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Researchers Look at the Origins of Plate Tectonics

September 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Sydney | News | Comments

The mystery of what kick-started the motion of our earth's massive tectonic plates across its surface has been explained by researchers. Their new model also makes a number of predictions explaining features that have long puzzled the geoscience community.

Europeans Descended from Three Groups

September 18, 2014 7:00 am | by Howard Hughes Medical Institute | News | Comments

New studies of ancient DNA are shifting scientists' ideas of how groups of people migrated...

Meteorite Doomed Dinos, Altered Forests

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

The meteorite impact that spelled doom for the dinosaurs 66 million years ago decimated the...

We Evolved Unique Faces for a Purpose

September 17, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Berkeley | News | Comments

The amazing variety of human faces– far greater than that of most other animals– is the result...

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Early Earth Was Less Hellish than Thought

September 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Vanderbilt Univ. | News | Comments

Conditions on Earth for the first 500 million years after it formed may have been surprisingly similar to the present day, complete with oceans, continents and active crustal plates. This alternate view of Earth’s first geologic eon, called the Hadean, has gained substantial new support from the first detailed comparison of zircon crystals that formed more than 4 billion years ago with those formed contemporaneously in Iceland.

Asian Monsoon Much Older than Believed

September 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Arizona | News | Comments

The Asian monsoon already existed 40 million years ago during a period of high atmospheric carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures, reports an international research team. Scientists had thought the climate pattern known as the Asian monsoon began 22 to 25 million years ago as a result of the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya Mountains.

Wrinkles in Rock May Be Signs of Early Life

September 15, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Videos | Comments

Researchers have identified a mechanism by which wrinkles may have formed in ancient rocks. Based on this mechanism, they posit that such fossilized features may be a vestige of microbial presence— in other words, where there are wrinkles, there must have been life.

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Ancient Animal Uses Familiar Tools to Build an Odd Head

September 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Stowers Institute for Medical Research | News | Comments

New sea lamprey studies have shown remarkably conserved gene expression patterns in jawless versus jawed vertebrates. The finding means that the genetic program used by jawed vertebrates— including us— was up and running ages before a vertebrate ever possessed a recognizable face.

Greek Tomb Dig Unearths Marble Statues

September 12, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Archaeologists slowly digging through a huge 2,300-year-old tomb in northern Greece have uncovered two life-sized marble female statues flanking the entrance to one of three underground chambers.

High-tech Archeology Exposes Hidden Stonehenge

September 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

There is more to Stonehenge than meets a visitor's eye. Researchers have produced digital maps of what's beneath the World Heritage Site, using ground-penetrating radar, high-resolution magnetometers and other techniques to peer deep into the soil beneath the famous stone circle.

Non-dominant Hand Key to Thumb Evolution

September 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Kent | News | Comments

In the largest experiment ever undertaken into the manipulative pressures experienced by the hand during stone tool production, researchers found that the non-dominant hand is likely to have played a vital role in the evolution of modern human hand morphology.

Egyptian Art Paints Picture of Ecological Collapse

September 9, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Santa Cruz | News | Comments

Depictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artifacts have helped scientists assemble a detailed record of the large mammals that lived in the Nile Valley over the past 6,000 years. A new analysis of this record shows that species extinctions, probably caused by a drying climate and growing human population in the region, have made the ecosystem progressively less stable.

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Image of the Week: Single Road May Lead to Rome

September 9, 2014 7:00 am | by Michigan State Univ. | News | Comments

A well-known biologist once theorized that many roads led to Rome when it comes to two distantly related organisms evolving a similar trait. But, a new paper suggests that when it comes to evolving some traits– especially simple ones– there may be a shared gene, one road, that’s the source.

Study Sheds Light on Chemistry of Indigenous Art

September 9, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Technology, Sydney | News | Comments

Australian researchers are working with archaeologists, anthropologists and the Northern Territory's Jawoyn community to chemically analyze ancient rock art and uncover its secrets.

Researchers Question the Usefulness of the Fossil Record

September 5, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

Do all the millions of fossils in museums around the world give a balanced view of the history of life, or is the record too incomplete to be sure? This question was first recognized by Darwin. Methods have been developed to try to identify and correct for bias in the fossil record. Now, research suggests many of these correction methods may actually be misleading.

Ancestors were Nocturnal 100 M Years Before Mammals

September 4, 2014 2:00 pm | by Field Museum | News | Comments

Most living mammals are active at night, or nocturnal, and many other mammal species are active during twilight conditions. It has long been thought that the transition to nocturnality occurred at about the same time as mammals evolved, around 200 million years ago. But, it turns out that nocturnal activity might have a much older origin among ancient mammal relatives, called synapsids.

Drone Helps Archaeologist 'Dig'

September 3, 2014 2:00 pm | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

An archaeologist is utilizing drone technology to capture details and data from Bronze Age field sites in Armenia. Drones are a good alternative to kites, balloons or sitting in the bucket of a crane with a camera trying to visually document these ancient sites.

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Study: Cave Art Made by Neanderthals

September 2, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Frank Jordans | News | Comments

A series of lines scratched into rock in a cave near the southwestern tip of Europe could be proof that Neanderthals were more intelligent and creative than previously thought.

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– today's amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Now, researchers have turned to a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first attempted to walk out of the water.

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.

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 oldest evidence of muscle tissue– the bundles of cells that make movement in animals possible.

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 transform and evolve the search for our collective origins. Now, researchers are casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations found in modern human infants and toddlers– in effect disproving current support for the idea that this early hominin shows infant brain development in the prefrontal region.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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