Humans and saber-toothed tiger met in Germany 300,000 years ago

Scientists of the Lower Saxony Heritage Authority and of the University of Tbingen excavating at the Schningen open-cast coal mine in north-central Germany have discovered the remains of a saber-toothed cat preserved in a layer some 300,000 years old — the same stratum in which wooden spears were found, indicating that early humans also inhabited the area, which at that time was the bank of a shallow lake.The discovery sheds new light on the relationship between early humans and beasts of prey. It is highly likely that humans were confronted by saber-toothed cats at the Schningen lakeside. In that case, all the human could do was grab his up to 2.3m long spear and defend himself. In this context, the Schningen spears must be regarded as weapons for defense as well as hunting — a vital tool for human survival in Europe 300,000 years ago.Officials from the Lower Saxony heritage authority and archaeologists from the Universities of Tbingen and Leiden uncovered a first tooth of a young adult Homotherium latidens in October 2012. Measuring more than a meter at the shoulder and weighing some 200kg, the saber-tooth was no pussycat. It had razor-sharp claws and deadly jaws with upper-jaw canines more than 10cm long.The find shows that the saber-toothed cat died out later in central Europe than previously believed. Along with the sensational wooden spears, the same level has yielded bones and stone tools indicating that early humans — probably Homo heidelbergenis — hunted horses and camped along a 100m stretch of the lakeside.The new finds demonstrate that a long time before anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens have reached Europe some 40,000 years ago, early man was able to defend himself against highly dangerous animals with his weapon technology. The results of the researchers’ study have just been published in a report by the Lower Saxony heritage authority, the Niederschsisches Landesamt fr Denkmalpflege.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Universitaet Tbingen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Family memories captured with YesVideo

Family memories captured with YesVideo Emily Dickey posted this in FamilyLife is all about memories, right? We take photos and videos, we write journals and make scrapbooks, and we sit and reminisce and tell stories. I’ve talked a lot about YesVideo here on my blog because I love their memory-making services. They take photographs and video (tapes, files, etc.) and convert them to digital files and DVD, allowing you to watch and share anywhere!My family has used their services many times with old VHS tapes. We don’t even own a VHS player anymore and some tapes were unplayable anyway. Tons of old home movies and loved memories that we thought were lost and gone… until we sent them off to YesVideo. I know it…

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Ancient Egyptian leader makes surprise appearance at archaeological dig in Israel

July 9, 2013 — As modern Egypt searches for a new leader, Israeli archaeologists have found evidence of an ancient Egyptian leader in northern Israel.At a site in Tel Hazor National Park, north of the Sea of Galilee, archeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unearthed part of a unique Sphinx belonging to one of the ancient pyramid-building pharaohs.The Hazor Excavations are headed by Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor, the Yigael Yadin Professor in the Archaeology of Eretz Israel at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, and Dr. Sharon Zuckerman, a lecturer at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.Working with a team from the Institute of Archaeology, they discovered part of a Sphinx brought over from Egypt, with a hieroglyphic inscription between its front legs. The inscription bears the name of the Egyptian king Mycerinus, who ruled in the third millennium BCE, more than 4,000 years ago. The king was one of the builders of the famous Giza pyramids.As the only known Sphinx of this king discovered anywhere in the world — including in Egypt — the find at Hazor is an unexpected and important discovery. Moreover, it is only piece of a royal Sphinx sculpture discovered in the entire Levant area (the eastern part of the Mediterranean).Along with the king’s name, the hieroglyphic inscription includes the descriptor “Beloved by the divine manifestation… that gave him eternal life.” According to Prof. Ben-Tor and Dr. Zuckerman, this text indicates that the Sphinx probably originated in the ancient city of Heliopolis (the city of ‘On’ in the Bible), north of modern Cairo.The Sphinx was discovered in the destruction layer of Hazor that was destroyed during the 13th century BCE, at the entrance to the city palace. According to the archaeologists, it is highly unlikely that the Sphinx was brought to Hazor during the time of Mycerinus, since there is no record of any relationship between Egypt and Israel in the third millennium BCE.More likely, the statue was brought to Israel in the second millennium BCE during the dynasty of the kings known as the Hyksos, who originated in Canaan. It could also have arrived during the 15th to 13th centuries BCE, when Canaan was under Egyptian rule, as a gift from an Egyptian king to the king of Hazor, which was the most important city in the southern Levant at the time.Hazor is the largest biblical-era site in Israel, covering some 200 acres, and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. …

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Puffin count on Isle of May NNR in Scotland gives surprising result

May 31, 2013 — Atlantic Puffin numbers on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve (NNR) off Scotland’s east coast are at similar levels to 2009 despite this spring’s severe weather.The results of the latest puffin survey carried out by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology are released today. They indicate that a total of 46,000 burrows showed signs of use by puffins this spring, an almost identical total to the last count which was completed in 2009.The Isle of May NNR is home to the largest colony of puffins in the North Sea and has been the main centre of the UK science community’s research into puffins for nearly four decades.This year’s count was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) with assistance from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.The result is a surprise as, earlier this year, just as they were returning to the colonies in March, severe weather resulted in the deaths of thousands of seabirds along the coasts of eastern Scotland and north-east England. Examination of the bodies of some of the 3500 dead puffins and ringing recoveries suggested that many of the birds involved were breeding adults from local colonies.Images of dead and dying puffins had resulted in great concern about the future of the major puffin breeding colonies in the region, especially since there was a 30% decline in the numbers of puffins on the Isle of May between 2003 and 2009.The survey was led by Professor Mike Harris, Emeritus Research Fellow at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, who has studied puffins for 41 years. Professor Harris said, “This March’s wreck has clearly had a serious effect on the puffins on the Isle of May but, perhaps surprisingly, numbers are very similar to the last count which took place in 2009. Our general impression over the last few years was that the population was increasing slowly and this may explain why we have not seen a decline following the recent wreck.”The count also revealed that the March wreck seriously disrupted breeding on the Isle of May, with laying two to three weeks later than normal, and it is possible that some birds will not breed this year.Distressing as this wreck was, we have seen much higher mortality of Isle of May puffins in four other winters in the last 40 winters. Only twice, in December 2006 and October 2007, were large numbers of dead puffins reported. It appears that Puffins normally die well away from land so that dead birds are unlikely to be found.SNH’s Reserve manager for the Isle of May, David Pickett said, “Despite the publicity of the wreck in March, the Isle of May NNR is still one of the best places to see puffins in the UK and together with the mass of other seabirds make it one of the best wildlife spectacles to be found in Scotland.” David added, “This late breeding could even result in puffins remaining at the colonies until later in the summer than normal, giving people even more opportunity to enjoy watching them.”Professor Harris added, “The wreck has, however, seriously affected the timing of breeding with those birds that did survive breeding very late. It would not be surprising if they needed a few weeks to recover and get into breeding condition. We now wait to see how successful these birds are in raising chicks this summer.”

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