Secret History


Jawbone fossils reveal new human ancestor species scientists say

© Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The new species, Australopithecus deyiremeda,combined ape-like and human-like traits.
Jaw and teeth fossils found in Ethiopia's Afar region in 2011 represent a previously unknown member of humankind's family tree that lived 3.3 to 3.5 million years ago alongside the famous human ancestor Lucy, scientists say.

The fossils shed new light on a key period in the human lineage's evolution before the emergence of our genus, Homo, and provide the first evidence that two early human ancestor species lived at the same time and place prior to 3 million years ago.

The new species, Australopithecus deyiremeda, combined ape-like and human-like traits as did Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis, but was sufficiently different to warrant recognition as a separate species, scientists said announcing the discovery on Wednesday.

Lucy's skeleton was unearthed in 1974 from the Hadar site, near Woranso-Mille, where the new fossil was found.


This may be the earliest murder victim in human history

© Javier Trueba/Madrid Scientific Films
This is a frontal view of Cranium 17 showing the position of the traumatic events T1 (inferior) and T2 (superior).
Wounds discovered on a 430,000-year-old human skull discovered in Spain could indicate that the individual was one of the first-ever murder victims, according to a new study published in the May 27 edition of the open-access journal PLOS One.

In the study, Dr. Nohemi Sala from Centro Mixto UCM-ISCIII de Evolución y Comportamiento Humanos, Spain, and her colleagues explain that the skull was discovered at Sima de los Huesos, a site located deep within a series of underground caves located in northern Spain.

The skull, known as Cranium 17, was found with the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals dating back to the Middle Pleistocene period. The specimen is comprised of 52 cranial fragments recovered during a series of excavations at the site over the past two decades, and contains a pair of penetrating lesions on the frontal bone, just above the left eye, Dr. Sala's team said.


Yet another WWII bomb discovered in Germany forces evacuation of 20,000 residents

© AFP Photo / DPA / Rolf Vennenbernd
Worker operates an excavator at a place near Muehlheim Bridge where a World War II bomb was unearthed in Cologne, western Germany, on May 27, 2015.
Around 20,000 residents in Cologne in Germany were evacuated after a 200-kilogram bomb from World War II was discovered during preparations for construction work.

Deactivation of the device, found near Muelheim Bridge over the Rhine River, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon, the DPA news agency reported.

The bomb, believed to be a US design, is 1.76 meters long and 60 centimeters in diameter.

It is buried 5 meters underground, which is going to complicate the task of the bomb disposal squad.

"As is common with these heavy bombs, this one is very deep down. Such a big bomb can't simply be taken out. We need to dig a deep and wide hole first," Dieter Daeneck, who is leading the operation, told FAZ.

Earlier, 20,000 people had to leave their homes, including over a 1,000 residents of a nursing home, which required dozens of ambulances to arrive on the scene.

Comment: Dangerous World War 2 Bombs Still Litter Germany's Landscape

Monkey Wrench

Neolithic village uncovered near Mursalevo, Bulgaria


The remains of 60 large houses - some two storeys high - have been discovered as part of a Neolithic village built 8,000 years. The image above shows the extent of the village, which is currently being excavated by archaeologists in south west Bulgaria.
The stereotype of Stone Age men was cave dwelling brutes rather than sophisticated town planners who lived in two-storey houses.

But archaeologists have uncovered the remains of 60 large houses built 8,000 years ago as part of a Neolithic village, in south west Bulgaria.

Thought to be built by farmers, the town has three parallel streets with homes spread over five acres (215,278 square ft or 20,000 square metres).

The village also features a canal, a port for boats and an unusual cemetery.

Eiffel Tower

Preserving the treasures of French underground cities created during WWI

© Jeffrey Gusky
This horse is about two-thirds life size. Hundreds of troops from New England's Yankee Division lived here underground for about six weeks in 1918. The carving was never completed and is now at risk of vandalism or theft.
Many people think of World War I as the trench war, but few realize it went hundreds of feet deeper. As both sides dug in, they found ancient quarries and caves below the bombed-out forests of northeastern France, and they took temporary refuge from the war's horrors there. The offices, kitchens, worship spaces, and artworks they made have rested unchanged for a century in underground cities visited by just a few historians and enthusiasts.

The locations of these quarries and caves remain relatively secret for now, but the entrances are unprotected.

Dr. Jeffrey Gusky, an emergency room physician and professional photographer, has shot these underground cities in eerie detail and published the images extensively in National Geographic, the New York Times, and other periodicals. The BBC, NPR, CBC and other news outlets have interviewed him about it. This exposure brings the caves' culture and beauty to a large audience, but with that fame comes danger for the sites themselves.


Ancient asteroid impacts might have boiled the oceans and made life on earth hell

Roughly 3.3 billion years ago, Earth's early life forms were plunged into an unimaginable hell, when a series of massive asteroids smashed into the young planet, vaporizing the oceans and scorching the skies.
© Johan Swanepoel/Shutterstock
We've heard about one of these asteroids before—a 58 kilometer-across object that, upon impact 3.26 billion years ago, shook the entire planet for a half hour. Now, geologist Don Lowe of Stanford University presents us with two other 50 to 100 kilometer-across impactors from the same time period. Each of these asteroid collisions would have boiled Earth's oceans, reducing global sea levels by up to 100 meters. As Lowe told Science News, the cataclysmic events probably had a dramatic impact on the early evolution of life:
"These impacts would have a profound influence on any life trying to evolve into more complex, low-temperature organisms. They'd keep getting whacked by these giant impactors and driven to extinction or near extinction."


Archeologists in Kenya unearth oldest stone tools ever found

The stone flakes are estimated to be 3.3 million years old i.e. 700,000 years older than the oldest tools, which have been found until now.
A recently unearthed stone tool kit consisting of hammer stones, anvils, worked cobblestones and other items dates to 3.3 million years ago, predating our genus Homo by over half a million years, according to a new study.

The items, described in the latest issue of the journal Nature, are now the oldest stone tools ever found.

They "show that early humans (essentially proto-humans) used and made stone tools 3.3 million years ago, which is about 700,000 years earlier than the previously earliest known date for early stone tools," Erella Hovers, who authored an accompanying "News & Views" article, told Discovery News.

Hovers, who is a senior member of the Institute of Archaeology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, added that the other more recent tools were attributed to Homo habilis, aka "Handy Man," whose culture is called the Oldowan. Now it looks like there was a much earlier culture--as of yet unnamed--and that stone tool making was not unique to our genus.

The approximately 149 stone artifacts tied to tool making were found at a site called Lomekwi 3 next to Lake Turkana in Kenya.

Fireball 2

Aboriginal legends reveal ancient secrets to science

Meteor streaks across the sky against a field of star.
Scientists are beginning to tap into a wellspring of knowledge buried in the ancient stories of Australia's Aboriginal peoples. But the loss of indigenous languages could mean it is too late to learn from them.

The Luritja people, native to the remote deserts of central Australia, once told stories about a fire devil coming down from the Sun, crashing into Earth and killing everything in the vicinity.

The local people feared if they strayed too close to this land they might reignite some otherworldly creature.

The legend describes the crash landing of a meteor in Australia's Central Desert about 4,700 years ago, says University of New South Wales (UNSW) astrophysicist Duane Hamacher.

It would have been a dramatic and fiery event, with the meteor blazing across the sky. As it broke apart, large fragments of metal-rich rock would have crashed to Earth with explosive force, creating a dozen giant craters.

The Northern Territory site, which was discovered in the 1930s by white prospectors with the help of Luritja guides, is today known as the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve.


Past is prelude: 1921: Black business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, attacked, aerially bombed and razed, victims dumped in mass graves

© Unknown
An otherwise poor and uninformative documentary (funded by Pennsylvania Public Television and Corporation for Public Broadcasting) on the US bombing and burning alive of 11 residents, adults and children, of the MOVE house in Philadelphia, 1985, begins with one minute (10:30 to 11:30) on the rarely-mentioned 1921 onslaught, aerial bombing, and incineration of the "Black Wall Street" business district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, by white mobs, including the KKK and government forces.

From the PPT, CPB doc:
May 31st, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 'Negro Wall Street' district of the Greenwood neighborhood is bombed from the air.

Whites invade the enviable black business district, looting, burning, killing.

The police commandeer private planes. The 101st Airborne is flown in. A load of dynamite is dropped. 75 instantly killed. Hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed.

Four truckloads of bodies are shoveled into mass graves along the Arkansas river.

4,000 black men, women, and children arrested and placed in concentration camps, where they are required to carry 'passes'.

The city quickly re-zones the neighborhood so that the railroad can be run through, thus completing the destruction of that neighborhood.

Comment: The forms may have changed somewhat, but it seems that institutionalized racism in the U.S. has not improved one iota.

See more about the events of that day:


Long lost Egyptian temple found

© The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project 2015
A general overview of the temple.

Remains of the long lost temple of Kheny have been unearthed at Gebel el Silsila, north of Aswan, Egypt's Minister of Antiquities announced today.

Revealing the foundations and blockwork of the temple, the ruins are one of the few remnants of the settlement of Kheny or Khenu, which is the ancient Egyptian name — meaning "Rowing Place" — for Gebel el-Silsila.

The site, located on both banks of the Nile between Edfu and Kom Ombo, was extensively used as a quarry from the New Kingdom until Roman times.

"We know that huge quantities of sandstone for temple building were quarried there," Lund University archaeologist Maria Nilsson, director of the Gebel el Silsila Survey Project, told Discovery News.

Indeed, virtually all of Egypt's great temples, including those at Karnak and Luxor, were built with sandstone from Gebel el Silsila.

"Now this finding changes the history of the site, and it firmly establishes Gebel el Silsila as not only a quarry, but also a sacred location," she added.

While cult activities at the site were mainly associated with the Nile and its inundation, the principal deity was Sobek, the god of crocodiles who controlled the waters.

"At the moment we do not know to whom the temple was dedicated," Nilsson said.

"We believe it marked the beginning of the east bank quarries. We hope further archaeological work and research will reveal more," she added.