On the frozen edge of the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, in an ancient pantry harboring seeds and other stores, an Arctic ground squirrel burrowed into the dirt and buried a small, dark fruit from a flowering plant. The squirrel's prize quickly froze in the cold ground and was preserved in permafrost, waiting to grow into a fully fledged flowering plant until it was unearthed again. After 30,000 years, it finally was. Scientists in Russia have now regenerated this Pleistocene plant, transplanting it into a pot in the lab. A year later, it grew forth and bore fruit.
The specimen is distinctly different from the modern-day version of Silene stenophylla, or narrow-leafed Campion. It suggests that the permafrost is a potential new source of ancient gene pools long believed to be extinct, scientists said.
Upon examining a piece of Attic pottery, certain words may come to mind: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" — and some would have you believe that is all you need to know here on Earth. But in space, you need to know a bit more.
It’s long been known that the stone monoliths that make up the mysterious Stonehenge site in the UK traveled a great distance to get there, but up to this point the exact origin of the stones was unknown. Now, a team of British geologists have found the exact site from which the innermost circle of bluestone rocks were quarried.
A prehistoric mobile toolkit buried in milky creek sediments in central Texas shows humans first settled North America 2,500 years earlier than previously thought. The finding could shatter the prevailing theory of paleo-American settlement, which holds that people left northeast Asia via a land bridge through the Bering Strait and settled the continent 13,000 years ago.
All the news about devastating tsunamis is drawing greater attention to a new claim that researchers have found the lost city of Atlantis — buried in mud on the southern tip of Spain. Scientists say they have found proof of a 4,000-year-old civilization that was buried by a tsunami.
eBay may turn household junk into online treasure, but archaeologists held their breaths in horrified anticipation when the site first launched over a decade ago thinking that the illegal artifacts market would surely explode in a frenzy of looting.
Now the same archaeologists conclude that the online auction site has had a very different impact on their field. Looting ancient sites turns out to be less profitable than just churning out the fakes and hawking them on eBay.
If your son was captain of the high school football team around 2,000 years ago, the mantle in your living room might look something like this: blue ribbon, gold medal, championship trophy, severed head from the opposing team on a string. Historians, archaeologists, scientists, and people with interesting hobbies have long known that the ancient South American culture responsible for the Nazca Lines in the highlands of Peru collected human heads as trophies.
Museums arent just for ancient artifacts—theyre also for blogs, wikis and podcasts. The Dana Centre at Londons Science Museum electrifies itself this week with a festival of do-it-yourself media. Researchers and artists will lead workshops (BYO laptop) showing novices how to mix their own digital music or use open-source publishing tools. Attendees will learn more about their newfound power at evening lectures on copyright protection, online communities and the like. Please, someone buy a ticket to London so that you can report back on what Robotic Feral Public Authoring is. —Lauren Aaronson