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Archaeologists solve the enigma of Ice Age mammoth bone circles
Strange bone circles made from mammoths revealed clues about how ancient communities survived Europe's last ice age.
- Archaeologists found new clues to the purpose of the bone circles in Russia and Ukraine from the last Ice Age.
- The previous theories assumed they were used for dwellings.
- The new finds indicate they were used partially for fuel and had remains of different plants.
Researchers have made significant progress in figuring out the purpose of the 70 mysterious circular structures made of mammoth bones. These Ice Age curiosities were found in Ukraine and the west Russian Plain. A new study shows one of site's bones to be over 20,000 years old, making it the oldest such structure in the region.
The majority of the bones belonged to mammoths and came from animal graveyards during the last ice age, which lasted in Northern Europe from 75,000 to 18,000 years ago. At the Russian Plains site Kostenki 11, outside the modern village of Kostenki (500km south of Moscow), the researchers had a well-preserved example of this type of circle, as it was built around the coldest part of this ice age, which according to the press release from the University of Exeter, was from around 23,000 to 18,000 years ago. The bitter cold is probably the reason the bone circles were eventually abandoned.
At the Kostenki site, the scientists located 51 lower jaws and 64 mammoth skulls, which were used to create the walls of a 30 foot by 30 foot structure. They were also located throughout the interior.
Besides the mammoths, some bones from horses, bears, reindeer, wolves, red and arctic foxes were also uncovered by archaeologists from the University of Exeter, who carried out the study.
Over time, the circle became hidden by sediment, about a foot below the surface. What was remarkable in the current find by the archaeologists is that for the first time they discovered among the bone circles some charred wood and remains of non-wooden plants. This tells us that people who lived there were using wood and bones for fuel and foraged for plants to be utilized for food, medicine and fabric. The charred seeds also spotted at the location were likely employed for cooking and eating.
Kostenki 11 site in the Russian Plains.
Credit: Alex Pryor
The study was led by Dr. Alexander Pryor who called the site Kostenki 11 a "rare example" of how Paleolithic hunter-gatherers lived in a pretty unforgiving environment. He thinks mammoths and humans were probably both drawn to the site by a natural spring that would not freeze during winter.
"These finds shed new light on the purpose of these mysterious sites," he explained. "Archaeology is showing us more about how our ancestors survived in this desperately cold and hostile environment at the climax of the last ice age. Most other places at similar latitudes in Europe had been abandoned by this time, but these groups had managed to adapt to find food, shelter and water."
The previous theory about the purpose of the circles pegged them as dwellings, occupied for months. The new evidence shows that there wasn't enough intense activity at the Kostenki site to indicate such long-term events.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.