Science News

  • 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.

  • Ancient rhinos roamed the Yukon
    on October 31, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Paleontologists have used modern tools to identify the origins of a few fragments of teeth found more than four decades ago by a schoolteacher in the Yukon.

  • Human activities boosted global soil erosion 4,000 years ago
    on October 29, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Soil erosion reduces the productivity of ecosystems, it changes nutrient cycles and it thus directly impacts climate and society. An international team of researchers, recorded temporal changes of soil erosion by analyzing sediment deposits in more than 600 lakes worldwide. They found that the accumulation of lake sediments increased significantly on a global scale around 4,000 years ago.

  • New study on early human fire acquisition squelches debate
    on October 25, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Fire starting is a skill that many modern humans struggle with in the absence of a lighter or matches. The earliest humans likely harvested fire from natural sources, yet when our ancestors learned the skills to set fire at will, they had newfound protection, a means of cooking, light to work by, and warmth at their fingertips.

  • Science reveals improvements in Roman building techniques
    on October 25, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Researchers have carried out scientific analysis of the materials used to build the Atrium Vestae in Rome. They found that successive phases of modification to the building saw improvements, including higher quality raw materials, higher brick firing temperatures, and better ratios between carbonate and silicate building materials.

  • Researchers identify the sex of skeletons based on elbow features
    on October 23, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    In an effort to help identify skeletal remains of Thai descent, researchers have found that examining the distal humerus (elbow) bone is superior to previous techniques that were developed for identifying sex in a non-Asian population.

  • Lead pollution from Native Americans attributed to crushing galena for glitter paint
    on October 21, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    A new study of Native American use of galena increases understanding of how they were using the land and its resources.

  • Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate
    on October 21, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    An ancient walkway most likely used by pilgrims as they made their way to worship at the Temple Mount has been uncovered in the 'City of David' in the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

  • Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed
    on October 16, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Scientists have unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

  • Belongings of warrior found on unique Bronze Age battlefield site
    on October 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Recent archaeological investigations in the Tollense Valley by a research team has unearthed a collection of 31 unusual objects. Researchers believe this is the equipment of a Bronze Age warrior who died on the battlefield 3,300 years ago. This unique find was discovered by a diving team. It may have been protected in the river from the looting after the fighting.

  • Discovered: Unknown yellow colors from antiquity
    on October 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Antique artefacts have been studied by chemists, revealing a hitherto unknown use of yellow in Ancient Egypt.

  • Archaeology: Social inequality in Bronze Age households
    on October 10, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Archaeogenetic analyses provide new insights into social inequality 4,000 years ago: nuclear families lived together with foreign women and individuals from lower social classes in the same household.

  • Prehistoric humans ate bone marrow like canned soup 400,000 years ago
    on October 9, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Researchers have uncovered evidence of the storage and delayed consumption of animal bone marrow at Qesem Cave near Tel Aviv. The research provides direct evidence that early Paleolithic people saved animal bones for up to nine weeks before feasting on them inside the cave.

  • Cretan tomb's location may have strengthened territorial claim
    on October 9, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Examining the position occupied by tombs in their landscape in Prepalatial Crete gives us new insights into the role played by burial sites, mortuary practices and the deceased in the living society.

  • Early hunter-gatherers interacted much sooner than previously believed
    on October 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    A nearly 4,000-year-old burial site found off the coast of Georgia hints at ties between hunter-gatherers on opposite sides of North America, according to new research.

  • Microscopic evidence sheds light on the disappearance of the world's largest mammals
    on October 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Understanding the causes and consequences of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions is increasingly important in a world of growing human populations and climate change. A review highlights the role that cutting-edge scientific methods can play in broadening the discussions about megafaunal extinction and enabling insights into ecosystems and species-specific responses to climate change and human activities.

  • Preserving old bones with modern technology
    on September 26, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Anthropologists are out to change the way that scientists study old bones damage-free.

  • Dishing the dirt on an early man cave
    on September 26, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Fossil animal droppings, charcoal from ancient fires and bone fragments litter the ground of one of the world's most important human evolution sites, new research reveals. A team of scientists have used modern geoarchaeological techniques to unearth new details of day-to-day life in the famous Denisova Cave complex in Siberia's Altai Mountains.

  • First evidence for early baby bottles used to feed animal milk to prehistoric babies
    on September 25, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has found the first evidence that prehistoric babies were fed animal milk using the equivalent of modern-day baby bottles.

  • Traditional fisherfolk help uncover ancient fish preservation methods
    on September 24, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Archaeologists have little insight into the methods used for the long-term processing and preservation of fish in the past. A study of traditional fish preparation employed by fisherfolk in Panama and Egypt, revealed patterns of modifications to the fishes' skeletons which are comparable to those found among fish remains recovered in archaeological sites.

  • Descendants of early Europeans and Africans in US carry Native American genetic legacy
    on September 19, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Many people in the US do not belong to Native American communities but still carry bits of Native American DNA, inherited from European and African ancestors who had children with indigenous individuals during colonization and settlement. In a new study researchers investigate this genetic legacy and what it can tell us about how non-natives migrated across the US.

  • A technological 'leap' in the Edomite Kingdom during the 10th century BCE
    on September 18, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    During the late 10th century BCE, the emerging Edomite Kingdom of the southern Levant experienced a 'leap' in technological advancement.

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