A ball of 4,000-year-old hair frozen in time tangled around a whalebone comb led to the first ever reconstruction of an ancient human genome a decade ago. The hair, which was preserved in arctic permafrost in Greenland, was collected in the 1980s. It wasn't until 2010 that evolutionary biologist Professor Eske Willerslev was able to use pioneering shotgun DNA sequencing to reconstruct the genetic history of the hair. It sparked a 'decade of discovery.'
A recreation of three common types of Paleolithic lighting systems (torches, grease lamps, and fireplaces) illuminates how Paleolithic cave dwellers might have traveled, lived, and created in the depths of their caves, according to a study published June 16, 2021 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mª Ángeles Medina-Alcaide from the University of Cantabria, Spain, and colleagues.
An underwater archaeologist from The University of Texas at Arlington is part of a research team studying 9,000-year-old stone tool artifacts discovered in Lake Huron that originated from an obsidian quarry more than 2,000 miles away in central Oregon. The obsidian flakes from the underwater archaeological site represent the oldest and farthest east confirmed specimens of western obsidian ever found in the continental United States.
New research -- the evolution of complementary cognition -- proposes that in adapting to enormous environmental upheavals over hundreds of thousands of years, humans evolved to specialize in different but complementary forms of cognition, styles of 'thinking,' that work together as a complex adaptive system -- a kind of collective brain.
A new study in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society co-authored by Yale anthropologist Eric Sargis finds that the barking hyraxes are a separate species from their shrieking neighbors. The newly described species, Dendrohyrax interfluvialis, populates the wet and dry forests that lie between the two rivers in coastal regions of southeastern Ghana, southern Togo and Benin, and southwestern Nigeria. The researchers based their conclusion on the distinctive calls combined with anatomical and genetic differences they identified among tree hyrax populations.
A team of archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) made a rare discovery when they unearthed a small clay seal impression dating back some 7,000 years. The impression, with two different geometric stamps imprinted on it, was discovered in Tel Tsaf, a prehistoric village located in Israel's Beit She'an Valley up north.
Researchers analysing skeletal remains in the city of Cambridge find a dramatic increase in 'hallux valgus' around the time that pointed shoes became de rigueur in the 1300s. They also uncover a link between this minor deformity and increased risk of fractures.
New research led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History shows that disruptions to Indigenous land management following Iberian colonization did not always result in widespread forest regrowth in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, as has been recently argued.
A Cornell University team led by Sturt Manning, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in Classics and director of the Tree-Ring Laboratory, used dendrochronology and a form of radiocarbon dating called 'wiggle-matching' to pinpoint, with 95% probability, the years in which an ancient wooden structure's two main components were created: a lower tank in 1444 B.C., and an upper tank in 1432 B.C. Each date has a margin of error of four years.
Organic residues on ceramic pottery are a valuable resource for understanding medieval cuisines of Islamic-ruled Sicily, according to a study published June 9, 2021 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jasmine Lundy of the University of York, UK and colleagues.