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Ancient Mesoamerican Cannibals’ Recipes Revealed Through Science

May 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Stained and broken bones from 2,500 years ago have now provided some clue to the practices of ancient Mesoamerican cannibals, according to new research. The bones of 18 people discovered at a site just outside Mexico City have provided clues about how cannibals prepared their victims for meals.

Good Sound Quality Definition Differs by Culture

May 22, 2015 1:30 pm | by Acoustical Society of America | News | Comments

Play a flute in Carnegie Hall, and the tone will resonate and fill the space. Play in in the...

Partly Human Yeast Shows Ancestor’s Legacy

May 22, 2015 7:00 am | by The Univ. of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

Despite a billion years of evolution separating humans from the baker’s yeast in their...

Dogs May Have Been Man's Best Friend for Longer than Believed

May 22, 2015 7:00 am | by Cell Press | News | Comments

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic...

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Mysterious Stone Tools Predate Man

May 21, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a trove of stone tools far older than any ever found before. Nobody knows who made them— or why. At 3.3 million years old, they push back the record of stone tools by about 700,000 years. More significantly, they are half-a-million years older than any known trace of our own branch of the evolutionary tree.

T. Rex Autopsy Coming to the Small Screen

May 20, 2015 1:07 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The deceased waits on the slab, under the glare of lights. But the corpse is 46 feet long, has a heart 100 times larger than a human’s and sharpened teeth up to a foot long. “T. rex Autopsy” is coming to the small screen, using a reconstructed and anatomically-complete dinosaur.

Ancient Eternal Flames May Spark Modern Interest

May 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Springer | News | Comments

Seeps from which gas and oil escape were formative to many ancient cultures and societies. They gave rise to legends surrounding the “eternal flames” that were central to ancient religious practices. Modern geologists and oil and gas explorers can learn much by delving into the geomythological stories about the religious and social practices of the ancient world.

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Study Explains Nature's Reason for Gender

May 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of East Anglia | News | Comments

Biologists have long puzzled about how evolutionary selection, known for its ruthless requirement for efficiency, allows the existence of males— when in so many species their only contribution to reproduction are spermatozoa. Now, research has found, when males compete and females choose over reproduction, it improves population health and protects against extinction, even in the face of genetic stress from high levels of inbreeding.

Leprosy May Have Spread to Britain from Scandinavia

May 14, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

Researchers examined a 1,500-year-old male skeleton excavated at Great Chesterford in Essex, England during the 1950s. They found evidence suggesting leprosy may have spread to Britain from Scandinavia.

Slow and Steady Wins Evolutionary Race

May 12, 2015 8:00 am | by Michigan State Univ. | News | Comments

When it comes to winning evolutionary fitness races, the tortoise once again prevails over the hare. Researchers have found that limiting migrations among populations of bacteria produced better adaptations. The cost, however, was that the bacteria evolved slowly.

Jurassic Park-like Dinos had Strong Sense of Smell

May 11, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

A researcher has identified a species of dinosaur closely related to Velociraptor, the group of creatures made infamous by the movie "Jurassic Park.” The newly named species likely possessed a keen sense of smell that would have made it a formidable predator.  

Divers Find Possible Pirate Treasure

May 8, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Martin Vogl | News | Comments

Divers in Madagascar have found a silver bar weighing about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) that they believe was part of the treasure of pirate Captain Kidd. The bar was presented to Madagascar's president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, in a ceremony on the island of Sainte Marie, near the country's northeast coast.

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Water Hitched a Lift to Earth, Other Planets on Asteroids

May 7, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Warwick | News | Comments

Water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems, just as it happened on Earth, new research strongly suggests. The study found evidence for numerous planetary bodies, including asteroids and comets, containing large amounts of water. This adds support to the possibility water can be delivered to Earth-like planets via such bodies to create a suitable environment for the formation of life.

'Dentist's Handbook' Contains Terrifying, Extinct Worm Fossils

May 6, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

It sounds like something out of a horror movie: a phallus-shaped worm that was able to turn its mouth inside out and drag itself around by its tooth-lined throat, which resembled a cheese grater. But, a new study of the rather unfortunately named penis worm has found that their bizarre dental structure may help in the identification of previously unrecognized fossil specimens.

Dino-killing Asteroid May Have Triggered Largest Lava Flows

May 1, 2015 7:00 am | by UC Berkeley | News | Comments

The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe that may have contributed to the devastation.  

Evidence Finds 200-year Lag in Climate Between Greenland, Antarctica

April 30, 2015 3:00 pm | by Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

A new study using evidence from a highly detailed ice core from West Antarctica shows a consistent link between abrupt temperature changes on Greenland and Antarctica during the last ice age. Researchers have discovered that the abrupt climates changes show up first in Greenland, with the response to the Antarctic climate delayed by about 200 years.

Archeologists Solve 4,000 Year-old Mystery

April 30, 2015 7:00 am | by Washington State Univ. | News | Comments

Climate change may be responsible for the abrupt collapse of civilization on the fringes of the Tibetan Plateau around 2000 B.C. Researchers found that cooling global temperatures at the end of the Holocene Climatic Optimum, a 4,000 year period of warm weather, would have made it impossible for ancient people on the Tibetan Plateau to cultivate millet, their primary food source.

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In the Beginning, Water May Have Been Abundant

April 29, 2015 7:00 am | by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | News | Comments

How soon after the Big Bang could water have existed? Not right away, because water molecules contain oxygen and oxygen had to be formed in the first stars. But, new theoretical work finds that, despite the complications, water vapor could have been just as abundant in pockets of space a billion years after the Big Bang as it is today.

New Genomes Bring Mammoths One Step Closer to Resurrection

April 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Malcolm Ritter | News | Comments

Scientists are getting their best look yet at the DNA code for the woolly mammoth, thanks to work that could be a step toward bringing back the extinct beast. Researchers deciphered the complete DNA code, or genomes, of two mammoths. The new genomes are far more refined than a previous one announced in 2008.

Gender Difference Seen in Stegosauruses

April 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

A new study has found that tall-plated Stegosaurus and the wide-plated Stegosaurus were not two distinct species, nor were they individuals of different age: they were actually males and females. This is the first convincing evidence for sexual differences in a species of dinosaur.

Fossilized Teeth Reveal Evolution of Stem Cells

April 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by UC San Francisco | News | Comments

All currently existing rodent species have ever-growing front teeth, but only some species have continuously growing molars. Ever-growing teeth are possible because of stem cell reservoirs at the root of each tooth that continuously create the crown. By studying fossilized teeth from thousands of extinct rodent species, scientists have shown how fundamental evolutionary mechanisms drive the emergence of novel mammalian stem cells.

Ancient Clam Beaches Weren't as Natural as Thought

April 22, 2015 3:00 pm | by Simon Fraser Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered that Northwest Coast Indigenous people didn’t make their living just by gathering the natural ocean’s bounty. Rather, from Alaska to Washington, they were farmers who cultivated productive clam gardens to ensure abundant and sustainable clam harvests.

Uranium Sheds Light on Ancient Bacterial Activity

April 21, 2015 3:00 pm | by EPFL | News | Comments

The oceans and other water bodies contain billions of tons of dissolved uranium. Over the planet’s history, some of this uranium was transformed into an insoluble form, causing it to precipitate and accumulate in sediments. New research shows that the isotopic composition of uranium provides a unique window into microbial activity billions of years into the past.

Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs Unearthed In China

April 21, 2015 2:56 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

A clutch of fossilized dinosaur eggs has been unearthed by road crews excavating in a city in southern China, according to a news service. Forty-three eggs were excavated by scientists, 19 of which remain intact.

You've Never Heard of Another ‘Father of Evolution’

April 21, 2015 7:00 am | by King’s College London | News | Comments

The horticulturist who came up with the concept of evolution by natural selection 27 years before Charles Darwin did should be more widely acknowledged for his contribution, a new paper argues. Patrick Matthew deserves to be considered alongside Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace as one of the three originators of the idea of large-scale evolution by natural selection.

Earliest Humans May Have Gripped Like Us

April 21, 2015 7:00 am | by Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history. In a new study, a research team found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans.

Oldest Fossil is Key to Solving Controversy

April 20, 2015 3:00 pm | by The Univ. of Western Australia | News | Comments

New analysis of world-famous 3.46-billion-year-old rocks by researchers is set to finally resolve a long-running evolutionary controversy. The new research shows that structures once thought to be Earth's oldest microfossils do not compare with younger fossil candidates but have, instead, the character of peculiarly shaped minerals.

Amazonian Tribe Has Unprecedented Bacteria Diversity

April 20, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Lauran Neergaard | News | Comments

The study raises tantalizing questions about the microbial diversity of our ancestors, and whether today's Western diets and lifestyles strip us of some bugs we might want back.  

Victorian Baby Teeth Shed Light on Modern Kids' Future

April 16, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Bradford | News | Comments

A team analyzed teeth of children and adults from two 19th century cemeteries, one in Ireland with victims of the 1845-52 famine and one in England that held people who fled the deprivation. The composition of teeth that were forming in the womb, and during a child’s early years, not only provided insight into the health of the mother, it even showed differences between those infants who died and those who survived beyond early childhood.

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