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Your Inner Neanderthal -“Compelling Evidence Found for Interbreeding With Humans”

Researchers believe they have pinpointed the skeletal remains of the first known human-Neanderthal hybrid, according to a study published this May in the peer reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE. The finding came from northern Italy, where some 40,000 years ago scientists believe Neandertals and humans lived near each other, but developed separate and distinctly different cultures. A segment of a jawbone found during an archaeological dig in the area reveals that the bone’s owner had facial features attributable to both modern humans and Neanderthals, the study explains.

A remarkable finding in 2011 could answer the question whether our human ancestors and the Neanderthals interbred some time after both species left Africa many thousands of years ago. Only 10 years after scientists triumphantly decoded the human genome, an international research team mapped the genes of the long-extinct Neanderthal people and report there’s a pinch of Neanderthal in all of us.

The 2011 report capped more than five years of intensive work by a group of 56 international scientists led by German paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo and Richard E. Green of UC Santa Cruz.

The project’s scientists used tiny specks of powdered bone retrieved from three Neanderthal females who died in a Croatian cave more than 40,000 years ago to complete the draft of the Neanderthal genome. They then compared the genes to those of modern humans living today in five different regions of the world: France, Papua New Guinea, China, and southern and northern Africa.

The research concluded that humans living today carry between 1 and 4 percent of Neanderthal genes that carry the code for proteins in our bodies. Those genes must have entered our lineage sometime during a 50,000-year period when the Neanderthals and humans left Africa through the Middle East and spread throughout Europe and Asia. The Neanderthals became extinct about 30,000 years ago.

The complete genomes of the Neanderthals and modern humans, whose lineages separated from some unknown common ancestor at least 400,000 years ago, are 99.5 percent identical. They are, in fact, our closest evolutionary relatives. By comparison, humans and chimpanzees share 98 percent of their genes.

The scientists analyzed 4 billion units of Neanderthal DNA, called nucleotides – at least 60 percent of the Neanderthal’s entire genome. While incomplete, Pääbo told reporters during a teleconference this week that 60 percent “is a very good statistical sample of the entire genome.”

Finding the Neanderthal genes in people living today provides “compelling” evidence that thousands of years ago some interbreeding occurred between the two species, Green said.

The Daily Galaxy via PLoS One, http://news.discovery.com/human/evolution/neanderthal-skeleton-provides-evidence-of-interbreeding-with-humans-130327.htm and http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-05-07/news/20887992_1_neanderthal-genes-neanderthal-dna-neanderthal-genome

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Ancient

Gunung Padang – who built the oldest structure on Earth

The West Java region of Indonesia is home to the impressive Gunung Padang megalithic site and is arguably the oldest in the world. Locals consider it a sacred place and call it the “Mountain of Light” or “The Mountain of Enlightenment”. 

According to legend, it was built by King Silavanga in one night. The hill, discovered by Dutch colonists in 1914, puzzled the whole world.

Mountain of Enlightenment (Gunung Padang)
Mountain of Enlightenment (Gunung Padang)

Gunung Padang consists of five terraces and massive strange columns of volcanic rock. The complex was built with astrological factors in mind. This prompted researchers to consider the mountain a place of worship. Preliminary research indicates that the entire hill was once a large pyramid.

Gunung Padang consists of five terraces
Gunung Padang consists of five terraces

In 2011, geological studies of the mysterious megalithic complex were carried out. The age of the upper section of 6,500 years has been determined using carbon radiometric dating. 3-4 meters below the surface – 12,500 years. As it deepened, the age of the structure increased to 25 thousand years. The artifacts found on the surface are approximately 4,800 years old. The construction of the facility spans four eras.

Arrangement of the Gunung Padang terraces is similar to Machu Picchu in Peru
Arrangement of the Gunung Padang terraces is similar to Machu Picchu in Peru

These data indicate that Gunung Padang is much older than any known man-made structure in the world. According to geologist Danny Nathavijaya, Gunung Padang is not a natural hill, but a man-made pyramid.

The area of ​​the site is about 25 hectares, unlike, for example, the temple Borobudur , which occupies only 1.5 hectares.3 of 4

Research has shown that ancient workers used complex construction skills. The pyramid is believed to be an advanced work of a long-lost civilization. The primitive people who supposedly lived at that time could not have created this megalithic object, complex in its design. Gunung Padang was built in orientation to the sun and stars, and without astronomical and topographic knowledge it was impossible to build it.

The territory of Gunung Padang is covered with massive rectangular rocks of volcanic origin
The territory of Gunung Padang is covered with massive rectangular rocks of volcanic origin

If the dating is correct, the pyramid was built at a time when sea level was 130 meters lower than it is today. This means that the Java Sea was a fertile plain at that time.

Gunung Padang was built in orientation to the Sun and stars
Gunung Padang was built in orientation to the Sun and stars

There are many more questions than answers in geological analysis data. Who lived in this area 23,000 years ago? Who built this ancient complex and why? And most importantly, what happened to this advanced civilization? Scientists have to find out. It remains only to wait for the opportunity to hear amazing answers to the world.

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Ancient

5 historical figures who laid the foundation of our civilization

We will never know the names of the real builders of civilization, since writing appeared much later than many of the most important inventions. A simple example is booze: absolutely all people, having switched to agriculture, immediately began to grow components for the production of alcohol. 

Some loved beer, others wine, but everyone drank. Who came up with this – we do not know, but this man left an indelible mark on the appearance of our entire species. Forever and ever. We will never know the names of the first worshipers, and even the names of the first gods.

In the end, we will not be able to find out who was the first in history to decide to build a house for himself, but it was the permanent dwelling that became the prerequisite for the creation of larger associations, up to states. We can only talk about those people, information about whom came to us in the form of written sources, that is, about those who lived no later than four and a half thousand years ago. Meet: before you are five outstanding personalities who laid the first bricks of our civilization.

1. Sargon Akkadian

Sargon had a rather low social starting point. According to legend, his mother was a priestess and gave birth to a child in secret. To preserve the secret and the life of the future king, the mother let the baby in a reed basket along the Euphrates River.

The gardener caught the basket and decided to raise the child. First, Sargon became a cup-bearer at the Kish court (this is such a city – Kish), a little later he took the place of a gardener and, finally, reigned on the throne of Akkad. Such a dizzying career is explained by the patronage of the goddess Ishtar. Here we are talking about events that occurred more than four thousand years ago, and therefore it is extremely difficult to separate reality from fiction. For a long time, Sargon’s personality itself was considered mythical, but the findings of recent decades have shed little light. First, such a person really existed, and he was a king. Second, it looks like he really came from the lower strata.

In any case, no hints to the contrary have been found – on the contrary, several new texts confirm the origin. There is also a third important detail: Sargon is a pseudonym, translated as “true king.” And here a logical question arises: why would anyone call themselves that, why exactly “true”? To approve the status. That is, the bearer of this pseudonym was probably not born to the king. One way or another, Sargon united Sumer and Akkad, creating a dominant center of power throughout Mesopotamia. This center only existed for a few centuries, which is not very impressive. However, during this time the Akkadian language spread over large areas, subsequently becoming the main language of Assyria and Babylon.

2. Scorpio I

The history of Egypt is so long and confusing that scientists periodically have to change the boundaries of the study area. First, the 3,000 years, during which Egypt no doubt existed, was divided into 30 dynasties – just for convenience. The general picture was slowly building up, but new finds were made. Then they introduced the conditional “zero” dynasty, and later – and “twice zero”, or “dynasty 00”. Today, the first full-fledged ruler of Ancient Egypt is Pharaoh Scorpio I – and this is a normal name. His father, for example, was Pharaoh Bull; Pharaoh Furious Catfish and even Pharaoh Khvatala are also known.

However, in those days this title did not yet exist, but for the convenience of all the rulers of Egypt they are called pharaohs. The tomb of Scorpio was discovered only in 1988 – it appeared before archaeologists in a looted form, nevertheless, things were found that could not be stolen in any way. Thousands of years ago, a message has come down to us about the glorious conquests of Scorpio, as well as a list of the conquered cities. It was this Scorpio that the writers of The Mummy Returns had in mind – he was played by Dwayne Johnson. The public liked the character, and as a result we got a spin-off “Scorpion King”, which became an independent franchise.

3. Minos

The Minoan civilization was the first to master writing in the Mediterranean region. It is called so in honor of the first king Minos, who was born from the union of the Phoenician princess of Europe and the supreme god Zeus. Later, Europe, who already had three children, married the King of Crete Asteria.

After his death, Minos claimed the throne, arguing this with his own destiny, which he felt all his life. In addition, Minos assured everyone that, if necessary, he could appeal to the gods, and they would help. Ancient sources contain information about the existence of two kings with this name – Minos I and his grandson Minos II, but this is not reflected in mythology. Perhaps here we are talking about a false Minos or about an heir who really existed, but objectionable to the royal court.

One way or another, the Cretan king laid the foundation for a great civilization, many myths (including about the Minotaur) and, possibly, all Hellas as we know it today. In addition, it is believed that it was the death of the Minoan civilization as a result of the tsunami that hit the island that gave birth to the myth of Atlantis.

4. Huang-di

The history of China begins with the Yellow Emperor Huang-di, who descended from the sky on the moon, holding onto his mustache. Long is a Chinese dragon. It is described like this: the head of a camel, horns of a deer, the neck of a snake, carp scales. Here Huang-di descended to the ground from him and gave people many useful things like a bow and arrow, boats with oars and clothes with shoes.

Sounds like a classic myth, but there’s more to it. Under Huang-ti, the first unified state in China was created, a system of inventory control, a calendar, and soon a full-fledged writing system was invented, but the main thing was the division of land into allotments, which is much more like the motives and actions of an ordinary person. The real name of this historical character has been lost forever in the centuries; the time of his reign dates back to the third millennium BC. After a long struggle and victory over the other leaders of the tribes, Huang-di created a single state of Kunlun.

Perhaps the name Yellow Emperor was taken to facilitate the establishment of contacts with tribes in the Yellow River basin, the name of which translates as “yellow river”. One way or another, for the next thousand years, yellow will become the color of imperial clothing.

5. Puzur-Ashur I

Almost nothing is known about the origin of Puzur-Ashur I; his name means “the secret of Ashur”. Taking advantage of the moment and the weakness of the royal court of the city of Ashur, he seized power and proclaimed a new dynasty. Subsequently, by annexing several more cities, Puzur-Ashur I will create one of the most powerful states of its time – Assyria. It turned out to be a cruel state, but the times were not easy – the beginning of the two thousandth BC. They built the country as best they could – and they did.

Assyria is the first state in history (at least known to science) with a long border. That is, not just a few cities, united for a while for the sake of conducting joint hostilities, harvesting or building some kind of temple complex, but a state with uniform laws and borders. There were few laws, but the punishment for failure to comply with any of them was almost always death. Or something from the classics: cutting off the nose, ears, fingers, and so on.

However, there were also advantages: the conquered peoples were invited to become Assyrians – for this, clay tablets were even created for keeping records. It was required to take a new Assyrian name, follow the laws of the country, pay taxes and worship the god Ashur. At the same time, the old personality seemed to cease to exist, and for many, this option became a good alternative. For example, it was a quick way to write off all accumulated debts or even change social status.

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The flood during the Sumerian civilization

“And behold, I will bring a flood of water on the earth, to destroy all flesh, in which there is the spirit of life, under heaven; everything on earth will lose its life. But with you I will establish my covenant, and you will enter the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you … ”.

This is how the epic story of Noah began in the Old Testament – a righteous man chosen by God to build a huge ship and save all kinds of living creatures. However, the myth of the great flood that destroyed sinners was not an invention of the ancient Jews.

"Winter.  Global flood".  Nicolas Poussin.
“Winter. Global flood”. Nicolas Poussin. Source: wikipedia.org

The Sumerian civilization is rightfully considered one of the most mysterious in world history. For several thousand years the cities of Lagash, Ur, Uruk (there are hundreds of names) were economic and cultural centers between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Permeated by a system of irrigation canals, the river valley was a granary for a large population.

Map of Ancient Sumer.
Map of Ancient Sumer. Source: medium.com

The winter months were accompanied by heavy rains and overflow of rivers. This is evidenced by the names of the tenth (December-January) and eleventh (January-February) months according to the Babylonian calendar – “drowning” and “beaten by the wind.” Agricultural cycles played a huge role in the life of Sumerian society.

However, the word “flood” could be used not only in relation to natural disasters. For example, the ancient Sumerian texts call the punishment of the king of the Akkadian dynasty Naram-Suena, the son of Sargon the Ancient, “flood”. The god of air and storms Enlil sent punishment to the ruler of the state for his unrighteousness.

The punishment itself had many stages, the most difficult was the plundering of the capital of the country of Nippur by the tribe of Kutii. Laments for Nippur became the mainstay of urban winter rituals. In them, the punishment of the gods is called “flood”, although, apparently, there was no talk of a water disaster.

Image of Naram-Suena on a stele from the city of Susa.
Image of Naram-Suena on a stele from the city of Susa. Source: wikipedia.org

In 1872, 32-year-old British engraver and Assyrologist George Smith, among the artifacts from the Ashurbanipal library, found a fragment of a clay tablet with a description of the legend of the Flood.

The find created a furor in European society – there were rolls over with the famous Old Testament legend about the righteous man Noah, who built the ark and survived a natural disaster. The following year, Smith was able to go on an expedition to Nineveh to find the missing fragments of the epic.

The trip was sponsored by Edwin Arnold, publisher of The Daily Telegraph. The search was crowned with success, and already in 1875 Smith published the results of his search in Assyrian Discoveries: An Account of Explorations and Discoveries on the Site of Nineveh, During 1873 to 1874.

George Smith.
George Smith

The legend said about the anger of the gods against people for their unrighteousness, the already mentioned Enlil again initiated the punishment. It rained for many days and nights. However, there was one survivor – the king of the city of Shuruppak Ziusudra, warned by the god of wisdom Ea about the approaching dark times.

Utnapishtim
Utnapishtim Source: Ziusudra) and the god Enki (Ea)

Indeed, in the 1930s, an expedition from the University of Pennsylvania led by archaeologist Erich Schmidt discovered a cultural layer in Shuruppak, consisting of deposits of clay and silt, which indicated flooding. The flood, dating back to the 5th and 4th millennia BC, also caused damage to the larger cities of Sumer – Uru, Uruk and Kish.

Ziusudra, who ruled in Shuruppak, according to legend, for several tens of thousands of years, built a huge ship to save his family, property and living creatures that lived on Earth:

“Everything that I had› I loaded there:

I put all the silver on the ship;

And he brought all the gold;

And I drove all the creatures of God there.

As well as family and relatives.

And from the fields and from the steppe

I brought all the insects there;

And he brought all the artisans to the ship. “

Noah's Ark.
Noah’s Ark. Source: ulltable.com

The cataclysm lasted 6 days, after which the water began to subside, and the ship ended up on the top of Mount Nisir – this is how Ararat was called in ancient times. The gods bestowed immortality on Ziusudra, and the human race again descended from him. The tradition is strikingly similar to the story of Noah. This allowed scholars to assert that the Semitic biblical legends were based on Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian myths.

This, however, did not end the story of the Sumerian righteous man. The last time, but under a different name, he appears in the epic about Gilgamesh – the heroic ruler of the city of Uruk. Utnapishtim (this is how Ziusudra was called in the Akkadian epic) tells the king how he achieved immortality. However, no plaque was found that would tell about the end of the conversation between the two powerful heroes.

Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh. Source: tainy.net

It is possible that the motives of the Sumerian, and then the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian culture penetrated into the Jewish culture as a result of the famous Babylonian captivity of 598-582. BC. The former captives who returned after the conquest of the capital of the state of the X Chaldean dynasty by the Persian king Cyrus the Great and absorbed the mythological layer of the ancient civilization, apparently recorded the Old Testament legends in the Torah. 

Many stories reflected in the Bible are somehow connected with the Babylonian traditions, which, in turn, are inextricably linked with the Sumerian culture.

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