Follow by Email

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

400,000 year old Human Teeth?

Main Article
Or Maybe Not?

Denisova Erectus?

Very Interesting Hypothesis

Sunday, January 2, 2011

8000 year old coca habit

Archaeological evidence shows that South Americans were chewing coca leaves at least 8,000 years ago, an international team of researchers has discovered.

The researchers, who were led by Dr. Tom Dillehay of the Vanderbilt University Department of Anthropology, discovered and dated coca leaves beneath house floors in the Nanchoc Valley of Peru.

Dillehay and colleague describe their findings in a paper, which appears in the latest edition of Antiquity, a quarterly journal of archaeology founded in 1927.

Furthermore, they also discovered fragments of calcite, which according to the researchers "is used by chewers to bring out the alkaloids from the leaves."

"Excavation and chemical analysis at a group of neighboring sites suggests that specialists were beginning to extract and supply lime or calcite, and by association coca, as a community activity at about the same time as systematic farming was taking off in the region," they added.

According to BBC News Science and Technology Reporter Jason Palmer, the discovery shows that people were using coca at least 3,000 years earlier than first believed. The alkaloids contained in coca leaves can serve as mild stimulants, can reduce hunger, can help the digestive process, and can help individuals overcome the effects of high-altitude, low-oxygen environments, he added.

"We found it not so much in a household context, as if it was something that was heavily used by a lot of people, but rather... restricted to certain households of individuals and produced in a sort of public context - not individualized," Dillehay told Palmer.

"The evidence we have suggests that unlike in Western societies--where if you've got the economic means you can have access to medicinal plants--that seems not to be the case back then," he added.

Palmer notes that the discovery could also have an effect on modern-day policy making, as the international community is attempting to curb the production of coca in the Andes due to its association with cocaine.

Dillehay told Palmer that people are too focused on the cocaine-related aspects of the plant, and they fail to see that the use of the coca plan is "a deeply-rooted economic, social and even religious tradition in the Andes."


Sea Level Jumps

Possible explanation for a non-linear migration, excess ice being
melted into the sea could provide conditions where either the shore
untraversible or the the ability to use small craft limited.

Global Sea-Level Rise at the End of the Last Ice Age Interrupted by
Rapid 'Jumps'

Coastal erosion in Portugal. (Credit: E. Rohling)

ScienceDaily (Dec. 4, 2010) — Southampton researchers have estimated
that sea-level rose by an average of about 1 metre per century at the
end of the last Ice Age, interrupted by rapid 'jumps' during which it
rose by up to 2.5 metres per century. The findings, published in
Global and Planetary Change, will help unravel the responses of ocean
circulation and climate to large inputs of ice-sheet meltwater to the
world ocean.

Global sea level rose by a total of more than 120 metres as the vast
ice sheets of the last Ice Age melted back. This melt-back lasted from
about 19,000 to about 6,000 years ago, meaning that the average rate
of sea-level rise was roughly 1 metre per century.

Previous studies of sea-level change at individual locations have
suggested that the gradual rise may have been marked by abrupt 'jumps'
of sea-level rise at rates that approached 5 metres per century. These
estimates were based on analyses of the distribution of fossil corals
around Barbados and coastal drowning along the Sunda Shelf, an
extension of the continental shelf of East Asia.

However, uncertainties in fossil dating, scarcity of sea-level
markers, and the specific characteristics of individual sites can make
it difficult to reconstruct global sea level with a high degree of
confidence using evidence from any one site.

"Rather than relying on individual sites that may not be
representative, we have compared large amounts of data from many
different sites, taking into account all potential sources of
uncertainty," said Professor Eelco Rohling of the University of
Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) based at the
National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton.

The researchers brought together about 400 high-quality sea-level
markers from study sites around the globe, concentrating on locations
far removed from the distorting effects of the past massive ice

Using an extensive series of sophisticated statistical tests, they
then reconstructed sea-level history of the last 21 thousand years
with a high degree of statistical confidence.

Their analyses indicate that the gradual rise at an average rate of 1
metre per century was interrupted by two periods with rates of rise up
to 2.5 metres per century, between 15 and 13 thousand years ago, and
between 11 and 9 thousand years ago.

The first of these jumps in the amount of ice-sheet meltwater entering
the world ocean coincides with the beginning of a period of global
climate warming called the Bølling-Allerød period. The second jump
appears to have happened shortly after the end the 'big freeze' called
the Younger Dryas that brought the Bølling-Allerød period to an abrupt

"Our estimates of rates of sea-level rise are lower than those
estimated from individual study sites, but they are statistically
robust and therefore greatly improve our understanding of loss of ice
volume due to the melting of the ice sheets at the end of the last Ice
Age," said lead author Dr Jennifer Stanford of SOES.

"The new findings will be used to refine models of the Earth climate
system, and will thus help to improve forecasts of future sea-level
responses to global climate change," added Rohling.

The researchers are Jenny Stanford, Rebecca Hemingway, Eelco Rohling
and Martin Medina-Elizalde (SOES), Peter Challenor (NOC) and Adrian
Lester (The Chamber of Shipping, London).

The research was supported by the United Kingdom's Natural Environment
Research Council.

Sea-level probability for the last deglaciation: A statistical
analysis of far-field records
Purchase the full-text article

References and further reading may be available for this article. To
view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

J.D. Stanforda, low asterisk, E-mail The Corresponding Author, R.
Hemingwaya, E.J. Rohlinga, P.G. Challenorb, M. Medina-Elizaldea and
A.J. Lesterc

a School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton,
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom

b National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom

c The Chamber of Shipping, 12 Carthusian Street, London, EC1M 6EZ
Received 4 March 2010;
accepted 8 November 2010.
Available online 26 November 2010.


Pulses of ice-sheet meltwater into the world ocean during the last
deglaciation are of great current interest, because these large-scale
events offer important test-beds for numerical models of the responses
of ocean circulation and climate to meltwater addition. The largest
such event has become known as meltwater pulse (mwp) 1a, with
estimates of about 20 m of sea-level rise in about 500 years. A second
meltwater pulse (mwp-1b) has been inferred from some sea-level
records, but its existence has become debated following the
presentation of additional records. Even the use of the more
ubiquitous mwp-1a in modelling studies has been compromised by debate
about its exact age, based upon perceived discrepancies between far-
field sea-level records. It is clear that an objective investigation
is needed to determine to what level inferred similarities and/or
discrepancies between the various deglacial sea-level records are
statistically rigorous (or not). For that purpose, we present a Monte
Carlo style statistical analysis to determine the highest-probability
sea-level history from six key far-field deglacial sea-level records,
which fully accounts for realistic methodological and chronological
uncertainties in all these records, and which is robust with respect
to removal of individual component datasets. We find that sea-level
rise started to accelerate into the deglaciation from around 17 ka BP.
Within the deglacial rise, there were two distinct increases; one at
around the timing of the Bølling warming (14.6 ka BP), and another,
much broader, event that just post-dates the end of the Younger Dryas
(11.3 ka BP). We interpret these as mwp-1a and mwp-1b, respectively.
We find that mwp-1a occurred between 14.3 ka BP and 12.8 ka BP.
Highest rates of sea-level rise occurred at ~ 13.8 ka, probably (67%
confidence) within the range 100-130 cm/century, although values may
have been as high as 260 cm/century (99% confidence limit). Mwp-1b is
robustly expressed as a broad multi-millennial interval of enhanced
rates of sea-level rise between 11.5 ka BP and 8.8 ka BP, with peak
rates of rise of up to 250 cm/century (99 % confidence), but with a
probable rate of 130 -150 cm/century (67 % confidence) at around 9.5
ka BP. When considering the 67 % probability interval for the
deglacial sea-level history, it is clear that both mwp1a and 1b were
relatively subdued in comparison to the previously much higher rate


12,000 yo Mine in Americas

"12K" ya? Work the logic of traveling the distance from Beringa,
roughly 6000 miles, establishing a culture, finding the mine, and
creating the mine.

12,000-Year-Old Mine Found in Northern Chile

SANTIAGO – A mine from which a prehistoric culture extracted iron
oxide 12,000 years ago was discovered in northern Chile by a group of
archaeologists, El Mercurio newspaper reported Sunday.

The find took place in the San Ramon ravine in 2008, although this is
the first time that the archaeological team has revealed it publicly,
and – they say – it could make an important contribution to the
understanding of the prehistoric cultures that lived in the Taltal
area, some 1,100 kilometers (682 miles) north of Santiago.

The ancient people who exploited the mine were members of the
Huentelauquen culture, which used iron oxide for ceremonial purposes,
archaeologists said.

This is the oldest mine discovered in the Americas, much older than
one used 2,500 years ago that was discovered in the United States,
University of Chile professor Diego Salazar said.

In South Africa, a 40,000-year-old mine was discovered, in Australia
there is one that was used 30,000 years ago and in Greece there is a
15,000-year-old mine, Salazar said.

The Huentelauquen culture, which inhabited the area, was discovered in
1961 and to date very little is known about its members, who were
nomadic hunters and gatherers but also lived from fishing and
collecting shellfish.

The exploitation of the mine “indicates the importance of religious
activity in their way of life because iron oxide is not eaten, is not
sold, is not bought,” and it was used as a coloring agent in religious
rites, Salazar said.

It has been determined that the Chinchorro mummies found farther to
the north in the Arica area and whose age has been calculated at about
10,000 years were dyed with iron oxide, the archaeologist said.


Did first humans come out of the Middle East?

Did first humans come out of Middle East and not Africa? Israeli discovery forces scientists to re-examine evolution of modern man
By Matthew Kalman
Last updated at 7:51 AM on 28th December 2010

Comments (185) Add to My Stories
Scientists could be forced to re-write the history of the evolution of modern man after the discovery of 400,000-year-old human remains.
Until now, researchers believed that homo sapiens, the direct descendants of modern man, evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago and gradually migrated north, through the Middle East, to Europe and Asia.
Recently, discoveries of early human remains in China and Spain have cast doubt on the 'Out of Africa' theory, but no-one was certain.
Professor Avi Gopher, a researcher from Tel Aviv University's Institute of Archaeology, holds a pre-historic tooth at Qesem cave, an excavation site near the town of Rosh Ha'ayin
The new discovery of pre-historic human remains by Israeli university explorers in a cave near Ben-Gurion airport could force scientists to re-think earlier theories.
Early humans: Middle Awash Aramis, Ethiopia, where the first 'modern' human beings were thought to have been discovered
Archeologists from Tel Aviv University say eight human-like teeth found in the Qesem cave near Rosh Ha’Ayin - 10 miles from Israel’s international airport - are 400,000 years old, from the Middle Pleistocene Age, making them the earliest remains of homo sapiens yet discovered anywhere in the world.
The size and shape of the teeth are very similar to those of modern man. Until now, the earliest examples found were in Africa, dating back only 200,000 years.
Other scientists have argued that human beings originated in Africa before moving to other regions 150,000 to 200,000 years ago.
Homo sapiens discovered in Middle Awash, Ethiopia, from 160,000 years ago were believed to be the oldest 'modern' human beings.
Other remains previously found in Israeli caves are thought to have been more recent and 80,000 to 100,000 years old.

A group of international and Israeli researchers have discovered pre-historic artefacts and human remains at the site that may prove the earliest existence of modern man was about 400,000 years ago
The findings of Professor Avi Gopher and Dr Ran Barkai of the Institute of Archeology at Tel Aviv University, published last week in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, suggest that modern man did not originate in Africa as previously believed, but in the Middle East.
The Qesem cave was discovered in 2000 and has been the focus of intense study ever since.
Along with the teeth – the parts of the human skeleton that survive the longest – the researchers found evidence of a sophisticated early human society that used sharpened flakes of stone to cut meat and other impressive prehistoric tools.

The Israeli scientists said the remains found in the cave suggested the systematic production of flint blades, the habitual use of fire, evidence of hunting, cutting and sharing of animal meat, and mining raw materials to produce flint tools from rocks below ground.
'A diversified assemblage of flint blades was manufactured and used,' the Tel Aviv scientists wrote, describing the tools they found in the cave.
'Thick-edged blades, shaped through retouch, were used for scraping semi-hard materials such as wood or hide, whereas blades with straight, sharp working edges were used to cut soft tissues.'

The explorers said they were continuing to investigate the cave and its contents, expecting to make more discoveries that would shed further light on human evolution in prehistoric times.

Read more: