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Anthropology

Genetic admixture in southern Africa

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Historically know distribution of Khoisan (grey area) and divergent Khoisan mitochondrial DNA lineages (black dots). (Credit: MPI f. Evolutionary Anthropology)

Jan. 17, 2013 — An international team of researchers from the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the CNRS in Lyon have investigated the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA of 500 individuals from southern Africa speaking different Khoisan and Bantu languages. Their results demonstrate that Khoisan foragers were genetically more diverse than previously known. Divergent mtDNA lineages from indigenous Khoisan groups were incorporated into the genepool of the immigrating Bantu-speaking agriculturalists through admixture, and have thus...

Earliest sea cow ancestors originated in Africa, lived in fresh water

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Jan. 16, 2013 — A new fossil discovered in Tunisia represents the oldest known ancestor of modern-day sea cows, supporting the African origins of these marine mammals. The find is described in research published January 16 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Julien Benoit and colleagues from the University of Science and Technology in Montpellier, France.

Some fossils of sea cow ancestors have been found in Jamaica, but the Tunisian fossil is more primitive and pre-dates...

New study sheds light on the origin of the European Jewish population

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Jan. 16, 2013 — Despite being one of the most genetically analysed groups, the origin of European Jews has remained obscure. However, a new study published online January 17 in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution by Dr Eran Elhaik, a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, argues that the European Jewish genome is a mosaic of Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries, setting to rest previous contradictory reports of Jewish ancestry. Elhaik's findings strongly...

Facebook concept used by 16th century scholars

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Jan. 15, 2013 — Our obsession with social networking is not exclusive to the 21st century, according to researchers from Royal Holloway university.

The idea of creating networks of members and sharing information dates back to the 16th century Italian Academies, which saw young scholars create nicknames for themselves and develop emblems and mottoes to form groups with which they exchanged information.

The discovery was made during a £1,130,000 collaborative research...

War was central to Minoan civilization of Crete, contrary to popular belief

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Dr Barry Molloy (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Sheffield)

Jan. 15, 2013 — Research from the University of Sheffield has discovered that the ancient civilisation of Crete, known as Minoan, had strong martial traditions, contradicting the commonly held view of Minoans as a peace-loving people.

The research, carried out by Dr Barry Molloy of the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, investigated the Bronze Age people of Crete, known by...

4,000-year-old shaman's stones discovered near Boquete, Panama

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These are stones found in precolombian shaman’s cache, Boquete, Panama. (Credit: Composite photo by Ruth Dickau)

Archaeologists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama have discovered a cluster of 12 unusual stones in the back of a small, prehistoric rock-shelter near the town of Boquete. The cache represents the earliest material evidence of shamanistic practice in lower Central America.

Ruth Dickau, Leverhulme Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of...

Gene flow from India to Australia about 4,000 years ago

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Four-thousand years ago, Australia was no longer connected to the mainland as it had been during the ice age. The immigrants thus crossed the ocean, arriving by boat. (Credit: Gunter Senft/MPI for Psycholinguistics)

Australia is thought to have remained largely isolated between its initial colonisation around 40,000 years ago and the arrival of Europeans in the late 1800s. A study led by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, now...

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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...