The gene that causes lighter skin pigmentation, SLC24A5, was introduced from eastern African to southern African populations just 2,000 years ago. Strong positive selection caused this gene to rise in frequency among some KhoeSan populations.
New research from Cornell University raises questions about the timing and nature of early interactions between indigenous people and Europeans in North America.
Paleontologists from Russia have described a new dinosaur, the Volgatitan. Seven of its vertebrae, which had remained in the ground for about 130 million years, were found on the banks of the Volga, not far from the village of Slantsevy Rudnik, five kilometers from Ulyanovsk. The study has been published in the latest issue of Biological Communications.
A team of researchers from France, Sweden, and Denmark have identified a new strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, in DNA extracted from 5,000-year-old human remains. Their analyses, publishing Dec. 6 in the journal Cell, suggest that this strain is the closest ever identified to the genetic origin of plague. Their work also suggests that plague may have been spread among Neolithic European settlements by traders, contributing to their decline.
A team of scientists led by Jingmai O'Connor from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported the first occurrence of medullary bone in Enantiornithes, the dominant clade of birds during the Cretaceous.
After radiocarbon dating of plant matter, wood and wood charcoal, scientists estimate that the presumed histories of several key indigenous sites in Canada, as relates to first contact with Europeans, are incorrect by about 50 to 100 years. The findings suggest that European trade goods previously used to date individual locations are not in fact good chronological markers.
What's a feast for the human eye may be a literal feast for microorganisms that colonize works of art, according to a new study in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Elisabetta Caselli of the University of Ferrara, Italy, and colleagues. The researchers characterized the microbial community on a 17th century painting and showed that while some microbes destroy such works of art, others might be employed to protect them.
Sambaqui societies had sophisticated diet. Study suggests that hunter-gatherer communities living in coastal Atlantic Forest areas between 8,000 and 1,000 years ago consumed a range of plants and more carbohydrates than expected for the period and region.
Argentine and Spanish researchers have used statistical techniques of automatic learning to analyze mobility patterns and technology of the hunter-gatherer groups that inhabited the Southern Cone of America, from the time they arrived about 12,000 years ago until the end of the 19th century. Big data from archaeological sites located in the extreme south of Patagonia have been used for this study.
Research group from Russia and the United States analyzed samples of obsidian volcanic glass in Kabardino-Balkaria. It turned out that more than 70 thousand years ago, Neanderthals transferred this mineral to distances up to 250 kilometers and used it to manufacture tools. These findings help to understand how populations from different regions communicated in antiquity. The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation and is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.