Two recent recent discoveries, of a 1.7 million-year-old cancerous foot bone and a 2 million-year-old vertebrae ravaged by tumors, show that cancer has been bothering us for a while. So it’s not strictly a modern disease.
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.
By studying the genomes of more than 5,000 Samoans, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have uncovered a single gene that boosts a person’s obesity risk by upwards of 40 percent. Remarkably, this gene—which appears in a quarter of all Samoans—may have arisen in the population as they colonized the South…
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.
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 2,000 year-old-device is shedding new light onto this mysterious device, including the revelation that it may have been used for more…
Bones and teeth belonging to the ancestors of the short-statured human lineage known as “the Hobbits” have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores. The fossils, which date back 700,000 years, are offering fresh insights into the origin of this mysterious species.
The discovery of ancient artifacts and mastodon bones in a submerged sinkhole shows that humans first inhabited the southeastern corner of North America 1,500 years earlier than previously assumed.
In a story that keeps on getting weirder, a scientist familiar with the Mexican region where a Canadian teen claims to have discovered a lost Maya settlement says at least one of these features is either an abandoned cornfield—or a marijuana operation.
A Canadian teen says he discovered a lost Maya city using ancient star maps and satellite images provided by NASA and Google. As the remarkable story went viral yesterday, a number of experts spoke out, saying it’s highly unlikely that these features are those of a forgotten Maya settlement.
An international team of scholars has just unveiled plans to science the shit out of Leonardo da Vinci, the man who gave us the Mona Lisa and envisioned futuristic technologies like helicopters and tanks 500 years ago. Goals of the fledgling “Leonardo Project” include recovering the famous Renaissance figure’s remains…
An ancient song repertory lost since the 11th century has been reconstructed by researchers from the University of Cambridge.
Twenty six hundred years ago, a band of Judahite soldiers kept watch on their kingdom’s southern border in the final days before Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar. They left behind numerous inscriptions—and now, a groundbreaking digital analysis has revealed how many writers penned them. The research and…
At exactly the same time Batman was becoming an obsessive, a new breed of enthusiast began its rise to prominence. For years they had lurked in the shadowy corners of popular culture, quietly pursuing their niche interests among themselves, keeping their heads down to avoid the inquisitive, judgmental gaze of the…
Archaeologists working at the Pocklington burial site in Yorkshire have discovered the 2,500-year-old skeletal remains of a high ranking warrior who was buried alongside his sword—and who had a half-dozen spears thrust into him in ritualistic fashion.
The Wadi Sura cave in the Libyan Desert features a number of stencil paintings dating back to between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago, including over a dozen tiny human-like hand prints. Since its discovery, the hands were thought to belong to human babies, but an anthropologist now says they’re not human at all.
Anthropologists in Borneo observed a rare instance of a female and a male orangutan teaming up—to kill another female orangutan. This is the first observed time a female-female conflict in orangutans has turned lethal, and the way the it went down changes what we thought we knew about orangutan behavior.
The tale of Europeans explorers’ arrival in the Americas is a dark one, colored by slavery, slaughter, and smallpox. But a new study calls key details of that story into question, including how quickly Native American societies succumbed to disease, and how Earth’s climate responded.
Anthropologists working in Kenya have uncovered the remains of a group of prehistoric foragers who were ruthlessly massacred about 10,000 years ago. It’s considered the earliest example of organized violence among nomadic hunter-gatherers, a rare find that’s offering an unprecedented glimpse into what life—and…
Archaeologists in Britain have uncovered the charred remains of a 3,000-year-old stilted wooden structure that plunged into the river after it caught fire. The remarkably well-preserved roundhouse is offering an unprecedented glimpse into what domestic life was like during the Bronze Age.
The 300-year-old linen-lined trunk is filled with over 2,600 letters that were mailed out—but never received—between the years 1680 and 1706. Historians are now taking a closer look.