K/T boundary event again

This subject was sent in by several people including Jovan and William but Robert has gone straight to the source of the sauce in an article at www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/09/dinosaur-extinction-debate/... ... the controversy over the K/T boundary event in which both sides have had an acrimonious relationship since the Alvarez theory was adopted as mainstream science. That is the gist of the article - but is there a political angle the magazine is trying to push? As I don't read The Atlantic I have no idea.

Laziness Extinction

From the edge of credulity comes this offering - laziness helped lead to the extinction of Homo erectus (see www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/anu-lhl080918.php ... or is this a bad press release. Researchers at the Australian National University claim Homo erectus went extinct, in part, out of laziness. This is based on archaeological findings from the Early Stone Age. Basically, the claim is they failed to advance tool techniques - which remained pretty basic. In fact, it is mainly random stones that represent all we know of Homo erectus culture.

Vertigo

Sent in by Robert. An interesting post at https://crev.info/2018/08/one-wrong-handed-amino-acid-can-cause-vertigo/ ... yes, one amino acid gone awry can cause vertigo. How does this happen? It is down to chirality - how life ended up with one handed (chiral) building blocks such as amino acids and sugars, when both are just as likely to form by the laws of physics. The author claims it is an unsolved mystery in the study of life sciences - because proteins cannot work without 100 per cent one handed. Electricity may of course play an undefined role.

Submerged Mesolithic sites

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/uoh-aft080718.php ... archaeologists have been searching lakes in SE Finland looking for submerged Mesolithic period sites from the early Holocene period. There are echoes here of the Mesolithic remains on the bottom of the North Sea and under the cliffs of the Solent. During early Holocene the water levels in lakes were much lower than today - across Scandinavia. Later, water levels rose as a result of uneven land uplift.

Medieval Ivory

At https://popular-archaeology.com/article/lost-norse-of-greenland-ivory-tr... ... courtesy of the University of Cambridge. The Viking colonies on Greenland were major settlements by the 12th century and Greenland even had its own bishop. However, later, by early 15th century, the Norse had vanished - leaving behind their ruined houses and farms. At first climate change was blamed as colder weather and sea ice around Iceland made it difficult to cope with sea voyages back and forth to Scandinavia.

Psalms

At www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-... ... which refers to an article in Biblical Aarchaeology Review, 'Egyptian Papyrus Sheds New Light on Jewish History' ... (July/August 2018 issue BAR). Papyrus Amherst 63 is written in cursive Egyptian demotic script but also combines this with Aramaic. It has only recently been translated and it seems to be a forerunner of Psalm 20 - and two other psamls not in the Bible.

Early IPCC reports

The Canadian climate scientist, now retired, Dr Timothy Ball, has a guest post at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/08/12/the-major-change-in-the-global-wa... ... which discusses differences in the IPCC reports of 1990 and 1995 - which is going back a bit - but then he has been involved in the global warming debate for a long time (as a working climate scientist as well as a retired denier of global warming).

Easter Island Again

Sent in by William. At https://phys.org/print453352412.html ... a new investigation into Easter Island (2300 miles off the coast of Chile). This is where society is supposed to have imploded as a result of over exploitation of natural resources. A new article in the Journal of Pacific Archaeology begs to differ. They say the Jared Diamond theory is over stated as evidence from the carving of the stone heads and their erection appears to have been a joint effort - indicating mutual appreciation of different roles in society.

Aboriginal Genetics

I've put this under archaeology as we don't have a genetics thread. It could equally come under anthropology - accept that we are dealing with the hard sciences (rather than the whimsical) - but see https://phys.org/print452844655.html ... A PNAS study (August 7th 2018) starts off with the premise, or so it would seem, that Aborigines arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago. Why do they do that as archaeologists have been pushing back the date of their arrival further and further back in time?

Super Highway

In Science Reports (August 2018) we have dinosaur tracks found in Alaska - see https://phys.org/print452768549.html ... and now it is proposed Alaska was the gateway to the New World for the dinosaurs (and now where have we heard something like that). This is an interesting idea because if it is true it may indicate the Earth's topography was quite different in the dinosaur era. If Alaska was joined at the hip to Siberia and the Atlantic was much narrower than it is now (as Plate Tectonics might dictate)  what might that imply? A smaller Earth.