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Earliest modern human found outside Africa

Earliest modern human found outside Africa

Science
Researchers have found the earliest example of our species (modern humans) outside Africa.A skull unearthed in Greece has been dated to 210,000 years ago, at a time when Europe was occupied by the Neanderthals.The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today.The findings are published in the journal Nature.Researchers uncovered two significant fossils in Apidima Cave in Greece in the 1970s.One was very distorted and the other incomplete, however, and it took computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating to unravel their secrets.The more complete skull appears to be a Neanderthal. But the other shows clear characteristics, such as ...
Ancient skull provides earliest evidence of modern humans in Mongolia

Ancient skull provides earliest evidence of modern humans in Mongolia

Science
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An ancient Mongolian skull thought to belong to the a unique species of Pleistocene hominin, dubbed Mongolanthropus, is actually the earliest evidence of modern humans in the region. Using radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis, paleontologists determined the skull belonged to Homo sapiens. The discovery is described in a new paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications. As a result of compromised dating efforts and the fossil's archaic skull features, some researchers previously hypothesized the hominid remains hailed from the mid to late Pleistocene and belonged to Homo erectus or the Neanderthals. The new analysis posits that the modern human specimen lived sometime between 34,950 and 33,900 years ago. Because the skull is contaminated with a variety of...
The Industrial Revolution could shed light on modern productivity

The Industrial Revolution could shed light on modern productivity

Finance
HOW much yarn per day could an 18th-century British woman spin? Such questions are catnip for economic historians, whose debates typically unfold unnoticed by anyone outside their field. But a running debate concerning the productivity of pre-industrial spinners, and related questions, is spilling beyond academia. Each probably produced between a quarter of a pound and a pound of yarn a day, the historians have concluded. But at issue is something much more profound: a disagreement regarding the nature of technological progress that has important implications for the world economy.Economic growth of the sort familiar today is a staggering departure from the pattern of pre-industrial human history. More than a century of study has not resolved the question of why it began where and when it ...
The 'Baby' that ushered in modern computer age

The 'Baby' that ushered in modern computer age

Science
Seventy years ago was arguably the start of the modern computer age.A machine that took up an entire room at a laboratory in Manchester University ran its first programme at 11am on 21 June 1948.The prototype completed the task in 52 minutes, having run through 3.5 million calculations.The Manchester Baby, known formally as the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, was the world's first stored-program computer.It paved the way for the first commercially-available computers in a city known for centuries of science and innovation.Dr "Tommy" Gordon Thomas was 19 and in the final year of a physics degree at Manchester when he met Sir Freddie Williams, who designed The Baby with colleagues Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill.Now aged 90, he tal...
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 -...