Paleonews

Il blog dedicato ai Paleontologi !!!!

2009-07-02 – Germania: Flauto preistorico (Germany, Prehistoric Flute)

GERMANIA: TROVATO UN FLAUTO PREISTORICO DI 35. 000 ANNI

(AGI) – Parigi, 24 giu. – La Germania si sta rivelando una miniera di reperti preistorici. Un flauto risalente a 35.000 anni fa e’ stato ritrovato vicino Ulm nella valle di Ach, nel Sud del Paese nello stesso sito dove e’ stata rinvenuta la cosiddetta ‘Venere di Hohle Fels’ una statuina di avorio raffigurante una donna appena abbozzata. La scoperta’ e’ frutto del lavoro di un’equipe di archeologi guidati da Nicholas Conard. Secondo quanto riferisce Nature il flauto, realizzato con un osso di avvoltoio ha cinque buchi, e’ lungo 22 centimetri e si puo’ suonare come uno strumento attuale.

fonte: http://www.agi.it/estero/notizie/200906242311-est-rt11367-germania_trovato_un_flauto_preistorico_di_35_000_anni

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Prehistoric flute in Germany is oldest known

June 24th, 2009

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–>Prehistoric flute in Germany is oldest knownEnlargeThe flute. Foto: H. Jensen. Copyright: Universität Tübingen.

Excavations in the summer of 2008 at the sites of Hohle Fels and Vogelherd produced new evidence for Paleolithic music in the form of the remains of one nearly complete bone flute and isolated small fragments of three ivory flutes.

 

 

 

 

 

The most significant of these finds, a nearly complete bone flute, was recovered in the basal Aurignacian deposits at Hohle Fels Cave in the Ach Valley, 20 km west of Ulm. The flute was found in 12 pieces. The fragments were distributed over a vertical distance of 3 cm over a horizontal area of about 10 x 20 cm. This flute is by far the most complete of all of the musical instruments thus far recovered from the caves of Swabia.

The preserved portion of the bone flute from Hohle Fels has a length of 21.8 cm and a diameter of about 8 mm. The flute preserves five finger holes. The surfaces of the flute and the structure of the bone are in excellent condition and reveal many details about the manufacture of the flute. The maker carved two deep, V-shaped notches into one end of the instrument, presumably to form the proximal end of the flute into which the musician blew. The find density in this stratum is moderately high with much flint knapping debris, worked bone and ivory, bones of horse, reindeer, mammoth, cave bear, ibex, as well as burnt bone. No diagnostic human bones have been found in deposits of the Swabian Aurignacian, but we assume that modern humans produced the artifacts from the basal Aurignacian deposits shortly after their arrival in the region following a migration up the Danube Corridor.

The maker of the flute carved the instrument from the radius of a griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). This species has a wingspan between 230 and 265 cm and provides bones ideal for large flutes. Griffon vultures and other vultures are documented in the Upper Paleolithic sediments of the Swabian caves.

The 2008 excavations at Hohle Fels also recovered two small fragments of what are almost certainly two ivory flutes from the basal Aurignacian. The different dimensions of the fragments indicate that the two finds are not from the same instrument. Excavators at Vogelherd in the Lone Valley 25 km northwest of Ulm recovered another isolated fragment of another ivory flute.

The technology for making an ivory flute is much more complicated than making a flute from a bird bone. This process requires forming the rough shape along the long axis of a naturally curved piece of ivory, splitting it open along one of the bedding plains in the ivory, carefully hollowing out the halves, carving the holes, and then rejoining the halves of the flute with an air-tight seal. Given the tendency of delicate ivory artifacts to break into many pieces, it is not unusual to find isolated pieces of such artifacts.

The 10 radiocarbon dates from the basal Aurignacian fall between 31 and 40 ka BP. Available calibrations and independent controls using other methods indicate that the flutes from Hohle Fels predate 35,000 calendar years ago. Apart from the caves of the Swabian Jura there is no convincing evidence for musical instruments predating 30 ka BP.

These finds demonstrate that music played an important role in Aurignacian life in the Ach and Lone valleys of southwestern Germany. Most of these flutes are from archaeological contexts containing an abundance of organic and lithic artifacts, hunted fauna, and burnt bone. This evidence suggests that the inhabitants of the sites played musical instruments in diverse social and cultural contexts and that flutes were discarded with many other forms of occupational debris. In the case of Hohle Fels, the location of the bone flute in a thin archaeological horizon only 70 cm away from a female figurine of similar age suggests that a possible contextual link exists between these two finds.

The flutes from Hohle Fels, Vogelherd and previous finds from nearby Geißenklösterle Cave demonstrate that a musical tradition existed in the cultural repertoire of the Aurignacian around the time modern humans settled in the Upper Danube region. The development of a musical tradition in the Aurignacian accompanied the development of the early figurative art and numerous innovations, including a wide array of new forms of personal ornaments, as well as new lithic and organic technologies. The presence of music in the lives of Upper Paleolithic peoples did not directly produce a more effective subsistence economy and greater reproductive success, but music seems to have contributed to improved social cohesion and new forms of communication, which indirectly contributed to demographic expansion of modern humans relative to the culturally more conservative Neanderthal populations.

The flutes from the caves of the Swabian Jura constitute a key part a major exhibit in Stuttgart entitled Ice Age Art and Culture, which will run from September 18, 2009 – January 10, 2010.

More information: The authors of the paper “New flutes document the earliest musical tradition in southwestern Germany” are Nicholas J. Conard Maria Malina and Susanne C. Münzel. The paper will be published as Advance online publication in Nature, June 25, 2009.

Provided by Universitaet Tuebingen

source: http://www.physorg.com/news165069257.html

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luglio 2, 2009 Posted by | Archeology / Archeologia, Articolo sc. di riferimento, Cenozoic, Europa, Lang. - Italiano, P - Paleoantropologia, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia, X - Nature | , , , , , | 1 commento

2009-06-21 – Oetzi in Svezia (Oetzi, exposure in Sweden)

PALEONTOLOGIA: APPRODA IN SVEZIA LA MOSTRA ITINERANTE SU OETZI

Bolzano, 18 giu. – (Adnkronos) – La mostra itinerante su Oetzi e’ giunta oggi al ”Lansmuseet Varberg”, in Svezia. Il Lansmuseet Varberg e’ il museo storico-culturale della provincia di Halland ed e’ noto a livello internazionale, in quanto espone il ”Bockstenmannen”, un corpo fossilizzato in una torbiera, risalente al XIV secolo, di cui si sono conservati anche i vestiti originali, come nel caso di Oetzi.

Affollata la cerimonia di apertura: presente anche la direttrice del Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige Angelika Fleckinger, che ha presentato i piu’ recenti risultati scientifici riguardanti l”’Uomo venuto dal ghiaccio”. Torstein Sjovold, dell’Universita’ di Stoccolma, che in passato ha analizzato le ossa ed i tatuaggi di Oetzi, lo ha messo a confronto col Bockstenmannen.

La mostra itinerante su Oetzi intende divulgare all’estero i contenuti dell’esposizione permanente allestita a Bolzano. Lo fa servendosi di riproduzioni e di installazioni multimediali. I reperti originali rimangono come sempre ben conservati nel Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige, da cui per ragioni di conservazione non possono essere spostati. La mostra rimarra’ in Svezia fino al 13 settembre 2009.

fonte: http://www.libero-news.it/adnkronos/view/139979 (leggermente corretto)

Links:

giugno 21, 2009 Posted by | - Italia, Europa, Mostre & Fiere, P - Paleoantropologia, Paleontology / Paleontologia, Places | , , , , | Lascia un commento

2009-06-15 – Mare del Nord: pescati resti di “Uomo di Neanderthal” (North Sea, Homo neanderthalensis)

SCIENZA: FOSSILE DEL MARE DEL NORD APPARTENEVA A UOMO NEANDERTHAL

(ASCA) – Roma, 15 giu – Un frammento di osso recuperato nelle acque del mare del Nord apparteneva ad un uomo di Neanderthal. Secondo quanto rende noto il sito web della Bbc, il primo ritrovamento del genere, e’ stato confermato dall’analisi degli isotopi del fossile, che risale a 60 mila anni fa ed e’ appartenuto ad un uomo la cui alimentazione era carnivora, caratteristiche specifiche dell’uomo di Neanderthal.

Il Mare del Nord e’ una delle aree piu’ ricche del pianeta per ritrovamenti di fossili di mammiferi, dovuto al fatto che nelle ere passate i livelli dell’acqua erano sostanzialmente piu’ bassi di quelli odierni con vaste zone di terraferma.

Qui sono stati ritrovati molti reperti di animali dell’era glaciale, come cavalli, renne, rinoceronti e mammuth.

Il frammento di osso frontale scoperto a Leiden, nei Paesi Bassi, e’ il primo conosciuto reperto umano ”arcaico” recuperato dalle acque del mare in tutto il mondo. Fu ritrovato fra resti di altri animali e manufatti di pietra a 15 chilometri al largo delle coste olandesi nel 2001. Gli studi sui reperti sono stati condotti dal professor Jean-Jacques Hublin, del Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology di Leipzig, in Germania. ”Anche avendo un piccolo frammento di disposizione, possiamo ora sicuramente confermare la sua appartenenza ad un uomo di Neanderthal”, ha detto Hublin alla Bbc.

L’uomo di Neanderthal e’ vissuto nel periodo detto paleolitico, fra 130 mila e 25-30 mila anni fa in Europa, Africa e Asia

fonte: asca.it

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Sea gives up Neanderthal fossil

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

Neanderthal frontal bone (Museum of Antiquities in Leiden)

The fragment of skull belonged to a young adult male

Part of a Neanderthal man’s skull has been dredged up from the North Sea, in the first confirmed find of its kind.

Scientists in Leiden, in the Netherlands, have unveiled the specimen – a fragment from the front of a skull belonging to a young adult male.

Analysis of chemical “isotopes” in the 60,000-year-old fossil suggest a carnivorous diet, matching results from other Neanderthal specimens.

The North Sea is one of the world’s richest areas for mammal fossils.

But the remains of ancient humans are scarce; this is the first known specimen to have been recovered from the sea bed anywhere in the world.

For most of the last half million years, sea levels were substantially lower than they are today.

Significant areas of the North Sea were, at times, dry land. Criss-crossed by river systems, with wide valleys, lakes and floodplains, these were rich habitats for large herds of ice age mammals such as horse, reindeer, woolly rhino and mammoth.

Even with this rather limited fragment of skull, it is possible to securely identify this as Neanderthal
Jean-Jacques Hublin, Max Planck Institute

Their fossilised remains are brought ashore in large numbers each year by fishing trawlers and other dredging operations.

According to Professor Chris Stringer, from London’s Natural History Museum, some fishermen now concentrate on collecting fossils rather than their traditional catch.

“There were mammoth fossils collected off the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts 150 years ago, so we’ve known for some time there was material down there that was of this age, or even older,” Professor Stringer, a museum research leader, told BBC News. Indeed, some of the fossil material from the North Sea dates to the Cromerian stage, between 866,000 and 478,000 years ago.

It had been “only a matter of time”, he said, before a human fossil came to light.

Professor Stringer added: “The key thing for the future is getting this material in a better context.

“It would be great if we could get the technology one day to go down and search (in the sea floor) where we can obtain the dating, associated materials and other information we would get if we were excavating on land.”

Private collection

Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) were our close evolutionary cousins; they appear in the fossil record some 400,000 years ago.

These resourceful, physically powerful hunter-gatherers dominated a wide range spanning Britain and Iberia in the west, Israel in the south and Siberia in the east.

Our own species, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa, and replaced the Neanderthals after entering Europe about 40,000 years ago.

The specimen was found among animal remains and stone artefacts dredged up 15km off the coast of the Netherlands in 2001.

Artist's impression of Neanderthal man (Museum of Antiquities)

Neanderthals were our close evolutionary cousins

The fragment was spotted by Luc Anthonis, a private fossil collector from Belgium, in the sieving debris of a shell-dredging operation.

Study of the specimen has been led by Professor Jean-Jacques Hublin, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

“Even with this rather limited fragment of skull, it is possible to securely identify this as Neanderthal,” Professor Hublin told BBC News.

For instance, the thick bony ridge above the eyes – known as a supraorbital torus – is typical of the species, he said.

The fragment’s shape best matches the frontal bones of late Pleistocene examples of this human species, particularly the specimens known as La Chapelle-aux-Saints and La Ferrassie 1.

These examples, which were both unearthed in France, date from between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago.

The North Sea fossil also bears a lesion caused by a benign tumour – an epidermoid cyst – of a type very rare in humans today.

The research links up with the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain 2 (AHOB 2) project, which aims to set Britain’s prehistory in a European context. Dutch archaeologist Wil Roebroeks, a collaborator on this study, is a member of the AHOB 2 research team.

Extreme ways

Dr Mike Richards, from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, analysed different forms, or isotopes, of the elements nitrogen and carbon in the fossilised bone. This shed light on the types of foods eaten by this young male.

The results show he was an extreme carnivore, surviving on a diet consisting largely of meat.

“High in the food chain, they must have been quite rare on the ground compared to other mammals, which explains their rarity to some degree,” said Wil Roebroeks from the University of Leiden.

The results of the stable isotope analysis fit with what is known about other examples of this species, though other research suggests that in Gibraltar, on the southern coast of Iberia, some Neanderthals were exploiting marine resources, including dolphins, monk seals and mussels.

Researchers decided against carbon dating the specimen; this requires the preservation of a protein called collagen.

CT scan (Max Planck Institute)

A CT scan shows the find super-imposed on another Neanderthal skull

Professor Hublin explained that while there was some collagen left in the bone, scientists would have needed to destroy approximately half of the fossil in order to obtain enough for dating.

Professor Roebroeks told BBC News: “Dutch scientists – geologists and archaeologists alike – are hoping this find will convince governmental agencies that the Netherlands needs to invest much more in that… archive of Pleistocene sediments off our coast – and off the coast of Britain.”

He said this submerged repository contained “high resolution information on past climate change and its environmental consequences, points of reference for how rivers ‘worked’ before any human interference and now, as this find shows, remains of people who once roamed these landscapes.”

Professor Hublin said the individual was living at the extreme edge of the Neanderthals’ northern range, where the relatively cold environment would have challenged their capabilities to the limit. Neanderthal remains have been found at only two sites this far north.

“What we have here is a marginal population, probably with low numbers of people,” Professor Hublin explained.

“It’s quite fascinating to see that these people were able to cope with the environment and be so successful in an ecological niche which was not the initial niche for humans.”

While these hunting grounds would at times have provided plentiful sources of meat for a top carnivore, Neanderthals living in these areas would also have been at the mercy of fluctuations in the numbers of big game animals.

Periodic dips in populations of mammals such as reindeer could have caused local extinctions of Neanderthal groups which hunted them, Dr Hublin explained.

Paul.Rincon-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk

Neanderthal frontal bone (Museum of Antiquities in Leiden)

source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8099377.stmf

giugno 15, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Ominidi, - Primati, An. Vertebrates, Cenozoic, Europa, Lang. - Italiano, P - Paleoantropologia, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2009-06-03 – Anoiapithecus brevirostris “Lluc”: new Hominid (nuovo ominide scoperto in Spagna)

In Italiano:

Lluc è il nome dell’ “Anoiapithecus” possibile nuovo antenato dell  – Soverato News – ‎2-giu-2009‎ – Non è detto però che l’ Anoiapithecus (nome scientifico attribuito sulla base del luogo di ritrovamento), benchè abbia un aspetto moderno sia un diretto

Firenze: un nuovo antenato per la famiglia Hominidae inToscana
 ECCO LLUC, NUOVO ANTENATO DELL’UOMO ANSA
Scoperto nuovo antenato dell’uomo ANSA
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New Hominid 12 Million Years Old Found In Spain, With ‘Modern’ Facial Features

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2009) — Researchers have discovered a fossilized face and jaw from a previously unknown hominoid primate genus in Spain dating to the Middle Miocene era, roughly 12 million years ago. Nicknamed “Lluc,” the male bears a strikingly “modern” facial appearance with a flat face, rather than a protruding one. The finding sheds important new light on the evolutionary development of hominids, including orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and humans.

In a study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Salvador Moyà-Solà, director of the Institut Català de Paleontologia (ICP) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and colleagues present evidence for the new genus and species, dubbed Anoiapithecus brevirostris. The scientific name is derived from the region where the fossil was found (l’Anoia) and also from its “modern” facial morphology, characterized by a very short face.

 

Lluc reconstruction. (Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Lluc reconstruction. (Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

 The research team at the ICP also includes collaborator David M. Alba, predoctoral researcher Sergio Almécija, postdoctoral researcher Isaac Casanovas, researcher Meike Köhler, postdoctoral researcher Soledad De Esteban, collaborator Josep M. Robles, curator Jordi Galindo, and predoctoral researcher Josep Fortuny.

Their findings are based on a partial cranium that preserves most of the face and the associated mandible. The cranium was unearthed in 2004 in the fossil-rich area of Abocador de Can Mata (els Hostalets de Pierola, l’Anoia, Barcelona), where remains of other fossilized hominid species have been found. Preparing the fossil for study was a complicated process, due to the fragility of the remains. But once the material was available for analysis, the results were surprising: The specimen (IPS43000) combined a set of features that, until now, had never been found in the fossil record.

Anoiapithecus displays a very modern facial morphology, with a muzzle prognathism (i.e., protrusion of the jaw) so reduced that, within the family Hominidae, scientists can only find comparable values within the genus Homo, whereas the remaining great apes are notoriously more prognathic (i.e., having jaws that project forward markedly). The extraordinary resemblance does not indicate that Anoiapithecus has any relationship with Homo, the researchers note. However, the similarity might be a case of evolutionary convergence, where two species evolving separately share common features.

Lluc’s discovery may also hold an important clue to the geographical origin of the hominid family. Some scientists have suspected that a group of primitive hominoids known as kenyapithecines (recorded from the Middle Miocene of Africa and Eurasia) might have been the ancestral group that all hominids came from. The detailed morphological study of the cranial remains of Lluc showed that, together with the modern anatomical features of hominids (e.g., nasal aperture wide at the base, high zygomatic rood, deep palate), it displays a set of primitive features, such as thick dental enamel, teeth with globulous cusps, very robust mandible and very procumbent premaxilla. These features characterize a group of primitive hominoids from the African Middle Miocene, known as afropithecids.

Interestingly, in addition to having a mixture of hominid and primitive afropithecid features, Lluc displays other characteristics, such as a very anterior position of the zygomatic, a very strong mandibular torus and, especially, a very reduced maxillary sinus. These are features shared with kenyapithecines believed to have dispersed outside the African continent and colonized the Mediterranean region, by about 15 million years ago.

In other words, the researchers speculate, hominids might have originally radiated in Eurasia from kenyapithecine ancestors of African origin. Later on, the ancestors of African great apes and humans would have dispersed again into Africa — the so-called “into Africa” theory, which remains controversial. However, the authors do not completely rule out the possibility that pongines (orangutans and related forms) and hominines (African apes and humans) separately evolved in Eurasia and Africa, respectively, from different kenyapithecine ancestors.

The project at els Hostalets de Pierola is continuing and, the researchers anticipate, more fossil remains will be found in the future that will provide key information to test their hypotheses.


Journal reference:

  1. Salvador Moyà-Solà, David M. Alba, Sergio Almécija, Isaac Casanovas-Vilar, Meike Köhler, Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno, Josep M. Robles, Jordi Galindo, and Josep Fortuny. A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811730106

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Other Links:

  • In English

Our earliest hominid ancestors may have been European

Thaindian.com – ‎1-giu-2009‎
According to a report in New Scientist, the fossil, named Anoiapithecus brevirostris by Salvador Moya-Sola of the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology in

Researchers from the Institut Catala de Paleontologia describe a

EurekAlert (press release) – ‎2-giu-2009‎ – The new hominid has been given the scientific name of Anoiapithecus brevirostris, in reference to the region where the town of els Hostalets is situated

Найденные останки Anoiapithecus brevirostris. Фото National

Lenta.ru – ‎9 ore fa‎
Они отмечают, что важность находки Anoiapithecus brevirostris безусловна, но вот выводы ученых могут быть ошибочны. В частности, специалисты говорят,
  • In GERMAN

Aus Europa nach Afrika und wieder zurück

wissenschaft.de – ‎19 ore fa‎ – Die Anoiapithecus brevirostris genannte Art hat sich vor rund zwölf Millionen Jahren in Europa entwickelt und wanderte von dort aus nach Afrika ein,

Unser spanisches Erbe sueddeutsche.de

 Knochenfund Stammt der Mensch aus Spanien? Bayerischer Rundfunk. Hominiden-Fossil Waren unsere frühesten Vorfahren Europäer? ZEIT ONLINE

All news in German

  • In SPANISH – ESPANOL

Investigadores catalães definem espécie Anoiapithecus brevirostris

Ciência Hoje – ‎44 minuti fa‎
Os cientistas baptizaram esta nova espécie de Anoiapithecus brevirostris (pois o fóssil foi encontrado em Anoia) eo ser de Lluc (aquele que ilumina).

Fóssil de Lluc ‘ilumina’ história dos hominídeos Diário de Notícias – Lisboa

giugno 3, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Ominidi, - Primati, An. Vertebrates, Articolo sc. di riferimento, Cenozoic, Europa, Lang. - German, Lang. - Italiano, P - Paleoantropologia, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia, X - PNAS | Lascia un commento

2009-05-30 – Carignano, Lucca: reperti del paleolitico inferiore

Scoperti a Carignano reperti preistorici

LUCCA – Pietre lavorate risalenti al paleolitico inferiore sono stati scoperti quasi per caso a Carignano, sulle colline alle porte della citta’. Secondo gli archeologi i reperti risalgono a centinaia di migliaia di anni fa.

Scoperti a Carignano reperti preistorici  A presentare i reperti il professor Giulio Ciampoltrini della soprintendenza, l’archeologo Michelangelo Zecchini ed il segretario dell’autorita’ di bacino Raffaello Nardi. La scoperta e’ di grande aiuto per studi sul rapporto tra l’uomo ed il territorio nella preistoria. Nel corso dell’esame dei reperti e’ stato infatti accertato che provengono dalla stessa zona dove sono stati ritrovati. Intanto tutto procede per far partire gli scavi a Carignano, grazie anche al finanziamento della Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca e alla collaborazione di prestigiose universita’ americane che dispongono di modernissimi strumenti i quali permettono una migliore analisi dei reperti ritrovati.

fonte: link

giugno 1, 2009 Posted by | - Italia, Europa, Lang. - Italiano, P - Paleoantropologia, Paleontology / Paleontologia | Lascia un commento

2009-05-27 – Peru`: scoperto bradipo fossile (fossil Sloth)

Five-million-year old sloth fossil found in Peru

click here for video

LIMA (Reuters) – The nearly intact fossil of an ancient sloth that lived 5 million years ago has been unearthed in Peru, a find about 4 million years older than similar ones discovered in the Americas, researchers said.

The sloth was found beneath the cement floor of a house in the Andean region of Espinar in southern Peru when workers were installing a water system. Parts of a giant armadillo that has also been dated to 5 million years ago were also found nearby.

The sloth, about 10 feet long, was an herbivore and lived during the Mio-Pliocene era, said paleontologist Rodolfo Salas of Peru’s Natural History Museum and one of the scientists on the dig sponsored by the French government.

“This skeleton of the sloth is especially important as it is the first complete skeleton of its kind that is 5 million years old in the Americas,” he told Reuters. “Previously, discoveries have been made of partial skeletons of similar animals, but from the Pleistocene era, meaning from the last million years.”

The sloth was found at 13,000 feet above sea level.

Salas said the sloth was relatively small compared with other animals of its type and would help researchers better understand evolution of mammals in the Andes.

Peru’s dry climate has helped preserve thousands of fossils from the Pacific coast to the Andes highlands, making it a favorite of fossil hunters.

(Reporting by Carlos Valdez; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Peter Cooney)

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE54P0H520090526

maggio 27, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, America Southern, An. Vertebrates, Cenozoic, Multimedia, P - Geositi, P - Paleoantropologia, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia, Video | , , , , | Lascia un commento

2009-05-21 – La Spezia, ITA: ritorno alla Preistoria

La Spezia, ritorno alla Preistoria

Pasti preistorici, laboratori per realizzare asce, monili e pitture rupestri. Weekend di fine maggio nella città ligure per avvicinarsi all’archeologia sperimentale

 

 Le Preistoria spiegata a grandi e bambini. Il Museo del Castello di San Giorgio, La Spezia, ospita venerdì 29 e sabato 30 maggio la quarta edizione del Paleofestival, un appuntamento che quest’anno si rivolge in particolare ai più giovani. Nei due giorni della manifestazione si potrà partecipare a laboratori interattivi che riguarderanno tutti gli aspetti della vita dei nostri antenati, con il contributo di divulgatori esperti di archeologia sperimentale.

Venerdì pomeriggio è previsto un convegno su questa disciplina che introdurrà l’evento. Sarà possibile per tutti i partecipanti scegliere e prenotarsi per le attività programmate per la giornata: si va dal laboratorio sull’accensione del fuoco, a quelli sulla scheggiatura della selce, la realizzazione della ceramica, la lavorazione di osso e corno, la levigatura della pietra per realizzare asce o pendagli, l’utilizzo delle armi da getto per la caccia. Ci sarà poi un laboratorio di corde, intrecci e filatura, si ripercorrerà la storia evolutiva dell’uomo attraverso i calchi dei crani.

 

I laboratori

Tra le altre attività: la lavorazione delle conchiglie per creare monili, la danza della preistoria, la scoperta della tomba di Tuthankamen, le prove di scrittura in cuneiforme, il riconoscimento del paesaggio attraverso l’analisi dei semi, il laboratorio di pitture rupestri, la realizzazione di vasellame neolitico in ceramica, la decorazione del corpo con pintaderas.

In entrambi i giorni sarà inoltre possibile rimanere al castello durante la pausa pranzo per un pasto “preistorico” preparato da Slow Food La Spezia Cinque Terre, mentre negli stand saranno in vendita pubblicazioni e riproduzioni di oggetti realizzati adoperando le stesse tecniche e materie prime dei nostri antenati.

Il Paleofestival è aperto dalle 10,30 alle 18. L’ingresso è gratuito. La manifestazione è organizzata dall’Istituzione per i Servizi Culturali della Spezia in collaborazione con Regione Liguria, Banca Carige e Contship Italia Group.

 Per informazioni e prenotazioni:

Tel. 0187/751142 – sangiorgio@laspeziacultura.it

www.paleofestival.it

fonte: http://www.mondointasca.org/articolo.php?ida=13289&sez=10

maggio 21, 2009 Posted by | - Italia, Europa, Mostre & Fiere, P - Paleoantropologia, Paleontology / Paleontologia, Places | , , , | Lascia un commento

2009-05-12 – Darwinius masillae: l’anello mancante dell’evoluzione umana? (missing link of human evolution?)

Trovato l’anello mancante dell’evoluzione: un Adapide di oltre 37 milioni di anni fa

LONDRA (10 maggio) – La Bbc ha preparato uno straordinario documentario, presentato da David Attenborough, in cui rivelerà la scoperta di uno scheletro fossilizzato che rappresenterebbe l’anello mancante dell’evoluzione umana. Secondo il Mail on Sunday il documentario è top secret, ma fonti negli Usa dicono che la rivoluzionaria scoperta verrà presentata il prossimo 19 maggio da un gruppo di scienziati e documentaristi a New York. In quell’occasione verrà presentato il primo scheletro intero mai trovato di un particolare tipo di un animale che si chiamava Adapide, battezzato Darwinius masillae: le ossa fossilizzate, che hanno dai 37 ai 47 milioni di anni, sono stati trovati nella cava Messel in Germania, un sito famoso per i suoi fossili.

L’animale, una femmina, somiglia a un lemure (il mammifero dalla lunga coda che vive in Madagascar). Attenborough spiegherà che i ricercatori hanno concluso che quell’animale non è semplicemente un antenato dei lemuri (mancano diverse caratteristiche), ma fa parte di un gruppo collegato di primati che si sarebbero evoluti in scimmie ed esseri umani.

Lo studio cui fa riferimento la Bbc verrà pubblicato dalla rivista angloamericana “Public library of science”. Philip Gingerich, presidente della Us paleontological society, co-autore dello studio, ha detto al Mail: «Ho esaminato questo scheletro, è incredibilmente completo e datato con precisione. Lo abbiamo tenuto nascosto perché non si può parlare di qualcosa finché non la capisci a fondo. Ora abbiamo capito, farà progredire la nostra conoscenza dell’evoluzione». Interpellato sul documentario Bbc, Sir David ha risposto: «Temo di non essere autorizzato a parlarne».

fonte: IlMessaggero.it

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Is David Attenborough set to reveal the Missing Link in human evolution?

By Sharon Churcher

The BBC has made an extraordinary new documentary, presented by Sir David Attenborough, which will reveal the discovery of a fossilised skeleton that may be a vital ‘missing link’ in human evolution.

The 90-minute programme is top secret but The Mail on Sunday has learned from sources in America that the results of the study on which it is based will be revealed by a team of scientists and broadcasters in New York on May 19.

The centrepiece of the programme is the unveiling of the first-ever complete skeleton of an extinct animal called an adapid.

david attenborough

Relative values: Sir David Attenborough with a lemur – one of the creatures at the centre of the fossil debate

The fossilised bones, which are thought to be between 37 and 47million years old, were found in Germany’s Messel Shale Pit, a disused quarry near Frankfurt famous for its fossils.

The team who examined the young female animal say it has some resemblance to a lemur, a mammal with a distinctive tail that is found to this day in the forests of Madagascar.

But Sir David’s documentary will explain that the researchers have, controversially, concluded the fossil ‘is not simply a lemur’ but from a related group of primates which evolved into monkeys, apes and human beings.

The BBC programme is based on a scientific study to be published by the Public Library of Science, a leading academic journal with offices in Cambridge and San Francisco.

Last night, the study’s co-author, Philip Gingerich, the president-elect of the US Paleontological Society, said: ‘I examined this skeleton. It is exceptionally complete and it is well-dated.

We have kept it under wraps because you can’t blither about something until you understand it. We now understand it. It is going to advance our knowledge of evolution.’

Prof Gingerich confirmed he had spoken to Sir David.

The significance of the discovery, according to New York’s academic community, is that it could resolve the fierce debate about which kind of primates humans are descended from.

graphic

Some palaeontologists believe we evolved from the adapids – but that theory is hotly contested. The new skeleton appears to be a previously unknown type of adapid which would be the ‘missing link’ between small mammals and the apes which evolved into humans.

The study’s authors insist that the fossil can’t be a lemur because it lacks two features: the ‘toothcomb’, a set of lower front teeth used to groom fur; and ‘toilet claws’, toes on the hind feet used for scratching.

Half of the fossil was found a few years ago, but it was only when the rest of the body was discovered last year that scientists realised its importance.

The ground-breaking research was only possible after Norway’s National History Museum managed to buy the two parts of the fossil from private collectors.

The study, led by Norway’s Professor Jorn Hurum, says the fossil is so well-preserved that its soft tissues and stomach contents can be analysed.

Christened Darwinius masillae, it belonged to an extinct group of primates which lived in rainforests.

It was a female that was less than a year old but had been weaned and had developing teeth. It had nails rather than claws and would have weighed just 2lb when fully grown.

When asked about the BBC documentary, Sir David said: ‘I’m afraid I am not allowed to talk about it.’ Prof Hurum also refused to comment.
Why a wet nose could ruin research

While all the experts agree that the Messel fossil is an exciting discovery, some doubt that it will settle the debate about mankind’s ancestors.

Professor Matt Cartmill of Boston University, a leading authority on primates, said: ‘What remains to be shown is that this animal had features which link it decisively to higher primates.

If it turns out that it had a dry nose, like monkeys and people, rather than a wet nose like dog or a lemur, that could have a big impact on ideas about the origins of monkeys, apes and humans.’

Roger Thomas, secretary of the US Paleontological Society, said: ‘According to one group of thought, we are descended from the same primates as lemurs. Another argument is that hominids evolved from another small primate, the tarsiidae.’

Prof Cartmill added: ‘This specimen could settle that debate but, if I had to put my money on it, my expectation would be that they will not be able to tell one way or another.’

source: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1179926/Is-David-Attenborough-set-reveal-Missing-Link-human-evolution.html

maggio 12, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Ominidi, - Primati, 6 Eocene, An. Vertebrates, Articolo sc. di riferimento, Cenozoic, Europa, Lang. - Italiano, P - Evoluzione, P - Paleoantropologia, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 commenti

2009-04-22 – Bimbi di Neanderthal (how Neanderthals gave birth)

Paleontologia/Bimbi di Neanderthal nascevano come quelli di oggi
Anche se, scoperte differenze in alcuni meccanismi del parto
Roma, 20 apr. (Apcom) – Come nasceva l’uomo di Neanderthal? Esattamente come fanno oggi tutti i bambini del mondo, anche se c’erano differenze tra il canale del parto delle nostre progenitrici e quello delle donne moderne. A scoprirlo Tim Weaver e Jean Jacques Hublin, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA, che, come riferiscono in una ricerca pubblicata su Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, hanno ricostruito la dimensione e la forma del condotto della nascita (che comprende utero, vagina e vulva), utilizzando una pelvi fossile trovata a Tabun in Israele e confrontata con il canale del parto delle donne moderne. La ricostruzione virtuale, realizzata dai paleontologi, ha mostrato che le donne di Neanderthal possedevano un maggior numero di meccanismi primitivi che facilitavano il parto e che non permettevano la rotazione del corpo del feto quando transitava attraverso il condotto per nascere. Nelle donne moderne questo passaggio di forma ovale cambia, durante il parto, le sue dimensioni e orientamento dal punto di entrata a quello di uscita, costringendo il bambino a ruotare. La rotazione è uno di quei meccanismi che aiuta la madre durante il travaglio e il bambino a venire al mondo. Secondo ricerche precedenti i meccanismi della nascita degli uomini sarebbero il risultato della pressione evolutiva della postura eretta, della deambulazione sulle due estremità degli arti e del dare alla luce bambini con un cervello più grande. Ma, malgrado le differenze anatomiche , il canale del parto del Neanderthal e quello delle donne moderne è sostanzialmente molto simile soprattutto nelle dimensioni, a testimoniare che anche i bambini che nascevano allora erano, più o meno, grandi quanto quelli che nascono oggi e che le difficoltà del parto non sono cambiante in centinaia di migliaia di anni.
 
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Child Delivery Has Never Been Easy

 


Researchers from the University of California at Davis and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig digitally reconstructed the pelvis of a Neanderthal female found in the Tabun Cave in Israel. The virtual model provides valuable insight into how early humans gave birth.

From the announcement issued by Max Planck Institute:

The size of Tabun’s reconstructed birth canal shows that Neanderthal childbirth was about as difficult as in present-day humans. However, its shape indicates that Neanderthals retained a more primitive birth mechanism than modern humans, without rotation of the baby’s body.A significant shift in childbirth apparently happened quite late in human evolution, during the last 400,000 – 300,000 years. Such a late shift underscores the uniqueness of human childbirth and the divergent evolutionary trajectories of Neanderthals and the lineage leading to present-day humans.

The virtual reconstruction of the pelvis from Tabun is going to be the first of its kind to be available for download on the internet for everyone interested in human evolution. The computer files will be available from the websites of University of California at Davis and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

 

Press release: “You will give birth in pain”: Neanderthals too …

Image: Virtual reconstruction of the pelvis of a female Neanderthal from Tabun (Israel). The colours indicate the individual bone fragments that were fit together. The gray wedge shows the estimated configuration of the sacrum (lower part of the spinal column). Credit: Tim Weaver, University of California

source: http://www.medgadget.com/archives/2009/04/child_delivery_has_never_been_easy.html

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Other links:

Childbirth Was Painful for Neanderthal Women, Too

FOXNews – ‎21 ore fa‎
By Clara Moskowitz Neanderthal women had different birth canals than humans today. But childbirth was probably just as difficult, a new study finds.
Neandertals Babies Didn’t Do the… Science Magazine (subscription)

aprile 21, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Ominidi, - Primati, 1 Olocene, An. Vertebrates, Europa, Lang. - Italiano, P - morfologia funzionale, P - Paleoantropologia, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2009-03-11 – “Uomo di Pechino” più vecchio di quanto si pensava (oldest Peking Man)

Evoluzione: l’uomo di Pechino più vecchio di 200mila anni

Virgilio Notizie – ‎16 ore fa‎
(Apcom) – Una nuova analisi fatta sulle ossa fossili dell’Homo erectus di Zhoukoudian, meglio noto come l’uomo di Pechino, rivela che questo reperto

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‘Peking Man’ older than thought

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About the cover

Nature.com (subscription) – ‎3 ore fa‎
The age of Homo erectus, known familiarly as Peking Man, has been hotly debated. This week Shen et al. use a recently developed dating technique that

News and Views

Nature.com (subscription) – ‎3 ore fa‎
Re-evaluation of the age of Zhoukoudian, a prominent site of Homo erectus occupation in China, prompts a rethink of the species’ distribution in both the

Age of Zhoukoudian Homo erectus determined with 26 Al/ 10 Be

Nature.com (subscription) – ‎3 ore fa‎
The age of Zhoukoudian Homo erectus, commonly known as ‘Peking Man’, has long been pursued, but has remained problematic owing to the lack of suitable

Ancient ‘Peking Man’ way older than thought

MSNBC – ‎2 ore fa‎
After the first fossil was found, anthropologists eventually turned up skulls and bones representing at least 40 H. erectus individuals, other mammal
AFP
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News


Zhoukoudian (Dr. Gao Xing, Institute of Vertebrate Palaeotology and Palaeoanthropology)
The Zhoukoudian caves have yielded many fossils of Homo erectus

Iconic ancient human fossils from China are 200,000 years older than had previously been thought, a study shows.

The new dating analysis suggests the “Peking Man” fossils, unearthed in the caves of Zhoukoudian are some 750,000 years old.

The discovery should help define a more accurate timeline for early humans arriving in North-East Asia.

A US-Chinese team of researchers has published its findings in the prestigious journal Nature.

The cave system of Zhoukoudian, near Beijing, is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in the world.

Between 1921 and 1966, archaeologists working at the site unearthed tens of thousands of stone tools and hundreds of fragmentary remains from about 40 early humans.

Palaeontologists later assigned these members of the human lineage to the species Homo erectus.

The pre-war Peking Man fossils vanished in 1941 whilst being transported to the US for safekeeping. Luckily, the palaeontologist Franz Weidenreich had made casts for researchers to study.

Experts have tried various methods over the years to determine the age of the remains. But they have been hampered by the lack of suitable techniques for dating cave deposits such as those at Zhoukoudian.

Open habitats

Now, Guanjun Shen, from Nanjing Normal University in China, and colleagues have applied a relatively new method to the problem.

This method is based on the radioactive decay of unstable forms, or isotopes, of the elements aluminium and beryllium in quartz grains. This enabled them to get a more precise age for the fossils.

The results show the Peking Man fossils came from ground layers that were 680,000-780,000 years old, making them about 200,000 years older than had previously been believed.

Comparisons with other sites show that Homo erectus survived successive warm and cold periods in northern Asia.

Researchers Russell Ciochon and E Arthur Bettis III, from the University of Iowa, US, believe these climatic cycles may have caused the expansion of open habitats, such as grasslands and steppe. These environments would have been rich in mammals that could have been hunted or scavenged by early humans.

Recent revised dates for other hominid occupation sites in North-East Asia show that human habitation of the region began about 1.3 million years ago. The Nature study forms an important addition to this work.

The Peking Man fossils are a vital component of the Out of Africa 1 migration theory, which proposes that Homo erectus first appeared in Africa around two million years ago before spreading north and east (modern humans, Homo sapiens, would follow much later and supplant all other Homo species).

Evidence of the first dispersal comes from the site of Dmanisi in Georgia, where numerous hominid fossils dating to 1.75 million years ago have been unearthed. Finds from Java suggest early humans reached South-East Asia by 1.6 million years ago.

The northern populations represented at Zhoukoudian were probably separated from southern populations represented on the island of Java by a zone of sub-tropical forest inhabited by the giant panda, orangutans, gibbons and a giant ape called Gigantopithecus.

These early humans may have survived in island South-East Asia until 50,000 years ago.

Recent discoveries suggest that on the Indonesian island of Flores, Homo erectus, or another early human species, became isolated and evolved into a dwarf species called Homo floresiensis, nicknamed “The Hobbit”.

It is not clear whether H. erectus ever reached Europe; the earliest European fossils have been assigned to the species Homo antecessor. But this classification is disputed, and some researchers believe the Spanish antecessor fossils do indeed belong with H. erectus.

source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7937351.stm

marzo 11, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Ominidi, - Primati, An. Vertebrates, Asia, Cenozoic, P - Paleoantropologia, Paleontology / Paleontologia, X - Nature, X - Riviste e Multimedia | Lascia un commento