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Wheat Discovery Points to Ancient Trading Links

February 27, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

Britons may have discovered a taste for bread thousands of years earlier than previously thought, thanks to trade with more advanced neighbors on the European continent. That's the conclusion scientists have drawn after discovering that samples from a now-submerged prehistoric camp in southern England contained traces of ancient wheat DNA.

Lager, Stout Yeast Share DNA

February 26, 2015 3:00 pm | by Trinity College Dublin | News | Comments

There are few drinks as iconic as a pint of Guinness. It might, therefore, surprise beer...

African Lakes to Answer Human Evolution Questions

February 26, 2015 3:00 pm | by Aberystwyth Univ. | News | Comments

How was human evolution and migration influenced by past changes in climate? This question has...

Ancient Viruses May Affect Modern Embryo Development

February 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Charles Choi | News | Comments

Viruses that invaded the DNA of humanity's ancestors millions of years ago may now play critical...

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Europe-ravaging Plague Was Driven by Asia's Climate

February 24, 2015 3:00 pm | by The Conversation, Boris Schmid, Nils Stenseth | News | Comments

Plague outbreaks that ravaged Europe were thought to be caused by rodent reservoirs of infected rats. New research questions that theory. If the thesis were correct, we would expect plague outbreaks to be associated with local climate fluctuations. The study found plague outbreaks were associated with climate fluctuations– but in Asia.

Understanding Climate 21,000 Years Ago Key to Predictions

February 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Vanderbilt Univ. | News | Comments

21,000 years ago, at the peak of the last Ice Age, a period known as the Last Glacial Maximum, the Southwest was wetter than it is today— much wetter— and the Northwest was drier— much drier. A team of scientists has created the first comprehensive map of the climate of the period and are using it to test and improve the global climate models that have been developed to predict how precipitation patterns will change in the future.

Researchers Race to Map Threatened Archeological Sites

February 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Oxford | News | Comments

A project has been launched to record the archeological heritage of the Middle East and North Africa, arguably the most significant region in the world for its archeological remains. It is under increasing threat from massive and sustained population explosion, agricultural development, urban expansion, warfare and looting.

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Mysterious Antarctica Key to Answering Questions

February 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Luis Andres Henao, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

Earth's past, present and future come together on the northern peninsula of Antarctica, the wildest, most desolate and mysterious of its continents. Clues to answering humanity's most basic questions are locked in a continental freezer the size of the U.S. and half of Canada: Where did we come from? Are we alone in the universe? What's the fate of our warming planet?

Dying Exoplanet Key to Learning How Solar System Formed

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by The Open Univ. | News | Comments

Exciting new research has opened up the chance to find out what distant planets are made of. A team of astronomers have made observations that can help reveal the chemical makeup of a small rocky world orbiting a distant star about 1,500 light years away from Earth, increasing our understanding of how planets, including ours, were formed.

Big Brains Are in Crucial Human DNA

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by Duke Univ. | News | Comments

The size of the human brain expanded dramatically during the course of evolution, imparting us with unique capabilities to use abstract language and do complex math. Now, scientists have shown that it’s possible to pick out key changes in the genetic code between chimpanzees and humans and then visualize their respective contributions to early brain development by using mouse embryos.

Dark Matter May Be Linked to Extinctions, Geologic Upheavals

February 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by New York Univ. | News | Comments

Research by a professor concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. Movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.

Divers Find Huge Hoard of Medieval Gold Coins

February 18, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Ariel Schalit | News | Comments

Today, Israel unveiled the largest collection of medieval gold coins ever found in the country, accidentally discovered by amateur divers and dating back about a thousand years. The find was made two weeks ago near the Israeli port city of Caesarea and consists of some 2,000 coins, weighing about 13 pounds.

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Teeth Show Neanderthals Had Gender Roles

February 18, 2015 3:00 pm | by Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) | News | Comments

Neanderthal communities divided some of their tasks according to their sex. This is one of the main conclusions reached by a study that analyzed 99 incisors and canine teeth of 19 individuals from three different sites. The research revealed that the dental grooves present in the female fossils follow the same pattern, which is different to that found in male individuals.  

Plants Fare Better than Animals in Mass Extinctions

February 18, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Gothenburg | News | Comments

For over 400 million years, plants have played an essential role in almost all terrestrial environments and covered most of the world’s surface. At least five mass extinction events have profoundly changed the history of life on Earth. But, a new study shows that plants have been very resilient to those events.  

Humans, Sea Anemones Linked by Nerve Signaling

February 17, 2015 8:53 am | by Penn State | Videos | Comments

A burst of evolutionary innovation in the genes responsible for electrical communication among nerve cells in our brains occurred over 600 million years ago in a common ancestor of humans and the sea anemone.

Penguins Have Lost Three Tastes

February 17, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

A study of penguin genetics has concluded that the flightless aquatic birds lost three of the five basic vertebrate tastes— sweet, bitter and the savory, meaty taste known as umami— more than 20 million years ago and never regained them. Because penguins are fish eaters, the loss of the umami taste is especially perplexing.

Ancient Cemetery May Shed Light on Cholera's Evolution

February 17, 2015 7:00 am | by The Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

A team of scientists hopes that an ancient graveyard in Italy can yield clues about the deadly bacterium that causes cholera. The researchers are excavating the graveyard surrounding the abandoned Badia Pozzeveri church in the Tuscany region of Italy. The site contains victims of the cholera epidemic that swept the world in the 1850s.

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Life Was Possible on Earth 3.2 Billion Years Ago

February 17, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Research looking at some of the planet's oldest rocks has found evidence that, 3.2 billion years ago, life was already pulling nitrogen out of the air and converting it into a form that could support larger communities.  

Understanding Amazonia's Past is Key to Sustainable Future

February 16, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Exeter | News | Comments

A new international project will investigate the Amazon's sustainable future by studying the way that ancient societies used and transformed the environment. The study is pioneering a remote sensing data device that will be attached to a UAV to scan beneath the canopy of the forest.

Archeologists: More Land Needed to See Patterns

February 16, 2015 3:00 pm | by Penn State | News | Comments

Archeologists need to study larger areas of land and link those studies to measurable environmental, societal and demographic changes to understand variations in prehistoric societies, according to anthropologists. The large areas are necessary to say anything meaningful about human behavioral response to social and environmental events.  

Ancient Tablets Focus of Looting Debate

February 12, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Daniel Estrin | News | Comments

At first glance, the ancient Babylonian tablets on exhibit for the first time at a Jerusalem museum look like nothing more than pockmarked lumps of clay. But the 2,500-year-old treasures from present-day Iraq have become part of a thorny archaeological debate over how to handle historically significant relics thought to have been dug up in the fog of war by Mideast antiquities robbers.  

Q&A: Kelsey Witt and the American Dog

February 12, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Laboratory Equipment’s scientist of the week is Kelsey Witt from the Univ. of Illinois. She and a team found that dogs may have first successfully migrated to the Americas only about 10,000 years ago, thousands of years after the first human migrants crossed a land bridge from Siberia to North America.

Nurturing Grandparents Are Evolutionary Boon

February 12, 2015 7:00 am | by Emory Health Sciences | News | Comments

Anyone who has ever loved a grandmother or grandfather knows the nurturing role that grandparents can play. A study of indigenous people in Amazonia, who survive on food they hunt, forage or cultivate, quantifies the evolutionary benefit of that role.

Today in Lab History: Barnum Brown

February 12, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

Barnum Brown was a paleontologist born in Kansas on Feb. 12, 1873. He was named after the circus founder P. T. Barnum and lived up to the showman’s name when he found the first Tyrannosaurus rex. It made him the most famous fossil hunter of the Victorian era.

CO2 from Ocean Helped End Last Ice Age

February 11, 2015 3:00 pm | by The Australian National Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have found a release of carbon dioxide stored deep in the ocean helped warm the planet and bring it out of the last ice age. The findings will help scientists understand how the ocean affects the carbon cycle and climate change.  

Skeletons Indicate Major Roman Cemetery

February 11, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Exeter | Videos | Comments

Fifteen ancient skeletons have been discovered on an archaeological dig in Ipplepen, a major Romano-British settlement in Devon and now the best preserved Roman cemetery. Archaeologists uncovered the human remains during an excavation of a Roman Road and found a roadside cemetery, the like of which has never been seen in the region.

Publicized Down Syndrome Theory in Fossils Is Unsupported

February 11, 2015 7:00 am | by Griffith Univ., Michael Westaway, Arthur Durband, Mark Collard | News | Comments

Claims that bones found in an Indonesian cave are not the remains of a new species of extinct hominin but more likely modern humans suffering from a chromosomal disorder have been disputed by a new look at the evidence.

Model to Find Oldest Spoken Words Yet

February 10, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Reading | News | Comments

A team of scientists has developed a mathematical technique that can work out when changes to how words are pronounced occurred in different languages. The model will give researchers an opportunity to discover the earliest words and languages spoken to date, with the potential to go back thousands of years.

Researchers, Native Americans Team to Protect Artifacts

February 10, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Jennifer McDermott | News | Comments

Researchers are working with Native Americans to ensure that energy companies hoping to erect massive wind turbines off New England don't inadvertently disturb the tribes' ceremonial sites and burial grounds, now submerged under hundreds of feet of water.

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