Discovery of ancient middle finger bone completely upends what we know about human migration

April 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient middle finger bone in Saudia Arabia, and it could completely change what we know about human migration. An 85,000-year-old bone belonging to Homo sapiens marks the first evidence of humans that scientists have found in the Nefud Desert. This is also the first time Homo sapiens bones of that age have been discovered anywhere outside Africa. The current theory of human migration posits that Homo sapiens migrated en masse in a movement known as “Out of Africa” about 60,000 years ago in a single, contained wave. But this newly-discovered bone suggests that people migrated out of Africa in multiple different phases, at least 20,000 years earlier than we thought. Related: Incredible fossil discovery rewrites the history of human migration out of Africa Archaeologists unearthed the 1.25-inch middle finger bone in 2016, and researchers used a CT scan to form a 3D model of the entire bone, which showed conclusively that it belonged to Homo sapiens.  Nature  published news of the discovery this week. “What our discovery shows is that the early spread of Homo sapiens was much more spatially widespread than we thought,” said lead study author Huw Groucutt of the University of Oxford . Via CNN Images via Flickr  and Nature

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Discovery of ancient middle finger bone completely upends what we know about human migration

A catastrophic climate feedback loop long feared by scientists is happening

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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For years environmental scientists have warned of a catastrophic climate “feedback loop” that could pump a massive underground repository of carbon and methane into the atmosphere, significantly worsening climate change. A new study published this week confirms that fear is finally coming to pass. Rising temperatures are causing microorganisms in the soil to breathe more quickly, which releases an increased amount of carbon dioxide or methane into the atmosphere. Global warming has become so serious that greenhouse gasses are simply rising out of the ground beneath our feet worldwide. Most people don’t realize that the planet’s soil is packed with a dense network of trapped carbon, created by plants and roots that have been buried over the eons. These plants pull in carbon from the air to use as fuel, and when they die, the carbon remains within the soil. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem: it serves as a natural carbon sink which helps regulate the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Related: Plants are keeping atmospheric carbon levels stable, but it won’t last forever Unfortunately, rising temperatures affect microorganisms living in the soil, naturally increasing their rate of respiration – and thus the rate at which greenhouse gasses are released. The worst part is that this is not a small, insignificant amount of carbon. It’s expected that by the year 2050, this natural process could release an additional 55 billion tons of carbon into the air. The authors of the new study describe that as the same impact as “having an extra US on the planet.” This means that we now face a much shorter timeline to cut human greenhouse gas emissions – and that, despite our best efforts, we may not actually be able to limit global temperature rise within bounds that would limit the worst effects. If we exceed less than 1,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, global temperatures could blow past 2 degrees Celsius , shattering the widely-held target of most climate scientists and environmental organizations. Related: Study Warns Methane from Melting Arctic Permafrost is ‘Certain to Trigger Additional Warming’ Unless strong action is taken immediately to limit emissions from all human sources, we could very easily exceed our planetary “carbon budget.” This study shows that it’s now more important than ever to put pressure on corporations and politicians to limit their emissions immediately. Via The Washington Post Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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A catastrophic climate feedback loop long feared by scientists is happening

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