Friday, October 21, 2016

In the News: Monkeys and rodents and medicine - Oh my!

Fig.1. Capuchin monkeys may have had a role in the creation of early tools. (Credit: Nature)

This week we take a look at archaeological and other earth-based research. While archaeology has traditionally been about the study of human activity, what does it mean if our primate cousins can make tools similar to those of ancient humans? That and more in this week’s round up!
  • Stone tools have been found across many archaeological sites and are some of the earliest known indicators of human activity. However, a recent discovery of Capuchin monkey behavior put the origin of these tools into question - anthropologists filmed these monkeys in the process of creating similar tools. While it is unlikely that these monkeys or their predecessors would have used tools similarly to humans, this evidence shows that the creation of them could be a bit harder to discern. Those Ancient Stone Tools — Did Humans Make Them, Or Was It Really Monkeys? NPR News (19 October 2016)
  • Wild Archaeology is a documentary series exploring the archaeological record of indigenous peoples of Canada. Catch an interview with one of the researchers or view full episodes and much more on their website. Indigenous, Extreme and Wild Archaeology, Anthropology News (14 October 2016)
  • Archaeologists in the UK have identified that voles were once a common element in the diet of early populations on the Orkney archipelago, and postulate they were brought to the islands with cattle and deer to help sustain the communities. Stone Age people 'roasted rodents for food' - archaeologists, BBC News (19 October 2016)
  • The National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin contains a variety of accessions collected throughout Ireland. The information within offers suggestions on how to cure a number of ailments and thus a window into the common regional ailments - like warts, toothaches, and thrush. Herbal medicine: A relic of the past or a signpost of the future? The Irish Times (11 October 2016)
  • Have you ever heard of a subterranean research lab? There’s one in South Dakota in an old gold mine and they’re currently researching how rocks fracture, an important piece of information for the development of geothermal energy sources. Underground Science: Berkeley Lab Digs Deep For Clean Energy Solutions, News Center (19 October 2016)

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