ancient

The surprising ancient history of the hedge apple

When the fruits of the Osage orange tree fall to the ground in autumn, they demand notice. For one thing, they’re the size of softballs—the largest fruit of any tree native to North America. For another, they’re bright green.

On top of that they have a strange story that few people know.

Osage orange trees are not related to oranges; they’re more closely related to mulberries. Even more confusingly, the most common name for their fruit is hedge apple (though they’re also called horse apples, Irish snowballs, or monkey brains).

Not many animals or humans eat these neither-oranges-nor-apples. Though a

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How I reconstructed an unwritten ancient African language

Africa is humankind’s home continent. Homo sapiens, with the anatomical and cognitive capacity to have human language as we know it today, originated in Africa between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago.

Then, as an abundant fossil and archaeological record makes clear, some of our human ancestors left Africa. They spread to neighbouring continents, taking their languages with them. Others remained behind; their descendants speak what we call “African languages”, pointing to these communities’ long histories on the home continent.

There were also those who migrated out of Africa and whose descendants later returned. These include the ancestors of

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Decoding Human History With Ancient DNA From Extinct Archaic Humans

This year is the 20th anniversary of sequencing the human genome. In honor of this event, a research team led by Prof. FU Qiaomei from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reviewed the most recent progress in the field of ancient DNA (aDNA), i.e., DNA obtained from the remains of past organisms. 

This review, entitled “Insights into human history from the first decade of ancient human genomics,” was published in Science on September 24, 2021. 

Ancient DNA research began with short DNA fragments and subsequently advanced due to the broad application

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Eight Ancient Languages Still Spoken Today

More than 7,000 languages are spoken in the world today. Papua New Guinea holds the record for most languages in one country, with an estimated 840. Even the United States, a country not known for its multilingualism, is home to over 350 languages.

But languages, much like animals, can become extinct. You probably won’t encounter someone speaking Coptic (an Ancient Egyptian language) at your local coffee shop. And though Latin is still used and even occasionally spoken, it is no longer the native tongue of any community of speakers.

Still, some languages are survivors; many of those spoken today

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Reinventing the ancient Benin economy | The Guardian Nigeria News

Edo modular refinery

The Bight of Benin is metaphorical of the economic exploit of the ancient empire before the greed of Europe vanquished the empire. Their visit and subsequent attack blighted the unequalled economic adventure of the ancient kingdom.

Notwithstanding the European invasion and the epic battle for the economic soul of the empire, the modern Benin City, and, indeed, the entire Edo State, is synonymous with artistic ingenuity.

The creative works in the forms of sculptures, paintings, bronzes and many others are as rich as the history of civilisation, earning it “the Great City of Benin” as far back

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8 Facts About Ancient Egypt’s Hieroglyphic Writing

Next to the pyramids, the Sphinx and mummies, one of the most intriguing discoveries from ancient Egyptian civilization is a form of writing that appears like stylized pictures of people, animals and objects. Hieroglyphic writing, whose name comes from hieroglyphikos, the Greek word for “sacred carving,” has been found carved into stone walls more than 5,000 years ago, and was used up until the 4th century A.D.

The Egyptians adorned the insides of their temples, monuments and tombs with hieroglyphic writing and wrote it on papyrus, an ancient paper made from reeds.

Below are nine key facts about

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Name of ancient cat discovered in Oregon honors ‘extinct’ language

An artist’s depiction of the Machairodus lahayishupup eating Hemiauchenia, a camel relative. The image is part of a mural of the Rattlesnake Formation of Central Oregon, where fossils of the newly identified feline species have been found. The mural is exhibited at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, part of the National Park Service.

Roger Witter

The recent naming of a saber-toothed cat species in the words of Oregon’s Cayuse people shows how languages considered extinct remain relevant today, and highlights the role that Indigenous cultures can play in paleontology.

There are no longer any fluent Cayuse speakers and only

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What Archaeology Tells Us About the Ancient History of Eating Kosher | Science

In 2017, archaeologist Yonatan Adler and friends paid tribute to a retiring colleague with speeches about how their respective work in the field of archaeology was influenced by each other. After Adler spoke about his research on the mikveh, the Jewish ritual bath, Omri Lernau—senior research fellow at Haifa University and Israel’s top authority on all things fish—spoke about remains of aquatic creatures unearthed in ancient Judean settlements. He mentioned catfish, skate and shark.

Adler, who works at Israel’s Ariel University, was instantly intrigued. According to the Jewish laws of kashrut—the set of rules written in the Torah, the

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A brief history of plastic surgery, from ancient Egypt to Beverly Hills

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

Plastic surgery has become synonymous with the quest for youth and beauty, albeit with varying degrees of success. But the field has, for centuries, been driven by medical necessity — and it has nothing to do with plastic.

The discipline derives its name from the Greek word “plastikos” — to mold or give form. And while the idea of perfecting yourself surgically is a relatively recent phenomenon, there is evidence of reconstructive surgery going back to antiquity.

The oldest-known procedures appear in an ancient Egyptian medical text called the “Edwin Smith Papyrus.” Thought to be
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South China Morning PostAn ancient Chinese history lesson for today’s Hong KongHistory is not necessarily a guide to the future, though it sometimes offers interesting parallels and stimulates thoughts about the present.1 day ago

South China Morning PostAn ancient Chinese history lesson for today’s Hong KongHistory is not necessarily a guide to the future, though it sometimes
offers interesting parallels and stimulates thoughts about the present.1 day ago… Read More