Vikings sought more than wealth from raids

New research suggests that the pursuit of wealth was not the only driver of the Viking hit-and-run raids on monastic communities such as Lindisfarne and Iona. Steve Ashby, of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, believes that the raids gave participants prestige. “The lure of the exotic, of the world beyond the … Continue reading Vikings sought more than wealth from raids

Skeleton of Alexander the Great’s father?

Anthropologists are hopeful they have discovered the remains of Alexander the Great’s father. A new analysis of bones from a Macedonian tomb reveals a skeleton with a knee injury that matches some historical records of one sustained by Philip II. But, as Live Science reports, not everyone is convinced and the findings have sparked a fresh … Continue reading Skeleton of Alexander the Great’s father?

Earliest attempts at dentistry

A 14,000-year-old molar of a young man shows the earliest evidence of dentistry, a new report says. “It predates any undisputed evidence of dental and cranial surgery, currently represented by dental drillings and cranial trephinations dating back to the Mesolithic-Neolithic period, about 9,000-7,000 years ago,” says Stefano Benazzi, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Bologna who led … Continue reading Earliest attempts at dentistry

Newly discovered dinosaur

North-eastern China continues to amaze scientists with its rich treasure trove of feathered dinosaur fossils. The latest to be unearthed is a spectacularly preserved, nearly complete fossil of a creature with wings like those of a bird, and rows of savage teeth, suggesting the creature was a “fluffy feathered poodle from hell”. The researchers said the … Continue reading Newly discovered dinosaur

The diet that helped us defeat Neanderthals

A diet of rabbit meat may have been the key to modern humans sweeping the Neanderthals from Europe and becoming the dominant species, researchers from Bournemouth University suggest. They analysed rabbit bone remains found in caves in Spain and Portugal and concluded the animals were a staple of the modern human diet. Neanderthals meanwhile ate mainly … Continue reading The diet that helped us defeat Neanderthals

The big five mass extinctions

Biologists suspect we’re living through the sixth major mass extinction. Earth has witnessed five mass extinctions when more than 75% of species disappeared. Palaeontologists spot them when species go missing from the global fossil record, including the iconic specimens shown here. “We don’t always know what caused them but most had something to do with … Continue reading The big five mass extinctions

Sabre-toothed cat’s teeth growth rate

The terrifying, dagger-like teeth of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon fatal is grew at twice the rate of those of modern big cats, a new study has found. However, the teeth in the prehistoric species emerged later in life and even despite their relatively fast growth-rate, the canine teeth were not fully developed until the cat was three … Continue reading Sabre-toothed cat’s teeth growth rate

New dinosaur discovered in South Africa

South African and Argentinian palaeontologists have discovered a new 200 million year old dinosaur from South Africa, and named it Sefapanosaurus, from the Sesotho word “sefapano”, meaning “cross”. The researchers from South Africa’s University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), and from the Argentinian Museo de La Plata and … Continue reading New dinosaur discovered in South Africa

Grandfather of all turtles found in a quarry

A 240-million-year-old lizard-like animal discovered in a quarry in southern Germany is a key missing link in the evolutionary history of turtles. The 20-centimetre long animal has been named Pappochelys, or “grandfather turtle”. “The mystery of how the turtle got its shell has been a long-standing question in evolutionary biology,” said Hans-Dieter Sues, curator of vertebrate paleontology … Continue reading Grandfather of all turtles found in a quarry