Ancient Crops Reveal Asian Colonization of Madagascar Archaeology 

Ancient Crops Reveal Asian Colonization of Madagascar

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore For decades, the colonization of Madagascar has been one of the most puzzling mysteries of human history. Although Madagascar is only a few hundred kilometers from the east coast of Africa, the language spoken there, known as Malagasy, belongs to the same group of languages spoken in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands located thousands of kilometers away. This linguistic affinity suggests that Madagascar was colonized by settlers from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Genetic and cultural evidence also support this theory. However, no concrete evidence has…

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Archaeology New Technologies 

See King Richard III in 3D

The remains of King Richard III of England were lost for a long time, but now you can see and manipulate a 3D representation of them. University of Leicester archaeologists discovered and helped to identify the bones of King Richard III beneath a paved parking lot in 2012. One year ago, they reinterred the King’s remains and, to mark the occasion, created an interactive 3D model of the grave and the skeleton of the king and made it publicly available for free. Using photographs taken during the excavation project, the…

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Mayan civilization: A round structure uncovered at Ceibal, from about 500 B.C. (Takeshi Inomata/University of Arizona) Archaeology 

How Mayan Civilization Came Together

Archaeologists working in Guatemala have unearthed new information about the Mayan civilization’s transition from a mobile, hunter-gatherer culture to an agrarian lifestyle. Until now, there have been two common assumptions about Mayan civilization: that nomadic and sedentary groups maintained separate communities, and that public buildings were constructed only after a population had fully put down roots (as was likely the case with these famous ancient Roman gold mines). These new findings challenge both assumptions. Developing a Unified Mayan Civilization Archaeologists go to great lengths, and depths, to uncover people and…

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Prehistoric stone tools: An elephant rib bearing marks from flint tools at the Revadim site. (American Friends of Tel Aviv University) Archaeology 

Prehistoric Stone Tools with Animal Residue

About 2.8 million years ago, early humans probably survived on a diet of plants. As the human brain expanded, however, it craved richer nourishment, namely animal fat and meat. Lacking claws and sharp teeth, early humans developed the skills and prehistoric stone tools necessary to hunt large animals and cut the fat and meat from the carcasses. Recently, this rare fossil shed new light on early human evolution. Long before that, our oldest known primate ancestors lived in trees and may have looked like this. Also, prehistoric human settlements have…

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3D reconstruction of the tetrapod skull. Top image: Right facial skeleton and skull roof shown in "exploded" view to show how the bones fit together. Center image: Left side of the cranium (braincase omitted) is shown in internal view. Bottom image: Right lower jaw in "exploded" view to illustrate sutural morphology. Individual bones shown in various colors. (Porro et al.) Biology Paleontology 

Early Tetrapod Skull Looks like Crocodile

Our 360 million-year-old tetrapod ancestors may have been more like modern crocodiles than previously thought, according to a new 3D skull reconstruction from the University of Bristol, UK. Acanthostega gunnari was a “four-footed” vertebrate, also known as a tetrapod, that invaded land during one of the great evolutionary transitions in Earth’s history, 380-360 million years ago. Tetrapods evolved from lobe-finned fish and display a number of adaptations that helped them survive on land. “These new analyses provide fresh clues about the evolution of the jaws and feeding system as the…

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