"During the most recent ice age, milk was essentially a toxin to adults because — unlike children — they could not produce the lactase enzyme required to break down lactose, the main sugar in milk. But as farming started to replace hunting and gathering in the Middle East around 11,000 years ago, cattle herders learned how to reduce lactose in dairy products to tolerable levels by fermenting milk to make cheese or yogurt. Several thousand years later, a genetic mutation spread through Europe that gave people the ability to produce lactase — and drink milk — throughout their lives. That adaptation opened up a rich new source of nutrition that could have sustained communities when harvests failed." - The Milk Revolution - how a single mutation expanded (some) of humanity's diet. (Nature.com)
posted by The Whelk
on Aug 2, 2013 -
Xaasaa Cheege Ts'eniin
is a very special toddler. Approximately 11,500 years ago, the child spent at least one summer with family at a seasonal base camp in the Tanana Valley
, located in what we now know as Alaska. Earlier this week, archaeologists announced their discovery
of the child's cremated remains in ancient fire pit amidst an excavation of a circular semi-subterranean home. DNA testing of the remains could reveal genetic connections to the modern Athabascans
. In addition, the find could yield new insight into the Paleo-Indians who traveled the Bering Strait, and the migration patterns of some of the indigenous people of North America. While little Xaaxaa only lived about three years, the toddler's remains, now the earliest human remains ever discovered in the North American arctic
, ensure little Xaaxaa will be remembered for years to come.
posted by Dr. Zira
on Feb 25, 2011 -
Did the Scots visit Iceland?
New research reveals island inhabited 70 years before Vikings thought to have arrived. This appears to be the first physical evidence that confirms
the stories of celitc monks being on the island when the Norse arrived.
posted by novenator
on Dec 26, 2010 -
Archaeologists and Native Americans race against the border fence.
The REAL ID act authorized government agencies to bulldoze long-standing environmental, cultural and anthropological standards. But a team of activists worked delicately behind the scenes to win millions of dollars in federal funding and the go-ahead for a last-ditch effort to study ancient artifacts. Archaeologists have faced similarly rushed projects elsewhere
along the fence route.
posted by univac
on Mar 31, 2009 -
Why do mummies scream? Are screaming mummies really testaments to horrific deaths? Or are they the result of natural processes, botched or ad hoc mummification jobs, or the depredations of tomb robbers?
Archaeology Online examines the science and history behind the gape-mouthed "masks of agony" seen on some mummies, and explores their portrayal in entertainment and pop culture. The article includes lots of interesting and informative additional links.
posted by amyms
on Mar 30, 2009 -
"Researchers have discovered the hidden laboratory
used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence."
posted by ScottUltra
on Jan 13, 2005 -