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Modern humans interbred with Denisovans twice in history
Modern humans co-existed and interbred not only with Neanderthals, but also with another species of archaic humans, the mysterious Denisovans. While developing a new genome-analysis method for comparing whole genomes between modern human and Denisovan populations, researchers unexpectedly discovered two distinct episodes of Denisovan genetic intermixing, or admixing, between the two. This suggests a more diverse genetic history than previously thought between the Denisovans and modern humans. phys.org/news/2018-03-moder...
The truth behind St. Patrick's Day: Celebrations did not originate in Boston
Irish culture will soon be celebrated across the globe with parades, pub crawls and seas of green. But newly uncovered documents prove unlike previous belief, St. Patrick's Day celebrations did not start in Boston, rather at least 100 years earlier in St. Augustine, Florida. phys.org/news/2018-03-truth...
Ancient giant shark tooth goes missing in Australia
A giant fossilised tooth from a prehistoric shark has gone missing from a supposedly secret location at a remote Australian World Heritage site, and wildlife officials want it back. phys.org/news/2018-03-ancie...
Scientists discover genomic ancestry of Stone Age North Africans from Morocco
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An international team of researchers, led by Johannes Krause and Choongwon Jeong from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Jena, Germany), and Abdeljalil Bouzouggar from the Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine (Rabat, Morocco) and including scientists from the Mohammed V University in Rabat, the Natural History Museum in London, University of Oxford, Université Mohammed Premier in Oujda and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropolo... phys.org/news/2018-03-scien...
Skulls show women moved across medieval Europe, not just men
The newcomers who arrived in the little farming villages of medieval Germany would have stood out: They had dark hair and tawny skin, spoke a different language and had remarkably tall heads. phys.org/news/2018-03-skull...
The early bird got to fly: Archaeopteryx was an active flyer
The question of whether the Late Jurassic dino-bird Archaeopteryx was an elaborately feathered ground dweller, a glider, or an active flyer has fascinated palaeontologists for decades. Valuable new information obtained with state-of-the-art synchrotron microtomography at the ESRF, the European Synchrotron (Grenoble, France), allowed an international team of scientists to answer this question in Nature Communications. The wing bones of Archaeopteryx were shaped for incidental active flight, bu... phys.org/news/2018-03-early...
Compassion helped Neanderthals to survive, new study reveals
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They have an unwarranted image as brutish and uncaring, but new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was. phys.org/news/2018-03-compa...
New research solves the 60-year-old paleontological mystery of a 'phantom' dicynodont
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A new study has re-discovered fossil collections from a 19th century hermit that validate 'phantom' fossil footprints collected in the 1950s showing dicynodonts coexisting with dinosaurs. phys.org/news/2018-03-year-...
Are palaeontologists naming too many species?
A comprehensive new study looking at variations in Ichthyosaurus, a common British Jurassic ichthyosaur (sea-going reptile) also known as 'Sea Dragons', has provided important information into recognizing new fossil species. phys.org/news/2018-03-palae...
African tools push back the origins of human technological innovation
Just 20 years ago, many archaeologists believed there was a "human revolution" 40,000-50,000 years ago during which modern behaviours such as symbolism, innovation and art suddenly arose. This was thought to have enabled a major shift in cognitive organisation and probably the advent of complex language. At the time, the earliest modern human fossils had been found in Africa and dated to some 100,000 years ago, leaving a gap between the emergence of anatomically modern humans and behaviourall... phys.org/news/2018-03-afric...