Nearly three-quarters of Earth's land had been transformed by humans by 10,000BC, but new research shows it largely wasn't at the expense of the natural world. A study involving University of Queensland researchers combined global maps of population and land use over the past 12,000 years with current biodiversity data, demonstrating the effective environmental stewardship of Indigenous and traditional peoples.
Scientists have sequenced ancient DNA from soil for the first time and the advance will transform what is known about everything from evolution to climate change. The findings have been described as the 'moon landings' of genomics because researchers will no longer have to rely on finding and testing fossils to determine genetic ancestry, links and discoveries - and it is thanks to Stone Age black bears who defecated in a remote cave in Mexico 16,000 years ago.
The evolution of metalwork expertise and craftsmanship developed by Viking craftspeople in Denmark in the 8th and 9th centuries has been detailed in a study published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.
In a world in which biodiversity is increasingly under threat, and nature itself under siege, the role of human activities in driving ecosystem change has never more been apparent. But is all human activity bad for ecosystems? An international team of researchers suggests not.
New research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that land use by human societies has reshaped ecology across most of Earth's land for at least 12,000 years. Researchers, from over a dozen institutions around the world, assessed biodiversity in relation to global land use history, revealing that the appropriation, colonization, and intensified use of lands previously managed sustainably is the main cause of the current biodiversity crisis.
Tarantulas are among the most notorious spiders, due in part to their size, vibrant colors and prevalence throughout the world. But one thing most people don't know is that tarantulas are homebodies. Females and their young rarely leave their burrows and only mature males will wander to seek out a mate. How then did such a sedentary spider come to inhabit six out of seven continents?
Before sugar cane and sugar beets conquered the world, honey was the worldwide most important natural product for sweetening. Archaeologists at Goethe University in cooperation with chemists at the University of Bristol have now produced the oldest direct evidence of honey collecting of in Africa. They used chemical food residues in potsherds found in Nigeria. (Nature Communications, DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-22425-4)
A new paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies presents the results of and images from the resuming of the archaeological seasons in the Mons Smaragdus region in the Egyptian Eastern Desert. During the 1990s a team from the "Berenike Project" started to survey the area and conducted the first excavations, focusing on the main site identified, Sikait, where the archaeological seasons resumed in January of 2018 and January 2020.
Grave goods, such as stone tools, have revealed that Neolithic farmers had different work-related activities for men and women.
A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, with colleagues from Goethe University, Frankfurt, has found the first evidence for ancient honey hunting, locked inside pottery fragments from prehistoric West Africa, dating back some 3,500 years ago.