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  • News

    Sacrificed dog remains feed tales of Bronze Age ‘wolf-men’ warriors

    Remains of at least two Late Bronze Age initiation ceremonies, in which teenage boys became warriors by eating dogs and wolves, have turned up in southwestern Russia, two archaeologists say. The controversial finds, which date to between roughly 3,900 and 3,700 years ago, may provide the first archaeological evidence of adolescent male war bands described in ancient texts.

    Select boys of...

    08/07/2017 - 07:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    Humans first settled in Australia as early as 65,000 years ago

    Tools, paints and other artifacts excavated from an ancient rock-shelter in northern Australia are giving new glimpses into early life Down Under. The first humans may have arrived on the continent 65,000 years ago — 5,000 years earlier than previously thought — and they were sophisticated craftspeople, researchers report July 19 in Nature.

    Archaeologists unearthed three distinct layers...

    07/19/2017 - 13:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News

    Dog domestication happened just once, ancient DNA study suggests

    People and pooches may have struck up a lasting friendship after just one try, a new genetic study suggests.

    New data from ancient dogs indicates that dogs became distinct from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, researchers report July 18 in Nature Communications. Dogs then formed genetically distinct eastern and western groups 17,000 to 24,000 years ago, the researchers...

    07/18/2017 - 11:18 Genetics, Animals, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    Copper in Ötzi the Iceman’s ax came from surprisingly far away

    Ötzi the Iceman’s copper ax was imported.

    The mummy’s frozen body and assorted belongings were found in 1991 poking out of an Alpine glacier at Italy’s northern border with Austria. But Ötzi’s ax originated about 500 kilometers to the south in what is now central Italy’s Southern Tuscany region, say geoscientist Gilberto Artioli of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues. It’s...

    07/14/2017 - 07:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News in Brief

    Pin-drop test pops Greek amphitheater’s acoustic claims

    BOSTON — Guidebook claims about the superior acoustics of the ancient Greek amphitheater of Epidaurus are a tad melodramatic. An actor’s voice can be heard in the back row, but whispers and other quiet noises cannot, acoustician Remy Wenmaekers reported June 28 at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

    The acoustics of the 14,000-seat theater, which dates to the fourth century B...

    07/06/2017 - 15:45 Archaeology, Physics
  • News in Brief

    Carved human skulls found at ancient worship center in Turkey

    Hunter-gatherers who built and worshiped at one of the oldest known ritual centers in the world carved up human skulls in a style all their own.

    At Turkey’s Göbekli Tepe site — where human activity dates to between around 11,600 and 10,000 years ago — people cut deep grooves in three human skulls and drilled a hole in at least one of them, say archaeologist Julia Gresky of the German...

    06/28/2017 - 14:00 Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News

    Sound-reflecting shelters inspired ancient rock artists

    Ancient rock artists were drawn to echo chambers. Members of early farming communities in Europe painted images in rock-shelters where sounds bounced off walls and into the surrounding countryside, researchers say.

    Rock-shelters lacking such sound effects were passed up, at least in the central Mediterranean, report archaeologist Margarita Díaz-Andreu of the University of Barcelona and...

    06/26/2017 - 08:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • News

    DNA reveals how cats achieved world domination

    The cat is starting to come out of the bag when it comes to revealing when and how wild felines became couch kitties.

    A tale hidden in ancient cat DNA suggests cats were probably first domesticated in the Middle East. They later spread, first by land, then by sea, to the rest of the world, researchers report June 19 in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

    Early farmers brought...

    06/19/2017 - 17:01 Genetics, Archaeology, Animals
  • News

    Oldest known Homo sapiens fossils come from northern Africa, studies claim

    In a surprising and controversial geographic twist, the earliest known remains of the human species, Homo sapiens, have turned up in northwestern Africa, researchers claim.

    Fossils attributed to H. sapiens and stone tools unearthed at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, date to approximately 300,000 years ago, an international team of researchers report June 7 in two papers in Nature. Until now, the...

    06/07/2017 - 13:00 Anthropology, Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • Science Ticker

    Mummy DNA unveils the history of ancient Egyptian hookups

    Egyptian mummies are back in style at the summer box office — and in genetics labs. A study of genetic blueprints from 90 mummies repairs the frayed reputation of sarcophagus occupants as sources of ancient DNA. And it reveals evidence of a hookup history with foreigners from the east.

    An Egyptian mummy served up the first ancient human DNA sample in 1985 (SN: 4/27/85, p. 262). But both...

    05/31/2017 - 16:30 Genetics, Archaeology