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Amber fossils provide oldest evidence of frogs in wet, tropical forests

About 99 million years ago, a tiny juvenile frog in present-day Myanmar was suddenly trapped in sap with a beetle, perhaps its intended next meal. Unlucky for the frog, but lucky for science. 99-million-year-old amber fossils provide the earliest direct evidence of frogs living in wet, tropical forests [Credit: Lida Xing/China University of Geosciences]An extinct species now named Electrorana limoae, …Continue reading →

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DNA ‘fossils’ in fish, amphibians, and reptiles reveal deep diversity of retroviruses

Retroviruses, a broad category of viruses that infect humans and other vertebrates, have much greater diversity than previously thought, according to new research presented in PLOS Pathogens by Xiaoyu Xu and colleagues at Nanjing Normal University, China. Retroviruses, a broad category of viruses that infect humans and other vertebrates, have much greater diversity than previously thought, according to new research …Continue reading →

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Archaeologists find ancient rock art in Egypt’s Edfu

An Egyptian-American archaeological mission involving Yale University has uncovered a flint quarrying area that has been dated to several archaeological periods at the Elkab site in Edfu, on the west bank of the Nile near Aswan. Credit: Ministry of AntiquitiesThe discovery was revealed during the Elkab Desert Archaeological Survey Project at Bir Umm Tineidba, located at the juncture of Wadi …Continue reading →

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New research unveils true origin of Mesoamerican turquoise

New research published in the journal Science Advances overturns more than a century of thought about the source of turquoise used by ancient civilizations in Mesoamerica, the vast region that extends from Central Mexico to Central America. For more than 150 years, scholars have argued that the Aztec and Mixtec civilizations, which revered the precious, blue-green mineral, acquired it through …Continue reading →

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Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century

The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed. This view is held by archaeologists from Uppsala and York whose findings are presented in the European Journal of Archaeology. Top: a board-game piece made from whalebone at the end of the 6th century CE, found in Gnistahögen …Continue reading →

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Ancient agricultural activity caused lasting environmental changes in Ireland

Agricultural activity by humans more than 2,000 years ago had a more significant and lasting impact on the environment than previously thought. The finding– discovered by a team of international researchers led by the University of British Columbia– is reported in a new study published in the journal Science Advances. An increase in deforestation, agricultural activity and pastoral farming during …Continue reading →

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Harappan site of Rakhigarhi: DNA study claims to debunk Aryan invasion theory

The much-awaited DNA study of the skeletal remains found at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, Haryana, shows no Central Asian trace, indicating the Aryan invasion theory was flawed and Vedic evolution was through indigenous people. The Aryan invasion theory holds forth that a set of migrants came from Central Asia armed with superior knowledge and arms and invaded the existing …Continue reading →

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Scientists discover a new way to find mass extinctions

During the history of the Earth, there were many mass extinctions, when huge numbers of species died out. They are usually easy to identify because of the sudden extinctions, followed by a gap, and then the recovery of life. Graph showing the break point analysis. Red circles are the seven Triassic faunas, and the size of the circle represents the …Continue reading →

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For 100 million years, amber freezes a tableau of tick’s worst day ever

One day in Myanmar during the Cretaceous period, a tick managed to ensnare itself in a spider web. Realizing its predicament, the tick struggled to get free. But the spider that built the web was having none of it. The spider popped over to the doomed tick and quickly wrapped it up in silk, immobilizing it for eternity. This silk-wrapped …Continue reading →

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Masses of methane from mud volcanoes

In the seabed, there are numerous microorganisms that play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Up to now, however, it has not been understood to what extent geodynamic processes such as the subduction of oceanic plates influence this microbial activity and, in turn, impact the carbon balance. A study, carried out by an international team of researchers including …Continue reading →

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