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Cooperative system: Hunter-gatherer multi-level social networks were built around food sharing

© Rodolph Schlaepfer
This photograph shows seafood gathering among Agata children.
Long before the advent of social media, human social networks were built around sharing a much more essential commodity: food. Now, researchers reporting on the food sharing networks of two contemporary groups of hunter-gatherers in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 21 provide new insight into fundamental nature of human social organization.

The new work reveals surprising similarities between the Agta of the Philippines and Mbendjele of the Republic of Congo. In both places, individuals maintain a three-tiered social network that appears to buffer them against day-to-day shortfalls in foraging returns.

"Previous research has suggested that social networks across human cultures are structured in similar ways," says Mark Dyble (@DybleMark) of University College London. "Across societies, there appear to be similar limits on the number of social relationships individuals are able to maintain, and many societies are said to have a 'multilevel' structure. Our work on contemporary hunter-gatherer groups sheds light on how this distinctive social structure may have benefited humans in our hunting-and-gathering past."

Question

Neanderthals in Germany: Population peak and rapid extinction

© www.dailymail.co.uk
The mysterious rise and fall of Neanderthals.
Neanderthals once populated the entire European continent. Around 45,000 years ago, Homo neanderthalensis was the predominant human species in Europe. Archaeological findings show that there were also several settlements in Germany. However, the era of the Neanderthal came to an end quite suddenly.

Based on an analysis of the known archaeological sites, Professor Jürgen Richter from Collaborative Research Center 806 -- Our Way to Europe, in which the universities of Cologne, Bonn and Aachen cooperate, comes to the conclusion that Neanderthals reached their population peak right before their population rapidly declined and they eventually became extinct.

Neanderthals lived in the Middle Paleolithic, the middle period of the Old Stone Age. This period encompasses the time from roughly 200,000 to 40,000 before our times. In his article published in the Quaternary International Journal, Richter comes to the conclusion that more than 50 percent of the known Neanderthal settlement sites in Germany can be dated to the Middle Paleolithic. More precisely, they date back 60,000 to 43,000 years before our times. Thus, the Neanderthal population peak seems to lie in this period.

The number of sites, their analysis and the analysis of the artefacts found at these settlements indicate that the Neanderthal population in Germany was subject to extreme demographic fluctuations. During the Middle Paleolithic, there appear to have been several migrations, population increase and decline, extinction in certain areas and then a return of settlers to these areas.

While for the time period between 110,000 to 70,000 years ago there are only four known settlement sites, in the following period from 70,000 to 43,000 years ago there are ninety-four. In less than 1,000 years after this demographic peak, however, there was a rapid decline and the Neanderthal disappeared from the scene. Precisely why the species died out is still unclear. Perhaps it was due to low genetic diversity, perhaps to the rise of Homo sapiens. This question will continue to occupy scientists.

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The Truth Perspective: Beyond Iran-Contra: The secret history of America's covert wars, with Hugo Turner


The original 'moderate rebels', the Contras, on patrol in 1987.
For the first hour of the show, we were joined by blogger Hugo Turner of Anti-Imperialist U to discuss the thirtieth anniversary of the Iran-Contra scandal. Funding the Contras in Nicaragua was just a small window into a much wider history of American death squads, drug trafficking, torture, arms smuggling, regime chance, and terrorism that was nothing new in the 80s, and hasn't changed much at all today. We talked about how it all fits together, and how it relates to what's going on today. You can read Hugo's Iran-Contra series on SOTT:

Beyond the Iran-Contra Affair Part 1: The secret team
Beyond the Iran-Contra Affair Part 2: World War 3 has already happened
Beyond the Iran-Contra Affair Part 3: The World Anti-Communist League

In the second half of the show, discussed the aftermath of the failed coup in Turkey, the mass shooting in Munich, and other current events, followed by a Police State Roundup.

Running Time: 02:20:36

Download: OGG, MP3


Listen live, chat, and call in to future shows on the SOTT Radio Network!


Bad Guys

Beyond the Iran-Contra Affair Part 3: The World Anti-Communist League

© Google
Sven Olof Joachim Palme (1927-1986)
On February 28 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down in the streets while returning home with his wife after a movie. His killers were never brought to justice. Palme was a victim of the World Anti-Communist League or WACL. Palme had defied the American Empire one too many times. First he angered the empire by opposing the war in Vietnam, enraging the Nixon administration by marching in solidarity with the North Vietnamese ambassador and in opposition to the genocidal war being waged on the people of Vietnam in the name of stopping the spread of communism. He further angered the empire by his friendly ties to Castro's Cuba and Allende's Chile (later overthrown by fascists.) But it was his interference in the Iran-Contra schemes that finally got him killed. Palme maintained friendly ties with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, providing vital assistance in holding their elections. He had also blocked a deal to Iran from the Bofors arms firm being delivered via another of Secret Team member Richard Secord's CIA front companies. In response Olof Palme was gunned down by WACL, and because of WACL's ties to Swedish intelligence the killers were never brought to justice.

Comment: See the previous instalments of this series:


Nuke

70 years ago the U.S. set off a nuke underwater and it went very badly

Seventy years ago, on July 26, 1946, the U.S. military tried a new type of nuclear test.

A joint Army/Navy task force had suspended a nuclear device, oddly named Helen of Bikini, 90 feet below the surface of the water, in the middle of Bikini Atoll, one of the isolated rings of coral and land that make up the Marshall Islands. Arrayed around the 21-kiloton bomb were dozens of target ships.

The Navy had a point to prove. In this new era of nuclear warfare, in which the Air Force could rain down explosives on entire cities, what use was a naval force? The military leaders who proposed the test wanted to show that their ships could ride out a nuclear attack and that the fleet was not obsolete.

But the underwater test was controversial, perhaps even more so than land-based test blasts. Even nuclear scientists questioned its point—would it offer useful, scientific information or was this all just for show?

Comment: Read more: America's shame - the N-bomb guinea pigs


Question

Seven ancient cultures that history forgot

© Creative Commons, Courtesy of Wikipedia
The ancient Egyptians had their pyramids, the Greeks, their sculptures and temples. And everybody knows about the Maya and their famous calendar.

But other ancient peoples get short shrift in world history. Here are a handful of long-lost cultures that don't get the name recognition they deserve.

The Silla

© Creative Commons, Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Silla Kingdom was one of the longest-standing royal dynasties ever. It ruled most of the Korean Peninsula between 57 B.C. and A.D. 935, but left few burials behind for archaeologists to study.

Comment: It's highly likely that many ancient cultures and civilisations were destroyed by cometary bombardment. For more information on this hypothesis, be sure to read Laura Knight-Jaczyk's Comets and Catastophes series, as well as her books, The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive and Comets and the Horns of Moses.


Heart - Black

'Witch' prison revealed in 15th-century Scottish chapel

© Open Space Trust/Mither Kirk Project
An 1868 drawing of the former prison for witches, St Mary's Chapel, after it was restored to religious use.
An iron ring set in the stone pillar of a 15th-century chapel in the Scottish city of Aberdeen may not look like much, but historians say it could be a direct link to a dark chapter in the city's past — the trial and execution of 23 women and one man accused of witchcraft during Aberdeen's "Great Witch Hunt" in 1597.

"I was skeptical, to be honest — the ring is not all that spectacular, but it is actually quite genuine," said Arthur Winfield, project leader for the OpenSpace Trust in the United Kingdom, which is restoring the chapel as part of a community-based redevelopment of the East Kirk sanctuary at the historic Kirk of St Nicholas, in central Aberdeen.

Winfield told Live Science that two places within the kirk (the Lowland Scots word for "church") had been equipped as a prison for witches snared in the Aberdeen witch hunt: the stone-vaulted chapel of St Mary, and the tall steeple of the kirk, which was at that time the tallest structure in the city.

Comment: If you would like to understand more about how such practices as witch-hunts and burning those convicted at the stake could possibly come about, read Wars, Pestilence and Witches, an article written by Laura Knight-Jadczyk as part of her Comets and Catastrophes series.


Hiliter

Caribbean cave art illuminates encounters with Europeans

© Antiquity Publications Ltd.
Indigenous carvings found in caves on Mona Island were made by people dragging their fingers or tools across the surfaces of the soft limestone caves.
Puerto Rico's Mona Island is famous for its vast network of caves. In these dark underground chambers, archaeologists have discovered engravings by indigenous people and early European colonizers alike.

These cave markings may offer a rare glimpse at individual, perhaps even spiritual, first encounters that took place in the Caribbean nearly 500 years ago between indigenous and European people, according to a new study.

Led by Jago Cooper, of the British Museum in London, and Alice Samson, of the University of Leicester, a group of researchers spent years documenting the subterranean artwork at Mona Island —which is about halfway between the main island of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The small island has been occupied by humans for at least 5,000 years, and Christopher Columbus stopped there during his second voyage in 1494.

Comment: Further reading:


Magnify

Researcher claims Dyatlov pass mystery victims could have been on KGB mission

© Wikipedia
A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on February 26, 1959: the tent had been cut open from inside, and most of the skiers had fled in socks or barefoot.
Hikers in the 1959 Igor Dyatlov expedition, who mysteriously died in the Ural Mountains could have been on a KGB mission, Head of the Dyatlov Group Memory Public Fund Yuri Kuntsevich told TASS on Thursday.

This conclusion is based on recent information about the ties between the KGB and the Dyatlov expedition members who died under bizarre circumstances near the remote Otorten Mountain in the North Urals overnight to February 2, 1959, the researcher said.

"It turned out that there were two KGB officers in the Dyatlov group. Quite possibly, they were carrying out a mission to provide support for a technology-induced experiment. The tourists were carrying a large batch of photo equipment, which was completely atypical of highly complex expeditions that require maximally alleviating their load," Kuntsevich said.

Comment: More stories on this case:


Magnify

DNA testing proves genealogy of indigenous Americans is one of the most unique in the world

The suppression of the Native Americans and the decimation of their culture is a black page in the history of the United States. The discrimination and injustices towards this ancient race, which had lived on the American continent long before the European conquerors came to this land, are still present to this day despite the efforts of different groups and organizations trying to restore the justice.

The destruction of their culture is one of the most shameful aspects of our history, the extent of the damage that was done is still being down-played and denied entry into textbooks and history-lessons to this day.


The origin and history of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas have been studied for years by researchers from different countries, and a recent DNA study showed that the genealogy of the western aboriginals is one of the most unique in the world.

The question of whether Native Americans derived from a single Asian population or from a number of different populations has been a subject of research for decades. Now, having compared the DNA samples from people of modern Native American and Eurasian groups, an international team of researchers concluded on the validity of the single ancestral population theory.