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April 12 2015

Baboon bone found in famous Lucy skeleton


Lucy, arguably the world's most famous early human fossil, is not quite all she seems. A careful look at the ancient hominin's skeleton suggests one bone may actually belong to a baboon.

In November 1974, palaeoanthropologists Donald Johanson and Tom Gray made the discovery of a lifetime near the village of Hadar in Ethiopia: dozens of fossil fragments belonging to a single hominin skeleton dating back 3.2 million years.

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April 12 2015

Are Neanderthal bone flutes the work of Ice Age hyenas?


A study in Royal Society Open Science says that so called 'Neanderthal bone flutes' are no more than the damaged bones of cave bear cubs left by scavengers during the Ice Age.

The paper suggests that the 'flutes', which are often attributed as being the oldest musical instruments in the world, were misidentified when they were first discovered in the 1920s. The author of the paper, Cajus G. Diedrich, says the bones are the damaged remains of bear cubs left by the teeth of Ice Age spotted hyenas.

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April 12 2015

Oldest Neanderthal DNA Found in Italian Skeleton


The calcite-encrusted skeleton of an ancient human, still embedded in rock deep inside a cave in Italy, has yielded the oldest Neanderthal DNA ever found.

These molecules, which could be up to 170,000 years old, could one day help yield the most complete picture yet of Neanderthal life, researchers say.

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April 12 2015

The Black Pharaoh in Denmark


It has been said that the period between 760 BCE to 656 BCE in Egypt was the 'age of the black pharaohs'. It was during this time that ancient Egypt was ruled by a dynasty or succession of kings from Nubia, the Kingdom of Kush, a rival African kingdom just to its south in what is today northern Sudan. Beginning with king Kashta's successful invasion of Upper Egypt, what became known as the 25th Dynasty achieved the reunification of Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and also Kush (Nubia), the largest Egyptian empire since the New Kingdom. They introduced new Kushite cultural elements into Egypt, yet they also reaffirmed and promoted the traditional ancient Egyptian religion, temples, and artistic forms.

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April 12 2015

Should Iraq's Archaeological Treasures Stay In the West?


Are the treasures of the East best kept in the West? Or could huge fines to states that don’t save cultural patrimony help?

“When I was a boy,” the Iraqi diplomat said, “My parents took me to the Louvre and I saw Hammurabi’s Code. I wondered why it wasn’t in Baghdad. Why did we Iraqis have to go to Paris to see it? Why couldn’t the rest of the world come to us? It made me angry.” He paused. “But after ISIS attacked Nimrud, I was glad that these things were not in Iraq.”.

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April 12 2015

The Global Pyramid Cult, By Robert Klein


In this article Robert Klein revisits a chapter of his unpublished manuscript Paradigms Shift in which he discusses the development of infrastructure in ancient societies and explains his theory on the mathematics and engineering of the Great Pyramid.

I wrote this material over ten years ago and since then much has been added and discovered regarding prehistory and the Global Atlantean Age that I have shown to date conveniently between 2500 BC and 1159 BC. I presently suspect that the Atlantean Age ended directly with the outright subsidence of the Atlantic Ridge and the Cuban Arch.

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April 12 2015

The Religion With No Name, By Brian C. Muraresku


In this article, Brian C. Muraresku outlines his theory of the world's oldest surviving religion.

What’s become of religion these days? Seriously. More than a billion people across the planet are religiously unaffiliated. That includes one in every five Americans and Europeans, and – believe it or not – almost half of the British public. Impressive as those numbers are today, just imagine the future of the Western world. Fueling the growth of this segment, after all, is a younger generation that is either uninterested in or entirely fed up with the organized religions of their parents and grandparents.

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April 12 2015

New Controversy Surrounds Alleged 'Jesus Family Tomb'


A new piece of evidence is reigniting controversy over the potential bones of Jesus of Nazareth.

A bone box inscribed with the phrase "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" is potentially linked to a tomb in Talpiot, Israel, where the bones of people with the names of Jesus' family members are buried, according to a new chemical analysis.


Related: The Mystery of the Lost Ark in Japan

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April 11 2015

Did neurons evolve more than once on Earth?


TRANSLUCENT comb jellies are some of the most primitive animals on Earth, yet they have remarkable nervous systems. Controversial data discussed at a meeting in London last month proposes that their neurons are unlike any others on Earth. This could be evidence that neurons evolved more than once in the history of animal life.

The suggestion that neurons evolved in parallel multiple times has divided biologists for over a century.

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April 11 2015

Researchers find neural 'wiring' is similar to structure of online networks


Researchers sketching out a 'wiring diagram' for rat brains have discovered its structure is organized like the Internet.

They say the animal's cerebral cortex is 'like a mini-Internet'.

The first comprehensive picture of how neurons connect to one another found local networks of neurons layered like the shells in a Russian nesting doll.

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April 11 2015

UN urged to ban 'killer robots' before they can be developed


Fully autonomous weapons, already denounced as “killer robots”, should be banned by international treaty before they can be developed, a new report urges the United Nations.

Under existing laws, computer programmers, manufacturers and military commanders would all escape liability for deaths caused by such machines, according to the study published on Thursday by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School.

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April 11 2015

Amazon Wins Approval to Test Delivery Drones in US


Amazon has won approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin testing delivery drones in the United States.

Last month, Amazon was granted a similar certificate from the FAA, but because that request spent six months in regulatory limbo, the prototype drone approved by federal regulators had become obsolete.

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April 11 2015

Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away


Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.

For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.

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April 11 2015

To Predict Future Diseases, Doctors Will Map Newborns' Genes


If you could find out your baby’s future health problems right after he or she was born, would you want to know? Some new parents will get to make that decision soon. This month, doctors in Boston will begin the BabySeq project, in which they will sequence the genomes of newborns to look for signs of diseases that begin in childhood.

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April 11 2015

'Domesticated' explores how humans have altered animals


The taming of the auroch probably began with rounding up those animals that would tolerate humans. Eventually, people could have selected mild-mannered aurochs for breeding. By contrast, now-tame predators such as dogs and cats may have kick-started their own domestication, with friendlier animals thriving on food they found in camps and settlements.

These are just a few of the evolutionary origin stories that science journalist Richard Francis shares in Domesticated.

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April 11 2015

'Lost' sea turtles don't go with the flow


A tracking study has shown that young sea turtles make a concerted effort to swim in particular directions, instead of drifting with ocean currents.

Baby turtles disappear at sea for up to a decade and it was once assumed that they spent these "lost years" drifting.

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April 11 2015

Mountain gorillas: Deleterious genetic variations disappeared from population thanks to inbreeding


Researchers have produced the first whole-genome sequences of endangered mountain gorillas in the Virunga volcanic mountain range in central Africa. Findings from sequence analysis suggest the gorillas have lived in small groups for thousands of years, coping well with inbreeding that scientists feared would lead to health problems. Based on these results, scientist say the gorillas, if properly protected from habitat destruction and hunting, should continue to flourish for thousands of years to come.

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