Laziness killed the Homo erectus, ANU study finds

An archaeological excavation of ancient human populations in the Arabian Peninsula during the Early Stone Age, found that Homo erectus used 'least-effort strategies' for tool making and collecting resources.

This 'laziness' paired with an inability to adapt to a changing climate likely played a role in the species going extinct, according to lead researcher Dr. Ceri Shipton of the ANU School of Culture, History and Language.

"To make their stone tools they would use whatever rocks they could find lying around their camp, which were mostly of comparatively low quality to what later stone tool makers used.

This is in contrast to the stone tool makers of later periods, including early Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, who were climbing mountains to find good quality stone and transporting it over long distances.

Not only were they lazy, but they were also very conservative.
The sediment samples showed the environment around them was changing, but they were doing the exact same things with their tools.

There was no progression at all, and their tools are never very far from these now dry river beds. I think in the end the environment just got too dry for them."

The excavation and survey work was undertaken in 2014 at the site of Saffaqah near Dawadmi in central Saudi Arabia.


Remembering The Odessa Massacre: 2 May 2014

"The 2nd of May marks the three year anniversary of one of the most tragic events of the 21st century. 42 peaceful protesters were killed when gangs of fascist thugs, most from far outside the region, went on a rampage that can only be described as hellish."



Australia's megafauna


"Ancient giant animals that once roamed Australia were not wiped out by climate change as was previously assumed, a study has shown. Human communities that lived on the continent 50,000 years ago might instead have hunted the megafauna to extinction.

Around 45,000 years ago, many of the unique megafauna species that thrived in Australia disappeared. Among the casualties were huge 1,000-pound kangaroos, two-tonne wombats known as diprotodons, and 400-pound flightless birds. There were also 25-foot-long lizards that looked right out of a sci-fi movie, and marsupial lions and tortoises the size of a car were also decimated in just a few hundred years."


Mysterious gap in evolutionary transition


"A 15-million-year gap in the tetrapod fossil record, called Romer's Gap, made that classic tale more of an estimation than something set in stone – until now.

An interdisciplinary team of paleontologists, geologists, and other specialists describe five new tetrapod species from fossils dating within just that gap, from about 360 million to 345 million years ago, in a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. And these new fossils are already revealing insights into the deep evolutionary history of life on Earth."


A Telling Smile and a new perspective after recent analysis of prehistoric teeth

Scientists now suggest that the remains of Homo floresiensis, popularly known as the Hobbit, seem to show it belonged to a unique species of hominin, rather than being a modern human with a physical deformities.

The analysis goes against previous theories that the Hobbit had teeth exactly like modern humans, and therefore were merely an enclave of people who suffered from microcephaly, a rare neurological condition resulting in an abnormally small head, a small body and developmental issues.

The Hobbit teeth showed blended traits of primitive and modern human, and were found to be most similar to Java Man. Credit: Yousuke Kaifu

Homo floresiensis reconstruction


the improbably young galaxy

This image - made up of exposures in visible and infrared light taken
with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Elderly galaxies tend to be more massive through mergers and
collisions with other galaxies. They are enriched with heavy elements
forged in stellar furnaces over multiple generations of stars, and
contain stars as old as the galaxy itself.
Young galaxies are mostly composed of the lighter primordial elements
hydrogen, helium, and lithium, which were created in the Big Bang.
Based on its structure, appearance, and chemical composition the galaxy - named DDO 68 - seems relatively youthful.

Young galaxies are commonly only found in the very distant universe. It
takes a long time for the light from these galaxies to reach us so we
see them as they were billions of years ago, when they were still very

However, DDO 68 is only 39 million light years away and usually all the
galaxies near us are old - like our own 12 billion year old Milky Way

Is DDO 68 a young galaxy?

Indonesian cave art

Hidden in a network of seven caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, Australian researchers have dated a series of paintings to nearly 40,000 years old. This is the oldest confirmed cave art anywhere outside Europe.

The discovery, made by a team led by Dr Maxime Aubert at Griffith University in Queensland, is revealed today in the journal Nature. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v514/n7521/full/nature13422.html

The age of the paintings was determined by measuring ratios of isotopes of uranium and thorium in ‘cave popcorn’ – tiny stalactites that had formed on top of the paintings.


The weird rainbow

Is it a rainbow serpent?

or is it an alien?

or is it a ufo?

or is it a rapture?

no it is a fallstreak cloud also known as a punch hole cloud,

“They form when the water temperature in the cloud is below freezing,
but the water has not yet frozen due to a lack of ice nucleation
When the water does start to freeze, it falls down to
the surface ... so you’re left with this cloud surrounding it, this
clear area.”