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February, 2018

Archaeologist uncovers hidden history of conquistadors in American South

Chris Rodning, the Paul and Debra Gibbons Professor in the Tulane School of Liberal Arts’ Department of Anthropology, unravels early entanglements between Native Americans and European explorers, revealing how their interactions shaped the history of the American South. An image taken in June 2017 by a camera mounted on a drone displays the exposed remnants of Fort San Juan. Excavations …Continue reading →

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Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific

New genetic research reveals the complex demographic history of Vanuatu, explaining how Austronesian languages were retained throughout its history despite near-total replacement of early Austronesian-Lapita with Papuan ancestry Young men in canoes in Northwest Malakula, Vanuatu [Credit: Russell Gray & Heidi Colleran]The study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution and led by a multidisciplinary research team at the Max… [[ …Continue reading →

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Humans changed the ecosystems of Central Africa more than 2,600 years ago

Fields, streets and cities, but also forests planted in rank and file, and dead straight rivers: humans shape nature to better suit their purposes, and not only since the onset of industrialization. Such influences are well documented in the Amazonian rainforest. On the other hand, the influence of humans was debated in Central Africa where major interventions seem to have …Continue reading →

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Life in world’s driest desert seen as sign of potential life on Mars

For the first time, researchers have seen life rebounding in the world’s driest desert, demonstrating that it could also be lurking in the soils of Mars. Hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert [Credit: Dirk Schulze-Makuch]Led by Washington State University planetary scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an international team studied the driest corner of South America’s Atacama Desert, where decades pass without any …Continue reading →

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15,000-year-old artefacts discovered along Scotland’s Aberdeen bypass

Artefacts and structures found during archaeological excavations on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project are shedding light on land use and settlement in the north east over the past 15,000 years, including Mesolithic pits, Roman bread ovens, prehistoric roundhouses and a cremation complex. A beaker from the Chalcolithic period; a fluted carinated bowl from early Neolithic times; …Continue reading →

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Fossil turtle species, 5.5 million years old, sheds light on invasive modern relatives

A University of Pennsylvania paleontologist has described a 5.5 million-year-old fossil species of turtle from eastern Tennessee. It represents a new species of the genus Trachemys, commonly known as sliders, which are frequently kept as pets today. Trachemys haugrudi represents a new species of fossil turtle that lived in what is now eastern Tennessee more than 5.5 million years ago …Continue reading →

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Researchers sequence complete genomes of extinct and living elephants

An international team of researchers has produced one of the most comprehensive evolutionary pictures to date by looking at one of the world’s most iconic animal families – namely elephants, and their relatives mammoths and mastodons-spanning millions of years. Crushed dentine from a Woolly Mammoth for DNA extraction [Credit: JD Howell, McMaster University]The team of scientists-which included researchers from McMaster, …Continue reading →

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King penguins may be on the move very soon

More than 70 percent of the global King penguin population, currently forming colonies in Crozet, Kerguelen and Marion sub-Antarctic islands, may be nothing more than a memory in a matter of decades, as global warming will soon force the birds to move south, or disappear. This is the conclusion of a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change and …Continue reading →

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Geological change confirmed as a factor behind the extensive diversity in tropical rainforests

The tropical rainforests of Central and South America are home to the largest diversity of plants on this planet. Nowhere else are there quite so many different plant species in one place. However, the entire region is increasingly threatened by human activity, which is why researchers are stepping up their efforts to record this astonishing biodiversity and find out how …Continue reading →

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Beaming with the light of millions of suns

In the 1980s, researchers began discovering extremely bright sources of X-rays in the outer portions of galaxies, away from the supermassive black holes that dominate their centers. At first, researchers thought these cosmic objects, called ultraluminous X-ray sources, or ULXs, were hefty black holes with more than ten times the mass of the sun. But observations beginning in 2014 from …Continue reading →

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