In The News

Welcome to our "In the News" page, featuring summaries of Internet news, relevant to Catastrophism and Ancient History.

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8 Apr 2010
Cows Milk

The Observer April 4th (see has a story about cows being the key to human success in Europe. A study of the remains of 20,000 people from the 8th century BC to the 18th century AD has found that during the Roman Empire period our level of nutrition declined - but increased again in the 'dark ages' and the reintroduction of traditional northern European farming with it's emphasis on dairying.

8 Apr 2010

Aurorae (see March 29th) has an interesting article on the recognition that aurorae had electro-magnetic properties. In 1740 Anders Celsius, the inventor of the centigrade scale named after him, interpreted aurorae as an electro-magnetic anomaly after he noticed a large compass needle on his desk top changed orientation whenever an aurorae was visible in the sky above Uppsala in Sweden. In 1861 Benjamin Marsh theorised that an auroral streamer is a current of electricity that originates in the upper parts of the atmosphere.

4 Apr 2010
Bill Napier paper on the YD boundary event

The Bill Napier paper pops up at and is provided by the Royal Astronomical Society (see earlier post and link to pdf). Basically, Bill Napier is saying the YD event was not caused by a comet impact or airburst as such but by thousands of comet fragments and debris, a signifcant difference to the model developed by Firestone and West et al.

3 Apr 2010
Userkare Pyramid

At March 30th ... the second pharaoh of dynasty 6, Userkare, does not have a pyramid assigned to him at the present time. However, Guido Magli, a professor of archaeoastronomy in Milan has published evidence in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry that claims he is able to pinpoint where exactly it should be. Diagonal axes governed the pyramids of Giza, Abirsir and Saqqara - created NE to SW (like the dominant alignment at Stonehenge).

3 Apr 2010
Dark Comets March 29th ... NASAs WISE satellite is finding dozens of dark asteroids and comets each day - most have not been previously detected. Within 3 months it has already found some asteroids classified as 'potentially dangerous' and between now and October, when the mission is aborted, NASA estimates WISE will discover 100,000 asteroids (yes, one hundred thousand of them) - many in the main Asteroid Belt but 100s of NEOs too.

3 Apr 2010

The New Chronology Forum on Yahoo Groups has had in March a discussion on the reign length of Horemhab. A couple of years ago, in JARCE 44 (2008) wine dockets were said to limit his reign to just 14 years. At the end of the article it says the main obstacle to such a short reign was the Babylonian and Assyrian King List. Bob Porter pointed out the JACF 7 article (1994) also argued for a short reign.

3 Apr 2010
YD Boundary event again

At the cause of the Younger Dryas rapid cooling event 12,900 years ago has been discovered according to an article in Nature (March 31st) - and is perhaps designed to quash the comet airburst theory. A mega-flood of water across the top of North America channelled melt-water from the ice sheet - which inconveniently disappeared several thousand years earlier (but there is no reason why it might not have been locked up as a huge lake in the meantime).

3 Apr 2010
Ice Ages in the early history of the earth

Getting back to March 31st 2010 another geologist claims to have solved a mystery - why earth's surface was not a big lump of ice four billion years ago when radiation from the sun was thought to have been weak. Previously, scientists had assumed the atmosphere then consisted of 30 per cent C02 trapping heat like a greenhouse (but see Peter Warlow's talk at the SIS Autumn Meeting a couple of years ago).

3 Apr 2010
Mid Pliocene

The Daily Galaxy, March 31st ( ... prehistoric fossils from a geological period, the mid-Pliocene (3.3 to 3.0 million years ago) that was apparently very warm, are being used to demonstrate how AGW will affect the earth in the future. No surprises there as the research was probably funded in order to find such a link with global warming - and therefore a gloss on that subject was a necessary feature of the findings.

3 Apr 2010
Mammoths on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean

At March 30th (science and archaeology section) ... reports on a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on what might have caused the extinction of wooly mammoths across Eurasia and North America - without firm conclusions. The paper instead addresses the survival of mammoths on Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast, and raises some very interesting points. However, it does not address the main one - why did mammoths live on an Arctic Ocean island during the Ice Age?