Big News About Early Humans in the New World

There has been a lot of news recently about our ancestors – where they evolved and settled, and when – and these discoveries seem to imply that we are the verge of a new and exciting understanding about our origins…

 

In British Columbia, scientists have discovered a village site that is estimated to be three times as old as the Great Pyramid at Giza and among the most ancient human settlements in North America.

 

Read about it here.

 

But even more intense is the newly found evidence that Neanderthals — or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago!

 

From the New York Times,

 

Humans Lived in North America 130,000 Years Ago, Study Claims

by Carl Zimmer (4/26/17)

 

 

“Prehistoric humans — perhaps Neanderthals or another lost species — occupied what is now California some 130,000 years ago, a team of scientists reported on Wednesday.

 

The bold and fiercely disputed claim, published in the journal Nature, is based on a study of mastodon bones discovered near San Diego. If the scientists are right, they would significantly alter our understanding of how humans spread around the planet.

 

The earliest widely accepted evidence of people in the Americas is less than 15,000 years old. Genetic studies strongly support the idea that those people were the ancestors of living Native Americans, arriving in North America from Asia.

 

If humans actually were in North America over 100,000 years earlier, they may not be related to any living group of people. Modern humans probably did not expand out of Africa until 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, recent genetic studies have shown…”

 

Read more here.

 

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Climate change is melting permafrost soils, releasing ancient viruses and bacteria

Dig up your post-apocalyptic survivalist manuals —

 

From the BBC,

 

 

There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up

By Jasmin Fox-Skelly

 

Long-dormant bacteria and viruses, trapped in ice and permafrost for centuries, are reviving as Earth’s climate warms

 

“Throughout history, humans have existed side-by-side with bacteria and viruses. From the bubonic plague to smallpox, we have evolved to resist them, and in response they have developed new ways of infecting us.

 

We have had antibiotics for almost a century, ever since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. In response, bacteria have responded by evolving antibiotic resistance. The battle is endless: because we spend so much time with pathogens, we sometimes develop a kind of natural stalemate.

 

However, what would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before?

 

We may be about to find out. Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life…”

 

For the rest, click here.

 

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For the Love of Clocks: The Very Sad Tale of the Radium Girls

A very sad story about a disposable work force, the ultimate sacrifice, and incredible corporate greed and hubris…

 

 

From Buzzfeed,

by Kate Moore

 

The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls, Whose Deaths Saved Thousands Of Workers’ Lives

 

“During World War I, hundreds of young women went to work in clock factories, painting watch dials with luminous radium paint. But after the girls — who literally glowed in the dark after their shifts — began to experience gruesome side effects, they began a race-against-time fight for justice that would forever change US labor laws.

 

On April 10, 1917, an 18-year-old woman named Grace Fryer started work as a dial painter at the United States Radium Corporation (USRC) in Orange, New Jersey. It was four days after the US had joined World War I; with two soldier brothers, Grace wanted to do all she could to help the war effort. She had no idea that her new job would change her life — and workers’ rights — forever.

 

The Ghost Girls

 

With war declared, hundreds of working-class women flocked to the studio where they were employed to paint watches and military dials with the new element radium, which had been discovered by Marie Curie a little less than 20 years before. Dial painting was “the elite job for the poor working girls”; it paid more than three times the average factory job, and those lucky enough to land a position ranked in the top 5% of female workers nationally, giving the women financial freedom in a time of burgeoning female empowerment. Many of them were teenagers, with small hands perfect for the artistic work, and they spread the message of their new job’s appeal through their friend and family networks; often, whole sets of siblings worked alongside each other in the studio.

 

Radium’s luminosity was part of its allure, and the dial painters soon became known as the “ghost girls” — because by the time they finished their shifts, they themselves would glow in the dark. They made the most of the perk, wearing their good dresses to the plant so they’d shine in the dance halls at night, and even painting radium onto their teeth for a smile that would knock their suitors dead…”

 

For the rest, click here.

 

 

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