News That Matters

Tag: ancient

Mud wasp nests used to date ancient Australian rock art

Mud wasp nests used to date ancient Australian rock art

Science
Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Researchers have used mud wasp nests to narrow the age range of Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Previous surveys suggested some Kimberley painting were 16,000 years old, but the latest findings proved the Aboriginal rock art was much younger. "This is the first time we have been able to confidently say Gwion style paintings were created around 12,000 years ago," Damien Finch, doctoral student at the University of Melbourne, said in a news release. "No one has been able present the scientific evidence to say that before." For the study, published this week in the journal Science Advances, scientists collected and analyzed 100 mud wasp nests from rock art sites. "A painting beneath a wasp nest must be older than the nest, and a painting on...
Hot pots helped ancient Siberian hunters stay alive, warm

Hot pots helped ancient Siberian hunters stay alive, warm

Science
Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Without heat-resistant pots, ancient Siberian hunters might have disappeared during the last ice age. According to a new study, these hardy humans survived the frigid temps with the help of hot pots. For the new study, scientists extracted and analyzed fats and lipids from some of the oldest pieces of pottery in the world, fragments sourced from dig sites across Russia and ranging in age from 12,000 to 16,000 years old. The research, published over the weekend in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, suggests hunters living in Siberia as early 16,000 years ago were using clay pots resistant to heat. The technology would have allowed ancient hunters to take advantage of a variety of nutritional resources. "This study illustrates the exciting potential of new methods in a...
Ancient shark found inside Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave

Ancient shark found inside Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave

Science
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Scientists have identified the 330-million-year-old remains of an ancient shark inside Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park. While exploring and mapping Mammoth Cave's many remote chambers, expert spelunkers Rick Olson and Rick Toomey happened upon a fossilized jaw and several teeth embedded in a cave wall. Olson and Toomey took pictures of the fossils and sent them to Vincent Santucci, senior paleontologist with the National Park Service. Santucci reached out to John-Paul Hodnett, a paleontologist and expert in the study of Paleozoic sharks. Hodnett, program coordinator at the Dinosaur Park in Maryland, came to visit the Mammoth Cave fossil. He was excited by what he found. There was enough fossil evidence to identify the ancient shark species as Saivodus striatus. "T...
Ancient whale species sheds light on shift from limb- to tail-powered swimming

Ancient whale species sheds light on shift from limb- to tail-powered swimming

Science
Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Modern whales use their tails to swim, but their earliest ancestors, a group of semi-aquatic species known as protocetids, swam with their limbs. Due to gaps in the fossil record, the transition from limb- to tail-powered locomotion among whales isn't well-understood. But a newly discovered species of ancient whale, unearthed in Egypt, has offered scientists some clarity on the matter. "The biggest gap is that we lack associated skeletons of whale intermediates between land mammals and the earliest of early known whales to document the transition to foot-powered swimming," researcher Philip Gingerich, professor of earth sciences, evolutionary biology and anthropology at the University of Michigan, told UPI in an email. "We also need more late middle Eocene skeletons to f...
Homo erectus: Ancient humans survived longer than we thought

Homo erectus: Ancient humans survived longer than we thought

Science
An ancient relative of modern humans survived into comparatively recent times in South-East Asia, a new study has revealed.Homo erectus evolved around two million years ago, and was the first known human species to walk fully upright.New dating evidence shows that it survived until just over 100,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Java - long after it had vanished elsewhere.This means it was still around when our own species was walking the Earth.Details of the result are described in the journal Nature.In the 1930s, 12 Homo erectus skull caps and two lower leg bones were found in a bone bed 20m above the Solo River at Ngandong in central Java. In subsequent decades, researchers have attempted to date the fossils. But this ...