Ancient news stories
New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification.
Alt: African Neolithic Populations Helped Create Sahara Desert, Research Suggests
The origins of plants may go back hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought, according to fossil evidence.
Ancient rocks from India suggest plants resembling red algae lived 1.6 billion years ago in what was then shallow sea.
24 feet tall and three feet wide, these giant spires dotted the ancient landscape
From around 420 to 350 million years ago, when land plants were still the relatively new kids on the evolutionary block and “the tallest trees stood just a few feet high,” giant spires of life poked from the Earth.
A set of chemical reactions occurring spontaneously in Earth’s early chemical environments could have provided the foundations upon which life evolved.
The discovery that a version of the Krebs cycle, which occurs in most living cells, can proceed in the absence of cellular proteins called enzymes suggests that metabolism is older than life itself.
It was around 1.6 billion years ago that a community of small, bright red, plantlike life-forms, flitting around in a shallow pool of prehistoric water, were etched into stone until the end of time. Or at least until a team of Swedish researchers chipped their fossilized remnants out of a sedimentary rock formation in central India.
Fifty-six million years ago, about 10 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct, something strange happened to our planet.
It got hot. Really hot.
Hotter than it had ever been since the Earth formed a few billion years earlier.
Italian researchers examining a medieval painting may have found the earliest visual depiction of dracunculiasis, a horrifying parasitic infection in which a worm up to 3 feet long creeps out of the skin.
A strap for a medieval false leg has been uncovered by archaeologists digging at Gloucester Cathedral.
Metal pieces from a prosthesis band were found with a skeleton in the old lay cemetery.
Was Alfred the Great really that great? If we judge him on the basis of new findings in landscape archaeology that are radically changing our understanding of warfare in the Viking Age, it would seem not. It looks like Alfred was a good propagandist rather than a visionary military leader.
The candidate for political office stood in a plaza, naked, bracing himself against the punches and kicks. The crowd roared, pulsing around him like a beating heart. People for whom he had risked his life in war after war hurled blows and insults from all directions. The candidate breathed deeply. Trained as a warrior, he knew he had to stay calm to reach the next phase of his candidacy.
In a lab in Frick Hall at California University of Pennsylvania, archaeology students sift through the finds of digs stored for as much as four decades. They are searching for clues to civilizations as much as two millennia old.
Alternative history’ researcher and author Graham Hancock has long postulated that a cataclysm some 12,000 years ago might have wiped out advanced civilisations. In his most recent book Magicians of the Gods he discusses at length the Younger Dryas period (c. 12,900 to c. 11,700 calendar years ago), which began when temperatures plummeted over the course of just a few decades – and the ‘heretical’ theory that this event may have been caused by a comet impact.
Now, two new papers recently published in respected journals may perhaps provide material support for that idea.
Lying at the ‘crossroads’ for north-south movements between the Sahara and the Mediterranean, Tunisia is one of the world’s key regions for under early human travels.
Researchers have now discovered animal bones and stone tools in the land that once formed a giant lake in Tunisia.
At one point, any new human fossil from hundreds of thousands of years ago might have drawn intrigue. If the new bones looked different from others that had been found before, they may have even been hailed as a new archaic human species, and given a taxonomic name in the genus Homo.
But some scientists say evidence is mounting that paleoanthropologists in the past may have been too quick to categorize hominin fossils as distinct species.
Alt: 400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal
The evolution of bipedalism in fossil humans can be detected using a key feature of the skull — a claim that was previously contested but now has been further validated by researchers at Stony Brook University and The University of Texas at Austin.
Big, small, broad, narrow, long or short, turned up, pug, hooked, bulbous or prominent, humans inherit their nose shape from their parents, but ultimately, the shape of someone’s nose and that of their parents was formed by a long process of adaptation to our local climate, according to an international team of researchers.
More than 1,000 years ago, several dotted, flake-shaped sections of the Great Wall stood in Xinjiang, protecting the border and the trade road. Recently, researchers from the China Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) analyzed the distribution of ancient Great Wall sections in Xinjiang using remote sensing technology. They also used the technology to “restore” the wall’s appearance.