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Fri, 18 Jan 2019
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Study suggests multiple episodes of inter-breeding between Neanderthal and humans

Comparison of a Neanderthal skull (left) with that of a Homo sapiens.
© Nathan Holton
Comparison of a Neanderthal skull (left) with that of a Homo sapiens.
A pair of researchers at Temple University has found evidence that suggests Neanderthals mated and produced offspring with anatomically modern humans multiple times-not just once, as has been suggested by prior research. In their paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, Fernando Villanea and Joshua Schraiber describe their genetic analysis of East Asian and European people and how they compared to people from other places. Fabrizio Mafessoni with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology offers a News and Views piece on the work done by the pair in the same journal issue.

In recent years, scientists have discovered that early humans moving out of Africa encountered Neanderthals living in parts of what is now Europe and Eastern Asia. In comparing Neanderthal DNA with modern humans, researchers have found that there was a least one pairing that led to offspring, which is reflected in the DNA of humans-approximately 2 percent of the DNA in non-African humans today is Neanderthal. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence that suggests there was more than one such encounter.

Comment: Recent studies show that humans also interbred with Denisovans as well as an unknown species.

See also:


New Roman history revealed under world's 1st cathedral

Layers of Roman history
Archbasilica of St John Lateran
© Newcastle University
Construction of the Basilica was a potent symbol of the military making way for religion, and the birth of modern Rome.
Supported throughout by the British School at Rome the team - drawn from Newcastle University and the universities of Florence and Amsterdam and the Vatican Museums - have been able to bring the splendour of successive transformations of the ancient city to life.

The church, the Pope's own cathedral, was originally built in the 4th century AD by Constantine - the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Positioned on the Caelian Hill, the church would have dominated the Roman skyline at the time.

As research reveals, however, the site had already been in use for centuries. To build his magnificent cathedral, Constantine swept away the Castra Nova (New Fort), the lavish headquarters of the imperial horseguard constructed over a century before by the Emperor Septimius Severus. In much the same way, Severus had previously destroyed the palatial houses of some of Rome's most powerful residents to make way for the horseguards' impressive new home.

This ongoing process of construction on the site meant that over centuries layers of Roman history were laid down, much of it reflecting the changing fortunes and priorities of the Empire.


Prehistoric cave art study reveals ancient people had complex knowledge of astronomy and were tracking catastrophic meteor showers

gobekli tepe astronomy
© Martin Sweatman
As far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using relatively sophisticated knowledge of the stars,
Some of the world's oldest cave paintings have revealed how ancient people had relatively advanced knowledge of astronomy.

The artworks, at sites across Europe, are not simply depictions of wild animals, as was previously thought. Instead, the animal symbols represent star constellations in the night sky, and are used to represent dates and mark events such as comet strikes, analysis suggests.

They reveal that, perhaps as far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using knowledge of how the position of the stars slowly changes over thousands of years.

The findings suggest that ancient people understood an effect caused by the gradual shift of Earth's rotational axis. Discovery of this phenomenon, called precession of the equinoxes, was previously credited to the ancient Greeks.

Around the time that Neanderthals became extinct, and perhaps before humankind settled in Western Europe, people could define dates to within 250 years, the study shows.

Comment: The study provided in the link above is only 17 pages and it's a fascinating read.

For more on the ancient knowledge and recent revelations about our planet's history with cyclical catastrophes, check out: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Ostia Antica: The harbor city of ancient Rome digitally reconstructed

Ostia Antica: The harbor city of ancient Rome

Ostia Antica: The harbor city of ancient Rome
Ostia Antica (derived from os, the Latin for "mouth") was the preeminent harbor city of ancient Rome, with its geographical location being around 19 miles from the 'eternal city'. And while in modern circumstances, the site lies around 2 miles away from the sea, due to silting, the area is still home to a flurry of well preserved ancient Roman architectural specimens, frescoes and mosaics. Taking advantage of these extant 'legacies' of Roman history, the resourceful folks over at Altair4 Multimedia have digitally reconstructed the ancient harbor city of Ostia Antica - and the glorious result is there to behold.

Another nifty reconstruction video made by Colonia Ostiensis, also captures the sheer scale of this ancient harbor city, which possibly reached its peak population of around 50,000 by 2nd century AD, at the apical stage of the Roman Empire.

Comment: And for some insight into the cataclysmic events that brought the port's use to an end, see: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Ancient American farmers supplemented poor diet with corn fungus

Ustilago maydis corn smut
© Carmen Hauser / Getty Images
Corn smut: disfiguring but delicious.
Ancient American farmers supplemented poor diet through fungus infection Eating only maize leads to disease, and why the Basketmaker II people didn't fall ill has long been a mystery. Now it's been solved. Andrew Masterson reports.

A mystery concerning how some of North America's first farmers survived on a diet that appears manifestly inadequate may have been solved.

The ancestral Pueblo people who lived in what is now known as the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States shifted from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle centred on crop-growing around 400BCE.

The primary crop cultivated was maize (known in the US as corn), which accounted for an estimated 80% of calorific intake.

During the ensuing 800 years - a stretch known as the Basketmaker II period - the settlers' diet contained very little meat. This was perhaps a cultural choice. Basketmaker II people became efficient turkey farmers, but the birds were raised primarily for their feathers, used in the manufacture of blankets, and for certain ritual purposes. They were not eaten.

Comment: Since there's evidence that these ancient farmers would eat rabbit, one would assume they weren't 'culturally' against eating meat per se. Rabbit is often consumed when other food sources are scarce, because relying elusively on rabbit leads to protein poisoning, also know as rabbit starvation, due to the absence of fat on the animal. While it could be that they simply discovered an optimal source for their nutrition, could it instead be that, as has been documented to have occurred in the area at later times, there were climatic conditions or catastrophic events that meant they needed to turn to a more reliable source for their nutrition?


5,000 year old boat found during River Boyne fishing trip, near Newgrange, Ireland

neolithic boat Ireland

William Gregory and Stephen Murphy, two of the people who found the boat in the River Boyne. In the background is the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Suspension Bridge
The remains of a 5,000-year-old logboat have been discovered in the River Boyne near Newgrange.

The discovery close to the Brú Na Bóinne World Heritage site dates to the Neolithic period, scientific dating has confirmed. According to a statement by Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan the prehistoric boat was found in June 2016 by four local anglers while fishing on the river at Oldbridge, Co Meath.

Stephen Murphy, Kieran Mahar, William Gregory and David Johnston reported it to the heritage authorities.

The vessel consist of a three-meter length of wood which would have formed the base of the boat. It is estimated that it was originally more than four meters long, shaped out of the trunk of an oak tree using stone axes.

Comment: There's been a wealth of discoveries recently, from extreme drought revealing ancient artifacts, curious chance finds, mundane construction projects unearthing booty, and genealogical past thanks to rapid advances in DNA testing, it seems in our turbulent times more is being revealed about our history than ever before:


UK's A14 highway upgrade yields centuries of archaeological treasures

woolly mammoth
© Science Picture Co/Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RM
Digging alongside the bulldozers of the £1.5bn road diversion, archaeologists have discovered tonnes of ancient bones. Is there a find so important that it could stop the whole project?

A small crowd of workers gathers outside a temporary office plonked in a muddy field in Cambridgeshire. Bill Boismier flips down the back door of his pickup truck and reaches inside. Earlier this morning, the American-born archaeologist, who has steeped himself in British soil for more than 40 years, was up to his knees in a nearby pit to retrieve the find he is now unwrapping. "What is it?" asks a site cleaner who, like everyone else here, is dressed head-to-toe in hi-vis safety gear. "Is it ... a dinosaur?"

"Not quite," Boismier, who is 65, tells the group. His grey ponytail is tied back with a rubber band and his face reveals a life spent outdoors. "But it is an ancient species. It could be more than 130,000 years old." The leg bone, still caked in mud and roughly the height and weight of a five-year-old child, belonged to a woolly mammoth. The elephant-sized beast once roamed the land that is now just south of the Fenstanton Travelodge, at junction 27 of the A14.


Documents show US sought secret high-level talks with the Koreas in 1979

JimmyCarter signing
© File Photo
President Jimmy Carter and audience
The United States pushed for high-level talks with South and North Korea on reducing military tensions in the late 1970s, declassified diplomatic documents showed Sunday.

The Jimmy Carter administration picked Jakarta as the venue for the planned trilateral meeting of senior officials. It's "particularly convenient to all three parties, since each has official representation in the capital which can serve to support delegations for tripartite talks," according to a diplomatic cable.
© Yonhap
A copy of a diplomatic document showing President Jimmy Carter`s letter to Indonesian President Suharto in June 1979. It was provided by James F. Person, a professor of Korean Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
The Indonesian government played the role of messenger between the US and North Korea at that time.


Mummified woman dating back 3,000 years unveiled in Luxor, Egypt

Egyptian sarcophagus
© Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus in Luxor dating back more than 3,000 years.
A well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin dating back more than 3,000 years has been unveiled in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor.

The sarcophagus was one of two found earlier this month by a French-led mission in the Al-Assasif necropolis on the western bank of the Nile.

The first one had been opened earlier and examined by officials, but Saturday's unveiling was the first time authorities had opened a previously unopened sarcophagus before international media.

One of the two contained the "well-preserved" mummified remains of a woman named Thuya, the antiquities ministry said in a statement, but ministry spokeswoman Nevine Aref later said work was continuing to definitively identify the name of the mummy.


'The Overhauling of Straight America' - A 1987 blueprint for transforming social values

Comment: The following article was published in 1987 in a (now-defunct) small publication called Guide, whose intended audience was apparently limited to LGBT activists. It was subsequently developed into a book published in 1989 - After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s - which became something of an 'LGBT Manifesto'. Its authors were gay activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen (writing under the pseudonym 'Erastes Pill'), two Harvard graduates, one in psychology, the other in politics (and specializing in public persuasion tactics and social marketing).

To be clear, Sott.net's republishing of this article from 3 decades ago is not intended as either endorsement or condemnation of homosexuality. Also, Sott.net is not suggesting that these two alone began, promoted, and carried to completion the 'sexual/social revolution' across the Western world). We believe this 'manifesto' provides an educational case study of the way in which ideas are promoted - across an array of topics - within society and how 'consent' is manufactured or 'socially engineered'.

The highlighting of some text is ours, but otherwise the content is 100% theirs...

after the ball gay manifesto
The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion. Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football. No big deal.

At least in the beginning, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more. We do not need and cannot expect a full "appreciation" or "understanding" of homosexuality from the average American. You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won. And to get to shoulder-shrug stage, gays as a class must cease to appear mysterious, alien, loathsome and contrary. A large-scale media campaign will be required in order to change the image of gays in America. And any campaign to accomplish this turnaround should do six things.