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Preview: EurekAlert! - Archaeology

EurekAlert! - Archaeology

The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Last Build Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:06:01 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.

The first humans arrived in North America a lot earlier than believed

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Montreal) Anthropologists at Université de Montréal have dated the oldest human settlement in Canada back 10,000 years.

Paleontologists classify mysterious ancient cone-shaped sea creatures

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Toronto) One branch on the tree of life is heavier as a team of scientists has determined what a bizarre group of extinct cone-shaped animals actually are. Known as hyoliths, these marine creatures evolved over 530 million years ago and are among the first known to have external skeletons. Long believed to be molluscs, a study in Nature shows a stronger relationship to brachiopods -- a group with a rich fossil record though few species living today.

Byzantine skeleton yields 800-year-old genomes from a fatal infection

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Wisconsin-Madison) Writing this week in the journal eLife, a team led by Caitlin Pepperell of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and McMaster University's Hendrik Poinar provide insight into the everyday hazards of life in the late Byzantine Empire, sometime around the early 13th century, as well as the evolution of Staphylococcus saprophyticus, a common bacterial pathogen.

What teeth reveal about the lives of modern humans

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Ohio State University) When anthropologists of the future find our fossilized teeth, what will they be able to conclude about our lives? Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg has an idea.

Hidden seeds reveal Canary Islands history

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Linköping University) Have you tried the national dish gofio while on holiday on the Canary Islands? If so, you have eaten the same food as the original inhabitants ate, nearly 2,000 years ago. The island farmers have cultivated the same types of grain for over a thousand years. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers from Linköping University in Sweden, working together with researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, after DNA analyses of prehistoric seeds.

Historical documents reveal evidence of Japanese winemaking 400-year ago

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Kumamoto University) The history of wine in Japan is short, with full scale brewing beginning only 150 years ago. However, 400-year old historical documents found by the Eisei-Bunko Research Center of Kumamoto University, Japan show that a lord on the most southern of the four main islands of Japan ordered his people to begin wine making.

Research sheds new light on high-altitude settlement in Tibet

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Wyoming) Early Tibetan Plateau settlers managed to survive at high elevation at least 7,400 years ago, before the development of an agricultural economy between 5,200-3,600 years ago.

Ancient Chaco Canyon population likely relied on imported food, finds CU study

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of Colorado at Boulder) The ancient inhabitants of New Mexico's Chaco Canyon, the zenith of Pueblo culture in the Southwest a thousand years ago, likely had to import corn to feed the multitudes residing there, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

No teeth? No problem -- dinosaur species had teeth as babies, lost them as they grew

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(George Washington University) Researchers have discovered that a species of dinosaur, Limusaurus inextricabilis, lost its teeth in adolescence and did not grow another set as adults. The finding, published today in Current Biology, is a radical change in anatomy during a lifespan and may help to explain why birds have beaks but no teeth.

Computer models find ancient solutions to modern problems

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Washington State University) Washington State University archaeologists are at the helm of new research using sophisticated computer technology to learn how past societies responded to climate change. Their work, which links ancient climate and archaeological data, could help modern communities identify new crops and other adaptive strategies when threatened by drought, extreme weather and other environmental challenges.

The case of the missing diamonds

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Washington University in St. Louis) A Washington University physicist practiced at finding tiny diamonds in stardust from the pre-solar universe has repeatedly failed to find them in Younger Dryas sedimentary layers, effectively discrediting the hypothesis that an exploding comet caused the sudden climate reversal at the end of the last Ice Age.

Earliest evidence discovered of plants cooked in ancient pottery

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of Bristol) A team of international scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has uncovered the earliest direct evidence of humans processing plants for food found anywhere in the world.

OU, BU and Smithsonian researchers investigate ancient species in Gulf of Alaska

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of Oklahoma) Invasive species have shaped island ecosystems and landscapes in the Gulf of Alaska, but their histories are unknown. In a study by the University of Oklahoma, Boston University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, researchers investigated the archaeological and genetic history of the Arctic ground squirrel on Chirikof Island, Alaska. This small mammal has the ability to affect vegetation and seabirds on these islands and was introduced across much of this region as part of the historic fox farming industry.

Dental hygiene, caveman style

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Springer) Bits of wood recovered from a 1.2-million-year-old tooth found at an excavation site in northern Spain indicate that the ancient relatives of man may have use a kind of toothpick. According to study leader Karen Hardy of the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies and the Universtat Autònoma de Barcelona, what they ate was consumed raw. The findings are published in Springer's journal The Science of Nature.

Raw foodies: Europe's earliest humans did not use fire

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of York) New research conducted by scientists at the University of York and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona reveals for the first time that Europe's earliest humans did not use fire for cooking, but had a balanced diet of meat and plants -- all eaten raw.

Swedish and Greek archaeologists discover unknown city in Greece

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of Gothenburg) An international research team at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, is exploring the remains of an ancient city in central Greece. The results can change the view of an area that traditionally has been considered a backwater of the ancient world.

Why we walk on our heels instead of our toes

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of Arizona) While many animals walk on the balls of their feet, humans use a heel-first stride. University of Arizona researcher James Webber suggests that this gives humans the advantage of longer 'virtual limbs.'

Study finds capuchin monkeys produce sharp stone flakes similar to tools

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) In a study published in Nature, researchers describe that rock fragments produced unintentionally today by primates in Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil resemble tools made deliberately 2.6 million years ago by ancestors of humans.

Smallpox, once thought an ancient disease, may have emerged in more recent times

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(McMaster University) New genetic research from an international team including McMaster University, University of Helsinki, Vilnius University and the University of Sydney, suggests that smallpox, a pathogen that caused millions of deaths worldwide, may not be an ancient disease but a much more modern killer that went on to become the first human disease eradicated by vaccination.

Identifying age measurements distorted by fossil fuel emissions

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research) Good news for archaeologists and natural scientists! You will be able to continue to use the radiocarbon method as a reliable tool for determining the age of artifacts and sample materials.

Tibetan Mastiff gained high altitude adaptation after domestication by wolf interbreeding

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)) A new study demonstrates strong genetic evidence that, when man first settled into the Tibetan plateau, the recently domesticated Tibetan Mastiff interbred with the Tibet grey wolf, and a DNA swap being introduced at two genomic hotspots is the key to acquiring their special high altitude powers. And in a spectacular coincidence, it turns out to be the same location, same gene, same mechanism -- interbreeding -- as in humans with an ancient hominid known as the Denisovans.

Neolithic Syrians were first to domesticate cereals

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)) Eleven-thousand years ago, a Syrian community began a practice which would change man's relationship with his surroundings forever: the initiation of cereal domestication and, with it, the commencement of agriculture, a process which lasted several millennia. The discoveries, made at the Tell Qarassa North archaeological site, situated near the city of Sweida in Syria, are the oldest evidence of the domestication of three species of cereal: one of barley and two of wheat (spelt and farrow).

Secrets of the paleo diet: Discovery reveals plant-based menu of prehistoric man

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) A collection of 780,000-year-old edible plants found in Israel reveals the plant-based diet of the prehistoric man and is the largest and most diverse in the Levantine corridor linking Africa and Eurasia.

Mummified remains identified as Egyptian Queen Nefertari

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of York) A team of international archaeologists believe a pair of mummified legs on display in an Italian museum may belong to Egyptian Queen Nefertari -- the favorite wife of the pharaoh Ramses II.

Prehistoric plant remains highlight diverse origins of cereal domestication

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 EST

(University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Humanities) A new study shows that the process of cultivation and domestication of cereals occurred at different times across southwest Asia. The analyses of plant remains from archaeological sites dated to around 11,600-10,700 years ago suggest that in regions such as Turkey, Iran and Iraq, legumes, fruits and nuts dominated the diet, whereas cereals were the preferred types of plants in Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Israel. This means that Neolithic plant-based subsistence strategies were regionally diverse.