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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: Sun, 28 May 2017 08:06:01 EDT

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

Religious devotion as predictor of behavior

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Missouri-Columbia) 'Religious Devotion and Extrinsic Religiosity Affect In-group Altruism and Out-group Hostility Oppositely in Rural Jamaica,' suggests that a sincere belief in God -- religious devotion -- is unrelated to feelings of prejudice. Rather, Lynch's research finds that those whose religious beliefs are extrinsic -- who use religion as a way to achieve non-religious goals such as attaining status or joining a social group -- and who regularly attend religious services are more likely to hold hostile attitudes toward outsiders.

FAU archaeologist involved in groundbreaking discovery of early human life in ancient Peru

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Florida Atlantic University) A-tisket, a-tasket. You can tell a lot from a basket. Especially if it's from ancient ruins of a civilization inhabited by humans 15,000 years ago. An archaeologist is among the team who made a groundbreaking discovery in coastal Peru -- home to one of the earliest pyramids in South America. Thousands of artifacts, including elaborate hand-woven baskets, show that early humans in that region were a lot more advanced than originally thought and had very complex social networks.

Ochre use by Middle Stone Age humans in Porc-Epic cave persisted over thousands of years

Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) Middle Stone Age humans in the Porc-Epic cave likely used ochre over at least 4,500 years, according to a study published May 24, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniela Rosso from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Bordeaux, France, and colleagues.

Two missing World War II B-25 bombers documented by Project Recover off Papua New Guinea

Tue, 23 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - San Diego) Two B-25 bombers associated with American servicemen missing in action from World War II were recently documented in the waters off Papua New Guinea by Project Recover -- a collaborative team of marine scientists, archaeologists and volunteers who have combined efforts to locate aircraft and associated MIAs from World War II.

3.3-million-year-old fossil reveals the antiquity of the human spine

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Missouri-Columbia) An international research team has found a 3.3 million Australopithecus afarensis fossilized skeleton, possessing the most complete spinal column of any early fossil human relative. The vertebral bones, neck and rib cage are mainly intact. This new research, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science demonstrates that portions of the human skeletal structure were established millions of years earlier than previously thought.

Scientists find 7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains in the Balkans

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Toronto) Scientists analyzing 7.2 million-year-old fossils uncovered in modern-day Greece and Bulgaria suggest a new hypothesis about the origins of humankind, placing it in the Eastern Mediterranean and not -- as customarily assumed -- in Africa, and earlier than currently accepted. The researchers conclude that Graecopithecus freybergi represents the first pre-humans to exist following the split from the last chimpanzee-human common ancestor.

GIS -- a powerful tool to be used with caution

Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(De Gruyter Open) A recent study, published in Open Archaeology, provides a new perspective on the severe impacts of escalating climate change on the heritage resources of Canadian Arctic. Referring to the application of Geographic Information System analytical methods in assessing the threat of shoreline erosion to archaeological sites, it details steps taken to review the quality of the GIS model in light of a discrepancy with rates observed during actual survey visits.

Tooth truth

Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(McMaster University) Researchers have developed a new method to read imperfections in teeth caused by a lack of sunlight, creating a powerful tool to trace events ranging from human evolution and migration out of Africa to the silent damage of vitamin D deficiency that continues to affect 1 billion worldwide.

Resurrecting identities in the Andes

Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Arizona State University) Ancient people were complex just like you, but until recently, archaeologists' understanding of human identities from the past were limited to broad labels like gender and social status. A new model is combining biological and cultural data to look at the lives of people living in ancient Chile. By studying individuals, researchers are gaining better insight into cultural shifts that took place over generations.

Shared genetic heritage from Sicily to Cyprus

Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) The Mediterranean shores stretching between Sicily, Southern Italy and the Southern Balkans witnessed a long series of migration processes and cultural exchanges. Despite this complex history there is a shared genetic continuity, extending from Sicily to Cyprus, where the populations of certain Greek-speaking islands appear genetically closer to Southern Italian populations than to populations from continental Greece.

Grassy beginning for earliest Homo

Mon, 15 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Arizona State University) Following the discovery of the Ledi-Geraru jaw, an environmental study of the eastern African Plio-Pleistocene was conducted to investigate the long-standing hypotheses that the transition from Australopithecus to Homo was linked to the spread of more open and arid environments. Data indicate that the Ledi-Geraru Research Project area in the Lower Awash Valley and Omo-Turkana Basin were largely similar, but important environmental differences existed at the time of earliest Homo (~ 2.8 Ma).

Oldest buckthorn fossilized flowers found in Argentina

Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Cornell University) Around 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, a giant asteroid crashed into the present-day Gulf of Mexico, leading to the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. How plants were affected is less understood, but fossil records show that ferns were the first plants to recover many thousands of years afterward.Now, a team including Cornell researchers reports the discovery of the first fossilized flowers from South America, and perhaps the entire Southern Hemisphere, following the extinction event.

Movement of early humans into the Indian subcontinent

Thu, 11 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) Scientists in India have used a diffusion model to study the movement and merger of early humans into and in the Indian subcontinent starting from their initial location as determined by archaeologists. They then identify locations where different groups are expected to merge, and compare this data with genetic studies of tribes from that region to show that predictions agree with genetic data.

JCU team says hominid lived alongside modern humans

Tue, 09 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(James Cook University) James Cook University scientists have discovered that primitive hominids lived in Africa at the same time as humans -- the first time this has been established.

Homo naledi's surprisingly young age opens up more questions on where we come from

Tue, 09 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of the Witwatersrand) Scientists today announced that the Rising Star Cave system has revealed yet more important discoveries, only a year and a half after it was announced that the richest fossil hominin site in Africa had been discovered, and that it contained a new hominin species named Homo naledi by the scientists who described it.

South African cave yields yet more fossils of a newfound relative

Tue, 09 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Wisconsin-Madison) Probing deeper into the South African cave system known as Rising Star, which last year yielded the largest cache of hominin fossils known to science, an international team of researchers has discovered another chamber with more remains of a newfound human relative, Homo naledi. The discovery of the new fossils representing the remains of at least 3 juvenile and adult specimens includes a 'wonderfully complete skull,' says University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropologist John Hawks.

'Humanlike' ways of thinking evolved 1.8 million years ago, suggests new study

Mon, 08 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Indiana University) By using highly advanced brain imaging technology to observe modern humans crafting ancient tools, an Indiana University neuroarchaeologist has found evidence that human-like ways of thinking may have emerged as early as 1.8 million years ago. The study is reported today in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

Archaeogeneticist pinpoints Indian population origins using today's populace

Mon, 08 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Huddersfield) PhD student Marina Silva identifies the origins of Indian populations comprising migrating humans from Africa, Iran and Central Asia over a period of 50,000 years.

Changes in Early Stone Age tool production have 'musical' ties

Mon, 08 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of East Anglia) New research suggests that advances in the production of Early Stone Age tools had less to do with the evolution of language and more to do with the brain networks involved in modern piano playing. The findings are a major step forward in understanding the evolution of human intelligence.

A first-ever find in Egypt: A funeral garden known of until now only through

Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)) The Djehuty Project, led by research professor, José Manuel Galán, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has discovered a 4,000-year-old funerary garden- the first such garden ever to be found- on the Dra Abu el-Naga hill in Luxor, Egypt. The discovery comes during the 16th year of archaeological excavations which are sponsored this year by Técnicas Reunidas and Indra.

Study could provide first clues about the social lives of extinct human relatives

Wed, 03 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Australian National University) A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) of the bony head-crests of male gorillas could provide some of the first clues about the social structures of our extinct human relatives, including how they chose their sexual partners.

How migrations and other population dynamics could have shaped early human culture

Tue, 02 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Stanford University) Bursts of cultural advance are usually assumed to result from climate or biological changes. A new theory digs into how humans innovate, and suggests such bursts could be the result of population dynamics and culture itself.

How life (barely) survived the greatest extinction?

Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) A new research highlights an assemblage including microbial mats, trace fossils, bivalves, and echinoids that represent a refuge in a moderately deep-water setting. A refuge describes an ecosystem that acts as a sanctuary for organisms during and immediately following times of environmental stress.

Paleontologists learning more about dinosaurs with virtual reality

Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of South Florida (USF Health)) National Geographic Society names Dr. Ryan Carney an 'emerging explorer' for his digital dinosaur project. He digitizes fossils using X-ray, lasers and photogrammetry, then brings them 'back to life' with computer animation. Using virtual reality and augmented reality, paleontologists and students could interact with the dinosaurs in 3-D, allowing them to better understand their anatomy and motion without having to travel to a museum.

A new technique makes it possible to extract the DNA from hominids preserved in sediments

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)) The sediments forming the layers or strata at archaeological sites can be very rich in bone remains, but until now their possible fossil DNA content had not attracted the attention of paleoanthropologists. Now, a new technique developed by an international team, in which the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has participated, allows the remains of groups of hominids in these sediments to be traced, even in caves or in strata which have no skeletal remains. The results are published in the latest issue of Science.