A New Titleholder For Earliest Wine?

By Gemma Tarlach | November 13, 2017 2:00 pm
Known for its unusual varietals and millennia-old wine traditions, the Republic of Georgia may also be where viniculture was born. (Credit G. Tarlach)

Known for its unusual varietals and millennia-old wine traditions, the Republic of Georgia may also be where viniculture was born. (Credit G. Tarlach)

Where are the roots of the earliest wine? Countries in southwestern Asia have long contested who was first to ferment grapes. To date, the oldest widely accepted evidence for viniculture came from the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

But now new research from the Republic of Georgia — a perennial and fierce challenger for the title — suggests people in that Southern Caucasus country were sipping the nectar of the gods even earlier.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: archaeology

First Americans: Overland Beringia Route Takes Another Hit

By Gemma Tarlach | November 9, 2017 1:00 pm
A large valley moraine in northern Canada's Nahanni National Park. (Credit Brian Menounos, UNBC)

East of the now-submerged land bridge Beriniga, a large valley moraine in northern Canada’s Nahanni National Park dates to 13,800 years ago, roughly the end of the last ice age. (Credit Brian Menounos, UNBC)

One if by land, two if by sea…if only the debate about how the first humans arrived in the Americas was as easy to sort out as Paul Revere’s fabled lantern signal. Maybe it is. A new study from a different field offers indirect support to researchers advocating a coastal route for human migration to the New World.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Did the First Americans Arrive Via A Kelp Highway?

By Gemma Tarlach | November 2, 2017 1:00 pm
The First Americans may have followed a "kelp highway" of marine resources available on a coastal route from Siberia to the New World. Nutrient-rich kelp beds such as these near Crook Point on the Oregon coast. (Credit Roy W. Lowe/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

The First Americans may have followed a “kelp highway” of marine resources via a coastal route from Siberia to the New World. Nutrient-rich kelp beds such as these, near Crook Point on the Oregon coast, attract salmon and other sea life that would have sustained the early explorers. (Credit Roy W. Lowe/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

The average person’s idea of how — and when — the first people arrived in the Americas needs a serious revision, say researchers: The First Americans arrived significantly earlier and via a different route than most of us learned in school. There’s something fishy about the whole thing.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

About That Dinosaur Family Tree Rewrite…

By Gemma Tarlach | November 1, 2017 1:00 pm
A proposed dinosaur family tree rewrite may sound like a crazy challenge to dinosaur canon, but remember, not that long ago scientists thought Iguanodon looked like this (hint: we know better now). (Credit Samuel Griswold Goodrich from Illustrated Natural History of the Animal Kingdom (New York: Derby & Jackson, 1859).

A proposed dinosaur family tree rewrite may sound like a crazy idea, but remember, not that long ago scientists thought Iguanodon looked like this (hint: we know better now). (Credit Samuel Griswold Goodrich/Illustrated Natural History of the Animal Kingdom, 1859)

Earlier this year, a trio of paleontologists led the charge to rewrite the most fundamental thing we believe about dinosaurs. Their call to action generated controversy and, more importantly, serious academic discussion. Now, a bevy of researchers weigh in on whether the dinosaur family tree really does need a revision — and their answer likely will surprise many armchair dino enthusiasts.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: dinosaurs, paleontology

Southern Africa’s New Mega-Carnivore: A Whole Lotta Dinosaur

By Gemma Tarlach | October 25, 2017 1:00 pm
CAPTION HERE (Credit Fabian Knoll and Lara Sciscio)

Known so far only from its giant footprints, a new Southern African mega-carnivore is believed to be the region’s largest dinosaur predator ever. (Credit Fabian Knoll and Lara Sciscio)

My, what big feet you have…200-million-year-old dinosaur footprints found in the mountainous Southern African country of Lesotho are unique within the Southern Hemisphere and the largest of their kind ever discovered on the continent. But size isn’t the only thing that matters about the mega-carnivore that made them.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Fatty Tissues Preserved In Fossil for 48 Million Years

By Gemma Tarlach | October 17, 2017 6:00 pm
Researchers confirmed fatty tissues had been preserved in the preen gland of a 48-million-year-old bird fossil. (Credit O'Reilly et al 2017, doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1050)

Researchers confirmed fatty tissues had been preserved in the preen gland (in box) of a 48-million-year-old bird fossil. (Credit O’Reilly et al 2017, doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1050)

It really is true: fat hangs around a long time whether you want it to or not.

Okay, so we’re not talking about stubborn love handles and saddlebags, but researchers have confirmed that fatty tissues were still identifiable in the partial fossil of a 48-million-year-old bird. The new research hints that similar soft tissues might be found in fossils sitting in museum archives around the world. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: fossils, paleontology

Easter Island Ancient DNA Shoots Down One Rapanui Theory

By Gemma Tarlach | October 12, 2017 11:00 am
The massive carved Moai of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, are as mysterious as the people who made them. (Credit Terry Hunt)

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is best known for its giant carved moai. (Credit Terry Hunt)

Thanks to its geography, the southeastern Pacific island of Rapa Nui — also known as Easter Island — has been in the center of a long-running debate about how early people may have sailed back and forth across the planet’s biggest ocean. One theory suggested that, long before Europeans arrived, the island was a meeting point for Polynesians and Native Americans.

Spoiler alert: a new study of ancient DNA from early residents of Rapa Nui says otherwise.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Oldest African DNA Offers Rare Window Into Past

By Gemma Tarlach | September 21, 2017 11:00 am
Mount Hora in Malawi, where the oldest DNA in the study, from a woman who lived more than 8,000 years ago, was obtained. Photo by Jessica Thompson, Emory University.

Mount Hora in Malawi, where researcher Jessica Thompson obtained the oldest African DNA ever successfully sequenced. (Credit Jessica Thompson/Emory University)

A great irony about Africa is that, even though it’s the birthplace of our species, we know almost nothing about the prehistoric populations who lived there: the bands of hunter gatherers who moved across the massive continent, interacting with and sometimes replacing other groups.

Today that changes.

Thanks to new research that includes the oldest African DNA ever successfully read, we’re seeing Africa’s prehistory like never before. Archaeologists and paleogeneticists are finally starting to fill in some crucial gaps about the human story.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Dinosaur Diet Discovery: “Plant-Eater” Snacked On Crustaceans

By Gemma Tarlach | September 21, 2017 8:00 am
Are researchers as wrong about the dinosaur diet as famed illustrator Charles Knight was about hadrosaurs? (Credit American Museum of Natural History)

Have researchers been as wrong about the dinosaur diet as famed illustrator Charles Knight was about hadrosaurs in this rather sketchy 1897 rendering? Duckbilled dinosaurs like this fella usually put four on the floor, and no dino dragged its tail or had the sprawling posture shown here. (Credit American Museum of Natural History)

Like that vegetarian friend of yours who sneaks a piece of bacon when no one’s looking, it appears that at least some dinosaurs previously thought to be dedicated herbivores occasionally consumed critters. That’s at least according to new research that involved getting up close and investigative with those goldmines of lifestyle information: coprolites.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Breaking: 5.7 Million-Year-Old “Hominin Footprints” In Jeopardy

By Gemma Tarlach | September 15, 2017 10:44 am
Is this depression and others like it at a site in Crete actually footprints? If so, what made them? Researchers believe they are indeed footprints — and were made 5.7 million years ago by hominins. (Credit Andrzej Boczarowski)

Is this depression and others like it at a site in Crete actually hominin footprints? (Credit Andrzej Boczarowski)

12:02 p.m.: “In the context of the field, it’s the equivalent of blowing up the Sphinx in Egypt. It’s a big deal,” says Bournemouth University’s Matthew Bennett, confirming that several of the footprints he and colleagues described in a paper published in August as belonging to an early hominin have been destroyed or stolen. But Bennett adds: “At the same time, no scientific data has been lost.” Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Dead Things

Digging up the dirt on the latest finds and wierdest revelations, from lost civilizations to dinosaurs.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+