Ancient news stories
Researchers at the University of Southampton have published research which shows evidence that a particular cave on the island of Jersey in the English Channel was used as a shelter by Neanderthals. What makes this find fascinating and mysterious is the fact that the same cave was used for over 180,000 years as a shelter as Neanderthals migrated due to shifts in climate.
Bits of wood recovered from a 1.2-million-year-old tooth found at an excavation site in northern Spain indicate that the ancient relatives of man may have use a kind of toothpick. Toothbrushes were not around yet, if the amount of hardened tartar build-up is anything to go by.
Megalodon is the extinct species of giant shark that is considered to be at the top of everyone’s all-time greatest predator list. Its name in ancient Greek means “big tooth” because big tooth fossils are the primary proof of its existence.
Tibetan mastiffs thrive where most dogs and people can’t: in the thin, frigid mountain air above 4000 meters. A new study suggests they acquired this talent by interbreeding with gray wolves that already ranged to such heights more than 20,000 years ago. Intriguingly, Tibetan people received their high-altitude fitness via the same mechanism—by interbreeding with now extinct humans known as Denisovans.
A long time ago, in a world not so far away, a young man who longed for adventure was swept up in a galactic war. Forced to choose between two sides in the deadly battle, he befriended a group of scrappy fighters who captained… three-headed vultures, giant fleas and space spiders?
Nearly 2,000 years before George Lucas created his epic space opera Star Wars, Lucian of Samosata (a province in modern-day Turkey) wrote the world’s first novel featuring space travel and interplanetary battles. True History was published around 175 CE during the height of the Roman Empire.
The decades-old mystery of what caused a killer fog that claimed the lives of thousands of people here appears to have been solved by a team of international scientists.
A group of wall paintings in Stratford-upon-Avon’s Guild Chapel should have been destroyed in 1563, but John Shakespeare had them covered in limewash instead, preserving them for centuries.
Upon entering the Egyptian Museum as tourists scan the cases of “wonderful things,” one case containing a stunning sarcophagus stands out. It’s eye catching not only because of the beauty of the artifact, but also because the label describing its location says “United States of America.” No, this is not a reproduction—it’s a stolen antiquity that was trafficked out of Egypt, and one of the few looted pieces that has made its way home.
It’s plunder on a mighty scale. An archaeological emergency will be declared in Mali today as ancient sites are destroyed and its heritage flows out of the country.
As the foreman for a cattle ranch in the far reaches of the Brazilian Amazon, Lailson Camelo da Silva was razing trees to convert rain forest into pasture when he stumbled across a bizarre arrangement of towering granite blocks.
“I had no idea that I was discovering the Amazon’s own Stonehenge,”
Alt: The mystery of the ‘Amazon Stonehenge’: 1,000-year-old Megalithic stone circle in Brazil hints that ancient civilizations were more sophisticated than first thought
Is there anything the Mayans didn’t do? If you said “Build the world’s first superhighways,” give your Magic 8-Ball another shake and try again because a new study has found evidence in Guatemala of a 2,000-year-old network of roads covering over 240 km (150 miles) that was used by the Mayans there for travel and for transporting goods.
The driest desert on Earth may once have had lakes and wetlands, scientists report.
They have found the remnants of freshwater plants and animals buried in the arid plains of Chile’s Atacama Desert.
This watery period dates to between 9,000 and 17,000 years ago.
For a period about a million years ago Greenland wasn’t covered in ice. Researchers say the discovery suggests it’s possible the ice sheet could go away again.
Before now, scientists didn’t know whether Greenland’s ice sheet was so stable that it would just weather any climate changes, or if there were ever a period in which Greenland was, if not verdant, at least a bit rocky.
Europe’s earliest humans did not use fire, but had a balanced diet of meat and plants — all eaten raw, according to a team of researchers led by Karen Hardy of the University of York and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Three has become five. Laetoli in northern Tanzania is the site of iconic ancient footprints, capturing the moment – 3.66 million years ago – when three members of Lucy’s species (Australopithecus afarensis) strode out across the landscape.
Now something quite unexpected has come to light: the footprints of two other individuals.
Alt: ‘Lucy’ Species May Have Been Polygynous
Although we call erections “boners,” anyone who has basic familiarity with human anatomy knows our slang deceives us—for unlike most mammals, men have no penis bones. For decades scientists have wondered, “Why? No? Penis Bone?” A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society might finally answer the mystery of what killed the penis bone: monogamy.
We aren’t sure whether they could speak, let alone intone liturgy over their dead in the light of controlled fires, but a child’s burial site in Spain suggests they might well have, say archaeologists.