Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur!
Sorry to ruin your childhood yet again, but it's not even a reptile. It's a synapsid, which makes it one of our cousins. [more inside]
After a species goes extinct, in some cases its "ghost"
may linger in the ecosystem it leaves behind in the form of evolutionary anachronisms. [more inside]
by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich
at the premises
of The Asiatic Society
, the Indian Museum
* is the oldest
museum in Asia and the
9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums
", considered outdated
, its Victorian Era majesty
dimmed by modernization, the grande dame
of Indian history still
manages evoke paeans
to its otherworldly
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.
It remains a wonderful time-warp
with plenty of mangy-looking
stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved
of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating
Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art
“When I spoke at the two Ron Paul events in Tampa, a young man kind enough to pick me up at the airport told me a fascinating story. The vast majority of young Ron volunteers in offices he visited all over the country were paleo. If a kid ordered pizza — which was always the primary or perhaps only campaign food — he was practically booed,”
Atossa Araxia Abrahamian writes in The New Inquiry
about the paleo diet, libertarianism, and the appealing idea of a healthy, undistorted state of nature to which we can return if we are only pure enough
. [more inside]
"The Secret Gestural Prehistory of Mobile Devices
is cultural anthropology. It seeks to recover those moments of intuitive prehensile dexterity, when the famous and the ordinary alike felt the unconscious desire to occupy their hands for an as yet unknown purpose. Like Roy Neary's obsession with the image of Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), this gesture was vague, uncanny and compelling. It is the intimation in images of a gestural second nature to come." [more inside]
"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."
The remarkable remains
of two ancient human-like creatures
(hominids) have been found in South Africa.
Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species,
but others say they may help fill a key gap
in the fossil record of human evolution
. [more inside]
"A suite of five ancient crocs,
including one with teeth like boar tusks and another with a snout like a duck’s bill, have been discovered in the Sahara." [more inside]
"Heads were skinned and muscles removed from the brain case in order to remove the skullcap. Incisions and scrapes on jaws indicate that tongues were cut out." "Scrape marks inside the broken ends of limb bones indicate that marrow was removed." "Whatever actually happened at Herxheim, facial bones were smashed beyond recognition." - Neolithic mass canibalism in southern Germany
Recent research has shown Neanderthals were sophisticated and fearless hunters
, successfully killing a large variety of dangerous game. But as far as humans were concerned, Neanderthals may have possibly been tasty main courses themselves
, perhaps one reason for their, uh, "disappearance". Yet humans didn't always sit atop the food pyramid - the oldest human hair
has been discovered - inside fossilized 200,000 year old hyena dung.
The Digital Archaeological Atlas of the Holy Land
is a comprehensive spatially-referenced database of current archaeological knowledge of all periods of Levantine history and prehistory. Spatial search
is a good entry point, as are the Palestine Exploration Fund historic maps
. You can also search by time period
or dig into the many ancient Empires of the area
. Or just look at everything
in the database. The site is a work in progress, but a cool one powered by a consortium of over 30 professional archaeologists. May require Google Maps. via
Texas Beyond History
is a comprehensive web site covering the last 10,000 years of human occupation of (what is now called)
Texas. A small section of the site was previously posted on Metafilter. via archaeolog
Why humans started huddling together in cities is still shrouded in mystery but if the question is ever settled the answer will probably be found in Çatalhöyük
, a settlement of five to eight thousand located in what is now Turkey that came into existence around 7500 BC. The current head archaeologist of the Çatalhöyük Project is Ian Hodder, one of the leading lights in postprocessual archaeology
, who summarized his finding in a recent article in Natural History Magazine
. The Çatalhöyük Project website
is a treasure trove of information about the ancient settlement. [more inside]
...Historians teach that they are mostly descended from different peoples: the Irish from the Celts and the English from the Anglo-Saxons who invaded from northern Europe and drove the Celts to the country’s western and northern fringes. But geneticists who have tested DNA throughout the British Isles are edging toward a different conclusion. Many are struck by the overall genetic similarities, leading some to claim that both Britain and Ireland have been inhabited for thousands of years by a single people that have remained in the majority, with only minor additions from later invaders like Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. The implication that the Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh have a great deal in common with each other, at least from the geneticist’s point of view, seems likely to please no one.A United Kingdom? Maybe
See also Myths of British ancestry
In the words of one well known Basque cultural icon
: HA Ha!
"A 2,600-year-old corpse
has been discovered in the moors of northern Germany. It's not the only one
. Such finds are frequent, but have posed an increasingly large riddle: Why were so many of the bodies victims of violence and dismemberment?"
Artifacts were lying on the ground untouched for more than 1,000 years.
For sixty years Waldo Wilcox, a rancher in Utah, kept people off his land about 130 miles South of Salt Lake City. The reason was a string of prehistoric indian settlements that stretch 12 miles. (more inside)
When humans faced extinction:
A new study suggests that around 70,000 years ago there may have been as few as 2,000 individual humans, meaning that we could have been wiped out before we even got started. Related article here
America today - a nation overrun
by Ethiopian immigrants. Can nothing stop them?
The Ancient Underwater Pyramids of Japan.
"A STRUCTURE thought to be the world's oldest building, nearly twice the age of the great pyramids of Egypt, has been discovered. The rectangular stone ziggurat under the sea off the coast of Japan could be the first evidence of a previously unknown Stone Age civilisation, say archeologists. The monument is 600ft wide and 90ft high and has been dated to at least 8000BC. The oldest pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, was constructed more than 5,000 years later."