воскресенье, 10 февраля 2019 г.

Long shadows at Swinside or Sunkenkirk Prehistoric Stone Circle, Lake District, 9.2.19.











Long shadows at Swinside or Sunkenkirk Prehistoric Stone Circle, Lake District, 9.2.19.


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Azurite ball | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality:…


Azurite ball | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Poteryaevskoe Mine, Rubtsovskoe Cu-Zn-Pb deposit, Rudnyi Altai, Altaiskii Krai, Western-Siberian Region, Russia


Size: 28mm x 25mm x 22mm


Photo Copyright © Quebul Fine Minerals


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Blast from the past: Matters of basic geography

I’m re-posting this article from 2017 for the benefit of some Science News journalists, who are apparently having major problems dealing with basic geography. That’s because they think that the Yamnaya culture was located in Asia and not in Eastern Europe. Take my advice and don’t read Science News whatever you do. It might rot your brain.


The steppe north of the Black Sea in Ukraine has basically always been considered part of Europe, and just over 100 years ago some guy with a map decided that the steppe between the eastern coast of the Black Sea in Russia and the Ural River in western Kazakhstan should also be Europe.
So nowadays, right or wrong, it’s generally accepted that the entire steppe region west of the Ural River, known as the Pontic-Caspian steppe, is in Eastern Europe. Here’s a map courtesy of Wikipedia showing how the official boundary between Eastern Europe and Asia has shifted since the 18th century.



But this decision wasn’t entirely arbitrary, because the current boundary between Eastern Europe and Asia by and large follows several major geographic barriers, including the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains. It’d be hard to argue that these barriers haven’t had a profound impact across the ages on the character of Europe and its people, and this has probably been known for well over a couple hundred years.



For instance, if we’re to trust the most common interpretations of the works of ancient geographers like Hecataeus and Herodotus, then their worlds in some important ways resembled the typical Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of West Eurasian genetic variation. And it seems that they had a pretty good idea where both the strong continental boundaries and fuzzy areas were located.
Below, on the geographic map inspired by Herodotus, Europa or Europe is delineated from much of Asia by the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea, while on the genetic map, most European and Asian populations form two, more or less parallel, clusters fairly cleanly separated by empty space (this was first noted in Lazaridis et al. 2013). Indeed, this empty space is the work of the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea acting as rather effective barriers to gene flow between Eastern Europe and Asia (see Yunusbayev et al. 2012).



However, on the genetic map, the Iranic Scythians of the Asian steppes straddle my somewhat arbitrary red line separating Europa and Asia, and this is echoed on the Herodotus map by Iranic and related peoples like the Massagetae and Issedones, who inhabit the seemingly undefined part of the world between Europa and Asia east of the Caspian Sea (Mare Caspium).
Nothing really ground breaking, but pretty cool stuff.
On a related note, I’ve seen the term “mainland Europe” used recently in at least one of the big ancient DNA papers to describe the part of Europe west of the Pontic-Caspian steppe. It seems that the authors wanted to underline the fairly stark genetic difference that existed between most of Europe and the steppe just prior to the expansion of Yamnaya and related steppe herder groups that initiated the formation of the present-day European gene pool.
I can see why they did this, but to my mind they got things backwards. That’s because the term mainland implies the opposite of island and/or peninsula, and of course the part of Europe west of the Pontic-Caspian steppe is a relatively narrow strip of land surrounded by water, so it’s a peninsula. Let’s visualize these two models on a map of Europe courtesy of Wikipedia:



I understand that my model might result in heart palpitations for some readers, especially those from Western Europe, who generally see their part of Europe as core Europe, but I feel that it makes good sense from a purely geographic POV.
See also…
Max Planck scientists: on a mission against geography
Genetic borders are usually linguistic borders too

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Acidaspis cincinnatiensis trilobite | #Geology #GeologyPage…


Acidaspis cincinnatiensis trilobite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Trilobite #Fossil


Age: Orodovician

Locality: Kope Formation, Pendelton County, KY, U.S.A.

Size: 5 cm


Photo Copyright © American Museum of Natural History


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Milefortlet 21, Solway Coastline, Cumbria, 9.2.19.A well preserved Roman milefortlet...


Milefortlet 21, Solway Coastline, Cumbria, 9.2.19.


A well preserved Roman milefortlet extending Hadrian’s Wall down the coast.


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