Scientists have identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time. The researchers detected Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida) in residues taken from 14 miniature Maya ceramic vessels. The vessels also contain chemical traces present in two types of dried and cured tobacco.
"From what we have, we are able to understand a little bit more about the evolutionary history of caimans and the alligatorid group, which includes alligators and caimans."
An historical document clearly indicates that the Hosokawa clan of Japan's Kokura Domain stopped producing wine in 1632, the year before the shogunate ordered them to move to the Higo Domain. Researchers believe the reason for halting wine production was directly related to the move and because wine was considered a drink of Christianity, which was harshly suppressed at that time in Japan.
The elk was the most important animal to the people inhabiting the northern coniferous belt, with its incisors being perhaps the most coveted part of the body. Incisors were turned into pendants, which were attached using strings made of fibre or sinew. The manufacturing techniques of the thousands of elk tooth pendants discovered in the graves of hunter-gatherers who lived approximately 8,200 years ago depict a homogeneous culture and strict rules.
A team led by Sebastian Stumpf from the University of Vienna describes an well-preserved skeleton of the ancient shark Asteracanthus. This rare fossil find comes from the famous Solnhofen limestones in Bavaria, which was formed in a tropical-subtropical lagoon landscape during the Late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago. The almost complete skeleton shows that Asteracanthus was two-and-a-half meters long, which makes this ancient shark one of the largest of its time. The study is published in Papers in Palaeontology.
Extinct dire wolves split off from other wolves nearly six million years ago and were only a distant relative of today's wolves, according to new research published in Nature.
Although much is known about biological photosynthesis, its evolutionary origin remains a mystery. In a recent study, scientists from Peking University, China, investigate the interaction between sunlight and minerals abundant on the Earth surface and propose novel mechanisms behind non-classical photosynthesis. Their work sheds light on the chemical history of our planet and suggests a way in which photosynthesis might have evolved from minerals.
ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration scientist Amanda Clarke and her team have been working to solve the mysterious root cause of the Sunset Crater eruption and any lessons learned to better understand the threats similar volcanoes may pose around the world today. But as to why it erupted, that has remained a mystery, until now. Clarke's group is among the first to show the importance of carbon dioxide in volcanic eruptions.
Homo sapiens emerged in Africa around 300 thousand years ago, where their fossils are found with the earliest cultural and technological expressions of our species. This repertoire, commonly referred to as the "Middle Stone Age", remained widely in use across much of Africa until around 60-30 thousand years ago. New research in Senegal shows this 'first human culture' persisted until 11 thousand years ago - 20 thousand years longer than previously thought.
A new study shows that the gigantic Megalodon or megatooth shark, which lived nearly worldwide roughly 15-3.6 million years ago and reached at least 50 feet (15 meters) in length, gave birth to babies larger than most adult humans.