EurekAlert! - Archaeology
13 Nov 2016

EurekAlert! - Archaeology

  • The fate of Neanderthal genes
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EST
    (University of California - Davis) The Neanderthals disappeared about 30,000 years ago, but little pieces of them live on in the form of DNA sequences scattered through the modern human genome. A new study by geneticists at UC Davis, shows why these traces of our closest relatives are slowly being removed by natural selection.
  • Evolution purged many Neanderthal genes from human genome
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EST
    (PLOS) Neanderthal genetic material is found in only small amounts in the genomes of modern humans because, after interbreeding, natural selection removed large numbers of weakly deleterious Neanderthal gene variants, according to a study by Ivan Juric and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, published Nov. 8, 2016, in PLOS Genetics.
  • Age-old secret that Hollywood celebrities try to keep from you has been uncovered
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EST
    (University of the Witwatersrand) The long, sabre-like teeth of pre-mammalian therapsids, like gorgonopsians, were previously believed to be for use in hunting or protection. However, new research shows that these beasts grew their beautiful sets of dentures to make themselves irresistible.
  • On a wet British Columbia island, historical fires likely were human products
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Oregon) Fire-scarred trees on isolated Hecate Island off British Columbia have helped researchers from two Pacific Northwest universities isolate patterns of wildfires over the past 700 years of climate data. Indigenous populations, they found, likely had a profound effect on fire activity.
  • How the chicken crossed the Red Sea
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Washington University in St. Louis) The discarded bone of a chicken leg, still etched with teeth marks from a dinner thousands of years ago, provides some of the oldest known physical evidence for the introduction of domesticated chickens to the continent of Africa, research from Washington University in St. Louis has confirmed.
  • Middle Stone Age ochre processing tools reveal cultural and behavioural complexity
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (PLOS) Middle Stone Age humans in East Africa may have employed varied techniques to process ochre for functional and symbolic uses, according to a study published Nov. 2, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniela Rosso from the University of Bordeaux, France, and colleagues.
  • Have we found all the elements? (video)
    Tue, 01 Nov 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (American Chemical Society) Four elements have been added to the periodic table this year, completing the seventh row. However, these new elements are not naturally occurring. Scientists had to create them and overcome a number of challenges to do so. In this week's Reactions video, we look at how elements are made and whether or not creating even more is possible. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/rwC9BBHkaAI.
  • Fossils reveal approaching relocation of plants on Earth
    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen) Significant changes in the distribution of plants on Earth can be a reality by 2050. The prediction is made by scientists from Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, based on fossilized pollen. The pollen stems from plants that existed during previous periods with climate changes -- similar to those expected in this century.
  • Archaeological evidence at major risk in wetlands
    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of York) Important archaeological remains at wetland sites across the world could be at immediate risk, say scientists at the University of York.
  • Early Pacific seafarers likely latched onto El Nino and other climate patterns
    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Oregon) Climate patterns, including the El Nino Southern Oscillation, likely were known to long-ago Pacific Ocean seafarers and may have helped their exploration and settlement of islands in Remote Oceania, concludes a research team that included University of Oregon anthropologist Scott Fitzpatrick.
  • The scent of death (video)
    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (American Chemical Society) Some scientists have an important, if morbid, job: They study the smell of decomposing human bodies. By understanding the chemical makeup of human cadaver smell, as opposed to the smell of other decomposing animals, forensic scientists could improve the training of cadaver dogs and corpse recovery efforts. Find out more about this macabre but meaningful work in the latest Speaking of Chemistry video: https://youtu.be/EffqGKU11qE.
  • Ancient burials suggestive of blood feuds
    Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Arizona) University of Arizona bioarchaeologist James Watson's analysis of ancient graves provides new insight into the social and biological factors that might have motivated violent killings and atypical burials thousands of years ago, and how some of those factors may still be relevant today.
  • Weather forecasts for the past
    Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Helsinki) Analysis of mammal teeth can reveal local environmental conditions. A new study employs data collected from Kenyan national parks over the past 60 years, combined with traits of the teeth of herbivorous mammals. The results were recently published in the journal PNAS.
  • New findings on the history of the early-Islamic caliphate palace Khirbat al-Minya
    Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz) Archaeologists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany started excavations in September 2016 at Khirbat al-Minya, an early-Islamic caliphate palace on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Led by PD Dr. Hans-Peter Kuhnen of the JGU Department of Ancient Studies, the team is hoping to find out how the site looked before the palace was built and whether the building was used for different purposes after the catastrophic earthquake of 749 AD.
  • Exceptionally preserved fossil fish from Silurian of China illuminates jaw evolution
    Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) In a study published Oct. 20 in Science, paleontologists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and Uppsala University in Sweden reported a second Silurian maxillate placoderm, Qilinyu rostrate, which bridges the gnathal and maxillate conditions. Researchers proposed that the maxilla, premaxilla, and dentary are homologous to the gnathal plates of placoderms and that all belong to the same dental arcade, and the gnathal-maxillate transformation occurred concurrently in upper and lower jaws, predating the addition of infradentary bones to the lower jaw.
  • In the name of the popes: How the Church shaped Europe
    Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) How did Europe become what it is today and what role did the institution of the Church play? As part of the project 'Regesta Pontificum Romanorum' historians of Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg are working together with the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities to comprehensively examine all papal contacts from their beginnings through to 1198.
  • Study finds earliest evidence in fossil record for right-handedness
    Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Kansas) By examining striations on teeth of a Homo habilis fossil, a new discovery led by a University of Kansas researcher has found the earliest evidence for right-handedness in the fossil record dating back 1.8 million years.
  • Mapping the elephant ivory trade: New evidence revealed
    Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of York) Archaeologists from the University of York have conducted pioneering analysis on historic ivory, revealing where East African elephants roamed and where they were hunted in the 19th century.
  • Archaeologists use drones to trial virtual reality
    Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Australian National University) Archaeologists at The Australian National University and Monash University are conducting a trial of new technology to build a 3-D virtual-reality map of one of Asia's most mysterious sites -- the Plain of Jars in Laos.
  • Monkeys are seen making stone flakes so humans are 'not unique' after all
    Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Oxford) In a paper, published in Nature, the research team says this finding is significant because archaeologists had always understood that the production of multiple stone flakes with characteristics such as conchoidal fractures and sharp cutting edges was a behaviour unique to hominins. The paper suggests that scholars may have to refine their criteria for identifying intentionally produced early stone flakes made by hominins, given capuchins have been observed unintentionally making similar tools.
  • Resilient 'risky-and-reliable' plant use strategy may have driven Neolithization in Jordan
    Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (PLOS) A resilient dietary strategy balancing reliable wetland plants and 'riskier' seasonal grasses may have driven adoption of the sedentary lifestyle which later became typical of Neolithic humans, according to a study published Oct. 19, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Monica Ramsey from the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues.
  • Extensive heat treatment in Middle Stone Age silcrete tool production in South Africa
    Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (PLOS) Humans living in South Africa in the Middle Stone Age may have used advanced heating techniques to produce silcrete blades, according to a study published Oct. 19, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Anne Delagnes from the CNRS (PACEA - University of Bordeaux, France) and colleagues.
  • Age of 1st chief's ancient tomb reveals Pacific islanders invented new kind of society
    Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Southern Methodist University) A new study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, used uranium series dating and X-ray fluorescence to date and source an ancient coral reef capital in the Pacific Ocean and determine it was the earliest of the islands ruled by a single chief. The discovery will yield new keys to how societies emerge and evolve, and how they transform from simple societies to more complex ones, said study leader and SMU archaeologist Mark McCoy.
  • New tools identify key evolutionary advantages from ancient hominid interbreeding
    Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)) Neanderthals. Denisovans. Homo sapiens. Around 50,000 years ago, these hominids not only interbred, but in some cases, modern humans may have also received a special evolutionary advantage from doing so. In a new study published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, computational biologists Fernando Racimo, Davide Marnetto and Emilia Huerta-Sánchez have developed statistical tools and simulations to successfully identify the signatures of these interbred genomic regions.
  • The Higgs Bison -- mystery species hidden in cave art
    Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 EDT
    (University of Adelaide) Ancient DNA research has revealed that Ice Age cave artists recorded a previously unknown hybrid species of bison and cattle in great detail on cave walls more than 15,000 years ago.
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