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May 31 2015

Sacrificed Humans Discovered Among Prehistoric Tombs


A prehistoric cemetery containing hundreds of tombs, some of which held sacrificed humans, has been discovered near Mogou village in northwestern China.

The burials date back around 4,000 years, before writing was developed in the area. In just one archaeological field season — between August and November 2009 — almost 300 tombs were excavated, and hundreds more were found in other seasons conducted between 2008 and 2011.

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May 30 2015

In Ancient Egypt, Life Wasn’t Easy for Elite Pets


For ancient Egyptians, owning a menagerie of exotic animals conveyed power and wealth. But the remains of baboons, hippos, and other elite pets buried more than 5,000 years ago in a graveyard near the Nile reveal the dark side of being a status symbol.

Baboon skeletons found at one tomb bear dozens of broken hand and foot bones, hinting at punishing beatings. At least two baboons have classic parry fractures, broken arms that typically occur when trying to shield the head from a blow. A hippo calf broke its leg trying to free itself from a tether, and an antelope and a wild cow also show injuries probably related to being tied.

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May 30 2015

What Is 'Manhattanhenge?'


Today through Saturday marks a biannual solar event called Manhattanhenge, where the rising or setting sun aligns with the east-west grid of Manhattan streets.


Related: INDIEGOGO: The Sophia Project: How was Stonehenge built? - "Help us recreate the lost ancient science that made the construction of Stonehenge possible"

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May 30 2015

Has the Last Human Trekked to the North Pole?


Faced with a dearth of logistical support and challenges related to climate change, human-powered trips to the North Pole may be on the brink of extinction.

"North Pole expeditions are going the way of the passenger pigeon," says Eric Larsen, a Colorado-based polar explorer who has completed three North Pole expeditions.

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May 30 2015

Sending ice to Antarctica


Scientists are planning to ship ice to the Antarctic. They're afraid that mountain glaciers around the world are melting as a result of climate change and want to store samples of ice in a new vault in the coldest place on Earth.

At 4,350m the Col du Dome sits just below the summit of Mont Blanc.

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May 30 2015

Mass deaths of endangered antelope stumps scientists


At least 120,000 of the animals have died in Kazakhstan since mid-May. Environmental and biological factors could be at play, but the exact cause is a mystery.

Experts are scrambling to understand how almost 120,000 saiga antelopes have died off in Central Asia at an unprecedented rate, harming recent efforts to protect the endangered species.


Alt: Mysterious Deaths of Saiga Antelopes May Have Sinister Cause

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May 30 2015

Arguing in Court Whether 2 Chimps Have the Right to ‘Bodily Liberty’


A state judge heard arguments on Wednesday on whether chimpanzees can be considered persons with some legal rights, as advocates seeking to free two chimps in captivity on Long Island asserted they were “autonomous beings” and compared their plight to that of human slaves.

“They are the kinds of beings who can remember the past and plan ahead for the future,” Steven M. Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project told the court, “which is one of the reasons imprisoning a chimp is at least as bad and maybe worse than imprisoning a person.”

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May 30 2015

Nature Behind Bars: Animal Class Helps Prisoners Find Compassion


Next Friday at 8:30 a.m., if you happen to be an inmate at the Boulder County Jail in Colorado, consider going to the animal behavior class taught by Marc Bekoff. But be prepared to stand, because seats fill up quickly. It turns out that guys in prison love learning about animals, and sometimes it changes their lives.

Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, has been teaching "Animal Behavior and Conservation" to male prisoners for over a decade (that's more than 600 classes). It's part of Jane Goodall's global Roots & Shoots Program, and has been a model for similar projects at other jails.

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May 30 2015

Stressed Students Now Using Piglets to Calm Down


Nottingham Trent University has discovered the best way to ease tension during exams

Gone are the days when college students managed their anxiety by gorging themselves on bacon. Today’s university students would rather use pigs for cuddling.

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May 30 2015

Depression Treatments Inspired By Club Drug Move Ahead In Tests


Antidepressant drugs that work in hours instead of weeks could be on the market within three years, researchers say.

"We're getting closer and closer to having really, truly next-generation treatments that are better and quicker than existing ones," says Dr. Carlos Zarate, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health.

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May 30 2015

Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified as they may benefit patients, experts say


Legal restrictions imposed on medical use of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin (the compound found in 'magic' mushrooms), are making trials almost impossible and authorities should 'downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class A, schedule 1 classification,' writes a psychiatrist.


Related: Psychoactive substances ban will 'end brain research' in Britain, experts warn
Also: Neuroscientist Explains The Similarities Between The Brains Of Praying Nuns And Psychedelic Drug Users

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May 30 2015

Archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old gold bongs in Russia


The “once-in-a-century” discovery of a set of solid gold bongs has offered a glimpse into the little-understood lives of Scythians, who ruled vast areas of Eurasia for a thousand years 2,400 years ago.

Ornately embellished with depictions of humans and animals, archaeologists found the golden vessels in a vast grave mound in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia.


Alt: Archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old solid gold 'bongs' used by kings to smoke cannabis at ceremonies

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May 30 2015

Israeli Burning Man festival torches ancient remains


The Israeli Antiquities Authority says revelers at a Burning Man festival famous for its pyrotechnic spectacles have accidentally torched some remnants of prehistoric man.

Archaeologist Yoram Haimi says organizers of Midburn, an Israeli affiliate of the Nevada carnival, burned a wooden temple Saturday on a hilltop scattered with flint tools from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.

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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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