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Ancient DNA reveals the origins of the Philistines

  • Nuclear DNA was retrieved from 10 skeletons buried in Ashkelon, an ancient port city in Israel.
  • It fits a scenario in which southern european people fled collapsing Bronze Age societies, travelling to the eastern Mediterranean coast 3,000 years ago.
  • These people would be the Philistines, know from the Old Testament for fighting with Israelites.
  • The DNA came from 3 late Bronze Age individuals buried ~3,600 years ago, 4 early Iron Age infants buried ~3,300 years ago, and 3 late Iron Agers from ~3,100 years ago.
  • Larger ancient DNA studies might help to pin-point the Philistines’ origins more precisely.

Chinese tombs yield earliest evidence of cannabis use

  • Researchers from the Max Planck Institute found proofs of cannabis use in the Jirzankal cemetery in western China.
  • Observations indicate that cannabis was used in funeral and religious rituals about 2,500 years ago.
  • To identify the chemical components of the samples found in the Jirzankal cemetery, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry techniques were employed.
  • These findings agree with other evidence observed elsewhere in China and Russia.

DNA from 31,000-year-old milk teeth leads to discovery of new group of ancient Siberians

  • An investigation indicates that the remains of human beings who lived in Siberia are genetically related to the first inhabitants of the American continent.
  • The study published in the journal Nature indicates that the DNA of 2 milk teeth found in Siberia coincides with the genome of the indigenous peoples of America.
  • Like previous hypothesis, the article suggests that the ancestors of the first inhabitants of America crossed the Bering Strait during the ice age.
  • This is the first study that supports this hypothesis with genetic data of the possible ancestors of the populations of America.

Ancient rock art in the plains of India

  • Amateur archaeologists have discovered in India a set of approximately 1200 sculptures carved on rocks dating from the Stone Age.
  • The etched figures represent human beings, tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses, deers, hippopotamuses, birds, turtles, sharks, and other abstract forms.
  • According to the estimate of the archaeologists, the figures are between 10,000 and 40,000 years old, approximately.
  • The scenes carved on the rocks show typical human activities dedicated to hunting animals and collecting wild plants and fruits.

'Beautiful Nightmare' crab sported lobster shell, shrimp mouth and soccer ball eyes

  • Paleontologist Javier Luque discovered a new type of animal - Callichimaera perplexa - which was a weird, quarter-size crab with crazy body parts.
  • It lived around 90-95 million years ago and had a shrimp mouth, frog crab claws, a lobster shell, paddle-like appendages of a sea scorpion, and soccer-ball sized eyes.
  • It also combined baby and adult parts - grown individuals had bent claws, leg-like mouth parts, an exposed tail, and a long body, all seen in crab larvae.
  • This discovery shows that crabs have lost and reevolved their body plans many times throughout history.