Tag Archives | discovery

In the Beginning there were Simple Chemicals – New Evidence on the Origins of Life

Via Phys.org:

In the beginning, there were simple chemicals. And they produced amino acids that eventually became the proteins necessary to create single cells. And the single cells became plants and animals. Recent research is revealing how the primordial soup created the amino acid building blocks, and there is widespread scientific consensus on the evolution from the first cell into plants and animals. But it’s still a mystery how the building blocks were first assembled into the proteins that formed the machinery of all cells. Now, two long-time University of North Carolina scientists – Richard Wolfenden, PhD, and Charles Carter, PhD – have shed new light on the transition from building blocks into life some 4 billion years ago.

“Our work shows that the close linkage between the of amino acids, the , and protein folding was likely essential from the beginning, long before large, sophisticated molecules arrived on the scene,” said Carter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine.

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Evidence of Earliest Known Murder Found

Cranium 17 bone traumatic fractures. (A) Frontal view of Cranium 17 showing the position of the traumatic events T1 (inferior) and T2 (superior); (B) Detailed ectocranial view of the traumatic fractures showing the two similar notches (black arrows) present along the superior border of the fracture outlines. Note that the orientation of the two traumatic events is different; (C) Detail of the notch in T1 under 2X magnification with a light microscope. (D) Endocranial view of T1 and T2 showing the large cortical delamination of the inner table (black arrows).

Cranium 17 bone traumatic fractures.
(A) Frontal view of Cranium 17 showing the position of the traumatic events T1 (inferior) and T2 (superior); (B) Detailed ectocranial view of the traumatic fractures showing the two similar notches (black arrows) present along the superior border of the fracture outlines. Note that the orientation of the two traumatic events is different; (C) Detail of the notch in T1 under 2X magnification with a light microscope. (D) Endocranial view of T1 and T2 showing the large cortical delamination of the inner table (black arrows).

Evidence of the earliest murder has emerged in the form of a fractured skull recovered from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site.

Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene via PLOS One:

Evidence of interpersonal violence has been documented previously in Pleistocene members of the genus Homo, but only very rarely has this been posited as the possible manner of death.

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Tools Found In Kenya 700,000 Years Older Than Previous Record Holder

"LakeTurkanaSouthIsland" by User:Doron - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

LakeTurkanaSouthIsland” by User:DoronOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The tools are 3.3 million years old.

Ian Johnston via The Independent:

The world’s oldest tools – made by ancestors of modern humans some 3.3 million years ago – have been found in Kenya.

Stones had been deliberately “knapped” or flaked to make a sharp cutting edge, researchers said, according to Sciencemagazine.

They are about 700,000 years older than the previous record holder and are likely to have been made by Australopithecus, an ape-like ancestor of Homo sapiens, or another species, Kenyanthropus.

Archaeologist Sonia Harmand, of New York’s Stony Brook University, told the annual meeting of the US Paleoanthropology Society: “The artefacts were clearly knapped and not the result of accidental fracture of rocks.”

About 150 flakes, the stones they were taken from and anvils on which the stones were placed while they were struck were found near Lake Turkana in Kenya.

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Arabic Engraved Ring Found in Viking Grave

Viking-Islamic-Ring

A ring found in a 9th century grave in Birka, Sweden (home to a Viking trading center) suggests that Vikings had contact with Islamic civilizations. The silver ring, found in a Viking woman’s grave, has a beautiful violet-colored glass gem engraved with “To Allah” or “For Allah” in Arabic. “Ancient texts mention contact between Scandinavians and members of Islamic civilization, but such archaeological evidence is rare.”

h/t Boing Boing.

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After I “Discovered” an Abandoned Town and My Film Went Viral

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It was 4:47pm in San Diego on October 1, 2014. A YouTube user named trixxie62 subscribed to my channel, sending an email notification to my inbox. This triggered my phone’s “new email” ringtone. Several minutes later another one came in. Then another. After that I was receiving a new subscriber every 1-2 minutes, far exceeding the usual 1-3 per week.

Upon checking around I found that Roadtrippers.com had included my film in a story on their website and social media pages. The story was receiving more Facebook Likes and Comments than any other Roadtrippers story in weeks. It seemed like an exciting moment. But things were about to take an unexpected turn.

Very often you can read stories about people who were perceived to have said something dumb, hateful or untrue, then they pay for it by being called out on social media and in the news. While I can’t particularly speak to never saying anything “dumb,” I can confirm that I did not say anything hateful or untrue.… Read the rest

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Mysterious ‘Ghost’ Ship Rediscovered Near Hawaii

The U.S.S. Kailua, a sunken cable repair ship that was torpedoed in 1946, was recently rediscovered off the shores of Oahu, Hawaii. The ship's wheel, shown here, was still in its original location. Credit: UH HURL/NOAA

The U.S.S. Kailua, a sunken cable repair ship that was torpedoed in 1946, was recently rediscovered off the shores of Oahu, Hawaii. The ship’s wheel, shown here, was still in its original location.
Credit: UH HURL/NOAA

via Live Science:

A “ghost ship” that has been lost beneath the waves for more than 60 years has been discovered nearly a half-mile below the ocean surface off the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

A small submersible vehicle came upon the shipwreck last year, researchers at the University of Hawaii announced today (Dec. 5). Despite being torpedoed after World War II, many parts of the ship, including the ship’s wheel, are still in their original locations.

“The upper deck structures from the bow to the stern were well-preserved and showed no sign of torpedo damage,” Terry Kerby, a submersible pilot with the university’s Hawai’i Undersea Research Laboratory, said in a statement. [Shipwrecks Gallery: Secrets of the Deep]

Vast submarine network

The ship, then called the Dickenson, first set sail in early 1923 as part of a fleet of ships that maintained the growing submarine telecommunications network at the time.

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Ancient City Ruled by Genghis Khan’s Heirs Revealed

Archaeologists with the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore have uncovered part of the ancient city of Ukek, founded by the descendents of Genghis Khan. Credit: Photo courtesy Dmitriy Kubankin

Archaeologists with the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore have uncovered part of the ancient city of Ukek, founded by the descendants of Genghis Khan.
Credit: Photo courtesy Dmitriy Kubankin

via Live Science:

Remains of a 750-year-old city, founded by the descendants of Genghis Khan, have been unearthed along the Volga River in Russia.

Among the discoveries are two Christian temples one of which has stone carvings and fine ceramics.

The city’s name was Ukek and it was founded just a few decades after Genghis Khan died in 1227. After the great conqueror’s death his empire split apart and his grandson Batu Khan, who lived from 1205 to 1255, founded the Golden Horde (also called the Kipchak Khanate).The Golden Horde kingdom stretched from Eastern Europe to Central Asia and controlled many ofthe Silk Road trade routes that connected China to Medieval Europe.

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Dracula’s dungeon discovered in Turkey

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via Unexplained Mysteries:

The dungeon in which Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned by the Turks has been found at Tokat Castle.

Back at the beginning of the 15th century Wallachian Prince Vlad III, the real-life inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s character Dracula, was held captive by the Ottoman Turks for twelve years.

Now archaeologists believe that they have discovered the very prison in which he had been held captive deep beneath Tokat Castle in northern Turkey. The dungeons were found following the discovery of a secret tunnel that was unearthed while restoration works were being carried out on the building.

“The castle is completely surrounded by secret tunnels. It is very mysterious,” said archaeologist Ibrahim Çetin. “It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept, but he was around here.”

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Curiosity Finds a Weird ‘Ball’ on Mars

The 'ball' (left of center) can be seen in this sol 746 observation by Mars rover Curiosity's Mastcam. According to NASA scientists it is likely an example of a Martian concretion. NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS

The ‘ball’ (left of center) can be seen in this sol 746 observation by Mars rover Curiosity’s Mastcam. According to NASA scientists it is likely an example of a Martian concretion.
NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS

via Discovery:

If there’s one thing to be said for Curiosity’s mission on Mars so far, it certainly hasn’t been boring. Although the six-wheeled rover has taken thousands of photographs of Martian rocks, the rich diversity of Mars’ landscape has provided many beautiful examples of planetary geology and some geology that is downright weird.

Take this recent photographic example from the Mars Science Laboratory’s Mastcam camera that was uploaded to the mission’s photo archive on sol 746 (Sept. 11). While compiling a mosaic of images of the surrounding landscape, Curiosity captured a rather un-Mars-like shape atop a rocky outcrop.

There’s a perfect-looking sphere sitting proudly on a flat rock surface. It’s dusty, but under that dust it appears a little darker than the surrounding rock.

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Dreadnoughtus Dino Weighed 65 Tons

Screenshot from video below.

Screenshot from video below.

“Dread”noughtus is a good name for these behemoths. It means “fear nothing.”

via Live Science:

A gargantuan, long-necked dinosaur as big as a two-story house and weighing as much as 12 elephants once stalked a flower-dotted earth some 77 million years ago in what is now Argentina.

That’s where paleontologists discovered the beast’s bones, naming it Dreadnoughtus schrani after steel warships. The dinosaur is a sauropod, a type of long-necked, four-legged dinosaur that only ate plants.

“I think the big herbivores don’t get their due for being” intimidating, said study lead author Ken Lacovara, an associate professor of paleontology and geology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “I thought it should have a fearsome name.”

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