Europe

Righties ruled 600,000 years ago

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 20, 2011   View Article

Lefties were as outnumbered 600,000 years ago as they are today, according to telltale markings on teeth found on Neanderthal and Neanderthal ancestors in Europe.

The finding serves as a new technique to determine whether a person was left- or right-handed from limited skeletal remains, and it also suggests that a key piece for the origin of language was in place at least half a million years ago, David Frayer, an anthropologist at the University of Kansas, told me today.

Spanish female faces getting bigger

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 4, 2011   View Article

Female faces have gotten larger in Spain over the past four centuries while those of men have stayed essentially the same, according to a new study that suggests differences in the craniofacial features of men and women have become less pronounced.

The finding is based on the comparison of more than 200 skulls dating to 20th- and 16th-century Spain, as well as approximately 50 skulls from 20th-century Portugal using a state-of-the art 3-D shape analysis system.

Europe’s First Farmers Were Segregated, Expert Immigrants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 3, 2009   View Article

Central and western Europe’s first farmers weren’t crafty, native hunter-gatherers who gradually gave up their spears for seeds, a new study says.

Instead, they were experienced outsiders who arrived on the scene around 5500 B.C. with animals in tow—and the locals apparently didn’t roll out the welcome wagon.

Travel/Culture Photos Weekly: Fire Ritual, Festival …

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 15, 2008   View Article

Captions for photos of travel destinations and cultural events around the world. Shots include the Yadnya Kasada festival in Indonesia, a festival in honor of Ganesh in India, the Marian Procession in France, choristers at the West Minster Abbey Choir School in London, and Japanese Buddhists in Israel.

Ancient Irish Tomb Big Draw at Winter Solstice

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 7, 2006   View Article

From December 19 to 23—if the weather cooperates—20 lucky people a day will crowd into an ancient Irish monument’s main chamber. There, they’ll bathe in 17 minutes of light put off by the rising sun on the shortest days of the year.

This year about 28,000 people applied to take part in the ritual at the Newgrange monument, located in the Irish countryside in County Meath, reports the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center.

Global Warming Likely Causing More Heat Waves, Scientist Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 1, 2006   View Article

Global warming has loaded the dice in favor of heat waves and may be to blame for the scorching weather across much of the United States and Europe this summer, according to several of the world’s leading climate scientists.

Vintage Wine Records Trace Climate Change to 1300s

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 17, 2004   View Article

Connoisseurs may pore over grape-harvest records in search of the perfect vintage of wine. But a team of French scientists and historians is toasting the same records for the insights they yield on past climate.

In Burgundy, France, as in other parts of Europe, the first officially decreed day of grape harvesting has been carefully noted in parish and municipal archives for at least 600 years.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach