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March 10 2014

First animals oxygenated the ocean, research suggests


The evolution of the first animals may have oxygenated the earth's oceans – contrary to the traditional view that a rise in oxygen triggered their development.

New research led by the University of Exeter contests the long held belief that oxygenation of the atmosphere and oceans was a pre-requisite for the evolution of complex life forms.

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March 10 2014

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Lethal Acid Rain


The oceans soured into a deadly sulfuric-acid stew after the huge asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, a new study suggests.

Eighty percent of the planet's species died off at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65.5 million years ago, including most marine life in the upper ocean, as well as swimmers and drifters in lakes and rivers. Scientists blame this mass extinction on the asteroid or comet impact that created the Chicxulub crater in the Gulf of Mexico.

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March 10 2014

Stonehenge Visitors Used To Be Handed Chisels to Take Home Souvenirs


If you visit Stonehenge today, you'll find that it's roped off — keeping visitors from touching, or worse, taking bits of the nearly 5,000 year old monument. But the giant stone structure wasn’t always treated with such reverence. In fact, in the past, visitors to Stonehenge were handed chisels so that they could chip off a little piece to take home.

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March 10 2014

Is Stonehenge just a giant glockenspiel?


On June 21, thousands will flock to Stonehenge, a prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire, England, to celebrate the summer solstice, the day of the year when the sun appears highest in the sky.

Built between 3100 BC and 1100 BC, the monument is made up of bluestone, sarsen and Welsh sandstone – some of the stones reach as high as 30 feet and weigh up to 25 tons.

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March 10 2014

Equations connect ancient settlements to modern cities


Visitors to the ancient city of Teotihuacan—with its pyramidal structures arranged in careful geometric patterns, its temples, and its massive central thoroughfare, dubbed Street of the Dead—in Mexico may have the sensation they’re gazing at the remains of a society profoundly different from their own.

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March 9 2014

Huge Mexican pyramid could collapse like a sandcastle


THE Pyramid of the Sun may fall apart. One side is dry while another side is wet, which could lead to the pyramid's collapse unless a fix can be found.

Between the 1st and 7th centuries, Mexico's Pyramid of the Sun was at the heart of the largest city in the Americas. Now known as Teotihuacan, the lost city had a population of more than 125,000, making it one of the biggest in the world.

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March 9 2014

Ancient Egyptian Soldier's Letter Home Deciphered


A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.

In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request leave to make the long journey home to see them.

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March 9 2014

Ancient Egyptian bones reveal that felines were cared for more than 5,700 years ago


Dogs may be known as man’s best friend, but cats have also been enjoying the company of humans for longer than previously thought.

The skeleton of a cat believed to have been cared for by humans indicates that the ancient Egyptians kept felines as pets in 3,700BC.

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March 9 2014

Statue of Egypt pharoanic princess found in Luxor


Egypt has announced that a team of European archaeologists have found a nearly 2-meter- (6 ½-foot-) tall alabaster statue of a pharoanic princess, dating from approximately 1350 B.C., outside the southern city of Luxor.

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March 9 2014

Shamanic figurine guarding shaft tomb discovered in Colima


A shaft tomb containing skeletal remains along with a rich assemblage of grave goods, has been discovered in a later cemetery in the state of Colima, Mexico by researchers at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Archaeologist Marco Zavaleta Lucido explained, shaft tombs such as this are targeted by looters because of the beauty of the materials deposited within them. The excavators have produced a detailed record of this burial area which unusually, was found intact.

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March 9 2014

Archaeologists find 3,000-year-old graves in Cusco, Peru


Excavators working in the city of Cusco have discovered a burial site containing five individuals from the Marcavalle culture, a pre-Inca society.

Andina news agency reports that the skeletal remains date back to around 1,000 BC. The burial site, which contained two double graves and one single grave, was found on land owned by a Cusco center for juvenile rehabilitation.

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March 9 2014

Physicists uncover secrets hidden beneath the surface of great works of art


Gallery owners, private collectors, conservators, museums and art dealers face many problems in protecting and evaluating their collections such as determining origin, authenticity and discovery of forgery, as well as conservation issues. Today these problems are more accurately addressed through the application of modern, non-destructive, "hi-tech" techniques.

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March 9 2014

Century-old music mystery solved: Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located


A graduate student stumbled upon a mystery that would haunt him for more than two decades: What happened to an unpublished opera written by Enrique Granados, one of Spain’s greatest composers, at the turn of the 20th century?

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March 9 2014

Vikings 'brought sarcastic sense of humour to Britain'


It may be the bedrock of British humour, but sarcasm was actually brought to the UK by the Vikings says the Danish Ambassador.

The British use of understatement and satire is thought to originate from the Vikings, typically noted for raping and pillaging throughout history, when they brought trade from across the world to British shores.

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March 9 2014

4,000-year-old Dartmoor burial find rewrites British bronze age history


Some 4,000 years ago a young woman's cremated bones – charred scraps of her shroud and the wood from her funeral pyre still clinging to them – was carefully wrapped in a fur along with her most valuable possessions, packed into a basket, and carried up to one of the highest and most exposed spots on Dartmoor, where they were buried in a small stone box covered by a mound of peat.

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March 9 2014

4,000-year-old rock art 'directed lost prehistoric farmers in the Brecon Beacons'


Walkers can easily get lost in the Brecon Beacons even with the help of modern gadgets and GPS systems.

And it seems prehistoric man also struggled to find his way around the Welsh mountainside as archaeologists have stumbled across a 4,000-year-old signpost.

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March 9 2014

Mesa Verde’s ‘Mummy Lake’ Was Built to Hold Rituals, Not Water, Study Says


A grand, sandstone-walled pit in Mesa Verde National Park has for decades been seen as an achievement of prehistoric hydrology, part of a system of cisterns and canals used by Ancestral Puebloans to harvest rainwater on the arid plateau as much as 1,100 years ago.

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March 9 2014

Leapin' Lizards! Medieval Arabs Ate the Scaly Creatures


Medieval desert-dwelling Arabs in Saudi Arabia ate lizards after the advent of Islam, which generally prohibits eating reptiles, new research suggests.

Though historical and anthropological texts had mentioned the taste for these scaly desert snacks, the find is the first archaeological evidence confirming the lizard's presence in the Arabian diet.

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