- Steppe change: Mammoths roamed southern Spain
- First direct evidence of substantial fish consumption by early modern humans in China
- Oldest dinosaur burrow discovered
- Hundreds of dinosaur nests found in India
- Oldest known Bible goes online
- Maize may have fueled ancient Andean civilization
- Dinosaur fish had sex 380 million years ago
Steppe change: Mammoths roamed southern SpainJuly 9th, 2009
Remains of woolly mammoths have been found in southern Spain, proving that the chilly grip of the last Ice Age extended farther south than thought, palaeontologists said on Thursday.
The fossilised remains of at least four mature male mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) were found in a peat bog near the town of Padul in the Granada Basin, they said.
Carbon-dating estimates the animals lived between 35,000 and 25,700 years ago.
Until now, the southernmost mammoths in western Europe were found in Spain at around 40 degrees north, or roughly the same latitude as Spain.
This new find, though, is more than 300 kilometres (185 miles) farther south, which shows that the grasslands that flourished in the dry, cold climate in the Eurasian ice ages extended much farther south than previously thought.
"These woolly mammoths finds do not belong to stray animals who only chanced to head south, but belonged to Granada's permanent inhabitants at this time," said Diego Alvarez-Lao of the University of Oviedo, Spain.
The finds are backed by evidence from drill cores, indicating that steppe plants once flourished in Spain.Woolly mammoths eventually died out after the Ice Age, also called the Late Pleistocene, came to an end around 10,000 years ago.
Some scenarios blame natural global warming that destroyed the animals' sources of food; others say the beasts were wiped out by humans who expanded rapidly after the big freeze. source
My comment: This is very interesting, because the last clear evidence of Neanderthals is in Southern Spain where presumably the climate was warmer. If it wasn't warm, then they obviously didn't have a problem with cold weather. While they maybe really had a problem with higher temperatures, especially if we don't have clear evidences of them living in warm places. Very very interesting.
First direct evidence of substantial fish consumption by early modern humans in ChinaJuly 6th, 2009
A new study by an international team of researchers, including Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, shows the fish may have entered the diet of people in China as far back as 40,000 years ago.
Chemical analysis of the protein collagen, using ratios of the isotopes of nitrogen and sulfur in particular, can show whether such fish consumption was an occasional treat or a regular food item.
Analysis of a bone from one of the earliest modern human in Asia, the 40,000-year-old skeleton from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, has shown that at least this individual was a regular fish consumer.
This analysis provides the first direct evidence for the substantial consumption of aquatic resources by early modern humans in China. source
My comment: This is strange since there were evidences that I think I published here that Neanderthals ate fish. If they were able to catch it, club it and eat it, then so should be able to do Homo Sapiens. Unless you don't claim that we weren't that smart :)
Oldest dinosaur burrow discoveredMatt Walker, Editor, Earth News
The world's oldest dinosaur burrows have been discovered in Australia.
Three separate burrows have been found in all, the biggest 2m long, each built to a similar design and just big enough to hold the body of a small dinosaur.
The 106-million-year-old burrows, the first to be found outside of North America, would have been much closer to the South Pole when they were created.
That supports the idea that dinosaurs living in cold, harsh climates burrowed underground to survive.
The only other known dinosaur burrow was discovered in 2005 in Montana, US.
Described two years later, this burrow dated from 95 million years ago and contained the bones of an adult and two juveniles of a small new species of dinosaur called Oryctodromeus cubicularis.
Now the older burrows have been found by one of the researchers who made the original Montana discovery.That original structure turned out to be the burrow of O. cubicularis, which Martin described with colleagues David Varricchio from Montana State University, Bozeman, US, and Yoshi Katsura of Gifu Prefectural Museum in Seki City, Japan.
Within the rock, which forms part of the so-called Otway group of rocks that have yielded a rich diversity of vertebrate fossils, Martin found three separate burrows less than 3m apart, which he describes in the journal Cretaceous Research.
Two of the burrows formed a semi-helix, twisting down into the rock that was once soil.The largest and best preserved, dubbed tunnel A, turns twice before ending in a larger chamber. In total, it is more than 2.1m long.
Martin calculates that an animal around 10kg in size would have made each burrow.
Modern animals which create such burrows include aardwolves, alligators, coyotes, gopher tortoises and striped hyenas. Twisting burrows can help stop predators getting in and keep the temperature and humidity constant.
Martin can't be sure which species of dinosaur made the burrows, but he is struck by how similar their designs are to the burrow made by O. cubicularis.
A variety of small ornithopod dinosaurs were also known to have lived in the area during the same time in the Cretaceous. These ornithopods stood upright on their hind legs and were about the size of a large, modern-day iguana.
Twenty years ago, researchers in Australia, including Patricia Vickers-Rich of Monash University in Clayton and Thomas Rich of the Museum of Victoria, first proposed that some dinosaurs may have climbed into burrows to survive harsh climates they couldn't escape from by migrating.. source
My comment:There will be more on dinosaurs in the articles that follow but now on this one. I find those special types of burrows to be very interesting. The speculation is that they are related to the weather, but I think that it would be very interesting to know how often the dinos used those burrows and what exactly was harsh condition for them. Because we have evidences that dinosaurs lived in very northern regions. If cold was such a problem, why did they go there on the first place?! They couldn't possible have expected that the weather will change - even current mammals don't do that. And what's even more interesting that I think they found bones in one of those burrows. Why? Could it be a grave in some form?
Hundreds of dinosaur nests found in IndiaOctober 2nd, 2009 by Lin Edwards
(PhysOrg.com) -- Geologists have discovered hundreds of fossilized nests each containing clutches of eight dinosaur eggs. The eggs were located in sand banks in Tamil Nadu in Southern India.
Geologist Dr M.U. Ramkumar of Periyar University said the eggs may be around 65 million years old. They were all spherical and measured five to eight inches (13 to 20 cm) in diameter. The nests were around four feet (1.2 m) in diameter. Some of the eggs were believed to be of Carnosaurs, which were aggressive predators, while others were Sauropods, which were large, long-necked herbivores.
Fossils of Carnosaurs and Sauropods have previously been found in the area around the Sendurai village in the central district of Ariyalur in Southern India, according to a report on the find in The Times of India. The site is a well-known area containing fossils up to 140 million years old. The first dinosaur eggs were discovered there in 1860 by a British geologist, while another was found in the 1990s at a nearby factory.
The nests were buried under volcanic ash believed to have come from the Deccan Trap eruptions. These eruptions were among the biggest ever, and produced lava flows hundreds of miles long and enormous volumes of climate-changing gases, which may have caused the widespread extinctions of dinosaurs that occurred at the time.The find is the largest number of dinosaur eggs ever found in India. All the eggs were unhatched and were infertile. source
My comment: More on dinosaurs: Was mighty T.rex 'Sue' felled by a lowly parasite? Well, go Jurassic park! What more could I say! It's strange that we find so much stuff under volcanic ash. Because dinosaurs were the ruler of the Earth, surprisingly a lot of them got caught in such situations. Or maybe they simply were awfully a lot! (and btw, check the article for the T.rex that died because of bacteriological infection. It's strange to think that dinosaurs weren't only horrible creatures killing everything in sight, but also normal living creatures that suffer from diseases, bad climate, volcanic erruptions and all kind of natural disasters.
Oldest known Bible goes online
LONDON, England (CNN) -- The world's oldest known Christian Bible goes online Monday -- but the 1,600-year-old text doesn't match the one you'll find in churches today.
Discovered in a monastery in the Sinai desert in Egypt more than 160 years ago, the handwritten Codex Sinaiticus includes two books that are not part of the official New Testament and at least seven books that are not in the Old Testament.
The New Testament books are in a different order, and include numerous handwritten corrections -- some made as much as 800 years after the texts were written, according to scholars who worked on the project of putting the Bible online. The changes range from the alteration of a single letter to the insertion of whole sentences.
And some familiar -- very important -- passages are missing, including verses dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, they said.
Juan Garces, the British Library project curator, said it should be no surprise that the ancient text is not quite the same as the modern one, since the Bible has developed and changed over the years.
The Bible comes from the Monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai desert, where a scholar named Constantine Tischendorf recognized its significance in 1844 -- and promptly took part of it, Garces explained.
He took a handful of pages to Germany to publish them, then returned in 1853 and in 1859 for more. On that last trip, he took 694 pages, which ended up in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Soviet government decided to sell them in 1933 -- to raise money to buy tractors and other agricultural equipment.
The British government bought the pages for £100,000, raising half the money from the public. Garces called that event one of the first fundraising campaigns in British history. source
My comment: Here is the webpage of the project. I won't comment this, since it doesn't really matter what I think. The important thing is that this version is already online and everyone can have a look or even try to give alternative translation which is obviously nice .
Maize may have fueled ancient Andean civilization
Prehistoric communities in one part of Peru’s Andes Mountains may have gone from maize to amazingly complex. Bioarchaeologist Brian Finucane’s analyses of human skeletons excavated in this region indicate that people living there 2,800 years ago regularly ate maize. This is the earliest evidence for maize as a staple food in the rugged terrain of highland Peru, he says.
Maize agriculture stimulated ancient population growth in the Andes and allowed a complex society, the Wari, to develop, Finucane contends in the August Current Anthropology. Wari society included a central government and other elements of modern states. It lasted from around 1,300 to 950 years ago and predated other Andes civilizations, including the Inca.Previous work has shown that prehistoric societies in the lowland areas of Central and North America depended on maize to grow large enough in numbers to develop state institutions, a pattern that Finucane sees paralleled in the Andes Mountains.
The new data convincingly demonstrate that highland residents relied on maize shortly before the rise of the Wari state, comments archaeologist Daniel Sandweiss of the University of Maine in Orono. A warmer, wetter climate during the Wari period and the spread of terraced cultivation areas may also have spurred maize farming, he suggests.source
My comment: The article isn't so important. Just take a look on that skull! Does it look human? I mean, seriously? I really don't understand why such skulls are considered normal, or part of ancient cult of deformation of the skull. Why anyone would want to do something like this with his/her head! It should come from somewhere. From where? Who cares about maize (especially now, when GMo maize is killing native species that survived trough the centuries). We should care about those skulls! If you remember, I posted here an Egyptian skull that had more or less the same shape. Why two civilisations thousands of kilometers away like the same deformations?!
Dinosaur fish had sex 380 million years agoSYDNEY: The male members of an ancient fish species known as sea dinosaurs impregnated females with penis like organs 380 million years ago, just like modern day sharks.
Some fish species engaged in penetrative sex and gave birth to young ones, according to a study conducted by Curtin University of Technology (CUT).
"The findings throw light on the evolution of vertebrates on earth, including our own species. This discovery provides a link in the chain of evolution," Kate Trinajstic, a researcher in CUT, said.
The research involves the identification of claspers in the fossil of a male Incisoscutum, exceed the oldest known date for vertebrates by approximately 200 million years. The Incisoscutum is an extinct species of placoderm, a primitive, shark-like armoured fish.
Placoderms dominated the oceans for around 70 million years, until their extinction about 360 million years ago.
"Another interesting discovery was that vertebrates have been giving birth to young ones since much longer than previously thought, and that some species of placoderms had shark-like claspers," said Trinajstic.
Claspers are modifications of the pelvic fins that form the penis-like organ found in sharks. These organs are used to deposit sperms into the genital duct of sexually receptive female. source
My comment: Nice, huh? Ok, much to say here, but I'm running out of time. Check the source article to read that this might be the first evidence of foreplay. As I already said, we're really just starting to grasp the intelligence of dinosaurs from all kinds. Who knows what we could expect tomorrow.