The Things I Like

John's blog on Art, Technology, design and more!

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Graeco-Roman baths discovered in Egypt

An Egyptian Archaeological Mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities has uncovered Parts of a huge red brick building during excavations carried out at San El-Hagar archaeological site at Gharbia Governorate. Credit: Ministry of AntiquitiesDr. Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities explains that the discovered building most probably is a part of a bath dating back to the …Continue reading →

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When the dinosaurs died, so did forests – and tree-dwelling birds

Sixty-six million years ago, the world burned. An asteroid crashed to Earth with a force one million times larger than the largest atomic bomb, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. But dinosaurs weren’t the only ones that got hit hard–in a new study, scientists learned that the planet’s forests were decimated, leading to the extinction of tree-dwelling birds. The asteroid …Continue reading →

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How human brains became so big

The human brain is disproportionately large. And while abundant grey matter confers certain intellectual advantages, sustaining a big brain is costly – consuming a fifth of energy in the human body. Dr Diana Rivas displays a human brain on a working surface at the “Museum of Neuropathology” in Lima, Peru [Credit: Ernesto Benavides/AFP]It is an oddity that has long flummoxed …Continue reading →

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Archaeologists post research data from Sudan online

Graves, small huts or stone-lined sleeping places from antiquity and the Middle Ages: the “Wadi Abu Dom Itinerary” archaeological project being undertaken at the University of Münster’s Institute of Egyptology and Coptology is now putting its data online, gathered between 2009 and 2016 during field research in Sudan. Academics, as well as anyone in the general public who is interested, …Continue reading →

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1,000-year-old mummy discovered in Peru

A team from the Université libre de Bruxelles’s centre for archaeological research (CReA-Patrimoine) has completed a significant excavation in Pachacamac, Peru, where they have discovered an intact mummy in especially good condition. Pachacamac’s status as a Pre-Colombian pilgrimage site under the Inca empire. is confirmed by further evidence. The Pachacamac mummy inside the funeral bundle, surrounded by offerings [Credit: ULB/P…. …Continue reading →

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Simulating the prehistoric use of fire through computer models

Archaeologists often use the percentages of heat-affected stone or bone artifacts found at archaeological sites as a way to determine how frequently fire was used by the inhabitants. Andrew Sorensen and Fulco Scherjon have come up with a computer model called ‘fiReproxies’ to simulate how fires used by prehistoric peoples affect artefacts buried in the substrate below. Credit: Leiden UniversityFiReproxies …Continue reading →

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A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core

Ice cores offer a window into the history of Earth’s climate. Layers of ice reveal past temperatures, and gases trapped in bubbles reveal past atmospheric composition. The oldest continuous ice core so far comes from Dome C in East Antarctica and extends back 800,000 years. The Allan Hills has older, blue ice exposed at the surface. Researchers towed their instrument …Continue reading →

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‘Uniquely human’ muscles have been discovered in apes

Muscles once thought ‘uniquely human’ have been discovered in several ape species, challenging long-held theories on the origin and evolution of human soft tissues. The findings question the anthropocentric view that certain muscles evolved for the sole purpose of providing special adaptations for human traits, such as walking on two legs, tool use, vocal communication and facial expressions. Published in …Continue reading →

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Utah fossil reveals global exodus of mammals’ near relatives to major continents

A nearly 130-million-year-old fossilized skull found in Utah is an Earth-shattering discovery in one respect. The new species Cifelliodon wahkarmoosuch is estimated to have weighed 2.5 pounds and probably grew to be about the size of a small hare [Credit: Keck School of Medicine of USC/Jorge A. Gonzalez]The small fossil is evidence that the super-continental split likely occurred more recently …Continue reading →

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Coprolites reveal Early Cretaceous aquatic vertebrate diversity

Ancient fossils faeces found in central Spain belonged to fish-eating carnivores from the Early Cretaceous, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sandra Barrios de Pedro from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, and colleagues. Coprolites [Credit: Barrios de Pedro, et al. (2018)]Fossilized faeces, or coprolites, provide unique clues about the diet and feeding behaviors …Continue reading →

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