Monthly Archives: October 2016

Visayan Creation Myths

Map of the Philippines showing the location of Visayan Islands. (SEAV/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

Map of the Philippines showing the location of Visayan Islands. (SEAV/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

In the beginning, the world was nothing but a great sea of water under the sky. The sea was ruled by the goddess Maguayan while the god Kaptan ruled the sky. As the two great gods decided to unite, the sea became the bride of the sky. From their union came three sons and a daughter: the strong and brave rock-bodied Likalibutan, the happy golden-bodied Liadlao, the timid copper-bodied Libulan, and the beautiful and gentle Lisuga with a body of pure silver. Kaptan and Maguayan took great care of them and shielded them from evil. After some time, Likalibutan, the eldest of the siblings, was resolved to gain more power and asked his brothers to join him in an attack on Kaptan.

The three brothers rushed at the sky where Kaptan resided. However, they could not destroy the gates of steel that guarded the entrance to his home. The powerful Likalibutan then let loose the strongest blows and shattered the bars of the gate in every direction. As they came charging through the gate, the brothers were met by the angry god Kaptan. The sky, usually serene and calm, now darkened and the terrible anger of Kaptan made them run away in terror. However, the furious Kaptan sent three bolts of lightning after them. The first bolt struck the copper Libulan and melted him into a ball which fell near Kaptan’s feet, thus Libulan became a part of the sky forever as the moon. Read more

The Higgs Bison: Mystery species hidden in cave art

Courtesy Carole Fritz

Courtesy Carole Fritz

UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE—Ancient DNA research has revealed that Ice Age cave artists recorded a previously unknown hybrid species of bison and cattle in great detail on cave walls more than 15,000 years ago.

“Finding that a hybridization event led to a completely new species was a real surprise – as this isn’t really meant to happen in mammals,” says study leader Professor Alan Cooper, ACAD Director. “The genetic signals from the ancient bison bones were very odd, but we weren’t quite sure a species really existed – so we referred to it as the Higgs Bison.” Read more

Extensive heat treatment in Middle Stone Age silcrete tool production in South Africa

 Credit:  Delagnes et al (2016)

Credit: Delagnes et al (2016)

PLOS—Humans living in South Africa in the Middle Stone Age may have used advanced heating techniques to produce silcrete blades, according to a study published October 19, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Anne Delagnes from the CNRS (PACEA – University of Bordeaux, France) and colleagues. Read more

5,000-Year-Old Swirling Rock Art in Scotland Remains a Mystery

 The huge stone was recently unearthed in Scotland so that archaeologists could use modern techniques to study it. Credit: University of Glasgow

The huge stone was recently unearthed in Scotland so that archaeologists could use modern techniques to study it. Credit: University of Glasgow

Archaeologists in Glasgow, Scotland, briefly excavated and then reburied a 5,000-year-old slab of stone that contains incised swirling geometric decorations.

The Cochno Stone, which measures 43 feet by 26 feet (13 by 8 meters), contains swirling decorations, also called “cup and ring marks.” The stone and its decorations have been known to people in the area since at least the 19th century. Decorations similar to these swirls have been found at other prehistoric sites around the world; however, the examples incised in the Cochno Stone are considered to comprise “one of the best examples” of such art in Europe, according to a statement by the University of Glasgow, which led the new study.

The stone slab was fully unearthed in West Dunbartonshire by Rev. James Harvey in 1887. By 1965, the stone had been vandalized with graffiti and damaged by the elements, so a team of archaeologists buried it beneath the dirt in order to protect the artwork . This summer’s two-week re-excavation allowed archaeologists to use modern-day surveying and photography techniques to better record the artwork.  [Gallery: Aerial Photos Reveal Mysterious Stone Structures] Read more

25 New ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ Revealed

 This scroll fragment preserves parts of the Book of Leviticus, in which God promises to reward the people of Israel if they observe the Sabbath and obey the 10 commandments. Credit: copyright The Schøyen Collection, Oslo and London, MS 4611

This scroll fragment preserves parts of the Book of Leviticus, in which God promises to reward the people of Israel if they observe the Sabbath and obey the 10 commandments. Credit: copyright The Schøyen Collection, Oslo and London, MS 4611

More than 25 previously unpublished “Dead Sea Scroll” fragments, dating back 2,000 years and holding text from the Hebrew Bible, have been brought to light, their contents detailed in two new books. The various scroll fragments record parts of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Samuel, Ruth, Kings, Micah, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Joshua, Judges, Proverbs, Numbers, Psalms, Ezekiel and Jonah. The Qumran caves ― where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first discovered ― had yet to yield any fragments from the Book of Nehemiah; if this newly revealed fragment is authenticated it would be the first.

Scholars have expressed concerns that some of the fragments are forgeries. These 25 newly published fragments are just the tip of the iceberg. A scholar told Live Science that around 70 newly discovered fragments have appeared on the antiquities market since 2002. Additionally, the cabinet minister in charge of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), along with a number of scholars, believes that there are undiscovered scrolls that are being found by looters in caves in the Judean Desert. The IAA is sponsoring a new series of scientific surveys and excavations to find these scrolls before looters do. Read more

The world’s oldest observatory? How Aboriginal astronomy provides clues to ancient life!

These rocks are thought to have once marked the sun's journey throughout the year  [Credit: ABC: Hamish Fitzsimmons]

These rocks are thought to have once marked the sun’s journey throughout the year [Credit: ABC: Hamish Fitzsimmons]

An ancient Aboriginal site at a secret location in the Victorian bush could be the oldest astronomical observatory in the world, pre-dating Stonehenge and even the Great Pyramids of Giza. Scientists studying the Wurdi Youang stone arrangement say it could date back more than 11,000 years and provide clues into the origins of agriculture.”Some academics have referred to this stone arrangement here as Australia’s version of Stonehenge,” Dr Hamacher said.

“I think the question we might have to ask is: is Stonehenge Britain’s version of Wurdi Youang? Because this could be much, much older.” If the site is more than 7,000 years old, it will rewrite history and further disprove the notion that first Australians were uniformly nomadic hunter-gatherers. Scientists believe the arrangement of stones was able to map out the movements of the sun throughout the year. Read more

Breakthrough Listen Project will follow up on possible Alien laser beacon detections but think it is most likely instrument or analysis error

Independent follow-up observations to verify the unusual Light emissions observed by the sloan digital sky survey (sdss).

Independent follow-up observations to verify the unusual Light emissions observed by the sloan digital sky survey (sdss).

Breakthrough Listen at UC Berkeley will conduct follow up observations of reported anomalous spectral features (234 stars out of 2.5 million with unusual light emissions observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)) in solar type stars.
The Berkeley SETI Research Center (BSRC) team has added several stars from the Borra and Trottier sample to the Breakthrough Listen observing queue on the 2.4-meter Automated Planet Finder (APF) optical telescope. The capabilities of the APF spectrograph are well matched to those of the original detection, and these independent follow-up observations will enable us to verify or refute the reported detections. they look forward to consulting with Professor Borra and his team on these observations, as well as additional follow up investigations using other data sources. Read more

European Mars Probe to land on Mars today (Wednesday, 19. Oct. 2016)