Ancient DNA reveals origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans | EurekAlert! Science News

The question of the origins of the Minoans and their relationship to the Mycenaeans, Europe’s first literate societies, has long puzzled researchers. A paper published today in Nature suggests that, rather than being advanced outsiders, the Minoans had deep roots in the Aegean and were closely related to the Mycenaeans, and to modern Greeks.

Source: Ancient DNA reveals origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans | EurekAlert! Science News

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DNA analysis of archaeological remains has revealed that Ancient Minoans and Mycenaens were genetically similar with both peoples descending from early Neolithic farmers. They likely migrated from Anatolia to Greece and Crete thousands of years before the Bronze Age. Modern Greeks are largely descendants of the Mycenaeans, the study found.The Minoan civilization flourished on Crete beginning in the third millennium B.C.E. and was advanced artistically and technologically. The Minoans were also the first literate people of Europe.

Source: Ancient DNA analysis reveals Minoan and Mycenaean origins | EurekAlert! Science News

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Bronze Age Iberia received fewer steppe invaders than the rest of Europe | EurekAlert! Science News

The genomes of individuals who lived on the Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age had minor genetic input from Steppe invaders, suggesting that these migrations played a smaller role in the genetic makeup and culture of Iberian people, compared to other parts of Europe. Daniel Bradley and Rui Martiniano of Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, and Ana Maria Silva of University of Coimbra, Portugal, report these findings July 27, 2017, in PLOS Genetics.

Source: Bronze Age Iberia received fewer steppe invaders than the rest of Europe | EurekAlert! Science News

DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories | Science News

DNA studies are rewriting the how-we-met stories of domestication.

Source: DNA evidence is rewriting domestication origin stories | Science News

Thousands of horsemen may have swept into Bronze Age Europe, transforming the local population | Science | AAAS

Europeans may be descendants of a massive migration of men from the Russian steppe

Source: Thousands of horsemen may have swept into Bronze Age Europe, transforming the local population | Science | AAAS

The Language of Homer

The Iliad and The Odyssey are two of the most enduring works of fiction (or “fiction”, if you prefer) ever composed.  Although it is doubtful that they were composed in their entirety by a single individual, they are traditionally attributed to a blind bard called Homer.  Recently, The World According to Sound aired a podcast about the language in which these works were composed.  A form of ancient Greek that sounded nothing like its modern descendant.  According to this, this dialect was a tonal language.  An example of a modern tonal language is Chinese.

The story was picked up and, partially, rebroadcast, on NPR’s All Things ConsideredThe Sound Of Ancient Greek.

 

 

Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 87 – The New York Times

Mr. Wiesel, the author of “Night,” seared the memory of the Holocaust on the world’s conscience.

Source: Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 87 – The New York Times

Nerdly News

new&nerdlyThe multitude of bison fossils found on the plains of Alberta, or their extracted mtDNA, have shed much needed light on just when the much vaunted Corridor opened between North America’s two great Ice Sheets. It has long been theorized that the First Americans passed through this Corridor to colonize the rest of the Americas.

In the 1970s, geological studies suggested that the corridor might have been the pathway for the first movement of humans southward from Alaska to colonize the rest of the Americas. More recent evidence, however, indicated that the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets coalesced at the height of the last ice age, around 21,000 years ago, closing the corridor much earlier than any evidence of humans south of the ice sheets. The initial southward movement of people into the Americas more than 15,000 years ago now seems likely to have been via a Pacific coastal route, but the Rocky Mountains corridor has remained of interest as a potential route for later migrations…The results showed that the southern part of the corridor opened first, allowing southern bison to start moving northward as early as 13,400 years ago, before the corridor fully opened. Later, there was some movement of northern bison southward, with the two populations overlapping in the corridor by 13,000 years ago…According to Shapiro, archeological evidence suggests that human migration within the corridor was mostly from south to north. Sites associated with the Clovis hunting culture and its distinctive fluted point technology were widespread south of the corridor around 13,000 years ago and decline in abundance from south to north within the corridor region. A Clovis site in Alaska has been dated to no earlier than 12,400 years ago.

“When the corridor opened, people were already living south of there. And because those people were bison hunters, we can assume they would have followed the bison as they moved north into the corridor,” Shapiro said.

Proving, once again, there is truth to found in the old tales, a body found in a well confirms events told in Sverre’s Saga, one of the Old Norse tales of Viking Kings and war.

Agriculture was developed a LOT earlier than previously thought, like 25 to 30 million years ago. You read that right. Million. And, here’s the real kicker, not by humans but by bugs. Termites actually cultivate fungi “gardens” within their mounds. This “fungiculture” began in Africa about the time the Great Rift Valley formed so that probably had something to do with it.

Some Nerdiness: A couple of interesting studies about ancient populations in Europe

new&nerdlyThe largest ever study of global genetic variation in the human Y chromosome has uncovered the hidden history of men. Research reveals explosions in male population numbers in five continents, occurring at times between 55,000 and 4,000 years ago.

Here’s a more Euro-centric, and less sciencey, spin:

A research team led by Prof. FU Qiaomei from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IVPP of CAS) and other international scientists has analyzed genome-wide data from 51 Eurasians from ~45,000-7,000 years ago and provided the first vivid look at the genetic history of modern humans in Eurasia before the start of agriculture ~8,500 years ago.

Romance Kindled During Union Occupation of Fayetteville – NC Civil War Center : NC Civil War Center

I just found this.  David and Sarah were my 2nd great-grandparents.  My maternal grandfather was the son of their son John Edward Fields.

Source: Romance Kindled During Union Occupation of Fayetteville – NC Civil War Center : NC Civil War Center

Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans, say researchers | University of Cambridge

A new study suggests that Neanderthals across Europe may well have been infected with diseases carried out of Africa by waves of anatomically modern humans, or Homo sapiens. As both were species of hominin, it would have been easier for pathogens to jump populations, say researchers. This might have contributed to the demise of Neanderthals.

Source: Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans, say researchers | University of Cambridge