First ancient syphilis genomes decoded
Thu, 21 Jun 2018 14:10:45 EDT
An international research team has recovered the first historic genomes from the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis. It was previously not thought possible to recover DNA of this bacterium from ancient samples. In the study, the researchers were able to distinguish genetically between the subspecies of the disease that cause syphilis and that cause yaws, which are not readily distinguishable in skeletal remains.
Clovis site: Montana burial site answers questions about early humans
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:24:41 EDT
Scientists have shown that at the Anzick site in Montana - the only known Clovis burial site - the skeletal remains of a young child and the antler and stone artifacts found there were buried at the same time, raising new questions about the early inhabitants of North America.
22,000-year-old panda from cave in Southern China belongs to distinct, long-lost lineage
Mon, 18 Jun 2018 16:38:56 EDT
Researchers who've analyzed ancient mitochondrial (mt)DNA isolated from a 22,000-year-old panda found in Cizhutuo Cave in the Guangxi Province of China -- a place where no pandas live today -- have revealed a new lineage of giant panda. The report shows that the ancient panda separated from present-day pandas 144,000 to 227,000 years ago, suggesting that it belonged to a distinct group not found today.
New technique provides accurate dating of ancient skeletons
Sun, 17 Jun 2018 20:44:16 EDT
A new way of dating skeletons by using mutations in DNA associated with geography will avoid the difficulties and inaccuracies sometimes associated with existing dating methods. The technique will enable a better understanding of historical developments from the beginning of the Neolithic period, through the Bronze and Iron Ages.
True origin of ancient turquoise
Thu, 14 Jun 2018 09:52:48 EDT
New research overturns more than a century of claims that the source of turquoise used and revered by ancient civilizations in Mexico, such as the Aztecs, came from the Southwestern US Geochemical analyses show the origin of the turquoise is Mesoamerica (Central Mexico to Central America).
Ancient agricultural activity caused lasting environmental changes
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:30:19 EDT
Agricultural activity by humans more than 2,000 years ago had a more significant and lasting impact on the environment than previously thought.
Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century
Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:37:45 EDT
The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed.
Research provides insights on World War II naval battle site
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 20:18:17 EDT
A new study provides precise geographic information for the preservation, long-term research, and future use of a historically important World War II battle site on the seafloor off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.
Oldest bubonic plague genome decoded
Fri, 08 Jun 2018 08:56:25 EDT
An international team has analyzed two 3,800-year-old Y. pestis genomes that suggest a Bronze Age origin for bubonic plague. The study shows that this strain is the oldest sequenced to date that contains the virulence factors considered characteristic of the bubonic plague and is ancestral to the strain that caused the Black Death.
Inaccuracies in radiocarbon dating
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 11:20:57 EDT
Radiocarbon dating is a key tool archaeologists use to determine the age of plants and objects made with organic material. But new research shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards can miss the mark -- calling into question historical timelines.
Pacific rats trace 2,000 years of human impact on island ecosystems
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 15:11:57 EDT
Rats were carried on ships as humans settled the remote islands of the Pacific. Analysis of the rats' remains reveals changes humans made to the island ecosystems.
Earliest European evidence of lead pollution uncovered in the Balkans
Fri, 01 Jun 2018 16:04:42 EDT
New research has revealed that metal-related pollution began in the Balkans more than 500 years before it appeared in western Europe, and persisted throughout the Dark Ages and Medieval Period, meaning the region played a far bigger role in mineral exploitation than previously believed.
Two ancient populations that diverged later 'reconverged' in the Americas
Thu, 31 May 2018 14:29:49 EDT
A new genetic study of ancient individuals in the Americas and their contemporary descendants finds that two populations that diverged from one another 18,000 to 15,000 years ago remained apart for millennia before mixing again. This historic ;reconvergence; occurred before or during their expansion to the southern continent.
Ancient tooth shows Mesolithic ancestors were fish and plant eaters
Thu, 31 May 2018 10:27:48 EDT
Analysis of the skeletal remains of a Mesolithic man found in a cave on a Croatian island has revealed microscopic fish and plant remains in the dental plaque of a tooth -- a first-time discovery for the period and region.
In ancient boulders, new clues about the story of human migration to the Americas
Wed, 30 May 2018 14:41:44 EDT
A geological study provides compelling evidence to support the hypothesis that ancient humans migrated into the Americas via a coastal route. By analyzing boulders and bedrock, a team shows that part of a coastal migration route became accessible to humans 17,000 years ago. During this period, ancient glaciers receded, exposing islands of southern Alaska's Alexander Archipelago to air and sun -- and, possibly, to human migration.
Italy's oldest olive oil discovered in peculiar pot
Wed, 30 May 2018 11:32:41 EDT
Chemical analysis conducted on ancient pottery discovered from the Early Bronze Age proves Italians started using olive oil 700 years sooner than what's previously been recorded.
Prehistoric teeth dating back two million years reveal details on Africa's paleoclimate
Tue, 29 May 2018 13:21:40 EDT
New research shows that the climate of the interior of southern Africa almost two million years ago was much wetter than the modern environment. This first extensive paleoenvironmental sequence for the interior of southern Africa suggests that human ancestors were living in environments other than open, arid grasslands known from East African research of the same time period.
Utah fossil reveals global exodus of mammals' near relatives to major continents
Wed, 23 May 2018 13:32:03 EDT
A nearly 130-million-year-old fossilized skull found in Utah is an Earth-shattering discovery in one respect. The small fossil is evidence that the super-continental split likely occurred more recently than scientists previously thought and that a group of reptile-like mammals that bridge the reptile and mammal transition experienced an unsuspected burst of evolution across several continents.
Ancient mound builders carefully timed their occupation of coastal Louisiana site
Tue, 22 May 2018 11:48:22 EDT
A new study of ancient mound builders who lived hundreds of years ago on the Mississippi River Delta near present-day New Orleans offers new insights into how Native peoples selected the landforms that supported their villages and earthen mounds -- and why these sites were later abandoned.
Scientists analyze first ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia
Thu, 17 May 2018 14:26:01 EDT
Researchers have completed the first whole-genome analysis of ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia Study identifies at least three major waves of human migration into the region over the last 50,000 years, each shaping the genetics of Southeast Asia.