Archive for the 'Ancient Wonders' Category

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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Medical Archeology! — a resurrected ancient brew kills MRSA

As we have always known, an ancient brew is a powerful thing…

 

 

From Smithsonian.com,
This Nasty Medieval Remedy Kills MRSA
An ancient brew could lead to modern-day drugs to fight the superbug

By Erin Blakemore

 

“Why would scientists revive a thousand-year-old medical recipe for a foul-smelling concoction? They suspected it could have a very real benefit, and it turns out they were right. An Anglo-Saxon brew kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, scientists from the U.K. have announced.

 

When microbiologist Freya Harrison chatted with Christina Lee, an Anglo-Saxon scholar, she was intrigued by a nasty-sounding recipe in Bald’s Leechbook, a thousand-year-old compendium of medical advice and potions. Here’s the recipe, which was recommended to fight infected eyelash follicles (styes):

 

Take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together… take wine and bullocks gall, mix with the leek… let it stand nine days in the brass vessel…

 

Intrigued by the possibility that the recipe had anti-bacterial properties, Harrison set forth on a quest to recreate it as accurately as possible. She looked for heritage vegetable varieties, used historic wine and immersed brass into the mixture so she could use sterile glass bottles. And she sourced “bullocks gall,” or cow bile, using salts that are usually prescribed for people who have had gall bladder removal surgery…”

 

Read more.

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