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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:42 am

World's Smallest Mammoth Discovered

Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 08 May 2012 Time: 07:01 PM ET

The smallest dwarf mammoth, standing at under 4 feet (about 1 meter) at the shoulders, has been uncovered on the Greek island of Crete, researchers say.

These findings could help yield insights as to how giant animals can shrink to tiny sizes over evolutionary time, scientists added.

Dwarfism often happens to species of large animals when they get trapped on islands, including dinosaurs. Scientists think dwarfism helps giants survive within the limits imposed by islands.

Ancient Mediterranean dwarf elephants are especially extreme examples of island dwarfism. Over the course of less than 800,000 years — a short stint on an evolutionary scale — these dwarfs are thought to have descended from larger European elephants, weighing 100 times as much, which lived on mainland Europe.

"There's a big question regarding these elephants — how can something so big become dwarfs so small?" said researcher Victoria Herridge, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London.

To learn more, Herridge and her colleagues analyzed dwarf fossils first discovered in Crete (an island some say was the birthplace of the Greek god Zeus) more than a century ago. Paleontologists have long argued whether the remains belonged to curvy-tusked mammoths or straighter-tusked elephants.


Teeth discovered more recently in the same area in Crete now suggest the animal was in fact a mammoth, Mammuthus creticus. A newfound foreleg bone suggests it was the smallest mammoth known, standing only about 3 feet 8 inches (1.13 m) high at the shoulders and weighing only approximately 680 pounds (310 kilograms), making it about the size of a modern baby African or Asian elephant. [Photos of the Dwarf Mammoth Fossils]

These dwarf mammoths were not woolly mammoths, scientists noted.

"When most people think of mammoths, they think of woolly mammoths," Herridge said. "We think this dwarf was more adapted to warmer environments, more in appearance like modern African or Asian elephants, with a sparse covering of hair, although they would have had curvy tusks like all mammoths."

Mammuthus creticusis the first evidence for extreme island dwarfism in mammoths. It would have been comparable in size to the smallest dwarf elephant known, the extinct species Palaeoloxodon falconeri from Sicily and Malta, which stood only about 3 feet 5 inches (1.04 m) high at the shoulder and weighed only approximately 525 lbs. (238 kg).

The fossils suggest this dwarf mammoth was descended from one of the first mammoth species to arrive in Europe from Africa, Mammuthus rumanus or Mammuthus meridionalis. As such, the researchers suggest dwarf mammoths may have evolved much earlier than previously thought — as far back as 3.5 million years ago.

"Now that we know what this dwarf species might have been descended from, we can ask bigger questions, such as how and why and how fast dwarfism happened here," Herridge said.

"This is an interesting period for Crete — back then, it might have been made of small islands, smaller than today," Herridge said. "That's an interesting consideration for the extreme dwarfism we see here."

Given the scant fossils and the uncertainty about Crete's environment during this period, not much is known about how this dwarf might have lived. Still, its teeth do suggest it browsed on shrubs as opposed to grass like woolly mammoths.

Returning to where these fossils were found to excavate more specimens is likely to be tricky. The site is in a remote, fissure-laden part of Crete — the shoreline is very jagged there, making it hard to approach by boat, so the area is best reached by two hours of walking past monasteries and a military base. "The site's quite well-protected as it is, and we don't want to start there until we've properly thought out an approach," Herridge said.

The scientists detailed their findings online May 9 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

http://www.livescience.com/20178-dwarf- ... llest.html
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:49 am

Ancient Mariners: Did Neanderthals Sail to Mediterranean?

Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 15 November 2012 Time: 02:13 PM ET
Image
Neanderthals or other extinct human lineages may have sailed to the Mediterranean Islands long before previously thought. Here, an excavation at Akrotiri Aetokremnos, a site in Cyprus dating back to about 10,000 B.C. where pygmy hippo fossils were found.
CREDIT: Alan Simmons.

Neanderthals and other extinct human lineages might have been ancient mariners, venturing to the Mediterranean islands thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

This prehistoric seafaring could shed light on the mental capabilities of these lost relatives of modern humans, researchers say.

Scientists had thought the Mediterranean islands were first settled about 9,000 years ago by Neolithic or New Stone Age farmers and shepherds.

"On a lot of Mediterranean islands, you have these amazing remains from classical antiquity to study, so for many years people didn't even look for older sites," said archaeologist Alan Simmons at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

However, in the last 20 years or so, some evidence has surfaced for a human presence on these islands dating back immediately before the Neolithic. [Image Gallery: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

"There's still a lot to find in archaeology — you have to keep pushing the envelope in terms of conventional wisdom," Simmons said.

Neanderthal sailors?

For instance, obsidian from the Aegean island of Melos was uncovered at the mainland Greek coastal site of Franchthi cave in layers that were about 11,000 years old, while excavations on the southern coast of Cyprus revealed stone artifacts about 12,000 years old.

"We found evidence that human hunters may have helped drive pygmy hippos to extinction on Cyprus about 12,000 years ago," Simmons said. "This suggests that seafarers didn't need to have already domesticated plants and animals to go to these islands, which is a pretty complex set of tricks — they could have been hunter-gatherers."

Image
A pygmy hippo skull found at Akrotiri Aetokremnos, a site in Cyprus dating back to about 10,000 B.C. Evidence suggests human hunters may have driven the animals to extinction on Cyprus.
CREDIT: Alan Simmons.

Recently, research has hinted that seafarers may have made their way out to the Mediterranean islands even earlier, long before the Neolithic, and not only to isles close to the mainland, but to more distant ones as well, such as Crete.

For instance, stone artifacts on the southern Ionian Islands hint at human sites there as early as 110,000 years ago. Investigators have also recovered quartz hand-axs, three-sided picks and stone cleavers from Crete that may date back about 170,000 years ago. The distance of Crete about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the mainland would have made such a sea voyage no small feat.

The exceedingly old age of these artifacts suggests the seafarers who made them might not even been modern humans, who originated between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. Instead, they might have been Neanderthals or perhaps even Homo erectus.

"The whole idea of seafaring makes these extinct groups seem more human — they were going out to sea to explore places that were uninhabited," Simmons told LiveScience.

Dating artifacts

The problem with these ancient finds is determining their exact age. "They're well beyond the range of radiocarbon dating," Simmons said. Although researchers can also deduce the ages of artifacts based on the ages of surrounding materials, these artifacts weren't found in reliable contexts that could indisputably attest to their age, he added.

Although the idea that extinct human lineages possessed such advanced mental capabilities might be controversial, ancient seafaring has been seen elsewhere in the world. For instance, Australia was colonized at least 50,000 years ago, while fossils in Indonesia suggest that an extinct lineage of humans was seafaring as long ago as 1.1 million years.

"If the ancient finds in the Mediterranean can be verified, they will show that Homo erectus or Neanderthals or both had the skills and cognitive ability to build boats and navigate them," Simmons said.

Simmons detailed this research in the Nov. 16 issue of the journal Science.
http://www.livescience.com/24810-neande ... anean.html
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby yialousa1971 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:52 am

Ancient tooth suggests Neanderthals were more mobile
Posted 2/8/2008 1:59 PM

By Elena Becatoros, Associated Press

ATHENS — Analysis of a 40,000-year-old tooth found in southern Greece suggests Neanderthals were more mobile than once believed, :wink: paleontologists and the Greek Culture Ministry said Friday.

Analysis of the tooth — part of the first and only Neanderthal remains found in Greece — showed the ancient human to whom it belonged had spent at least part of its life away from the area where it died.

"Neanderthal mobility is highly controversial," said paleoanthropology Professor Katerina Harvati at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Some experts believe Neanderthals roamed over very limited areas, but others say they must have been more mobile, particularly when hunting, Harvati explained.

Ian Tattersall, curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, said the tooth analysis provided a rare piece of hard evidence.


"This is a very interesting finding in the sense that we don't actually know how far Neanderthals tended to move in their lifetime," said Tattersall, who is not connected to the Greek study.

"It is consistent with the picture that is building of Neanderthals leading a fairly mobile life over large tracts of land."

Until now, experts only had indirect evidence, including stone used in tools, Harvati said. "Our analysis is the first that brings evidence from a Neanderthal fossil itself," she said.

Harvati was part of the team that carried out the analysis on the tooth, found in a seaside excavation in Gythio in Greece's southern Peloponnese region in 2002.

The findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The team from the Max Planck Institute, led by Department of Human Evolution professor Mike Richards and Harvati, analyzed tooth enamel for ratios of strontium isotope, a naturally occurring metal found in food and water. Levels of the metal vary in different areas. As it is absorbed by the body, an analysis of its levels can show where a person lived.

Eleni Panagopoulou of the Paleoanthropology-Speleology Department of Southern Greece said the levels of strontium isotope found in the tooth showed that this particular Neanderthal grew up in a different area — at least 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) away — from its discovery site.

"The analysis results ... will contribute to solving one of the central issues of paleoanthropology, that of the mobility of the Neanderthal," Panagopoulou said.

"Our findings prove that their mobility was significant and that their settlement networks were broader and more organized than we believed," she said.

Given that Neanderthals also coexisted with modern man in some parts of Europe, "one could presume that this mobility would facilitate the contacts of the two populations on a cultural and, perhaps, on a biological level."

Professor Clive Finlayson, an expert on Neanderthal man and director of the Gibraltar Museum, disagreed with the finding's significance.

"The technique is interesting, and if we could repeat this over and over for lots of (individuals) then we might get some kind of picture," he said.

"(But) I would have been surprised if Neanderthals didn't move at least 20 kilometers in their lifetime, or even in a year ... We're talking about humans, not trees."

Associated Press Writer Derek Gatopoulos contributed to this story.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/sci ... lity_N.htm
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby supporttheunderdog » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:53 am

Interesting thread : I am sure we consistently underestimate the skills and intelligence of early man -

Stone me! Spears show early human species was sharper than we thought | Science | The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/nov/15/stone-spear-early-human-species
Evidence of hunting with spears 500,000 years ago suggests common ancestor of humans and Neanderthals was 'very bright'

The ancestors of humans were hunting with stone-tipped spears 500,000 years ago, according to a new study – around 200,000 years earlier than previously thought. This means that the technology must have been developed by an earlier species of human, the last common ancestor of both modern humans and Neanderthals.

The invention of stone-tipped spears was a significant point in human evolution, allowing our ancestors to kill animals more efficiently and have more regular access to meat, which they would have needed to feed ever-growing brains. "It's a more effective strategy which would have allowed early humans to have more regular access to meat and high-quality foods, which is related to increases in brain size, which we do see in the archaeological record of this time," said Jayne Wilkins, an archaeologist at the University of Toronto who took part in the latest research.

The technique needed to make stone-tipped spears, called hafting, would also have required humans to think and plan ahead: hafting is a multi-step manufacturing process that requires many different materials and skill to put them together in the right way. "It's telling us they're able to collect the appropriate raw materials, they're able to manufacture the right type of stone weapons, they're able to collect wooden shafts, they're able to haft the stone tools to the wooden shaft as a composite technology," said Michael Petraglia, a professor of human evolution and prehistory at the University of Oxford who was not involved in the research. "This is telling us that we're dealing with an ancestor who is very bright."

The use of spears for hunting has been dated back to at least 600,000 years ago, from sites in Germany, but the oldest spears are nothing more than sharpened sticks. The evidence for stone-tipped spears until now has been no more than 300,000 years old, from triangular stone tips found all over Africa, Europe and western Asia. "They're associated in Europe and Asia with Neanderthals and in Africa with humans and our nearest ancestors," said Wilkins. "Sometimes at these sites, they were used for other ways as well, sometimes for cutting or butchery or as knives or in processing hides or other materials."

To find out if any stone tips were being used on spears any earlier than that, Wilkins examined sharp stones found at a site called Kathu Pan, in the Northern Cape region of South Africa. The sediments in which these tips had been found had been previously dated to 500,000 years old but it was unclear if the stones themselves had ever been used for anything other than handheld purposes such as cutting or butchery.

Wilkins took close-up photographs and put the stones under a microscope to look for the tell-tale damage caused to stones whenever they are used on spears. "We know from experimental studies that, when a point is used as a spear tip, the concentration of damage is greater at the tip of the point than along the edges," she said. "That's the same pattern we saw in the Kathu Pan point."

Her analysis is published today in the journal Science. Dating the stone tips to 500,000 years ago means that they were used on spears by the last common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals, Homo heidelbergensis. The idea that Homo heidelbergensis developed stone-tipped tools made a lot of sense, said Petraglia, because Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, which descended and split from Homo heidelbergensis around 300,000-400,000 years ago, used similar stone-tipped spear weapons.

Petraglia added that there were several other implications to the discovery that Homo heidelbergensis had used hafting to make spears. Adding stones would not only have given our ancestors an easier way to kill prey, but also to do it from a distance. "There is a big difference between thrusting and throwing," he said. "You can kill from a distance, maybe 10 to 30 metres away. The previous ancestors did not have that technology, so it means you are now occupying a new ecological niche, you can now take animals down more efficiently."

Before Homo heidelbergensis, Homo erectus was known to have used handheld stones as cutting tools. But they were not using, as far as anyone knows, spears. "This is a major innovation, getting into a new ecological niche," said Petraglia.

He added that the discovery also shed light on the development of modern human cognition. "Hominins – both Homo erectus and earlier humans – were into this meat-eating niche and meat-eating is something that is thought to be very important in terms of fuelling a bigger brain," said Petraglia. "In terms of our evolutionary history, that's been going on for millions of years. You have selection for a bigger brain and that's an expensive tissue and that protein from meat is a very important fuel, essentially. If you become a killing machine, using spears, you've come up with a technological solution where you can be reliant on meat-eating constantly. Homo heidelbergensis is known as a big-brained hominid, so having reliable access to meat-eating is important."

Marks of distinction

Other milestones in human evolution that demonstrated our ever-increasing cognitive abilities were fire, jewellery and art.

The earliest evidence of controlled fire for cooking, was found last year in South Africa by scientists at the University of Boston and dated to a million years ago. It is thought that the development of cooking not only made food tastier and easier to digest, it made the extraction of energy from raw ingredients quicker and more efficient. All useful things if you want to power an over-sized, energy-hungry brain without having to spend all your time foraging and chewing food.

The earliest known jewellery has been found in caves on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel. Dated to around 100,000 years ago, the ancient shells and beads had similar holes made into them, which would have allowed them to be strung together into a necklace or bracelet. They represent an early comprehension of symbolic behaviour – wearing jewellery sends messages of identity and self-expression to those around us.

Cave paintings are another sign of rapidly-growing intelligence among humans. The earliest discovered so far, found at 11 locations in northern Spain, including the Unesco world heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo and Tito Bustillo, were made by Neanderthals. One of the paintings was found to be more than 40,800 years old
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby kimon07 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:16 am

Nice thread. Bravo!!
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby kimon07 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:19 am

A lovely vid. Unfortunately in French with Greek subtitles only.

The best part starts after 8:00

The Legend of Science
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... kCPuRqqs2Y
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby kimon07 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:36 pm

supporttheunderdog wrote:The destruction of the Library at Alexandria is a tragedy since so much was lost that cannot be replaced.


Documentary about the Library of Alexandria with Carl Sagan (vid. No 1)

http://wn.com/Library_at_Alexandria#/videos

See also vid No 2 about the destruction of it.
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby kimon07 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:53 am

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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby Get Real! » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:52 pm

yialousa1971 wrote:World's Smallest Mammoth Discovered

So you finally found your hairy little penis Yialoser... I kept telling you to look in your sovrako!
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Re: Archeology/History Thread

Postby theodosia » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:29 pm

Get Real! wrote:
yialousa1971 wrote:World's Smallest Mammoth Discovered

So you finally found your hairy little penis Yialoser... I kept telling you to look in your sovrako!

how do you know its "hairy" did you see it? :lol:
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