New Diet, Sexual Attraction May Have Spurred Europeans’ Lighter Skin
Why do some humans have lighter skin than others? Researchers have longed chalked up the difference to tens of thousands of years of evolution, with darker skin protecting those who live nearer to the equator from the sun’s intense radiation. But a new study of ancient DNA concludes that European skin color has continued to change over the past 5000 years, suggesting that additional factors, including diet and sexual attraction, may also be at play.
I did link to this earlier, I think, but this article provides a bit more context and interpretation. While reading it I started to think the same thing:
But why was strong natural selection for lighter skin, hair, and eye color still going on thousands of years after humans left Africa and its brutal UV rays? In the case of skin color, the team speculates that these populations, which represented early farmers, had previously received a lot of vitamin D from their food, such as vitamin D-rich fish and animal livers, when they were hunter-gatherers. But after the advent of farming, when grains such as wheat and barley became a major part of their dinner plates, early Europeans needed to synthesize a larger amount of vitamin D in their skins. That’s when lightening up became very advantageous.
Won’t probably be quite as much as the London and Athens games provided, but there’s something: Rio’s Race to Future Intersects Slave Past
Sailing from the Angolan coast across the Atlantic, the slave ships docked here in the 19th century at the huge stone wharf, delivering their human cargo to the “fattening houses” on Valongo Street. Foreign chroniclers described the depravity in the teeming slave market, including so-called boutiques selling emaciated and diseased African children.
The newly arrived slaves who died before they even started toiling in Brazil’s mines were hauled to a mass grave nearby, their corpses left to decay amid piles of garbage. As imperial plantations flourished, diggers at the Cemitério dos Pretos Novos — Cemetery of New Blacks — crushed the bones of the dead, making way for thousands of new cadavers.
Long article, but it seems that they’re finding — and probably will continue to find — historic materials.
Even in death, legendary American racehorse Native Diver is making moves.
The remains of Native Diver are being exhumed at the recently-closed Hollywood Park racetrack to be moved to Del Mar.
Native Diver was the seventh thoroughbred to win a million dollars and the first to do so in California.
Sort of a rescue dig, and they found him! Read to the end.
I vaguely recall posting an item or two on the dating of the Exodus, but can’t find anything on it.
Well, except for this cryptic post whose link, sadly, is now defunct.
That is my second batch o’ beer. The first one turned out. . . .okay. So far one bottle has been great, and two have been meh. That was the Mr. Beer quickie started set. For this one, I went to a home brew store and got the raw ingredients: malt, grains, hops, etc. Much more involved than the last one but it seems to be working. I’m still very much in the learning stage so I made mistakes but I’m hoping the recipe is reasonably robust. It’s a bitter ale.
I was going to make a mead but it requires several months of sitting before it’s really drinkable, or so they say. That seems odd to me as it was probably one of the earliest true ‘beers’ to have been made, if the archaeology is to be believed, so one might think they’d make it to drink right away. Or maybe not, perhaps it was made to drink much later? Easy recipe, mainly just honey and yeast.
I haven’t gotten much of the science yet. Measuring alcohol content and such. I decided to learn to do it first. So far I’m making about 2 gallons at a time which would take me months to drink so I’m giving samples away. Still fascinating to go through the process of making a psychoactive beverage out of grains and junk.
Executed Vikings were inexperienced raiders who oozed smelly pus, say archaeologists
The individuals are thought to have been executed at the graveside and stripped of their clothes, with defence wounds on their hands, arms and skulls and injuries to their necks and shoulders suggesting a bloodbath in which several blows were required to remove each head.
“Curiously, many of the individuals had suffered from infections and physical impairment,” says Louise Loe, a member of the Oxford Archaeology team and co-author of the revealing book.
Good little article. Several bits and pieces of the osetological/pathology findings. One set of photos is captioned wrong though: it shows a sword wound on the top of the head (left parietal actually) but the caption talks about decapitation marks.
The corner of an English field that is for ever a foreign ‘no man’s land’: WWI training camp found on south coast
It’s the most sophisticated and best preserved First World War battle-training complex ever found in Britain.
Covering some 50 acres, the long-forgotten facility consists of opposing ‘British’ and ‘German’ trench systems – with a 300 metre wide no-mans-land in between.
Both systems consist of a frontline trench, rear ‘support trenches’ and a network of communication trenches. Several forward observation trenches, protruding from what was probably intended to represent the British front line, have also been found.
Wall collapse at Pompeii: Italian archaeologists call emergency meeting, seek answers
Italy’s top cultural official scheduled an emergency for Tuesday morning after heavy rains led to the collapse of a section of wall in ancient Pompeii, the famous city buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
The damage is in an area long closed to the public, at the edge of the excavations of the ancient Roman city. Officials said inadequate drainage in the unexcavated part is particularly worrisome. Rains lashing the Naples area recently were also blamed for damage discovered Sunday in other parts of Pompeii, the Associated Press reported.
It’s inevitable that it will all succumb. It wasn’t preserved for 2,000 years by being exposed to the elements.
Revealed: How climate change ended world’s first great civilisations
The world’s first great civilisations appear to have collapsed because of an ancient episode of climate change – according to new research carried out by scientists and archaeologists.
Their investigation demonstrates that the Bronze Age ‘megacities’ of the Indus Valley region of Pakistan and north-west India declined during the 21st and 20th centuries BC and never recovered – because of a dramatic increase in drought conditions.
The research, carried out by the University of Cambridge and India’s Banaras Hindu University, reveals that a series of droughts lasting some 200 years hit the Indus Valley zone – and was probably responsible for the rapid decline of the great Bronze Age urban civilization of that region.
Nothing really new here, I don’t think, climate-related ‘collapses’ have been batted around for decades. Egypt’s Old Kingdom is thought to have ended due to a series of famine-causing drops in the Nile floods.