Thursday, October 30, 2008

Italian Iceman Otzi Has No Relatives to Claim His Body After Analysis of Rectum DNA

Otzi, the 5,300 year old Italian iceman's DNA (the arrow-wounded mummy was found in melting ice in the Alps by tourists in 1991) has been extracted to determine if he still has relatives in Europe. Researcher Franco Rollo took the DNA from Otzi's rectum and analyzed mitochondrial matter.

The findings show that Otzi is related to a specific group of individuals in Europe who all share a common ancestral DNA sequence. They belong to one of three sub-lineages, but Otzi's DNA came from a lineage that does not appear to exist today. This could mean that he has no living relatives, or that they haven't been found yet. So no one's claiming him yet.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Evidence of Lost Tribe in Philippines Seen in Confiscated Anthropomorphic Burial Jars

Little is known about the prehistory of the early inhabitants of the Philippines. But Dr. Eusebio Dizon of the National Museum (below left) had uncovered anthropomorphic (human-form) burial jars in the early nineties in Pinol and Maitum caves in Saranggani province in Mindanao that were established to have been made in 5BC. He had to go through rebel-controlled areas just to get to the cave were they were found.

Now, there appears to be a new but much older burial site, perhaps as much as 2,000 years old, and this is reputedly in the nearby town of Palembang in the province of Sulatan Kudarat. This was according to what was told to the Governor Rene Miguel Dominguez of Saranggani. Evidence of this surfaced when police confiscated sacks of snuggled broken pottery. Little did they know that they may have discovered evidence of one of the earliest tribes in the Philippines.

The pot sherds were cruder than those found in Saranggani but also had anthropomorphic depictions and were painted. Faces and arms were obviously a big part of the design. Dizon says the people who made the pottery were not associated with any of the current tribes because these do not depict human forms in their pottery. He said further research needs to be done but the exact location of the plundered site needs to be established. The task is not an easy one because of the presence of rebels.

Evidence of prehistoric tigers found in Palawan in the Philippines

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Altruism May Be the Key to True Love

What makes a man attractive to women? Good looks? A new study led by Tim Phillips, of the Behavior and Ecology Research Group at the University of Nottingham in England and published by Live Science, shows that altruism is also a major factor for women choosing a mate. While it's lesser for men it also ranks high.

So, the question now is "Why would women want men to be altruistic?" In the study, it was discovered that long-time partners rated altruistic behavior highly for one another. According to the researchers, this connection between partners may mean altruism may be a key factor in mate selection. Past studies also suggest that helping for the benefit of another makes a person feel good and is linked with happy unions.

Phillips thinks that "the expansion of the human brain would have greatly increased the cost of raising children so it would have been important for our ancestors to choose mates both willing and able to be good, long-term parents."

So, the next time you wish to impress a girl, tell her you care for her... and also for the homeless... for the hungry cat in the trash bin... for the refugees... for the country... for planet Earth...

How are men like birds when it comes to dating?

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Gamma Radiation Pulsar Found in Supernova Remnant Three Full Moons in Diameter

Ten thousand years ago, when saber-toothed cats and woolly mammoths still roamed the earth, a star exploded in the constellation Cepheus, 4,600 light-years away. Whoever saw it then must have marveled at it's brightness, which must have been visible also during the say.

Today, that cataclysmic explosion has left a circular remnant that's about three full moons in diameter. Scientists have known for a long time that there was something strange about it. They had detected some form of radiation in the vicinity. "Nobody knew where it was coming from," said Alice Harding of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Only lately, when astronomers were testing NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope, that they discovered it to be a pulsar - a neutron star releasing pulses of radiation. What's new about this pulsar is that it was streaming gamma radiation, which was unheard of until then. Pulsars, like the Vela Pulsar (left), have been known to emit radiation in the radio and x-ray wavelengths. Now that astronomers know gamma pulsars exist, they expect to find more.

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