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Odd fossils hint first complex life hung on long after its time

Posted on 22 Dec 2017 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology

A strange 380-million-year-old fossil that was initially identified as a worm might actually be the last known survivor of an early form of life that no one fully understands. So claims one palaeontologist – but others are sceptical. Image: Ryan Somma

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2018 preview: Get ready to meet your newest long-lost ancestor

Posted on 19 Dec 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism

The 21st century has so far been a golden age of hominin discovery. New species like the 7-million-year-old Sahelanthropus tchadensis and the 300,000-year-old Homo naledi have added to our understanding of humanity’s past. And the finds will keep coming. Image: James St. John

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Hoax or not? Three ancient texts with controversial origins

Posted on 15 Dec 2017 in Archaeology, Journalism

The Beyköy text, published this month by Eberhard Zangger and Fred Woudhuizen, is far from the first archaeological text to have been disputed. Here are three others that show it can be surprisingly hard to tell a hoax from the genuine article. Image: Zangger/Woudhuizen

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Venice may be almost 200 years older than anyone thought

Posted on 14 Dec 2017 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

Deep beneath the elaborate mosaic floor of Venice’s Saint Mark’s Basilica, archaeologists have discovered two 1300-year-old peach stones. The find may add 180 years to the history of the iconic floating city. Image: Sergey Galyonkin

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Giant tortoises are rare today but once roamed four continents

Posted on 13 Dec 2017 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism

Tortoises evolved into giants on at least seven occasions and on four continents. The finding undermines the long-standing idea that tortoises become enormous only if they are stranded on remote islands. Image: Charles Luk

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How World War Zero wrecked three Bronze Age civilisations

Posted on 13 Dec 2017 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

In June, Eberhard Zangger had an experience most archaeologists only dream of: his very own Tutankhamun moment. Just as Howard Carter had done in 1922 when he entered the boy king’s intact tomb, Zangger was exploring a chamber with the potential to revolutionise archaeology. Image: Following Hadrian

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