Science Tidbits 3

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Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:49 pm

An interesting story here about Neandertals sailing the Mediterranean 100,000 years ago. This shouldn't be surprising though as there's good evidence of humans arriving on Crete 300,000 years ago and somebody getting to Flores Island 800,000 years ago. The article speculates about the Neandertal craft being made of wood but I think a better option would have been reeds and there is indications that some stone tools were being used to cut reeds.

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:50 pm

I thought the earth was only 6,000 years old? :conf: :D
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:41 pm

^That's if you don't count holidays. :P

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 am

And all those February 29ths add up. :lol:

That's just amazing to consider Neandertals as seafarers. It doesn't fit the stereotype at all (I guess now we have to say that seafaring is so easy a caveman can do it). These were really intelligent and advanced people. I really wonder what it would be like if they had survived along with modern Humans-- or instead of modern Humans.
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Gary » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:07 pm

RJDiogenes wrote:And all those February 29ths add up. :lol:

That's just amazing to consider Neandertals as seafarers. It doesn't fit the stereotype at all (I guess now we have to say that seafaring is so easy a caveman can do it). These were really intelligent and advanced people. I really wonder what it would be like if they had survived along with modern Humans-- or instead of modern Humans.
I've seen theories (and proof?) that Neanderthals had inter-bred with Homo-Sapiens.
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:07 pm

^Yeah it turns out that most modern humans have Neandertal genes along with a mysterious group called the Denisovans. It's a small percent of our genome (say between 2 and 4% generally) but after 30,000 years that's quite large. So basically Neandertals are still among us.

Ironically after seeing the post on Neandertal mariners the current issue of Discover turned up in the mail with an article about evidence of deep sea fishing in Australia dating back 42,000 years ago. Looks like humanity have been sea-goers for a very long time.

EDIT: Ahoy! There's yet another article about ancient mariners. This one about Iberians reaching America over 20,000 years ago. I've heard this one before but its interesting that the theory is hanging on despite the ghost of Clovis.

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:48 pm

Fascinating and compelling. I approve of the skeptics, because evidence must be overwhelming, but I have no trouble believing this. The lack of skeletal and DNA evidence doesn't bother me. The Vikings, Chinese, Irish et al all journeyed to America and failed to take hold; even in recorded history, numerous European colonies, such as Roanoke, failed to take hold. What's more mysterious, to me, is the lack of skeletal remains of these Solutreans in Europe. I wonder what's up with that.
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:02 pm

That is odd :conf:

Contrary to the article though there is some genetic evidence in the form of Haplogroup X which appears to occur in populations in the eastern US. Critics have insisted that X came in from Asia but there seems to be very little evidence for this last I heard.

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:51 pm

It would be odd to find Asian DNA on the East coast only. Isn't there some genetic evidence of Chinese contact among populations on the West coast of South America?
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:59 pm

^I don't know. I do know that it's pretty evident that the Polynesians arrived there at one point.

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Gary » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:59 pm

Are any of you familiar with the theories that ancient Egyptians could have easily crosses the Atlantic in ships built of reeds, hence the reason why the Mayans and Aztecs built pyramids that resemble those "across the pond"?
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:26 pm

Thor Heyerdahl did so in a reed ship called the Ra II so it's not impossible. However the pyramids of Egypt and the pyramids of Meso-America do seem to have come about independently. The Egyptians came about pyramids by stacking mastabas and the Maya by building temples around older temples. The pyramids of other cultures were generally glorified burial mounds like the White Pyramid in China.
But it does spark the imagination. Just how long ago could people have crossed the oceans?

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Gary » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:37 pm

Lupine wrote:Thor Heyerdahl did so in a reed ship called the Ra II so it's not impossible. However the pyramids of Egypt and the pyramids of Meso-America do seem to have come about independently. The Egyptians came about pyramids by stacking mastabas and the Maya by building temples around older temples. The pyramids of other cultures were generally glorified burial mounds like the White Pyramid in China.
But it does spark the imagination. Just how long ago could people have crossed the oceans?
Well, Noah did it.





















What? :D
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:57 am

^^ Well, he had no choice. There was nothing but ocean.
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:04 pm

And speaking of prehistory, dinosaurs have sure come a long way. Once pictured as drab reptiles, dinosaurs like Microraptor are getting a make-over.
Of course it's almost hard to believe that thing is a dinosaur. :eek:

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Madeliaette » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:58 pm

^ yeah looks like a crow in drag - :lol:

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:17 pm

Dinosaurs have changed a lot since scientists realized they were related to birds. It's very bizarre thinking of brightly colored and patterned, as well as feathered, dinosaurs.
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:35 pm

A very unusual new group of ancient people have been discovered in China. It's hard to know what to make of these bones. They're pretty young, yet oddly primitive looking. Are they hybrids as some suspect? The Denisovans? Something else? :unsure:

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:55 pm

Very interesting indeed, especially if this turns out to be a completely new sub-species of Human. But it could simply be an isolated, possibly inbred, population. With so very few remains, it's hard to know. And the article didn't say anything about any associated archaeological finds that would indicate what their level of culture or technology was. Since these skeletons had been around a while before being studied, I wonder if there are any more lying in a box or drawer somewhere in a Chinese museum. There seems to be a lot of unexamined stuff stored away out there.
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:33 pm

I'm thinking it could be an isolated population as well as these are very bizarre skeletons. They almost look more like Paranthropus and anything from Homo. :conf:

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:29 pm

Have the bones of Peking Man been found? I'm not holding my breath but it would be nice.
Now if they could only find that Spinosaurus skeleton...

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:10 pm

Oooh, that's cool. Almost Indiana Jones-ish. That could provide the seed for a story. B)
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:43 pm

Speaking of Homo erectus, did they not only invent the handax but cooking as well?

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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by RJDiogenes » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:46 pm

The idea of people using fire nearly half a million years ago boggles my mind. But a million? Or more? That's just freaking amazing. And the more they push back technological achievements like that, the more incredible the accelerating curve of progress becomes. The idea of an approaching singularity seems ever more likely.

In addition to that, that factino of spontaneous combustion of bat guano is fascinating-- that's got to be useful in a story somehow. :lol:
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Re: Science Tidbits 3

Post by Lupine » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:37 pm

^Raiders of the Flaming Bat Poop! :lol:

I think people were doing some pretty modern things pretty early on. As I mentioned in Makers of Fire the earliest possible evidence for fire is 1.6 million years.

Meanwhile after a storm of anthropology news we get more planets!. This solar system is downright crowded. BA mentions that with 9 known planets it has more worlds than we do even though we have ten :P . But more interestingly at least one of the gas giants is apparently in the Goldilocks Zone, so there is always the possibility of a habitable moon.

EDIT: of course we can't get entirely away from anthropology. Especially when it's about Caveman sex!. :lol:

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