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Wed, 19 Jun 2019
The World for People who Think



New study says gender inequality arose 8000 years ago

Neolithic cave painting
© Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images
A Neolithic cave painting in Cantabria, Spain. As the period progressed, men were depicted more often than women, and in ways often associated with violence.
At a time when human societies were abandoning their wanderlust in favour of agricultural settlements, the first inklings of gender inequality were taking root.

That's according to a study published in the European Journal of Archaeology, which analysed 5000-to-8000-year-old graves on the Iberian Peninsula.

Accounts of historical gender inequalities have largely focused on written records. Work by the historian Gerda Lerner in the early 1990s, for instance, found that by the second century BCE gender inequalities were already entrenched in middle eastern societies.

Lerner figured that the cultural practice of valuing men over women arose some time in pre-history, before written records emerged.

Archaeologists Marta Cintas-Peña and Leonardo García Sanjuán from the University of Seville in Spain decided to plumb the archaeological record to find out if she was right.

Twenty-one sites, which together contained the remains of more than 500 individuals buried in everything from individual tombs to pit graves and collective cave burials, were analysed.

The majority of the bodies were of an undetermined sex, many of them children. Nevertheless, of the 198 whose sex was known, men were over-represented. For every female grave, there were 1.5 male graves. Children were also less common than would be expected.

Arrow Down

Birds fall from the sky as temperatures soar in Hyderabad, India

A bird rescued at Dilsukhnagar.

A bird rescued at Dilsukhnagar.
Lack of spaces to perch and rest causing them to collapse or, worse, drop down dead

Severity of summer has taken a toll not only on human beings but also avian life with temperatures soaring up to 45 degrees or even 47 degrees C in some pockets of the city.

Calls for rescue

Several instances of birds dropping out of exhaustion have been noticed by concerned citizens who alerted animal welfare organisations. "Even yesterday, we received an alert from Dilsukhnagar about an exhausted bird. We rushed a volunteer to check on it. It was rescued and given first aid before it recovered and flew away," says Mahesh Agarwal, general secretary of Bharateeya Prani Mitra Sangh.


Pit bulls involved in attack that killed woman in Bakersfield, California

Officials confirm that three dogs fatally attacked a woman, who was found dead in a Costco parking lot Sunday morning, in Northwest Bakersfield.

Bakersfield Police Department spokesman Nathan McCauley said one Pit bull and one mixed breed escaped from a nearby business before the attack. The third dog was a stray Pit bull.

The woman, who has not been identified, was in her late 30s to early 40s and is a Bakersfield resident. She was found by a bystander shortly after 6 a.m Sunday morning, but officials say the attack appeared to have happened several hours prior to their arrival.

All three dogs were located and will be euthanized by animal control, according to officials.


More than 260 dead dolphins found along Gulf of Mexico Coast since February 1st

A third dead dolphin washed ashore Tuesday morning on Front Beach in Ocean Springs.
A third dead dolphin washed ashore Tuesday morning on Front Beach in Ocean Springs.
NOAA declares an unusual mortality event

More than 260 dolphins have been found stranded along the northern Gulf of Mexico since February 1st.

According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that's three times the usual amount. The increase has prompted NOAA Fisheries to declare an Unusual Mortality Event

This declaration allows an investigative team to look into the high number of dolphin deaths stretching from Louisiana through the Florida panhandle.

Dr. Terri Rowles, NOAA Fisheries Coordinator, has issued a statement informing the public what to do if they come into contact with any stranded mammals.


8,000-year-old carvings by ancient humans discovered in South Africa

Ancient Petroglyphs
© University of the Free State
One of the carvings found on the impact crater dyke.
Two billion years ago an enormous asteroid slammed into what is now South Africa. It left behind the largest and second oldest confirmed impact crater, the 300 kilometer-wide (190-mile) Vredefort Crater. The distinctive crater shape has eroded away over the course of almost half the Earth's lifetime, but its legacy remains important. Geologists studying the crater have found stone carvings showing it was a place of considerable spiritual significance to ancient peoples, as well as making possible the world's richest gold mines.

The Vredefort Crater is almost twice the size of the one at Chicxulub that ended the Cretaceous Era. The asteroid that made it is thought to have been much larger as well - some 10 to 15 kilometers (6 to 9 miles) across. Despite the geological forces that have acted on it we can still make out features such as its central dome, parts of the crater rim and deformed rock that once lay below the crater floor. The site provides us with a rare opportunity to study a very large impact site without having to go to the Moon.

Geologists from South Africa's University of the Free State are in the process of investigating it, and while much of their work is still to be done, they have already come up with some exciting findings outside their fields.

The floor of the crater is marked by granophyre dykes, feldspar and quartz rocks that can stretch for miles while being only a few meters wide. A paper in Geology concludes molten material produced in the impact sank into the ground and captured rock fragments on its descent that would otherwise have eroded away over the subsequent billions of years. To geologists, these are a rich source of information about ancient rock formations that would otherwise have been lost.


170 sheep and goats killed by lightning bolt in Banihal, Kashmir

dead goats
170 sheep and goat perished after lightning struck Trana village of Banihal in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir last night, police said.

An official said that a police team and officials from veterinary department were rushed to the far-flung village of Trana after information was received.

"170 sheep and goats were found dead due to lightning and thunderstorms on Wednesday night in the village which borders Gool tehsil," said Ranjeet Singh, in charge officer police post Khari.

He said the livestock belonged to Nazir Ahmad, son of Abdul Majid, resident of Dhanour Arnas Reasi, Juma, son of Aziz R/O Dhanour Arnas Reasi, Abul Rehman Lone son of Abdul Sattar Lone R/O Trana Khari Banihal and Lala Bakarwal, son of Tosha Bakarwal Jhandi Thakra Kote Reasi.

Comment: Just two nights earlier in a different part of the same region: Lightning killed over 100 sheep in Kashmir


Mother, 4-year-old son attacked by coyote in New Jersey park

Coyote in park
A New Jersey mother and her son escaped near tragedy on Thursday night when she was attacked by a coyote in a neighborhood park.

The mother, 37, was pushing her son through Fairfield Recreational Park in Fairfield, New Jersey, at about 7 p.m. when she was attacked by the animal, according to police.

Onlookers tried to alert the woman, who was bit on the leg while the animal knocked over the stroller.

"When she turned around basically the coyote lunged at her, bit her in the leg," Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna told New York ABC station WABC. "At that time the stroller turned over. The coyote went after the child and bit him in his leg. As other people were in the park they started to run to assist her. The coyote backed off. The woman was able to right the stroller and tried to flee, but the coyote again lunged -- did not get her that time. He then fled into the woods."


Pod of 24 elusive Baird's beaked whales filmed off California

Marine biologists at Monterey Bay Whale Watch in California were stunned to come across the pod of 24 Baird's beaked whales

Marine biologists at Monterey Bay Whale Watch in California were stunned to come across the pod of 24 Baird's beaked whales
Marine biologists at Monterey Bay Whale Watch in California could not believe their luck when they stumbled across the pod of 24 Baird's beaked whales - two of which were young calves.

Despite the marine mammals being the largest of all beaked whale species, they glide through the water in perfect unison.

They usually dive to more than 3,300 feet and can hold their breath for an hour, so drone pilot Jason Berring was stunned to spot the creatures on the surface on May 29.

Mr Berring's crystal-clear footage shows the diving patterns of the whales, as they tend to disappear for around 25 minutes before returning to the surface for around eight minutes.

One of the adults even breached the surface, with the top half of its body emerging from the water for the stunned onlookers.


At least 60 ice seals found dead along west Alaska coast

A hunter from Kotlik counted 18 dead seals along 11 miles of shore, north of Kotlik. Photo from May 7, 2019
© Harold Okitkun
A hunter from Kotlik counted 18 dead seals along 11 miles of shore, north of Kotlik. Photo from May 7, 2019
At least 60 ice seals have been found dead along Alaska's west coast and federal biologists on Wednesday were trying to determine the cause.

Some carcasses had lost hair and NOAA Fisheries will try to determine if that was due to decomposition or abnormal molting.

The agency noted the importance of ice seals to Alaska Native coastal communities. Seals are essential to coastal communities and food safety is a major concern.

Bearded, ringed and spotted seals were reported dead south of Nome and north of the Bering Strait.

A hunter counted 18 carcasses along 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) of shore north of the village of Kotlik and dozens of other dead seals along an island near Stebbins.


Dog mauls owner in 'horrific' attack in Nowra , Australia

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
Detectives believe a man found dead in a Nowra unit earlier this week was mauled by his own dog after he had a medical episode.

NSW Police initially treated the 51-year-old's death as suspicious when his body was discovered with "horrific" injuries in the unit on Monday, a spokesman told AAP on Thursday.

Multiple police crews had swarmed the quiet neighbourhood, some in forensic suits, as the unit block on Douglas Street was declared a crime scene.

However, a post-mortem examination of the man's body has since ruled out homicide, AAP understands.