Archive for August 20th, 2006

The Chinese Chariot (221BC)

Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Aug 20 2006

Daily Express

18/08/06

 A team of horses lay frozen at the gallop, revealed to the world after thousands of years. Archaeologists digging at Luoyang, in China’s central Henan province, were astonished to find the animals’ perfectly preserved remains laid out in eerie symmetry, still tethered to the chariot they had been pulling.

Historians believe the remains date from the Eastern Zhou dynasty, which ended in the year 221BC. If that is correct, it would make the chariot with its delicately spoked wheels, a marvel of engineering for its time.

Theories about how the horses came to be entombed include death on the battlefield or in a landslide.

However, some experts think the careful, almost ceremonial arrangement of the animals could indicate that they were laid to rest with care, possibly alongside their owner.

Indon Hobbit ‘Was Disabled Caveman’

Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Aug 20 2006

 

 

August 20, 2006 12:00

FOSSILISED remains which Australian researchers hailed as a previously unknown species of miniature human probably belonged to a disabled caveman, a new study has concluded.

The discovery by Australian and Indonesian archaeologists of a skull and bones on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004 was thought to be a major development in tracing human evolution.

Nicknamed the hobbit, the 1m skeleton was by far the smallest ever found, with a brain the size of a grapefruit. However, a new study contends the remains probably belonged to an early human suffering from microcephaly, a condition that causes an abnormally small head and other deformities, London’s Sunday Times reports.

The paper quotes a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of America’s most respected scientific institutions, as suggesting the initial evaluation of the remains was flawed.

“The skeletal remains do not represent a new species, but some of the ancestors of modern human pygmies who live on the island today,” the report said. “The individual exhibits a combination of characteristics that are not primitive but instead regional and not unique but found in other modern human populations.” The original team was co-directed by Michael Morwood from Australia’s University of New England at Armidale in NSW and Professor Radien Soejono of the Indonesian Research Centre for Archaeology.

Robert Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolutionary morphology at Pennsylvania State University, who was part of the new team, criticised the original study for comparing the skeleton with those of homo sapiens primarily from Europe. He said a more accurate understanding of the “hobbit” emerged when compared against humans from the same region.

Several researchers have already expressed doubts over the original findings, which were published in leading British science journal, Nature, in October 2004. In March last year Adelaide University professor of anatomical sciences Maciej Henneberg said he believed the hominid was suffering from some variation of microcephaly.