population movements into Australia
    on March 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Australian researchers have used hepatitis B virus genome sequences to deduce that the mainland Aboriginal population separated from other early humans at least 59,000 years ago. […]

  • Unique diversity of the genetic history of the Iberian Peninsula revealed by dual studies
    on March 14, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Researchers have analyzed ancient DNA from almost 300 individuals from the Iberian Peninsula, spanning more than 12,000 years. The first study looked at hunter-gatherers and early farmers living in Iberia between 13,000 and 6,000 years ago. The second looked at individuals from the region over the last 8000 years. Together, the two papers greatly increase our knowledge about the population history of this unique region. […]

  • Strontium isotope maps are disturbed by agricultural lime
    on March 13, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Strontium isotopes are frequently used in archaeological studies to establish the provenance and migration history of prehistoric people and artifacts. Many of these studies may be based on incorrect data. A new study shows that agricultural lime can alter the composition of strontium isotopes dramatically, so that the modern isotopic signature of an area may be very different from the prehistoric signature. […]

  • Prehistoric Britons rack up food miles for feasts near Stonehenge
    on March 13, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of the earliest large-scale celebrations in Britain - with people and animals traveling hundreds of miles for prehistoric feasting rituals. The study is the most comprehensive to date and examined the bones of 131 pigs, the prime feasting animals, from four Late Neolithic complexes. Serving the world-famous monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, the four sites hosted the very first pan-British events. […]

  • Changes in rat size reveal habitat of 'Hobbit' hominin
    on March 13, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    A study of rat body sizes shifting over time gives a glimpse into the habitat of the mysterious hominin Homo floresiensis -- nicknamed the 'Hobbit' due to its diminutive stature. […]

  • From Stone Age chips to microchips: How tiny tools may have made us human
    on March 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Anthropologists have long made the case that tool-making is one of the key behaviors that separated our human ancestors from other primates. A new article, however, argues that it was not tool-making that set hominins apart -- it was the miniaturization of tools. […]

  • Palaeolithic art featuring birds and humans discovered
    on March 11, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    A new article tells how researchers found -- in the site of Hort de la Bequera (Margalef de Montsant, Priorat) -- an artistic piece from 12,500 years ago in which humans and birds try to interact in a pictorial scene with exceptional traits: figures seem to star a narration on hunting and motherhood. […]

  • Modern beer yeast emerged from mix of European grape wine, Asian rice wine yeast
    on March 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    For thousands of years brewers made beer using specialized strains of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A new study shows that modern brewing strains were derived from a mixture of European grape wine and Asian rice wine strains. This finding points to the emergence of beer yeast from a historical East-West transfer of fermentation technology. […]

  • Oldest tattoo tool in western North America
    on February 28, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Archaeologists have discovered the oldest tattooing artifact in western North America. The tool was made around 2,000 years ago by the Ancestral Pueblo people of the Basketmaker II period in what is now southeastern Utah. […]

  • New research casts doubt on cause of Angkor's collapse
    on February 26, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Research has revealed the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor underwent a gradual decline in occupation rather than an abrupt collapse. […]

  • Foxes were domesticated by humans in the Bronze Age
    on February 21, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    In the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, between the third and second millennium BC, a widespread funeral practice consisted in burying humans with animals. Scientists have discovered that both foxes and dogs were domesticated, as their diet was similar to that of their owners. […]

  • Origins of giant extinct New Zealand bird traced to Africa
    on February 21, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Scientists have revealed the African origins of New Zealand's most mysterious giant flightless bird -- the now extinct adzebill -- showing that some of its closest living relatives are the pint-sized flufftails from Madagascar and Africa. […]

  • Biodiversity on land is not higher today than in the past, study shows
    on February 18, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    The rich levels of biodiversity on land seen across the globe today are not a recent phenomenon: diversity on land has been similar for at least the last 60 million years, since soon after the extinction of the dinosaurs. […]

  • Indigenous hunters have positive impacts on food webs in desert Australia
    on February 17, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world. Resettlement of indigenous communities resulted in the spread of invasive species, the absence of human-set fires, and a general cascade in the interconnected food web that led to the largest mammalian extinction event ever recorded. In this case, the absence of direct human activity on the landscape may be the cause of the extinctions, according to an anthropologist. […]

  • New dinosaur with heart-shaped tail provides evolutionary clues for African continent
    on February 13, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    A new dinosaur that wears its 'heart' on its tail provides new clues to how ecosystems evolved on the African continent during the Cretaceous period. […]

  • Earliest known seed-eating perching bird discovered in Fossil Lake, Wyoming
    on February 7, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    The 'perching birds,' or passerines, are the most common birds in the world today -- they include sparrows, robins, and finches. They used to be very rare. Scientists have just discovered some of the earliest relatives of the passerines, including a 52-million-year-old fossil with a thick, curved beak for eating seeds. […]

  • Medieval inks for heritage conservation
    on February 5, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Researchers have replicated five medieval inks using 15th and 16th century recipes. […]

  • The Caucasus: Complex interplay of genes and cultures
    on February 4, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    In the Bronze Age, the Caucasus Mountains region was a cultural and genetic contact zone. Here, cultures that originated in Mesopotamia interacted with local hunter-gatherers, Anatolian farmers, and steppe populations from just north of the mountain ranges. Here, pastoralism was developed and technologies such as the wheeled wagon and advanced metal weapons were spread to neighbouring cultures. A new study, examines new genetic evidence in concert with archaeological evidence to paint a more […]

  • Sexing ancient cremated human remains is possible through skeletal measurements
    on January 30, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Ancient cremated human remains, despite being deformed, still retain sexually diagnostic physical features, according to a new study. The authors provide a statistical approach for identifying traits that distinguish male and female remains within a population. […]

  • Deep history of archaic humans in southern Siberia
    on January 30, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Scientists have identified the earliest evidence of some of the first known humans -- Denisovans and Neanderthals, in southern Siberia. […]

  • Genetic study provides novel insights into the evolution of skin color
    on January 21, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    Skin color is one of the most visible and variable traits among humans and scientists have always been curious about how this variation evolved. Now, a study of diverse Latin American populations has identified new genetic variations associated with skin color. […]

  • DNA tool allows you to trace your ancient ancestry
    on January 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Scientists at the University of Sheffield studying ancient DNA have created a tool allowing them to more accurately identify ancient Eurasian populations, which can be used to test an individual's similarity to ancient people who once roamed the earth. […]

  • 15-meter-long ancient whale Basilosaurus isis was top marine predator
    on January 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    The stomach contents of ancient whale Basilosaurus isis suggest it was an apex predator, according to a new study. […]

  • Illuminating women's role in the creation of medieval manuscripts
    on January 9, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Researchers have revealed direct evidence of medieval women's involvement in the production of illuminated manuscripts. Lapis lazuli in the dental calculus of a woman buried at a 12th-century German monastery suggests that she created richly illustrated religious texts. […]

  • Genetic study reveals how citrus became the Med's favorite squeeze
    on December 20, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Genetic detective work has illuminated the important role of Jewish culture in the widespread adoption of citrus fruit by early Mediterranean societies. […]

  • Peering into Little Foot's 3.67-million-year-old brain
    on December 18, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    MicroCT scans of the Australopithecus fossil known as Little Foot shows that the brain of this ancient human relative was small and shows features that are similar to our own brain and others that are closer to our ancestor shared with living chimpanzees. […]

  • Early animals: Death near the shoreline, not life on land
    on December 13, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils -- the tracks and trails left by ancient animals -- in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents. […]

  • Oldest known plant virus found at ancient settlement
    on December 13, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Researchers studying ancient corncobs found at a Native American archeological site have recovered a 1,000-year-old virus, the oldest plant virus ever reported. […]

  • First-ever look at complete skeleton of Thylacoleo, Australia's extinct 'marsupial lion'
    on December 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Thyalacoleo carnifex, the 'marsupial lion' of Pleistocene Australia, was an adept hunter that got around with the help of a strong tail, according to a new study. These insights come after newly discovered remains, including one nearly complete fossil specimen, allowed these researchers to reconstruct this animal's entire skeleton for the first time. […]

  • Chickens to be marker of Anthropocene
    on December 12, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    New research shows the age of man -- the Anthropocene -- will be defined by the chicken. […]

  • An ancient strain of plague may have led to the decline of Neolithic Europeans
    on December 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Researchers have identified a new strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, in DNA extracted from 5,000-year-old human remains. Their analyses suggest that this strain is the closest ever identified to the genetic origin of plague. Their work also suggests that plague may have been spread among Neolithic European settlements by traders, contributing to their decline. […]

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