Wednesday, November 3, 2021

A Long, Long Time Ago

OK, OK, I'm gonna do it. I've been keeping these tabs open forever, waiting for "the right time" to post them. Stuff about human evolution and archeology, that I find fascinating. First, the ultimate nail in the 'Clovis First' hypothesis (which has been pretty well killed in the last few years anyway), from CNN, Fossilized footprints show humans made it to North America much earlier than first thought

The commonly held view is that people arrived in North America from Asia via Beringia, a land bridge that once connected the two continents, at the end of the Ice Age around 13,000 to 16,000 years ago. But more recent -- and some contested -- discoveries have suggested humans might have been in North America earlier.

Now, researchers studying fossilized human footprints in New Mexico say they have the first unequivocal evidence that humans were in North America at least 23,000 years ago.

"The peopling of the Americas is one of those things that has been for many years very contentious and a lot of archeologists hold views with almost religious zeal," said Matthew Bennett, a professor and specialist in ancient footprints at Bournemouth University and author of a study on the new findings that published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Bennett and his colleagues were able to accurately date 61 footprints by radiocarbon dating layers of aquatic plant seeds that had been preserved above and below them. The prints, which were discovered in the Tularosa Basin in White Sands National Park, were made 21,000 to 23,000 years ago, the researchers found.

The timing and location of the prints in southwestern North America suggests that humans must have been on the continent much earlier than previously thought, Bennett said. The people who made the footprints -- mostly teenagers and children -- were living in New Mexico at the height of the last Ice Age.

Which really calls into question when people really arrived in the New World. How could they get here at the height of the last glaciation? Boats? Had the been here since the Eemian warm era (the last warm period before the current one, 130,000 to 115,000 years ago, and were living in the New World, leaving barely a trace? Seems unlikely, but then so does arriving here at the height of the ice advance.

Next, from UPI, Humans used tools to make clothes more than 100,000 thousand years ago

Humans living on the Atlantic coast of what's now Morocco were making clothes from animal hides between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago, according to a new study.

Initially, researchers assumed the bones they were collecting were the remnants of an ancient meal. Scientists wanted to analyze the animal bones to better understand what Contrebandiers Cave's early human inhabitants were eating.

But instead of evidence of an ancient menu, researchers found the remnants of clothes-making tools. Scientists detailed the breakthrough discovery in a new paper, published Thursday in the journal iScience.
You want what?

"These bone tools have shaping and use marks that indicate they were used for scraping hides to make leather and for scraping pelts to make fur," lead study author Emily Hallett said in a press release.

"At the same time, I found a pattern of cut marks on the carnivore bones from Contrebandiers Cave that suggested that humans were not processing carnivores for meat but were instead skinning them for their fur," said Hallett, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

I'm going to guess the first beauty contest was held about then, too. 

Artnet,  Archaeologists Have Uncovered Cave Art That’s Way Older Than Any on Record—and It Was Made by Children You mean Gabi's hand prints on the wall are cave art? Who knew?

A team of international scientists has uncovered ancient hand and foot prints that may upend our understanding of early cave art.

The experts believe that the impressions identified near Quesang village in the Tibetan Plateau are between 169,000 and 226,000 years old. That would make them, by far, the earliest known examples of parietal art (more commonly known as “cave art”). What’s more, they say, these works were created by children.

The discovery, published this month in Science Bulletin, was made by a group including David D. Zhang from Guangzhou University and Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University. They write that the hand and foot impressions “appear to have been intentionally placed on the surface of a unit of soft travertine.”, When and why did human brains decrease in size 3,000 years ago? Ants may hold clues. Short answer. Civilization made us stupider. 

"A surprising fact about humans today is that our brains are smaller compared to the brains of our Pleistocene ancestors. Why our brains have reduced in size has been a big mystery for anthropologists," explained co-author Dr. Jeremy DeSilva, from Dartmouth College.
. . .
The timing of size increase coincides with what is previously known about the early evolution of Homo and the technical advancements that led to; for example, better diet and nutrition and larger social groups.

Faster, please. Entrepreneur, This New Company Says It's Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth, As A Way to Fight Climate Change. Then release them in Central Park.

The woolly mammoth was last seen roughly 10,000 years ago, during the Ice Age. Can bringing it back help cool our warming planet now?

That’s the bold idea put forward by Colossal, a bioscience and genetics engineering company that launches today — and is backed by Harvard University and some of the world’s most forward-thinking scientists.

Fighting climate change with mammoths may seem crazy, but it has decades of research behind it — including the work of George Church, Ph.D., a world-renowned pioneer in genomics. Church runs a lab at Harvard and has been exploring how to genetically re-engineer the woolly mammoth using its closest living relative, the Asian Elephant.

The reason is this: One of the greatest threats to the earth is the melting of the arctic permafrost and its massive release of the greenhouse gasses that are stored safely in its freeze. When the herds of woolly mammoth and other animals vanished, that area became covered with a forest that keeps the earth warmer. Church is betting on the idea that a resurrected population of the mammoths, if let loose in the arctic, would chomp and stomp down the bush and trees, exposing the earth to subzero temperatures and allowing the tundra’s original grasslands to grow back. That ecosystem, maintained by the large creatures, would then effectively sequester carbon, rather than allowing it back into the atmosphere.

Real Clear Science, Humans Had Advanced Fishing Technology 12,000 Years Ago in Israel

Ancient humans living between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago in what is now Northern Israel were using sophisticated hooks, lines, weights, and lures to catch fish, a new analysis published to PLoS ONE reveals.

An international team of researchers led by Dr. Antonella Pedergnana at the University of Zurich analyzed a variety of hooks and grooved pebbles found at the Jordan River Dureijat site on the Upper Jordan River in the Hula Valley of Israel. The hooks (pictured above), are made of bone, likely taken from butchered gazelle or fallow deer, and some even have rudimentary barbs to ensure that bait stays attached and to prevent fish from escaping. The small pebble weights are primarily composed of limestone and were grooved so the ancient fishers could affix their lines. The researchers suggest that the weights were likely used in tandem with floats, perhaps made from porcupine quills, to position the baited hook at a desired depth underwater.

The Jordan River Dureijat site never seems to have been inhabited, but was "a place that people visited again and again to take advantage of the confluence of diverse lake shore resources," the researchers speculated. There are no signs that the hooks or grooved pebbles were ever manufactured there. The likeliest explanation for their abundance at the site is that they were lost in the water when fish snapped the lines, or were casually tossed aside if broken.

The ancient fishers likely hailed from the Natufian culture, who lived a mostly stationary lifestyle even before the introduction of agriculture. The varying hook sizes they used suggests that they caught numerous species of fish, including carp and trout. Fishing lines were probably crafted from plant material. Residues observed on the hooks confirm the early use of artificial lures, perhaps fashioned from shells, which attract a fish's attention via colors, movements, and vibrations.

"The use of lures by prehistoric anglers reflects detailed knowledge of fish behavior and diet," the researchers say.

Well, as we learned above, they probably were smarter than we are. 

No comments:

Post a Comment