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Extreme weather preceded collapse of ancient Maya civilization

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Research about this Venus symbol carving from Chichen Itza in Mexico, among other carvings, has led to the conclusion that extreme weather helped lead to the demise of the once powerful civilization. (Credit: Martha Macri/UC Davis photo)

1000pa (Nov. 8, 2012) — Decades of extreme weather crippled, and ultimately decimated, first the political culture and later the human population of the ancient Maya, according to a new study by an interdisciplinary team of researchers that includes two University of California, Davis, scientists.

The collapse of the Maya is one of the world's most enduring mysteries. Now, for the first time, researchers have combined a precise climatic record of the Maya environment...

Climate change and the political, human impacts among ancient Maya

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An international team of archaeologists and earth science researchers has compiled a precisely dated, high-resolution climate record of 2,000 years that shows how Maya political systems developed and disintegrated in response to climate change. (Credit: Douglas Kennett, Penn State)

1000pa (Nov. 8, 2012) — The role of climate change in the development and demise of classic Maya civilization, ranging from AD 300 to 1000, has been controversial for decades because of a...

Small lethal tools have big implications for early modern human complexity

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These microlith blades show a flat edge with a rounded "cutting" edge. (Credit: Simen Oestmo)

1000pa (Nov. 7, 2012) — On the south coast of South Africa, scientists have found evidence for an advanced stone age technology dated to 71,000 years ago at Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay. This technology, allowing projectiles to be thrown at greater distance and killing power, takes hold in other regions of Africa and Eurasia about 20,000 years ago. When combined with other...

Fossils and genes brought together to piece together evolutionary history

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1000pa (Nov. 7, 2012) — Paleontology, with its rocks and fossils, seems far removed from the world of developmental genetics, with its petri dishes and embryos. Whereas paleontology strives to determine "What happened in evolution?," developmental genetics uses gene control in embryos to try to answer "How did it happen?" Combined, the two approaches can lead to remarkable insights that benefit both fields.

In the current issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Hans...

New computational method for timing the tree of life

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1000pa (Nov. 6, 2012) — With its deeply embedded roots, sturdy trunk and dense profusion of branches, the Tree of Life is a structure of nearly unfathomable complexity and beauty. While major strides have been made to establish the evolutionary hierarchy encompassing every living species, the project is still in its infancy.

At Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, Sudhir Kumar has been filling in the Tree of Life by developing sophisticated methods and bioinformatics...

Archeologists examine one of the oldest hoards found in Europe

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Belica hoard, two views of a stylized woman (serpentinite). (Credit: Nebosja Boric, Belgrade)

1000pa (Nov. 6, 2012) — Jewelry and female figurines from Belica, Serbia, to be exhibited for the first time at Tübingen University Museum.

Archeologists from the University of Tübingen's Institute of Prehistory are working with the Serbian Archeological Institute in Belgrade to analyze the most comprehensive Early Neolithic hoard ever found. Work on the nearly...

Massive volcanic eruption puts past climate and people in perspective

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This shows the bipolar matching of volcanic acidity spikes (sulphate) in Greenland and Antarctic ice cores at around the Toba eruption. (Credit: Niels Bohr Institute)

1000pa (Nov. 5, 2012) — The largest volcanic eruption on Earth in the past millions of years took place in Indonesia 74,000 years ago and researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute can now link the colossal eruption with the global climate and the effects on early humans. The results are published in the...

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