One branch on the tree of life is heavier as a team of scientists has determined what a bizarre group of extinct cone-shaped animals actually are. Known as hyoliths, these marine creatures evolved over 530 million years ago and are among the first known to have external skeletons. Long believed to be molluscs, a study in Nature shows a stronger relationship to brachiopods -- a group with a rich fossil record though few species living today.
Writing this week in the journal eLife, a team led by Caitlin Pepperell of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and McMaster University's Hendrik Poinar provide insight into the everyday hazards of life in the late Byzantine Empire, sometime around the early 13th century, as well as the evolution of Staphylococcus saprophyticus, a common bacterial pathogen.
Have you tried the national dish gofio while on holiday on the Canary Islands? If so, you have eaten the same food as the original inhabitants ate, nearly 2,000 years ago. The island farmers have cultivated the same types of grain for over a thousand years. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers from Linköping University in Sweden, working together with researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, after DNA analyses of prehistoric seeds.
Early Tibetan Plateau settlers managed to survive at high elevation at least 7,400 years ago, before the development of an agricultural economy between 5,200-3,600 years ago.
The ancient inhabitants of New Mexico's Chaco Canyon, the zenith of Pueblo culture in the Southwest a thousand years ago, likely had to import corn to feed the multitudes residing there, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.
Researchers have discovered that a species of dinosaur, Limusaurus inextricabilis, lost its teeth in adolescence and did not grow another set as adults. The finding, published today in Current Biology, is a radical change in anatomy during a lifespan and may help to explain why birds have beaks but no teeth.
Washington State University archaeologists are at the helm of new research using sophisticated computer technology to learn how past societies responded to climate change. Their work, which links ancient climate and archaeological data, could help modern communities identify new crops and other adaptive strategies when threatened by drought, extreme weather and other environmental challenges.
A Washington University physicist practiced at finding tiny diamonds in stardust from the pre-solar universe has repeatedly failed to find them in Younger Dryas sedimentary layers, effectively discrediting the hypothesis that an exploding comet caused the sudden climate reversal at the end of the last Ice Age.
A team of international scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has uncovered the earliest direct evidence of humans processing plants for food found anywhere in the world.
Invasive species have shaped island ecosystems and landscapes in the Gulf of Alaska, but their histories are unknown. In a study by the University of Oklahoma, Boston University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, researchers investigated the archaeological and genetic history of the Arctic ground squirrel on Chirikof Island, Alaska. This small mammal has the ability to affect vegetation and seabirds on these islands and was introduced across much of this region as part of the historic fox farming industry.