Skip to comments.A Hidden Victim of Somali Pirates: Science
Posted on 05/05/2013 6:57:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Oceanic sediment cores offer researchers a valuable archive of Earth's climate history. Ancient pollen, plankton, dust, and other clues collected from seafloors provide the bulk of what scientists know about global changes to the planet's ecosystems over time.
In 2011, Feakins devised a novel way of harnessing this technology to test one of the oldest questions of human evolution: Did our ancestors actually climb down from trees because of expanding savannas in Africa?
By poring over cores from the seas off East Africa, she would be able to peel back layers of ancient, windblown carbon isotopes associated with grasslands, settling the debate...
But when the location of her sampling became known -- near the Gulf of Aden, the bull's-eye of the Somali pirate's hunting grounds -- Feakins's project sank without a bubble.
"I'm using old cores from the 1970s now," she says. "It's all we've got."
The JOIDES Resolution is deployed in the Indian Ocean until 2016. But during the past 18 months the IODP has quietly dry-docked three major projects near Somalia.
One casualty was paleoanthropologist White's dream proposal: drilling into the Indian Ocean seabed for ashes that have wafted down from African volcanoes over the course of millions of years.
The ash, which is precisely datable under the ocean because of continuous layering, would offer a game-changing yardstick for correlating the ages of hominid fossils discovered throughout the Great Rift Valley. In effect, the clearest picture yet of the human family tree would be pulled, shimmering, from the sea.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalgeographic.com ...
Thousands of fossils, such as this monkey skull, can be dated once drill cores are pulled from the ocean floor. Photograph by Tim D. White
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
The fellow holding that monkey skull needs to do something about his cuticles ...
Dornier 17: Salvaging a rare WWII plane from the seabed
BBC ^ | 2 May 2013 Last updated at 20:55 ET | Nick Higham
Posted on 05/04/2013 2:32:22 PM PDT by Pan_Yan
Thanks for posting this. BFLR