Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago

The Toba super-eruption was one of the largest volcanic events over the last two million years, about 5,000 times larger than Mount St. Helen’s eruption in the 1980s. The eruption occurred 74,000 years ago on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was argued to have ushered in a “volcanic winter” lasting six to ten years, … Read more Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago

By gum! Scientists find new 110-million-year-old treasure

A remarkable new treasure has been found by scientists from the University of Portsmouth – the first fossil plant gum on record. The beautiful, amber-like material has been discovered in 110 million year old fossilised leaves. University of Portsmouth PhD student Emily Roberts, made the discovery while examining fossilised leaves of the Welwitschiophyllum plant, found in the … Read more By gum! Scientists find new 110-million-year-old treasure

Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

Australia’s first plant foods – eaten by early populations 65,000 years ago – have been discovered in Arnhem Land. Preserved as pieces of charcoal, the morsels were recovered from the debris of ancient cooking hearths at the Madjedbebe archaeological site, on Mirarr country in northern Australia. University of Queensland archaeobotanist Anna Florin said a team … Read more Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Catfish and tilapia make up many of the animal remains uncovered in the Saharan environment of the Takarkori rock shelter in southwestern Libya, according to a study published February 19, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wim Van Neer from the the Natural History Museum in Belgium, Belgium and Savino di Lernia, Sapienza University of … Read more Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Ancient gut microbiomes shed light on human evolution

The microbiome of our ancestors might have been more important for human evolution than previously thought, according to a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. An adaptive gut microbiome could have been critical for human dispersal, allowing our ancestors to survive in new geographic areas. “In this paper, we begin to consider what … Read more Ancient gut microbiomes shed light on human evolution

Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

The first articulated Neanderthal skeleton to come out of the ground for over 20 years has been unearthed at one of the most important sites of mid-20th century archaeology: Shanidar Cave, in the foothills of Iraqi Kurdistan. Researchers say the new find offers an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the “mortuary practices” of this lost species … Read more Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

The dinosaur in the cupboard under the stairs

The mystery surrounding dinosaur footprints on a cave ceiling in Central Queensland has been solved after more than a half a century. University of Queensland palaeontologist Dr Anthony Romilio discovered pieces to a decades-old puzzle in an unusual place – a cupboard under the stairs of a suburban Sydney home. The research has been published in … Read more The dinosaur in the cupboard under the stairs

Reconstructing the diet of fossil vertebrates

Information on what our ancestors ate is based mainly on carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of the structural protein collagen in bones and dentin. Nitrogen isotope analysis, in particular, helps scientists determine whether animal or plant food was consumed. Since collagen, like proteins in general, is not easily conservable, this method cannot be used to … Read more Reconstructing the diet of fossil vertebrates

Researchers were not right about left brains

The left and right side of our brain are specialized for some cognitive abilities. For example, in humans, language is processed predominantly in the left hemisphere, and the right hand is controlled by the motor cortex in the left hemisphere. The functional lateralization is reflected by morphological asymmetry of the brain. Left and right hemisphere … Read more Researchers were not right about left brains

Extinct giant turtle had horned shell of up to three meters

The tropical region of South America is one of the world’s hot spots when it comes to animal diversity. The region’s extinct fauna is unique, as documented by fossils of giant rodents and crocodylians -including crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gavials – that inhabited what is today a desert area in Venezuela. Five to ten million … Read more Extinct giant turtle had horned shell of up to three meters