Tag: ancient

The Euribor closes April at negligible levels and cuts the cost of old mortgages
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The Euribor closes April at negligible levels and cuts the cost of old mortgages

As long as the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) remains unchanged, the index to which mortgage interest rates are linked will remain stable at very low levels. This is the experts' forecast for the Euribor, whose monthly average - in the absence of Friday's data - closes April at -0.483%, just 0.4 basis points above that registered the previous month and very close to -0.505% to which it fell in January, its all-time low. A Euribor on the ground not only directly affects variable interest rates, but also pushes the cost of fixed mortgages down, on which both banks and their clients are betting heavily. What is obvious at first glance is just how cheap variable mortgages have become. The Euribor -in negative territory for more than five years— subtract instead of ad...
Sci&Tech

Ancient Bear DNA Sequenced From Old Cave Dirt in Historic First For Science

The dirt scattered across the floor of an ancient, remote cave in Mexico has yielded a new source of viable ancient DNA.For the first time, scientists have sequenced ancient DNA from soil samples - and it's all thanks to the Upper Paleolithic bears that prolifically used the cave as their toilet around 16,000 years ago.  The scientists describe their work as "the Moon landing of genomics", as the breakthrough means fossilized remains are no longer the only way of obtaining ancient DNA. Further, it shows ancient DNA can now be studied in the context of populations, rather than scattered, fragmentary individuals."When an animal or a human urinates or defecates, cells from the organism are also excreted. And the DNA fragments from these cells are what we can detect in the soil samples," expl...
Sci&Tech

Tarantulas Are Basically All Over The Planet, And Scientists Can Finally Explain Why

Few spiders elicit as much reaction from humans as the famous and feared tarantula. These giant, hairy arachnids are known for their remarkable size, brilliant colors, and distinctive physical attributes.  But it's not just the tarantula itself that is so impressively (albeit unsettlingly) large. So is the creature's footprint on the globe – which is surprising since tarantulas are relatively sedentary spiders; females and juveniles in particular rarely wander away from their burrows, if they do at all.Nonetheless, tarantulas (the Theraphosidae family of spiders) are to be found virtually everywhere, living on all Earth's continents except for Antarctica."They are quite widespread and are found throughout the subtropical regions of every continent," a research team led by bioinformatician...
Sci&Tech

Remains of The 3,000-Year-Old 'Lost Golden City' Discovered Beneath Egyptian Sands

Archaeologists have found a "Lost Golden City" that's been buried under the ancient Egyptian capital of Luxor for the past 3,000 years, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced Thursday (April 8).   The city, historically known as "The Rise of Aten," was founded by Amenhotep III (ruled 1391-1353 BCE), the grandfather of Tutankhamun, or King Tut.People continued to use the "Golden City" during Amenhotep III's co-regency with his son, Amenhotep IV (who later changed his name to Akhenaten), as well as during the rule of Tut and the pharaoh who followed him, known as Ay.Despite the city's rich history – historical documents report that it was home to King Amenhotep III's three royal palaces and was the largest administrative and industrial settlement in Luxor at that time –...
Sci&Tech

Forgotten Stone Slab May Actually Be The Oldest Known Map in Europe

The markings are unfamiliar: carved contours that now only hint at a lost landscape from long ago. Nonetheless, a large, mysterious slab of stone recently rediscovered in France looks like it might just be the oldest known map in Europe.  In a new study, researchers re-examined the Saint-Bélec slab – an intricately carved, partly broken slab of stone first found in 1900, before being set aside in a castle and largely forgotten about for over 100 years.Only now are modern archaeologists reappraising the slab and learning its significance – specifically, that it could in fact represent the most ancient cartographical depiction of known land in Europe.The Saint-Bélec slab. (D. Gliksman/Inrap)"This is probably the oldest map of a territory that has been identified," first author of the study,...
Sci&Tech

There Could Be a Beautiful Reason Why Constellations Are The Same in Many Cultures

Human cultures can see the world through very different lenses, but the way we sort stars in the night sky is surprisingly universal.Even when separated by vast differences in time and space, many of the same constellations stand out time and time again in human history, albeit with different names and stories behind them.   The constellation Orion is visible throughout the world and is one of the most obvious examples.While the ancient Greeks saw a determined hunter in the face of a charging bull, with club and shield in hand, in the Southern Hemisphere, a much more ancient group of Aboriginal Australians known as the Wiradjuri see their ancestral creator Baiame, wielding a shield and boomerang.Both Baiame and Orion are chasing seven young women, known as the Yugarilya sisters or the sis...
Sci&Tech

The Genetic Signal of Ancient Australians in South America Goes Deeper Than We Knew

The extent of Australasian influence into the ancient bloodlines of early South American cultures looks to be even greater than scientists thought, according to new research.In 2015, a pair of scientific studies identified an intriguing link: evidence of Indigenous Australian, Melanesian, and South Asian genetics embedded in modern Native American populations living in the Amazon.  How this mysterious connection was forged between peoples living a globe apart has never been fully understood or agreed upon, although it's thought Australasian genes flowed into the Americas via an epic, land-based migration through Eurasia roughly 20,000 years ago, back when the ancient, now submerged landmass of Beringia still served as a convenient bridge to Alaska.By about 15,000 years ago, some of the tr...
Sci&Tech

The Trouble With Dinosaur Bones

Bloodsucking insects, trapped in amber for millions of years, extracted for their blood-filled bellies, with the blood analyzed for ancient DNA.At first glance, the scientific explanation for the revival of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park doesn't sound too far-fetched. It was considered a genuine possibility at the time the book was written.  There's just one problem – trapped in amber or not, DNA doesn't like to stick around. Even in the best conditions, scientists estimate that readable DNA completely degrades in 1.5 million years, tops.The asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs occurred 65 million years ago, so there are tens of million years in the interim, which means plenty of DNA degradation.Any scientist you care to ask will tell you that Jurassic Park is the only place you'll se...