Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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caltrek
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Archeologists Discover Early Use of Tobacco
by Tara Yarlagadda
October 11, 2021

https://www.inverse.com/science/ancient ... overy-utah

Introduction:
(INVERSE) TWELVE THOUSAND YEARS AGO, a group of hunter-gatherers huddled around a hearth on a rare patch of dry space within what is today the Great Salt Lake Desert in Utah, seeking rest and refuge.

They carried with them the seeds of a plant that would go on to become one of the most profitable — and deadliest — drugs in human history: tobacco.

According to new research, where these individuals gathered — now known as the Wishbone hearth site — is the site of the earliest known use of tobacco. Its existence also suggests the use of tobacco goes back thousands of years earlier than scientists realized.

These findings were published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

“We now know that Indigenous peoples in the Americas have been using tobacco for much of time since they arrived,” Daron Duke, lead author on the study and principal of the Far Western Anthropological Research Group, tells Inverse.
Last edited by caltrek on Sun Nov 07, 2021 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Humans did not cause woolly mammoths to go extinct—climate change did: study
https://phys.org/news/2021-10-humans-wo ... imate.html
by University of Cambridge
For five million years, woolly mammoths roamed the earth until they vanished for good nearly 4,000 years ago—and scientists have finally proved why.

The hairy cousins of today's elephants lived alongside early humans and were a regular staple of their diet—their skeletons were used to build shelters, harpoons were carved from their giant tusks, artwork featuring them is daubed on cave walls, and 30,000 years ago, the oldest known musical instrument, a flute, was made out of a mammoth bone.

Now the hotly debated question about why mammoths went extinct has been answered—geneticists analyzed ancient environmental DNA and proved it was because when the icebergs melted, it became far too wet for the giant animals to survive because their food source—vegetation—was practically wiped out.

The 10-year research project, published in Nature today, was led by Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge, and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen.

The team used DNA shotgun sequencing to analyze environmental plant and animal remains—including urine, feces and skin cells—taken from soil samples painstakingly collected over a period of 20 years from sites in the Arctic where mammoth remains were found. The advanced new technology means scientists no longer have to rely on DNA samples from bones or teeth to gather enough genetic material to recreate a profile of ancient DNA. The same technique has been used during the pandemic to test the sewage of human populations to detect, track and analyze COVID-19.
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
– William Shatner
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caltrek
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Comet's Intense Heat Turned Sand to Glass in Chile 12,000 Years Ago
by Kevin Stacey
November 5, 2021

https://www.futurity.org/comets-glass-h ... t-2651392/

Introduction:
(Futurity) Around 12,000 years ago, something scorched a vast swath of the Atacama Desert in Chile with heat so intense that it turned the sandy soil into widespread slabs of silicate glass. Now, researchers know what caused the inferno.

In a study in Geology, researchers show that samples of the desert glass contain tiny fragments with minerals often found in rocks of extraterrestrial origin.

Those minerals closely match the composition of material returned to Earth by NASA’s Stardust mission, which sampled the particles from a comet called Wild 2. The researchers conclude that those mineral assemblages are likely the remains of an extraterrestrial object—most likely a comet—that streamed down after the explosion that melted the sandy surface below.

“This is the first time we have clear evidence of glasses on Earth that were created by the thermal radiation and winds from a fireball exploding just above the surface,” says Pete Schultz, a professor emeritus in Brown University’s earth, environmental and planetary sciences department.

“To have such a dramatic effect on such a large area, this was a truly massive explosion. Lots of us have seen bolide fireballs streaking across the sky, but those are tiny blips compared to this.”
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Fossil of a hominid child who died almost 250,000 years ago discovered in South Africa
hominid child

A team of international and South African researchers uncovered the fossil remains of an early hominid kid who died almost 250,000 years ago in a cave in South Africa.

Children’s fossilized remains are uncommon because their bones are too thin and fragile to survive for eons.

The self-proclaimed Cradle of Humankind, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, is a series of limestone caverns located approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. The most recent discovery was discovered around 30 meters (100 feet) below the earth).

The researchers revealed the finding of a partial skull and teeth of a Homo Naledi kid who died over 250,000 years ago when it was between the ages of four and six. According to the statement made Thursday, the remains were discovered in a secluded portion of the cave, which suggests that the person was deliberately deposited there, maybe as a form of tomb.
https://arkeonews.net/fossil-of-a-homin ... U4KzlLiBBI
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
– William Shatner
weatheriscool
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Humans hastened the extinction of the wooly mammoth
https://phys.org/news/2021-11-humans-ha ... mmoth.html
by Crispin Savage, University of Adelaide
New research shows that humans had a significant role in the extinction of wooly mammoths in Eurasia, occurring thousands of years later than previously thought.

An international team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Adelaide and University of Copenhagen, has revealed a 20,000-year pathway to extinction for the wooly mammoth.

"Our research shows that humans were a crucial and chronic driver of population declines of wooly mammoths, having an essential role in the timing and location of their extinction," said lead author Associate Professor Damien Fordham from the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute.

"Using computer models, fossils and ancient DNA we have identified the very mechanisms and threats that were integral in the initial decline and later extinction of the wooly mammoth."

Signatures of past changes in the distribution and demography of wooly mammoths identified from fossils and ancient DNA show that people hastened the extinction of wooly mammoths by up to 4,000 years in some regions.
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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New species of iguanodontian dinosaur discovered from Isle of Wight
https://phys.org/news/2021-11-species-i ... wight.html
by Taylor & Francis

Scientists from the Natural History Museum and University of Portsmouth have described a new genus and species of dinosaur from a specimen found on the Isle of Wight.

Following on from a new species of ankylosaur, new species of therapod and two new species of spinosaur dinosaurs, Brighstoneus simmondsi is the latest in a host of new dinosaur species described by Museum scientists in recent weeks.

The new dinosaur is an iguanodontian, a group that also includes the iconic Iguanodon and Mantellisaurus. Until now, iguanodontian material found from the Wealden Group (representing part of the Early Cretaceous period) on the Isle of Wight has usually been referred to as one of these two dinosaurs—with more gracile fossil bones assigned to Mantellisaurus and the larger and more robust material assigned to Iguanodon.

However, when Dr. Jeremy Lockwood—a Ph.D. student at the Museum and University of Portsmouth—was examining the specimen, he came across several unique traits that distinguished it from either of these other dinosaurs.

"For me, the number of teeth was a sign," Dr. Lockwood says. "Mantellisaurus has 23 or 24, but this has 28. It also had a bulbous nose, whereas the other species have very straight noses. Altogether, these and other small differences made it very obviously a new species."
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Mammoth Bone Pendant May Be Oldest Jewelry Of Its Kind

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25 Nov 2021, 16:00

A broken ivory pendant found in a Polish cave has been dated as 41,500 years old, making it the oldest ivory jewelry from Eurasia. It is also the oldest example of an ornament decorated with puncture marks in a looping curve, which may represent an early tally sheet, like notches on a belt. If so, this would indicate the object could be the earliest indication we have found of mathematics or astronomy, a key turning point in human culture.

Several items made from mammoth tusks have been found in Europe and Asia that are marked with curving lines of holes. Although these may have been purely decorative, it is suspected they represented something much more significant for human development: counting. Suggestions include tallies of hunting success or an analemma marking the Moon's movements across the sky.

Unfortunately, however, most of these were found and moved when dating methods were less advanced – attempts to measure their ages have given contradictory answers. The discovery in 2010 of a pendant at Stajinia Cave in southern Poland provided an opportunity to change that. A study published in Scientific Reports places its timing close to the time when Homo Sapiens arrived in Europe and before reliable dates for anything similar.
https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog ... iVRoN0yohw
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Re: Human Prehistory (3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC)

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Loss of Huge Mammals Led to rise of Wildfires
by Bill Hathaway
December 3, 2021

https://www.futurity.org/mammals-extinc ... s-2665162/

Introduction:
(Futurity) The extinction of iconic grazing mammals like woolly mammoth, giant bison, and ancient horses triggered a dramatic increase in fire activity in the world’s grasslands, according to a new study.

From 50,000 years to 6,000 years ago, many of the world’s largest animals went extinct. For the new study, researchers compiled lists of extinct large mammals and their approximate dates of extinctions across four continents.

The data showed that South America lost the most grazers (83% of all species), followed by North America (68%). These losses were significantly higher than in Australia (44%) and Africa (22%).

The researchers then compared these findings with records of fire activity as revealed in lake sediments. Using charcoal records from 410 global sites, which provided a historical record of regional fire activity across continents, they found that fire activity increased after the megagrazer extinctions.

Continents that lost more grazers (South America, then North America) saw larger increases in fire extent, whereas continents that saw lower rates of extinction (Australia and Africa) saw little change in grassland fire activity.
The article goes to explain that a key factor is thought to be lessened fuel reduction from reduced grazing.
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