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Maya expert weighs in on Dec. 21 apocalypse theories

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Dec. 20, 2012 — Rusty Barrett, professor in the UK Department of English and Linguistics Program, studied Mayan hieroglyphic writing and Mayan linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Ph.D. in 1999. His doctoral dissertation was a grammar of Sipakapense, a previously undescribed Mayan language. Barrett has taught Mayan writing and Mayan linguistics at UK and is co-director of an intensive K'iche' Maya language program, taught in alternate summers in Guatemala. Barrett is currently working on a book manuscript about language revitalization in Maya communities in Guatemala.

Barrett weighed in on how the Mayan calendar works, discussed his research with the Mayan population, and shared his...

Archaeologists date world's oldest timber constructions

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The 7000-year-old well of Altscherbitz near Leipzig during the excavation. (Credit: Sächsisches Landesamt für Archäologie, Dresden)

A research team led by Willy Tegel and Dr. Dietrich Hakelberg from the Institute of Forest Growth of the University of Freiburg has succeeded in precisely dating four water wells built by the first Central European agricultural civilization with the help of dendrochronology or growth ring dating. The wells were excavated at settlements in the Greater...

Fighting shaped human hands

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Dec. 19, 2012 — The human hand is a finely tuned piece of equipment that is capable of remarkable dexterity: creating art, performing music and manipulating tools. Yet David Carrier from the University of Utah suggests that the human hand may have also evolved its distinctive proportions for a less enlightened reason: for use as a weapon. In a new study, Carrier and colleague Michael Morgan publish their theory that human hands evolved their square palms and long thumb to stabilise the...

Fine hands, fists of fury: Our hands evolved for punching, not just dexterity

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Compared with a chimpanzee hand, at left, the human hand, at right, has shorter fingers and palms and a longer, stronger more flexible thumb. That not only allows fine manipulation of tools and other objects, but allows humans to make a clenched fist, which apes cannot. A new University of Utah study argues that human hands evolved not only for manual dexterity, but for fighting. (Credit: Denise Morgan for the University of Utah)

Men whacked punching bags for a University of Utah study...

Crisis in Syria has Mesopotamian precedent, experts say

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Dec. 18, 2012 — Research carried out at the University of Sheffield has revealed intriguing parallels between modern day and Bronze-Age Syria as the Mesopotamian region underwent urban decline, government collapse, and drought.

Dr Ellery Frahm from the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology made the discoveries by studying stone tools of obsidian, razor-sharp volcanic glass, crafted in the region about 4,200 years ago.

Dr Frahm used artefacts unearthed from...

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Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...