The dark side of religion

  How ritual human sacrifice helped create unequal societies   Ritual human sacrifice played a central role in helping those at the top of the social hierarchy maintain power over those at the bottom. This is the central finding of a study published today in Nature. Researchers from the University of Auckland’s School of Psychology, […]

Genetics reveals the impact of lifestyle on evolution

  Researchers find differences between ethnic groups living as farmers and those engaged in traditional hunter-gatherer activities   Scientists have long thought that the rate with which mutations occur in the genome does not depend on cultural factors. The results of a current study suggest this may not be the case. A team of researchers […]

Advanced Technology Leads to New Discoveries into How an Ancient Civilization Conserved Water

  High-resolution, aerial imagery bears significance for researchers on the ground investigating how remote, ancient Maya civilizations used and conserved water.     Collection, storage and management of water were top priorities for the ancient Maya, whose sites in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala were forced to endure seven months out of the year with very […]

What really happened on Easter Island?

Hundreds of iconic moai statues stand testament to the vibrant civilization that once inhabited Easter Island, but there are far fewer clues about why this civilization mysteriously vanished. Did they shortsightedly exhaust the island’s resources? Were they decimated by European illnesses and slave trade? Or did stow-away rats devastate the native ecosystem? Such theories have […]

Researchers link climate changes, Pueblo social disruption

  PULLMAN, Wash. – The heavily studied yet largely unexplained disappearance of ancestral Pueblo people from southwest Colorado is “the most vexing and persistent question in Southwestern archaeology,” according to the New York Times.   But it’s not all that unique, say Washington State University scientists.   Writing in the journal Science Advances, they say […]

Ancient DNA shows European wipe-out of early Americans

    The first largescale study of ancient DNA from early American people has confirmed the devastating impact of European colonisation on the Indigenous American populations of the time.   Led by the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), the researchers have reconstructed a genetic history of Indigenous American populations by looking […]

Indonesian ‘Hobbits’ may have died out sooner than thought

  An ancient species of pint-sized humans discovered in the tropics of Indonesia may have met their demise earlier than once believed, according to an international team of scientists who re-investigated the original finding.   Published in the journal Nature this week, the group challenges reports that these inhabitants of remote Flores island co-existed with […]