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No bones about it: Technology made ancient humans less active

Femur Bones
© Ann Ross, North Carolina State University
Two femur, or thigh, bones.
Human bones can serve as a historical record of their owners' lifestyles, and now ancient human skeletons from Central Europe may reveal how humans shifted from rugged nomads to plow-pushers, researchers say.

Leg bones of people living in the Danube River valley became weaker after 5,300 B.C., around the time when agriculture emerged in Europe, a new study suggests. The decline was most noticeable in men's bones, but both sexes lost bone strength.

The bones show "it was initially men who were performing the majority of high-mobility tasks, probably associated with tending crops and livestock," study researcher Alison Macintosh, an anthropologist at Cambridge University in England, said in a statement.

But with the rise of technological innovation, tasks became less strenuous and people became less mobile, so leg bones got weaker, said Macintosh, who will present her findings at a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Calgary, Alberta, this week.
Boat

Intense, frequent storms of The Little Ice Age

With the recent run of stormy weather in the UK, it is worth reflecting on just how stormy it was during the Little Ice Age, and even before.

Brian Fagan, in his book "The Little Ice Age", states that,"throughout Europe, the years 1560-1600 were cooler and stormier, with late wine harvests and considerably stronger winds than those of the 20th Century. Storm activity increased by 85% in the second half of the 16th Century and the incidence of severe storms rose by 400%.".

HH Lamb comes to similar conclusions, "there was a greater intensity, and a greater frequency, of intense storm development during the Little Ice Age", in his book "Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe".
Calendar

Sealed for a century: 'Time capsule' from soldier who died on the Somme opened

© Daily Mail
  • Private Edward Ambrose, from Hertfordshire, was killed on the Somme, just days he arrived at the front in 1916
  • After a telegram telling of his death, his last belongings were sent back from the trenches to his heartbroken parents
  • But the family left the case unopened, finding its contents too painful to look at, and it was placed in an attic for years
  • After visiting a local historical exhibition, Private Ambrose's nephew has now opened the package for the first time
  • The case includes black and white photos of his family, letters from his parents, a half-smoked pipe and cigarettes
  • The items, including a locket with photos of Private Ambrose and his sweetheart, Gladys, will go display later this year
Paralysed by grief, Sarah Ambrose could not bear to look at her son's belongings after he was killed at the Battle of the Somme.

So 18-year-old Edward Ambrose's possessions were packed in a leather suitcase and stored away in the attic of the family home.

And there they stayed for more than 90 years - until curiosity finally got the better of Edward's nephew John, 82, who retrieved the case after reading about an appeal for untold stories for a First World War exhibition.
Magnify

Y-shaped crucifixion depicted in Shroud of Turin

© Camerapress/DDP
THE image of Christ on the cross, arms stretched out to the sides, is seared onto many Christians' minds. But this isn't necessarily how people have imagined it throughout history. A new analysis of the Shroud of Turin, which appears to depict a man that has been crucified, suggests that whoever created it thought crucifixion involved the hands being nailed above the head.

The Shroud of Turin is a piece of linen cloth imprinted with the faint image of a naked man with what appear to be streams of blood running down his arms (seen in the bottom centre of the photo), and other wounds. Some believe it is the cloth in which Jesus's body was wrapped after crucifixion. But reliable records of it only begin in the 14th century, and carbon dating suggests the Shroud is a medieval forgery.

Either way, the Shroud is worth studying, says Matteo Borrini at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. "If it's a fake, then it's a very interesting piece of art and human ingenuity," he says.

Borrini wanted to know if the "bloodstains" on the left arm, the clearest ones, were consistent with the flow of blood from the wrist of a crucified person. So he asked Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia, Italy, to assume different crucifixion postures, while a cannula attached to his wrist dribbled donated blood down his arm.
Pharoah

"Sky being in storm" and "bodies flowing as skiffs of papyrus": 3,500 year old inscription revealing a 'tempest of rain' could rewrite Egyptian history

© Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art
An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt may be one of the world's oldest weather reports -and could provide new evidence about the reign of pharaoh Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (pictured)
An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt that could be one of the world's oldest weather reports could help rewrite the history of a Pharoah.

A new translation of a 40-line inscription on the 6-foot-tall calcite block called the Tempest Stela describes rain, darkness and 'the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses.'

Two scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera - the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea.

Because volcano eruptions can have a widespread impact on weather, the Thera explosion likely would have caused significant disruptions in Egypt.

The new translation suggests the Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose ruled at a time closer to the Thera eruption than previously thought - a finding that could change scholars' understanding of a critical juncture in human history as Bronze Age empires realigned.

The research from the Oriental Institute's Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner appears in the spring issue of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

The Tempest Stela dates back to the reign of the pharaoh Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty.

His rule marked the beginning of the New Kingdom, a time when Egypt's power reached its height.

The block was found in pieces in Thebes, modern Luxor, where Ahmose ruled.

Comment: Read the following books by Laura Knight-Jadczyk to learn more on the topic:
The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive
The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes
Comets and the Horns of Moses

Also read the following forum thread, that deals with a huge amount of material with similar descriptions and cases.

Sherlock

Ancient genes in human DNA linked to fat build-up in Europeans - possibly conferred advantage in colder climates

  • The sharing of genes is mainly seen in Europeans and may have given an advantage to individuals with Neanderthal variants
  • Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology don't understand the function of the variants
  • But one expert thinks that fatty acids genes were of benefit to Neanderthals and then helped modern Europeans adapt to colder climates
  • The same findings were not seen in Asian people though
Neanderthals might have been extinct for 30,000 years but their genomes live on in modern humans.

And now scientists believe that modern Europeans share a number of genes involved in the build-up of certain types of fat with Neanderthals. The same genes were not seen in people from Asia and Africa, however.

It is though that ancient genes might have helped Europeans adapt better to colder climates, giving them an evolutionary advantage.
neanderthal genes fat
© Ian Tattersall
The modern influence of Neanderthals: Scientists believe that modern Europeans (skeleton pictured right), share a number of genes involved in the build-up of certain types of fat with Neanderthals (skeleton pictured left), but Asians do not
'Legacy' genes from Neanderthals may be to blame for modern diseases

Neanderthals and modern humans are thought to have co-existed for thousands of years and interbred, meaning Europeans now have roughly 2 per cent Neanderthal DNA.

These 'legacy' genes have been linked to an increased risk from cancer and diabetes by new studies looking at our evolutionary history.

However, it is not all bad news, as other genes we inherited from our species' early life could have improved our immunity to diseases which were common at the time, helping us to survive.
Question

Jewish DNA link to Hitler's lover

Eva Braun
© Press Association
Hitler's lover Eva Braun was possibly of Jewish ancestry, according to a TV show.
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler might have married a woman of Jewish descent, according to DNA analysis conducted for a TV documentary.

The Channel 4 programme will claim that Eva Braun, the lover whom the anti-Semitic fuhrer married shortly before they both killed themselves in 1945, was possibly of Jewish ancestry.

The Dead Famous DNA film - to be screened on Wednesday - tested hair samples which are said to have come from a hairbrush used by Braun and discovered at Hitler's mountain retreat.

The German leader, behind the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War, was 23 years older than his lover - who fell in love with him when she was a teenager - and worried the relationship would affect his image, he kept her largely hidden away at his Alpine residence, the Berghof.

A team of scientists examined the hair - which was sourced by presenter Mark Evans - and they found a particular sequence within the DNA, which had been passed down the maternal line - the haplogroup N1b1 - which the channel said was "strongly associated" with Ashkenazi Jews, who make up around 80% of the global Jewish population. Many Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism in the 19th century.

Evans said: "This is a thought-provoking outcome - I never dreamt that I would find such a potentially extraordinary and profound result."
Info

Ancient trackway found within 'drowned forest' in Ireland

Ancient Oak Trackway
© Joe O’Shaughnessy
Remains of an oak trackway, estimated to be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old, on the shore near Furbo, Co Galway.
Fragments of an oak trackway suggesting human habitation have been found within the 7,500-year-old "drowned forest" on the north Galway shoreline.

The track could be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old, and may have been built when the sea level was rising and was gradually enveloping the forest that pre-dated Galway Bay.

NUI Galway (NUIG) geologist Prof Mike Williams, who has researched the "drowned forest", comprising a layer of peat and tree stumps uncovered by the winter storms, examined the trackway or "togher" this week.

He was alerted to it by a Spiddal resident, Alan Keogh, who discovered it when walking on the south-east Connemara shore.

Mr Keogh said that he had heard about the drowned forest, recently reported in this newspaper, and recognised the significance of what appeared to be a "symmetrical structure" below a line of peat, about 1.5m by 1m.

"Together with the Bearna canoe, this is the first evidence of human habitation within these forests and lagoons in this area," said Prof Williams.

"It could have been built during the late Neolithic or early Bronze age era, and may have been ceremonial or may have been built across wetland which was decaying forest, forming into bog."
Question

Eruption of Thera recorded in ancient Egypt weather report?

Pyramid
© India Today
If you thought weather prediction was a recent phenomenon, you would be in for a surprise if told that weather prediction was done in ancient Egypt some 3,500 years ago!

A new translation of a 40-line inscription on a six-foot-tall 3,500-year-old calcite block from Egypt - called the Tempest Stela - describes rain, darkness and "the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses".

The inscription could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the ancient Middle East.

Two scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute - Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner - believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera - the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea.

"This is important to scholars of the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean, generally because the chronology that archaeologists use is based on the lists of Egyptian pharaohs, and this new information could adjust those dates," explained Moeller, an assistant professor of Egyptian archaeology at the Oriental Institute.
Info

Towering ancient tsunami devastated the eastern Mediterranean region 8,000 years ago

© AGU
Maximum wave crests heights predicted by a computer simulation of the ancient event. Blue lines are arrival times of the first tsunami waves.
A volcano avalanche in Sicily 8,000 years ago triggered a devastating tsunami taller than a 10-story building that spread across the entire Mediterranean Sea, slamming into the shores of three continents in only a few hours.

A new computer simulation of the ancient event reveals for the first time the enormity of the catastrophe and its far-reaching effects .

The Mt. Etna avalanche sent 6 cubic miles of rock and sediment tumbling into the water - enough material to cover the entire island of Manhattan in a layer of debris thicker than the Empire State Building is tall.

The mountain of rubble crashed into the water at more than 200 mph. It pummeled the sea bed, transformed thick layers of soft marine sediment into jelly and triggered an underwater mudslide that flowed for hundreds of miles.
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