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Monday, January 28, 2008

Origins of Ancient Greek god older than Archaeologists thought

Origins of Ancient Greek god older than Archaeologists thought
1/28/2008 5:18:00 PM - Dragana Kovacevic
Zeus's famed altar at Mt. Lykaion may not have always been his,
according to recent archaeological findings from Greece.

A team of Greek-American archaeologists working the famed Sanctuary of
Zeus have discovered pottery remains that indicate the site was a
place of worship long before the early Greeks began offering
sacrifices to their most celebrated god.

Instead, archaeologists now believe the site was used for ancient
dedication ceremonies as early as 5,000 years ago - at least 1,000
years before the known worship of Zeus began.

At Zeus's Altar

Situated at 4,500 feet above sea level on Mt. Lykaion, the site offers
one of the most famous Zeus shrines in ancient Greece. It features an
ancient hippodrome (an open-air stadium with an oval course for horse
and chariot races), and buildings related to the ancient athletic
festival that rivalled the neighbouring sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia.

The site provides a picturesque view of Arcadia, thought to be Zeus's
domain, and is known to have served as an important Pan Arcadian as
well as Pan Hellenic sanctuary that attracted pilgrims, athletes and
dignitaries from all over the Greek world between 700 to 200 BCE.

"Mt. Lykaion, Arcadia is known from ancient literature as one of the
mythological birthplaces of Zeus, the other being on Crete," says Dr
David Gilman Romano, a Senior Research Scientist at the University of
Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a co-director
of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project.

"The fact that the ash altar to Zeus includes early material dating
back to 3000 BCE suggests that the tradition of devotion to some
divinity on that spot is very ancient. The altar is long standing and
may in fact pre-date the introduction of Zeus in the Greek world. We
don't yet know how the altar was first used, and whether it was used
in connection with natural phenomena such as wind, rain, light or
earthquakes, possibly to worship some kind of divinity male or female
or a personification representing forces of nature."

These finding creates a vastly different account of the history at the
Altar and the site.
Source Article

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cool New Site

Ancient World Cities

Ancient Wearing of Shoes

Shoe wearing date extended back to about 40,000 years ago, in China.
Did foot fetishism set off the development of modern man, and woman?
Pics of the toe bones in question at the cite.

Earliest Shoe-Wearers Revealed by Toe Bones
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Jan. 25, 2008 -- People started wearing shoes around 40,000 years ago,
according to a study on recently excavated small toe bones that
belonged to an individual from China who apparently loved shoes.

Most footwear erodes over time. The earliest known shoes, rope sandals
that attached to the feet with string, date to only around 10,000 B.C.
For the new study, the clues were in middle toe bones that change
during an individual's lifetime if the person wears shoes a lot.

"When you walk barefoot, your middle toes curl into the ground to give
you traction as you push off," explained co-author Erik Trinkaus, who
worked on the study with Hong Shang.

"If you regularly wear Nikes, moccasins or any other type of shoe, you
actually wind up pushing off with your big toe, with less force going
through the middle toes," added Trinkaus, a Washington University
anthropologist who is one of the world's leading experts on early
human evolution.

Small toe bones are rare in the archaeological record, so Trinkaus and
Hong jumped at the chance to study the 40,000-year-old skeleton, which
was found in Tianyuan Cave near Zhoukoudian, China.

They also analyzed a recently found 27,500-year-old Russian skeleton
with middle toe bones, as well as Neanderthal and modern Puebloan and
Inuit skeletons, also with such bones.

The findings have been accepted for publication in the Journal of
Archaeological Science.

The researchers determined that both the Chinese and Russian
individuals had more lightly built middle toe bones relative to their
body size. The Russian skeleton was also found with other individuals
who had an abundance of ivory beads around their ankles and feet,
suggesting these individuals likely wore some fairly flashy shoes.

To test the toe theory, the scientists conducted similar analysis on
the more modern samples. The habitually barefoot Native American
Puebloan possessed much more robust middle toe bones.

The shoe-wearing Inuit, who had a very active lifestyle, possessed
semi-sturdy middle toe bones, while the Neanderthal, with ultra hefty
middle toe bones, showed no signs of having worn shoes.

Trinkaus explained to Discovery News that the date of the first
footwear corresponds with an important time in human history.

"A cultural evolution was starting," he said of the Paleolithic
period. "We start to see all kinds of changes, such as more elaborate
toolkits and the beginnings of art. The findings about footwear are
another piece in the puzzle."

Trenton Holliday, an associate professor of anthropology at Tulane
University, told Discovery News that the toe bone comparison between
ancient and more modern groups "gives credence to Trinkaus' position
that one can determine whether prehistoric groups were shod, at least
with rigid-soled shoes, by examining the robusticity of the [bones] of
their lesser toes."

Holliday, however, doubts that Neanderthals were completely shoe-free.

"Considering that they lived in Europe primarily during glacial
periods, I find it highly improbable that they did not wear some type
of footwear, so what I think is most likely is that they wore some
type of soft wraps on their feet that did not alter their locomoter
biomechanics of their feet the way a stiff-soled shoe would," Holliday

Trinkaus agrees with Holliday's Neanderthal theory, although he
suggested Neanderthals might have frequently gone barefoot too.

"Some individuals even today still don't wear shoes and live in very
cold environments, such as in the hills of Eastern Bulgaria and
Romania," he said.

Earliest Shoe

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Noah's Ark flood spurred European farming

Randy Boswell
CanWest News Service

Monday, November 19, 2007

A British scientist has found evidence linking the catastrophic
collapse of a glacial ice dam in Canada more than 8,000 years ago and
the rapid spread of agriculture across Europe around the same time.

The dramatic discharge of freshwater from prehistoric Lake Agassiz -
which covered much of Central Canada at the end of the last ice age -
has long been blamed for altering global climate patterns and raising
sea levels around the world by at least a metre in a matter of months.

The deluged shorelines caused by the colossal Canadian gusher have
even been associated with the "great flood" myths common to many
ancient cultures - including the biblical story of Noah's Ark.

Now, University of Exeter geologist Chris Turney believes he has
traced the sudden proliferation of farming across neolithic Europe to
an exodus of coastal people moving inland to escape the results of the
Agassiz flood.

"It still blows my mind to think that a release of water from Canada
could set off a cascade of changes all the way across in Europe,"
Turney told CanWest News Service. "It just goes to show how people and
the environment are intimately linked."

The existence of a supersized Lake Agassiz, named for a leading 19th-
century geologist, has been known since the late 1800s. Formed some
12,000 years ago from the meltwater of retreating glaciers at the end
of the last full ice age, the lake was encircled by beaches still
visible today as sandy ridges throughout Central and Western Canada.

Initially centred around the present Ontario-Manitoba border, Lake
Agassiz formed, at its greatest extent, a 1.5-million-square-kilometre
freshwater basin - an area larger than the combined areas of
Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

University of Manitoba geologist Jim Teller's reconstruction of the
lake's dying throes has kick-started a worldwide wave of research into
what was undoubtedly one of the most awesome natural events in
Canadian prehistory.

With the lake at the greatest width and depth ever in its 4,000-year
lifespan, the glacier that had dammed Agassiz's northern shore broke
somewhere along ice-bound Hudson Bay. A huge torrent gushed into the
ocean, draining a volume of fresh water equal to about 15 Lake
Superiors in a few months.

Some of this country's earliest aboriginal occupants may have even
witnessed the epic occurrence since the peopling of Canada roughly
coincides with the retreat of the glaciers.

Teller has also theorized Agassiz's final, cataclysmic burst caused
such a surge of seawater around the world it might have given rise to
the Noah's Ark saga and other ancient accounts of massive floods.

Among the effects, scientists believe, was the breaching of an earthen
barrier between the Mediterranean and Black seas in southeast Europe
and extensive flooding of the Black Sea shoreline.

Turney, author of the newly published Bones, Rocks and Stars: The
Science of When Things Happened, specializes in reconstructing ancient
events from the archeological and geological record.

His study, published in the latest edition of Quaternary Science
Reviews, shows that up to 145,000 people from farming sites near the
Black Sea would have been forced out of their lands by the flooding
and into territory occupied by hunter-gatherer cultures of inland

"The collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and release of freshwater
8,740 to 8,160 years ago abruptly raised global sea levels by up to
1.4 metres," the study says. "Flooding of coastal areas led to the
sudden loss of land favoured by early farmers and initiated an abrupt
expansion of activity across Europe, driven by migrating Neolithic

Turney tracked the sudden spread of European farming about 8,000 years
ago by mapping the locations and dates of the earliest known
agricultural settlements discovered by archeologists.
What the data shows, he says, is a clear sequence of flooding,
migration and resettlement of farmers across Europe after the Lake
Agassiz deluge.
Canadian Article


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Greatest discovery since Peking Man

Peking Man fossils, lost during WWII, dated to 250,000-400,000 years,
this guy 100,000.

China hails "greatest discovery since Peking Man"
Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:20am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) - An almost complete human skull fossil that could
date back 100,000 years has been unearthed in China, state media said
on Wednesday, hailing it as the greatest discovery since Peking Man.

Last month's find in Xuchang, in the central province of Henan, was
made after two years of excavation just as two archaeologists were
leaving for the Lunar New Year break, the China Daily said.

"We expect more discoveries of importance," Li Zhanyang, archaeologist
with the Henan Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, was
quoted as saying.

The fossil consists of 16 pieces of the skull with protruding eyebrows
and a small forehead.

"More astonishing than the completeness of the skull is that it still
has a fossilized membrane on the inner side, so scientists can track
the nerves of the Paleolithic ancestors," Li was quoted as saying.

Besides the skull, more than 30,000 animal fossils, and stone and bone
artifacts were found.

"The pieces of the human skull showed up just when archaeologists were
going home for the Spring Festival," the newspaper said, referring to
the New Year holiday which officially begins next month.

Peking Man was discovered in the 1920s near Beijing and dates back
roughly to between 250,000 and 400,000 years.
Greatest Find

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Life After People

What would the world look like 100 years after people disappeared? How about 1000 years? A Million?Life After People

Virtual Landscape of Stonehenge

"This short [2:31] film shows the landscape around
Stonehenge as recorded by LIDAR survey (airborne
3D scanning). Millions of measurements were taken
across the landscape, and here they have been
turned into a 'solid' computer model to show how well
the archaeology is recorded by this method.

Prehistoric burial mounds (barrows), the great Cursus
(a 2km Neolithic monument), the Bronze Age Avenue
which links Stonehenge to the River Avon, and other
henges such as Woodhenge and Durrington Walls are
all clearly visible.

It is possibly the first time that this data has been
shown in this way, at 1:1 with no reduction of data
quality to produce a perspective animation."
Virtual Stone Henge

Monday, January 21, 2008

Environmental setting of human migrations in the circum-Pacific region

To assess the genetic and archaeological evidence for
the migration of modern humans out of Africa to the
circum-Pacific region and compare the migration patterns
with Late Pleistocene and Holocene changes in sea level
and climate.

Southern and eastern Asia, Australia, and Oceania.

Review of the literature and detailed compilations of data
on early human settlements, sea level, and climate

The expansion of modern humans out of Africa, following
a coastal route into southern Asia, was initially thwarted
by a series of large and abrupt environmental changes. A
period of relatively stable climate and sea level from c.
45,000 yr bp to 40,000 yr bp supported a rapid coastal
expansion of modern humans throughout much of
Southeast Asia, enabling them to reach the coasts of
northeast Russia and Japan by 38,000–37,000 yr bp.
Further northwards, migrations were delayed by cold
northern climates, which began to deteriorate rapidly after
33,000 yr bp.

Human migrations along the coast of the Bering Sea into
the New World appear to have occurred much later, c.
14,000 yr bp, probably by people from central Asia who
were better adapted to cold northern climates. Cold, dry
climates and rapidly changing sea levels leading into and
out of the Last Glacial Maximum inhibited coastal
settlement, and many of the sites occupied prior to
33,000 yr bp were abandoned.

After 16,000 yr bp, the sea-level rise slowed enough to
permit coastal ecosystems to develop and coasts to be
re-colonized, but abrupt changes in climate and sea level
inhibited this development until after 12,000 yr bp.
Between 12,000 yr bp and 7000 yr bp there was a
dramatic increase in reef and estuary/lagoon
ecosystems, concurrent with a major expansion of
coastal settlements.

This early Holocene increase in coastal environments and
the concomitant expansion of human coastal-resource
exploitation were followed by corresponding declines in
both phenomena in the mid-Holocene, c. 6000–4000 yr
bp. This decline in coastal resources is linked to the drop
in sea level throughout the Pacific, which may have
caused the widespread population dislocations that
ultimately led to the human expansion throughout

*Main conclusions
Climate and sea-level changes played a central role in
the peopling of the circum-Pacific region."

Full Article:

Environmental setting of human migrations in the circum-Pacific region

Trash To Treasure (From

Volume 22 | Issue 1 | Page 20
Reprints | Issue Contents
Comment on this article



By Bob Grant


Trash to treasure

As Anna Dhody tells it, sometime in 2000 or 2001 she and her supervisor Steven LeBlanc, director of collections at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, were discussing ways to obtain ancient DNA from secondary archeological finds over lunch. Recalling her training as a forensic anthropologist, Dhody, now curator of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, mentioned how things like cigarette butts or discarded coffee cups from crime scenes often yield DNA. "Why can't we use modern day forensic technology to solve ancient mysteries?" she asked.

The scientists thought about the hundreds of bundles of chewed yucca fibers, called quids, gathering dust at the Peabody. Quid chewing was quite in vogue among Native Southwesterners some 800-2,400 years ago, and these fibrous clumps litter archeological sites. Could these quids provide new clues about the humans that spat them out hundreds or thousands of years ago?

It was certainly a novel concept. (LeBlanc says he doesn't recall the Harvard Club lunch very clearly. "I can't quite remember" how the idea took shape, he says.) Quids were long disregarded as little more than ancient garbage - interesting enough to collect, but not investigate - by archaeologists. Looking for DNA from ancient quids was "something that very few people would have thought of," says Patty Jo Watson, archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

For the first time, scientists have extracted DNA from ancient artifacts.LeBlanc tapped the Peabody's sizeable quid collection, which came from desert caves scattered throughout the Southwest, and Dhody developed a set of protocols for extracting DNA from the cores. The team wasn't even thinking about data - their goal was just to see if it was even possible to extract DNA from these ancient specimens.

read the Rest at the Source:

The Scientist

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen R. Donaldson

The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen R. Donaldson
Another Much Needed Original Contribution to Fantasy By Donaldson

In the sea of mediocrity that is the fantasy genre, it’s great to have Donaldson around. Like the Covenant series, Mordant’s Need is that rarest of things in the genre; a bonafide original premise. Unlike the last few fantasy tales I read before this one (by other authors), I did not feel the imposing influence of Tolkien in “The Mirror of Her Dreams.” What’s more, it’s not a quest plot, has no immediately recognizable Dark Lord, stars an anti-hero female, and is more of a mystery than an epic. The innovative premise is the magic called Imagery, which is really the only thing that places the book in the fantasy genre; without it the story would be more akin to historical fiction because the world in which Mordant is located is very similar to our own Dark Ages. Imagery is an entirely new take on magic which fans of the truly imaginative will appreciate fully.

Donaldson proves with this one that he is as capable of intertwining plots, foreshadowing, and suspense as the bestsellers in the mystery and thriller genres. This is truly a rarity in the fantasy genre, where plots are often regurgitated excuses for action, elves, dragons, and orcs.
Donaldson does a great job of describing Terisa’s battle against her attraction for the bad boy, Eremis, and gets the reader invested in the book superbly by having her always on the brink of falling into his trap. In a sense her supposed naivette is what makes her somewhat of an anti-hero (not as extreme as Covenant of course but still an anti-hero, at least in the beginning), but it is also her inability to take action and responsibility (due to her sheltered upbringing). But unlike Covenant, Terisa is much more acceptable to the sensibilities of most people and the changes in character she undergoes are much more profound and recognizeable.

I have read in other reviews that Donaldson’s overuse of obscure/complex words made this book burdonsome, but I couldn’t disagree more; in this one Donaldson strikes a perfect balance, being a bit more challenging than your average rot but not as challenging as the somewhat cumbersome Covenant series. If you think this one is too verbose, you missed too many spelling lessons or have a stronger than average aversion to dictionaries. Sure it’s got some new words, but not too many, and we NEED to learn new words every once and a while. What I don’t like so much about this book is that Donaldson seems to have taken on more of the slick, commercial style that most fantasy and popular fiction writers swear by today-i.e.- pacing is EVERYTHING, overuse the humor, pile on the romance, overdo the character development. The Covenant series FELT older, more arcane, but wasn’t a carbon copy of Tolkien’s style. I missed that in this book, because I’m still yearning for fantasy books that make themselves FEEL authentic by not dripping with modern style.

Like The Covenant series, this one does start out slow. But here the pay-off is excellent. The background and set-up create a wonderful suspension of disbelief which sets the writing high above the heads of other bestselling fantasy novelists. The build-up creates a page-turning obsession once it’s gotten a grip on you, and you are delightful wondering what’s going on through the majority of the book. It’s good to see post-modernism being applied to sword and sorcery.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Scientist Recreate Submerged World

Here is how the land now submerged by the English Channel looked until around 8000 years ago, excellently capture in this animated video by scientists and graphic artists.
Is this what Middle Earth and Hyborea REALLY looked like?

Thanks so much to the guys at Wessex Archeology for bringing this amazing video to the public.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Carnivorous Cave Bears?

Our ancestors had lots of predators and competitors to worry about — saber-toothed cats, dire wolves and even giant man-eating birds of prey.

Now you can add cave bears to that list. These prehistoric giants were roughly a third larger than modern grizzly bears.

Previously, scientists thought cave bears were just vegetarians, evoking an image of gentle giants that fed solely on berries and roots.

Now bones from the Carpathians — the mountains where Dracula supposedly dwelt — suggest cave bears could have also been carnivores, and possibly even cannibals.

Bad to the bone

Cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) are named after the places where their bones are commonly found — caves across Europe. They died out roughly 20,000 years ago, when ice dominated the Northern Hemisphere.

For the past 30 years, studies of their skulls, jaws and teeth suggested cave bears might have been largely herbivorous.

Scientists: Biting Insects May Have Killed Off Dinosaurs Frozen Calf May Explain Mammoths' Extinction Geology May Have Created Perfect 'Cradle of Humanity' Missing Link Between Whales, Land Animals Possibly Found Ancient Oversized Armadillo-Like Species Discovered In addition, the bones of central and western European cave bears matched those of vegetarians in having low levels of nitrogen-15, whose atomic nucleus has one more neutron than common nitrogen-14 does.

Animals accumulate nitrogen-15 in their bodies, and animals that eat animals — that is, carnivores — build up more nitrogen-15 than herbivores do.

Still, black bears and brown bears are omnivores. This suggested that although some cave bears were largely vegetarian, others might have been more carnivorous.

New data from the Pestera cu Oase ("Cave with Bones") in the southwestern tip of the Carpathian mountains in Romania now hints most of its cave bears were significantly carnivorous, due to their high nitrogen-15 levels.

Hidden caves

Retrieving the bones was not easy.

"It is a pretty inaccessible cave that you need to go underwater to get to," said researcher Michael Richards, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology at Leipzig, Germany.

The cave entrances the bears once used collapsed long ago, so one had to reach the bones through a lower level, going through an active spring and an underground river.

To reach the Pestera cu Oase, which was discovered by inquisitive Romanian cavers, scuba equipment and climbing gear are necessary.

"On a daily basis, you can imagine that it meant a lot of very hard work for my small excavation team, and also that it was not exempt of some risk," said researcher Joao Zilhao, a Paleolithic archaeologist at the University of Bristol in England.

Bears vs. humans

The findings suggest these cave bears could have struggled over meat with humans and the other carnivores of the time — hyenas, wolves and cave lions — as well as omnivores such as brown bears.

"It would be interesting to measure more cave bears from other sites in this region to see if we find other carnivorous cave bears," Richards said. "It would also be interesting trying to determine why these bears were carnivores when other cave bears weren't."

The researchers suggest the cave bears might have eaten fish, but another possibility is "some degree of bear-bear cannibalism," said University of Arizona zooarchaeologist Mary Stiner, who did not participate in this study.

In brown bears, "cannibalism and eliminating rivals and young go hand in hand, as in lions. This behavior is also clear from very large cave bear tooth marks on young cave bear skulls in Yarimburgaz Cave in western Turkey."

These results might also shed light on cave bear bones that humans and Neanderthals apparently placed in these caves in ancient times.

These actions "are often interpreted as some sort of ritual or symbolic behavior, and I wonder if cave bears were particularly compelling for humans if they were also a competitor," Richards told LiveScience.

The international team of researchers detailed its findings online Jan. 7 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cave Bears on Fox News

The smears may just be weathered graffiti or the first cave painting

The smears may just be weathered graffiti or the first cave painting
found in Florida.
Panhandle park holds treasures for archaeologists
A survey team unearths artifacts and what may be a cave painting in
Falling Waters State Park.

Jeremy Morrison

Panama City News Herald

January 6, 2008

Click here to find out more!

Kristy Mickwee is in a hole. But she is in no hurry to climb out; this
hole has yielded treasure. "Most of it came from this lighter area,"
she said, pointing out the different layers of earth with her spade.

Mickwee is part of a University of West Florida archaeology team
surveying 168 acres of the Falling Waters State Park in Chipley.
During the past few weeks, the team has dug the park full of "shovel
tests" in search of Native-American artifacts. Fieldwork was extended
because of the bountiful findings.

"I think I would have had problems prying them out of here," said John
Phillips, an archaeologist with the UWF Archaeology Institute.

Phillips was excited about the opportunity to dig in Chipley. He said
he thinks the inland areas of Florida, particularly in the Panhandle,
have not received the attention they deserve compared with more
archaeologically popular coastal sites.

"The Piney Woods area of Florida needs a little bit of attention," he
said. "There's a story to tell here."

Clues to the past

Part of that story was spread over a park picnic table: precious
antiquities stashed in plastic bags, each meticulously labeled,
holding clues to the past.

"When we get these counted, I guarantee it's gonna be 300," said Chris
Mickwee, Kristy's husband and the UWF graduate student overseeing the
Falling Waters fieldwork.

Inside the plastic bags are bits of ceramic pottery and arrowheads, ho-
hum items each passing century has deemed increasingly precious.
Perhaps indistinguishable to the untrained eye, these artifacts help
archaeologists map history.

"Prehistoric ceramic styles change like Detroit changes car styles,"
Phillips said.

He holds up various pieces, each hailing from a different stratum of
time. The artifacts range from 1,000 to 1,500 years old.

The people who crafted these finds are not too different from modern-
day man. For example, they enjoy the same camping spots; many of the
artifacts were in what currently are state park campsites.

"I like to establish continuity from the past to the present,"
Phillips said, adding that the park's namesake, a 100-foot waterfall,
probably was as big an attraction centuries ago as it is today. "It's
an ideal spot for people to come."

The archaeology survey also turned up some more recent relics: a Civil
War-era grist mill, the remnants of an oil well from 1919 and "Barry's
Wine Shop," left over from the 1890s railroading days.

"What do you do when you work on the railroad? You probably play
cards, have a drink and beat somebody up," said Scott Sweeney, a park-
service specialist at Falling Waters. "It was called Barry's Wine, but
it was probably more like what you'd find out in the woods."

Sweeney was the catalyst for this survey. The park specialist
contacted UWF 15 months ago. More than $45,000 in state grants

"Part of our job is to interpret the state park," Sweeney said. "If we
don't know what's here, it's kind of hard to interpret."

The findings of this survey will be used to learn more about the
area's early inhabitants. That information will be used to create
interpretive displays in the park.

"It's going to allow us to understand a little bit more about why
people were here and what they were doing," Phillips said of the
survey. "People are crying for information about their past."

Surprise find

But the team saw something at Falling Waters, a mystery no one
involved with the archaeological survey has been able to wrap their
heads around.

"The cave drawing is up in the air," Phillips said hesitantly.

"What we have is some amorphous things; I'm not ready to say it's cave
painting. It may be; we certainly haven't ruled that out."

Off the beaten path, requiring one to climb, crawl and squeeze, are
the questionable amorphous smears of red. If it is weathered graffiti,
it's disappointing on several levels, but if it is a cave painting,
it's amazing on just as many, the team said. No other cave paintings
have been found in Florida.

"One of our rangers happened upon that a couple of months ago and
said, 'Oh, by the way, there's something on one of the walls down
there,' " Sweeney recalled.

The UWF team went to investigate but was unable to draw any concrete
conclusions. Samples are being studied.

"Whatever it is," said Chris Mickwee, "there's nothing else like it
down there."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Evolution and Religion Reconciled

Published: January 4, 2008

In 1984 and again in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences, the
nation’s most eminent scientific organization, produced books on the
evidence supporting the theory of evolution and arguing against the
introduction of creationism or other religious alternatives in public
school science classes.

On Thursday, it produced a third. But this volume is unusual, people
who worked on it say, because it is intended specifically for the lay
public and because it devotes much of its space to explaining the
differences between science and religion, and asserting that
acceptance of evolution does not require abandoning belief in God.

“We wanted to produce a report that would be valuable and accessible
to school board members and teachers and clergy,” said Barbara A.
Schaal, a vice president of the academy, an evolutionary biologist at
Washington University and a member of the panel that produced the

The panel, convened by the academy and the Institute of Medicine, its
medical arm, was headed by Francisco Ayala, a biologist at the
University of California, Irvine, and a former Dominican priest.

The 70-page book, “Science, Evolution and Creationism,” says, among
other things, that “attempts to pit science and religion against each
other create controversy where none needs to exist.” And it offers
statements from several eminent biologists and members of the clergy
to support the view.

In the book, which will be available on the Web site of the National
Academies (, the panel reports that evidence for the
theory of evolution is overwhelming and growing. It cites findings
from DNA research, fossil discoveries and the observations scientists
have made about emerging diseases, like SARS, or severe acute
respiratory syndrome.

The book also denounces the arguments for a form of creationism called
intelligent design, calling them devoid of evidence, “disproven” or
“simply false.”

SourceRead it for free Here