Ancient DNA reveals the social life of Neanderthals

A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. To access your inbox, sign up for free here.


Neanderthal is still an insult thrown around to suggest someone is dark and out of touch.

The more we learn about our Stone Age cousins, however, the more it seems to be the opposite. Neanderthals were not wild cave dwellers they made sophisticated tools, threads and arts, and buried their dead with great care.

A new discovery in a Siberian cave this week reveals an intimate portrait of Neanderthal family life and suggests it may be time for Homo sapiens to shed that superiority complex once and for all.

Scientists have discovered the oldest known family group, using ancient DNA from Neanderthals who lived in Chagyrskaya Cave in southern Siberia, Russia.

About 54,000 years ago, the riverside hunting camp was home to a tight-knit community of about 20 Neanderthals, including a father and his teenage daughter, a young male who may have been a nephew or cousin, and a second-degree adult female. a relative – perhaps an aunt or grandmother.

The researchers also detected an unexpected pattern of female migration between different strands of genetic ancestry.

The most likely explanation for this was that most of the Neanderthal women in the small Chagyrskaya group came from another community, perhaps to join their partner’s family.

If you lived in London during the Black Death, the odds of overcoming the bubonic plague were not good — it killed 50% of Europe’s population in seven years.

The lucky survivors of the Black Death that ravaged Europe had their genes to thank in part. has discovered new research. Using DNA extracted from the teeth, scientists were able to identify a key genetic difference in who survives and who dies from the disease.

This genetic inheritance affects the human immune system today, according to researchers, but in a less desirable way when it comes to some autoimmune diseases.

V-1302 John Mahn, a German ship sunk by the British in World War II, continues to leak toxic elements into the seabed.

Shipwrecks have a special appeal to our collective imagination: the allure of sunken treasures and wartime battles won and lost. But while long-lost ships can function as artificial reefs on the ocean floor and have enormous storytelling value, they can also pose a threat to the marine ecosystem.

A World War II ship is still spewing explosives and other toxic elements more than 80 years after it sunk to the floor of the North Sea, according to a new study that analyzed samples taken from the ship’s steel hull and surrounding sediment.

The samples found heavy metals such as nickel and copper, in addition to arsenic and explosive compounds.

The researchers involved in the study estimated that the shipwrecks of the two world wars – found in the Earth’s oceans – contain between 2.5 million and 20.4 million metric tons of oil products.

One of the most powerful explosions in the universe was detected on October 9.

The gamma-ray burst—seen as a long, bright pulse of light—was the birth cry of a black hole.

It happened when it was massive the star, 2.4 billion light-years away in the constellation Sagitta, collapsed in a supernova, forming a new black hole.

After billions of years of traveling through space, the colossal black hole detonation has finally arrived in our corner of the universe, and scientists say it offers a rare opportunity to explore long-standing questions about this type of explosion.

Meanwhile, the James Webb Space Telescope has captured a spectacular image of massive columns of cosmic dust and gas. a life cycle of stars.

A 3-ton sunfish, believed to be the boniest fish in the world, was discovered in Azores waters.

The body of a giant sunfish was found floating in the seas around the Portuguese archipelago. Azores in December. Weighing 2,744 kilograms (3 tons), it is believed to be the boniest fish in the world.

A new study has revealed that the animal had a bruise, which may provide clues about its death. Investigators found traces of red paint, used to cover the keels of ships, embedded in the wound. However, we do not know if the impact occurred before or after the creature’s death.

The discovery “is a sign that the oceans are still healthy enough to support the heaviest species,” said José Nuno Gomes-Pereira, a postdoctoral researcher at the Atlantic Naturalist Association, “but it was a warning for more conservation in terms of pollution and boat traffic near oceanic islands.”

Check back with these outstanding reads:

— The incredible memory of elephants is helping them survive in the harsh environment of the Namibian desert.

— The myth spread by dog ​​owners is that cats are cold and aloof. Here’s how to make sure your cat loves you.

— Ketchup makes me mad, but the rest of my family loves it. Check out the science behind why some foods are so polarizing.

— Speaking of food choices, experts looked at how eating seasonally and locally can help the planet, and the answer is complicated. For more ways to reduce your role in the climate crisis and reduce your eco-anxiety, sign up for CNN’s Life, But Greener limited edition newsletter series.