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Tag: earliest

558-million-year-old fat molecule reveals world's earliest animal

558-million-year-old fat molecule reveals world's earliest animal

Science
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a fat molecule preserved in a 558-million-year-old fossil. According to a new paper published this week in the journal Science, the discovery confirms Dickinsonia, a strange blob-like sea creature, as the earliest animal in the geologic record. Dickinsonia is a member of the Ediacaran biota, a group of primitive organisms with frond-like patterns. The group emerged during the Ediacaran period, which lasted from 635 to 542 million years ago. Scientists have previously argued whether Ediacaran species were animals. The fat molecule -- a type of cholesterol unique to animals -- found within the Dickinsonia fossil suggests they were. "The fossil fat molecules that we've found prove that animals were large and abundant 558 million years ago, millio...
Earliest evidence of cheese-making in the Mediterranean found along Croatian coast

Earliest evidence of cheese-making in the Mediterranean found along Croatian coast

Science
Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered the earliest evidence of cheese-making in the Mediterranean along Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. Fatty residue left on the insides of ancient pottery suggests the people of the Middle Neolithic were making cheese as early as 7,200 years ago. "This pushes back cheese-making by 4,000 years," Sarah B. McClure, an associate professor of anthropology at Penn State University, said in a news release. As confirmed by the new analysis, the emergence of cheese-making corresponded with a shift in pottery technology. "Cheese production is important enough that people are making new types of kitchenware," said McClure. "We are seeing that cultural shift." During the Early Neolithic, populations along the Dalmatian Coast produced "impressed ware" pottery. But d...
Earth's earliest animals were strange frond-like sea creatures from the Ediacaran period

Earth's earliest animals were strange frond-like sea creatures from the Ediacaran period

Science
Aug. 20 (UPI) -- New fossil analysis suggests the planet's earliest known animals emerged at least 571 million years ago. The new study -- published this month in the journal Paleontology -- proves members of the Ediacaran biota are indeed animals and were diversifying for several million years before the acceleration of speciation known as the Cambrian explosion. Scientists recovered the first Stromatoveris psygmoglena fossil in the mid-20th century. The frond-like sea creature baffled paleontologists for decades. Stromatoveris psygmoglena hails from the Cambrian period, but dozens of similar blob-like fossil imprints have been found among older strata -- rocks from the Ediacaran period, which lasted from 635 to 542 million years ago. Until now, scientists have struggled to understand t...
Earliest galaxies found 'on our cosmic doorstep'

Earliest galaxies found 'on our cosmic doorstep'

Science
Some of the earliest galaxies to form in the Universe are sitting on our cosmic doorstep, according to a study.These faint objects close to the Milky Way could be more than 13 billion years old, researchers from the universities of Durham and Harvard explain.They formed upwards of a hundred million years after the Big Bang and contained some of the first stars to light up the cosmos.The findings are published in the Astrophysical Journal.Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is one of billions out there in the Universe. These sprawling cosmic neighbourhoods filled with stars and planets formed when many smaller building blocks - such as these galaxies - collided and merged. The discovery opens a window into what the Universe was like mo...
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...