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Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa

Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa

Science
Scientists say they've found the earliest evidence of a human presence outside Africa.Ancient tools discovered in China suggest primitive humans were in the region as early as 2.12 million years ago.They are about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence, which consists of bones and stone tools from Dmanisi in Georgia.The research, by a Chinese-British team, appears in the journal Nature.The stone artefacts were discovered at Shangchen on a plateau in northern China.They comprise different types of stone tools constructed for a variety of purposes. All show signs of having been used.Most were made of quartzite and quartz rock that probably came from the foothills of the Qinling Mountains, five to 10 km to the south of the dig site.But we do...
Roots of modern virus can be traced to the earliest vertebrates

Roots of modern virus can be traced to the earliest vertebrates

Science
April 4 (UPI) -- Most modern viruses have ancient roots. New research suggests RNA viruses are millions of years old, many tracing their evolutionary histories back to the earliest vertebrates. Some viruses may be as old as the first animals.In an effort to find new RNA viruses, a team of researchers from Australia and China examined 186 vertebrate species most ignored as potential viral hosts. Their search yielded 14 novel RNA viruses -- viruses with RNA, or ribonucleic acid, as its genetic material.Scientists located the viruses in seemingly healthy amphibians, reptiles, lungfish, ray-finned fish, cartilaginous fish and jawless fish.The research, detailed in the journal Nature, puts the evolutionary origin of RNA viruses -- a family that includes human pathogens such as influenza virus -...
Set of 9 million-year-old teeth suggests earliest human relatives could have lived in Europe

Set of 9 million-year-old teeth suggests earliest human relatives could have lived in Europe

Science
Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Researchers in Germany have recovered an unusual set of teeth estimated to be 9.7 million years old. The teeth are unlike any found in Europe or Asia, but closely resemble the teeth of Lucy, the famed female specimen of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis.Scientists found the teeth while sifting through sediment in the Rhine river near Eppelsheim, a small city in southwestern Germany."They are clearly ape-teeth," lead researcher Herbert Lutz told the German newspaper Merkurist. "Their characteristics resemble African finds that are four to five million years younger than the fossils excavated in Eppelsheim. This is a tremendous stroke of luck, but also a great mystery."Because the teeth most closely resemble the much younger remains of pre-human relatives in Afr...
Scientists find 3,000-year-old cloth, earliest evidence of chemical dyeing

Scientists find 3,000-year-old cloth, earliest evidence of chemical dyeing

Science
June 28 (UPI) -- Archaeologists have recovered the earliest evidence of plant-based textile dyeing. The evidence is a 3,000-year-old piece of cloth found in Israel's Arava desert.Researchers say the record-setting wool and linen fragments offer insights into the textile industry that supported a highly hierarchical society in Israel's Timna Valley during between the 13th and 10th centuries BC."This was clearly a formative period, with local kingdoms emerging and replacing Egyptian hegemony in Canaan," Erez Ben-Yosef, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, said in a news release. "These beautiful masterpieces of weaving and dyeing -- the first evidence of industrial dyeing at the time, of wash-resistant color on textile -- support the idea of a strong, hierarchical Edomite Kingdom in Timn...