anthropology
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What Ötzi the Iceman's Voice Sounded Like

Ötzi the Iceman, the world’s favourite prehistoric mummy, has been subjected to every scientific test imaginable since his remains were discovered poking out of a glacier high in the Italian Alps in 1991. Now, a team of Italian researchers has reconstructed Ötzi’s vocal cords and used it to reproduce what his voice may have sounded like.


The Same Microbe That Led To Black Death Also Caused A Huge Plague Centuries Before 

Centuries before the Black Death decimated the population of Western Europe, an earlier plague epidemic took out over 50 million people (about 15 per cent of the population) in the Byzantine empire. A team of German scientists has confirmed that the two plagues were caused by the same bacterium, albeit genetically different strains.


We Were Wrong About How Ancient Humans Colonised North America

It’s a veritable certainty that North America’s first people arrived via the Bering Land Bridge, but less certainty exists about how and where they migrated from there. For years, scientists thought they had travelled along an ice-free corridor in western Canada, but new research suggests that this was impossible.


Ancient Stone Tools Hint At The Real Paleo Diet

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of ancient stone tools at a dig near Azraq, Jordan, some of which still contain traces of animal residue. A number of food items on this bona fide paleolithic menu will be familiar to the modern eater, while others, well, not so much.


Cancer Has Been A Deadly Problem For Longer Than We Thought

Two recent recent discoveries, of a 1.7 million-year-old cancerous foot bone and a two million-year-old vertebrae ravaged by tumours, show that cancer has been bothering us for a while. So it’s not strictly a modern disease.


Ancient Campfires May Have Unleashed Humanity's Top Bacterial Killer

The ability to control fire brought our ancestors countless benefits, but as a new study by Australian researchers suggests, it may have also triggered the spread of one of the worst blights to afflict our species: Tuberculosis.


How A Powerful Obesity Gene Helped Samoans Conquer The South Pacific

By studying the genomes of more than 5000 Samoans, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have uncovered a single gene that boosts a person’s obesity risk by upwards of 40 per cent. Remarkably, this gene — which appears in a quarter of all Samoans — may have arisen in the population as they colonised the South Pacific.


Roman Troops Used Whistling Projectiles To Terrify The Enemy

Archaeologists working at an ancient Roman battlefield in Scotland have discovered a type of pierced sling-bullet that made a whistling sound when hurled at the enemy.


8 Incredible Facts You May Not Know About Human Evolution

Homo sapiens evolved about 200-150,000 years ago in Africa, but our story as a species stretches back much further than that with early human ancestors. And the evolution of Homo sapiens is itself a tangled tale, full of unanswered questions and gothic family melodrama. Here are a few facts you may not know about the human evolutionary story.


The World's Oldest Computer May Have Been Used To Predict The Future

Discovered in an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901, the freakishly advanced Antikythera Mechanism has been called the world’s first computer. A decades-long investigation into the 2000 year-old-device is shedding new light onto this mysterious device, including the revelation that it may have been used for more than just astronomy.


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