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March 19 2015

Natural sleep cycles identified in rural community


A new study has identified a rural community in Brazil that still follows the earlier sleep and wake times similar to pre-industrial times. The team of researchers studied the population of Baependi, a small rural town in south-eastern Brazil, whose sleep/wake cycle is much more aligned with that of our ancestors.

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March 19 2015

After testosterone rush of hunting, men's 'love hormone' surges upon return home


From hunting grounds to athletic fields to trading floors, men moving together in packs, and sometimes alone, are typically engaged in what anthropologists term "male status competition." And their levels of testosterone--the hallmark hormone of maleness--tend to rise accordingly.

But a new study explores the nurturing, familial side of men who engage in such primal activities, often to support, feed or bring honor to their families. It finds that that side, too, is expressed hormonally, when a man arrives home to his family bearing dinner (or perhaps a paycheck or a trophy).

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March 19 2015

DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group


A DNA study of Britons has shown that genetically there is not a unique Celtic group of people in the UK.

According to the data, those of Celtic ancestry in Scotland and Cornwall are more similar to the English than they are to other Celtic groups.


Related: Britons still live in Anglo-Saxon tribal kingdoms, Oxford University finds

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March 19 2015

Gem Engraved with Goddess' Image Found Near King Herod's Mausoleum


A translucent orange gem engraved with an image of a goddess of hunting has been found near a mausoleum built by Herod the Great, the king of Judea who ruled not long before the time of Jesus.

The carnelian gem shows the goddess Diana (or her Greek equivalent, Artemis) with a sumptuously detailed hairstyle and wearing a sleeveless dress, with a quiver behind her left shoulder and the end of a bow protruding from her right shoulder. Both Diana and Artemis were goddesses of hunting and childbirth.

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March 19 2015

Remains of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, 'found in convent'


The remains of literary giant Miguel de Cervantes have been found nearly four centuries after his death, a team of Spanish researchers has said.

“He’s there,” historian Fernando de Prado told the Guardian on Tuesday, referencing fragmented bones found in the floor of the crypt. “We know that some of these bones belong to Cervantes.”.

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March 19 2015

Cultivated papaya owes a lot to the ancient Maya, research suggests


A genetic study of papaya sex chromosomes reveals that the hermaphrodite version of the plant, which is of most use to growers, arose as a result of human selection, most likely by the ancient Maya some 4,000 years ago.

The study, reported in the journal Genome Research, homes in on a region of papaya's male sex chromosome that, the study indicates, gave rise to the hermaphrodite plants.

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March 19 2015

How The Great French Wine Blight Changed Grapes Forever


One hundred fifty years ago, the Great French Wine Blight nearly wiped out an industry that today produces some 40 billion bottles of wine a year. The only solution was a radical fusion of species that remains essential to the success of the wine market. Here's the story of how humanity hacked the wine grape.

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March 19 2015

9 Historical Mysteries Solved By Astronomy


History is filled with mysteries that can be answered by the position of the moon, the nature of the tides, and the time of year when an event occurred. Here are mysteries of battles, art, and literature, that were solved thanks to astronomical detectives.

Who uses the skies to solve historical mysteries? Astrophysicist and forensic astronomer Donald W. Olson and his team at Texas State University use their astronomical tools to solve all manner of mystery.


Related: To understand the pyramids and Stonehenge, look up – not down

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March 19 2015

Meteor mistaken for sinking ship's distress flare


The hunt for a sinking ship that launched a distress flare was cancelled - after lifeboat crews discovered it was actually a meteor.

Numerous eagle-eyed families living off the Cumbrian coast sent Maryport Coastguard Rescue Team reports of seeing the ship's flare, prompting a full-scale sea rescue operation.

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March 19 2015

When A Meteorite Hits Snow It Forms A "Snow Carrot" Instead Of A Crater


What happens when a meteorite hits snow? Instead of forming classic impact craters, the fragments form strange funnels of dense snow diving into the surface instead. Here's the physics of how "snow carrots" form.

When the Chelyabinsk meteorite exploded over Russia in February 2013, it showered rock fragments over the landscape below. In the following days, geologists from the nearby Vernadsky institute tracked down 450 fragments, most only 3 to 6 centimeters large.

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March 19 2015

Oddball 'Crystal' Survived Crash to Earth Inside Meteorite


A bizarre crystal-like mineral recently found in a meteorite that crashed to Earth perhaps 15,000 years ago adds more support for the idea that the fragile structure can survive in nature. But how it formed at the beginnings of the solar system is still a mystery.

The newfound mineral is called a "quasicrystal" because it resembles a crystal, but the atoms are not arranged as regularly as they are in real crystals. The quasicrystal hitched a ride to Earth on a meteorite that zipped from space through Earth's atmosphere and crashed to the ground.

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March 19 2015

Solar eclipse is unprecedented test, says European power grid


The loss of solar power generation during Friday’s eclipse will be an unprecedented test for the European grid but is very unlikely to cause problems for electricity users, according to electricity providers in the UK and Europe.

If the weather is clear on Friday morning the European grid will suddenly lose the equivalent generation of eight to ten very large coal power plants as the moon passes between solar panels and the sun.

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March 19 2015

Cosmic Smashups May Have Rained Metal on Early Earth


Iron vapor from cosmic impacts during the early days of Earth could have triggered "metal rain" to fall on the newborn planet, researchers say.

This new finding could help solve mysteries concerning the formation and evolution of the Earth and moon, the investigators said.

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