Mysterious "Plain of Jars" in Laos has been dated

After years of speculation a team of researchers has pinpointed the age of this ancient mystery.

Credit: Louise Shewan, et al.
  • The Plain of Jars consists of over 90 sites containing thousands of jars scattered across Laos.
  • According to new research, these jars were constructed sometime between 1240 and 660 BCE.
  • In 2019, UNESCO named a cluster of 11 regions as a World Heritage Site.
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An 'indiscriminate' massacre: Study examines why 41 people were killed 6,200 years ago

"Large-scale indiscriminate killing is a horror that is not just a feature of the modern and historic periods, but was also a significant process in pre-state societies," the researchers wrote.

Credit: Novak et al.
  • In 2007, a mass grave containing the ancient remains of 41 men, women, and children was discovered in Croatia.
  • Initially, some researchers proposed the victims might have been killed due to xenophobia.
  • However, a new genetic analysis suggests that the victims weren't newcomers to the area, leading researchers to note that climatic changes might have played a role in the killings.
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Turns out those aren't the apostle St James’s bones after all

Research shows that bone fragments of Jesus's (possible) brother belong to someone else.

Credit: zatletic / Adobe Stock
  • New research in Rome has found that bones purported to be from St. James the Less are impossible.
  • The femoral bone fragments date to somewhere between 214 and 340 CE—a few centuries off the mark.
  • The analysis was conducted on bone fragments, oil, and mummy remains in the Basilica dei Santa Apostoli.
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Ornamental dinosaur frills seem to have evolved thanks to sexual selection

While other factors exist, sexual prowess appears to have helped determine the role of Protoceratops frills.

Credit: AntoninJury, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • New research seeks to explain why dinosaurs featured an elaborate diversity of ornamentation in their frills and crests.
  • A team at the Natural History Museum in London investigated a sheep-size Gobi Desert dweller known as Protoceratops.
  • While sex alone does not explain the design, "socio-sexual selection" seems to have played an essential role.
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How high did our ancestors get? We might soon be able to tell.

Traces of heroin and cocaine have been found in the tartar of 19th-century Dutch farmers.

Photo: Elena / Adobe Stock
  • Archaeologists can now tell what drugs our ancestors used thanks to tooth tartar.
  • For this study, they tested 10 cadavers and discovered 44 drugs and metabolites.
  • This new method will offer us insights into the types of drugs our ancestors used.
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