понедельник, 10 декабря 2018 г.

Parthian coffin burial discovered in southwest Iran

An ancient coffin burial has been found in Jubji, a historical site in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province.

Parthian coffin burial discovered in southwest Iran
Credit: Mehir

Preliminary speculations suggest that the coffin may date back to the Parthian era (247 BC–224 CE).
A team of Iranian archaeologists discovered the object while conducting a rescue operation in Jubji, Mehr reported on Sunday.

Source: Tehran Times [December 06, 2018]



Clay pagoda fragment featuring nymph found in Japan’s Honshu island

A piece of pottery with an engraving of a smiling female figure was recently unearthed in Ishikawa Prefecture, located in the Chūbu region on Honshu island, that is believed to date back more than 1,100 years.

Clay pagoda fragment featuring nymph found at Japan's Ishikawa ruins
A female figure is seen engraved on a piece of earthenware in Nonoichi,
Ishikawa Prefecture [Credit: Chikako Numata]

The artefact was found in the city’s Suematsu district on the site of a ruined Buddhist temple, which experts believe was founded in the second half of the seventh century during the Asuka Period (592-710), the Nonoichi City Board of Education recently announced.

The Suematsu temple ruins are designated as a “historic site” by the central government.

The earthenware is believed to be a fragment of a “gato” (earthen pagoda) pottery work made sometime around the ninth century, education board officials said. It is the first pictorial clay pagoda to have been unearthed in Japan.

Some experts believe the figure represents a celestial nymph who serves the Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva), a Buddhist deity. The finding could provide insight into the extent of the spread of Buddhism in ancient times and aspects of the cult of earthen pagodas.

Clay pagoda fragment featuring nymph found at Japan's Ishikawa ruins
Drawing of the female figure [Credit: Nonoichi City
Board of Education]

The artefact, with a plate-like shape measuring 19 centimetres tall, 9.5 cm wide and 1.5 cm thick, is believed to belong to the first tier (ground floor) of an earthen pagoda. A female figure, measuring about 17 cm tall and 7 cm wide, was found engraved with a pointed tool on the front face of the first tier.
The long-haired and smiling figure holds a “hossu,” a ritual implement with bundled hair, in her hand. She wears a long dress called a “mo”, with vertical stripes and shoes with upward-bent tips.

“The smiling figure looks lovely,” said Keiji Matsumura, director-general of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in the city of Nara. “The artefact is valuable evidence of one specific aspect of the cult of earthen pagodas, which relates to a desire to go to Maitreya’s Pure Land. It also shows that the cult of Maitreya had penetrated the Hokuriku region.”

Author: Chikako Numata | Source: The Asahi Shimbun [December 06, 2018]



Genetic study forces a rethink on population history of Ibiza

Otago researchers have discovered a rare case of genetic population discontinuity on the Mediterranean Island of Ibiza. Essentially, the original genetic signature of the founding female population, handed down through centuries on Ibiza has been replaced, prompting a change in understanding of the island’s genetic history.

Genetic study forces a rethink on population history of Ibiza
Set of figurines from Es Culleram. Archaeological Museum of Ibiza and Formentera
[Credit: © Ministerio de Cultura]

Ancient DNA from Ibiza demonstrates a clear genetic discontinuity in the maternal lineages of the early Phoenician settlers and the modern inhabitants of the island according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

The study was led by Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith and her team from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and Professor Pierre Zalloua of the Lebanese American University, Beirut, with the collaboration of researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (Universitat Pompeu Fabra-CSIC), Barcelona, the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza and archaeologists from Lebanon and Italy.

The team analysed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is maternally inherited, from archaeological Phoenician remains and from modern inhabitants of Ibiza. They also obtained whole genome data (representing their total ancestry from both parents) from one ancient Phoenician individual.

Arriving from Cadiz, on the Iberian mainland, the Phoenicians first settled on the strategic island of Ibiza around 654 BCE and remained the main inhabitants of Ibiza for about seven centuries.

Burial rituals and other archaeological findings at the Puig des Molins necropolis of Ibiza provide evidence for a second population influx from Carthage or other Punic settlements in the Mediterranean, coinciding with a period of prosperity and major development of the island around 5th BCE. After the 2nd Punic War, Ibiza started a long process of integration of Ibiza into the Roman Empire, followed by the Islamic conquest of the island around 900 CE. Beginning around 1200 CE Ibiza was the recipient of migrations from the Iberian and Southern European mainland.

Based on the mtDNA results, the study showed clear genetic discontinuity between the early Phoenician settlers and the modern inhabitants of the island.

“Thus, the unusual genetic signature that has previously been identified in modern Ibizans does not appear to be the result of their Phoenician ancestry, at least from a maternal perspective”, explains Professor Matisoo-Smith.

Multiple population arrivals through invasions or other movements combined with periods of population instability after the early Phoenician settlement seems to have led to a reshuffling of the genetic makeup of this island.

“It is fascinating to see that the ancient maternal lineages were replaced over time. Today the mitochondrial DNA lineages in indigenous Ibizans appear to be most closely related to those of modern French, which may indicate a Catalonian connection,” adds Professor Zalloua.

While ancient DNA evidence generated over the last few years does now show us that there were population replacements in deep time, for example in Europe when farmers moved into western Europe several thousands of years ago and replaced many hunter-gatherer populations, we do not often see genetic replacement during more recent times.

Despite the lack of continuity observed in the mitochondrial genomes, previous Y chromosome analyses suggest that there is still some Phoenician signature in the modern Ibizan population. The whole genome data obtained from one ancient Phoenician from Ibiza belonged to an individual with a European maternal lineage but with a significant Eastern Mediterranean component to their genetic ancestry, indicating an admixed Phoenician community in Ibiza during the 3rd century BCE. This result is consistent with the archaeological evidence and further indicates that diversity and integration was a hallmark of Phoenician societies.

The results are consistent with historical evidence suggesting that Phoenician influence in the West was male dominated and indicates that there was not a total replacement of the Ibizan founding population, however, we now know that the genetic distinctness of the modern indigenous inhabitants of Ibiza is not due to Phoenician ancestry as has often been suggested. Further whole genome data is needed to help us understand why and how the genetic makeup of the Ibizan population changed over time. For example, disease or social impacts like war or famine may have played a major role in shaping the genetic makeup of the population of the island.

Source: University of Otago [December 07, 2018]



Palaeolithic people may have amputated fingers in religious ritual, study suggests

Early in human history, people were willing to make enormous sacrifices in order to satisfy their deities. Some cave dwellers even cut off their own fingers, according to new research.

Palaeolithic people may have amputated fingers in religious ritual, study suggests
These are examples of negative hand images with missing fingers on calcite draperies in Cosquer Cave,
located in Calanque de Morgiou, France [Credit: Jean Clottes]

It was a mystery archaeologists couldn’t figure out for decades. Cave paintings nearly 27,000 years old sometimes depicted hands with missing fingers — but why?

A team of anthropologists and archaeologists from British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University now believe humans in the Upper Palaeolithic era amputated their fingers in religious rituals and that the incredibly painful experience might have helped groups of humans form intensely strong bonds.

Master’s student Brea McCauley and supervisors David Maxwell and Mark Collard combed through records dating back to the 1600s for examples of researchers and travellers who noted the practice of finger amputation.

McCauley, who led the team, was surprised to find examples of finger amputation on every continent humans inhabit.

“We did not expect, in the slightest, to find 121 societies that engaged in finger amputation,” McCauley said in an interview.

Palaeolithic people may have amputated fingers in religious ritual, study suggests
Closwer view of hand images in Cosquer Cave [Credit: Fanny Broadcast/
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images]

In one instance, a cave in France featured hand paintings from 50 different individuals, including men, women and children. Many had fingers missing.

The team posited that finger amputation was likely done as either a sign of mourning or as a sacrifice in order to appeal to a deity for assistance. And the ritual may have helped, but likely not in the way early humans thought.

Group amputations of people’s fingers in a highly ritualized practice probably had the “side effect” of creating powerful bonds among participants, said Collard, an archaeology professor at SFU.

Existing research suggests deeply uncomfortable experiences can in fact make people more loyal to others who share the same trauma, explained McCauley.

“These rituals that might be painful or might cause emotional distress create really strong communities. They bind people as though they are family,” she said.

“So that means they are really likely to look out for one another and that means they might be hostile to other groups because they are so bounded inward.”

While these rituals were happening during the Upper Palaeolithic era, modern humans spread across much of the world and out competed neanderthals.

The research is published in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology.

Author: Wanyee Li | Source: The Star Vancouver [December 07, 2018]



2000-year-old Germanic cemetery discovered in western Poland

Polish archaeologists have discovered dozens of iron and bronze artefacts including a sword and decorative buckles in a nearly 2000 years old Germanic cemetery, archaeologist Krzysztof Socha from the Kostrzyn Fortress Museum reported to PAP.

2000-year-old Germanic cemetery discovered in western Poland
Credit: Krzysztof Socha/Muzeum Twierdzy Kostrzyn

The cemetery is located in Gorzów poviat (county), though archaeologists have not revealed the exact location of the newly discovered cemetery to prevent its destruction by treasure hunters who search fields and forests with metal detectors. Socha emphasises that he was surprised by the large number of discovered metal objects. Archaeologists have also found numerous fragments of burned human bones.
“After preliminary research, which we carried out in November, I believe that we are dealing with a huge, perhaps even several-hectare cemetery from the first centuries of our era”, says Socha. Three complete graves were discovered during the excavations; the remains of the dead had been cremated. In one case, they were originally in a ceramic urn, in the other two they were poured into pits dug in the ground.

2000-year-old Germanic cemetery discovered in western Poland
Credit: Krzysztof Socha/Muzeum Twierdzy Kostrzyn

Socha added that the necropolis has been largely destroyed by forest management – the forest was planted in this place nearly half a century ago. “We do not know if there had been a forest here before, but during the excavations we recorded traces of very deep ploughing, which could have contributed to the degradation of the ancient burials”, he said. But according to the archaeologist, there had been many more graves. This is evidenced by artefacts chaotically scattered just below the surface.
“The first complete graves probably belonged to warriors because we found weapons in the graves, including a ritually bent metal sword, spear heads and shield bosses. We are also finding metal elements of clothing such as belt buckles and other adornments in the area. This shows that the cemetery belonged to the entire community – probably women, men and children”, said Socha.

2000-year-old Germanic cemetery discovered in western Poland
Credit: Dariusz de Lorm/Stowarzyszenie Tempelburg

Researchers are now waiting for the anthropological analyses of the bones which will determine the sex of the deceased.
Archaeologists believe that the cemetery belonged to a Germanic community. “Here, the influence of the Goths and Vandals clashed with influences from the Elbe”, says Socha adding that this conclusion can be drawn from various artefacts. He emphasises that this is one of the few cemeteries of this type in western Poland.

2000-year-old Germanic cemetery discovered in western Poland
Credit: Krzysztof Socha/Muzeum Twierdzy Kostrzyn

The ancient cemetery was discovered in April 2018 when several artefacts, including metal shield bosses, were revealed in the roots of felled trees following a violent storm.

Archaeologists are preparing an exhibition of artefacts that will be opened next year in the Kostrzyn Fortress Museum.

Author: Szymon Zdziebłowski | Source: PAP – Science in Poland [December 10, 2018]



South African skeleton shows humans learnt to walk upright in the trees

The analysis of the world’s most complete skeleton of an early human ancestor, conducted by a research collaboration involving the University of Liverpool, offers conclusive evidence that human ancestors became efficient upright walkers while they were still substantially tree dwelling animals.

South African skeleton shows humans learnt to walk upright in the trees
Professor Ronald Clarke with Little Foot [Credit: University of Liverpool]

The first bones of the 3.67 million old skeleton, specimen StW 573 nicknamed ‘Little Foot’, were 12 foot bones and leg bone fragments identified in boxes in the 1990s. The rest of the skeleton has undergone two decades of painstaking excavation, cleaning, restoring and analysis. It was found in a very deep cavern, with the bone embedded in a concrete-like matrix. The bone is very delicate and in some cases literally paper-thin. However, it has given scientists a far greater understanding of how our species evolved.
Limbs intact

The over 90% complete skeleton of an old female, much more than twice as complete as the famous Lucy, and considerably older as well, Little Foot is a member of the genus Australopithecus, a widespread and varied genus of hominins to which Lucy belonged, and which was an early precursor to modern-day Homo sapiens which appeared roughly 300,000 years ago. Little Foot is the first fossil of Australopithecus ever to have been discovered with its limbs intact.

South African skeleton shows humans learnt to walk upright in the trees
Little Foot’s fossil bones [Credit: Patrick Landmann/Science Photo Library]

The studies support the argument of her discoverer, Professor Ronald Clarke of the University of the Witwatersrand, that there were two species of Australopithecus living at the same time in South Africa’s ‘Cradle of Humankind’, Australopithecus africanus, which was small, like Lucy, and probably primarily tree-dwelling, and Australopithecus prometheus, which was probably just within the range of modern human stature.
Important finding

As part of the study, which has been reported in Nature Science, Professor Robin Crompton, Honorary University of Liverpool Research Associate in Musculoskeletal Biology, and his colleagues analysed how she would have walked.

Professor Crompton, states: “This hominin, for the first time in the fossil record, had longer lower limbs than upper limbs, like ourselves. This is an important finding, as the slightly older hominin Ardipithecus, which came before Australopithecus, had longer arms than legs – more like other great apes such as the gorilla.
“That means she was being selected for long stride length in bipedalism. Moreover, unlike Lucy, ‘Littlefoot’ had a hip joint like our own, able to transmit large forces from the trunk to the leg and vice versa. Although Little Foot’s legs were longer than her arms, they had not yet achieved the great relative leg length found in humans. Thus, she would not have been as good at carrying objects as we are. However, she would have been much better at climbing trees than modern humans.

“It is most likely that she would have resided in an area that was a mix of tropical rainforest, broken woodland and grassland, through which she would roam around. She would have lived primarily on forest fruits and leaves”

Source: University of Liverpool [December 10, 2018]



Pump it Up When the heart beats, the contractions of cardiac…

Pump it Up

When the heart beats, the contractions of cardiac muscles are regulated by the movement of calcium ions between different compartments of the heart cells. Problems with this calcium cycling are key features of heart disease, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a common cause of heart failure characterised by enlarged heart chambers and stretched cardiac muscles. Pictured are electron micrographs, showing the cardiac muscle fibres of healthy mice (top row) and mice with a condition resembling DCM (below). Recent research suggests that a protein called DWORF can alleviate some symptoms of DCM: without DWORF, the muscle fibres of DCM mice are disorganised (bottom left panel) while their structure is restored when DWORF is over-expressed (bottom right). DWORF is thought to stimulate the activity of a critical calcium pump, named SERCA, by outcompeting its natural inhibitors. As this helps boost calcium shuttling, DWORF could be a promising new tool for treating heart disease.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

You can also follow BPoD on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Archive link

2018 December 10 Sound and Light Captured by Mars InSight Image…

2018 December 10

Sound and Light Captured by Mars InSight
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Explanation: Your arm on Mars has unusual powers. For one thing it is nearly 2 meters long, has a scoop and grapple built into its hand, and has a camera built into its forearm. For another, it will soon deploy your ear – a sensitive seismometer that will listen for distant rumblings – onto the surface of Mars. Your SEISmomet-ear is the orange box in the foreground, while the gray dome behind it will be its protective cover. Your arm is attached to the InSight robotic lander that touched down on Mars two weeks ago. Somewhat unexpectedly, your ear has already heard something – slight vibrations caused by the Martian wind flowing over the solar panels. Light from the Sun is being collected by the solar panels, part of one being visible on the far right. Actually, at the present time, you have two arms operating on Mars, but they are separated by about 600 kilometers. That’s because your other active arm is connected to the Curiosity rover exploring a distant crater. Taken a week ago, rusty soil and rocks are visible in the featured image beyond Insight, as well as the orange sky of Mars.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181210.html

And Spit! Image of the Week – December 10, 2018CIL:25367 -…

And Spit! Image of the Week – December 10, 2018

CIL:25367 – http://www.cellimagelibrary.org/images/25367

Description: Aggregates of Maize mosaic virus (MMV, Rhabdoviridae) in cells of the salivary gland of the insect vector Peregrinus maidis (planthopper, Hemiptera, Delphacidae). Antibodies to MMV identify aggregates (green/yellow fluorescence). In the salivary gland, MMV aggregates are found mainly in the cell periphery or intercellularly, in contrast to other tissues in the insect vector that accumulate mainly around the nuclei (red). N, nucleus. 

Authors: El-Desouky Ammar, Saskia A. Hogenhout, and L. R. Nault

Licensing: Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike: This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike License.

Archive link

Monument Rocks (Kansas) | #Geology #GeologyPage #Kansas…

Monument Rocks (Kansas) | #Geology #GeologyPage #Kansas #USA

Monument Rocks (also Chalk Pyramids) are a series of large chalk formations in Gove County, Kansas, rich in fossils.

The formations were the first landmark chosen by the US Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. The chalk formations reach a height of up to 70 ft (21 m) and include formations such as buttes and arches.

Geology Page



Beryl var. Aquamarine bi-terminated, Tourmaline var. Schorl,…

Beryl var. Aquamarine bi-terminated, Tourmaline var. Schorl, Feldspar | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Erongo Mountain, Erongo Region, Namibia

Size: 57mm x 43mm x 24mm

Photo Copyright © Quebul Fine Minerals

Geology Page



Garnet var. Andradite on Hedenbergite with quartz | #Geology…

Garnet var. Andradite on Hedenbergite with quartz | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Serifos Island (Seriphos), Cyclade Islands, Kyklades Prefecture, Aegean Islands (Aiyaion) Department, Greece

Size: 55mm x 39mm x 30mm

Photo Copyright © Quebul Fine Minerals

Geology Page



Salammoniac | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality:…

Salammoniac | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Bátonyterenye, Mátra Mountains, Nógrád County, Hungary

Largest Crystal: 10mm

Photo Copyright © Stone Ásványfotós /e-rocks.com

Geology Page



Prehistoric Pottery and Beakers Photoset 1, Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey, North...

Prehistoric Pottery and Beakers Photoset 1, Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey, North Wales

Source link

Prehistoric Tools and Weaponry, Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey, North Wales

Prehistoric Tools and Weaponry, Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey, North Wales

Source link

Prehistoric Gang Chain for slaves and captives, Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey,...

Prehistoric Gang Chain for slaves and captives, Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Anglesey, North Wales.

A brutal Iron Age chain for five captives restrained around the neck.

Source link


https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...