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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Naturally Elongated Skull from Silla Culture Unearthed in Korea

Elongated skull from Silla culture unearthed in Korea

Mitochondrial DNA analysis and facial reconstruction gave the answers

The “cone-headed” skull of a woman’s remains found in Korea has puzzled archaeologists.
The remains of a woman with a bizarre elongated skull, which is between 1000 and 2000 years old, have been unearthed in Korea. The woman’s head appears to be far longer than would be normally expected.
Unlike some of the deformed, pointy skulls that have been found throughout the world in other ancient graves, however, it is unlikely that this woman had her head deliberately flattened, the researchers said, as the skull did not have flat bones at the front of which are distinctive in deliberately deformed skulls.

How do researchers explain the long skull

The team was able to reconstruct her facial features and head shape based on skull fragments. It turned out that the woman was suffering from a medical condition: Dolichocephaly (derived from the ancient Greek, δολιχός meaning long), a condition where the head is longer than would be expected, relative to its width.
In humans it means that head width is less than 75 per cent of head length.
It has an incidence of one in every 4,200 people, and can be present in cases of Sensenbrenner syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, Sotos syndrome, as well as Marfan syndrome.
Although dolichocephaly may be associated with some abnormalities, alone it is just a normal variation and treatment is not essential.

My Thoughts:
"The team was able to reconstruct her facial features and head shape based on skull fragments. It turned out that the woman was suffering from a medical condition: Dolichocephaly (derived from the ancient Greek, δολιχός meaning long), a condition where the head is longer than would be expected, relative to its width."
Non-PC Translation:
The Korean woman with a Dolichocephalic skull had a Dolichocephalic skull.
"In humans it means that head width is less than 75 per cent of head length.  It has an incidence of one in every 4,200 people, and can be present in cases of Sensenbrenner syndrome, Crouzon syndrome, Sotos syndrome, as well as Marfan syndrome."
Non-PC Translation:
It has an incidence of one in every 4,200 people worldwide, but occurs more often in some ethnic groups than others, and can also be present where recessive genes are expressed or when certain genes are introduced into populations that have previously had little or no exposure to them.
"Although dolichocephaly may be associated with some abnormalities, alone it is just a normal variation and treatment is not essential."
Non-PC Translation:
It's perfectly normal among certain blood lines.

Every  person living today is a hybrid of homo sapien sapiens and one or more subspecies of archaic human, and none of the archaic humans were any better than the others. 
That is why their genes survived.
That is why all of the homo sapien sapiens who did not have introgressed genes did not survive.
That is why the genome of the anatomically modern homo sapien Mungo Man, of mtDNA haplogroup LM3, did not survive. And there were probably many other genomic populations of AMHS who went extinct in the upper paleolithic and neolithic, too. 
Only the hybrids survived, and they and evolutionary process have selected which genes from which subspecies would be retained over the past 10,000 to 70,000 years.
Scientist have detected introgression from at least four "unknown" archaic species in addition to Neanderthal and "Denisovan." 
The only populations of modern human left who might not have archaic introgression are the Andaman Islanders and certain  uncontacted tribes in Papua New Guinea and the Amazon... but I would bet good money that additional introgressed genes from "unknown" subspecies of hominid will be detected in their populations in future studies.


Mammal-like reptile survived much longer than thought

Researchers have uncovered dozens of fossilized teeth in Kuwajima, Japan, and identified this as a new species of tritylodontid, an animal family that links the evolution of mammals from reptiles. The finding suggests that tritylodontids co-existed with some of the earliest mammal species for millions of years, overturning beliefs that mammals wiped out mammal-like reptiles soon after they emerged.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Riddle of the red deer: Orkney deer arrived by Neolithic ship, study reveals

The riddle of the red deer of Orkney and the Outer Hebrides has just become even more baffling. Stags and hinds arrived with humans – but not from Scandinavia, nor from the British mainland.
And they can only have arrived by ship: transported by enterprising Neolithic colonists who had learned to treat deer as livestock, long ago and far away in Europe.
Scientists report in the Proceedings B of the Royal Society that they studied sequences of DNA from Cervus elephus on the Outer Hebrides and from Orkney to settle the question of origins.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according to a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters by theoretical physicists at the University of California, Irvine.
"If true, it's revolutionary," said Jonathan Feng, professor of physics & astronomy. "For decades, we've known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter."

Read more at:


Mayan Rain Goddess Effigy Found in Savannah, Georgia - Bilbo Mound Site,...


Sunday, August 14, 2016

20 Prehistoric Fiction Releases of 2015 and 2016 Set in the Neolithic and Paleolithic or Featuring Sci-Fi Space and Time Travel to Other Worlds and Jurassic and Precambrian Past

   "It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones." ―George R. R. Martin
A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden–and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from bat-sized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons.
Thus we are plunged into Victor Milán's splendidly weird world of The Dinosaur Lords, a place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics…except the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. Where vast armies of dinosaur-mounted knights engage in battle. During the course of one of these epic battles, the enigmatic mercenary Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac–and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world.

  We never would have come here if we'd known.

Two hundred years ago, the great Ark Horizon Alpha escaped a doomed Earth and went searching for a new home. The passengers landed on Teu Ceti e expecting paradise, but instead they discovered a planet stuck in its own version of the cretaceous period. The humans' one defense against the dinosaurs ravaging the planet is an electric fence, built from the remains of the shuttles that brought them there.

But Eden base has only days of power left.

With most of the adult men dead, rookie soldier Caleb Wilde and his unit of teenage boys leave the electric fences of Eden in search of a reactor core lost deep in the jungle.

The last remnant of the human race waits behind the electric fence for their return. The dinosaurs wait, too - for the electricity to die and the feast to begin.

The following story takes place approximately 9000 years ago (7000 B.C.E.).
In many ways, life (for human beings) on Earth was changing dramatically during this period of time. Due to the discovery of agriculture, animal domestication, basic medicine, water navigation, and other new technologies, some humans began moving away from living in small groups of hunters and gatherers, to living in larger and larger groups that would grow much of their own food.

It is during this critical time in the history of our species that a young boy, Una, was forced to flee his forest village (in what is now central France). He began a 30 year quest, which took him to many different lands…lands where the technologies mentioned above, were, in fact, emerging.

During his long journey, Una devoured knowledge. Yet he also shared this knowledge willingly with anyone who asked. Now, 9000 years later, he willingly shares much of what he learned about human beings, and life on Earth, with you.

The SealEaters, 20,000 BC is the last of the planned books in the Winds of Change Series on the Peopling of the Americas.  The time period is the onset of the last Ice Age which ends the Time of Peace and ushers in the Time of War on earth.  The Time of War continues today.  The novel is a survival story of the Solutreans in southern France/northern Spain.  due to advancing ice sheets, seals from the north have beached on their shores and the SealEaters have come to depend on them for their major food source.  The SealEaters face advancing ice from the north, warring groups beyond the mountains to the east and south.  In search of a new land, a small number of SealEaters travel the arc formed by the ice sheets, eating seals along the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the east coast of what is now North America, a coast very different from what we know today.  They survey the land and groups of people living there, trying to find a new living place.  There are differences among the Solutreans and the people they meet in the new land when compared to the People in the first four books.  The SealEaters' group cohesiveness has disintegrated  when compared to the People of the preceding books.  The SealEaters, 20,000 BC tells the tale of this effort to find a new land.

This extraordinary stage set in prehistoric Southern France is rich with the mystery and wonders of Paleolithic times. With stunning imagination, acclaimed author Joan Wolf has recreated the ritual and adventure of a primeval world, as she tells the timeless tale of conflict between two societies, two gods, two sexes, and two people.

Matt Carmichael had always been a disappointment. To his father at least. Matt’s refusal to hunt was just one of the excuses he used to abuse his family to the point of destruction. Twenty years later, Matt is reunited with his father and brother for a holiday of a life time. He knew something was wrong. He knew he shouldn’t trust his father, but it had been twenty years, and people could change. Matt was wrong. Trapped in a land that time forgot, Matt is pulled back into the world he fought to escape, and is forced to do the two things he had always refused. In order to survive, Matt must both forgive his family, and join the hunt. As they journey deeper into the lost world, Matt learns the hideous truth about his father. The family’s darkest secrets are brought to light. In a land of ancient beasts, man still remains the greatest predator of them all.

  Ember of the Great River people was a carefree young woman living in a small tribe in prehistoric Germany when a sign from the gods sends her on an epic quest to the ends of the world, where the Sun sets! Armed with only her fishing spear, obsidian dagger, and a keen mind, she faces Raiders, relentless hunters, human sacrifice, wolves and a struggle against nature for her very life as she learns what it means to be a warrior and to truly live. Well researched and highly descriptive, Ember of a New World is an inspiring comingofage story featuring a strong female protagonist and set in the early Neolithic period of prehistoric Europe, 7500 years ago. Clothing, weapons, rituals, and daily life are described in detail as the reader is transported to wild tribal Europe.

  Hunters of the Ice Age
At the dawn of time, a proud people battled for survival, at one with the harsh beauty of the land and its primal rhythms.

The Mammoth Slayer
Named for the massive beast sacred to his people, Mamut had proven his strength and courage time and again. But when it came to subduing one helpless female, he found himself at a distinct disadvantage. Never had he realized the power of beguiling green eyes, soft curves and berry-red lips to weaken a man’s resolve. He had claimed he would make the stolen woman his captive, but he soon learned he would never enjoy her alluring body unless he could first win her elusive heart.

<Prequel to the Earthsong Series

"Mary Mackey's The Village of Bones, gives us the vivid adventures of The Clan of the Cave Bear, the magic of The Mists of Avalon and Lord of the Rings, and the beauty of Avatar. Filled with the belief that love drives out fear, it contains stunning twists that will leave you wanting more." —Dorothy Hearst, author of the Wolf Chronicles

In 4386 B.C., a young priestess named Sabalah conceives a magical child with a mysterious stranger named Arash. Sabalah names the child Marrah. This child will save the Goddess-worshiping people of Europe from nomad invaders called eastmen, but only if her mother can keep her alive long enough to grow up. Warned in a vision of the coming invasion, Sabalah flees west with Arash to save her baby daughter, only to discover that she is running into the arms of her worst enemies. In the dark forests of northern Europe, other humanlike species left over from the Ice Age still exist.

Who decides who gets to spend pleasant days on sandy beaches and who has to face the cave lions? Do the spirits decide? Is it fate? Is it chance? Or is it something else?

Stargazer broke one of the most important rules of hunting. He walked away from his hunting partner. He left his partner alone on the grassland, and that’s when the cave lions came. Stone Bird died because of Stargazer’s carelessness. Stone Bird. His hunting partner. His friend. His brother.

For eleven moons, he kept his guilt to himself, not wishing to burden his friends. But as his Band journeys to summer at the Sacred Cave, one question begins to rise in him. Why?

Will Stargazer learn why he committed the careless act that caused the death of his friend? Will he come to terms with his newfound desire for Rainbow, Stone Bird’s mate? Will he find help from the mysterious girl in the pale blue tunic? Will the Sacred Cave give him the answers he needs?

How much of what we think we know is real, and how much is just an illusion?

  A giant boardwalk has been resurrected high up in the Indonesian rainforest canopy, offering guests stunning, spectacular, and unparalleled views of the rainforest. However, the boardwalk is incomplete and in need of more funding. The creator, John Corstine, assembles a group of potential investors for a weekend tour of the boardwalk. Little do they know that high up in the rainforest canopy, they are being watched, but more importantly, they are not alone.

  The Gorge is a story of the triumph of will and perseverance by four young girls of prehistory. 

The People have walked the land since time began, migrating as the seasons changed. They do not plant crops, like the Lowlanders, nor do they pillage and plunder like the vicious Raiders. 

Micaela is of the people, one of four young orphaned girls within the clan where all females are chattel. All four eagerly anticipate the annual winter migration and the opportunity to find a mate. But first, they must undergo a rite of passage. The Breeding is an ancient ceremony, vital to the continued existence of the clan. It is also the one time when young women have any semblance of worth.

But The Breeding has unexpected consequences for the four girls leaving them ostracized and alone. To survive, the four must draw on resources and strengths they never knew existed. By doing so, they may change their society and their place in it – if they don’t fall prey to Raiders, the harsh desert, floods, or their own people. 

The Gorge contains sexually explicit material.

 As the lambent light from the slumbering fire dances across the roof of the cave, a young girl wakes from a dream. Kec’s dream tells her that her clan is in jeopardy, and Mother Earth expects her to do something to save her people. A magic child will be sent to help her.

Far away, Strong Branch, a powerful Shaman of his people, has his own dream. The Great Spirit sends him a warning about a future of conflict and killing.

Kec’s people are very simple, but they are strong and powerful enough to have survived the ice ages of Pleistocene Europe, by force, for over one-hundred-thousand years. Strong Branch’s people are late comers from an alien world far to the South. They bring an advanced technology that allows them to utilize the environment to ways Kec’s people never could.

As the population of the aliens has grown over a period of more than twenty-thousand years, the stress on the environment has become critical. Kec and Strong Branch must play their parts in a microcosm of the greater struggle for survival. The conclusion of their struggle will establish a new story and a new history for each of their peoples.
  Slaves of the Beast Men #1
My body locked with the burning tension flooding through me, and I was afraid that if it was not released soon that I would break.

The old ones of Wren's tribe have long told stories of the beast men - terrible creatures that walk upright like men but with the faces and souls of fearsome animals. But when her tribe must flee from their forest home Wren discovers that the legends are not just stories told around the campfires to frighten children. The beast men are terrifyingly real, and they take Wren and her best friend captive. Will the hunters from her tribe rescue her, or will she remain a slave of the beast men forever?

Kathleen's quantum physics research guides her development of mathematical formulas and leads to the conclusion that time-travel is possible. Her discovery inexorably sets off a horrifying series of events that results in her temporal displacement into the Pleistocene. She translates into the time of the Younger Dryas – a period where the global temperature abruptly cools an average of ten degrees and causes the advance of glacial ice sheets.
She must now learn to survive in a hostile and cold wilderness. The ice-age environment forces her to confront her worst fear as she finds that trust in a handsome, primitive hunter becomes paramount in order to survive.

  Prote and the other young men to be of the Haruba tribe are ready to make their journey through the prehistoric world around them. Their destination is the Circle. There they can go through the rights to become men of value to the tribe. Prote though has begun to take notice in the change in his world, something beyond the stories told around the campfires.

  In a world full of fantastic and terrifying creatures, uttering as much as a sound can mean the difference between life and death.

Konta is a member of a tribe of nomads who wander this dangerous world, where the changing of the seasons heralds increasingly deadly creatures. Yet even in the most dire circumstances, his people are determined to find a way to forge onward and carve their own path.

From the calm of early spring to the relentless cold of the inevitable winter, Konta's family and tribe are tested against dangerous enemies and hardships. Headstrong and determined, Konta sets to overcome the odds with a will of iron and grit. But nothing he achieves will be without sacrifice.

Following in the footsteps of Jean M. Auel and William Sarabande, Against All Instinct is a novel of prehistoric fiction for adults and young adults alike.

  CRO-MAGNON is an archaeological techno-thriller, 145,000 words. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child meet Jean Auel.

Do you wish you could chuck your workaday life, travel to a mountain fastness, and engage in a mortal struggle? When Ian Calder, burned-out paleoanthropologist, and Caitlin Blaine, brain-scanning geneticist, are dragooned by a ruthless industrialist to dive on a waterlocked cave in Tajikistan, they find not only perma-frosted prehistoric bodies but also wall drawings that recount the travails, told in an interlocking story, of an outcast Cro-Magnon woman and her half-Neanderthal baby. Meanwhile the two conflicted scientists, facing imminent death, must escape into a frozen wilderness with a priceless burden.

A time gate...
A team of teen scientists...
A desperate fight to survive...

Park Ranger Hannah Kates is leading a group of gifted teens on a fossil-hunting field trip when a rock slide uncovers a portal through time. They are whisked back to an era when giant predator mammals roamed the earth.

They want, desperately, to find their way home. But first, they have to survive a world where bizarre--and hungry--mammals ruled North America.

They have to survive the Dawn of Mammals.

In Book 1 of the series, Hannah and nine teens are thrown back thirty million years to the world of saber-toothed nimravids, ferocious carnivores. Will all of them be able to survive this vicious world of tooth and claw?

And now for number 20, my shameless self-promotion.  It got the attention of David Farland and is totally FREE!

The Man from Parkho Khatune Bears Favor - The prequel to Joe Lyon Layden's upcoming novel "The Oracle of Lost Sagas."

It has been sixteen generations since the Age of Winter ended. All but the wisest of sages have forgotten the kingdoms and peoples that thrived before the thaw. But those long gone refuse to be still, and their secrets, old and new, are on the verge of being revealed. 

Shiromain Shitek is a Magus in service to the illustrious King Mokla, who has recently acquired lands along the River of Sorrows. A strange creature of shadow is stalking children in the border towns. The Magus must solve the monster's riddle, and restore peace between his own people and the conquered Misha, who he knows little about.

King Mokla's greatest rival is the matriarchy of Jaydu, to which the varied peoples of the Golden River pay tribute. When one of Jaydu's hamlets calls for ritual war against a tribe of newcomers seeking refuge, Nashira the court musician is sent to sit in judgement. But will the immigrants follow the ancient tenets of war?

The Initiated One is a novice in an ancient band of hunter-assassins, who must travel into the highlands that were once ruled by his ancestors, but are now overrun by those of ogre-kind. There, he must prove himself worthy of respect to those of his Order, and finally earn his name.

The Queen of a forgotten people comes of age in the cruel lands of the north, but slowly realizes that she is not of her subjects' kind.

On an island far to the south, a shipwrecked sailor battles for survival. With the help of a mysterious race of dwarves, he must escape cannibalistic goblin-men and flesh-eating dragons, even as a smoking volcano threatens to erupt. He has no knowledge of the woman, last daughter of an ancient line of chiefs , who will be the final arbiter of his fate.

The age in which these characters live has been recreated through over 15 years of research into myth, anthropology, archeology, and genetics. The result is an alien world of magic and mystery, stranger than science fiction and more wondrous than fantasy. It is a world that never existed... or did it?

Though my work reads like fantasy, and will seem like "sword and sorcery" to most readers, it is actually meticulously researched prehistoric fiction and involves such things as The Hobbit of Indonesia, The Red Deer Cave People,  giant pangolins (that I believe inspired the dragon at Ishtar's Gate), Balangoda Man, Megalania Prisca, Denisovans, Ursicus Rossicus, horned gophers, giant rocs, etc.

Sign up for my mailing list below and you'll receive a complete copy, plus monthly updates on prehistoric fiction news and happenings! We never share or spam your email!


Kristina Train's Spilt Milk (Cover)


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mosasaur & Cetacean Evolution- Strange Origin of Sea Serpents, Basilosau...


20 Prehistoric Fiction 2015 - 2016 Neolithic & Paleolithic Page Turner B...


Friday, August 12, 2016

Top 20 Prehistoric Fiction Neolithic and Paleolithic Page Turners Homini...


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Outta Space - Dr. Dan Matrazzo and The Looters Columbia, S.C. (Billy Pre...


Monday, August 8, 2016

The Prehistoric Channel that Rocks You Back to the Stone Age Cavemen, Di...


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sub If You Ship Funk, Fantasy, Prehistoric Books, Caveman Music & Things That Go Bump in the Night!


Incredible discovery reveals the truth behind an ancient Chinese legend

Ancient Chinese legends tell of a catastrophic flood along the Yellow River that led to the founding of the Xia dynasty, roughly 4,000 years ago. A legendary hero named Yu is said to have established the Xia dynasty after figuring out how to stop the flood waters by dredging, thus marking the dawn of Chinese civilization with a feat of landscape engineering. Now, a group of geoscientists and archaeologists in China has discovered that this flood actually happened.
The group's recently published findings in Science magazine explain how they found traces of this historic deluge. For more than a century, archaeologists have looked for evidence that could shed light on historical accounts of early Chinese civilization, such as those in first century BCE bookShiji (史記, traditionally translated as Records of the Grand Historian). Many accounts in the Shijihave turned out to be fairly accurate, especially when it came to the Shang dynasty that followed the Xia. Because the Shang dynasty civilization had writing, scientists have been able to verify theShiji's accuracy from written records as well as material remains.


Friday, August 5, 2016

ASoIaF Maps Prove Game of Thrones is Set in Ice Age Europe - Is GoT Prehistoric Fiction?


Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Kumari Model: Did humans evolve in the Indian Ocean?

The Kumari Model: Did humans evolve in the Indian Ocean?

Over the past few decades scientists have amassed a huge amount of evidence showing that humans evolved in Africa before migrating out into the rest of the world. Nonetheless, some alternate ideas do exist such as the Kumari model, advanced by A. R. Vasudevan. Vasudevan is author of Aryans: Who are they? in which he makes the case for the Kumari model, as well as several comments here on EvoAnth where he also argues in favour of it...


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Early Austronesians: Into and Out Of Taiwan

Early Austronesians: Into and Out Of Taiwan

A Taiwan origin for the expansion of the Austronesian languages and their speakers is well supported by linguistic and archaeological evidence. However, human genetic evidence is more controversial. Until now, there had been no ancient skeletal evidence of a potential Austronesian-speaking ancestor prior to the Taiwan Neolithic ∼6,000 years ago, and genetic studies have largely ignored the role of genetic diversity within Taiwan as well as the origins of Formosans. We address these issues via analysis of a complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequence of an ∼8,000-year-old skeleton from Liang Island (located between China and Taiwan) and 550 mtDNA genome sequences from 8 aboriginal (highland) Formosan and 4 other Taiwanese groups. We show that the Liangdao Man mtDNA sequence is closest to Formosans, provides a link to southern China, and has the most ancestral haplogroup E sequence found among extant Austronesian speakers. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis allows us to reconstruct a history of early Austronesians arriving in Taiwan in the north ∼6,000 years ago, spreading rapidly to the south, and leaving Taiwan ∼4,000 years ago to spread throughout Island Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and Oceania.


Did Whales Evolve From Mosasaurs? Lunch at Bay South and GSU Museum


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Earliest human occupation of Sulawesi pushed back

Earliest human occupation of Sulawesi pushed back

New evidence reveals humans on Indonesian island 60,000 years earlier than previously thought.
New archaeological evidence has dramatically pushed back the accepted earliest human occupation of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi to more than 100,000 years ago – 60,000 years older than previously thought.
It has long been believed that humans first entered the island sometime between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago. Sulawesi could have been a stepping stone for the first people to arrive in Australia 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.
Now a research team, led by the University of Wollongong, has reported, in the prestigious Nature magazine, the existence of stone artefacts on Sulawesi dated to more than 100,000 years using the latest generation of luminescence dating technique for feldspars minerals.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Building a Virtual Neolithic

It is my dream to rebuild the world of 11,000 years ago in virtual reality, but I know I can't do it alone. It would be ideal if prehistoric researchers and writers, perhaps even classrooms, could help with this task and choose regions of the planet or particular flora and fauna to contribute. I believe the easiest medium with which to do this right now is the Sandbox RPG "Shards Online" and so I am currently an alpha tester. It's a game that allows you full control over the development of your virtual world and is completely open ended. Best of all, you don't have to be a game programmer to use it, so our reconstruction could be built (at least in part) by people who know about prehistory, rather than people who know about code. It's a lot like the old game Neverwinter Nights, in which I built a module that recreated a part of ancient China during the Neolithic.

Of course there would have to be a panel of judges, preferrably teachers or history professionals, to make sure that no pseudoscience slips in.

So I've been extracting some of my old custom content from Neverwinter in order to prepare for when Shards lets us use our own custom content, and wanted to share a few screen shots. Some of this is from the Neverwinter CEP, which pooled the best custom assets from many community designers back when neverwinter still had official support.

Maybe after we've assembled a great team, learned enough about Unity, and generated enough interest, we could recreate the Upper Paleolithic world as well, perhaps in our own game!
Shards uses the Unity game engine, and though its learning curb is slightly higher, at least Shards will give us experience while we have some fun and get something uber-cool accomplished for all mankind!

Joe Lyon Layden is a prehistoric fiction author and primitive musician. To receive a free copy of this entire novella "The Man from Parkho Khatune Bears Favor," as well as three free songs and monthly updates, freebies, and discounts on Joe's ongoing work, please sign up for the newsletter below.

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New Candidate for World's First Bird

For over a century and a half, the prehistoric Archaeopteryxhas been celebrated as nature's earliest bird.
The iconic Jurassic creature was covered in feathers yet retained the teeth, claws, and bony tail from its dinosaurian ancestry, known from at least 11 specimens that have been chipped from limestone quarries in Germany. (Related: “Feathered Dinosaur Had Black Wings?”)
But was Archaeopteryx truly an early bird, or just one of many sorts of plumage-coated, non-avian dinosaurs? An archaic bird known asAurornis xui, described this week in the journal Nature by paleontologistPascal Godefroit and colleagues, is the latest entry in the debate over which animal qualifies as the first bird and how birds evolved.
The delicately preserved specimen, which includes fossil remnants of feathers, was discovered in the roughly 160-million-year-old rock of China's Tiaojishan Formation. While Aurornis lived about ten million years earlier than Archaeopteryx, and very far from the prehistoric European archipelago that Archaeopteryx inhabited, the new study found that the two plumage-covered creatures were close relatives at the very base of bird evolution.
"It's among the earliest birds, being it's both older and apparently less 'birdlike' than Archaeopteryx along the 'bird branch,'" says study co-author Andrea Cau of Italy's Museo Geologico.