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  • For the part it plays regarding human "origins" ...

    ‘Humans were not centre stage’: how ancient cave art puts us in our place
    In our self-obsessed age, the anonymous, mysterious cave art of our ancient ancestors is exhilarating. By Barbara Ehrenreich
    ---


    In 1940, four teenage boys stumbled, almost literally, from German-occupied France into the Paleolithic age. As the story goes – and there are many versions of it – they had been taking a walk in the woods near the town of Montignac when the dog accompanying them suddenly disappeared. A quick search revealed that their animal companion had fallen into a hole in the ground, so – in the spirit of Tintin, with whom they were probably familiar – the boys made the perilous 15-metre descent to find it. They found the dog and much more, especially on return visits illuminated with paraffin lamps. The hole led to a cave, the walls and ceilings of which were covered with brightly coloured paintings of animals unknown to the 20th-century Dordogne – bison, aurochs and lions. One of the boys later reported that, stunned and elated, they began to dart around the cave like “a band of savages doing a war dance”. Another recalled that the painted animals in the flickering light of the boys’ lamps seemed to be moving. “We were completely crazy,” yet another said, although the build-up of carbon dioxide in a poorly ventilated cave may have had something to do with that.

    This was the famous and touristically magnetic Lascaux cave, which eventually had to be closed to visitors lest their exhalations spoil the artwork. Today, almost a century later, we know that Lascaux is part of a global phenomenon, originally referred to as “decorated caves”. They have been found on every continent except Antarctica – at least 350 of them in Europe alone, thanks to the cave-rich Pyrenees – with the most recent discoveries in Borneo (2018) andCroatia (April 2019). Uncannily, given the distances that separate them, all are adorned with similar decorations: handprints or stencils of human hands, abstract designs containing dots and crosshatched lines, and large animals, both carnivores and herbivores, most of them now extinct. Not all of these images appear in each of the decorated caves – some feature only handprints or megafauna. Scholars of paleoarcheology infer that the paintings were made by our distant ancestors, although the caves contain no depictions of humans doing any kind of painting.
    ...
    https://www.theguardian.com/artandde...=pocket-newtab
    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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    • Forget “Earth-Like”—We’ll First Find Aliens on Eyeball Planets

      They may not look like much, but there’s a thin ring of life on these unique planets.



      https://getpocket.com/explore/item/f...=pocket-newtab
      ...............
      Why Religion Is Not Going Away and Science Will Not Destroy It

      Social scientists predicted that belief in the supernatural would drift away as modern science advanced. They were wrong.

      https://getpocket.com/explore/item/w...=pocket-newtab
      TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

      Comment


      • What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything?

        Three Stanford scientists have a provocative way of thinking about genetic variants, and how they affect people’s bodies and health.

        https://getpocket.com/explore/item/w...=pocket-newtab
        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

        Comment


        • 17 Cataclysmic Events That Changed the Earth Forever

          https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/ot...ver/ss-BBWOYU6
          TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

          Comment


          • 'Ghost' DNA In West Africans Complicates Story Of Human Origins

            ....
            About 50,000 years ago, ancient humans in what is now West Africa apparently procreated with another group of ancient humans that scientists didn't know existed.

            There aren't any bones or ancient DNA to prove it, but researchers say the evidence is in the genes of modern West Africans. They analyzed genetic material from hundreds of people from Nigeria and Sierra Leone and found signals of what they call "ghost" DNA from an unknown ancestor.

            Our own species — Homo sapiens — lived alongside other groups that split off from the same genetic family tree at different times. And there's plenty of evidence from other parts of the world that early humans had sex with other hominins, like Neanderthals.

            That's why Neanderthal genes are present in humans today, in people of European and Asian descent. Homo sapiens also mated with another group, the Denisovans, and those genes are found in people from Oceania.

            The findings on ghost DNA, published in the journal Science Advances, further complicate the picture of how Homo sapiens — or modern humans — evolved away from other human relatives. "It's almost certainly the case that the story is incredibly complex and complicated and we have kind of these initial hints about the complexity," says Sriram Sankararaman, a computational biologist at UCLA.
            ...
            The scientists think the interbreeding happened about 50,000 years ago, roughly the same time that Neanderthals were breeding with modern humans elsewhere in the world. It's not clear whether there was a single interbreeding "event," though, or whether it happened over an extended period of time.

            The unknown group "appears to have split off from the ancestors of modern humans a little before when Neanderthals split off from our ancestors," he says.
            ...
            https://www.npr.org/2020/02/12/80523...=pocket-newtab

            Also ...
            Mixing It Up 50,000 Years Ago — Who Slept With Whom?

            https://www.npr.org/sections/health-...lept-with-whom

            (the Annunaki )
            TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

            Comment


            • Can a rogue star kick Earth out of the solar system?

              https://www.space.com/rogue-star-kic...ar-system.html
              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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              • Scientists discover first known animal that doesn't breathe

                This is the first animal on Earth proven to have no mitochondrial genome and no way to breathe.
                https://www.livescience.com/first-no...ng-animal.html
                TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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                • The Anunnaki Connection is the best compendium about extraterrestrial visits in years. All research is strictly scientific, but Lynn managed to write it in a way which is understandable to everyone. ,,,
                  http://www.drheatherlynn.com/
                  TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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                  • Scientists made 1 small edit to human embryos. It had a lot of unintended consequences.
                    https://theweek.com/speedreads/92029...d-consequences


                    Scientists Edited Human Embryos in the Lab, and It Was a Disaster
                    The experiment raises major safety concerns for gene-edited babies
                    https://onezero.medium.com/scientist...r-9473918d769d
                    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

                    Comment


                    • Pending another thread location, this also fits the theme(s) here;
                      How the Extinction of Ice Age Mammals May Have Forced Us to Invent Civilization

                      Overhunting of megafauna such as mammoths might have caused us to take up farming, which ultimately brought about modern-looking communities.

                      ...
                      Why did we take so long to invent civilization? Modern Homo sapiens first evolved roughly 250,000 to 350,000 years ago. But initial steps towards civilization – harvesting, then domestication of crop plants – began only around 10,000 years ago, with the first civilizations appearing 6,400 years ago.

                      For 95 percent of our species’ history, we didn’t farm, create large settlements or complex political hierarchies. We lived in small, nomadic bands, hunting and gathering. Then, something changed.

                      We transitioned from hunter-gatherer life to plant harvesting, then cultivation and, finally, cities. Strikingly, this transition happened only after the ice age megafauna – mammoths, giant ground sloths, giant deer and horses – disappeared. The reasons humans began farming still remain unclear, but the disappearance of the animals we depended on for food may have forced our culture to evolve.

                      Early humans were smart enough to farm. All groups of modern humans have similar levels of intelligence, suggesting our cognitive capabilities evolved before these populations separated around 300,000 years ago, then changed little afterwards. If our ancestors didn’t grow plants, it’s not that they weren’t clever enough. Something in the environment prevented them – or they simply didn’t need to.

                      Global warming at the end of the last glacial period, 11,700 years ago, probably made farming easier. Warmer temperatures, longer growing seasons, higher rainfall and long-term climate stability made more areas suitable for cultivation. But it’s unlikely farming had been impossible everywhere. And Earth saw many such warming events – 11,700, 125,000, 200,000 and 325,000 years ago – but earlier warming events didn’t spur experiments in farming. Climate change can’t have been the only driver.

                      Human migration probably contributed as well. When our species expanded from southern Africa throughout the African continent, into Asia, Europe and then the Americas, we found new environments and new food plants. But people occupied these parts of the world long before farming began. Plant domestication lagged human migration by tens of millennia.
                      ...
                      https://getpocket.com/explore/item/h...=pocket-newtab
                      TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

                      Comment


                      • Our Solar System Is Even Stranger Than We Thought

                        New research shows a pattern of exoplanet sizes and spacing around other stars unlike what we see in our own system.

                        https://getpocket.com/explore/item/o...=pocket-newtab

                        How Political Opinions Change

                        A clever experiment shows it's surprisingly easy to change someone’s political views, revealing how flexible we are.

                        https://getpocket.com/explore/item/h...=pocket-newtab
                        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

                        Comment


                        • Memories Can Be Injected and Survive Amputation and Metamorphosis

                          If a headless worm can regrow a memory, then where is the memory stored? And, if a memory can regenerate, could you transfer it?
                          https://getpocket.com/explore/item/m...=pocket-newtab

                          Evolution: That Famous ‘March of Progress’ Image Is Just Wrong

                          New research shows animal evolution often involves losing genes and becoming less complex.
                          https://getpocket.com/explore/item/e...=pocket-newtab

                          How Accurate Are Online DNA Tests?

                          Geneticist and author Adam Rutherford examines the evidence.
                          https://getpocket.com/explore/item/h...line-dna-tests

                          The Human Genome Was Never Completely Sequenced
                          The effort completed in 2003 used the best technology available but now scientists could do more
                          https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...ely-sequenced/

                          Other generic and loosely related;

                          The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything

                          What makes things cool?
                          https://getpocket.com/explore/item/t...=pocket-newtab

                          Remembering Nellie Bly, Rabblerouser and Pioneer of Investigative Journalism

                          Clever, gifted, and fearless, Nellie Bly inspired both journalistic and social change in the late 19th century.
                          https://getpocket.com/explore/item/r...=pocket-newtab
                          Last edited by G David Bock; 06 Jul 20, 12:54.
                          TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

                          Comment


                          • Could theorized Planet 9 be a primordial black hole ... - Phys.org

                            https://www.google.com/search?client...e+a+black+hole
                            TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

                            Comment


                            • Evolutionary Study Uncovers Genes That Extended How Long Humans Live

                              “It’s absolutely a humbling fact.”

                              ...
                              If you’re a housefly, life comes at you fast: Within days of being born, you mature, hatch your babies and die having served your evolutionary purpose. But we humans tend to take as many as 100 years to undergo the same process. A 2018 study featured on the cover of Molecular Biology Evolution provides some insight into why humans are able to live as long as we do. Researchers identified a handful of genes that were so strongly conserved millions of years ago, they influence our lifespans even today.

                              Lead study author Arcadi Navarro, Ph.D., a research professor at Pompeu Fabra University’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology tells Inverse that much like physical traits, our lifespans evolved in response to our environment.

                              “During evolution, species adapt to their environments by lengthening or shortening their lifespans,” Navarro says. “In the case of bats, when they became able to fly they could escape predators, so it makes sense for them to invest in longer lifespans and have more offspring. But others are in the opposite position. If they’re susceptible to predation or infection they’ll shorten their lifespan so they can reproduce quicker.”
                              ...
                              https://getpocket.com/explore/item/e...=pocket-newtab
                              TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

                              Comment


                              • Beyond Pluto: The Hunt for Our Solar System’s New Ninth Planet

                                Scientists think a planet larger than Earth lurks in the far reaches of the solar system. Now a new telescope could confirm their belief and change solar system science.

                                ....
                                You’d think that if you found the first evidence that a planet larger than the Earth was lurking unseen in the furthest reaches of our solar system, it would be a big moment. It would make you one of only a small handful of people in all of history to have discovered such a thing.

                                But for astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, it was a much quieter affair. “It wasn’t like there was a eureka moment,” he says. “The evidence just built up slowly.”

                                He’s a master of understatement. Ever since he and his collaborator Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University, first published their suspicions about the unseen planet in 2014, the evidence has only continued to grow. Yet when asked how convinced he is that the new world, which he calls Planet X (though many other astronomers call it Planet 9), is really out there, Sheppard will only say: “I think it’s more likely than unlikely to exist.”

                                As for the rest of the astronomical community, in most quarters there is a palpable excitement about finding this world. Much of this excitement centres on the opening of a giant new survey telescope named after Vera C Rubin, the astronomer who, in the 1970s, discovered some of the first evidence for dark matter.

                                Scheduled to begin its full survey of the sky in 2022, the Rubin observatory could find the planet outright or provide the clinching circumstantial evidence that it’s there.

                                Discovery of the planet would be a triumph, but also a disaster for existing theory about how the solar system was created.

                                “It would change everything we thought we knew about planet formation,” says Sheppard, in another characteristic understatement. In truth, no one has a clue how such a large planet could form that far from the sun.
                                ...
                                The path towards Planet 9 began one night in 2012, when Sheppard and Trujillo were using the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory’s telescope in Chile. They were finding more and more distant objects, but one in particular stood out. Catalogued as 2012 VP113, they nicknamed it Biden after the US vice-president at the time (because of the letters VP in the catalogue designation). To their amazement, this far-flung world never came closer to the sun than about 80AU. At its furthest, Biden would reach 440AU into deep space, meaning that it followed a highly elliptical orbit. But that wasn’t the most remarkable thing about it.

                                By some weird coincidence, its orbit appeared to be very similar to that of another distant world known as Sedna. This mini-world had been discovered in 2003 by Brown, Trujillo and David Rabinowitz of Yale University. It immediately stood out because of its highly elliptical orbit, which swings from 76AU to 937AU.

                                “Objects like Sedna and 2012 VP113 can’t form on these eccentric orbits,” says Sheppard. Instead, computer simulations suggest that they form much closer and are then ejected by gravitational interactions with the larger planets. The truly odd thing, however, was that the two elongated orbits pointed in roughly the same direction.

                                And the more Sheppard and Trujillo examined the other objects in their catch, the more they saw that those orbits were aligned, too. It was as if something was corralling those tiny worlds, like a sheepdog manoeuvring its flock. And the only thing they could think of that was capable of doing that was a much larger planet.

                                Curiosity piqued, they did some calculations and discovered that the planet their results were hinting at had to be somewhere between two and 15 times more massive than Earth, on an orbit that lies on average somewhere between 250AU and 1500AU from the sun. Their results were published by the prestigious journal Nature in March 2014 and interest in Planet 9 began to sweep the astronomical world.
                                ...
                                ..... But help is on its way in the form of the Rubin observatory.

                                Rubin is a monster that will devour the sky. Whereas most telescopes would take months or years to survey the whole sky, Rubin will do it in just three nights. Then do it again and again and again to see what’s changed and so catch the moving objects.

                                Construction is nearing completion, and the telescope is set to open its giant eye for the first time in 2020. Commissioning and tweaking will then take another couple of years.

                                “That survey is going to change solar system science as we know it,” says Sheppard. And if Planet 9 is out there, Rubin should see it.
                                ...
                                To rescue the standard theory, some suggest that Planet 9 was once destined to become a gas giant like Jupiter or Saturn and so was forming alongside them. However, a gravitational interaction stunted its growth by hurling it out into the dark.

                                But Jakub Scholtz of Durham University is sceptical. “It’s possible,” he says, “but it actually requires quite a lot of coincidences.” That’s because a single gravitational interaction can’t do the job. Instead, a series of interactions is needed to place it in an orbit that never brings it back to where it formed.

                                Scholtz has a more exotic idea. Together with collaborator James Unwin, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, he has suggested that the object corralling these distant worldlets is not a long-lost planet but a black hole.
                                .....
                                https://getpocket.com/explore/item/b...=pocket-newtab

                                Another idea, as presented earlier in this thread, would be a wandering planet that was "captured".
                                TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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