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March 17 2015

The Largest Known Bronze Mask of Pan Uncovered


A large bronze mask of the god Pan, the only of its kind, was uncovered at the excavation at Hippos-Sussita National Park. According to experts, bronze masks of this size are extremely rare and usually do not depict Pan or any of the other Greek or Roman mythological images.


Related: 2,000-year-old sword found in Henan

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March 17 2015

Oldest Roman Fort Protected Soldiers from 'Infamous Pirates'


Using airborne laser scanners, researchers have discovered ancient fortifications in Italy that make up the oldest known Roman military camp, where soldiers may have fought pirates more than 2,000 years ago.

This camp may help reveal clues about how the Romans developed their army, and the structures might have served as the foundations of the modern Italian city of Trieste, the researchers said in the new study.

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March 17 2015

Ancients Set Stage for Collapse of Teotihuacan


A recent study paints a picture of a great ancient Mexican city-state that eventually collapsed, at least in part, due to the weight of its own internal social, political and economic struggles.

Known as Teotihuacán, the enigmatic end of this ancient, powerful central Mexican civilization has been the subject of a variety of theories and explanations, including warfare, draught, and internal unrest or conflict, to name a few. The latest study, however, points to internal social and economic struggles characteristic of a mixed, complex and fractured social fabric and power structure that essentially set the stage for conditions leading to its downfall.

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March 17 2015

Did Atlantis really exist on the Moroccan coast?


FOR centuries, historians, archaeologists and scuba divers have sought — and failed over and over again — to find Atlantis, the glorious ancient metropolis that was lost beneath the waves.

But what if the wave was lost beneath the city? That is, what if the “sunken” metropolis was, in fact, only sunken briefly by a tsunami wave, which wreaked colossal destruction before receding back to the sea.

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March 17 2015

Unearthing an Iron Age Sanctuary in the Mediterranean


In the summer of 2015 a team of archaeologists will begin excavation of a cyclopean sanctuary located on the Mediterranean island of Menorca. This type of building is monumental and exclusive to this island, with no parallel around the world. Because of this, fieldwork at this building will offer the opportunity to both researchers and excavators to uncover a unique megalithic religious center, where they will obtain information about the ritual practices carried out there and the whole meaning of the building in relation to their users: the so-called Talayotic society.

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March 16 2015

Circular thinking: Stonehenge's origin is subject of new theory


Whether it was a Druid temple, an astronomical calendar or a centre for healing, the mystery of Stonehenge has long been a source of speculation and debate. Now a dramatic new theory suggests that the prehistoric monument was in fact “an ancient Mecca on stilts”.

The megaliths would not have been used for ceremonies at ground level, but would instead have supported a circular wooden platform on which ceremonies were performed to the rotating heavens, the theory suggests.

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March 16 2015

Ring brings ancient Viking, Islamic civilizations closer together


More than a century after its discovery in a ninth century woman’s grave, an engraved ring has revealed evidence of close contacts between Viking Age Scandinavians and the Islamic world.

Excavators of a Viking trading center in Sweden called Birka recovered the silver ring in the late 1800s. Until now, it was thought that it featured a violet amethyst engraved with Arabic-looking characters. But closer inspection with a scanning electron microscope revealed that the presumed amethyst is colored glass (an exotic material at the time).

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March 16 2015

Robot Funerals Reflect Our Humanity


A Japanese funeral service held for broken AIBO robot dogs may seem strange in the eyes of many Westerners. Owners of AIBOs often treat their robots as beloved pets and family members rather than just machines—an openness that arises in part from Japan’s cultural attitudes toward robots. But the robot funeral also reflects more universal tendencies of human psychology that go beyond Japanese culture.


Related: Teaching Robots To Be Moral

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March 16 2015

The Plan to Build a Skyscraper That Doesn’t Cast a Shadow


Growing cities around the world have nowhere to go but up, leading to taller and taller buildings. But while mega-skyscrapers are the most efficient way to build new homes, they also cast long shadows, drawing the ire of people living and working below. One solution: a pair of buildings that work together, reflecting sunlight to minimize shade.

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March 16 2015

For the first time, the world economy grows while carbon emissions don't


For the last 40 years, whenever the world economy grew, so did the Earth's carbon dioxide levels — until 2014, The Washington Post reports. The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that in 2014, the economy grew and CO2 levels didn't.

In the past, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions was due to an economic downturn. That's because economic growth is often linked to increased energy use, which in turn increases emissions. The "decoupling" of the economy and carbon emissions was likely the result of efforts by energy companies to fight climate change, the IEA says.

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March 16 2015

Light pollution shown to affect plant growth and food webs


Artificial night time light from sources such as street lamps affects the growth and flowering of plants and even the number of insects that depend on those plants for food, a study published today confirms.

The research shows that light pollution can impact the natural environment in complex ways that may be hard to predict. Due to the global extent of artificial light at night, there are concerns that these ecological impacts may be widespread.

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March 16 2015

The Fate Of The World's Chocolate Depends On This Spot In Rural England


Walk into a row of greenhouses in rural Britain, and a late English-winter day transforms to a swampy, humid tropical afternoon. You could be in Latin America or Sub-Saharan Africa. Which is exactly how cocoa plants like it.

"It's all right this time of year. It gets a bit hot later on in the summer," says greenhouse technician Heather Lake as she fiddles with a tray of seedlings — a platter of delicate, spindly, baby cocoa plants.

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March 16 2015

The world is running out of burial space


There is a looming problem in many parts of the world over what to do with dead bodies, as pressure on burial space intensifies.

The industrial revolution, in the 18th and 19th Centuries, saw a mass migration from small villages and towns to cities. Previously, most people had lived in rural locations and would be buried in the local church's graveyard.

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March 16 2015

There are too many studies, new study finds


Science is drowning in studies, and it took a study to expose it.

In a paper entitled 'Attention decay in science', professors from universities in Finland and California conclude that "the exponential growth in the number of scientific papers makes it increasingly difficult for researchers to keep track of all the publications relevant to their work.

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March 16 2015

Love Hormone Makes Dogs Even Better Friends


Does your dog obey your every command? It might be thanks to the bonding hormone oxytocin.

A new Australian study has found that dogs were better at following cues to find a hidden treat after they were given oxytocin.

The findings provide the best clues yet on how dogs might have evolved to be humans' best friend, and could help pave the way for breeding dogs that respond even better to human cues, said researcher Jessica Oliva, who carried out the research as part of her PhD in biological sciences at Monash University.

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March 16 2015

Science of love: It really is all in the mind, say experts


What is this thing called love? Cole Porter wasn’t the first to ask. From mystified poets to angst-ridden teens, the question of what exactly love is has troubled us since long before the master songwriter put pen to paper.

Now, though, scientists claim to have uncovered the secrets of how the emotion affects the brain, paving the way for the creation of a love test.

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March 16 2015

Female mice do not avoid mating with unhealthy males


Female mice are attracted more strongly to the odour of healthy males than unhealthy males. This had already been shown in an earlier study by researchers from the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology at the Vetmeduni Vienna. Now the team of behavioural scientists went one step further - and tested a common assumption that more attractive males have better mating success than other males.

Females also mate with unhealthy males.

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