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Oldest metal object found to date in Middle East

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-08-27 00:06
A copper awl, the oldest metal object found to date in the Middle East, was discovered during excavations at Tel Tsaf. The tool dates to the late 6th or early...
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Humans were eating snails 30,000 years ago

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-08-27 00:05
Palaeolithic humans of present-day Spain were eating snails as much as 30,000 years ago - 10,000 years earlier than inhabitants of other Mediterranean regions, according to Javier Fernández-López de Pablo...
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Unexpected Festival returns to Exeter with First World War Centenary work and circus stars

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-08-27 00:00
Back in the city for a second time, Exeter's Unexpected Festival features acclaimed circus group NoFitState and performances at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
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World Museum Liverpool's Green Pigeon is unique and related to Dodo, say scientists

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-08-27 00:00
Scientists in Australia have extracted and purified tiny DNA fragments to draw groundbreaking conclusions about the 230-year-old Green Pigeon held in Liverpool.
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AUDIO: 'Moth stuck in my ear for 48 hours'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 22:36
A man who had a moth stuck in his ear for two days says he is now going to keep it in a jar.
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VIDEO: Scotland reacts to the final debate

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 22:22
The final TV debate between Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together head Alistair Darling saw fiery exchanges on Scottish independence.
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VIDEO: Scotland Decides: Referendum Today

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 20:55
Sarah Smith presents Scotland Decides: Referendum Today, a programme looking at the issues around the Scottish Independence Referendum.
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SA’s Taung Child’s skull and brain not human-like in expansion

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-08-26 16:08
The Taung Child, South Africa’s premier hominin discovered 90 years ago by Wits University Professor Raymond Dart, never seizes to transform and evolve the search for our collective origins.

By subjecting the skull of the first australopith discovered to the latest technologies in the Wits University Microfocus X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) facility, researchers are now casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations found in modern human infants and toddlers – in effect disproving current support for the idea that this early hominin shows infant brain development in the prefrontal region similar to that of modern humans.

This is the Taung Child fossil at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits University.

The results have been published online in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on Monday, 25 August 2014 at 21:00 SAST (15:00 EST), in an article titled: New high resolution CT data of the Taung partial cranium and endocast and their bearing on metopism and hominin brain evolution.

The Taung Child has historical and scientific importance in the fossil record as the first and best example of early hominin brain evolution, and theories have been put forward that it exhibits key cranial adaptations found in modern human infants and toddlers.

To test the ancientness of this evolutionary adaptation, Dr Kristian J. Carlson, Senior Researcher from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, and colleagues, Professor Ralph L. Holloway from Columbia University and Douglas C. Broadfield from Florida Atlantic University, performed an in silico dissection of the Taung fossil using high-resolution computed tomography.

“A recent study has described the roughly 3 million-year-old fossil, thought to have belonged to a 3 to 4-year-old, as having a persistent metopic suture and open anterior fontanelle, two features that facilitate post-natal brain growth in human infants when their disappearance is delayed,” said Carlson.

Comparisons with the existing hominin fossil record and chimpanzee variation do not support this evolutionary scenario.

Citing deficiencies in how the Taung fossil material has been recently assessed, the researchers suggest physical evidence does not incontrovertibly link features of the Taung skull, or its endocast, to early prefrontal lobe expansion, a brain region implicated in many human behaviors.

The authors also debate the previously offered theoretical basis for this adaptation in A. africanus. By refuting the presence of these features in the Taung Child, the researchers dispute whether these structures were selectively advantageous in hominin evolution, particularly in australopiths.

Thus, results of the new study show that there is still no evidence for this kind of skull adaptation that evolved before Homo, nor is there evidence for a link between such skull characteristics and the proposed accompanying early prefrontal lobe expansion, Carlson said.

University of the Witwatersrand

Categories: General

VIDEO: Blind woman subjected to abuse

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 14:53
A woman from Bristol says she has been mugged, punched and threatened since going blind a year ago after having a stroke.
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VIDEO: East Coast Mainline hit by delays

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 13:47
Rail commuters going south on the East Coast Mainline experienced hours of delays after overhead wire cables became damaged on Monday.
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VIDEO: Police stop-and-search code launched

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 13:36
All 43 police forces in England and Wales have signed up to a new voluntary code of conduct for how they use their stop and search powers.
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The Crew of the Last Dornier 17

Wessex Archaeology - Tue, 2014-08-26 12:46
Seventy-four years ago today, at the height of the Battle of Britain, a Royal Air Force fighter plane shot down a German Dornier 17 bomber off the coast of Kent. The Dornier ditched in the sea on the Goodwin Sands. These dangerous sandbanks have earned the nickname ‘Ship Swallowers’ due to the number of ships that have been lost on them and because of the remarkable state of preservation of some of the historic ships that are revealed when the sandbanks move. The pilot and his observer survived to be captured, but the Dornier sank and was ‘swallowed’ by the Goodwins. It was then forgotten. 

Sidescan sonar image: Dornier 17

In the early years of this century a fisherman snagged his nets on an obstruction at the same location. He reported it to local archaeologist Bob Peacock, who dived the site, and found the remains of a mystery aircraft. He then told Wessex Archaeology. We thought it might be important, so we in turn reported it to English Heritage. We were due to carry out a geophysical survey for them in the area and we therefore got the chance to look at the wreck using sidescan sonar. This produced this remarkable image of an almost intact aircraft that looked as though it might be a Dornier.  Eventually this sonar image excited the interest of the RAF Museum and with their assistance we were able to return with our diving team and confirm that the wreck was a Dornier 17. Subsequently the museum embarked on a risky and very brave attempt to recover the wreck for public display, an attempt that was successful in June 2013 when the aircraft finally resurfaced under the glare of the world’s media. It is currently at the RAF Museum in Cosford where the ongoing work of their specialist conservation team to preserve the aircraft, assisted by scientists from Imperial College London, can be seen by visitors. You can read more about their conservation project here.  A major focus of the RAF Museum’s plans for the future revolves around its very popular and important Battle of Britain collection of historic aircraft. What excited the RAF Museum and its sponsors about the aircraft that crashed off Kent is that the Dornier 17, nicknamed the ‘Flying Pencil’ because of its thin and fast shape, is the only major Battle of Britain aircraft not already in that collection; indeed no example of this bomber had been preserved in any museum collection. As an almost intact wreck, the Dornier was therefore unique and nothing less than a world-class aviation archaeology discovery. Wessex Archaeology’s role in the discovery and identification of the Dornier reflects the growing interest in aviation archaeology at sea and helps build upon the major strategic study that we undertook for English Heritage in 2008, Aircraft Crash Sites at Sea. That study demonstrated that despite the time that has elapsed and the numerous threats to their survival, there was evidence that hundreds of aircraft wrecks of the Second World War could lie in the sea off the UK coast. Furthermore, it showed that the potential of those wrecks to inform our understanding of that war and of the development of aviation in the 20th century was very great. Since then our work on aircraft crash sites has continued and we have recently helped the new DP World London Gateway Port to investigate and recover the wreckage of a rare secret prototype Ju 88 bomber, shot down by Norwegian fighter ace Marius Eriksen in the Thames Estuary in 1943.  Today, however, we remember Helmut Reinhardt and Heinz Huhn, the crew members who did not survive the loss of their Dornier 17 in 1940 off Kent – two of the Second World War’s many victims. By Gemma Ingason and Graham Scott 
Categories: General

AUDIO: Anti-terror plan 'disenfranchises'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 12:12
A leading Muslim figure has criticised the government's counter-terrorism strategy, claiming it turns young people to extremism.
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AUDIO: Pet Shop Boys cameo on The Archers

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 11:10
Pop duo the Pet Shop Boys have made a cameo appearance on Radio 4's The Archers.
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AUDIO: Wizz Jones: Unsung guitar hero

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 10:15
Evan Davis hears from influential guitarist Wizz Jones and fan Pete Paphides.
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VIDEO: Clegg dons traditional dress in India

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 10:02
Nick Clegg wore traditional India clothing while on a visit to a Sikh temple and community kitchen in Delhi.
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VIDEO: Ebola doctor's traumatic experiences

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 08:19
A doctor from Cardiff talks of her "traumatic" experiences helping Ebola victims in the west African state of Liberia.
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VIDEO: Trainspotting older than thought

BBC test - Tue, 2014-08-26 07:49
A new record of trainspotting has been discovered from 1861, 80 years earlier than the hobby was first thought to have begun.
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Troupes and toast modernism as Bestival 2014 prepares to welcome castaway artists

24 Hour Museum - Tue, 2014-08-26 00:00
As well as Beck, Outkast, Foals and friends, the colourful Bestival has an impressive visual arts line-up entertaining the crowds at Robin Hill this year.
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Museum of Archaeology opens Living on the Hills: 10,000 Years of Durham exhibition

24 Hour Museum - Tue, 2014-08-26 00:00
Tools, cup, bowls, everyday objects, art and architecture range from prehistory to Roman and Medieval objects in Durham - many of them found during 1970s excavations.
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