Researchers unearth the “Lamborghini” of ancient chariots in Pompeii

The chariot survived ancient eruptions and modern-day looters to become a part of the world heritage site.

Credit: Luigi Spina, Archaeological Park of Pompeii
  • Archeologists recently discovered a first-of-its-kind chariot in Pompeii.
  • The ceremonial chariot is decorated with bronze and tin medallions, while the sides sport bronzesheets and red-and-black paintings.
  • Given looting activity in the area, it's lucky the 2,000-year-old treasure wasn't lost to the world heritage site.
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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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The evolution of comfort food

An archaeologist considers the history and biology of what defines a taste of home.

Photo by Zera Li on Unsplash
The winter holiday season will feel different this year for many: Extended families may not be able to gather, leaving holiday meals shared with smaller groups, or digitally, across different time zones.
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How young is the oldest building in your state?

Map shows oldest buildings for each U.S. state – but also hints at what's missing.

Credit: Malcolm Tunnell, reproduced with kind permission
  • How old is the oldest building in your state? This map will tell you.
  • While the East Coast has some pretty ancient stuff, the oldest buildings elsewhere are many centuries older.
  • The Pueblo dwellings in the Four Corners states go back to 750 CE.
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California cave art linked to early use of hallucinogens

The Chumash people poked bits of psychoactive plants into cave ceilings next to their paintings.

Credit: Rick Bury (art)/Melissa Dabulamanzi (Datura)/PNAS
  • Mysterious pinwheel paintings in a California cave are probably representations of the hallucinogen Datura wrightii.
  • The paintings were made by the Chumash people 400 years ago.
  • This is the first definitive connection between cave painting and hallucinogens.
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