A new genetic study bolsters theories of an early human-Neandertal split and is helping scientists pinpoint what makes humans unique. Controversy has long swirled in the scientific community over how closely the hairy Eurasian hunters resembled modern humans, with some researchers even claiming Neandertals (often spelled Neanderthals) were actually members of our own species, Homo sapiens ... National Geographic News
A new study of human fossils asks, what if we are the odd ones?
Most people think of humans as the top, the apex of the family tree. But new research suggests this quintessentially human infatuation with ourselves may have impaired our judgment. Erik Trinkaus, a paleontologist and Neandertal expert at Washington University in St. Louis, believes that modern human features are unusual enough, compared with ancestral members of the genus Homo, to make us a side branch of the family tree ... Archaeology
A trail of 13 fossilized footprints running through a valley in a desert in northern Mexico could be among the oldest in the Americas, Mexican archeologists said.
The footprints were made by hunter gatherers who are believed to have lived thousands of years ago in the Coahuila valley of Cuatro Cienegas, 190 miles (306 kms) south of Eagle Pass, Texas, said archaeologist Yuri de la Rosa Gutierrez of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History ... Yahoo!News
Scientists have named a prime suspect in the mysterious case of the missing mammals. The reason history is littered with suspiciously regular extinctions is all down to the Earth's wobbly orbit, according to research published today.
Apart from mass extinctions caused by asteroids thumping into the planet and other cataclysmic natural events, records reveal that mammal species die out anyway, usually 2.5m years after they first emerge ... Guardian Unlimited | Science
After 25 years of gritty field work, UNC Chapel Hill archaeologist Scott Madry has dug up a new way to hunt for ancient ruins -- without leaving home.
Last year, Madry read how an Italian man accidentally discovered the outline of an ancient Roman villa while looking at his house on Google Earth.
Madry explores how a Celtic people called the Aedui lived in France for about three centuries starting about 300 B.C.
Madry got out his laptop, fired up Google Earth and looked over lands in Burgundy, near his research area. Immediately, he spotted features that, to his trained eye, resembled outlines of Iron Age, Bronze Age, ancient Roman and medieval residences, forts, roads and monuments ... Charlotte Observer
What may well turn out to be the definitive work in a debate that has been raging in palaeoanthropology for two years will be published in the November 2006 issue of Anatomical Record.
The new research comprehensively and convincingly makes the case that the small skull discovered in Flores, Indonesia, in 2003 does not represent a new species of hominid, as was claimed in a study published in Nature in 2004. Instead, the skull is most likely that of a small-bodied modern human who suffered from a genetic condition known as microcephaly, which is characterized by a small head ... EurekAlert!
Archaeologists found the remains of a ship from the Viking Age on Tuesday, in a burial mound on a farm outside the coastal city of Larvik.
The discovery was made during archaeological examinations of the Nordheim Farm, which is near the Hedrum Church in Larvik. The examinations were ordered in connection with the pending expansion of the cemetery around Hedrum Church, which is located a few hours' drive south of Oslo.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that archaeologists also found indications that another ship is buried in the same area ... Aftenposten.no
About 20,000 years ago, humans trekked along the margins of a shallow lake in Australia, leaving behind records of their passage in the soft, wet sand.
In 2003, an aboriginal woman who is likely a
descendant of those early Australians stumbled across dozens of
timeworn footprints in the same area. Excavations of the site have
since uncovered hundreds more ... LiveScience.com
Dinosaurs had to cope with dramatic swings in the climate around 120 million years ago, with ocean surface temperatures changing by as much as 6 °C. The finding suggests that natural climate variations are much more complex than previously thought ... New Scientist
French and Belgian archaeologists say they have proof Neanderthals lived in near-tropical conditions near France's Channel coast about 125,000 years ago.
In a dig at Caours, near Abbeville, France, archeologists found evidence of a Neanderthal butcher's shop to which animals as large as rhinoceros, elephant and aurochs, the forerunner of the cow, were dragged and butchered ... topix.net
When paleontologists find fossilized dinosaur bones during a dig, they usually do everything in their power to protect them, using tools like toothbrushes to carefully unearth the bones without inflicting any damage. However, when scientists found a massive Tyrannosaurus rex thigh bone in a remote region of Montana a few months ago, they were forced to break the bone in two in order to fit it into the transport helicopter. This act of necessity revealed a startling surprise: soft tissue that had seemingly resisted fossilization still existed inside the bone. This tissue, including blood vessels, bone cells, and perhaps even blood cells, was so well preserved that it was still stretchy and flexible ... Science Now
The Earth's rapid warming has pushed temperatures to their hottest
level in nearly 12,000 years – and a hair’s breadth away
from a million-year peak – according to a NASA study.
warming, which has increased temperatures by 0.2°C per decade over
the past 30 years, has caused temperatures to reach and now pass
through the warmest levels in the current interglacial period, which
lasted almost 12,000 years ... New Scientist
A rare species of tree dating back millions of years has been planted at Kew's Royal Botanical Gardens by wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough.
The Wollemi pine, once thought to have been extinct for 200 million years, was recently discovered in Australia, sparking a major conservation project ... bbc.co.uk
A new imaging technique is helping archaeologists to find, interpret and conserve rock carvings in digital format.
The technology that archaeologists and ICT researchers have recently adopted is called “structured light”. It is a method that quickly and easily reads off the three-dimensional shape of an object with the aid of a camera and a video projector. The images are transferred to a computer, which constructs a detailed three-dimensional model of the object. The method is normally used in reverse engineering, the process of making a 3D computer model of an existing physical object. It has also been used for product quality control, for example in the engineering industry ... n-tv