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Earth Science

Stone Age Mass Graves Reveal Green Sahara 305

Posted by kdawson
iminplaya sends along a New Scientist article that begins: "One of the driest deserts in the world, the Saharan Tenere Desert, hosted at least two flourishing lakeside populations during the Stone Age, a discovery of the largest graveyard from the era reveals. The archaeological site in Niger [is] called Gobero... It had been used as a burial site by two very different populations during the millennia when the Sahara was lush... 'The first people who used the Gobero cemetery were Kiffian, hunter-gatherers who grew up to two meters tall,' says Elena Garcea of the University of Cassino in Italy and one of the scientists on the team. The large stature of the Kiffian suggests that food was plentiful during their time in Gobero, 10,000 to 8,000 years ago... All traces of the Kiffian vanish abruptly around 8,000 years ago, when the Sahara became very dry for a thousand years. When the rains returned, a different population, the Tenerians, who were of a shorter and more gracile build, based themselves at this site... 'The most amazing find so far is a grave with a female and two children hugging each other. They were carefully arranged in this position. This strongly indicated they had spiritual beliefs and cared for their dead,' says Garcea." The research article is at PLoS One.
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Stone Age Mass Graves Reveal Green Sahara

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  • by pieterh (196118) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:22PM (#24629661) Homepage

    Isn't the history of civilization generally based around water for animals, agriculture, transport, industry?

    Maybe time to start treating our seas with respect. I was on a beach in Togo last week and every day the ocean washes up plastic bags.

    • by pitchpipe (708843) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:52PM (#24629897)

      Isn't the history of civilization generally based around water for animals, agriculture, transport, industry?

      Yup. In the United States, around 53% of the population lives near the coast[.] [oceansatlas.org] Also, look at any map and notice how many major cities are right on major rivers.

      Maybe time to start treating our seas with respect.

      I hope we do, though right now I'm pessimistic. See this [sciencedaily.com]

      • by shanen (462549) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @12:13PM (#24635303) Homepage Journal

        Seems to belong here:

        One day a little guy wandered into the camp looking for a job as a lumberjack. The head lumberjack looked at him doubtfully, but asked him to cut down a small tree. Zip. The tree was down. Kind of surprised, the head lumberjack told him to cut down a large tree. Zip. One swing, and the tree fell.

        "Where did you learn to cut trees like that?"

        "In the Sahara Forest."

        "What do you mean? The Sahara is a desert!"

        "That was afterwards."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was on a beach in Togo last week and every day the ocean washes up plastic bags.

      They're probably the same plastic bags you threw out ten years ago. Please pick up your trash.

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:43PM (#24630691)

      The salt water isn't nearly as important as fresh water. The oceans only provide seafood, fresh water is necessary for most agriculture and industry. It is also necessary for most terrestrial animal life, including humans.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rubycodez (864176)

        the oceans and waterways provide transport

        • by mosb1000 (710161)

          If there were no oceans we'd need no ships. Using them for transport is like using lemons to make lemonade.

          • by rossdee (243626)

            Uf there were no oceans, this planet would be almost uninhabitable. It would be too cold or too hot. The oceans moderate the temperature.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phulegart (997083)

        Hello... Are we forgetting something important?

        I think so. It is called phytoplankton and about half of the Oxygen we need to breathe is produced by this, and guess where it is.... salt water! That is, half of the Earth's oxygen production is handled by these little guys. It is also the base of the oceanic food chain.

        other than THAT... I suppose that salt water isn't as important as fresh water... because breathing is of secondary importance to industrial uses of fresh water.

  • not too surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:26PM (#24629697)
    I thought it was fairly common knowledge that the Sahara used to be a very lush and fertile plain between 10-15k years ago. Or at least that's what I was taught 15 years ago. Still, nice to find anthropological and archeological evidence of the people that lived there.
    • by VoidEngineer (633446) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:49PM (#24629861)
      Not all of the Sahara. Only a portion of it; and the boundaries are rather vague and unknown. Plus, while there's plenty of speculation that the Sahara was green, things like migration and movement of people through the area is unknown. Until now. This gives a whole lot of information. Well, two really important data points, at least.
    • by DI Rebus (1342829) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:30PM (#24630221)
      Jeesus. Those of us who studied history know that the Sahara could be crossed on horseback as late as the 4th Century AD, if you knew where the wells were.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't need to go back very far.
      The Romans didn't build stuff like this in a desert.
      El Jem was a verdant hub of agricultural life.

      http://hubpages.com/hub/Tunisias_Match_for_Romes_Colosseum_in_El_Jem

    • Yes, but if they dig further, they *WILL* find fragments of human bones! What kind of savages were they?

      j/k Thanks Jack Handey

  • by mi (197448)

    Were their shamans just as convincing arguing for less water use and building smaller huts to prevent the climate-changes?

    • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:49PM (#24629869)

      Were their shamans just as convincing arguing for less water use and building smaller huts to prevent the climate-changes?

      No, but their chief, Chief Bush, was totally responsible for suppressing the data from the bones and tea leaves that it was happening. Then Chief Bush, along with the paleo-cons started bogus wars with tribes in Mesopotamia and with the Persians in order to promote chiefocracy. But the people eventually saw through the paleo-con lie that it was and realized that it was just a war to secure grain supplies.

      In the meantime, a former chief, Gor, showed the populous cave paintings that would show what would happen if they didn't change their wasteful ways.

      Really, that's the way it happened.

      • by wellingj (1030460)
        I just would like to point out the parody here. The people that the term Paleo-con applies to today are not the ones responsible for the Iraq war and the erosion of your constitutional rights. Those would be the Neo-Cons. Paleo-Cons are people like Buchanan and Paul who condemned the war and the Patriot Act from the start.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MikeBabcock (65886)

        The same Gore who owns the very Eco-credit company he 'buys credits' from? The Gore who uses over 10x more electricity to run his mansion than any of us use in a year?

        The Gore who can't seem to figure out that the vast majority of carbon released in the world is from natural causes we have no control over?

        Yeah, Gore's a genius. Geez. He figured out how to cash in on the eco-craze.

        • Your arguments are contradictory. I normally just shrug and move on at these sorts of arguments, but in this case, you are attacking another person - if you don't have solid reasoning to back your arguments up, then you are engaging in defamation.

          If natural causes are the dominant producers of atmospheric CO2, any argument you make about Gore's carbon neutrality falls apart because it is ultimately insignificant.

          Furthermore, you are required to assume that Gore espouses the position that anthropogenic carbo

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by timmarhy (659436)
            "If natural causes are the dominant producers of atmospheric CO2, any argument you make about Gore's carbon neutrality falls apart because it is ultimately insignificant."

            man made CO2 accounts for just 2.8% of global sources. the GP's argument is still perfectly valid because even at just 2.8% gore still makes a killing convincing people that it's really important and gets government to buy into insane rebate schemes, paying him $$ per ton for credits. this is a man who has made a FORTUNE out of global war

  • by drjohnretired (1345973) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:33PM (#24629751)
    The description of the Kiffian, robust versus gracile, and the skull with heavy brow ridges looks like the neandertal versus sapiens distinction but the dates are far later than the neandertal range. With this article flooding the searches, I can find little other description of the Kiffians.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      I don't think so. Sounds more like the Tutsi vs. the Pygmy.

    • by VoidEngineer (633446) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:05PM (#24630001)
      You know, it's kind of interesting.... paleobiologists tend to focus a lot on eating habits, because teeth are commonly found fossils, and they show you insight into diet and behavior. They totally devided the Kiffians and the Tenerians into a sort of carnivore/herbivore classification. Lacking other data, and going only by the fossil record, this is about the best they can do. Interesting viewpoint to approach archeaology from. Also, the Kiffians may simply not be much in the record. Dr. Sereno (and the University of Chicago in general) has a tendency to not be interested in a project unless it's completely ground breaking and opens up a new area of research. I would bet he wouldn't have gone back for the dig at all unless he did a fair bit of research and confirmed that not only was it green sahara, but that there was essentially nothing on the record about the Kiffians.
  • spiritual beliefs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by techmuse (160085) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:37PM (#24629777)

    Why does this imply spiritual beliefs? Maybe they just felt comfortable with the idea of being buried in the arms of someone they cared about.

    • by MrMista_B (891430)

      Care = spiritual.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HungSoLow (809760)
        Spiritual == Care (but looking at religious people today it's hard to believe)

        Care != Spiritual (believe it or not, Athiests, Agnostics and the like DO feel love!)
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by MrMista_B (891430)

          "Athiesm" only refers to disbelief in the Christian God - believe it or not, an Athiest can still be a very spiritual person.

          • by Bane1998 (894327) <kjackson&crimebucket,com> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:11PM (#24630055)

            "Athiesm" only refers to disbelief in the Christian God - believe it or not, an Athiest can still be a very spiritual person.

            Uhh, where do you get that, exactly? Have you looked up the word atheist in the dictionary? And it's spelled Atheist. Perhaps you were pointing that out by how you quoted your parent.

            Perhaps you are confused with agnosticism. Atheists do not believe in any deity, Christian or otherwise. An agnostic believes it is unknown, undefined. Maybe even believes there's 'something' out there, but doesn't know what, and so rejects organized religion.

            To claim Atheism is tied specifically to Christianity... is actually a bit offensive. Perhaps like saying Christianity is defined as simply denial of pagan beliefs.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by blueg3 (192743)

            No, "atheism" refers to believing that there are no god or gods.

            You are correct that an atheist can still be a spiritual person, both in the more typical interpretation of "spiritual" and in the more general sense. However, it has nothing to do with the Christian god specifically.

          • by jabithew (1340853) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:20PM (#24630141)

            No it doesn't, Atheism refers to the disbelief in god or gods of any description. Hence Buddhists, for example, are atheist.

            While that is its truest sense, it is usually followed up with a disbelief of mystical, spiritual, religious or any of the labels people use to categorise 'knowledge' which has no evidence in its favour. Rare is the atheist who rejects god only to move on and accept 'spirituality' and I suspect the breed is confined to America where evolved camouflage is necessary to avoid predatory evangelicals. I would even argue that the initial presentation of atheism in its strictest sense is somewhat misleading.

            Incidentally, as an atheist, I would recommend the book "A Very Short Introduction to Atheism" [amazon.co.uk] for those who are atheist, think they might be or, god forbid, might actually want to understand their neighbour. The same series, incidentally, has very good books on everything from particle physics to Islam.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by BluBrick (1924)

              Incidentally, as an atheist, I would recommend the book "A Very Short Introduction to Atheism" for those who are atheist, think they might be or, god forbid, might actually want to understand their neighbour.

              (emphasis mine)

              Now, it seems to me that, intentional irony or not, someone who claims to be an atheist and uses the term "god forbid" loses some credibility. Those two words actually diluted your previous, quite insightful argument.

          • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:30PM (#24630223)

            "Athiesm" only refers to disbelief in the Christian God - believe it or not, an Athiest can still be a very spiritual person.

            Hmm, you're on a roll today. Again, the dictionary disagrees with you:

            Atheism - Noun, absence of belief in deities.

            I've heard valid arguments that it applies to a lack of belief in the supernatural, versus it applying to a lack of belief only in deities/gods. Using the latter, somewhat accepted definition, atheists can be spiritual, and I imagine a significant number of people who self identify with that title are. Using the former definition, they could not be. I've seen a number of sociological studies now that allow people to identify into the category of "spiritual, but not religious" and people do choose that option, people who do not choose "athiest."

          • by Rob Riggs (6418)

            Bullpucky! Atheism refers to the disbelief in Odin. I say we burn those heretics.

        • by Q-Hack! (37846) * on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:10PM (#24630041)

          Spiritual != Religion

          It is possible for Atheists and Agnostics to be spiritual without having religion.

          Caring and spirituality as synonymous in this sense.

          • by HungSoLow (809760)
            I take spiritual as being belief in spirits, i.e. belief in the existence of non-physical things. I suppose an Atheist might believe in ghosts or some sort of "gaia" junk, since that doesn't explicity require belief in God, but such people require the very same "faith" any Christian or Muslim requires. It could just be a conflict of definitions, but as far as I'm concerned, believing in Gaia theory or Ghosts or ESP, etc.. is synonymous with Religion.
            • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:56PM (#24630389) Homepage Journal

              Non-believers or 'skeptics' as they call themselves (a term I despise since there are many skeptical believers too) also spend their lives living in faith of what they perceive. Faith in their senses not to lie to them. Faith in the consistency and research of others, faith that the universe around them exhibits behaviours that are testable.

              This faith may not be unfounded, but to call it anything else is silliness since no one person could ever claim to have lived their lives thoroughly testing every belief they live by.

      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:17PM (#24630115)

        Care = spiritual.

        Technically, spiritual refers to a belief in spirits or souls. The definition is:

        Spiritual, adj. - of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things; of or relating to religion or religious belief

        Care is not a synonym in the general use, nor do I think it applies in this usage. The implication is that because they buried bodies in a particular way, they had some belief, or potential belief in a resurrection or life after death, because otherwise, why bother arranging corpses in any way?

        I don't think that implication is ironclad. For all we know they buried them alive and they simply died in that posture, or these people had no belief in an afterlife, but enjoyed arranging corpses as an art form. Still, spiritual beliefs are the most likely sounding explanation to me.

        • by AJWM (19027) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:41PM (#24630301) Homepage

          The implication is that because they buried bodies in a particular way, they had some belief, or potential belief in a resurrection or life after death, because otherwise, why bother arranging corpses in any way?

          I don't think that implication is ironclad.

          I think you'd be right. Burial or crematory (or whatever death rites) practises are for the living. Yeah, sure, there's a sanitary aspect to it and you don't want the local carnivores (who'll scavenge when available) developing a taste for human meat, but regardless of "religious" beliefs or disbeliefs, there's a little part of everyone that isn't really convinced that death is the end, whatever may come after. So you do nice things like arranging corpses "the way they would have wanted it" partly to respect their memories, and partly in the hope that somebody does something nice for you when you're gone. Doesn't mean you really think that they're out there somewhere watching, or that the position will have some apres vie meaning.

          • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @09:04PM (#24630831)

            ...and partly in the hope that somebody does something nice for you when you're gone. Doesn't mean you really think that they're out there somewhere watching, or that the position will have some apres vie meaning.

            If you don't believe in the supernatural, then it is impossible for someone to do something nice for you "when you're gone" because you no longer exist. If I dress up a corpse in a tutu is that doing something nice for Qweblixion, the imaginary person I just made up and who never existed? No. He does not exist and, hence, does not know or care. You can't be nice to someone who doesn't exist, nor can you be nice to someone who no longer exists.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by AJWM (19027)

              You can't be nice to someone who doesn't exist, nor can you be nice to someone who no longer exists.

              Perhaps not, but you can go through the motions. The ex-person may not care (or even know), but you and those around you will. Some of them may think you're an idiot, some of them will appreciate it. If you're trying to win friends and influence people, or even just make time with the grieving widow, which path do you think will be more successful?

              None of it has anything to do with belief in the supernatu

        • by Thomasje (709120)

          For all we know they buried them alive and they simply died in that posture, or these people had no belief in an afterlife, but enjoyed arranging corpses as an art form. Still, spiritual beliefs are the most likely sounding explanation to me.

          "Most likely"?
          I'm an atheist, have been all my life. Yet, I was always nice to my teddy bear. It's not like I believe that the thing is alive, has feelings, has a soul, or anything like that... but still, even today, I'll make sure that it sits in a comfortable spot.
          When someone I care about dies, their mortal remains are no more capable of suffering than my inanimate teddy bear, and yet, I'll do my best to give them a decent funeral. Why? Because it feels wrong not to, that's all.
          To assume that there

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I'm an atheist, have been all my life. Yet, I was always nice to my teddy bear. It's not like I believe that the thing is alive, has feelings, has a soul, or anything like that... but still, even today, I'll make sure that it sits in a comfortable spot. When someone I care about dies, their mortal remains are no more capable of suffering than my inanimate teddy bear, and yet, I'll do my best to give them a decent funeral. Why? Because it feels wrong not to, that's all.

            This is called Anthropomorphism. You are subconsciously attributing human attributes to nonhumans (a teddy bear and a corpse) and empathizing with the feelings and comfort levels they don't have.

            To assume that there is anything spiritual going on in situations like that is facile at best.

            I never assumed it was the reason, as I clearly stated in my post. I suggested that spirituality was the most likely explanation because that is the most common reason for funerary preparations, when you look at all the cultures around the world. Thus, it is most likely that is the case for a culture we don't know e

            • by Thomasje (709120)

              I'm an atheist, have been all my life. Yet, I was always nice to my teddy bear. It's not like I believe that the thing is alive, has feelings, has a soul, or anything like that... but still, even today, I'll make sure that it sits in a comfortable spot. When someone I care about dies, their mortal remains are no more capable of suffering than my inanimate teddy bear, and yet, I'll do my best to give them a decent funeral. Why? Because it feels wrong not to, that's all.

              This is called Anthropomorphism. You are subconsciously attributing human attributes to nonhumans (a teddy bear and a corpse) and empathizing with the feelings and comfort levels they don't have.

              I'm not "subconsciously" anything. Life has conditioned me to be nice to living things; when I'm nasty, bad things tend to happen -- I get punished, people take revenge, or, I may reflect on my actions later on, empathize with my victims, and feel guilt or remorse later on.
              Treating a doll or a corpse like just any old thing may not have any of these repercussions, but if the object in question is sufficiently similar to a living thing, my trained reflexes may just kick in and make me feel bad anyway, even

      • I think you're pushing it a bit there. Kin group selection can account for care also. And spirituality can be aggressive, as was often the case with hunter societies. Belief in gods of hunt and war and the like.
      • by multisync (218450) *

        Care = spiritual

        Not for everyone. For some people, caring for others is the height of humanism.

    • by umbra_dweller (797279) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:56PM (#24629927)
      It doesn't necessarily imply complex spirituality on the order of modern religion, but it means that the people who buried them saw them as something other than sacks of meat, that they felt some connection to people even after death - a trait which not all animals share.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Reziac (43301) *

        And when I looked at the photo, I was struck by how they appeared to have been just tossed into a grave together, with the mother possibly still alive (appears to be reaching for the child).

        But I've dug graves and buried large dogs, so I have perhaps a different perspective on how a corpse falls into a hole than does someone who has never done such work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blueg3 (192743)

      Viewing people as entities that are meaningful after their death (and thus are buried as a rite or ritual and not simply as a sanitary measure) is spirituality.

    • Because without spirituality, when you are dead. You are dead. Whether it be in the ocean, on a throne, wherever you might be. Even then, why bury the dead? It obviously wasn't for sanitary reasons, it wasn't for ease of taking care of a dead body. Most likely it would be because of some spiritual belief.
    • by AJWM (19027) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:27PM (#24630199) Homepage

      In archaeology, "spritual" == "no other explanation".

      I mean really, every other artifact that they dig up that doesn't immediately have an obvious purpose is a "ritual object" of some "spiritual significance".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kklein (900361)

      My first thought was human sacrifice. Buried alive.

    • by Artifakt (700173) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:35PM (#24630267)

      The assumption is, if somebody did something special for a person that was already dead, they probably believed that some part of that person was 'still around' to appreciate it - else why go to the extra bother.
            It's not invariably true - for example we probably try to honor people's last will and testaments as much for the peace of mind it brings them while they are still alive as for any other reason. This burial could arguably have been done just to give the deceased's survivors a mental image that alleviated some of their sorrow, with no real expectation beyond that.
              Many prehistoric cultures have done more than just arranging the dead though, such as burying 'killed' tools with them. This goes back to at least some Neanderthal sites in the range of 60 - 65,000 BC, also shows up in some of our direct ancestors, and some particular symbolic rituals span roughly 50,000 years, making them part of what was probably by far the longest continuous religious system ever. One of the roughly 60,000 year old Neanderthal sites involved the burial of a young girl, about 5 or 6. Her corpse was laid on a sort of rug made of woven flowers, and carefully equipped with bone needles, a waterskin, spools of sinew, flint knapping stones, shell jewelry, and clothing in various sizes from hers at time of death to items which would have fit her fully grown. Many of the items showed signs of being neatly broken or damaged in a ritualistic fashion, as though to send them with her by some form of sympathetic magic.
            If the article's writer is inferring spiritual beliefs just from the position of the corpses, they may well be in error, but if this is the opinion of the research anthropologists, they have probably noticed enough similarities to other sites to be confident it's part of the same cultural context.

    • by owlnation (858981)
      I was just about to post the same thing on seeing that in the article. This isn't suggested at all -- not any more than a child playing with dolls proves spirituality. A desire to nurture or sentimentality does NOT in any way prove spirituality.

      Archaeologists always seem to be inferring spirituality on ancients. However, humans today are mostly not that spiritual -- they are a pretty selfish, material greedy bunch, and I don't really believe that humans have got worse (or much better admittedly, though
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by VoidEngineer (633446)
      Did you see the photos? They weren't simply buried in each others' arms; they were placed in a really complex way with fingers intertwined and stuff. The mother and children site is really touching and sad to see. Whoever buried them wanted them to be together. If you take a look at the photos, you'll see what I mean. Somebody was wanting these three to be together, even though they were already dead. That's compared to the other society, which buried their dead as if the dead were in burlap sacks. Th
  • plug for paul sereno (Score:5, Informative)

    by VoidEngineer (633446) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @06:46PM (#24629843)
    First of all, Paul Sereno is awesome. Modern day Indiana Jones, if there ever was one. I had the opportunity to work for him as a Research Assistant, doing fossil reconstruction of some of the other dinosaurs he dug up in Niger.

    Interesting tidbits about the guy who led the research:

    He left this particular site alone for three years before coming back to it with the appropriate team of people. He commonly does that... goes out in the field, finds something, and leaves it, only to return with the proper team and equipment. He doesn't like to mess up a find, and he'd rather be patient and do a thing right than go for a quick-win and run the risk of screwing something up. He knows how to follow through on super-complex projects better than almost anybody I've ever met before.

    His dinosaur laboratory is located across the street from the site of Chicago Pile 1, where the first controlled release of atomic energy occurred, in the racketball court underneath the bleachers of Stagg Stadium. That building, across the street, now know as the Enrico Fermi Institute, holds all sorts of milling equipment, 50 ton hoists, and a "monster garage" that's three stories tall inside. It has all the right equipment to mill graphite into control rods, or hoist dinosaur skeletons onto their scaffolding. It once held the first cyclotron, and they now build dinosaurs and space satellites there. The dino lab is affectionally known as the "Atomic Dino Lab".

    He also has a license plate that reads "dinosaur".

    All in all, a super cool guy. His class on paleobiology was, hands down, one of the most educational classes I've ever had the opportunity to take. The class was all on phylogenetics and cladistics, with a lab in geostrata and mineral identifications. Who knew?

    http://www.paulsereno.org/ [paulsereno.org]
    http://www.projectexploration.org/ [projectexploration.org]
    • by corbettw (214229)

      First of all, Paul Sereno is awesome. Modern day Indiana Jones, if there ever was one.

      Ooh, sounds exciting!

      He commonly does that... goes out in the field, finds something, and leaves it, only to return with the proper team and equipment.

      Wow, just like in Indiana Jones and the Patiently Waiting Tomb Hunters. That montage scene when five years went by as Professor Jones assembled his team was incredible!

    • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @08:39PM (#24630643) Homepage

      Modern day Indiana Jones, if there ever was one... His dinosaur laboratory is located across the street from the site of Chicago Pile 1, where the first controlled release of atomic energy occurred

      So did he survive the atomic blast in a refrigerator?

  • Spirituality? (Score:2, Insightful)

    This strongly indicated they had spiritual beliefs and cared for their dead,' says Garcea.

    "Cared for their dead" I get. This "spiritual beliefs" stuff doesn't make sense. What proves any kind of spirituality in this situation? Posing a corpse isn't proof of spirituality, it's just proof that they moved people around after they died.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gregbot9000 (1293772)
      if they didn't have any spirituality then a copse would be nothing. they would probably just toss it in a ditch. If they pose a person, then it shows they think their is more to a person then just the body. that the person has a spirit.
    • Well, actually, posing a corpse is exactly what they're submitting as evidence of spiritual belief. Burial is a ritual practice that is generally tied into a concept of afterlife, which is a spiritual belief. Doesn't matter if you believe in a god or gods. What they're describing as spiritual, is a belief in the afterlife. And burial customs are a clue into whether or not you have beliefs about what happens after the grave. If you didn't believe in an afterlife, just leave the people to rot or toss the
  • by mbone (558574) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:22PM (#24630167)

    This article [sciencemag.org] in Science Magazine indicates that the Sahara was fully formed by 2300 BCE

    To me, the timing between that and the rise of the Old Kingdom in Egypt (~ 2600 BCE) is too close to be coincidental. I think we will find that people migrated from sites such Gobero to the Nile, and that precipitated the formation of political organization in Egypt.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That hypothesis is being investigated, and seems a very likely one, according to the article "Pharaohs from the stone age" published in NewScientist 16 Jan 2007.

  • Terraforming Earth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dapyx (665882) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @07:43PM (#24630311) Homepage
    We should forget about terraforming Mars. We should try to terraform Earth before that. This huge tract of land that is Sahara could be restored with some advanced technology to the greener place it once was. Are there any studies on the possibility of transforming Sahara?
  • by kapouer (1215366)
    i bet basket games were quite like nowaday's

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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