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  • 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 · 15 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...
  • Squash grown 10,000 years ago in Peru

    06/28/2007 6:39:04 PM PDT · by Fred Nerks · 29 replies · 599+ views
    Yahoo ^ | Thu Jun 28, 6:09 PM ET | By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
    Squash grown 10,000 years ago in Peru By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Thu Jun 28, 6:09 PM ET WASHINGTON - Agriculture was taking root in South America almost as early as the first farmers were breaking ground in the Middle East, new research indicates. Evidence that squash was being grown nearly 10,000 years ago, in what is now Peru, is reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science. A team led by anthropologist Tom D. Dillehay of Vanderbilt University also uncovered remains of peanuts from 7,600 years ago and cotton dated to 5,500 years ago in the floors...