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Friday, July 30, 2010

Going on a Excavation (so will be away)

I'm going on a excavation till the 10th of August! For those who don't know, i stay in South Africa and the excavation takes place at Magoro Hill near the Middle Letaba Dam in Limpopo Province right here in sunny SA (although its cold at the moment)!

Indiana Jones Hat - check
Protective Gaitors - check
Trowel - check
Audio books - check

Seems I'm ready to go :)

I will miss blogging and will miss reading everyone's blogs!

I'll have some photos and fun stories when i come back :)

Happy Blogging all!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

World’s Oldest Known Dog Jaw


In a Swiss cave (Kesslerloch Cave), the earliest known dog jaw fragment has been found. It was discovered back in 1873 but has now been carbon dated. It shows that domestic dogs lived there between 14,100 and 14,600 years ago.

“The Kesslerloch find clearly supports the idea that the dog was an established domestic animal at that time in central Europe,” Napierala says.

Paleontologist Mietje Germonpr√© of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, who directed the analysis of the Goyet fossil, stands by his conclusions. “The Kesslerloch dog is not the oldest evidence of dog domestication,” he says.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New monument unearthed at Stonehenge

BIRMINGHAM, England, July 22 (UPI) -- A new "henge," or ceremonial circle, has been unearthed at Britain's Stonehenge in what archaeologists are calling the most exciting find there in 50 years.

A circular ditch surrounding a small circle of deep pits archaeologists believe held timber posts was unearthed about a half mile from the famous stone circle at the site, BBC News reported.

"When you see that as an archaeologist, you just looked at it and thought, 'that's a henge monument' -- it's a timber equivalent to Stonehenge," Professor Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham said.

"This is probably the first major ceremonial monument that has been found in the past 50 years or so," he said.

Why the 4,500-year-old Stonehenge was built will be debated and studies for years, but most experts believe it was a cemetery for 500 years, from the point of its inception, the BBC said.
The current excavations, the first at the site in almost 50 years, began in 2008, assisted by the National Trust and English Heritage.

Another Article:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Undersea probe to seek out lost' port city

CHENNAI: Encouraged by the zeal witnessed at the recent world classical Tamil conference, the DMK government has decided to fund an undersea expedition to excavate the remains of a 2,000-year-old town, Poompuhar or Kaveripoompattinam, submerged under the sea off the Nagapattinam coast in Tamil Nadu.

"Such a scientific investigation, further supported by literary evidence, will help establish archaeological evidence of ancient Poompuhar," pointed out former state archaeology director R Nagaswamy, who was part of the first team that undertook onshore excavations in the port town in 1981.

"Besides several references in Sangam literature, there is proof of the rich merchants of Manigrama, a suburban village of ancient Poompuhar, travelling by boats, accompanied by sena muka' (soldiers to protect them from pirates), to Takua Pa (now in south Thailand) to trade in gems (mani' in Tamil). A Tamil inscription on stone to this effect is still preserved here," said Nagaswamy.

Full article:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ancient monkey fossil found by divers


In an underwater cave in the Dominican Republic the fossilised remains of a extinct monkey was found by a team of scuba divers. The fossil is believed to be around 3,000.

"When they discovered it, they were fearful the bones were exposed, so they moved the material to a little nook to protect it."Having sought official permission to remove the fossil from the cave, Dr Rosenberger returned to with the scuba divers to retrieve it in October of last year.
The divers packed the skeleton into tupperware boxes in order to bring it safely to the surface.
'Stout little monkey' Dr Rosenberger said the monkey - only the second specimen of the species Antillothrix bernensis ever found - probably measured about 30cm (12in) from head to toe.

Skull of Antillothrix bernensis, an extinct monkey discovered in a cave in the Dominican Republic (Image: C Bowen)  

"That's an exciting part of the story - if you compare the dental remains of our monkey to other fossils that we know of, we see strong similarities with Patagonian fossils that are around 15 million years old."

"With this improved knowledge of a recently extinct species, it might be possible to understand what caused it to disappear from Hispaniola."

Full article:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls Made Locally

Picture Source: Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics

Proton beams have shed new light on the origin of the longest of the Dead Sea scrolls, suggesting its parchment was manufactured locally.

According to a study the 28-foot-long Temple Scroll was made in Qumran, in the same area on the Dead Sea coast where the faded parchments were found hidden in caves half a century ago.

 "Our study focused on the parchment, we still don't know where the scroll was written. We are now planning to analyze the ink," Pappalardo said.

"The Dead Sea Scrolls present an extremely complicated system that cannot be characterized by single technique. Each technique delivers a small part of the solution, only a combination of the results might produce a relevant result," Rabin told Discovery News.

Full article:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An ancient Mayan King's tomb has been found


"A well-preserved tomb believed to be the final resting place of an ancient Mayan king has been discovered in Guatemala, scientists announced last week."

This tomb is 1600 years old and was discovered beneath the El Diablo pyramid on on the 29th of May. The tomb was full of textiles, ceramics etc. But the strangest of all was the bones of six children.

They also found bowls containing human teeth and fingers!

"The chamber had been so well sealed, for over 1600 years, that no air and little water had entered."


Monday, July 19, 2010

Jurassic crawfish fossil found

News photo

A fossilized claw of a crawfish dating to the late Jurassic period was found in Fukushima. It could be a new discovered species and it was found by Ayumu Tadano (13) in July 2009. The fossil is 11.4 cm long and up to 2.1 cm wide.

Full article:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1,400-year-old Native American settlement found in Illinois

"We have found about 40 pits, some very large storage pits, and one bell-shaped pit that appears to have had hundreds of tons of limestone hauled in and has a flagstone floor," David Nolan, Western Illinois Field Station coordinator for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, said at the site Tuesday.

 "The excavations on the west side are yielding very well-preserved bone fragments, as well as pottery pieces," Nolan said. "It appears this was a large communal village, but may not have been used year-round. Our later analysis of our data will have to tell us that."
"It is rewarding, and it is important to get excavations done, as this site will be gone in a couple months, and a new road will be here," Nolan said. "Then, the real work begins of understanding what the data and artifacts have to teach us about the people that lived here."


Friday, July 16, 2010

Fossil skull of 'Saadanius' primate found


A fossilised, battle-scarred skull belonging to a previously unknown species of primate has been unearthed that sheds light on the evolutionary origins of apes, including humans.

The remains, which include a partial skull and teeth, were recovered from ironstone sediment during an expedition to the site in February 2009, but only now has a detailed description of the fossil been published.

Iyad Zalmout, lead author of the study, spotted the damaged skull of Saadanius lying upside down in the sediment with its teeth glinting in the sun.

Serious wounds on the front of the skull suggest the creature met a violent end. "He got in the way of a big carnivore and died in a horrible way," Zalmout said. "The puncture marks in the skull suggest he was seized by the head, got chewed around a bit, and was then thrown away."

Brenda Benefit, professor of biological anthropology at New Mexico State University, said: "For me this discovery is one of the most significant in my lifetime. Until now we have not had a very perfect fossil ancestor for the Old World monkeys and apes."

"Some palaeontologists, inlcuding myself, thought that this is exactly what the common ancestor to Old World monkeys and apes would look like, based on resemblances between Miocene fossil Old World monkeys and apes, whereas others thought they would be shorter snouted and more round-headed like modern gibbons.
"Saadanius resolves this debate and demonstrates the importance of the fossil record for knowing what our ancestors looked like."


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fossil Found in Cave


The discovery of a remarkable 15-million-year-old Australian fossil limestone cave packed with even older animal bones has revealed almost the entire life cycle of a large prehistoric marsupial, from suckling young in the pouch still cutting their milk teeth to elderly adults.

UNSW researchers have found hundred's of fossils of the marsupial Nimbadon lavarackorum. Other fossils were also found, such as kangaroos, bandicoots, etc.

Details of the find is published in the , by a team led by Dr Karen Black, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

"The animals appear to have plunged to their deaths through a vertical cave entrance that may have been obscured by vegetation and acted as a natural pit-fall trap. These animals - including mothers with pouch young - either unwittingly fell to their deaths or survived the fall only to be entombed and unable to escape."

Large predatory fish fossil found near Isisford

The fossil of a large, fast-swimming predatory fish, similar to the modern day Indo-Pacific tarpon, has been found near Isisford, central-western Queensland.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Interesting Pet found

A University of Leicester archaeologist has discovered a bone belonging to a late19th-century tortoise from Stafford Castle, Staffordshire - believed to be the earliest archaeological evidence of a tortoise kept as a family pet.

 Full Article:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fossil track of Diatryma found!


This Flightless bird standing 7 feet tall walked the Earth 50 million years ago. It is called Diatryma.

After the landslide in Deming in 2009, this fossil was found. The 1,300-pound slab was flown by helicopter then driven to WWU. Where it will be open for viewing and studied.

The new track is necessarily being compared to a track found east of Auburn 18 years ago. That's when John Patterson of Maple Valley found a larger, three-toed track in a slab of siltstone that had fallen from a cliff in the Green River gorge.

Researchers disagreed then, and now, whether that track was left by a Diatryma, by another creature, or perhaps by someone playing a hoax.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Roman Canal discovered!

Aerial photograph of the excavations undertaken by the Portus Project

Scholars discovered the 100-yard-wide (90-metre-wide) canal at Portus, the ancient maritime port through which goods from all over the Empire were shipped to Rome for more than 400 years.

The archaeologists, from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton and the British School at Rome, believe the canal connected Portus, on the coast at the mouth of the Tiber, with the nearby river port of Ostia, two miles away.

Full Article:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Earliest Known Multicellular Life


A newly discovered group of 2.1-billion-year-old fossil organisms may be the earliest known example of complex life on Earth. They could help scientists understand not just when higher life forms evolved, but why.

The fossils — flat discs almost 5 inches across, with scalloped edges and radial slits — were either complex colonies of single-celled organisms, or early animals.

Either way, they represent an early crossing of a critical evolutionary threshold, and suggest that the crossing was made necessary by radical changes in Earth’s atmosphere.

Read More

Full article:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ancient Rubber-Making Masters

A centuries-old latex ball made by the Olmec in what is now Mexico.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic

3000 years before we started using rubber, Ancient civilizations in Mexico and Central America were making it. This included the Aztec, Olmec and Maya civilizations. They used a natural latex found in some plants.

Ancient rubber makers harvested latex from rubber trees and mixed it with juice from morning glory vines, which contains a chemical that makes the solidified latex less brittle.

The Mesoamerican-rubber paper will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Latin American Antiquity.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fossils show giant plankton-eating fishes in prehistoric seas


In the Science magazine findings reported that new Fossils from Asia, Europe and the US show that there were giant plankton-eating fishes in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Over time these fishes reduced the amount of bone in their skeletons and as such only their well-developed fore-fins are routinely found. But a new find in Kansas sheds more light on what was preciously thought off as some kind of swordfish!

This fish was named Bonnerichthys, after the Kansas family who discovered the fossil.

The research team consisted of scientists from Oxford University (UK), DePaul University, Chicago (US), Fort Hays State University, Kansas (US), University of Kansas (US), University of Glasgow (UK), and Triebold Paleontology Inc & Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Centre, Colorado (US).


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ancient Whale found in Peru


An ancient sperm whale skull and jaw has been found in Peru by scientists. It is said to have bitten huge pieces of flesh out of other whales of its time. It was named Leviathan Melvillei in honor of Herman Melville, author of "Moby Dick", and grew approximately 18 meters long with teeth that were 36 centimeters long.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Unusual 17th-century Dutch horse burial site found



A grave has been found by Archeologists that contain mass complete skeletons of 51 horses. They were found side by side.

They are thought to come be victims of a 17th century battle that took place over a Dutch river. They were found near the Maas River in Borgharen.

There is evidence that show that these were cavalry horses and that they were French .