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Tag: ancient

NASA rover may have visited ancient Martian sea in 1997

NASA rover may have visited ancient Martian sea in 1997

Science
March 15 (UPI) -- New analysis of data collected two decades ago suggests NASA's Pathfinder mission visited the edges of an ancient Martian sea in 1997. The Pathfinder mission, NASA's first Martian rover mission, was inspired by photographs snapped by the agency's Mariner 9 spacecraft. The probe's images revealed expansive channels scientists determined were carved by massive floods some 3.4 billion years ago. NASA sent Pathfinder to investigate. In 1997, Pathfinder reached the Red Planet. It set up a base station, eventually named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and sent out a small rover named Sojourner to explore the landscape. Sojourner identified an array of fluvial features consistent ancient flooding. However, the rover's data suggested the ancient floods were much shallower than...
Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Science
March 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have uncovered new evidence that a cosmic impact sparked wildfires and triggered a period of global climate change at the end of the Pleistocene epoch some 13,000 years ago. Previously, researchers had only found evidence of the period of climatic change known as the Younger Dryas, or YDB, in the Northern Hemisphere. New findings, however, suggest the Southern Hemisphere also experienced a sudden climatic shift -- and much more. "We have identified the YDB layer at high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere at near 41 degrees south, close to the tip of South America," James Kennett, geology professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a news release. Kennett is a proponent of the Younger Dryas Boundary Impact Hypothesis, which pos...
Ancient feces links climate change to fall of prehistoric city Cahokia

Ancient feces links climate change to fall of prehistoric city Cahokia

Science
Feb. 26 (UPI) -- By measuring fecal remains and climate data among ancient lake cores from Illinois' Horseshoe Lake, researchers were able to link climate change to the decline of Cahokia, a pre-Columbian Native American city located across the Mississippi River from present-day St. Louis. "The way of building population reconstructions usually involves archaeological data, which is separate from the data studied by climate scientists," researcher A.J. White said in a news release. "One involves excavation and survey of archaeological remains and the other involves lake cores. We unite these two by looking at both kinds of data from the same lake cores." White helped conduct the investigation of Cahokia while he was a grad student at California State University, Long Beach. Researchers de...
Ancient skull provides earliest evidence of modern humans in Mongolia

Ancient skull provides earliest evidence of modern humans in Mongolia

Science
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An ancient Mongolian skull thought to belong to the a unique species of Pleistocene hominin, dubbed Mongolanthropus, is actually the earliest evidence of modern humans in the region. Using radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis, paleontologists determined the skull belonged to Homo sapiens. The discovery is described in a new paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications. As a result of compromised dating efforts and the fossil's archaic skull features, some researchers previously hypothesized the hominid remains hailed from the mid to late Pleistocene and belonged to Homo erectus or the Neanderthals. The new analysis posits that the modern human specimen lived sometime between 34,950 and 33,900 years ago. Because the skull is contaminated with a variety of...
Tree rings helped scientists date ancient Greek eruption

Tree rings helped scientists date ancient Greek eruption

Science
Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Tree ring analysis has helped scientists pinpoint the date of Thera's eruption. The volcano on the Greek island of Santorini erupted sometime during the 15th or 16th century BC, but scientists have previously been frustrated by discrepancies between radiocarbon and archaeological evidence of the ancient eruption's precise timing. "It's about tying together a timeline of ancient Egypt, Greece, Turkey and the rest of the Mediterranean at this critical point in the ancient world -- that's what dating Thera can do," Charlotte Pearson, an assistant professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona, said in a news release. The latest findings, analysis of carbon in tree rings traced to the time of the eruption, have revealed an agreement, or overlap, between the timeli...