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Showing posts from May 16, 2016

Roman-Era Shipwreck Yields Moon Goddess Statue, Coin Stashes

A ship in Israel's Caesarea Harbor was filled with bronze statues headed for recycling when it sank about 1,600 years ago. Now, thanks to a chance discovery by a pair of divers, archaeologists have salvaged a haul of statuary fragments, figurines and coins from the seafloor. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced today (May 16) the discovery of the Late Roman-era artifacts, which include a figurine of a moon goddess and a lamp carrying the likeness of a sun god.


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Elephantiasis: What Causes This Strange Condition?

A Brazilian man with elephantiasis, a rare condition in which people's limbs become discolored and swell to enormous sizes, was recently featured on the popular Animal Planet show "River Monsters," which often films in tropical, heavily forested locales. As the name "elephantiasis" implies, the condition causes a person's limb to resemble that of an elephant. Elephantiasis is actually a complication of a parasitic infection called lymphatic filariasis.


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Newfound Ax Blade May Be World's Oldest, Researchers Say

What could be the world's oldest stone ax blade has been identified from fragments found in an ancient rock shelter in northwest Australia, according to archaeologists. The ax fragments were found in layers of sediment at Carpenter's Gap, a large rock shelter in Windjana Gorge National Park,in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Using carbon dating, the fragments are estimated to be between 46,000 and 49,000 years old — much older than similar composite stone axes found elsewhere in Australia and Japan that date from between 30,000 and 35,000 years ago, the researchers said.


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Why Belief in Witchcraft Can Do Harm

Belief in witchcraft is linked to a lack of trust for people in sub-Saharan Africa, new research finds. In regions where witchcraft belief is high, people are less likely to trust others, including their family, neighbors and local institutions, American University economist Boris Gershman reports in the May issue of the Journal of Development Economics. "What's more, the children of immigrants from countries with high prevalence of witchcraft beliefs are more distrusting than children of immigrants from other countries," Gershman found, suggesting that such beliefs may contribute to the formation of persistent antisocial attitudes.

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Newly Discovered Fetus Is Youngest Egyptian Mummy on Record

A computed tomography (CT) scan of the coffin revealed that the coffin didn't hold mummified internal organs, as researchers had suspected, but instead contains the tiny mummy of a human fetus, according to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. "This landmark discovery … is remarkable evidence of the importance that was placed on official burial rituals in ancient Egypt, even for those lives that were lost so early on in their existence," museum researchers said in a statement. The British School of Archaeology originally uncovered the 17-inch-long (44 centimeters) coffin in Giza in 1907, and the Fitzwilliam Museum added the coffin to the museum collection that same year.


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Insect Astronomers? Dung Beetles 'Photograph' the Sky While Dancing

For dung beetles, that means a dance and a mental photograph. A new study finds that dung beetles take a snapshot of the positions of celestial bodies while "dancing" on top of a ball of dung. Previous research discovered that dung beetles, like other insects, use the light of the Milky Way to navigate.


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Volcanoes Spit Out 4.5-Billion-Year-Old Pieces of Earth

Materials from Earth's mantle that were created within the first 50 million years of the solar system's birth have been discovered. In fact, the material — found within volcanic rock on Canada's Baffin Island and in a region near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific — is about 4.5 billion years old, researchers said in a new study.


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