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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #250 on: March 17, 2020, 02:16:44 PM »
Tang Dynasty noblewoman buried with her donkeys, for the love of polo

A noblewoman from Imperial China enjoyed playing polo on donkeys so much she had her steeds buried with her so she could keep doing it in the afterlife, archaeologists found. This discovery by a team that includes Fiona Marshall, the James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is published March 17 in the journal Antiquity.

The research provides the first physical evidence of donkey polo in Imperial China, which previously was only known from historical texts. It also sheds light on the role for donkeys in the lives of high status women in that period.

Researchers found donkey bones in the tomb of Cui Shi, a noblewoman who died in 878 AD in Xi’an, China. The presence of work animals in a wealthy woman’s tomb was unexpected, the researchers said.

...

Polo is thought to have its origins in Iran; however, the sport flourished during the Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from AD 618 to 907. During this time, polo became a favorite sport of the royal and noble families, to the point where an emperor used a polo competition to pick generals. This included Cui Shi’s husband, Bao Gao, who was promoted to general by Emperor Xizong for winning a match.

However, the sport was dangerous when played on large horses, with one emperor killed during a game. As such, some nobles preferred to play Lvju, or donkey polo. Although both forms of polo are mentioned in the historical literature, horse polo is the only form depicted in art and artifacts.

https://www.newswise.com/articles/tang-dynasty-noblewoman-buried-with-her-donkeys-for-the-love-of-polo
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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #251 on: March 21, 2020, 04:43:57 PM »
Study: Soot From Massive Wildfires Led to Dino-Killing Mass Extinction

...

As to which factor – the low light or low temperatures – contributed the most to the impact winter and the ensuing mass extinction is a matter of debate. New research published in Geophysical Research Letters attributes the low light – as caused by excessive soot in the atmosphere – as the primary factor. The new paper was co-authored by geoscientist Clay Tabor from the University of Connecticut, and his colleagues from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.

...

Consistent with other research, the models showed that the reduced sunlight caused global cooling at the Earth’s surface. Yes, this cooling was bad, the researchers admit, but not enough to tip the scales towards a mass extinction.

As for the low light impacting on the Earth’s biosphere, that’s another story. According to the models, the soot hung out in the atmosphere for a protracted period of time. And unlike dust and sulfur, soot sucks up the Sun’s life-giving rays like a sponge.

“Based on the properties of soot and its ability to effectively absorb incoming sunlight, it did a very good job at blocking sunlight from reaching the surface,” explained Tabor in a press release. “In comparison to the dust, which didn’t stay in the atmosphere for nearly as long, and the sulfur, which didn’t block as much light, the soot could actually block almost all light from reaching the surface for at least a year.”

Think about that. Our Earth was dark for an entire year.

As a result, photosynthesis on the planet dropped to less than one percent of what it was before the impact. This prevented the growth of organisms at the base of the food web, such as photosynthesising plants, algae, and microorganisms (like phytoplankton). The collapse of the foodweb soon followed, given the importance of these food sources to other animals.

...

https://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2020/03/study-soot-from-massive-wildfires-led-to-dino-killing-mass-extinction/
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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #252 on: March 21, 2020, 05:15:58 PM »
And some more good shit.  :)
Also Rat Mittens part 3 (at least)

Unprecedented preservation of fossil feces from the La Brea Tar Pits

...

Today, a team of researchers from La Brea Tar Pits, the University of Oklahoma and the University of California Irvine report the first coprolites – or fossil feces – ever discovered in an asphaltic – or tar pit – context. These hundreds of fossilized rodent pellets were found during the excavation of a parking garage for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Hancock Park in 2016, which had also yielded the more traditional La Brea fossils, such as extinct mammoths, dire wolves and saber-toothed cats.

...

Indeed, radiocarbon dates generated at UC Irvine would confirm the pellets were ~50,000 years old.

Rancho La Brea has been associated with the image of big animals getting stuck in “tar pits,” or shallow, sticky asphalt pools, with carnivores attracted en masse by struggling herbivore prey. But these coprolites tell a new story of how fossils can be preserved at Rancho La Brea.

“The intact nature and density of the fossils require a taphonomic explanation other than entrapment. The preservation is more likely the result of an asphalt seep overtaking an existing rodent nest,” noted Karin Rice, preparator at La Brea Tar Pits.

Using a suite of cutting-edge tools, including stable isotope analysis and scanning electron microscopy, the researchers demonstrated that the fecal pellets were associated with beautifully preserved twigs, leaves, and seeds, apparently as part of an intact nest made by a woodrat. Woodrats – also known as packrats – are well-known in the paleontological community for their hoarding behavior that produces massive nests that can be preserved for thousands of years. Slices of plant material from these nests, in turn, represent snapshots of vegetation and climate conditions of the past.

“This nest provides an unparalleled view of what was beneath the feet of Rancho La Brea’s famous megafauna,” Mychajliw said. “And to me, it emphasizes the importance of studying small mammals, too.

...

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/03/unprecedented-preservation-of-fossil-feces-from-the-la-brea-tar-pits/126660
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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #253 on: March 27, 2020, 12:37:03 PM »
New Neanderthal seafood evidence:

Neanderthals ate sharks and dolphins

Neanderthals were eating fish, mussels and seals at a site in present-day Portugal, according to a new study.

The research adds to mounting evidence that our evolutionary relatives may have relied on the sea for food just as much as ancient modern humans.

For decades, the ability to gather food from the sea and from rivers was seen as something unique to our own species.

Scientists found evidence for an intensive reliance on seafood at a Neanderthal site in southern Portugal.

Neanderthals living between 106,000 and 86,000 years ago at the cave of Figueira Brava near Setubal were eating mussels, crab, fish - including sharks, eels and sea bream - seabirds, dolphins and seals.

The research team, led by Dr João Zilhão from the University of Barcelona, Spain, found that marine food made up about 50% of the diet of the Figueira Brava Neanderthals. The other half came from terrestrial animals, such as deer, goats, horses, aurochs (ancient wild cattle) and tortoises.

continues on:
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52054653
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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #254 on: March 31, 2020, 09:16:04 AM »
Thomas Becket: Alpine ice sheds light on medieval murder

Ancient air pollution, trapped in ice, reveals new details about life and death in 12th Century Britain.

In a study, scientists have found traces of lead, transported on the winds from British mines that operated in the late 1100s.

Air pollution from lead in this time period was as bad as during the industrial revolution centuries later.

The pollution also sheds light on a notorious murder of the medieval era; the killing of Thomas Becket.

...

Becket was beheaded in a brutal attack at Canterbury cathedral on 29 December 1170.

Now scientists have found physical evidence of the impact of the dispute between Henry and Becket in a 72-metre-long ice core, retrieved from the Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss-Italian Alps.

In the same way that trees detail their growth in annual rings, so glaciers compact a record of the chemical composition of the air, trapped in bubbles in the yearly build-up of ice.

Analysing the 800 year-old ice using a highly sensitive laser, the scientists were able to see a huge surge in lead in the air and dust captured in the 12th century.

Atmospheric modelling showed that the element was carried by winds from the north west, across the UK, where lead mining and smelting was booming in the late 1100s.

Lead and silver are often mined together and in this period, mines in the Peak District and in Cumbria were among the most productive in Europe.

The researchers were able to match the physical records from the ice with the written tax records of lead and silver production in England.

Lead had many uses in this time, from water pipes to church roofs to stained glass windows.

But production of the metal was clearly linked to political events according to the authors of this latest research.

"In the 1169-70 period, there was a major disagreement between Henry II and Thomas Beckett and that clash manifested itself by the church refusing to work with Henry - and you actually see a fall in that production that year," said Prof Christopher Loveluck, from Nottingham University.

Excommunicated by the Pope in the wake of the murder, Henry's attempt at reconciliation is detailed in the ice core.

"To get himself out of jail with the Pope, Henry promised to endow and build a lot of major monastic institutions very, very quickly," said Prof Loveluck.

"And of course, massive amounts of lead were used for roofing of these major monastic complexes.

"Lead production rapidly expanded as Henry tried to atone for his misdemeanours against the Church."

The researchers say their data is also clear enough to show the clear connections between lead production rising and falling during times of war and between the reigns of different kings in this period between 1170 and 1220.

"The ice core shows precisely when one king died and lead production fell and then rose again with the next monarch," said Prof Loveluck.

"We can see the deaths of King Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and King John there in the ancient ice."

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52095694
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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #255 on: April 02, 2020, 02:43:22 AM »
Lets put it here.

Traces of ancient rainforest in Antarctica point to a warmer prehistoric world

Summary:
Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.

Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.

A team from the UK and Germany discovered forest soil from the Cretaceous period within 900 km of the South Pole. Their analysis of the preserved roots, pollen and spores shows that the world at that time was a lot warmer than previously thought.

The discovery and analysis were carried out by an international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany and including Imperial College London researchers. Their findings are published today in Nature.

Co-author Professor Tina van de Flierdt, from the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial, said: "The preservation of this 90-million-year-old forest is exceptional, but even more surprising is the world it reveals. Even during months of darkness, swampy temperate rainforests were able to grow close to the South Pole, revealing an even warmer climate than we expected."

The work also suggests that the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere were higher than expected during the mid-Cretaceous period, 115-80 million years ago, challenging climate models of the period.

The mid-Cretaceous was the heyday of the dinosaurs but was also the warmest period in the past 140 million years, with temperatures in the tropics as high as 35 degrees Celsius and sea level 170 metres higher than today.

....

The presence of the forest suggests average temperatures were around 12 degrees Celsius and that there was unlikely to be an ice cap at the South Pole at the time.

....

Johann Klages, from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, said: "Before our study, the general assumption was that the global carbon dioxide concentration in the Cretaceous was roughly 1000 ppm. But in our model-based experiments, it took concentration levels of 1120 to 1680 ppm to reach the average temperatures back then in the Antarctic."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200401130825.htm
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kassy

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Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Reply #256 on: April 04, 2020, 09:39:57 PM »
Oldest ever human genetic evidence clarifies dispute over our ancestors

Summary:
Genetic information from an 800,000-year-old human fossil has been retrieved for the first time. The results shed light on one of the branching points in the human family tree, reaching much further back in time than previously possible.

...

"Ancient protein analysis provides evidence for a close relationship between Homo antecessor, us (Homo sapiens), Neanderthals, and Denisovans. Our results support the idea that Homo antecessor was a sister group to the group containing Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans," says Frido Welker, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, and first author on the paper.

...

"Much of what we know so far is based either on the results of ancient DNA analysis, or on observations of the shape and the physical structure of fossils. Because of the chemical degradation of DNA over time, the oldest human DNA retrieved so far is dated at no more than approximately 400,000 years," says Enrico Cappellini, Associate Professor at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, and leading author on the paper.

"Now, the analysis of ancient proteins with mass spectrometry, an approach commonly known as palaeoproteomics, allow us to overcome these limits," he adds.

...

"I am happy that the protein study provides evidence that the Homo antecessor species may be closely related to the last common ancestor of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. The features shared by Homo antecessor with these hominins clearly appeared much earlier than previously thought. Homo antecessor would therefore be a basal species of the emerging humanity formed by Neanderthals, Denisovans, and modern humans," adds José María Bermúdez de Castro, Scientific Co-director of the excavations in Atapuerca and co-corresponding author on the paper.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200401111657.htm

The dental proteome of Homo antecessor (PW)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2153-8
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