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Tuesday, January 21, 2020
An ancient outbreak of bubonic plague may have been exaggerated

An ancient outbreak of bubonic plague may have been exaggerated

An ancient bubonic plague outbreak often characterized as a mass killer that felled Eurasian civilizations was actually pretty tame, researchers say. Known as the Justinianic plague, the outbreak likely didn’t cause enough deaths to trigger major events such as the eastern Roman Empire’s decline, Islam’s rise and the emergence of modern Europe, say environmental historian…
Archaeologists tie ancient bones to a revolt chronicled on the Rosetta Stone

Archaeologists tie ancient bones to a revolt chronicled on the Rosetta...

SAN DIEGO — Excavated remains of a warrior slain around 2,200 years ago provide rare, physical evidence of an uprising that’s described on the Rosetta Stone, scientists say. “Most likely, the warrior we found was a casualty of the ancient Egyptian revolt,” said archaeologist Robert Littman on November 22 at the annual meeting of the…
Why screening DNA for ‘designer children’ most likely will not work

Why screening DNA for ‘designer children’ most likely will not work

Picking embryos based on genetics might not give prospective parents the “designer baby” they’re after. DNA predictions of height or IQ might help would-be parents select an embryo that would grow into a child who is, at most, only about three centimeters taller or about three IQ points smarter than an average embryo from the…
The middle ages Catholic Church might have assisted trigger Western individualism

The middle ages Catholic Church might have assisted trigger Western individualism

During the Middles Ages, decrees from the early Catholic Church triggered a massive transformation in family structure. That shift explains, at least in part, why Western societies today tend to be more individualistic, nonconformist and trusting of strangers compared with other societies, a new study suggests. The roots of that Western mind-set go back roughly…
Fossils recommend tree-dwelling apes strolled upright long prior to hominids did

Fossils recommend tree-dwelling apes strolled upright long prior to hominids did

Tree-dwelling apes in Europe strode upright around 5 million years before members of the human evolutionary family hit the ground walking in Africa. That’s the implication of fossils from a previously unknown ape that lived in what’s now Germany about 11.6 million years ago, say paleontologist Madelaine Böhme of the University of Tübingen in Germany…
People’ maternal forefathers might have developed 200,000 years back in southern Africa

People’ maternal forefathers might have developed 200,000 years back in southern...

Humankind’s maternal roots extend back about 200,000 years to what was then a lush region of southern Africa, a study suggests. But these results highlight how much remains unknown about human origins. Examining variations in a type of maternally inherited DNA, scientists concluded that the founding maternal line of Homo sapiens arose in what’s now…
Dating concerns challenge whether Neandertals drew Spanish cavern art

Dating concerns challenge whether Neandertals drew Spanish cavern art

Ancient European cave paintings recently attributed to Neandertals have ignited an ongoing controversy over the actual age of those designs and, as a result, who made them. The latest volley in this debate, published October 21 in the Journal of Human Evolution, contends that rock art in three Spanish caves that had been dated to…
Quarrying stone for Easter Island statues made soil more fertile for farming

Quarrying stone for Easter Island statues made soil more fertile for...

Easter Island’s Polynesian society cultivated crops in soil made especially fertile by the quarrying of rock for massive, humanlike statues, a new study suggests. Soil analyses indicate that weathering of volcanic sediment created by quarrying enriched the slopes of Easter Island’s major rock quarry with phosphorus and other elements crucial for farming. Microscopic plant remains…
Nepal is reeling from an extraordinary dengue break out

Nepal is reeling from an extraordinary dengue break out

KATHMANDU, Nepal — When mosquito season brought past dengue outbreaks to regions across the Asian tropics, Nepal hardly had to worry. The high-altitude Himalayan country was typically too chilly for the disease-carrying insects to live. But with climate change opening new paths for the viral disease, Nepal is now reeling from an unprecedented outbreak. At…
Human embryos have additional hand muscles discovered in lizards however not most grownups

Human embryos have additional hand muscles discovered in lizards however not...

Human embryos are more muscle-bound than adult humans, new microscope images cataloging early development show. For instance, at seven weeks of gestation, embryonic hands have about 30 muscles. Adults have about 19. Many of the muscles are lost, and some fuse with others, adopting the adult arrangement by 13 weeks of gestation, researchers report October…

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