Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:54 UTC
Their contention, if correct, would force a dramatic rethink of when and how the Americas were first settled — and who by. Most scientists subscribe to the view that Homo sapiens arrived in North America less than 20,000 years ago. The latest study raises the possibility that another hominin species, such as Neanderthals or a group known as Denisovans, somehow made it from Asia to North America before that and flourished.
"It's such an amazing find and — if it's genuine — it's a game-changer. It really does shift the ground completely," says John McNabb, a Palaeolithic archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK. "I suspect there will be a lot of reaction to the paper, and most of it is not going to be acceptance."
The study focuses on ancient animal-bone fragments found in 1992 during road repairs in suburban San Diego. The find halted construction, and palaeontologist Tom Deméré of the San Diego Natural History Museum led a five-month excavation. His crew uncovered teeth, tusks and bones of an extinct relative of elephants called a mastodon (Mammut americanum), alongside large broken and worn rocks. The material was buried in fine silt left by flowing water, but Deméré felt the rocks were too large to have been carried by the stream.
"We thought of some possible explanations for this pattern, and the process we kept coming back to was that humans might be involved," he says. Attempts in the 1990s to date the site suggested that the ivory was some 300,000 years old, but Deméré was sceptical: the method his colleagues used was problematic, and the age seemed so improbable for humans to be living in California.
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:35 UTC
The discovery of the miniature scene astonished archaeologists, who were surveying an area slated for subway construction in Chengdu, a city in China's southwestern Sichuan province, in 2013. The looms may be small — the largest is about the size of a child's toy piano — but they're the earliest evidence on record of looms that could be used to weave patterns, the researchers said.
"We are very sure that the loom models from Chengdu are the earliest pattern looms around the world," said the study's lead researcher, Feng Zhao, the director of the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, China, and a professor at Donghua University in Shanghai.
It's unclear when and where the first looms were developed, but archaeologists have found ancient looms parts at a variety of sites. For instance, in China's eastern Zhejiang province archaeologists found an approximately 8,000-year-old loom from the Kuahuqiao archaeological site, and a roughly 7,000-year-old loom found at the Hemudu site, Zhao said. Other looms include pieces of Egyptian creations from about 4,000 and 3,400 years ago, respectively, and Greek looms illustrated on vases dating to about 2,400 years ago, the researchers said.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:59 UTC
The priest's gravestone was discovered close to the altar of a former hospital chapel. Unusually for the period, it displayed an inscription of the deceased's name, Richard de W'Peton - abbreviated from 'Wispeton', a medieval incarnation of modern Wispington in Lincolnshire - and his date of death, 17 April 1317.
The slab also contained an extract from the Bible, specifically Philippians 2:10, which reads; "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth."
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:37 UTC
The development is part of wider plans to accommodate 4,000 additional Service personnel and their families who will be based on and around the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) by 2019 under the ABP. In addition, the MOD is investing over £1.1bn in the area boosting the local economy and providing around 2,500 bed spaces for single soldiers, just over 1,300 new homes for Service families and the construction, conversion or refurbishment of nearly 250 other buildings.
The tunnels are part of a First World War battlefield used to train men to fight in and under the trenches of France and Belgium. The soldiers have left the mine galleries deep in the chalk but they have also left over a hundred inscriptions written by soldiers training here between 1915 and 1918. Archaeologists have been working alongside specialist engineers to investigate the underground battlefield.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:29 UTC
With a new genetic database of 24 expedition members, researchers hope they'll be able to identify some of the bodies scattered in the Canadian Arctic, 170 years after one of the worst disasters in the history of polar exploration.
The results were published April 20 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:34 UTC
On Monday, scientists hypothesised that the Norwegian painter's inspiration may in fact have been rare clouds which form in cold places at high altitude.
The first version of "The Scream" was released in 1893. It depicts a dark humanlike figure clutching its head in apparent horror against the backdrop of a swirling, red-orange sky.
In 2004, American astronomers theorised that Munch had painted a sky brightly coloured by particle pollution from the 1883 Krakatoa volcanic eruption.
But the new paper, presented at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, said he more likely depicted a rare sighting of "mother-of-pearl" clouds over Oslo.
A volcanic outburst does not account for the "waviness" of Munch's clouds, Helene Muri, a researcher at the University of Oslo, told journalists in Vienna. Furthermore, volcano-tinted sunsets tend to be common for several years after an outburst, "whereas Munch's scary vision was seemingly a one-time experience, the way he described it in his journal," she said.
In his diary, Munch wrote of the sky turning suddenly blood red.
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 16:49 UTC
Harvard researchers discovered the 'Sussex Declaration', believed to be only the second such parchment known in existence, in the Chichester archives of the small town of West Sussex, England. The other parchment is housed in the National Archives in Washington DC.
Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen announced their discovery at a Yale conference on Friday. They published their initial research online.
The newly discovered parchment of America's formative text is believed to date back to the 1780s, which they say sheds light on the tumultuous years the US experienced after the Revolutionary War.
The Telegraph, UK
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:25 UTC
Experts at the University of Edinburgh analysed mysterious symbols carved onto stone pillars at Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey, to find out if they could be linked to constellations.
The markings suggest that a swarm of comet fragments hit Earth at the exact same time that a mini-ice age struck, changing the entire course of human history.
Scientists have speculated for decades that a comet could be behind the sudden fall in temperature during a period known as the Younger Dryas. But recently the theory appeared to have been debunked by new dating of meteor craters in North America where the comet is thought to have struck.
However, when engineers studied animal carvings made on a pillar - known as the vulture stone - at Gobekli Tepe they discovered that the creatures were actually astronomical symbols which represented constellations and the comet.
Comment: See also: Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:45 UTC
The study by The Australian National University (ANU) found Homo floresiensis, dubbed "the hobbits" due to their small stature, were most likely a sister species of Homo habilis -- one of the earliest known species of human found in Africa 1.75 million years ago.
Data from the study concluded there was no evidence for the popular theory that Homo floresiensis evolved from the much larger Homo erectus, the only other early hominid known to have lived in the region with fossils discovered on the Indonesian mainland of Java.
Study leader Dr Debbie Argue of the ANU School of Archaeology & Anthropology, said the results should help put to rest a debate that has been hotly contested ever since Homo floresiensis was discovered.
"The analyses show that on the family tree, Homo floresiensis was likely a sister species of Homo habilis. It means these two shared a common ancestor," Dr Argue said.
Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:05 UTC
The Permian mass extinction resulted in the loss of 90 percent of species. The environmental and climactic conditions hindered the recovery of vertebrate species following this devastating event.
To investigate which vertebrates lived during beginning of the Mesozoic Era, which followed the Permian extinction, Mujal and colleagues examined trace fossils of vertebrates in the Pyrenees mountains in Catalonia from approximately 247 to 248 million years ago. The researchers made 3D models and created silicone molds of these ephemeral fossils, enabling them to preserve the fossils in scientific collections.
The researchers identified that most tracks were made by archosauromorphs, the ancestors of crocodiles and dinosaurs. The majority were small, about half a meter in length, although a few specimens were longer than three meters. The researchers also identified a new footprint, Prorotodactylus mesaxonichnus, and the new fossil evidence from the Pyrenean tracks suggests that at least the Pyrenean Prorotodactylus genus is related to archosauromorphs, rather than being a dinosauromorph as previously thought from other records.