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13,000 Clovis-era tool cache unearthed in Colorado shows evidence of camel, horse butchering

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© Photo by Glenn Asakawa, University of Colorado
Three stone artifacts from a 13,000-thousand-year-old Clovis-era cache unearthed recently in the city limits of Boulder, Colo. are shown by University of Colorado at Boulder anthropology Professor Douglas Bamforth and Boulder resident Patrick Mahaffy, who owns the property where the cache was found. Two of the more than 80 implements in the cache were shown to have protein residue from now-extinct North American camels and horses.
A biochemical analysis of a rare Clovis-era stone tool cache recently unearthed in the city limits of Boulder, Colo., indicates some of the implements were used to butcher ice-age camels and horses that roamed North America until their extinction about 13,000 years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.

The study is the first to identify protein residue from extinct camels on North American stone tools and only the second to identify horse protein residue on a Clovis-age tool, said CU-Boulder Anthropology Professor Douglas Bamforth, who led the study. The cache is one of only a handful of Clovis-age artifact caches that have been unearthed in North America, said Bamforth, who studies Paleoindian culture and tools.

Sun

Watching Venus glow in the dark

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© ESA
Atmospheric investigations by Venus Express
ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has observed an eerie glow in the night-time atmosphere of Venus. This infrared light comes from nitric oxide and is showing scientists that the atmosphere of Earth's nearest neighbour is a temperamental place of high winds and turbulence.

Unfortunately, the glow on Venus cannot be seen with the naked eye because it occurs at the invisible wavelengths of infrared. ESA's Venus Express, however, is equipped with the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) instrument, which can see these wavelengths.

Telescope

Galileo's telescope recreated

Rome - An Italian team of astronomers, scientists and historians says it has built a telescope using 17th-century astronomer Galileo Galilei's original design.

The team spent two years getting the telescope ready for the International Year of Astronomy, which marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's discoveries, including the then-heretical conclusion that the Earth revolved around the sun, not vice versa.

Sherlock

Nostradamus: Most Famous Plague Doctor During Black Death Years

© Unknown
The Plague Doctor costume.
The costume of a butcher - the robe and the mask - is strongly associated with horror. The costume of the so-called Plague Doctor used to terrify people even more. A person dressed as the Plague Doctor was an unmistakable sign of imminent death.

The information about the first epidemic of plague dates back to the 6th century. The epidemic broke out in the Eastern Roman Empire under Emperor Justinian's rule. The emperor died of plague himself, and the epidemic became known as Plague of Justinian.

The largest epidemic of the deadly disease, the Black Death (1348-1351), arrived to Europe from the East. Plague was spreading all over Europe very quickly with the help of medieval ships and their rat-swarming holds. The cycle to spread the infection from flees to rats and from rats to flees could continue until the disease killed all rats. Hungry flees subsequently transmitted the infection to humans. As a result, plague ravaged every single country of Western Europe; even Greenland was not left aside. Plague was moving at horse's speed - the most common way of transportation of those times. The pandemic killed from 25 to 40 million people.

Telescope

Asteroid belt may bear scars of planets' migration

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© D Minton/R Malhotra
The distribution of rocks in the asteroid belt has retained traces of the migration of the giant planets billions of years ago, a new simulation suggests.

Today's asteroid belt may have been shaped by a tumultuous period in the early solar system when Jupiter and Saturn moved out of their original orbits, a new simulation suggests. Ultimately the work could help refine a picture of how quickly the planets moved and where they got their start.

Recent studies have suggested that many objects in the solar system were reshuffled nearly 4 billion years ago. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are thought to have been born close together before gravitational interactions with numerous pieces of rocky debris changed their trajectories.

Their movement then caused the rocky debris to scatter like bowling pins, potentially explaining what battered the Earth, Moon, and Mars with so many craters some 3.8 billion years ago.

Now, this same reshuffling might explain the appearance of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Saturn

Into The Eye Of The Helix

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© European Southern Observatory
This colour-composite image of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) was created from images obtained using the the Wide Field Imager (WFI), an astronomical camera attached to the 2.2-metre Max-Planck Society/ESO telescope at the La Silla observatory in Chile. The blue-green glow in the centre of the Helix comes from oxygen atoms shining under effects of the intense ultraviolet radiation of the 120 000 degree Celsius central star and the hot gas. Further out from the star and beyond the ring of knots, the red colour from hydrogen and nitrogen is more prominent. A careful look at the central part of this object reveals not only the knots, but also many remote galaxies seen right through the thinly spread glowing gas. This image was created from images through blue, green and red filters and the total exposure times were 12 minutes, 9 minutes and 7 minutes respectively.
The Helix Nebula, NGC 7293, lies about 700 light-years away in the constellation of Aquarius (the Water Bearer). It is one of the closest and most spectacular examples of a planetary nebula. These exotic objects have nothing to do with planets, but are the final blooming of Sun-like stars before their retirement as white dwarfs.

Shells of gas are blown off from a star's surface, often in intricate and beautiful patterns, and shine under the harsh ultraviolet radiation from the faint, but very hot, central star. The main ring of the Helix Nebula is about two light-years across or half the distance between the Sun and its closest stellar neighbour.

Satellite

European satellites provide new insight into ozone-depleting species

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© European Space Agency
Smoke and ash plume from the Kasatochi Volcano, visible in brown over a thick layer of clouds. The MERIS instrument on Envisat captured this image on 8 August 2008 over Alaska's Aleutian Islands.
Using data from the satellite-based MIPAS and GOME-2 instruments, scientists have for the first time detected important bromine species in the atmosphere. These new measurements will help scientists to better understand sources of ozone-depleting species and to improve simulations of stratospheric ozone chemistry.

Despite the detection of bromine monoxide (BrO) in the atmosphere some 20 years ago, bromine nitrate (BrONO2) was first observed in 2008 when scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology discovered the gas's weak signal with data from MIPAS (the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding).

Meteor

Space Debris, Comets and Asteroids Threaten Earth

© Unknown
Humankind has created a major problem: space debris, now threatening long-term space travel. So much space junk has accumulated that the international community must take urgent action to prevent major accidents at high altitude and on Earth.

Space debris denote man-made objects in orbit around Earth that no longer serve any useful purpose but which endanger operational satellites, primarily manned spacecraft. In some cases, space junk may threaten Earth during reentry because some fragments do not burn up completely and can hit houses, industrial facilities and transport networks.

Right now, 40 million fragments of space debris weighing several thousand metric tons circle Earth. In mid-February, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) reaffirmed the importance of guiding principles to prevent the formation of space debris for all nations.

On December 17, 2007, the UN General Assembly passed its Resolution 62/101 stipulating recommendations on enhancing the practice of states and international intergovernmental organizations in registering space objects.

Sherlock

Ancient Shipwreck's Stone Cargo Linked to Apollo Temple

© Deborah Carlson
Underwater archaeologists investigate massive drums of marble found in an Aegean Sea shipwreck.
For a few days back in July 2007, it was hard for archaeologist Deborah Carlson to get any work done at her site off the Aegean coast of western Turkey. She was leading an underwater excavation of a 2,000-year-old shipwreck, but the Turkish members of her crew had taken time off to vote in national elections. So things were quiet at her camp on an isolated cape called Kızılburun.

The shipwrecks' main cargo was 50 tons of marble - elements of a huge column sent on an ill-fated journey to a temple, Carlson thought. But she didn't know which temple, so she used all her days off to drive around the area looking at possibilities.

There were a lot - western Turkey, once part of ancient Greece and later in the Roman Empire, is home to sites like Ephesus and Troy. But Carlson had narrowed down her choices to a list of nearby temples that were in use in the first century BC - the likely date of the shipwrecks' column.

Sherlock

Jerusalem: Archaeologists Find Ancient Mansion

In the Middle East they keep digging up fascinating things and each time we get more of a glimpse of how people lived thousands of years ago in the area and greater understanding of the Bible related history. Archaeologists recently found a large building from the First and Second Temple periods near Jerusalem.

The building contained a number of rooms and a courtyard and apparently was the home of a wealthy person. Fascinatingly amongst the artefacts were seals of government officials, Ahimelech ben Amadyahu and Yehochil ben Shahar. These two were senior advisors in the court of King Hezekiah. Other household goods were discovered in the find. A number of biblical inscriptions were discovered on pottery within the house.

Archaeology in Israel and Palestine is highly politicised and both sides accuse the other of using finds for ideological ends. The Palestinians often accuse the Israelis of using Biblical finds to undermine their current need for a homeland.