More information: Earliest floral grave lining from 13,700–11,700-y-old Natufian burials at Raqefet Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel, PNAS, Published online before print July 1, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302277110AbstractFlowering plants possess mechanisms that stimulate positive emotional and social responses in humans. It is difficult to establish when people started to use flowers in public and ceremonial events because of the scarcity of relevant evidence in the archaeological record. We report on uniquely preserved 13,700–11,700-y-old grave linings made of flowers, suggesting that such use began much earlier than previously thought. The only potentially older instance is the questionable use of flowers in the Shanidar IV Neanderthal grave. The earliest cemeteries (ca. 15,000–11,500 y ago) in the Levant are known from Natufian sites in northern Israel, where dozens of burials reflect a wide range of inhumation practices. The newly discovered flower linings were found in four Natufian graves at the burial site of Raqefet Cave, Mt. Carmel, Israel. Large identified plant impressions in the graves include stems of sage and other Lamiaceae (Labiatae; mint family) or Scrophulariaceae (figwort family) species; accompanied by a plethora of phytoliths, they provide the earliest direct evidence now known for such preparation and decoration of graves. Some of the plant species attest to spring burials with a strong emphasis on colorful and aromatic flowers. Cave floor chiseling to accommodate the desired grave location and depth is also evident at the site. Thus, grave preparation was a sophisticated planned process, embedded with social and spiritual meanings reflecting a complex preagricultural society undergoing profound changes at the end of the Pleistocene. The display and use of flowers as part of burial rituals is common throughout the modern world, but scientists have found it difficult to learn more about the roots of such practices due to the temporal nature of plants. In this new effort, the research team working at the Raqefet Cave—part of a larger archeological site—found flower impressions preserved in a layer of dried mud beneath the bodies of 29 skeletons. Closer examination of the impressions showed them to be from mint, figwort, and sage plants. Additional testing of the soil in which they were found showed elevated levels of phytoliths—crystals made by such plants.Because the cave floor was chiseled to make the grave sites flat, the researchers concluded that the mud layer on top of each of them was placed intentionally. Flowers were then laid down to create a bed upon which the deceased person was laid. Pressure from the weight of the body on the flowers caused some of them to be pushed into the mud causing impressions. Carbon dating indicates the flowers and skeletons were put in place between 13,700 and 11,700 years ago—marking the earliest known use of flowers as part of burial rituals. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org) —An international team of researchers working at Mount Carmel, Israel has found evidence of the use of flowers by ancient people in burial rites. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes impressions made by flowers they discovered in mud layers beneath bodies laid to rest after death by people of the Natufian culture. © 2013 Phys.org This is the double burial of Homo 18 and Homo 19 (see location in Fig. 1c). A) This is Homo 19 during excavation (skull on right). Note the vertically chiseled bedrock surface (left) with foot bones resting on it. This surface was covered by more than 10 plant impressions. B) This is an opposite view of the chiseled surface, after removal of the skeleton. C) This is a close-up view of plant impressions found on the vertical chiseled surface. All scales in cm. Credit: E. Bartov. Australian researchers show flower color evolution driven by bee preferences (A) Field photograph of skeletons Homo 25 (adult, on left) and Homo 28 (adolescent, on right) during excavation. Note the almost vertical slab behind the skull of Homo 25 and the missing skull of H28. Photograph reproduced with permission from E. Gernstein. (Scale bar: 20 cm.) (B) A reconstruction of the double burial at the time of inhumation. The skull of Homo 25 was displaced in the grave long after burial (A), but originally the head was facing upwards. The skull of Homo 28 was ritually removed months or years after burial. Note the bright veneer inside the grave on the right, partially covered by green plants. Credit: (c) PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302277110 Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Citation: Researchers find earliest use of flowers in burial rite (2013, July 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-earliest-burial-rite.html Explore further The Natufian culture was made up of people living during pre-agricultural times. They lived in the eastern part of the Mediterranean in an area historians call the Levant, and are believed to be some of the first humans to have lived as a communal society. They built homes and shared structures, filled them with custom made furniture and tamed wolves to serve as companions. They are also believed to have been one of the early groups of people at the end of the Pleistocene that started the long journey that eventually led to agricultural.
Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Phys.org) —A team made up of researchers from the U.S. and Australia has put together what they describe as a complete outline of the taphonomic (post-mortem) degradation processes for mammalian hair. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the group outlines the current state of post-mortem analysis of mammalian hair, including human and also offers some opinions on possible misinterpretations at both crime and archeology sites. Fungal invasion of hairs. (a) Woolly Mammoth (Jarkov) hair engulfed by hyphae, (b,c) partial removal of cuticle (arrow) and dissolution of cuticle (bracketed) on Q8 woolly mammoth (Jarkov) hair, (d) SEM image of a penetrating organ (arrow) embedded in a woolly rhino hair. (e) SEM image of a lateral fungal hypha with an eroding frond (arrow), ( f ) mycelial mass (arrow) on shaft of woolly mammoth (M10) hair. Scale bars: a ¼ 200 mm, b,c ¼ 100 mm, d ¼ 50 mm, e ¼ 5 mm, f ¼ 20 mm. Credit: Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Published 22 October 2014 doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1755 Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2014 Phys.org Citation: Researchers offer taphonomic degradation processes for mammalian hair (2014, October 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-10-taphonomic-degradation-mammalian-hair.html Caught by a hair The authors note that while the taphonomic degradation process for teeth and bones has been well documented, the same cannot be said for mammalian hair. Their paper serves to fill that void.The research team notes that on its own, mammalian hair doesn’t degrade much, allowing samples to survive for thousands of years. But most hair is not left to its own devices, it comes in contact with soil (quite often due to burial) that harbors fungi that do break down hair—they’ve provided photos of individual hairs with holes along their length to demonstrate what happens. That fungi breaks down hair is not new information—archeologists and law enforcement have both known about it for quite some time and have used the process to further their goal of trying to understand what happened at a particular site. But, the researchers contend, not all information gleaned from such sites is interpreted correctly. They note for example that if crime scene investigators find a hair that has experienced degradation due to fungi, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the victim died, was buried (putting them in contact with soil fungi) and then dug up again, as has been assumed in many such cases. Instead they note, soil fungi can degrade hair on living mammals, including people—if a child plays in the dirt for example. They suggest the only true evidence of death of a victim using a hair sample is what is known as post-mortem banding, where bacteria leave a dark band at the root of the hair when someone dies.The team also notes that examination of hair at crime scenes, particularly from victims that have been buried or left on the ground can offer less obvious clues, such as how long the hair has been exposed to the fungi or whether it existed in a warm humid climate, versus one that was cool or dry.The researchers also note that many examples of mammalian samples from archeological sites that suggest the original owner had red hair, such as those for many woolly mammoths, are inaccurate. Tests have shown that most such instances are due to contamination of the hair after death, from bacterial biofilms or other processes—woolly mammoth hair had no pigment, after all. More information: Interpreting biological degradative processes acting on mammalian hair in the living and the dead: which ones are taphonomic? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Published 22 October 2014 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1755AbstractAlthough the taphonomic (post-mortem) degradation processes relevant to teeth and bones have been well described, those taking place with regards to mammalian hairs have not been characterized to the same extent. This present article describes, in detail, microscopic changes resulting from the actions of biological agents that digest and degrade hairs. The most noteworthy and prevalent agents responsible for the destruction of hair structure are fungi, which use a range of strategies to invade and digest hairs. One of the most important finds to emerge from this study is that taphonomic structures and processes can easily be interpreted by the unwary as ‘real’, or as class characteristics for a particular animal taxon. Moreover, under certain conditions, ‘taphonomic’ processes normally associated with the dead are also present on the hairs of the living. This work will improve the reliability of hair examinations in forensic, archaeological and palaeontological applications—in addition, the finding has relevance in the protection of mammalian collections susceptible to infestation. This article also addresses the popular myth that ancient peoples were often red-haired and discusses phenomena responsible for this observation. Insights gained from detailed characterization of taphonomic processes in 95 hairs from a variety of species demonstrate the range and breadth of degradative effects on hair structure and colour. Lastly, the study demonstrates that hairs often tell a story and that there is value of extracting as much morphological data as possible from hairs, prior to destructive sampling for biomolecules.
More information: Dean R. Lomax et al. An 8.5 m long ammonite drag mark from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Lithographic Limestones, Germany, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175426AbstractTrackways and tracemakers preserved together in the fossil record are rare. However, the co-occurrence of a drag mark, together with the dead animal that produced it, is exceptional. Here, we describe an 8.5 m long ammonite drag mark complete with the preserved ammonite shell (Subplanites rueppellianus) at its end. Previously recorded examples preserve ammonites with drag marks of < 1 m. The specimen was recovered from a quarry near Solnhofen, southern Germany. The drag mark consists of continuous parallel ridges and furrows produced by the ribs of the ammonite shell as it drifted just above the sediment surface, and does not reflect behaviour of the living animal. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: PLoS ONE Five-meter sea creature found off California coast Explore further Citation: 'Death drag' of ancient ammonite fossil digitized and put online (2017, May 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-death-ancient-ammonite-fossil-digitized.html A death drag is a mark left behind by a creature that recently died and was moved or dragged by another force—in this case, it was an ammonite, a mollusk with a spiral shell that lived in the sea approximately 150 million years ago. It was dragged along the sea floor after it died by the sea current and left behind a very shallow trench. Finding a death drag from a creature millions of years ago is very rare, of course, because it requires a very specific set of circumstances to occur for preservation and discovery. In this case, it was a team of paleontologists digging at a quarry back in the 1990s at a site near the town of Solnhofen in Germany—many other ancient fossils have been found there. The ammonite and its death drag were preserved and were eventually put on display in a museum in Barcelona.The death drag is approximately 8.5 meters long and grows more defined the closer it gets to the ammonite fossil. Prior research has suggested that the sea creature (which was missing its lower jaw, offering proof that it was dead prior to being dragged) was clearly quite buoyant when it began scraping the bottom, due to decomposition gasses inside of its shell—thus, it was just barely touching the bottom and able to leave only grooves at the edges. As time passed, gas seeped from the shell and the creature was dragged more heavily through the sediment, leaving a more defined trench. Prior research also suggested the trench was likely at a depth of 20 to 60 meters and was likely created due to a gentle underwater current.In this new effort, the researchers used a technique called photogrammetry to create digitized imagery of the death drag and the fossil—hundreds of images were made from multiple angles which were all stitched together to create a 3-D model. The result is a model available for download or online in video format. (Phys.org)—A team of workers with members from institutions in the U.K., Germany and Spain has put online a digitized 3-D model of the “death drag” of an ammonite fossil—it is one of the longest ever found for such an ancient creature. They have also written a paper describing both the death drag and fossil and have posted it on the open access site PLOS ONE. The ammonite Subplanites rueppellianus, the producer of the drag mark (MCFO 0492). Credit: PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175426 © 2017 Phys.org
Illustration of C. sp. nov. 2 and closely related species (Fig. 8 in Lei et al. 2014), Illustrations by Stephen D. Nash ©Conservation International. Photographs by Edward E. Louis, Jr. Top left panel represents C. grovesi. Top left panel represents a lateral view of C. sp nov. 2, top right panel includes all lineages in the Cheirogaleus crossleyi group. Bottom photographs are of the holotype of C. sp. nov. 2 (TRA8.81) at Andringitra National Park. Credit: Primate Conservation 2017 (31): 27-36 A team of researchers with members from the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership has discovered a new species of lemur living in southeastern Madagascar. In their paper published in the journal Primate Conservation, the group describes features of the new species, some of its observed behaviors and the two places on Madagascar it was found. © 2018 Phys.org Explore further Duke University receives two endangered lemurs from Madagascar This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: New species of lemur found on Madagascar (2018, January 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-species-lemur-madagascar.html More information: A New Cheirogaleus (Cheirogaleidae: Cheirogaleus crossleyi Group) Species from Southeastern Madagascar, Primate Conservation 2017 (31): 27-36 , http://www.primate-sg.org/primatre-conservation-31/ , (PDF)AbstractA new species in the genus Cheirogaleus is described from Ranomafana and Andringitra national parks, Madagascar. Ranomafana National Park is a rainforest situated in a montane region, and Andringitra National Park is comprised of grassland, lowland and highland forests displaying great altitudinal variation. Both parks are known to harbor wide species diversity in flora and fauna. Genetic and morphometric analyses of the samples collected at these localities confirmed that this Cheirogaleus lineage represents a new species in the C. crossleyi group, and here we elevate it to species status as Cheirogaleus grovesi, for the British-Australian biological anthropologist, evolutionary biologist and taxonomist Colin Groves. Lemurs are a type of primate endemic to the island of Madagascar. Currently, there are 113 known species, many of which are considered to be at risk because of deforestation and poaching. Prior research has shown that they evolved independently of monkeys and apes. The new species, a Grove’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus grovesi) has been found to live in two distinct regions in Madagascar, both national parks. One is mostly rainforest; the other a mix of forest and grasslands.The researchers report that the newly discovered species is a little smaller than the North American squirrel (approximately 6 inches long) and features large, round black eyes, teddy bear-like ears, fluffy long tails and dexterous hands.The members of the new rainforest species, the team reports, spend their time up in the canopy, which provides them shelter, food and a place to reproduce. They are believed to exist in social groups, but sometimes spend time alone, as well. Some specimens were captured via dart guns and nets to catch them when they fell. The team took measurements and blood and tissue samples for later study. Such samples were crucial in proving that the species was unique, as some were used to perform DNA analysis and comparison with other lemur species.The new species was named after recently deceased primatologist Colin Groves, who spent his career working to find and classify new species of mammals. He was credited with identifying over 50 species over the course of his 40-year career. The researchers note that the identification of C. grovesi is likely one of many more to come, as there are many lemurs that have been identified but not yet classified. They note also that sometime in the near future, the endangered status of C. grovesi will be assigned as well.
Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times? Mo had said… ‘As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells… and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower… both strange and familiar.’These profound lines by Cornelia Funke narrate my feelings towards Disha’s (as she likes to call herself) book, My Beloved’s MBA Plans, in the most apt way. The book is a wonderful compilation of some beautifully narrated stories set against the backdrop of life on campus and aspirations for an MBA degree. The stories are simple, all tied to one common thread – how much is one willing to let go to fulfil his/her dreams. Disha manages to capture you within the first few pages itself. You’ll find yourself not wanting to put the novel down as you meet some ambitious couples entering the IIM Calcutta campus in the midst of marriage, responsibility and kids. There unfaltering faith in each other and a great level of commitment is what makes their journey victorious. The book is an inspiration for all those aspiring to fulfil their dreams and for people seeking answers to difficult situations in life. It proved to be a refreshing change as opposed to the ‘just another story of life on college campus’. What makes’ this ‘fiction’ novel ‘real’ is the people in it. The writing style is candid yet extremely crisp. The first hand experiences help the reader relate or get guided to the real life experiences of couples who walk the same path to achieve a long-term goal. The narration can get preachy but it’s engrossing nevertheless. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’An honest confession: Every time I flipped through the pages of the book, I felt a sense of giddiness – of being able to relate to a book so much so that it felt funny and scary, at the same time. How the just married Rahul met Dimple, is the story that helped grew the feeling stronger. The story is not of mushy romantic dates or outings but of a bond that is not dependent on physical distances. The story, like a lot of others in the book, seemed perfect for a Yash Chopra movie but managed to Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflixconvey a relevant message – how trust can beat all odds. Congratulations on your first novel Disha! My Beloved’s MBA Plans was an exciting page-turner that I found myself not wanting to set down. You not only gave your characters hope, you also gave the word ‘novel’ a new hope as it was far from the romantic cliché.Having spent my precious hours reading this book, I feel I did not make a mistake. For everyone else, grab a cup of coffee and read these interesting tales of togetherness, of separation, and of starting a new journey together.
Artist Puja Kshatriya is presenting her work Facebook of Reclaimed Identities, her new series of small formatted paintings soon at the India Habitat Centre. Her works are done on canvas with oil and acrylic. She has also used the scratching technique where one adds scratches with blade to add effects to the strokes. Compared to Puja’s earlier works her recent paintings are small in size. Most of these works not more than three feet in size resemble the that of the frame of a computer screen. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ The images are those of flowers and faces of children. The irony that Puja wants to build up in this series becomes palpable when one comes to know that these faces belong to those children who do not have any access to Facebook or related activities. They may be featured in Facebook through somebody’s agency and in fact without their knowledge. The image infested realm of Facebook often uses and abuses the identity of people who are randomly photographed without consent, credit or remuneration. Seen against this context of Facebook abuse, Puja’s works speak of the realms and identities that are incapacitated by the overuse of the medium. Hence, Puja’s works open up a critical body of paintings that suggestively questions the so called Facebook freedom. Inversely, the artist acknowledges the medium’s power to give a face to those people who otherwise will never have a face in the world of internet. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixFacebook for Puja Kshatriya is an operative metaphor in her works. She portrays faces and events through emblematic registrations. Pursuing her passion for the arts over the last forty years, Puja has earned great admiration and accolades for her work, with exhibitions in Dubai, Jakarta, London and Singapore amongst others.Departing from the traditional style of painting, along with acrylics, Puja uses the blade scraping technique, where in two-three layers of oil colours are applied and then the blade is used to bring out the forms. The pressure while scraping is varied. This technique gives a sculptural effect to the figures.
Singer Shibani Kashyap is set to make her acting debut with fiction TV show Ek Veer Ki Ardaas…Veera. She will be seen as a mentor and says the character is close to her real life.Shibani’s character in the show will be called Megha, a famous singer who was boycotted from the industry due to her starry tantrums. When she meets the character Ranvijay, she realises his potential and agrees to mentor him. So, she takes it up as a personal challenge to make him popular, and also to make a comeback in the industry herself.Excited about the role, Shibani said in a statement: ‘The character is very reflective of me and how I am in real life. I am really excited to be making my fiction debut with ‘…Veera’ as the character comes easy to me and I am exploring it through the show.’ The track is expected to go on air next week onwards. The show airs on Star Plus.
BALURGHAT: Train services were disrupted for about two hours after a woman and her two minor daughters were crushed to death under a truck near Dalkhola railway crossing on National Highway 34, around 39 km away from Raiganj on Thursday night. The deceased were identified as Ghurni Bansfore and her two daughters as Rinki and Mala. The mob chasing the truck, caught the driver and thrashed him rampantly. Later, police after being informed rushed to the spot, rescued the killer truck driver and admitted him to the Raiganj super-specialty hospital. His condition is stated to be critical. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe agitated locals staged a demonstration at the railway crossing and blocked the NH 34 for about two hours following the mishap for which both train and road transport services remained disrupted. Normalcy was, however, restored after the law-enforcers pacified the wrath of the locals. Police later sent the bodies for autopsy. According to police, the truck was going to Siliguri from Raiganj at a high speed. While reaching Dalkhola railway crossing, the driver lost control and hit the victims. “It is apprehended that it was too late for the driver when he found the victims just in front of the speeding vehicle and hit them causing immediate death of the trio” said a police officer. Police seized the vehicle. A case of reckless driving has also been registered.
Kolkata: Coming down heavily on the BJP in connection to the Alwar lynching incident in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that steps should be taken to put an end to Talibani Hinduism.While leaving Nabanna on Monday evening, Banerjee said that instead of merely condemning the incident they (BJP) must rein in their leaders to check such incidents.”I heard Rajnathji had condemned it on the floor of Parliament during the no-confidence motion. But why they are only condemning it and not controlling their leaders at all levels. Such incidents are taking place just because of their hate campaign, and it is resulting in the loss of many lives. They must also control their MPs and MLAs in this connection,” Banerjee said.She further said: “Such incidents are taking place in the name of Hindu Taliban. Hate campaign by extremist religious groups should be stopped, and they are also taking the law into their own hands.”The Chief Minister reiterated that strict steps would be taken if anything similar happened in Bengal. “We don’t support such acts. Police have to take strong action when such violence occurs,” Banerjee said adding that measures should be taken as rumour mongers use social networking sites to spread fake news.Recalling incidents where people from Bengal were killed in other states when they went there for work, Banerjee maintained: “Our religion teaches tolerance and not to use the sword. They are defaming religion.”Stating that she respects all religions, the Chief Minister raised several questions that “If we can respect everyone why they (BJP) cannot? Why they are dividing (the country)?””We respect the cow. But we cannot condone violence over the issue,” she said after taking a dig at the BJP over the pandal collapse incident during the Prime Minister’s rally in West Midnapore.She said: “If they cannot build a pandal properly then how can they build a country?”
Kolkata: Condemning the “derogatory statement” of a senior minister of Jharkhand in connection with the Massanjore Dam issue, state Irrigation minister Soumen Mahapatra stated it to be nothing unusual with respect to the highhandedness of BJP leaders, that has been leading to unrest in the entire country.It may be mentioned that as per an agreement with the Centre, Bengal government carries out the maintenance work of the dam even though it is in Jharkhand and had recently taken up some work including the task of painting it in blue and white. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAll of a sudden, some people from Jharkhand stopped the work and even the Biswa Bangla logo on the dam was replaced with that of Jharkhand.However, the work had resumed after District Magistrate of Birbhum Moumita Godara Basu took up the matter with her counterpart at Dumka in Jharkhand.But the situation took an ugly turn on Sunday, when Louis Marandi, the Social Welfare, Women and Child Development minister of Jharkhand, passed a “derogatory comment” in connection with the Massanjore Dam issue. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedReacting sharply on the statement of the Jharkhand minister, Mahapatra said: “We are well aware about the derogatory remarks and statement of different BJP leaders and we are also witnessing how it is affecting the tradition of the country. So this is nothing unusual or unexpected. But as a minister of the department that is carrying out the work at the dam, I am condemning such a statement and also condemning the move of stopping the work of beautification of the dam.” When asked whether the Bengal government would take up the matter with the Centre, Mahapatra said: “This is a national issue and the entire matter has been informed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. We will take all necessary steps following her direction.”Hundreds of tourists visit Massanjore Dam, mainly in monsoon. According to experts, the work of beautification of the dam that has been taken up by the Bengal government would also give a boost to tourism in the area. But in such a situation when some people had stopped the work of painting the Jharkhand dam, the experts apprehend that a section of tourists might think twice before visiting the place.It may be mentioned that an FIR was also lodged in this connection after the work was stopped on Friday.