News That Matters

Tag: ancient

Ancient Americans made epic Pacific voyages

Ancient Americans made epic Pacific voyages

Science
New evidence has been found for epic prehistoric voyages between the Americas and eastern Polynesia.DNA analysis suggests there was mixing between Native Americans and Polynesians around AD 1200.The extent of potential contacts between the regions has been a hotly contested area for decades.In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl made a journey by raft from South America to Polynesia to demonstrate the voyage was possible.Until now, proponents of Native American and Polynesian interaction reasoned that some common cultural elements, such as a similar word used for a common crop, hinted that the two populations had mingled before Europeans settled in South America. Opponents pointed to studies with differing conclusions and the...
Climate change mystery solved: Ancient sea ice loss spurred Antarctic cold reversal

Climate change mystery solved: Ancient sea ice loss spurred Antarctic cold reversal

Science
June 22 (UPI) -- A mysterious period of climate change, known as the Antarctic cold reversal, was triggered by the rapid loss of sea ice nearly 15,000 years ago, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. At the end of the last ice age, some 18,000 years ago, atmospheric carbon levels began to rise, Earth's glaciers started receding and the world steadily warmed. But this period of warming didn't proceed uninterrupted. It happened in fits and starts. Advertisement One fit, beginning 14,600 years ago, was particularly pronounced: the Antarctic cold reversal. After a period of greenhouse warming, atmospheric CO2 levels plateaued -- remaining at 240 parts per million for 1,900 years. Scientists weren't sure what caused the plateau, but researchers recently found ...
Fossil tracks left by an ancient crocodile that ‘ran like an ostrich’

Fossil tracks left by an ancient crocodile that ‘ran like an ostrich’

Science
Scientists have been stunned to find that some ancient crocodiles might have moved around on two feet.The evidence comes from beautifully preserved fossil tracks in South Korea.Nearly a hundred of these 18-24cm-long indentations were left in what were likely the muddy sediments that surrounded a lake in the Early Cretaceous, 110-120 million years ago.The international team behind the discovery says it will probably challenge our perception of crocodiles. "People tend to think of crocodiles as animals that don't do very much; that they just laze around all day on the banks of the Nile or next to rivers in Costa Rica. Nobody automatically thinks I wonder what this [creature] would be like if it was bipedal and could run like an ost...
Ancient burial site in Belize reveals when people started eating maize

Ancient burial site in Belize reveals when people started eating maize

Science
June 3 (UPI) -- Maize is a staple crop across much of the Americas, and new research suggests it's been that way for at least 4,700 years. Reconstructing the diets of early human populations in tropical regions like Central America has proven quite difficult, but scientists recently discovered a burial site in present-day Belize that has been continuously used for over 10,000 years. Advertisement Given the shallow nature of most graves and burial sites, it's rare for human remains to end up layered sequentially -- let alone a burial site featuring well-preserved remains. "Finding intact burials from any time period is rare in tropical environments as the high temperatures and humidity are favorable to bacteria and other decomposers," archaeologist Mark Robinson, a postdoctoral research fe...
Ancient genomes reveal 7,000 years of demographic history in France

Ancient genomes reveal 7,000 years of demographic history in France

Science
May 26 (UPI) -- According to new genomic analysis, France was populated by a pair of ancient migrations: the first during the Neolithic period, roughly 6,300 years ago, and the second during the Bronze Age, some 4,200 years ago. "There were almost no data from ancient populations on the territory of present-day France and our study begins to fill a gap that leads to a clearer picture of the evolution of populations throughout Europe," Eva-Maria Geigl, a researcher with the Jacques Monod Institute in Paris, told UPI in an email. For the new study, researchers in France generated and analyzed the mitochondrial genomes, Y-chromosome markers and genotypes of 243 individuals, whose remains were recovered from dig sites across present-day France. The dates of the individuals comprised a period...