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Paleontologists Unzip Our Genes

July 7, 2015 1:01 pm | by Kyle Frischkorn, Columbia University | News | Comments

Recently, a spate of studies by paleontologists have used genomics to delve into the lives of ancient humans. These studies have capitalized on futuristic next generation techniques to reveal the genealogy, travel plans and sex lives of our ancestors.

Oldest Known Old World Monkey Had Tiny, Complex Brain

July 6, 2015 7:00 am | by Duke Univ. | News | Comments

The brain hidden inside the oldest known Old World monkey skull has been visualized for the...

Saber-toothed Cat’s Fangs Appeared Late, But Grew Twice as Fast

July 1, 2015 4:11 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The saber-toothed cat’s trademark canine teeth grew at a tremendous rate– but appeared later...

South Africans Used Milk-based Paint 49,000 Years Ago

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Colorado Boulder | News | Comments

An international research team has discovered a milk-and ochre-based paint dating to 49,000...

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South Africans Used Milk-based Paint 49,000 Years Ago

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Colorado Boulder | News | Comments

An international research team has discovered a milk-and ochre-based paint dating to 49,000 years ago that inhabitants of South Africa may have used to adorn themselves with or to decorate stone or wooden slabs.

Today in Lab History: Chinese Emperor Patents Toothbrush

June 26, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On June 26, 1498, the Chinese Emperor patented the first toothbrush. It was made from hogback bristles attached to bone or bamboo. While that might sound unhygienic to people with electric toothbrushes, floss and mouthwash, the emperor’s toothbrush was— compared to what came before it— highly advanced.

Wash. Gov. Asks for 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man to be Returned to Natives for Reburial

June 25, 2015 12:10 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The Kennewick Man, a 9,000-year-old skeleton, has been the subject of a legal back-and-forth ever since he was dug out of a Washington river in 1996. The Native American groups in the area called him the “Ancient One,” and unsuccessfully fought in court to get him reburied. One week after advanced genetic testing apparently proved their claims, they are getting support from Gov. Jay Inslee.

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'Ring of Teeth' Sheds Light on Bizarre Fossil

June 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A new analysis of one of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever discovered has definitively sorted its head from its tail, and turned up a previously unknown “ring of teeth,” which could help answer some of the questions around the early development of molting animals.

Forgotten Fossil Shows Teeth Evolved Earlier than Thought

June 24, 2015 2:20 pm | by Naturalis Biodiversity Center | News | Comments

The tooth plate of just some millimeters in size had been in a box for more than 40 years, without being recognized after the discovery and preparation of the fish it belonged to. Paleontologists studied the fossil using high energy X-rays, revealing the structure and development of teeth and bones. Their results suggest that teeth originated deeper in the tree of life than we thought.

Anasazi Bird Remains are Clues to Prehistoric Mystery

June 24, 2015 8:16 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The Anasazi people of the Southwest remain a mystery, the only clues being the sun-beaten buildings and the bones they left behind in the inhospitable desert. New evidence and testing at the largest Anasazi site in New Mexico is now changing the narrative of how the society came together through the formation of vast trading networks– and specifically through importing exotic macaws for ritual purposes.

Early European had Recent Neanderthal Relative

June 22, 2015 2:20 pm | by Howard Hughes Medical Institute | News | Comments

In 2002, archeologists discovered the jawbone of a human who lived in Europe about 40,000 years ago. Geneticists have now analyzed ancient DNA from that jawbone and learned that it belonged to a modern human whose recent ancestors included Neanderthals.

The Ancient One: Kennewick Man Linked to Native Americans Through DNA

June 18, 2015 4:08 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Since he was discovered in a river in 1996, Kennewick Man has been one of America’s most wanted. The 8,500-year-old skeleton found in Washington state was fought over by Native American groups, who claimed him and wanted to bury him, and scientists, who said he was of an unknown ethnicity and origin and needed to be scientifically analyzed.

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Research Finds Evidence of Key Ingredient at Dawn of Life

June 18, 2015 2:20 pm | by Univ. of North Carolina School of Medicine | News | Comments

Scientists have provided the first direct experimental evidence for how primordial proteins developed the ability to accelerate the central chemical reaction necessary to synthesize proteins and thus allow life to arise not long after Earth was created.

400,000-year-old Dental Tartar is Earliest Evidence of Man-made Pollution

June 17, 2015 2:20 pm | by American Friends of Tel Aviv Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have uncovered evidence of food and potential respiratory irritants entrapped in the dental calculus of 400,000-year-old teeth. The study provides direct evidence of what early Paleolithic people ate and the quality of the air they breathed.

212 Million-year-old Mystery Why Dinosaurs Avoided Tropics Solved, Study Says

June 16, 2015 2:21 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The biggest dinosaur fossils steered clear of the tropical latitudes for millions of years, and paleontologists never knew why. A new study claims to have solved the mystery: climate fluctuations, including massive amounts of carbon dioxide and raging wildfires, made the hotter parts of the globe inhospitable to the large sauropods.

Stone Tools Shed Light on Roots of Division of Labor

June 12, 2015 2:20 pm | by Emory Univ. | News | Comments

Thousands of stone tools from the early Upper Paleolithic, unearthed from a cave in Jordan, reveal clues about how humans may have started organizing into more complex social groups by planning tasks and specializing in different technical skills.

Multispectral Imaging Reveals Secrets of 1491 World Map

June 12, 2015 2:20 pm | by Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Henricus Martellus, a cartographer of the late 15th century, produced a detailed map of the known world. There is evidence that Christopher Columbus studied this map before his fateful voyage. Today, time has rendered much of the map’s details illegible or invisible. Now, a team is recovering the lost information through a multispectral-imaging project. Their work is yielding discoveries about how the world was viewed over 500 years ago.

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Largest Ancient Genomic Study Finds Eurasia is Young

June 11, 2015 2:20 pm | by Univ. of Copenhagen | News | Comments

Modern Eurasian peoples are, genetically speaking, not more than a couple of thousand years old. It was during the Bronze Age that the last major chapters were written in the story of the genetic past of Europe and central Asia. In a new study, scientists have generated the largest ancient genomic study to date and, in doing so, established how the foundation for modern Eurasia was laid.

Brain-eating Cannibals’ Genes Could Point to Disease Cures

June 11, 2015 11:23 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Brain-eating cannibals from Papua New Guinea who survived a scourge of brain-eating disease decades ago are now providing some genetic clues about beating as-yet-incurable afflictions, according to a new study.

Dinosaur Bones Show Traces of Blood Cells, Proteins, Soft Tissue

June 9, 2015 4:47 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Dinosaur bones roughly 75 million-years-old show trace amounts of soft tissue, including structures resembling proteins, blood cells and collagen, according to a new study. Eight bones from the Cretaceous period, none of which were particularly well preserved, nonetheless showed the trace tissues when analyzed with an electron microscope and a focused ion beam.

Mission Studies Organic Molecules in Hydrothermal Vents

June 9, 2015 7:00 am | by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | News | Comments

New research is the first to show that methane formation does not occur during the relatively quick fluid circulation process of deep sea vents, despite extraordinarily high hydrogen contents in the waters.

Weathering, River Discharge Shockingly Stable During Ice Ages

June 8, 2015 3:00 pm | by Stanford | News | Comments

Over geologic time, the work of rain and other processes that chemically dissolve rocks into constituent molecules that wash out to sea can diminish mountains and reshape continents. A new study has revealed that, contrary to expectations, weathering rates over the past 2 million years do not appear to have varied significantly between glacial and interglacial periods.

Pristine Cave May Yield Clues to Black Hills History

June 8, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Kevin Burbach | News | Comments

The National Park Service is beginning to excavate the mouth of an unexplored cave in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Researchers believe it could help broaden our understanding of how the region's climate has changed over thousands of years.

Clash Between Tribes’ Culture and Modern Society Imminent, Science Reports

June 8, 2015 10:18 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Science predicts, in a series of articles, that the final remaining encounters between indigenous tribes of Peru and Brazil and modern nations are imminent– inevitably leading to “large extinctions of cultures.”

Discovered: Prehistoric Gold Trade Route

June 5, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

Archeologists have found evidence of an ancient gold trade route between the south-west of the UK and Ireland. The study suggests people were trading gold between the two countries as far back as the early Bronze Age.

Ancient Climate Change Coincided with Rabbits Mating Like Bunnies

June 5, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Utah | News | Comments

A study of ancient rabbit populations at a Baja California site may help scientists better understand how mammals that range from the coast to the interior will respond to climate change. The research found that, at times during the past 10,000 years, cottontails and hares reproduced like rabbits and their numbers surged when the El Niño weather pattern drenched the Pacific Coast with rain.

Fossil May Alter Timeline in Ancestors’ Emergence from Water

June 4, 2015 3:00 pm | by Queensland Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

A 333-million-year-old broken bone is causing fossil scientists to reconsider the evolution of land-dwelling vertebrate animal. Analysis of a fractured and partially healed radius (front-leg bone) from Ossinodus pueri, a large, primitive, four-legged, salamander-like animal, pushes back the date for the origin of demonstrably terrestrial vertebrates by two million years.  

Abstract Vows: Scientist Proposes Marriage in Published Paper

June 4, 2015 1:11 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

A scientist has proposed to his girlfriend near the end of his paper about the discovery of a new horned dinosaur.

Today in Lab History- Extinct Animal’s DNA Recovered

June 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

On June 4, 1984, scientists cloned the DNA of the quagga— an extinct horse-like striped animal— using a 140-year-old skin. Studying the DNA’s base pairs, scientists found it was a subspecies of zebra from South Africa, not a horse.

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