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May 30 2015

Cultic Seal May Show Oldest Depiction of Music and Revelry in Israel


An ancient seal unearthed in northern Israel may depict a woman playing a musical instrument during a sacred marriage rite between a king and a goddess. The mysterious seal, which decorates a shard of a 5,000-year-old clay storage vessel, could be the oldest known depiction of a musical performance in Israel, archaeologists say.

"This is the first time it is definitely possible to identify a figure playing an instrument on a seal impression from the third millennium B.C.," the researchers said in a statement.

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May 30 2015

Locks on the Block: Mozart & Beethoven's Hair on Sale


How much would you spend on a few strands of a dead man's hair? How about $15,000? That's how much you'll have to shell out if you want to take home a bit of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's mane.

The 18th century composer's blond locks hit the auction block Thursday (May 28) at Sotheby's auction house in London, where they're expected to fetch between $14,800 and $17,800 (10,000 - 12,000 pounds). Also for sale: a few of Ludwig van Beethoven's gray hairs.

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May 30 2015

Mystery skull decapitated as sacrifice: experts


A skull found by two walkers at a popular seaside park in Bergen may have belonged to an iron age woman who had been ritually decapitated in a human sacrifice, archeologists have concluded.

Police launched an immediate murder investigation after the skull was reported last Wednesday at Kyrkjetangen, a seaside park just north of the city, raising hopes that the discovery might clear up one of the city's many outstanding missing person cases.

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May 30 2015

Dragons of Xanadu: Sculptures Discovered in Legendary City


The remains of three colorful dragon heads made of clay have been discovered in a huge palace in Xanadu, a city constructed by the grandsons of Genghis Khan.

The palace sprawls over 9,000 square meters (about 100,000 square feet), or nearly twice the floor space of the modern-day White House.Archaeologists have been excavating the palace, learning how it was designed and decorated.

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May 29 2015

New Evidence May Solve Mystery of America's Huge Ancient City


Researchers have long debated the reasons behind the rapid rise and swift disappearance of Cahokia, a sprawling, ancient city-state near the modern city of St. Louis. Now an analysis of sediment cores reveals that the city’s ups and downs correspond to the timing of Mississippi River megafloods, according to a recent study.

Archaeological data show that agricultural settlements first appeared in the area around A.D. 400.

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May 29 2015

Syria: Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed


When Islamic State (Isis) took over Palmyra last week, the jihadists assured the world they were not going to destroy the ancient city's treasure trove of ruins and artefacts.

According to the Palmyra Media Centre, "IS militants promised the citizens during a talk that they won't offend the ancient city [sic]". This claim has been repeated in interviews with several media outlets.

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May 29 2015

Humans Trekked Out of Africa Via Egypt, Study Suggests


The major gateway for modern humans out of Africa may have been Egypt, a new genetic analysis suggests.

This finding may help scientists reconstruct how humans evolved as they wandered across the globe, the researchers added.


Alt: The Egyptian in all of us: First modern humans spread out of Africa into Europe and Asia from the Sinai peninsula

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May 29 2015

New human ancestor was Lucy’s cousin and neighbor


The famous human relative known as “Lucy” has reigned alone as queen of an important time and place in human evolution: Ethiopia about 3.2 million years ago, roughly the time when the first stone tools appear in East Africa. Now, scientists working near where Lucy was found claim that freshly discovered jawbones and teeth belong to a previously unknown species of human relative. If correct, the finding could confirm other possible evidence that Lucy did not walk alone.


Alt: 'New species' of ancient human found

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May 29 2015

'Missing link' in shark evolution found in 380m-year-old Australian fossil


A 380m-year-old fossil found in Western Australia has been hailed as the “missing link” in shark evolution, revealing the marine predator has a far more sophisticated lineage than previously thought.

The fossilised skeleton, jaws and teeth, found at the Gogo formation in the Kimberley region of WA, shows the ancient shark had a small amount of bone as well as cartilage.

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May 29 2015

Dinosaurs May Have Been Warm-Blooded


Dinosaurs were warm-blooded animals that had many traits in common with mammals, finds controversial new research.

The study, published in the journal Science, counters other popular theories, which say that dinosaurs were either cold-blooded and reptile-like, or occupied a unique intermediate category of animals that were neither fully cold nor warm-blooded.

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May 29 2015

Ancient DNA May Provide Clues into How Past Environments Affected Ancient Populations


A new study by anthropologists from The University of Texas at Austin shows for the first time that epigenetic marks on DNA can be detected in a large number of ancient human remains, which may lead to further understanding about the effects of famine and disease in the ancient world.

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May 29 2015

Why hating creepy crawlies is a sign you're healthy


Do cockroaches and rats make you flinch? That doesn't necessarily make you a wimp - it could mean you're less likely to become ill.

The reason we flinch is down to a mechanism called the behavioural immune system. It is stimulated by sensing unwelcome objects via sight, sound, touch and smell, and makes us react to threats so we avoid them before they come into contact with our bodies.

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May 29 2015

'Purring' Wolf Spiders Softly Serenade Mates


Male wolf spiders use "purring" vibrations to serenade their sweethearts, but this wooing only works if the females can feel these vibrations, new research finds.

For the females to feel these vibrations, the courting couple must be standing on a suitable surface that can vibrate, like dry leaves, the researchers said in the new study.

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May 29 2015

Glowing millipede a surprise find


The faint blue-green glow of this millipede redefines how we look at the evolution of bioluminescence across the tree of life.

Not seen for nearly 50 years, the small, blind millipede Xystocheir bistipita, was recently rediscovered in the foothills of San Luis Obispo, California by entomologist Dr Paul Merek of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

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May 29 2015

Butterflies Have an Extra Stomach Attached to Their Vaginas


One thing you won’t find in the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is the part where after transforming into a butterfly, he mates with a female who has a Very Hungry Reproductive Tract waiting to devour his sperm. She has a special digestive organ just for this purpose. It’s so powerful that it could even compete with the gut that let the caterpillar, in his more innocent days, chew through those five oranges.

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May 29 2015

Empathetic budgies yawn when they see their peers do the same


The common pet budgerigar is loved for its ability to mimic its owners. But it has another special trick – it can catch yawns from other budgies, suggesting it has some kind of empathy.

"Practically all vertebrates yawn," says Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni of City University, London. In 2008, he showed that dogs can catch yawns from humans. The only other species shown to yawn contagiously are humans, chimpanzees and a type of rodent called the high-yawning Sprague-Dawley rat.

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May 29 2015

Hopes raised for treatment of severe amnesia after scientists retrieve lost memory – using light


Lost memories have been retrieved with the help of light in a study that could further the understanding and treatment of patients with severe amnesia following injury or disease.

A study on laboratory mice has found that a lost memory is still stored within the brain cells even though the animals had apparently lost their ability to retrieve it, scientists said.


Alt: 'Lost' Memories Restored in Mice

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