Agriculture
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Amphibians
Salamanders
Tree Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Animals
Polly Shouldn't Get a Cracker
Bee Heat Cooks Invaders
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
Behavior
Newly named fish crawls and hops
Chimpanzee Hunting Tools
Lightening Your Mood
Birds
Hummingbirds
Flamingos
Ibises
Chemistry and Materials
These gems make their own way
Smelly Traps for Lampreys
When frog gender flips
Computers
Nonstop Robot
The Book of Life
Games with a Purpose
Dinosaurs and Fossils
An Ancient Spider's Web
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
Dino Flesh from Fossil Bone
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Recipe for a Hurricane
Greener Diet
Weird, new ant
Environment
A Change in Time
Missing Tigers in India
Sea Otters, Kelp, and Killer Whales
Finding the Past
Settling the Americas
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
Fish
Lampreys
Catfish
Salmon
Food and Nutrition
The Color of Health
Food for Life
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Monkeys Count
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Human Body
A Long Haul
Running with Sneaker Science
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Invertebrates
Invertebrates
Lobsters
Praying Mantis
Mammals
Cape Buffalo
Grizzly Bear
Pekingese
Parents
How children learn
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
Dreams of Floating in Space
The Particle Zoo
Electric Backpack
Plants
Fastest Plant on Earth
Sweet, Sticky Science
Surprise Visitor
Reptiles
Box Turtles
Lizards
Garter Snakes
Space and Astronomy
A Very Distant Planet Says "Cheese"
A Galaxy Far, Far, Far Away
Gravity Tractor as Asteroid Mover
Technology and Engineering
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Transportation
Flying the Hyper Skies
Troubles with Hubble
Robots on a Rocky Road
Weather
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Catching Some Rays
Recipe for a Hurricane
Add your Article

Sahara Cemetery

Paleontologist Paul Sereno and his team were looking for dinosaur bones in West Africa in 2000 when they stumbled upon something unexpected. First, a member of the crew spotted the fossilized armor plates of a crocodile sticking out of the sandy desert. Soon after that, someone else found a foot-long shard of an ancient cow skull. Then came the whopper. "Look, it's human!" a team member shouted. "Part of the skull!" Everyone was surprised. "A stone tool surfaced, and we realized we were sampling the skeletons and tools of ancient human occupants of the Sahara and the animals that filled their world," wrote Sereno in his log about the expedition, which took place in the country of Niger (pronounced nee-ZHER). Further exploration revealed what appeared to be a massive cemetery next to an ancient lakebed. Human skeletons lay scattered in the sand. Many were intact and undisturbed. Among the bodies lay animal and fish bones, arrowheads, harpoons, green jasper tools, jewelry, and other artifacts. All were between 5,000 and 9,000 years old, a period that marked the beginning of the Holocene epoch in Earth's history. The team returned to the site to dig for human remains in 2003 and again in the fall of 2005. With more than 170 skeletons unearthed so far, the cemetery is one of the richest and best-preserved sources of Holocene remains ever discovered in the region. "It's enormous," says Elena Garcea, an archaeologist from Cassino University in Italy, who is also working on the site. "I've never seen such a big cemetery from that early of a period anywhere in North Africa or the Nile Valley or West Africa." Because the graveyard promises to give insight into a long list of mysteries, the researchers nicknamed it Enigma. Garcea says that the team's findings are already shaking up theories about human history and revealing new details about what life was like for people in West Africa during the early Holocene. Changing times The jackpot of information is especially exciting for archaeologists because our ancestors were going through a lot of changes at the time. Around 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, Sereno says, people started making pottery and grinding and polishing stones instead of just flaking them into tools. They also began raising animals and tending crops. These advances were major steps toward modern civilization. And scientists have long assumed that people had to take these steps before they could give up their nomadic life and settle down in communities supported by agriculture. Enigma suggests that people in Africa took a different path. Some of the first ceramic bowls on record appear in the region, Sereno says, and people started grinding stones early, too, just as they did in the Middle East. Fossilized animal bones, however, show that the people who buried their dead at Enigma and lived along the nearby lake didn't start raising cattle until 5,000 years ago, Sereno says. And they didn't start to sow crops until 3,000 years ago. An enormous number of catfish bones at the site show that the people were primarily fishers. They also probably gathered plants for food. That's interesting because although the Sahara is a desert now, it appears that the region was once lush and wet. Interesting stories The skeletons and artifacts found at Enigma have plenty of other interesting stories to tell. One skeleton was 6 feet 4 inches tall, Sereno says. A male and female skeleton lying together reveal a double burial. Jewelry and other objects lay alongside some of the bodies. And a large number of the excavated skeletons were of young people, says Jeff Stivers, who worked as a field technician on the 2003 and 2005 expeditions. "This is obviously a small sample from a larger population, and we'll have a better idea later, but people were dying at very young ages," Stivers says. "There were no modern medicines or a lot of other things we take for granted today that sustain people's lives." Further analyses of bones will help researchers learn more about the types of activities people did, what they ate, what kinds of diseases they had, how old they were when they died, and more. Scientists are also hoping to extract fragments of DNA that might reveal relationships between these ancient populations and groups of people still living in Africa today. For now, archaeologists are hustling to collect as much information as possible. Enigma is a fragile site. The harsh desert sun and biting winds are eroding what's left of the remains. And pillaging, or theft of artifacts, is always a fear. "It's a race against time," Sereno says. "There are only a handful of sites like this left today. We want to make sure we excavate the majority of it carefully before people come to know where it is."

Sahara Cemetery
Sahara Cemetery








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™