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Keyword: animalhusbandry

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  • Dogs (not chimps) most like humans

    03/26/2009 3:47:12 PM PDT · by decimon · 53 replies · 3,110+ views
    Discovery ^ | March. 26, 2009 | Jennifer Viegas
    Man's best friend serves as model for understanding human social behaviorChimpanzees share many of our genes, but dogs have lived with us for so long and undergone so much domestication that they are now serving as a model for understanding human social behavior, according to a new paper.
  • A mystery in black and white: Domesticated animals look - and act - differently ...

    01/29/2003 8:38:42 AM PST · by Prolixus · 39 replies · 961+ views
    The Boston Globe ^ | 1/28/2003 | Cynthia Mills
    <p>Domesticated animals look - and act - differently from than their wild counterparts. Why?</p> <p>The experiment was derived out of a discussion student Brian Hare had with his adviser, Michael Tomasello, an expert in primate behavior at Emory University. They were talking about how bad chimpanzees were at understanding human social cues. Despite being the heavyweights of animal intelligence, chimps were insensitive to what seemed to be obvious hints: They failed to pick up a cup hiding food even when the experimenter stared at it, pointed to it, and even tapped it. Tomasello wanted to talk about what this meant about the limits of nonhuman intelligence. Hare, a pet owner, had a down-to-Earth response: ''My dogs can do this.''</p>
  • Scientists believe cats 'sort of domesticated themselves'

    06/29/2007 8:02:15 AM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 185 replies · 6,883+ views
    SignOnSanDiego.com ^ | June 29, 2007 | THE WASHINGTON POST
    Scientists believe cats 'sort of domesticated themselves' THE WASHINGTON POST June 29, 2007 WASHINGTON – Your hunch is correct. Your cat decided to live with you, not the other way around. The sad truth is, it may not be a final decision. But don't take this feline diffidence personally. It runs in the family. And it goes back a long way – about 12,000 years, actually. Those are among the inescapable conclusions of a genetic study of the origins of the domestic cat, being published today in the journal Science. The findings, drawn from the analysis of nearly a thousand...
  • Dogs First Tamed in China -- To Be Food? [SURPRISE!]

    09/08/2009 12:30:02 PM PDT · by JoeProBono · 11 replies · 790+ views
    nationalgeographic ^ | September 4, 2009 | John Roach
    Wolves were domesticated no more than 16,300 years ago in southern China, a new genetic analysis suggests—and it's possible the canines were tamed to be livestock, not pets, the study author speculates. "In this region, even today, eating dog is a big cultural thing," noted study co-author Peter Savolainen, a biologist at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. "And you can also see in the historical records as far back as you can go that eating dogs has been very common" in East Asia. "Therefore, you have to think of the possibility that this was one of the...
  • The Dixie Dingo

    11/30/2001 1:40:40 PM PST · by blam · 119 replies · 15,672+ views
    Carolinadog.org ^ | U of Carolina
    "The Dixie Dingo" "The Native American Dog" "The American Dingo" " Southern Aboriginal Dog" "The Indian's Dog" Still living Wild in the bottom land swamps and forests of the Southeastern United States. Genetic (mitochondrial DNA) testing being performed at the University of South Carolina, College of Science and Mathematics, indicates that these dogs, related to the earliest domesticated dogs, are the remnant descendants of the feral pariah canids who came across the Bering land mass 8,000 to 11,000 years ago as hunting companions to the ancestors of the Native Americans. However, their future in the wild looks bleak. Loss ...
  • Dogs automatically imitate people

    07/28/2010 10:22:29 AM PDT · by Nachum · 26 replies · 9+ views
    msnbc ^ | 7/28/10 | Jennifer Viegas
    Some dogs may look like their owners, but all dogs imitate their human companions If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, dogs often shower us with praise. New research has just determined dogs automatically imitate us, even when it is not in their best interest to do so. The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provides the first evidence that dogs copy at least some of our body movements and behaviors in ways that are spontaneous and voluntary.
  • CANINE EVOLUTION: A Shaggy Dog History

    11/21/2002 6:36:35 PM PST · by Lessismore · 4 replies · 1,013+ views
    Science Magazine | 2002-11-21 | Elizabeth Pennisi
    Biologists chase down pooches' genetic and social past A Shaggy Dog History Two-kilogram teacup poodles; 90-kg mastiffs; slender greyhounds; squat English bulldogs: For a single species, canines come in a vast array of shapes and sizes. Even more remarkably, they all come from the same stock. Many millennia ago, humans took in a few primitive wolves and made them man's best friend. Or so the story goes. For centuries, researchers have doggedly pursued the evolutionary and social history of canines, with mixed success. Only subtle differences distinguish dogs from coyotes, jackals, and other canids, making family trees difficult to construct...
  • Animal Connection: New Hypothesis for Human Evolution and Human Nature

    07/23/2010 3:11:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 26 replies · 1+ views
    ScienceDaily ^ | July 20, 2010 | adapted from Penn State material written by Kevin Stacey
    It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals.... paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection. Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species... played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the last 2.6 million years... "Having sharp tools transformed wimpy human ancestors into effective predators who left many cut marks on the fossilized bones of their prey," Shipman said. Becoming a predator also put our ancestors into direct competition with other carnivores for carcasses and...
  • NEW RESEARCH ON HOW DOGS AND CATS BECAME MAN'S BEST FRIENDS

    06/07/2009 2:50:13 AM PDT · by Scanian · 46 replies · 1,397+ views
    NY Post ^ | June 6, 2009 | Maureen Callahan
    They have lived in our homes, been members of the family, slept on our laps for over 10,000 years. Yet it is only recently that science has begun to answer how it is that cats and dogs came to be our most prized companion animals - discovering, along the way, how the domestication of cats and dogs actively helped change the course of human history. "Domestication," says scientist Carlos Driscoll, "is evolution that we can see." Driscoll is a researcher at Oxford University and the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, where much of the world's leading work on cats has...
  • Man's best friend for 30,000 years: Canine skulls discovered in two separate digs reveals...

    01/24/2012 7:04:21 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 36 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 | Rob Waugh
    Scientists believe that two 33,000-year-old skulls unearthed in digs in Siberia and Belgium show dogs were domesticated long before any other animal, such as sheep, cows or goats. Researchers from the University of Arizona said the skulls had shorter snouts and wider jaws than undomesticated animals such as wolves, which use their longer snouts and narrower jaws to help them hunt. That suggested the dogs had been kept for protection and companionship by our ancient ancestors -- just as they are today. The researchers think dogs could have been the first species of animals to be domesticated by humans, long...
  • How Did Dogs Acquire a "Guilty Look?"

    09/18/2009 3:06:19 PM PDT · by PJ-Comix · 174 replies · 3,640+ views
    Self | September 18, 2009 | PJ-Comix
    A little while ago I made my wife laugh by doing an impression of a dog acting guilty. After the laughter subsided I started thinking: How does a dog even know how to act guilty? Guilt is not an emotion in any part of the rest animal kingdom except perhaps to a much lesser extent in cats and maybe chimpanzees although I am not sure about the latter due to little contact with chimps. Cats have such a superiority complex that they really don't show much guilt about anything. But dogs go completely overboard in the guilt department. You come...
  • World's Dogs Are Descended From Asian Wolves

    11/21/2002 4:27:05 PM PST · by blam · 78 replies · 1,771+ views
    Ananova ^ | 11-21-2002
    World's dogs are descended from Asian wolves Scientists have found that almost all dogs share a common gene pool after analysing the DNA of hundreds of dogs from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. They have concluded domesticated dogs originated from wolves in East Asia nearly 15,000 years ago. The animals travelled with humans through Europe and Asia and across the Bering Strait with the first settlers in America. Swedish and Chinese scientists studied the genes of 654 dogs and found a higher genetic diversity among East Asian dogs suggested that people there were the first to domesticate dogs from...
  • Ancient dog skull unearthed in Siberia

    08/03/2011 9:53:08 AM PDT · by decimon · 29 replies
    BBC ^ | August 3, 2011 | Hamish Pritchard
    A very well-preserved 33,000 year old canine skull from a cave in the Siberian Altai mountains shows some of the earliest evidence of dog domestication ever found. But the specimen raises doubts about early man's loyalty to his new best friend as times got tough. The findings come from a Russian-led international team of archaeologists. The skull, from shortly before the peak of the last ice age, is unlike those of modern dogs or wolves. The study is published in the open access journal Plos One. Although the snout is similar in size to early, fully domesticated Greenland dogs from...
  • Best friend, indeed: Dogs take human cues better than chimps

    11/22/2002 10:34:10 AM PST · by afraidfortherepublic · 63 replies · 926+ views
    Washington - Research has long indicated that all dogs, from prissy Pekingese to slobbering St. Bernards, are the domesticated descendants of wolves. But scientists have tussled like puppies over the question of when and where the transition from wild carnivore to newspaper-toting pet began - and why, exactly, dogs and humans have gotten along so well. Now, a new analysis of dog DNA pegs East Asia as the place where wolves and people began their dance of co-domestication - not Europe or the Middle East, as some experts have contended. The work also suggests that domestication began about 15,000 years...
  • The Forever Dog -- Dog breeds were created by human beings. The village dog created itself

    01/30/2012 7:20:14 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 56 replies · 1+ views
    National Geographic ^ | February 2012 | Evan Ratliff
    While a postdoc at Cornell University a few years ago, Adam Boyko became curious about the little-studied village vagrants. Though dogs were first domesticated 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, most breeds go back only a few hundred years. Perhaps village dog DNA might shed light on the long, early history of domestication, when canines were hanging around humans yet not under our domain. But how to get samples? As it happened, around the same time Boyko's brother Ryan had married, and he and wife Corin were looking for a cheap honeymoon off the beaten track. The three Boykos decided to...
  • How Dogs Became Man's Best Friend Video

    01/26/2007 2:44:05 PM PST · by afraidfortherepublic · 53 replies · 1,927+ views
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070125-dogs-video.htmlRELATED Video: Working Dogs Go Beyond "Man's Best Friend" Video: Dog Whisperer Tackles Pit Bull Terror Dogs: Photos, Video, Audio, and More January 25, 2007—Though they come in many different sizes and temperaments, all domesticated dogs living today are descended from just a few wild wolves that roamed Asia some 15,000 years ago. But why, out of all of the animals that humans have domesticated, have dogs become so close to their owners? Join an anthropologist as he conducts experiments on both wild dogs and down-home pups to figure out why dogs are so good at communicating with humans. Video...
  • Dog: Man's Best Friend for Over 33,000 Years (Oldest Known Evidence of Dog Domestication)

    02/05/2012 8:24:42 AM PST · by DogByte6RER · 33 replies
    FoxNews.com ^ | January 24, 2012 | FoxNews.com
    Dog: man's best friend for over 33,000 years He's been man's best friend for generations. An ancient dog skull found in Siberia and dating back 33,000 years presents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication. When combined with a similar find in Belgium, the two skulls indicate that the domestication of dogs by humans occurred repeatedly throughout early human history at different geographic locations -- rather than at a single domestication event, as previously believed. "Both the Belgian find and the Siberian find are domesticated species based on morphological characteristics," said Greg Hodgins, a researcher at the University...
  • Dog domestication likely started in N. Africa

    08/03/2009 6:19:19 PM PDT · by decimon · 15 replies · 944+ views
    Discovery ^ | Aug 3, 2009 | Jennifer Viegas
    A Basenji is a dog breed indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. Humans might have first domesticated dogs from wolves in Africa, with Egypt being one possibility, since wolves are native to that region. Modern humans originated in Africa, and now it looks like man's best friend first emerged there too. An extensive genetic study on the ancestry of African village dogs points to a Eurasian — possibly North African — origin for the domestication of dogs. Prior research concluded that dogs likely originated in East Asia. However, this latest study, the most thorough investigation ever on the ancestry of African village...
  • Earliest Domesticated Dog Uncovered

    05/08/2003 5:55:22 PM PDT · by blam · 31 replies · 471+ views
    Discovery News ^ | 5-7-2003 | Jennifer Viegas
    Earliest Domesticated Dogs Uncovered By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News Skull of a Stone Age Dog April 7, 2003 — The skulls of two Stone Age dogs believed to be the earliest known canines on record have been found, according to a team of Russian scientists. The dog duo, which lived approximately 14,000 years ago, appear to represent the first step of domestication from their wild wolf ancestors. Mikhail Sablin, a scientist at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, along with his colleague Gennady Khlopachev, analyzed the dog remains, which were found at the Eliseevichi...
  • Wolves make dog's dinner out of domestication theory

    09/26/2008 5:15:44 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies · 551+ views
    New Scientist ^ | September 24, 2008 | Ewen Callaway
    Dogs are no better than wolves at picking up on human cues... When tasked with choosing between two paint cans based on a trainer's hand signal, tamed wolves actually proved more adept at picking the right can. This casts doubt on the idea that domestication some 15,000 years ago imbued dogs with a window into the human mind, says Clive Wynne, an animal psychologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Rather, dogs -- and tamed wolves -- probably learn to associate human arm movements with treats, play and affection. Researchers who argue for a dog "theory of mind" are...
  • The Cat in Ancient Egypt

    01/31/2003 2:29:42 PM PST · by vannrox · 181 replies · 65,620+ views
    Tour Egypt ^ | FR Posts 1-30-2003 (April 1st, 2001) | By Ilene Springer
    The Cat in Ancient EgyptBy Ilene SpringerAfter the pyramids and the kohl painted eyes, almost nothing evokes more awe and mystery than the fascination ancient Egyptians had with cats.They were not only the most popular pet in the house, but their status rose to that of the sacred animals and then on to the most esteemed deities like no other creature before them.Cats domesticate the ancient EgyptiansAlthough no one can pinpoint the time exactly, we know that the cat was domesticated in Egypt, probably around 2000 B.C., and that most modern cats are descendants of the cats of ancient...
  • Dogs Make Us Human

    03/26/2002 10:29:27 AM PST · by blam · 123 replies · 747+ views
    Australian Museum ^ | 3-25-2002 | Heidi De Wald
    Dogs make us human By Heidi De Wald Monday, 25 Mar, 2002 About 48% of Australian households own dogs. But can you imagine a world without dogs. And would we be the same if they were not here? Would human beings have developed in very different ways had our best friends not been by our sides? A recent study suggests that the domestication of dogs mutually led to profound changes in the biological and behavioural evolution of both species. It has long been known that the first species domesticated by humans was the wolf. In essence, we made wolves into...
  • Experts: Dogs originated in ancient Asia

    02/17/2004 2:20:26 PM PST · by presidio9 · 38 replies · 410+ views
    AP ^ | Tuesday, February 17, 2004
    <p>From Yorkshire terriers the size of a teacup to Irish wolfhounds near the size of a small pony, all dogs originated from a single species, probably an East Asian wolf seeking the warmth of the human hearth and an easy meal.</p>
  • Opinion: We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us.

    03/03/2013 4:02:35 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 47 replies
    National Geographic News ^ | March 3, 2013 | Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
    Scientists argue that friendly wolves sought out humans.In the story of how the dog came in from the cold and onto our sofas, we tend to give ourselves a little too much credit. The most common assumption is that some hunter-gatherer with a soft spot for cuteness found some wolf puppies and adopted them. Over time, these tamed wolves would have shown their prowess at hunting, so humans kept them around the campfire until they evolved into dogs. (See "How to Build a Dog.") But when we look back at our relationship with wolves throughout history, this doesn't really make...
  • Sorcery, Sex and the Sheep Census: Reconstructing the socio-economic patterns of Bronze Age Mesop...

    03/03/2013 8:45:23 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    Collegiate Journal of Anthropology ^ | Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | Alexandre Loktionov
    AbstractThe textual corpus of Bronze Age Mesopotamia is unique in its richness; containing works which appear purely administrative, entirely fictional, or anywhere along a vast spectrum between the two extremes. The present discussion evaluates the major textual genres in terms of their possible uses in reconstructing wider socio-economic dynamics across Mesopotamia: this includes both practical aspects of the agricultural and commercial economies, but also points of ideology centred on complementary themes of fatalistic transience, rejuvenation, and the sensuality of mortals. The two are then linked together by an analysis of legal and haruspical texts, which were written for practical purposes...
  • Turns Out Cats Have Been Walking on Important Stuff for Basically Forever

    02/28/2013 7:35:28 AM PST · by Squawk 8888 · 50 replies
    Check out this 15th Century manuscript. Notice anything familiar? In totally-non-shocking-news-of-the-day, it turns out cats have been walking on whatever you're writing since the dawn of time. Emir O. Filipovic of the University of Sarajevo's History Department discovered the medieval kitty prints. We can only assume that somewhere, beyond the reach of time, in a small ancient monastery in the mountains, the muffled sounds of "SNOWBALL, OFF. OFF. DOWN. GET DOWN, SNOWBALL. BAD KITTY. DAMNIT, SNOWBALL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE," carry across the medieval vales and valleys.
  • Ancient burial ground discovered during duck hunt[Oklahoma]

    01/10/2007 11:02:36 PM PST · by FLOutdoorsman · 27 replies · 1,192+ views
    Benton County Daily Record ^ | 09 Jan 2007 | Jeff Della Rosa
    SILOAM SPRINGS — Bryan Austin of Siloam Springs thought he’d found a crime scene when he spotted a human skull under a pile of rocks while he was duck hunting in northeast Oklahoma. Looking for a good place to set up a camouflage hunting screen Nov. 19 on a mud flat in the Spavinaw Creek drainage area, Austin found what turned out to be an ancient skull. He later learned that the site is an ancient Indian burial ground. “ It’s absolutely amazing, ” Austin said. “ I’m incredibly interested in this kind of stuff. It’s in my line of...
  • Cattle's Call Of The Wild: Domestication May Hold Complex Genetic Tale

    05/16/2006 1:02:49 PM PDT · by blam · 25 replies · 688+ views
    Science News ^ | 5-16-2006 | Bruce Bower
    Cattle's Call of the Wild: Domestication may hold complex genetic tale Bruce Bower A new investigation of DNA that was obtained from modern cattle and from fossils of their ancient, wild ancestors puts scientists on the horns of a domestication dilemma. The new data challenge the mainstream idea, based on earlier genetic and archaeological evidence, that herding and farming groups in southeastern Turkey or adjacent Near Eastern regions domesticated cattle perhaps 11,000 years ago. According to that view, these groups then introduced the animals throughout Europe, so current European cattle breeds would trace their ancestry directly back to early Near...
  • Noble Savages? The era of the hunter-gatherer was not the social and environmental Eden some suggest

    01/01/2008 11:54:37 AM PST · by billorites · 24 replies · 489+ views
    Economist.com ^ | December 19, 2007
    HUMAN beings have spent most of their time on the planet as hunter-gatherers. From at least 85,000 years ago to the birth of agriculture around 73,000 years later, they combined hunted meat with gathered veg. Some people, such as those on North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Sea, still do. The Sentinelese are the only hunter-gatherers who still resist contact with the outside world. Fine-looking specimens—strong, slim, fit, black and stark naked except for a small plant-fibre belt round the waist—they are the very model of the noble savage. Genetics suggests that indigenous Andaman islanders have been isolated since the...
  • Stuffed Dormice A Roman Favourite

    07/21/2003 4:18:11 PM PDT · by blam · 41 replies · 1,213+ views
    BBC ^ | 7-21-2003
    Stuffed dormice a Roman favourite The remnants of a Roman hare stew Archaeologists in Northamptonshire are unearthing the recipe secrets of the Romans. Excavations in the county have shown the dish of the day 2,000 years ago was freshly-grilled hare and stuffed dormice. The excavations are at Whitehall Villa, Nether Heyford, just yards from the Grand Union Canal, are revealing the secrets of Northamptonshire's Roman Heritage, including their unusual diet. Archaeologist Martin Weaver said a burned bowl found at the site contained the remnants of hare stew. "They also ate dormice - stuffed - and oysters. They loved their oysters,"...
  • Farming in Dark Age Britain

    07/06/2012 4:50:58 AM PDT · by Renfield · 26 replies
    Suite 101 ^ | 3-18-2011 | Brenda Lewis
    In the Dark Ages, the early Anglo-Saxon settlers in Britain led a hard life farming the land, in total contrast to their Romano-British predecessors. When the Romans invaded Britain in 43AD, they found a land of thick forests, heath and swampland. There were no towns, no roads - or nothing that a Roman would have recognized as proper roads - and no bridges. After the Romans However, by the time the Romans abandoned Britain four centuries later, they had turned it into a quite different place. The Anglo-Saxon settlers who began to arrive in large numbers in around 450AD found...
  • Neanderthals Had Knowledge Of Plant Healing Qualities

    07/19/2012 9:56:13 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports ^ | Thursday, July 19, 2012 | Naturwissenschaften
    A team of researchers has provided the first molecular evidence that Neanderthals not only ate a range of cooked plant foods, but also understood their nutritional and medicinal qualities... The researchers, led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of York, combined pyrolysis gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry with morphological analysis of plant microfossils to identify material trapped in dental calculus (calcified dental plaque) from five Neanderthals from the north Spanish site of El Sidrón. Their results provide another twist to the story -- the first molecular evidence for medicinal plants being used by a Neanderthal individual. According to a prepared...
  • The oldest farming village in the Mediterranean islands is discovered in Cyprus

    05/15/2012 7:39:27 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    PhysOrg ^ | May 15, 2012 | CNRS
    Previously it was believed that, due to the island's geographic isolation, the first Neolithic farming societies did not reach Cyprus until a thousand years after the birth of agriculture in the Middle East... However, the discovery of Klimonas, a village that dates from nearly 9000 years before Christ, proves that early cultivators migrated to Cyprus from the Middle Eastern continent shortly after the emergence of agriculture there, bringing with them wheat as well as dogs and cats... The archaeologists have found a few votive offerings inside the building, including flint arrowheads and green stone beads. A great many remnants of...
  • Humanity's Best Friend: How Dogs May Have Helped Humans Beat the Neanderthals

    05/15/2012 11:00:12 AM PDT · by Theoria · 44 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | 14 May 2012 | Megan Garber
    Over 20,000 years ago, humans won the evolutionary battle against Neanderthals. They may have had some assistance in that from their best friends. One of the most compelling -- and enduring -- mysteries in archaeology concerns the rise of early humans and the decline of Neanderthals. For about 250,000 years, Neanderthals lived and evolved, quite successfully, in the area that is now Europe. Somewhere between 45,000 and 35,000 years ago, early humans came along.They proliferated in their new environment, their population increasing tenfold in the 10,000 years after they arrived; Neanderthals declined and finally died away. What happened? What went...
  • Neolithic farmers brought deer to Ireland

    05/14/2012 3:13:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Past Horizons Archaeology ^ | April 18, 2012 | School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin
    By comparing DNA from ancient bone specimens to DNA obtained from modern animals, the researchers discovered that the Kerry red deer are the direct descendants of deer present in Ireland 5000 years ago. Further analysis using DNA from European deer proves that Neolithic people from Britain first brought the species to Ireland. Although proving the red deer is not native to Ireland, researchers believe that the Kerry population is unique as it is directly related to the original herd and are worthy of special conservation status. Fossil bone samples from the National Museum of Ireland, some up to 30,000 years...
  • Did humans devastate Easter Island on arrival?

    03/10/2006 4:17:24 AM PST · by S0122017 · 27 replies · 482+ views
    New Scientist ^ | 9 March 2006 | Bob Holmes
    Did humans devastate Easter Island on arrival? 19:00 09 March 2006 Bob Holmes Early settlers to the remote Easter Island stripped the island’s natural resources to erect towering stone statues (Image: Terry L Hunt)Related Articles What caused the collapse of Easter Island civilisation? 25 September 2004 Last of the great migrations 24 April 2004 Histories: Carteret's South Sea trouble 11 February 2006 The first humans may have arrived on Easter Island several centuries later than previously supposed, suggests a new study. If so, these Polynesian settlers must have begun destroying the island's forests almost immediately after their arrival. Easter Island...
  • Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years

    05/25/2010 6:22:11 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 73 replies · 1,099+ views
    New York Times ^ | Monday, May 24, 2010 | Sean B. Carroll
    Many botanists did not see any connection between maize and other living plants. Some concluded that the crop plant arose through the domestication by early agriculturalists of a wild maize that was now extinct, or at least undiscovered. However, a few scientists working during the first part of the 20th century uncovered evidence that they believed linked maize to what, at first glance, would seem to be a very unlikely parent, a Mexican grass called teosinte... George W. Beadle, while a graduate student at Cornell University in the early 1930s, found that maize and teosinte had very similar chromosomes....
  • Maize may have fueled ancient Andean civilization [ update of sorts ]

    07/10/2009 5:32:03 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies · 787+ views
    Science News ^ | Bruce Bower
    Prehistoric communities in one part of Peru's Andes Mountains may have gone from maize to amazingly complex. Bioarchaeologist Brian Finucane's analyses of human skeletons excavated in this region indicate that people living there 2,800 years ago regularly ate maize. This is the earliest evidence for maize as a staple food in the rugged terrain of highland Peru, he says. Maize agriculture stimulated ancient population growth in the Andes and allowed a complex society, the Wari, to develop, Finucane contends in the August Current Anthropology. Wari society included a central government and other elements of modern states. It lasted from around...
  • Cultivation changed monsoon in Asia

    06/02/2009 10:57:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies · 518+ views
    Science News ^ | June 1st, 2009 | Sid Perkins
    Loss of forests in India, China during the 1700s led to a decline in monsoon precipitation The dramatic expansion of agriculture in India and southeastern China during the 18th century — a sprawl that took place at the expense of forests — triggered a substantial drop in precipitation in those regions, a new study suggests. Winds that blow northeast from the Indian Ocean into southern Asia each summer bring abundant rain to an area that’s home to more than half the world’s population. But those seasonal winds, known as monsoons, brought about 20 percent less rainfall each year to India...
  • Superdirt Made Lost Amazon Cities Possible

    11/30/2008 3:36:23 PM PST · by JoeProBono · 22 replies · 1,067+ views
    Centuries-old European explorers' tales of lost cities in the Amazon have long been dismissed by scholars, in part because the region is too infertile to feed a sprawling civilization. But new discoveries support the idea of an ancient Amazonian urban network—and ingeniously engineered soil may have made it all possible.
  • Scientists find ancient lost settlements in Amazon

    08/28/2008 5:54:59 PM PDT · by decimon · 25 replies · 192+ views
    Reuters ^ | Aug 28, 2008 | Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Maggie Fox
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A vast region of the Amazon forest in Brazil was home to a complex of ancient towns in which about 50,000 people lived, according to scientists assisted by satellite images of the region. The scientists, whose findings were published on Thursday in the journal Science, described clusters of towns and smaller villages connected by complex road networks and housing a society doomed by the arrival of Europeans five centuries ago. < > The existence of the ancient settlements in the Upper Xingu region of the Amazon in north-central Brazil means what many experts had considered virgin tropical...
  • 'Lost towns' discovered in Amazon

    09/19/2008 4:43:17 AM PDT · by Renfield · 12 replies · 326+ views
    BBC News ^ | 8-28-08
    A remote area of the Amazon river basin was once home to densely populated towns, Science journal reports. The Upper Xingu, in west Brazil, was once thought to be virgin forest, but in fact shows traces of extensive human activity. Researchers found evidence of a grid-like pattern of settlements connected by road networks and arranged around large central plazas....
  • Maize (Corn) May Have Been Domesticated In Mexico As Early As 10,000 Years Ago

    06/29/2008 2:03:58 PM PDT · by blam · 29 replies · 305+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 6-27-2008 | American Society of Plant Biologists
    Maize (Corn) May Have Been Domesticated In Mexico As Early As 10,000 Years AgoVarious unusually colored and shaped maize from Latin America. (Credit: Photo by Keith Weller / courtesy of USDA/Agricultural Research Service) ScienceDaily (June 27, 2008) — The ancestors of maize originally grew wild in Mexico and were radically different from the plant that is now one of the most important crops in the world. While the evidence is clear that maize was first domesticated in Mexico, the time and location of the earliest domestication and dispersal events are still in dispute. Now, in addition to more traditional macrobotanical...
  • Ancient Mexican Maize Varieties

    06/26/2008 1:14:31 PM PDT · by blam · 2 replies · 148+ views
    Physorg ^ | American Society of Plant Biologists
    Ancient Mexican maize varieties Maize was first domesticated in the highlands of Mexico about 10,000 years ago and is now one of the most important crop plants in the world. It is a member of the grass family, which also hosts the world's other major crops including rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, and sugar cane. As early agriculturalists selected plants with desirable traits, they were also selecting genes important for transforming a wild grass into a food plant. Since that time, Mexican farmers have created thousands of varieties suitable for cultivation in the numerous environments in the Mexican landscape—from dry, temperate...
  • Corn's Roots Dig Deeper Into South America

    03/25/2008 10:31:11 AM PDT · by blam · 2 replies · 291+ views
    Eureka Alert ^ | 3-24-2008 | University of Calgary
    Contact: Grady Semmens gsemmens@ucalgary.ca 403-220-7722 University of Calgary Corn's roots dig deeper into South AmericaEarliest signs of maize as staple food found after spreading south from Mexican homeland Corn has long been known as the primary food crop in prehistoric North and Central America. Now it appears it may have been an important part of the South American diet for much longer than previously thought, according to new research by University of Calgary archaeologists who are cobbling together the ancient history of plant domestication in the New World. In a paper published in the March 24 advanced online edition of...
  • Egypt's Earliest Agricultural Settlement Unearthed

    02/15/2008 2:27:15 PM PST · by blam · 17 replies · 1,457+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 2-15-2008 | University of California - Los Angeles.
    Egypt's Earliest Agricultural Settlement UnearthedA fragment of a bangle made of a shell found only at the Red Sea suggests possible trade links with the cradle of agriculture in the Near East. (Credit: Copyright UC Regents) ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2008) — Archaeologists from UCLA and the University of Groningen (RUG) in the Netherlands have found the earliest evidence ever discovered of an ancient Egyptian agricultural settlement, including farmed grains, remains of domesticated animals, pits for cooking and even floors for what appear to be dwellings. The findings, which were unearthed in 2006 and are still being analyzed, also suggest possible...
  • Andean Crops Cultivated Almost 10,000 Years Ago

    01/17/2008 3:55:35 PM PST · by blam · 22 replies · 83+ views
    Discover Magazine ^ | 1-15-2008 | Michael Abrams
    Andean Crops Cultivated Almost 10,000 Years Ago by Michael Abrams Archaeologists have long thought that people in the Old World were planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting for a good 5,000 years before anyone in the New World did such things. But fresh evidence, in the form of Peruvian squash seeds, indicates that farming in the New and Old Worlds was nearly concurrent. In a paper the journal Science published last June, Tom Dillehay, an anthropological archaeologist at Vanderbilt University, revealed that the squash seeds he found in the ruins of what may have been ancient storage bins on the lower...
  • African Slaves Brought First Rice Riches to U.S.?

    12/20/2007 7:49:21 PM PST · by Lorianne · 45 replies · 236+ views
    National Geographic News ^ | November 28, 2007 | John Roach
    A rice variety that made many a colonial plantation owner rich was brought to the United States from West Africa, according to preliminary genetic research. The finding suggests that African slaves are responsible for nearly every facet of one of the first rice varieties grown in the U.S., as well as one of the most lucrative crops in early American history. "Not only did they bring the technology, the how-to, they brought the cultivar," said Anna McClung, a genetic researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Stuttgart, Arkansas. West Africans had been growing varieties of rice for several thousand...
  • Trying To Fathom Farming's Origins

    08/15/2007 10:42:04 AM PDT · by blam · 60 replies · 929+ views
    The Columbus Dispatch ^ | 8-14-2007 | Bradley T Lepper
    Trying to fathom farming's origins Tuesday, August 14, 2007 3:22 AM By Bradley T. Lepper Tom Dillehay, an archaeologist with Vanderbilt University, and several colleagues announced last month in the journal Science that they had recovered remarkably early evidence for agriculture in South America. Working at several sites in the Nanchoc Valley of northern Peru, they found squash seeds that were more than 9,000 years old. This is nearly twice as old as previously reported farming evidence in the region. Dillehay and his co-authors point out that one of the most important aspects of this discovery is that "horticulture and...
  • Noah's Ark Flood Spurred European Farming

    01/24/2008 3:04:09 PM PST · by blam · 33 replies · 193+ views
    Canada West ^ | Randy Boswell
    Noah's Ark flood spurred European farmingAncient Canadian flood cascaded changes across Europe Randy Boswell , CanWest News Service Published: Monday, November 19, 2007 A British scientist has found evidence linking the catastrophic collapse of a glacial ice dam in Canada more than 8,000 years ago and the rapid spread of agriculture across Europe around the same time. The dramatic discharge of freshwater from prehistoric Lake Agassiz - which covered much of Central Canada at the end of the last ice age - has long been blamed for altering global climate patterns and raising sea levels around the world by at...