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Scientists identify color of ancient fossilized butterfly

Scientists identify color of ancient fossilized butterfly

Science
April 11 (UPI) -- Scientists have successfully determined the color of an ancient butterfly wing. It's the first time scientists have identified the color of a 200-million-year-old insect.The coloration of a butterfly's wing is determined by wavelength-selective scattering patterns, which cause some wavelengths to be absorbed and others to be reflected. Unlike pigments, which can survive for millions of years, structural colors are more difficult to identify among ancient fossils.An international team of researchers used a combination of advanced imaging techniques to reveal the ultrastructures, the architecture of cells visible with magnification, on the surface of the fossil butterfly wing. Scientists used optical modeling to interpret the structural patterns and characterize the wing's ...
Egyptian archaeologists find ancient necropolis

Egyptian archaeologists find ancient necropolis

Technology
An ancient necropolis containing 40 stone coffins, small statues and a necklace with an inscription "Happy New Year" has been discovered.Khaled El-Enany, Egypt's antiques minister, said the discovery near Tuna al-Gabal, south of Cairo, included a large number of burial shafts dating from the late Pharaonic period to the early Ptolomaic era of around 305BC.The site is more than 2,000 years old and it is expected to take another five years to excavate.Mr Enany said: "It's only the beginning, we are very soon going to add a new archaeological attraction to Middle Egypt."Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said: "Evacuation work is scheduled to last for five years in an attempt to uncover all the burials in the cemetery."Image:A wooden coffin found by archa...
Ancient Britons 'replaced' by newcomers

Ancient Britons 'replaced' by newcomers

Science
The ancient population of Britain was almost completely replaced by newcomers about 4,500 years ago, a study shows.The findings mean modern Britons trace just a small fraction of their ancestry to the people who built Stonehenge.The astonishing result comes from analysis of DNA extracted from 400 ancient remains across Europe.The mammoth study, published in Nature, suggests the newcomers, known as Beaker people, replaced 90% of the British gene pool in a few hundred years.Lead author Prof David Reich, from Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, US, said: "The magnitude and suddenness of the population replacement is highly unexpected."The reasons remain unclear, but climate change, disease and ecological disaster could all have played a role.People in Britain lived by hunting and gathering u...
Ancient tailed spider trapped in amber offers insights into origin of spiders

Ancient tailed spider trapped in amber offers insights into origin of spiders

Science
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a new spider species, an arachnid with a tail, hiding in a piece of ancient amber.The amber fossil is roughly 100 million years old and could offer new insights into the origin and evolution of spiders during the Cretaceous period. Amber sourced from Myanmar has become a popular source of scientistic discoveries in recent years."Interest stepped up about ten years ago when it was discovered this amber was mid-Cretaceous," Paul Selden, a paleontologist at the University of Kansas, said in a news release. "Therefore, all the insects found in it were much older than first thought."Selden is the author of a paper describing the spider species, published this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution."It's [amber] been coming into China where de...
Lasers reveal ancient Mayan civilization hiding beneath Guatemalan canopy

Lasers reveal ancient Mayan civilization hiding beneath Guatemalan canopy

Science
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A series of LiDAR surveys has revealed some 60,000 ancient Mayan structures hiding under the jungle canopy in Guatemala.The hundreds of houses, palaces and roads identified by the surveys have offered new insights into the sophisticated organization of the Mayan civilization at the height of their cultural and political dominance between 250 and 900 AD.LiDAR stands for "Light Detection and Ranging." The technology uses short laser pulses to measure the distance between the airplane-mounted instrument -- which combines a laser, scanner and unique GPS receiver -- and Earth's surface.Over several years, scientists have conducted surveys of large swaths of Central America, where thick jungles make field work difficult. The tiny laser pulses squeeze through gaps in the dense can...