Secret HistoryS


Mysterious Fossils Provide New Clues to Insect Evolution

© 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

© The Canadian Press / John WoodsBruce 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.


Mesolithic "rest stop" found at UK supermarket site

© UnknownIllustration 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.


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.

© AlamyFrozen 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


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

© National Museum ScotlandWestern 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.


Ethiopian lake reveals history of African droughts

A new survey of Lake Tana in Ethiopia - the source of the Blue Nile - suggests that drought may have contributed to the demise of the Egyptian Old Kingdom, around 4200 years ago.

© Planet EarthLake Tana, Ethiopia
A team led by the University of Aberystwyth used seismic surveys and sediment cores to work out how the lake's water levels has varied over the past 17,000 years and linked this to evidence for global climate change.

Understanding how and why rainfall patterns change is particularly important for sub-Saharan Africa, where prolonged droughts have such serious social and economic consequences.

The climate here is dominated by the African-Asian monsoon and the movements of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). This is an area of erratic weather patterns, where winds from the northern and southern hemispheres meet close to the equator: sailors know it as the Doldrums.


UK: "Fantastic results" at Roman Dig in Maryport

The excavation of a Roman site at Maryport, in Cumbria, has produced "fascinating results", experts say.

© Senhouse MuseumOne of the altars unearthed in Maryport.
The project at the remains of a Roman fort at Camp Farm, which started last year, is due to be completed on 22 July.

The team said it had found many features not recorded by a previous excavation in 1870.

Among them are fragments of altars, traces of timber buildings, pottery and coins.

A team of 28 volunteers has worked alongside the archaeologists on the project, which was commissioned by the Senhouse Museum Trust.

It was led by Professor Ian Haynes, from Newcastle University, and field archaeologist Tony Wilmott.


UK: Archaeologists Uncover the Remains of Ancient Body in Caithness

The remains of what could be an Iron Age Highlander, who lived around 2,000 years ago, have been found during an archaeological dig in Caithness.

The human remains, which include a skull and bones, were found this week in the ruins of a broch - a massive stone wall Iron Age roundhouse - at Thrumster, near Wick.

They were buried in a chamber in the wall of the historic building.

Dr Andy Heald, of AOC Archaeology, which leads the dig, said that it was probably the remains of an adult man, though further research was needed to determine that.

Radiocarbon dating is also needed to determine how old the bones are.

"At the moment we have no idea on a date. They could be 200 years old, or 2,000 years old," he said.


Louisiana, US: Oil Spill Clean-Up Turns Up Trove of Native American Relics

© Gerald Herbert/AP PhotoForrest Travirca III, walks along Port Fourchon Beach as he searches for artifacts from Pre-historic American-Indian settlements in Caminada Headland, La., Tuesday, June 28, 2011.
Cleanup after the BP oil spill has turned up dozens of sites where archaeologists are finding human and animal bones, pottery and primitive weapons left behind by pre-historic Indian settlements.

It's a trove of new clues about the Gulf Coast's mound dwellers more than 1,300 years ago, but scientists also fear the remains could be damaged by oil or lost to erosion before they can be fully studied.

So far, teams of archaeologists hired by the oil giant have visited more than 100 sites and sent back a growing list of finds to labs for radiocarbon dating and other tests, though extensive excavations haven't been done. Scholars have also accompanied cleanup crews to make sure they don't unwittingly throw away relics.

Larry Murphy is lead archeologist for a council of government agencies and trustees overseeing the oil cleanup. He says neither the discovery of the sites - nor the money to study them - would have come as quickly without the spill.

Cow Skull

Taiwan: Three sarcophagi found in Taitung

A cluster of three ancient sarcophagi recently discovered in Taitung could give archeologists new insights into a nearby prehistoric site, a researcher from the National Museum of Prehistory said on Thursday.

Parts of the sarcophagi, or stone coffins, have already been unearthed, showing them to be 60cm high and 50cm wide, although their lengths have yet to be determined because the excavation is still underway.

Weathered remains and mortuary objects, such as jade adzes, have been found in the sarcophagi, located on a hill more than 200m above sea level and about 3km from the Peinan archeological site. The prehistoric site, where more than 20,000 ancient objects have been unearthed, is one of the largest archeological sites in Taiwan.