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Message 598207 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 4:49:08 UTC

Egypt to use DNA tests to identify pharaoh Tuthmosis


[Caption: Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva (L) poses with fellow archaeologists in a tomb from the ancient Mochica culture discovered at the Huaca Rajada site in the northern Peruvian city of Chiclayo July 2, 2007. The tomb is estimated to be about 1,700 years old, according to archaeologists. Picture taken July 2, 2007. REUTERS/Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan/Handout (PERU). EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.]

Tue Jul 3, 1:22 PM ET

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will run DNA tests on an unidentified mummy to determine whether it is the pharaoh Tuthmosis I, who ruled over a period of military expansion and extensive construction, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass said the findings would be compared with DNA from mummies of known members of Tuthmosis's family, including Queen Hatshepsut, whose mummy was identified last week, and Kings Tuthmosis II and III, according to MENA.

Hawass said on Wednesday that he had recently concluded that a mummy once assumed to be that of Tuthmosis I was not in fact his, but belonged to a much younger man who died from an arrow wound.

According to MENA, Hawass said the conclusion had prompted a new search for Tuthmosis's mummy.

Tuthmosis, who took the throne somewhere around 1506 BC, led a series of successful military expeditions, expanding Egypt's territory into Nubia and the Levant.

After his death, he was succeeded by Tuthmosis II, his son from a minor wife, who chose to marry his royal half-sister, the famous Queen Hatshepsut, to cement his claim to the throne.
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Message 598234 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 5:36:52 UTC
Last modified: 4 Jul 2007, 5:37:26 UTC

Million-year-old human tooth found in Spain

Mon Jul 2, 6:59 AM ET


[Caption: This picture released by Fundacion Atapeurca shows a human tooth found in the Atapuerca Sierra, near Burgos. Spanish researchers on Friday said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, which they estimated to be the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe.(AFP/FA-HO)]

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish researchers on Friday said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, which they estimated to be the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe.

Jose Maria Bermudez de Castro, co-director of research at the Atapuerca site said the molar, discovered on Wednesday in the Atapuerca Sierra in the northern province of Burgos, could be as much as 1.2 million years old.

"The tooth represents the oldest human fossil remain of western Europe. Now we finally have the anatomical evidence of the hominids that fabricated tools more than one million years ago," the Atapuerca Foundation said in a statement.

"Since it is an isolated fossil remain, it is not possible at this point to confirm which Homo species this tooth belongs to," the foundation added, but said first analyses "allow us to suppose it is an ancestor of Homo antecessor (pioneer)."

In 1994 at the nearby Gran Dolina site several Homo antecessor fossils were uncovered, suggesting human occupation of Europe around 800,000 years ago, whereas scientists had previously believed the continent had only been inhabited for around half a million years.

Subsequent findings in various sites across Spain lent further credence to the earlier date.

The Sierra Atapuerca contains several caves such as the Gran Dolina site, where fossils and stone tools of Europe's earliest known hominids have been found.

Researchers found the molar in the Sima del Elefante section of the sierra which had previously yielded fossils from mammals including bison, deer and bear as well as birds and a mouse.

The foundation said studies of the geological level suggested it was more than one million years old but that final results were being awaited prior to "publishing this extraordinary finding in a research journal of the highest scientific prestige."

Bermudez de Castro, one of three paleontologists leading the expedition, said the fossil appeared to be "well worn" and from an individual aged between 20-25.

"For the time being we have no idea what species but there is no doubt, from the (geological) level where the tooth was found, that it belonged to the oldest European found to date," he added.

Excavations in recent years in the sierra have uncovered human remains ranging from early humans through the Bronze Age to modern man.

Atapuerca's most famous site is "Sima de los Huesos" (pit of bones) and fossils found there date from at least 350,000 years ago.
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Message 598238 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 5:39:20 UTC

Chilean teenagers find trove of whale fossils

By Rodrigo Martinez Fri Jun 29, 11:56 AM ET


[Caption: A general view of the area where students found fossils in Los Maitenes town, about 160 km (99 miles) northwest of Santiago, June 26, 2007. In the Town of Los Maitenes, in the central coast of Chile, a group of secondary students discovered some fossil remains of what could be a prehistoric whale cemetery during a workshop of paleontology. (Eliseo Fernandez/Reuters)]

LOS MAITENES, Chile (Reuters) - Chilean teenagers on a field trip have found what experts say could be a treasure trove of fossils from whales which died millions of years ago.

Teenagers from a school in Concon, a town on the Pacific coast, found the fossils last month in the hills near the village of Los Maitenes, nearly four miles from the sea and 100 miles from the capital Santiago.

They found fossilized jawbones, backbones and ribs of four whales which scientists say likely died 5 million years ago.

Geologists expect to find more whale fossils in the area. "What we have to work out is whether we're dealing with a few examples that have washed in on the tide or whether we're talking about a real whale cemetery," said Hernan Vergara, a marine geologist studying the find.

Vergara, who teaches at the nearby University of Valparaiso, said the gentle hills around Los Maitenes were once part of the sea bed.

The teenagers found the fossils while on a field trip with their biology teacher Veronica Andrade.

"We got to the place thinking we might find a bone, something small and some invertebrate fossils," Andrade told Reuters. "But because the kids are restless they fanned out all over the area and they found lots of fragments close to the surface."

Local authorities are hailing the discovery as one of the most important of its kind in central Chile and say they plan to declare the area a national monument, which would give the area protected status.

"I don't know of any other find like this," said Valparaiso Gov. Ricardo Bravo, who added the provincial government was considering building a natural history museum on the site.
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Message 598245 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 5:47:12 UTC

Lucy fossil approved for US tour

By NATASHA T. METZLER, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 27, 7:09 PM ET

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(AP Photo/Houston Museum of Natural Science, Dirk Van Tuerenhout, file)

WASHINGTON - A fossil tour doesn't have to mean an aging rock band's reunion concerts. The State Department gave final approval Wednesday for one of the world's most famous fossils — the 3.2 million-year-old Lucy skeleton unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974 — to tour the U.S. on exhibit for the first time.

The Smithsonian has objected to the idea, however, because museum experts don't think the fragile remains should travel. So Lucy won't be stopping at the National Museum of Natural History, but in other U.S. museums instead.

Smithsonian scientists feel that certain artifacts, such as Lucy, are too valuable for the stresses of travel and should remain in their homes, according to National Natural History Museum spokesman Randall Kremer.

"This is one of the most important specimens relating to human origins in the world," Kremer said Wednesday. "We think it is too much of a risk to have it travel for the purposes of public viewing."

Even in Ethiopia the public has only seen the real Lucy remains twice. The Lucy exhibition at the Ethiopian Natural History Museum in the nation's capital, Addis Ababa, is a replica and the real remains are usually locked in a vault.

"We share with them the fact that artifacts like this need to be surrounded with the utmost care, but that should not preclude them from traveling," said Dirk Van Tuerenhout, curator of anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which is arranging the tour. He added that representatives from his museum did deem some of the other artifacts offered by the Ethiopian government unable to travel.

"If you are able to showcase an original fossil, then you have a story, then you have a point of attraction that will bring in the most number of people, and then you can tell them that story," Van Tuerenhout said.

The State Department approved the exhibit for temporary importation into the U.S., saying that display of Lucy and the other artifacts is in the national interest because of their "cultural significance." The official announcement was published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

Lucy goes on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Aug. 31, continuing through April 20, 2008. The other tour stops have not been finalized, according to museum spokeswoman Melodie Francis. But in announcing the plans to display the artifact last October, Ethiopian officials listed Washington, New York, Denver and Chicago as tour stops.

The fossilized remains were discovered in 1974 in the remote, desert-like Afar region in northeastern Ethiopia. Lucy is classified as an Australopithecus afarensis, which lived in Africa between about 4 million and 3 million years ago, and is the earliest known hominid.

Most scientists believe afarensis stood upright and walked on two feet, but they argue about whether it had ape-like agility in trees. The loss of that ability would suggest crossing a threshold toward a more human existence.
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Message 598718 - Posted: 4 Jul 2007, 22:26:59 UTC

Ancient remains found by pupils

eenagers who joined archaeologists on a dig in an historic village uncovered the 1,000-year-old remains of a woman.

Pupils from different schools in Cambs and Suffolk were on a higher education course digging near Halesworth when their spades hit a skull.

Cambridge University archaeologist Carenza Lewis said they do not know all that much about the body they found.

"We think she may be Anglo Saxon or from before the Norman Conquest. She is ancient, adult and female," she said.

The dig, in the village of Chediston, was part of a series of higher education field academies run by Access Cambridge Archaeology.

The body was found outside the confines of an existing churchyard and this is very unusual, the archaeologists believe.

Ms Lewis said: "She was buried about three feet down and facing east which is evidence of a classic Christian burial.

"Before the Norman Conquest the churchyard occupied a different area and this may account for her grave."
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Message 601637 - Posted: 11 Jul 2007, 5:58:04 UTC
Last modified: 11 Jul 2007, 6:07:05 UTC

Posts moved per Sarge's request.

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