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Archaeology News - Fossil News, Archaeological Science, Archaeology, Fossils provides the latest news on archaeology, fossils, archaeological sciences and archaeological technology.


African tools push back the origins of human technological innovation

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:20:03 EDT

Just 20 years ago, many archaeologists believed there was a "human revolution" 40,000-50,000 years ago during which modern behaviours such as symbolism, innovation and art suddenly arose. This was thought to have enabled a major shift in cognitive organisation and probably the advent of complex language. At the time, the earliest modern human fossils had been found in Africa and dated to some 100,000 years ago, leaving a gap between the emergence of anatomically modern humans and behaviourally modern humans.

The truth behind St. Patrick's Day: Celebrations did not originate in Boston

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 17:45:17 EDT

Irish culture will soon be celebrated across the globe with parades, pub crawls and seas of green. But newly uncovered documents prove unlike previous belief, St. Patrick's Day celebrations did not start in Boston, rather at least 100 years earlier in St. Augustine, Florida.

Scientists discover genomic ancestry of Stone Age North Africans from Morocco

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:00:06 EDT

An international team of researchers, led by Johannes Krause and Choongwon Jeong from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Jena, Germany), and Abdeljalil Bouzouggar from the Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine (Rabat, Morocco) and including scientists from the Mohammed V University in Rabat, the Natural History Museum in London, University of Oxford, Université Mohammed Premier in Oujda and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, have sequenced DNA from individuals from Morocco dating to approximately 15,000 years ago, as published in Science. This is the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa ever successfully analyzed. The individuals, dating to the Late Stone Age, had a genetic heritage that was in part similar to Near Eastern populations and in part related to sub-Saharan African populations.

Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timeline

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:00:01 EDT

Anthropologists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and an international team of collaborators have discovered that early humans in East Africa had—by about 320,000 years ago—begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age. These newly discovered activities approximately date to the oldest known fossil record of Homo sapiens and occur tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence has shown in eastern Africa. These behaviors, which are characteristic of humans who lived during the Middle Stone Age, replaced technologies and ways of life that had been in place for hundreds of thousands of years.

Modern humans interbred with Denisovans twice in history

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:25:53 EDT

Modern humans co-existed and interbred not only with Neanderthals, but also with another species of archaic humans, the mysterious Denisovans. While developing a new genome-analysis method for comparing whole genomes between modern human and Denisovan populations, researchers unexpectedly discovered two distinct episodes of Denisovan genetic intermixing, or admixing, between the two. This suggests a more diverse genetic history than previously thought between the Denisovans and modern humans.

New 16 million-year-old insectivore species discovered

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 06:44:00 EDT

Palaeontologists Vicente D. Crespo, Francisco Javier Ruiz Sánchez and Plini Montoya, from the department of Botanics and Geology of the Universitat de València, and Marc Furió, from the Institut Català de Paleontologia, have discovered a new fossilised species of insectivore belonging to the unusual and extinct Plesiodimylus family. The identification of this group, related to the fauna that lived in Central Europe during the Miocene (16 million years ago), is based on the study of isolated teeth found in l'Alcora (Castellón), in the district of Araya.

Did Michelangelo include a hidden caricature of himself in one of his famous sketches?

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 10:08:49 EDT

A new Clinical Anatomy article presents evidence that Michelangelo inserted his self-portrait into a sketch of his close friend, Vittoria Colonna, which is currently in the collection of the British Museum in London, England. This self-caricature of Michelangelo may serve as a tool for analysing the artist's probable bodily dimensions and even his state of health at the time.

Are palaeontologists naming too many species?

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 05:44:53 EDT

A comprehensive new study looking at variations in Ichthyosaurus, a common British Jurassic ichthyosaur (sea-going reptile) also known as 'Sea Dragons', has provided important information into recognizing new fossil species.

New research solves the 60-year-old paleontological mystery of a 'phantom' dicynodont

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 03:42:10 EDT

A new study has re-discovered fossil collections from a 19th century hermit that validate 'phantom' fossil footprints collected in the 1950s showing dicynodonts coexisting with dinosaurs.

Pterosaurs went out with a bang, not a whimper

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 14:00:02 EDT

Fossils of six new species of pterosaurs - giant flying reptiles that flew over the heads of the dinosaurs - have been discovered by a research team led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, revealing that this lineage was killed off in its prime. An analysis of the fossils, publishing 13 March in the open access journal PLOS Biology shows that, contrary to previous studies, there was still remarkable diversity among pterosaurs up to the point of their extinction.

Compassion helped Neanderthals to survive, new study reveals

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:02:39 EDT

They have an unwarranted image as brutish and uncaring, but new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was.

The early bird got to fly: Archaeopteryx was an active flyer

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:00:03 EDT

The question of whether the Late Jurassic dino-bird Archaeopteryx was an elaborately feathered ground dweller, a glider, or an active flyer has fascinated palaeontologists for decades. Valuable new information obtained with state-of-the-art synchrotron microtomography at the ESRF, the European Synchrotron (Grenoble, France), allowed an international team of scientists to answer this question in Nature Communications. The wing bones of Archaeopteryx were shaped for incidental active flight, but not for the advanced style of flying mastered by today's birds.

Ancient giant shark tooth goes missing in Australia

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 05:21:18 EDT

A giant fossilised tooth from a prehistoric shark has gone missing from a supposedly secret location at a remote Australian World Heritage site, and wildlife officials want it back.

Skulls show women moved across medieval Europe, not just men

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 18:12:29 EDT

The newcomers who arrived in the little farming villages of medieval Germany would have stood out: They had dark hair and tawny skin, spoke a different language and had remarkably tall heads.

Genetic prehistory of Iberia differs from central and northern Europe

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:00:01 EDT

In a multidisciplinary study published in PNAS, an international team of researchers combined archaeological, genetic and stable isotope data to encapsulate 4000 years of Iberian biomolecular prehistory.

Digging up the precambrian—fossil burrows show early origins of animal behavior

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 09:05:31 EDT

In the history of life on Earth, a dramatic and revolutionary change in the nature of the sea floor occurred in the early Cambrian (541–485 million years ago): the agronomic revolution. This phenomenon was coupled with the diversification of marine animals that could burrow into seafloor sediments. Previously, the sea floor was covered by hard microbial mats, and animals were limited to standing on, resting on, or moving horizontally along those mats. In the agronomic revolution, part of the so-called Cambrian Explosion of animal diversity and complexity, vertical burrowers began to churn up the underlying sediments, which softened and oxygenated the subsurface, created new ecological niches, and thus radically transformed the marine ecosystem into one more like that observed today.

Climate change and looters threaten the archaeology of Mongolia

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 08:39:58 EDT

The history and archaeology of Mongolia, most famously the sites associated with the largest land empire in the history of the world under Ghengis Khan, are of global importance. But they're facing unprecedented threats as climate change and looting impact ancient sites and collections.

Research reveals origins of Middle Ages altarpieces

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 10:17:21 EDT

It was previously believed that altarpieces from the late Middle Ages were made in Germany. New research shows that several of them were made in Norway.

Plant fossils have a lot to teach us about Earth's history

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 11:06:37 EDT

There's a particular feeling of excitement that comes from receiving a gift. It's a feeling of the unknown, of anticipation – and then you unwrap the package and find something spectacular.

Neanderthals' lack of drawing ability may relate to hunting techniques

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 03:47:16 EDT

Neanderthals had large brains and made complex tools but never demonstrated the ability to draw recognizable images, unlike early modern humans who created vivid renderings of animals and other figures on rocks and cave walls. That artistic gap may be due to differences in the way they hunted, suggests a University of California, Davis, expert on predator-prey relations and their impacts on the evolution of behavior.

New forensic analysis indicates bones were Amelia Earhart's, researcher suggests

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:54:42 EDT

Bone measurement analysis indicates that the remains found on a remote island in the South Pacific were likely those of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, according to a UT researcher.

Homo naledi had wear-resistant molars

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 10:38:17 EDT

Homo naledi's relatively taller and more wear resistant molars enabled it to have a much more abrasive diet than other South African hominins. This is the result of a recent study by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, the University of Durham in the United Kingdom and the University of Arkansas in the United States. The researchers conclude that Homo naledi may have eaten a much grittier diet than other South African hominins.

False story says archaeologists unearth Exodus evidence

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 16:36:38 EDT

Archaeologists did not unearth the bones of Egyptian soldiers, weapons and chariots to prove the biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea, despite the false claims of many stories reporting otherwise.

Drilling holes in the skull was never a migraine cure – but it was long thought to be

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 10:19:16 EDT

Trepanation – the technique of removing bone from the skull by scraping, sawing, drilling or chiselling – has long fascinated those interested in the darker side of medical history. One stock tale is that trepanning is one of the most ancient treatments for migraines. As I study the history of the migraine, it certainly has always caught my attention.

Ancient reptile Captorhinus could detach its tail to elude predators

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 10:01:00 EDT

Imagine a voracious carnivore sinking its teeth into the tail of a small reptile, anticipating a delicious lunch, when, in a flash, the reptile is gone and the carnivore is left holding a wiggling tail between its jaws.

Ancient Nubia—in the footsteps of the Napata and Meroe kingdoms

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 08:24:10 EDT

The archaeological site of Sedeinga is located in Sudan, a hundred kilometers to the north of the third cataract of the Nile, on the river's western shore. Known especially for being home to the ruins of the Egyptian temple of Queen Tiye, the royal wife of Amenhotep III, the site also includes a large necropolis containing sepulchers dating from the kingdoms of Napata and Mereo (seventh century BCE–fourth century CE), a civilization mixing local traditions and Egyptian influences. Tombs, steles, and lintels have just been unearthed by an international team led by researchers from the CNRS and Sorbonne Université as part of the French Section of Sudan's Directorate of Antiquities, co-funded by the CNRS and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. They represent one of the largest collections of Meroitic inscriptions, the oldest language of black Africa currently known.

127-million-year-old baby bird fossil sheds light on avian evolution

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:00:03 EDT

The tiny fossil of a prehistoric baby bird is helping scientists understand how early avians came into the world in the Age of Dinosaurs.

Rome subway construction uncovers 2nd-century military home

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 15:40:01 EDT

Archaeologists say work to expand Rome's subway has unearthed a sprawling 2nd-century domus, or residence, of a military commander, complete with well-preserved geometric design mosaic, marble floors and frescoed walls.

Egyptian mummies found to have oldest figurative tattoos

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 10:00:02 EDT

A team of researchers from across Europe has found tattoos on two mummies at the British Museum, making them the oldest known examples of figurative tattoos. In their paper published in Journal of Archaeological Science, the group describes their study of dark splotches on preserved mummy skin.

Ancient burial site found submerged off Florida

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 09:30:02 EDT

State officials say archaeologists have located a 7,000-year-old Native American ancestral burial site submerged in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.