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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Evidence of a prehistoric massacre extends the history of warfare

The fossilised bones of a group of prehistoric hunter-gatherers who were massacred around 10,000 years ago have been unearthed 30km west of Lake Turkana, Kenya, at a place called Nataruk.
Researchers from Cambridge University's Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies found the partial remains of 27 individuals, including at least eight women and six children.
Twelve skeletons were in a relatively complete state, and ten of these showed clear signs of a violent death: including extreme blunt-force trauma to crania and cheekbones, broken hands, knees and ribs, arrow lesions to the neck, and stone projectile tips lodged in the skull and thorax of two men.
Several of the skeletons were found face down; most had severe cranial fractures. Among the in situ skeletons, at least five showed "sharp-force trauma," some suggestive of arrow wounds. Four were discovered in a position indicating their hands had probably been bound, including a woman in the last stages of pregnancy. Fetal bones were uncovered.
The bodies were not buried. Some had fallen into a lagoon that has long since dried; the bones preserved in sediment.
The findings suggest these hunter-gatherers, perhaps members of an extended family, were attacked and killed by a rival group of prehistoric foragers. Researchers believe it is the earliest scientifically-dated historical evidence of human conflict -- an ancient precursor to what we call warfare.....Click for More


Friday, January 15, 2016

Mysterious 'Hobbit' Relative May Have Lived on Isolated Island

A mysterious relative of the extinct human species nicknamed the "hobbit" may have once lived on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, new study suggests.
This finding could one day help shed light on the evolution of the hobbit, the researchers noted in the study.
In 2003, scientists unearthed 18,000-year-old fossils on the Indonesian island of Flores. The fossils belonged to an unknown hominin, a close relative of modern humans. Since then, scientists have suggested that this hominin, which had a brain about the size of a grapefruit, was a unique branch of the human lineage named Homo floresiensis and popularly known as "the hobbit" because of its diminutive 3-foot (1 meter) stature. [See Images of the 'Hobbit' and Evidence of Newfound Ancestors...

...The scientists detailed their findings in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Nature.

Article provided by John J. McNulty