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Meet ‘Hercules’—the giant parrot that dwarfs its modern cousins

Reconstruction of the giant parrot Heracles, dwarfing a bevy of 8cm high Kuiornis — small New Zealand wrens scuttling about on the forest floor. Credit: Dr Brian Choo, Flinders University Australasian palaeontologists have discovered the world’s largest parrot, standing up to 1m tall with a massive beak able to crack most food sources. The new […]

Ancient soil provides a window to the past

In order to minimize contamination from modern environmental conditions, CCAS senior Noelle Purcell digs beneath the surface of paleosols before taking samples. Credit: Noelle Purcell Noelle Purcell, a senior in the Columbian College of Arts and Science, spent the first half of her summer in northern Kenya trying to better understand the environmental context of […]

Maya more warlike than previously thought

This view from a recent lidar survey shows the entire ceremonial center stretching for 2 kilimeters along a limestone ridge overlooking Laguna Ek’Naab (white spot), the sampling site for this paleoenvironmental study. Credit: Francisco Estrada-Belli, PACUNAM & Tulane University What was the role of warfare in Mayan civilization? New evidence from lake sediments around the […]

New species of early dinosaur described from South Africa

Ngwevu intloko skull. Credit: Kimberley Chapelle A new dinosaur species has been discovered after laying misidentified in a museum collection for 30 years. Prof Paul Barrett, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum, is part of a team that reassessed the specimen, which is held at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Along with his […]

The shape of the cochlea is an indicator of sex

Average female (left) and male (right) shapes for the cochlear spiral curve, whose torsion has been coded on a coloured scale. While the two forms are oriented in the same way, the geometric differences are visible. Credit: C. Samir, A. Fradi, and J. Braga The auditory section of the inner ear, or the “cochlea,” does […]

Archaeologist works with tribe to explore its history and to repair historic injustices

Analynn Toya of Jemez Pueblo, N.M., shows Harvard archaeologist Matt Liebmann broken pottery dating to the 17th century. The 10-year-old discovered the pieces near her grandmother’s home. Credit: Mark Liebmann Archaeology Professor Matthew Liebmann has been collaborating with the Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico for two decades, having served as tribal archaeologist and Native […]

Who were the mysterious Neolithic people that enabled the rise of ancient Egypt? Here’s what we’ve learned on our digs

Excavation site. Credit: Author provided To many, ancient Egypt is synonymous with the pharaohs and pyramids of the Dynastic period starting about 3,100BC. Yet long before that, about 9,300-4,000BC, enigmatic Neolithic peoples flourished. Indeed, it was the lifestyles and cultural innovations of these peoples that provided the very foundation for the advanced civilisations to come. […]

Cute marsupial had a fierce fossil relative

Reconstruction of Sparassocynus feeding on a small rodent . Credit: Velizar Simeonovski Short-tailed opossums are cute little marsupials which live in South America, but a new discovery shows they had a fierce fossil relative. In a paper just published, a joint British and Argentinian research team have shown that a weasel-like carnivorous marsupial called Sparassocynus, […]

An ancient Egypt-to-Black Sea route? Adventurers to test theory

Goerlitz and his team say they drew inspiration for the design of the 14-metre boat from ancient rock drawings from upper Egypt and the Caucasus Were the ancient Egyptians able to use reed boats to travel as far as the Black Sea thousands of years ago? A group of adventurers believe so, and will try […]

Chinatown archaeological dig cut short

In this July 8, 2019 file photo Sarah Keklak, archaeology lab manager for the city of Boston, sorts samples at the first historical excavation, in Boston’s Chinatown. The archaeological dig has been cut short after it turned up a 1980s music cassette, a toy dinosaur and other bric-a-brac. The city’s Archaeology Program tweeted Tuesday, July […]