At least, Laboratory Equipment says, in ancient Egypt. A new study of carbon-levels in mummies has found that until recently, when people settled down to build cities, they stopped eating (too much) meat: All carbon atoms are taken in by plants from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the process of photosynthesis. By eating plants, and the animals that had eaten plants, the carbon ends up in our bodies. … The researchers reported their findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science. They measured carbon-13 to carbon-12 ratios (and also some other isotope ratios) in bone, enamel and hair in these remains, and compared them to similar measurements performed on pigs that had received controlled diets consisting of different proportions of C3 and C4 foodstuffs. As pigs have a similar metabolism to humans, their carbon isotope ratios could be compared to what was found in the mummies. Hair absorbs a higher rate of animal proteins than […]
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) snapped this photo of Jupiter’s ring system on February 24, 2007, from a distance of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles).
This processed image shows a narrow ring, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) wide, with a fainter sheet of material inside it. The faint glow extending in from the ring is likely caused by fine dust that diffuses in toward Jupiter. This is the outer tip of the “halo,” a cloud of dust …
SOURCE:Based on “NASA Windbots Could Explore Gas Giant Jupiter”, Sky News, 24 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Windbots to explore Jupiter – the bumpier the ride, the better..”
ABSTRACT: The planet Jupiter is 35 light-minutes from Earth (give or take a couple of minutes depending on where in its orbit the planet is).
So a robot floating in the turbulent winds of Jupiter would take that long to send a mes…
Three names for one little fish. And those are just the beginning.
I found this one on the Scientific Illustration tumblog, which quoted Wikipedia on the doree (etc.):
John Dory, St Pierre or Peter’s Fish, refers to fish of the genus Zeus, especially Zeus faber, of widespread distribution. It is an edible benthic coastal marine fish with a laterally compressed olive-yellow body which has a large dark spot, and long spines on the dorsal fin. The dark spot is used to flash an ‘evil ey…
These are ostensibly Cochin chickens, or forerunners of what we’d call Cochins today. They’re a breed with a *lot* of character, and are uniquely suited, temperamentally, for being “pet” chickens moreso than egg factories or walking meat supplies. Despite the name (after a part of India), they’re originally from China.
It’s the most Earth-like planet yet discovered. Kepler 452b sits in the “Goldilocks” zone around its star, not too hot and not too cold, and is about the same size (or is a little larger) and made of something like the same stuff as the planet we’re sitting around on right now. It takes 365 days to orbit around its sun, too. NASA’s calling it ou…
ABSTRACT: There’s nothing I didn’t like about the process of writing this. If I was influenced by anyone in the making of this song, I guess it was The Residents, although the basic structure of it was unabashedly ripped off… myself. For about, oh, 15 ye…
Science Daily twists the archaeological order of things around a little. Humans came out of Africa, humans in Africa have domesticated cattle for thousands of years, the easy assumption is that cattle were first domesticated in Africa and kind of moved out with us into the Fertile Crescent, where they helped us settle down and build the first cities. Fresh milk to build bricks! But no – geneticists have proved that cattle came out of Mesopotamia and went out of the “cradle of civilization” and moved back to Africa: Lead researcher Jared Decker, an assistant professor of animal science in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, says the genetics of these African cattle breeds are similar to those of cattle first domesticated in the Middle East nearly 10,000 years ago, proving that those cattle were brought to Africa as farmers migrated south. Those cattle then interbred with wild cattle, or aurochs, which […]
Miami Herald gets the low-down on the underground 305 – hidden under Miami streets and condos and neon-lit skyscrapers, there’s a prehistoric village (and a priceless piece of the past) under what’s supposed to become a development project: Archaeologists who for months have been uncovering mounting evidence of an ancient and extensive Native American village in the middle of downtown Miami have concluded it’s likely one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the United States. The archaeologists, under the direction of veteran South Florida archaeologist Bob Carr, have so far painstakingly dug up eight large circles comprised of uniformly carved holes in the native limestone that they believe to be foundation holes for Tequesta Indian dwellings dating as far back as 2,000 years. They have also discovered linear, parallel arrangements of hundreds of such postholes stretching across the site that Carr hypothesizes mark the foundation for other structures, possibly boardwalks connecting the dwellings. The […]
PhysOrg takes a deeper look at the reasons why prehistoric doctors poked holes in their patients’ heads: However, evidence shows that healers in Peru practiced trepanation—a surgical procedure that involves removing a section of the cranial vault using a hand drill or a scraping tool—more than 1,000 years ago to treat a variety of ailments, from head injuries to heartsickness. … “For about 400 years, from 600 to 1000 AD, the area where I work—the Andahuaylas—was living as a prosperous province within an enigmatic empire known as the Wari,” [Santa Barbara bioarchaeologist Danielle Kurin] said. “For reasons still unknown, the empire suddenly collapsed.” And the collapse of civilization, she noted, brings a lot of problems. “But it is precisely during times of collapse that we see people’s resilience and moxie coming to the fore,” Kurin continued. “In the same way that new types of bullet wounds from the Civil War resulted in the development of […]
Meaning, although PhysOrg stops short of saying so, that we could maybe someday build a hominin from scratch. As it is, though, we’ve still got a lot we can do today, now that we’ve figured out the 400,000-year-old genetic code of Homo heidelbergensis: Matthias Meyer and his team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have developed new techniques for retrieving and sequencing highly degraded ancient DNA. They then joined forces with Juan-Luis Arsuaga and applied the new techniques to a cave bear from the Sima de los Huesos site. After this success, the researchers sampled two grams of bone powder from a hominin thigh bone from the cave. They extracted its DNA and sequenced the genome of the mitochondria or mtDNA, a small part of the genome that is passed down along the maternal line and occurs in many copies per cell. The researchers then compared this ancient mitochondrial DNA […]
DNA analysis presented at the Royal Society in London shows, Nature says in the most delicate way possible, that ancient humans were getting it on more than we suspected: The ancient genomes, one from a Neanderthal and one from a member of an archaic human group called the Denisovans, were presented on 18 November at a meeting on ancient DNA at the Royal Society in London. The results suggest that interbreeding went on between the members of several ancient human-like groups in Europe and Asia more than 30,000 years ago, including an as-yet-unknown human ancestor from Asia. “What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a Lord of the Rings-type world — that there were many hominid populations,” says Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London who was at the meeting but was not involved in the work. … The Denisovan genome indicates that the population got around: [David] Reich[, an […]
National Geographic looks into the caves and reports on the earliest artists’ small, beautiful hands: Archaeologist Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University analyzed hand stencils found in eight cave sites in France and Spain. By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers, Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female. “There has been a male bias in the literature for a long time,” said Snow, whose research was supported by the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. “People have made a lot of unwarranted assumptions about who made these things, and why.” Archaeologists have found hundreds of hand stencils on cave walls across the world. Because many of these early paintings also showcase game animals—bison, reindeer, horses, woolly mammoths—many researchers have proposed that they were made by male hunters, perhaps to chronicle their kills or as some kind of “hunting magic” to improve success of an upcoming hunt. The new study suggests […]
Sweden’s The Local rewrites history with a pre-Viking farm that they’re calling “shocking”: “It is completely unique,” Jan Heinerud at Västerbotten’s Museum in Umeå told The Local on Friday. “We have never previously found a long house like this so far north.” The farm was discovered in the area between Backen and Klabböle in an area known as Klockaråkern and it is thought that the farm was in use for almost 600 years from around 1100 BC. … Heinerud explained that the find changes the history of the region around Norrland’s main city of Umeå and raises further interesting questions over how the area was used between 500 BC and 500 AD, of which little is known. [via Archaeological News]
Archaeologists in China have found a collection of bamboo texts – including copies of the I Ching, Tao Te Ching, the Analects of Confucius and other classics. New York Times reports on the fragile, waterlogged library that’s older than Jesus: “When we opened the box it had a bad smell. Moldy. Many were broken,” said Li Xueqin, an eminent historian and paleographer at the university. Underneath the hard, impacted mud was something stunning: ancient literary texts, written on the bamboo strips in pure, stable ink. For three months, Mr. Li’s team cleaned the slender strips, a difficult job because the very cells of the bamboo were saturated with water, making them as soft as cooked noodles. Inscribed with some of the earliest known texts of the Chinese classics and believed to have been illegally excavated from the tomb of a historian who lived in the state of Chu during the Warring States period, around 300 […]
If you needed any more proof we’re actually living in the pulp future of a 1920s dime novel, explorers have just used airborne lasers to reveal a long-lost jungle city: The discovery of Mahendraparvata, a 1,200-year-old lost city that predates Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple complex by 350 years, was part of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire that ruled much of Southeast Asia from about 800 to 1400 A.D., during a time that coincided with Europe’s Middle Ages. Damian Evans, director of the University of Sydney’s archaeological research center in Cambodia, and a small group of colleagues working in the Siem Reap region mapped an area using airborne Lidar, a remote-sensing technology utilizing lasers. It showed them the outline of the ancient city It had never been looted – still pristine. Of course, if you check the link, you’ll know where the city is now. No one’s really sure just how big it is, either. [via […]
Smithsonian unfolds an ugly story archaeologists have uncovered of the first “successful” English settlement in America – at Jamestown, where settlers got so hungry, they apparently ate a 14-year-old girl: “The chops to the forehead are very tentative, very incomplete,” says Douglas Owsley, the Smithsonian forensic anthropologist who analyzed the bones after they were found by archaeologists from Preservation Virginia. “Then, the body was turned over, and there were four strikes to the back of the head, one of which was the strongest and split the skull in half. A penetrating wound was then made to the left temple, probably by a single-sided knife, which was used to pry open the head and remove the brain.” … Sixteen years later, in 1625, George Percy, who had been president of Jamestown during the Starving Time, wrote a letter describing the colonists’ diet during that terrible winter. “Haveinge fedd upon our horses and other beastes as longe […]
LiveScience wonders what we should do with the bones of this lost, wretched King Richard III: The University of Leicester, which is overseeing the excavation and analysis of the remains, has jurisdiction over the remains, but various societies dedicated to the king have their own opinions. Two groups, the U.S.-based Richard III Foundation and the Society of Friends of Richard III based in York, England, argue that the remains should be reburied in York, because Richard III was fond of that city, the Journal reported. The Richard III Society, which has been involved with the archaeological dig in Leicester that uncovered the remains, is officially neutral — a stance which itself has triggered anger. … After his death, Richard III’s body was brought to Leicester and buried at Greyfriars Church. A century later, Shakespeare wrote “Richard III,” a play fictionalizing the dead king’s life. The location of both the Greyfriars church and Richard III’s grave […]
PhysOrg has the details on the latest royal presence in Cairo: Czech archaeologists have unearthed the 4,500-year-old tomb of a Pharaonic princess south of Cairo, in a finding that suggests other undiscovered tombs may be in the area, an official from Egypt’s antiquities ministry said Saturday. … Mohammed El-Bialy, who heads the Egyptian and Greco-Roman Antiquities department at the Antiquities Ministry, said that Princess Shert Nebti’s burial site is surrounded by the tombs of four high officials from the Fifth Dynasty dating to around 2,500 BC in the Abu Sir complex near the famed step pyramid of Saqqara. “Discoveries are ongoing” at Abu Sir, El-Bialy said, adding that the excavation was in a “very early stage” and that the site was closed to the public. More to come, I’m sure. And a wealth of great photos of what they’ve found so far at the link. [via Archaeological News]