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June 6 2014

Archaeologists find Bronze Age settlement beneath Aberdeen park and ride site


4,000-year-old pottery from the early Bronze Age, the remains of timber roundhouses and evidence of Iron Age smithing are among the discoveries made by archaeologists investigating a proposed park and ride site near Aberdeen.

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June 6 2014

How New Tech for Ancient Fossils Could Change The Way We Understand Animals


Picture a paleontologist and you probably imagine someone in a rocky desert digging up dinosaur bones, or hunched over a slab of rock in a lab, slowly chipping away ancient sediment layers to reveal the fossilized remains of a bygone epoch.

But according to a new paper penned by University of Bristol paleontologists, that image of solitary, dusty dinosaur scientists is sorely out of date.

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June 6 2014

Anthracosuchus balrogus: Giant Prehistoric Crocodile Discovered


Paleontologists have discovered a new species of crocodile-like reptile that swam in the rivers of what is now Colombia during Paleocene, about 60 million years ago.

The newly discovered prehistoric monster has been named Anthracosuchus balrogus.

The specific epithet, balrogus, derives from the Balrog, the name of a ferocious fictional creature that appeared in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and dwelled deep in the middle-Earth ‘Mines of Moria.’

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June 6 2014

What a 66-million-year-old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs


As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a team of researchers from McGill University and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

During an expedition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, the team discovered the first fossil-record evidence of forest fire ecology – the regrowth of plants after a fire – revealing a snapshot of the ecology on earth just before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

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June 5 2014

Post ice-age extinctions of large mammals linked to humans, not climate change


A team of researchers with Aarhus University in Denmark has concluded that the die-out of large mammals after the last ice-age was due more too human activity than a changing environment. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the team describes how they conducted a country by country survey of all known species extinctions from one thousand years ago to 132,000 years ago.

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June 5 2014

Australia's deadly eruptions were reason for the first mass extinction


Ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life. Scientists used radioactive dating techniques to precisely measure the age of the eruptions of the Kalkarindji volcanic province.

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June 5 2014

Scientists Track the Origins of the Irish Potato Famine to Battle $6 Billion Global Problem


The potato blight that caused the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s left families starving as their source of food was left rotting in their fields. Now, though, researchers have tracked the origin of this blight, and have found that the deadly plant disease actually first originated in an alpine valley in central Mexico.

The potato is thought to have been first domesticated more than 7,000 years ago in parts of what are now Peru and Bolivia.

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June 5 2014

Ballymaglaff Stone Age site 'lost because of planning error'


Planners have launched a probe following claims that a rare site where early humans settled has been badly damaged without carrying out proper archaeological investigation.

The Department of the Environment (DoE) said its planning department has launched an enforcement investigation to establish if a breach of planning control had taken place at Ballymaglaff in Dundonald in relation to archaeological matters.

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June 5 2014

Scientists Develop a Key to Preserving Ancient Paper Documents


One of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces, drawn in red chalk on paper during the early 1500s and widely believed to be a self-portrait, is in extremely poor condition. Centuries of exposure to humid storage conditions or a closed environment has led to widespread and localized yellowing and browning of the paper, which is reducing the contrast between the colors of chalk and paper and substantially diminishing the visibility of the drawing.

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June 5 2014

Archaeologists Warn of Pillaged Egypt as U.S. Weighs Tougher Antiquities Laws


Looters will strip Egypt of most of its archaeological heritage within the next quarter century, an archaeologist warned at a U.S. State Department hearing this week.

"Wholesale looting is occurring all over Egypt, and we are seeing a big spike that came after the revolution," says archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who testified on Monday, opening a three-day hearing at the State Department. "If we don't do something to stop it, most sites in Egypt will be gone in 25 years."

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June 5 2014

Archaeologists Excavate Lower City of Mycenae


Mycenae -- the ancient city of the legendary King Agamemnon, best known from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and its iconic Lion Gate and cyclopean defensive walls, has long fascinated scholars and site visitors alike with the epic proportions of its imposing citadel remains. Located about 56 miles southwest of Athens in Greece, it is a World Heritage site.

But there is another Mycenae -- one known for centuries from ancient historical documents -- which has nevertheless eluded the eyes of archaeologists, historians, and tourists.

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June 5 2014

Lava, not water, formed canyons on Mars


The canyon-like scars which line Mars' crust are seen by many as evidence for liquid water. But a study now suggests that a different kind of fluid – one much less hospitable to life – may actually have carved these features.

On Mars, the most striking topography occurs around the equator. The planet's low latitudes are dominated by the Tharsis plateau, which hosts several towering volcanoes.

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June 5 2014

Best Way To Colonize Planets? Send Our DNA And Print New Humans When It Gets There


Assuming human deep space travel turns out to be not just incredibly dangerous, but perhaps “crazy idiotic” and “laughable,” as Harvard biologist Gary Ruvkun put it, the tenacious dream of an interstellar civilization forces some out-of-the box thinking. What if, instead of rocketing humans to other planets, we made an exact copy on site?

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June 5 2014

Three-person babies 'in two years' - says science review


Scientists will be ready to create babies from three people in around two years, if it is made legal, a review says.

The technique, using eggs from two women and one man's sperm, would be used to prevent deadly mitochondrial diseases.

The UK fertility regulator said there was no evidence that it would be unsafe, but called for extra checks.

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June 5 2014

Brain signals link physical fitness to better language skills in kids


Children who are physically fit have faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses during reading than their less-fit peers, researchers report. These differences correspond with better language skills in the children who are more fit, and occur whether they're reading straightforward sentences or sentences that contain errors of grammar or syntax.

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June 5 2014

A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop


“More is better.” From the number of gigs in a cellular data plan to the horsepower in a pickup truck, this mantra is ubiquitous in American culture. When it comes to college students, the belief that more is better may underlie their widely-held view that laptops in the classroom enhance their academic performance. Laptops do in fact allow students to do more, like engage in online activities and demonstrations, collaborate more easily on papers and projects, access information from the internet, and take more notes.

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June 5 2014

Memories of Meth Can Be Deleted


Cravings—we all have them. These intense desires can be triggered by a place, a smell, even a picture. For recovering drug addicts, such memory associations can increase vulnerability to relapse. Now researchers at the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have found a chemical that prevents rats from recalling their drug-associated memories.

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