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Lethal Spears Indicate Early Cognitive, Social Skills

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by Arizona State Univ. | News | Comments

Attaching a stone tip to a wooden spear shaft was a significant innovation for early modern humans living around 500,000 years ago. However, it was also a costly behavior in terms of time and effort to collect, prepare and assemble the spear. The skill was likely to have been passed from generation to generation through social or group learning.

Walking Fish Reveal How Land Animals Evolved

August 28, 2014 7:00 am | by McGill Univ. | News | Comments

About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods–...

Fossil May Be Earliest Evidence of Muscle

August 27, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

An unusual new fossil discovery of one of the earliest animals on Earth may also provide the...

Early Human's Skull Not Human-like

August 26, 2014 2:00 pm | by Wits Univ. | News | Comments

The Taung Child, South Africa’s premier hominin discovered 90 years ago, never ceases to...

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Ancient Shipwreck Contains 700 BC Cargo

August 26, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Divers near a Maltese island have found an ancient ship's cargo that experts say is yielding what could be some of the oldest Phoenician artifacts.

Genome Study Disputes Birthplace of Honeybees

August 25, 2014 7:00 am | by Uppsala Univ. | News | Comments

In a study, researchers have presented the first global analysis of genome variation in honeybees. The findings show a surprisingly high level of genetic diversity in honeybees, and indicate that the species most probably originates from Asia, and not from Africa as previously thought.

Lizards Clear Up Confusion of Eggs vs. Live Birth

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by The Conversation, Oliver Griffith | News | Comments

Have you ever wondered why we give birth to live young rather than lay eggs? Scientists have pondered this for a long time and answers have come from an unlikely source: some of Australia’s lizards and snakes.

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Neanderthals, Humans had Ample Time to Mix

August 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

Humans and Neanderthals may have coexisted in Europe for more than 5,000 years, providing ample time for the two species to meet and mix, according to new research.

Legged, Spikey ‘Worm’ Finds Place in Evolutionary Tree

August 18, 2014 9:06 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

One of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever found— a worm-like creature with legs, spikes and a head difficult to distinguish from its tail— has found its place in the evolutionary Tree of Life, definitively linking it with a group of modern animals for the first time.

Humans were Culturally Diverse Prior to Africa Exodus

August 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Oxford | News | Comments

Researchers have carried out the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago found in the region between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia. They have discovered there are marked differences in the way stone tools were made, reflecting a diversity of cultural traditions.

Egyptians Mummified the Dead Earlier than Thought

August 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Macquarie Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered new evidence to suggest that the origins of mummification started in ancient Egypt 1,500 years earlier than previously thought. The findings of an 11-year study push back the origins of a central and vital facet of ancient Egyptian culture by over a millennium.

Ancestor’s ‘Leaky’ Membrane Answers Big Questions

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. College London | News | Comments

All life on Earth came from one common ancestor– a single-celled organism– but what it looked like, how it lived and how it evolved into today’s modern cells is a four-billion-year-old mystery being solved by researchers using mathematical modeling. Findings suggest for the first time that life’s last universal common ancestor had a “leaky” membrane, which helps scientists answer two of biology’s biggest questions.

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Dinos Roamed North America Earlier than Thought

August 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were the golden age of dinosaurs, during which the prehistoric giants roamed the Earth for nearly 135 million years. Paleontologists have unearthed numerous fossils from these periods, suggesting that dinosaurs were abundant throughout the world. But new evidence raises questions about when dinosaurs evolved in North America.

Excavation Yields Artifacts Spanning 15 Centuries

August 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Florida State Univ. | News | Comments

During a four-year excavation of an Etruscan well at the ancient Italian settlement of Cetamura del Chianti, a team unearthed artifacts spanning more than 15 centuries of Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany.

Lower Testosterone May Have Helped Civilize Humanity

August 5, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Utah | News | Comments

A study of 1,400 ancient and modern human skulls suggests that a reduction in testosterone hormone levels accompanied the development of cooperation, complex communication and modern culture some 50,000 years ago.

Image of the Week: Bones Show Down Syndrome, Not New Human Species

August 5, 2014 7:00 am | by Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

In October 2004, an excavation found fragmentary skeletal remains of what was thought to be a previously unknown species of human. Now, researchers say the bones do not represent a new species: it’s the skeleton of a developmentally abnormal human with features most consistent with a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Shrinking Dinosaurs Evolved into Flying Birds

August 1, 2014 12:00 pm | by Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists have mapped how a group of fearsome, massive dinosaurs evolved and shrank to the likes of robins and hummingbirds. Comparing fossils of 120 different species and 1,500 skeletal features, especially thigh bones, researchers constructed a detailed family tree for the class of two-legged meat-eaters called theropods. 

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Asteroid Attacks Significantly Altered Ancient Earth

August 1, 2014 12:00 pm | by Arizona State Univ. | News | Comments

New research shows that more than four billion years ago, the surface of Earth was heavily reprocessed – or mixed, buried and melted – as a result of giant asteroid impacts. A new terrestrial bombardment model based on existing lunar and terrestrial data sheds light on the role asteroid bombardments played in the geological evolution of the uppermost layers of the Hadean Earth.

Research Maps Cultural Migration

August 1, 2014 7:00 am | by UT Dallas | News | Comments

Quantifying and transforming the history of culture into visual representation isn't easy. There are thousands of individual stories across millennia to consider, and some historical conditions are nearly impossible to measure. The challenge brought together a team of network and complexity scientists to create a big picture of European and North American cultural history.

World Trade Center Ship Dates to 1773

August 1, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Researchers said this week that a vessel unearthed four years ago at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan was made from wood cut around the year 1773 — two years before the start of the war and three years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Amber Collection Offers New Views of an Ancient World

July 30, 2014 12:01 pm | by Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Scientists are searching through a massive collection of 20-million-year-old amber found in the Dominican Republic more than 50 years ago, and the effort is yielding fresh insights into ancient tropical insects and the world they inhabited.

Neanderthal Jaws Evolved Before Brains

July 29, 2014 3:32 pm | by Todd Shilton, Editor, The Conversation | News | Comments

Ancient remains have confirmed that the face and jaw evolved before the rest of the skull in Neanderthals and early human ancestors. Research conducted at the Sima de los Huesos (Pit of the Bones) archaeological site in northern Spain has confirmed a much-debated hypothesis on how our early human ancestors evolved.

Dinos Fell Victim to Perfect Storm of Events

July 28, 2014 8:47 am | by Univ. of Edinburgh | News | Comments

Dinosaurs might have survived the asteroid strike that wiped them out if it had taken place slightly earlier or later in history, scientists say. A fresh study using up-to-date fossil records and improved analytical tools has helped palaeontologists to build a new narrative of the prehistoric creatures' demise, some 66 million years ago.

Death-trap Cave to be Excavated

July 24, 2014 8:48 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of late Pleistocene fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave.

Mammoths, Mastodons Were Not Nomadic

July 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cincinnati | News | Comments

Research shows ancient mammoths and mastodons enjoyed the now-Greater Cincinnati area so much they likely were year-round residents and not nomadic migrants as previously thought. Findings indicate each species kept to separate areas based on availability of favored foods at the southern edge of the Last Glacial Maximum's major ice sheet. 

Cancer Left ‘Footprint’ on Evolution

July 18, 2014 12:00 pm | by Univ. of Oxford | News | Comments

Cancer has left its “footprint” on our evolution, according to a study that examined how the relics of ancient viruses are preserved in the genomes of 38 mammal species.

Scientists Find Brain of Early Predator

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Arizona | News | Comments

Paleontologists have identified the exquisitely preserved brain in the fossil of one of the world's first known predators that lived in the Lower Cambrian, about 520 million years ago. The discovery revealed a brain that is surprisingly simple and less complex than those known from fossils of some of the animal's prey.

Researchers ID Disease in 700-Year-Old Skeleton

July 16, 2014 7:00 am | by American Society for Microbiology | News | Comments

European researchers have recovered a genome of the bacterium Brucella melitensis from a 700-year-old skeleton found in the ruins of a medieval Italian village.

Ancient Chinese Skull Has Neanderthal-like Inner Ear

July 14, 2014 12:00 pm | by Chinese Academy of Sciences | News | Comments

A closer look based on micro-CT scans at a 100,000-year-old human skull that was recovered 35 years ago in China revealed that it had an inner ear formation that was thought only to have occurred in Neanderthals. In comparison, none of the three other archaic human skulls analyzed from different parts of China had this type of inner ear.

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