Ancient news stories

Neanderthals and modern humans made babies 47,000 years ago
23rd May 2024 | science.org | Ancient, Humans

Most people alive today carry traces of genes inherited from Neanderthals—the enduring legacy of prehistoric hookups with our extinct cousins. But researchers have long debated when and where that mingling happened and whether these were one-off romps or commonplace trysts. Now, an analysis of ancient and modern genomes suggests contemporary people’s Neanderthal DNA came from a single, prolonged period of mixing some 47,000 years ago.

Ancient DNA study reveals population history of Western Tibetan Plateau
22nd May 2024 phys.org | Ancient, Humans

According to a study published in Current Biology on May 22, the genetic components of the ancient populations in the western Tibetan Plateau are closest to ancient populations in the southern Tibetan Plateau, and their major genetic components have been maintained over the past 3,500 years.

Legacy of Indigenous stewardship of camas dates back more than 3,500 years, study finds
21st May 2024 phys.org | Ancient, Earth, Humans

The findings contribute to the growing body of research around Traditional Ecological Knowledge and practices, demonstrating the care and specificity with which Indigenous groups have been stewarding and cultivating natural resources for millennia. The work is published in The Holocene journal.

‘More Neanderthal than human’: How your health may depend on DNA from our long-lost ancestors
20th May 2024 | livescience.com | Ancient, Humans

Neanderthals and humans mated millennia ago, and their legacy lives on in us today. Here’s how.

Mysterious ‘Anomaly’ Buried Near Giza Pyramids Baffles Archaeologists
20th May 2024 | sciencealert.com | Ancient, Humans, Tech

Slowly but surely, the ground is regurgitating its secrets. The history that lies buried beneath the swirling sands of time yields, piece by piece, to technology. But one such piece, in a well-explored region, has archaeologists a little baffled. The team’s findings have been published in Archaeological Prospection.

Bizarre evolutionary roots of Africa’s iconic upside-down baobab trees revealed
17th May 2024 | livescience.com | Ancient, Earth

The iconic, “upside-down” baobab tree first emerged on the island of Madagascar, new research into its tangled evolutionary history reveals. It’s still not clear, however, how it jumped from Madagascar to Australia. See the new study, which was published Wednesday (May 15) in the journal Nature.

Great Mystery of How Ancient Egyptians Built The Pyramids Finally Appears Solved
17th May 2024 | sciencealert.com | Ancient, Humans

Scientists have discovered a long-buried branch of the Nile river that once flowed alongside more than 30 pyramids in Egypt, potentially solving the mystery of how ancient Egyptians transported the massive stone blocks to build the famous monuments…according to a study revealing the find on Thursday.

First warm-blooded dinosaurs adapted to cool climates
16th May 2024 cosmosmagazine.com | Ancient, Animal Life, Earth

The first dinosaurs to have a warm-blooded metabolism might have emerged 180 million years ago during the early Jurassic period, according to a new study. New research published in the journal Current Biology might have answered that question.

130,000-year-old Neanderthal-carved bear bone is symbolic art, study argues
16th May 2024 | livescience.com | Ancient, Humans

A nearly 130,000-year-old bear bone was deliberately marked with cuts and might be one of the oldest art pieces in Eurasia crafted by the Neanderthals, researchers say. In the new study, the researchers examined the bone with a 3D microscope and computed tomography (CT) scans, which enabled them to make a digital model of the bone.

Three stars circling the Milky Way’s halo formed 12 to 13 billion years ago
15th May 2024 phys.org | Ancient, Humans

MIT researchers, including several undergraduate students, have discovered three of the oldest stars in the universe, and they happen to live in our own galactic neighborhood. They have published their findings (May 14) in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Tracking Humans’ First Footsteps in North America
14th May 2024 | smithsonianmag.com | Ancient, Humans

For many decades, archaeologists were convinced that the first people to arrive in the Americas came some 13,000 years ago, after the Ice Age glaciers melted. The White Sands footprints, whose age scholars estimated again, in a paper published this past October, by analyzing tree pollen and quartz grains in the sedimentary layers, provide the most conclusive evidence to date that humans were actually here much earlier, toward the end of the last ice age. It’s possible that they reached North America more than 32,000 years ago.

Mysterious L-shaped structure found in Giza cemetery — what is it?
14th May 2024 | livescience.com | Ancient, Humans

An enigmatic L-shaped structure found underground near the pyramids at Giza may be an entrance to a mysterious deeper feature below it. The team found an anomaly roughly 6.5 feet (2 meters) beneath the surface. It appears to be an L-shaped structure measuring at least 33 feet (10 m) in length, the team wrote in their paper, published May 5 in the journal Archaeological Prospection.

Should the Stone Age be called the Wood Age?
14th May 2024 cosmosmagazine.com | Ancient, Humans

New research suggests it might be more correct to call the Stone Age the “Wood Age”… a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that “Stone Age” might be a misnomer. Unlike stone, wood doesn’t age well. Wooden objects perish over thousands of years. Recently, however, thousands of wooden artefacts from the distant human past have been uncovered.

Rock art of boats and cattle found in the middle of Sudanese desert
13th May 2024 cosmosmagazine.com | Ancient, Humans

A pair of archaeologists have uncovered a strange series of rock art carvings that show boats and cattle – both vitally in need of water to work properly – in the middle of one of the driest parts of the African desert. The pair have published their findings in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

30,000 years of history reveals that hard times boost human societies’ resilience
13th May 2024 | livescience.com | Ancient, Humans

The old saying may be true: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. At least that’s the case for human civilizations across 30,000 years of history, according to a new analysis published May 1 in the journal Nature.

Neolithic site in Orkney to be reburied after 20 years of excavation
12th May 2024 | theguardian.com | Ancient, Humans

After one final dig, world heritage site Ness of Brodgar is to be covered up to protect it for future generations

News stories covering history, archaeology, ancient Egypt, and mysteries of the past.