Ancient Teeth Raise Questions about Human Origin Archaeology Paleontology 

Ancient Teeth Raise Questions about Human Origin

ResearchGate The teeth are unlike anything ever found in Europe or Asia and will force us to reexamine the theory that humans originated from Africa. Teeth fossils were discovered near the German town Eppelsheim in a former riverbed of the Rhine. Due to sheer confusion, researchers held off on publishing their research for the past year—that is, until they released a preprint detailing the teeth today. We spoke with the study’s lead author, Herbert Lutz, to find out more about the work. ResearchGate: What’s so exciting about this find? Lutz:…

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Ancient Crops Reveal Asian Colonization of Madagascar Archaeology 

Ancient Crops Reveal Asian Colonization of Madagascar

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore For decades, the colonization of Madagascar has been one of the most puzzling mysteries of human history. Although Madagascar is only a few hundred kilometers from the east coast of Africa, the language spoken there, known as Malagasy, belongs to the same group of languages spoken in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands located thousands of kilometers away. This linguistic affinity suggests that Madagascar was colonized by settlers from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Genetic and cultural evidence also support this theory. However, no concrete evidence has…

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This map shows the proportion of the genome inferred to be Denisovan in ancestry in diverse non-Africans. The color scale is not linear to allow saturation of the high Denisova proportions in Oceania (bright red) and better visualization of the peak of Denisova proportion in South Asia. Sankararaman et al./Current Biology 2016 Archaeology Biology 

Modern Humans, Meet Your Denisovan Ancestors

By Norman Rusin A new map of archaic ancestry suggests that some present-day humans derive more of their ancestry from Denisovans than from Neanderthals. The discovery may explain some developments and positive adaptations in modern humans that occurred only in some parts of the world. And it may also explain some of the causes of reduced male fertility. The research, published March 28 in Current Biology, suggests that many modern humans  around the world, particularly of South Asian descent, may derive up to 5 percent of their ancestry from archaic Denisovans,…

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Archaeology Technology 

See King Richard III in 3D

The remains of King Richard III of England were lost for a long time, but now you can see and manipulate a 3D representation of them. University of Leicester archaeologists discovered and helped to identify the bones of King Richard III beneath a paved parking lot in 2012. One year ago, they reinterred the King’s remains and, to mark the occasion, created an interactive 3D model of the grave and the skeleton of the king and made it publicly available for free. Using photographs taken during the excavation project, the…

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forensic anthropologist Archaeology Biology 

Want to Be a Forensic Anthropologist?

Meet Tanya Peckmann, a Canadian forensic anthropologist who uses science to solve crimes. This video is part of the Women in Action video series produced by Techsploration and published here through an agreement with GotScience.Org.  Techsploration’s Women In Action series delivers a quick overview of careers in sciences, technology, trades, and engineering. The series features short clips of various female role models. In addition to today’s forensic anthropologist, we have also featured a chemical engineer, a web designer, and others. The series introduces young women to careers in which females have been…

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Shelf Life: The Language Detectives Archaeology Videos 

Language Detectives of the Americas

Shelf Life: The Language Detectives This episode of the Shelf Life video series details how two curators at the American Museum of Natural History, Peter Whiteley and Ward Wheeler, have been working to trace the evolution of Native American languages. From the American Museum of Natural History The researchers focused on the Uto-Aztecan family of languages, which have been spoken in Central and North America for millennia. Languages from this group were used in the bustling streets of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan—a city larger than 16th-century London—and spoken by nomadic…

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Mayan civilization: A round structure uncovered at Ceibal, from about 500 B.C. (Takeshi Inomata/University of Arizona) Archaeology 

How Mayan Civilization Came Together

Archaeologists working in Guatemala have unearthed new information about the Mayan civilization’s transition from a mobile, hunter-gatherer culture to an agrarian lifestyle. Until now, there have been two common assumptions about Mayan civilization: that nomadic and sedentary groups maintained separate communities, and that public buildings were constructed only after a population had fully put down roots (as was likely the case with these famous ancient Roman gold mines). These new findings challenge both assumptions. Developing a Unified Mayan Civilization Archaeologists go to great lengths, and depths, to uncover people and…

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Prehistoric stone tools: An elephant rib bearing marks from flint tools at the Revadim site. (American Friends of Tel Aviv University) Archaeology 

Prehistoric Stone Tools with Animal Residue

About 2.8 million years ago, early humans probably survived on a diet of plants. As the human brain expanded, however, it craved richer nourishment, namely animal fat and meat. Lacking claws and sharp teeth, early humans developed the skills and prehistoric stone tools necessary to hunt large animals and cut the fat and meat from the carcasses. Recently, this rare fossil shed new light on early human evolution. Long before that, our oldest known primate ancestors lived in trees and may have looked like this. Now, evidence of human carnivorous…

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Human evolution: The fossil mandible near where it was found (Brian Villmoare) Archaeology Biology Paleontology 

Fossil Sheds Light on Early Human Evolution

The discovery of a fossilized lower jaw bone in Ethiopia has pushed back evidence of the human genus — Homo — to 2.8 million years ago. The find predates all previously unearthed fossils of the Homo lineage by approximately 400,000 years. For decades, scientists have been searching in Africa for fossils documenting the earliest phases of the Homo lineage. However, specimens recovered from between 3 and 2.5 million years ago have been frustratingly few and often in poor condition. As a result, there has been little agreement on when the…

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Ancient Roman gold mines in the Eria river valley (J. Fernández Lozano et al) Archaeology 

Archaeologists at Ancient Roman Gold Mines

Archaeologists and geologists in Spain studying Las Médulas, the largest known open-cast gold mine of the Roman Empire, have discovered it was a much bigger operation than previously thought. The mines, located in the province of León, form a unique cultural landscape that was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997. The mining technique used by the Romans known as ruina montium, (Latin, “wrecking of mountains”) created a challenging terrain for later archaeological exploration, and the full extent of the mining operation had been underestimated, until now….

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