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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Ancient Transylvanians - the new name of Thracians?! 2011


  1. Neanderthals ate a well balanced diet
  2. All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm
  3. Few grandparents until 30,000 years ago
  4. Ancient farmers swiftly spread westward
  5. "Chilling" Child Sacrifices Found at Prehistoric Site
  6. Archaeology: 8000 year-old Sun temple found in Bulgaria
  7. Ancient Transylvanians Rich in Gold, Treasure Shows 

Neanderthals ate a well balanced diet

Researchers from George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered evidence to debunk the theory that Neanderthals’ disappearance was caused in part by a deficient diet – one that lacked variety and was overly reliant on meat. After discovering starch granules from plant food trapped in the dental calculus on 40-thousand-year-old Neanderthal teeth, the scientists believe that Neanderthals ate a wide variety of plants and included cooked grains as part of a more sophisticated, diverse diet similar to early modern humans.
The discovery of starch granules in the calculus on Neanderthal teeth provides direct evidence that they made sophisticated, thoughtful food choices and ate more nutrient-rich plants, for example date palms, legumes and grains such as barley. The researchers discovered starch granules in dental calculus – which forms when plaque build-up hardens – on the fossilized teeth of Neanderthal skeletons – excavated from Shanidar Cave in Iraq and Spy Cave in Belgium. The researchers also determined from alterations they observed in the starch granules that Neanderthals prepared and cooked starch-rich foods to make them taste better and easier to digest. source
My comment: It's kind of funny how researchers refute a theory after theory about the reason behind the disappearing of the Neanderthals. Sooner or later they'll have to figure out that the answer, obviously, is not so simple.

All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm

Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal's Department of Pediatrics and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center conducted the study with his colleagues. They determined some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals, but only in people of non-African heritage.
"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," Labuda was quoted as saying in a press release. His team believes most, if not all, of the interbreeding took place in the Middle East, while modern humans were migrating out of Africa and spreading to other regions.
The ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago. They evolved over the millennia mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They went extinct, or were simply absorbed into the modern human population, about 30,000 years ago.
My comment: I don't get precisely how they decided the two populations mixed in the Middle East and not in Europe, but I'm sure they have some decent reasons. Maybe the idea is that Homo Sapiens passed trough there on their way to the world, but I think this theory is kind of shaky now that they found some very old remains of Homo Sapiens in Asia. Anyway, I find it very interesting that they finally proved we interbred with Neanderthals.

Few grandparents until 30,000 years ago

In the article, Rachel Caspari describes how analysis of the teeth of Neanderthals found in Croatia, who lived about 130,000 years ago, suggests “no one survived past 30”.
They calculated the ratio of older to younger adults – the OY ratio – in fossil samples of 768 individuals spanning 3million years, stretching back from the most primitive australopithecines to modern Europeans of the early Upper Paelolithic, who lived between 30,000 and 20,000 years ago. The researchers found that for every 10 young adult Neanderthals, who probably died between 15 and 30, there were just four who survived past 30 and so lived long enough to see their children have babies themselves.
Among the modern European group, however, there were 20 potential grandparents for every 10 young adults, concluding that “adult survivorship soared very late in human evolution”.
The researchers say they do not know why so many of this group started to live longer, but once they did it helped their societies greatly.
My comment: While I agree that their study sounds intriguing, I think it's hard to judge about the benefit of longer life, when you don't know exactly what's the dynamic of the society. If the active life of the people starts at 11, then 30 is not so young anymore. I suppose this should be more a sign of the stability of the society than of the knowledge passed throughout the generations. Simply because we know already that the Neanderthals had similar lifestyle as the Homo Sapiens regardless their shorter average lifespan.Then they obviously had a way to pass the knowledge.

Ancient farmers swiftly spread westward


Farming villages sprouted swiftly in this coastal region of Croatia, called Dalmatia, nearly 8,000 years ago, apparently with the arrival of Middle Easterners already adept at growing crops and herding animals, says archaeologist Andrew Moore of Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
Plant cultivation and animal raising started almost 8,000 years ago at Pokrovnik and lasted for close to a millennium, according to radiocarbon dating of charred seeds and bones from a series of occupation layers. Comparable practices at Danilo Bitinj lasted from about 7,300 to 6,800 years ago.
“Farming came to Dalmatia abruptly, spread rapidly and took hold immediately,” Moore says.
Other evidence supports a fast spread of sophisticated farming methods from the Middle East into Europe (SN: 2/5/05, p. 88), remarks Harvard University archaeologist Ofer Bar-Yosef. Farming villages in western Greece date to about 9,000 years ago, he notes. Middle Eastern farmers exploited a wide array of domesticated plants and animals by 10,500 years ago, setting the stage for a westward migration, Bar-Yosef says.
Excavated seeds and plant parts show that ancient villagers grew nine different domestic plants — including emmer, oats and lentils — and gathered blackberries and other wild fruits.Animal bones found at the two villages indicate that residents primarily herded sheep and goats, along with some cattle and a small number of pigs.
Diverse food sources provided a hedge against regional fluctuations in rainfall and growing seasons, according to Moore.
Aside from farming, Neolithic villagers in Dalmatia were “oriented toward the sea, and enjoyed extensive long-distance contacts,” Moore adds. source
My comment: The only thing I'd like to add is that there were no ancient Greek settlements 9000years ago. They were pelasgians. Or Thracians if you like. But not Greek! Otherwise, I'm not surprised by the study. It justs proves what we already know - that the agriculture spread trough the Balkans to Western Europe at about that time. 

"Chilling" Child Sacrifices Found at Prehistoric Site

John Roachfor National Geographic News Published December 23, 2010
The skeletons of dozens of children killed as part of a ritual bloodletting sacrifice a thousand years ago have been discovered in northern Peru, a new study says.
The remains are the earliest evidence of ritualized blood sacrifice and mutilation of children that has so far been seen in the South American Andes, according to study leader Haagen Klaus.
Seeds of a paralytic and hallucinogenic plant called Nectandra, which also prevents blood clotting, were found with the skeletons, suggesting the children were drugged before their throats were slit and their chests cut open.
During the sacrifices, sharp bronze knives were used to hack the children to death. One skeleton had more than 25 cut marks on it. A few had their hands and legs bound with rope.
Eighty-two skeletons of the Muchik people—including 32 that were mostly or completely intact—have been discovered since 2003 at the Cerro Cerillos site in the Lambayeque Valley on Peru's arid northern coast.
It's unclear why their chests were cut open, but it may have been to cut out their hearts, Klaus said.
In many Andean cultures, Klaus added, children may have been seen as conduits to communicate with the supernatural. What's more, in the Muchik cosmology, children may not have been seen as humans at all.
After the bloodletting was over, the children were allowed to mummify in the desert air for at least a month, the study concluded. Empty fly pupa were found with the kids' remains, indicating that maggots ate their flesh during natural decomposition.
In ancient beliefs, the hatched fly carried deceased children's souls away and signified a reverent burial, according to Klaus.
Llama remains were also found with the bodies, suggesting that the funerals of many victims were accompanied by "solemn and very serious" feasts that included llama meat, Klaus noted.
The heads and legs of llamas were "given" to the dead, presumably to feed them in the afterlife.
The Moche were independently governed agricultural societies that ruled the region from about A.D. 100 to 800.  sourceMy comment: Ok, what I don't understand is why would they believe the children did not have soul and then make a big funeral which shows respect. It simply makes no sense. If those were sacrifices at all (and not say medical experiments which as crazy as it may sounds is not completely impossible), then those people killed the children with the clear knowledge that they sacrifice a human, if not even a higher being. It simply amazes me how prejudiced scientists can be.

Archaeology: 8000 year-old Sun temple found in Bulgaria

Wed, Dec 15 2010 13:35 CETby The Sofia Echo staff

The oldest temple of the Sun has been discovered in northwest Bulgaria, near the town of Vratsa, aged at more then 8000 years, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported on December 15 2010.
The Bulgarian 'Stonehenge' is hence about 3000 years older than its illustrious English counterpart. But unlike its more renowned English cousin, the Bulgarian sun temple was not on the surface, rather it was dug out from under tons of earth and is shaped in the form of a horse shoe, the report said.
The temple was found near the village of Ohoden. According to archaeologists, the prehistoric people used the celestial facility to calculate the seasons and to determine the best times for sowing and harvest. The site was also used for rituals, offering gifts to the Sun for fertility as BNT reported.
This area of Bulgaria was previously made famous because remnants of the oldest people who lived in this part of Europe were found.
My comment: No comment, really. I'm just glad to see the findings of our archaeologists being popularized. They deserve it. And for further findings check this:
Archaeology: Discovery of Gothic amulet at Bulgaria’s Perperikon - Gothic amulet with a swastika dedicated to Odin, supreme god of the Germanic tribes, has been discovered by archaeologists at Bulgaria’s ancient holy site of Perperikon near Kurdjali.  It is believed that the amulet belonged to a warrior who participated in the capture of the rock city 17 centuries ago. - Though I'm not sure how they dated the amulet so quickly - it could be much older. 

Ancient Transylvanians Rich in Gold, Treasure Shows