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Sherlock

Stone Age Erotic Art Found in Germany

Image
© Jens Schlueter/AFP/DDP
Archaeologists work on remains found in eastern Germany.
Researchers in Germany have discovered Stone Age cave art in the country for the first time including carvings of nude women that may have been used in fertility rites, officials said Wednesday.

Archaeologists working for the Bavarian State Office for Historical Preservation came upon the primitive engravings in a cave near the southern city of Bamberg after decades searching, a spokeswoman for the authority said.

The spokeswoman, Beate Zarges, confirmed a report to appear in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that the engravings were believed to be around 12,000 years old, which would make them the first Stone Age artwork ever found in Germany.

"They include schematic depictions of women's bodies and unidentifiable symbols, among other things," she said.

The ancient artists appear to have taken their inspiration for the erotic images from rock formations in the caves resembling breasts and penises and then carved the images in the walls of the cave, Zarges said.

Sherlock

US: Ship's Remains Give Peek at Past

Divers return to study century-old schooner
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The five-masted Jennie French Potter, 260 feet long and bound for Boston with a cargo of Appalachian coal, sailed into Nantucket Sound in May 1909 on what was the interstate highway for East Coast maritime commerce.

A perilous combination of weak winds and strong tides pushed the Maine-built behemoth onto shallow Half Moon Shoal, where the vessel was grounded, stripped by salvagers of its 150-foot masts, and abandoned in 25 feet of water about 10 miles south of Yarmouth.

The Jennie French Potter would remain there for more than a century, until two Cape Cod divers found the old workhorse in December on a blanket of white sand, its iron wheel upright, and its oaken ribs scattered among a school of tropical triggerfish.

They returned to the ship last week, when 25-foot visibility and 75-degree water gave them dream conditions to study the aftermath of a nightmare voyage for Captain Joseph Potter, his two daughters, and his crew, all of whom survived.

"When I got underwater and saw the length and the size and the girth of the ship, all I could do was smile, because we had captured another shipwreck from the pages of history,'' said Don Ferris of Sandwich, one of the divers.

Magnify

French Soldiers Weighed Down by Armour at Agincourt in 1415


France may have lost the battle of Agincourt because their soldiers' armour was so heavy it left them breathless, researchers have claimed.

Wearing a full suit of armour doubled the amount of energy used in battle, according to a new study in which volunteers dressed as 15th century knights were made to run on a treadmill.

The exertion of carrying the steel plate armour, which weighed between 30 and 50kg, (66-110lb), would have placed additional weight on each limb and hampered the wearer's breathing, making them weaker in a fight.

This meant that heavily-armoured French soldiers stood little chance when advancing across boggy ground towards more lightly attired British archers at Agincourt in 1415, experts said.

Sherlock

"Lady of Introd:" Iceman's "Girlfriend" Found

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© Comune di Introd
The "Lady of Introd" has been lying on her right side for about 5,000 years.
Italian workers building an addition to a kindergarten have unearthed a well preserved female skeleton who might be relatively contemporaneous with Ötzi, the Iceman mummy discovered 20 years ago in a melting glacier in South Tyrol.

The "Lady of Introd" or "Ötzi's girlfriend," as the skeleton was nicknamed in Italy, was found in the tiny Alpine village of Introd, in the Val d'Aosta, famous to be the preferred vacationing spot for both Pope John II and his successor Benedict XVI.

According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the woman has been lying on her right side, with her head facing west, for about 5,000 years.

The dating to the third millennium B.C. was based on the skeleton's burial position and stratigraphy, said Vittorio Anglesio, mayor of Introd.

"She appears to have been buried without any grave goods. However, we are now going to extend the dig to better investigate the area," Anglesio told Discovery News.

Magnify

Ancient Footprints Show Human-Like Walking Began Nearly 4 Million Years Ago

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that ancient footprints in Laetoli, Tanzania, show that human-like features of the feet and gait existed almost two million years earlier than previously thought.

Many earlier studies have suggested that the characteristics of the human foot, such as the ability to push off the ground with the big toe, and a fully upright bipedal gait, emerged in early Homo, approximately 1.9 million years-ago.

Liverpool researchers, however, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Manchester and Bournemouth University, have now shown that footprints of a human ancestor dating back 3.7 million years ago, show features of the foot with more similarities to the gait of modern humans than with the type of bipedal walking used by chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas.

The footprint site of Laetoli contains the earliest known trail made by human ancestors and includes 11 individual prints in good condition. Previous studies have been primarily based on single prints and have therefore been liable to misinterpreting artificial features, such as erosion and other environmental factors, as reflecting genuine features of the footprint. This has resulted in many years of debate over the exact characteristics of gait in early human ancestors.

Butterfly

Mysterious Fossils Provide New Clues to Insect Evolution

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© Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart (Germany)
This is a Coxoplectoptera adult.

German scientists at the Stuttgart Natural History Museum were leading in the discovery of a new insect order from the Lower Cretaceous of South America. The spectacular fossils were named Coxoplectoptera by their discoverers and their findings were published in a special issue on Cretaceous Insects in the scientific journal Insect Systematics & Evolution.

The work group led by Dr. Arnold H. Staniczek and Dr. Günter Bechly, both experts on basal insects, determined that these fossils represent extinct relatives of modern mayflies. Coxoplectoptera however significantly differ from both mayflies and all other known insects in anatomy and mode of life. Due to the discovery of adult winged specimens and excellently preserved larvae, the scientists were able to clarify the phylogenetic position of these animals and presented a new hypothesis regarding the relationships of basal winged insects.

Eye 2

Canada: Manitoba Dig Unearths 80-Million-Year old "T-Rex of the Sea" Skeletons, Squid

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© The Canadian Press / John Woods
Bruce the Mosasaur, which was found just outside Morden, Man., in a farmer's field, is on display at Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden on Wednesday May 20, 2009.
Manitoba paleontologists have unearthed the bones of a prehistoric sea creature some 80 million years old.

Scientists from the Canadian Fossil museum in Morden have dug up two Mosasaurs -- a huge reptile known as the "T-Rex of the sea."

The dig site also uncovered a prehistoric squid and bird fossils, giving scientists new insight into what Western Canada looked like 80 million years ago.

The museum is already home to a Mosasaur called "Bruce", but curator Anita Janzic says the new find is significant.

She says the discovery of some shore bird fossils seems to contradict the idea that much of the Prairies were under water at the time.

She says they expect to keep working at the southwestern Manitoba dig site for several years and will write up their findings for academic journals.

Sherlock

Mesolithic "rest stop" found at UK supermarket site

Image
© Unknown
Illustration only
An early prehistoric hearth has been discovered on the planned construction site for a branch of major British supermarket chain Sainsbury's

The charcoal remains, excavated from the site in Nairn, a town in the Scottish Highlands, date back to the Mesolithic period (10,000 to 4000 BC). They are believed to have been a temporary travelling stop rather than a settlement, due to the absence of any further Mesolithic findings at the site.

"An extremely large quantity of wood charcoal fragments was recovered from the hearth. The size of the fragments suggests either deliberate deposition or in-situ burning," said Headland Archaeology, who carried out the excavation, in a report.

Archaeologists used carbon-dating of the charcoal to determine the age of the hearth. However, dating a site from this particular substance is problematic, due the potential time lag between the felling of the tree and the burning of the material, the report said.

Snowman

UK: Urge to binge on fatty food 'dates back to the Ice Age'

Our frozen ancestors of the Ice Age needed plenty of fat in their diets to keep warm - and it seems we might still be carrying their genetic torch.

For British scientists have discovered a DNA switch in the brain that they believe makes Europeans far more likely to binge on fatty food than those living in the East.

The researchers from Aberdeen University made their discovery after comparing the DNA of people with the genetic code of birds and mice.

Image
© Alamy
Frozen food: Scientists think our love of fatty meals can be traced to the Ice Age

Comment: It seems like our ancestors knew a thing or two about proper nourishment. And we are not talking about a mere survival and preservation of body's heat during harsh periods. It appears that fat is the preferred fuel of human metabolism and has been for most of human evolution. It not only decreases inflammation and significantly increases energy levels, but improved and healthier brain activity facilitates creativity and human evolution.

Read the following articles to understand how currently promoted low-fat diets lead to slow degradation and danger, especially prior to the possible onset of the next Ice Age.

You've Been Living A Lie: The Story Of Saturated Fat And Cholesterol
A Metabolic Paradigm Shift, or Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism
Your Brain On Ketones: How a High-fat Diet Can Help the Brain Work Better


Sherlock

Scotland: Stone Age relics may be hidden in Western Isles' seas

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© National Museum Scotland
Western Isles' rich archaeology includes the Lewis Chessmen
Submerged sites of ancient communities could be hidden in the seas around the Western Isles, according to experts.

Dr Jonathan Benjamin and Dr Andrew Bicket believe the islands' long and sheltered lochs have protected 9,000-year-old Mesolithic relics.

Rising sea levels may have covered up to 6.2 miles (10km) of land on the west coast of the Outer Hebrides.

The archaeologists are to give a presentation in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's council chambers on Monday.

During the Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age, Britain was transformed from a peninsula to an island.