The secret weapon that allowed Homo sapiens to gain the advantage over Neanderthals

Researchers have discovered a series of genes linked to creativity that may have given Homo sapiens a significant advantage over Neanderthals.

Genes of creativity gave Homo sapiens an edge over Neanderthals. Photo Pierre ANDRIEU / AFP

How could Homo sapiens prevail against Neanderthals ? According to a study carried out by an international research team, and published Wednesday, April 21 in the journal Nature Molecular Psychiatry, the « secret weapon » of modern man, the one that allowed him to avoid extinction, was a series genes linked to creativity.

The results of the study suggest that these genes played « a fundamental role in the evolution of creativity, self-awareness and cooperative behavior ». These genes have indeed promoted « greater resistance to aging, injury and disease. »

267 unique genes in Homo sapiens

Led by the University of Granada in Spain, the experts behind the study identified 267 unique genes in modern humans and, through genetic markers, gene expression data and MRI techniques based on on artificial intelligence, discovered that they were linked to creativity.

“Scientists were able to identify regions of the brain in which these genes (and those with which they interacted) were overexpressed,” they wrote. « These regions (of the brain) are involved in human self-awareness and creativity, and include regions which are strongly associated with human well-being and which have arisen relatively recently. » 

According to the authors, creativity may have encouraged cooperation between individuals, which would have paved the way for technological innovation, behavioral flexibility and openness to exploration, thus allowing them to develop more successfully than their predecessors.

Very old brain networks

The same team of scientists had identified in the past a set of 972 genes organized into three brain networks, the oldest of which – which concerns learning habits, social attachment and conflict resolution – dates from 40 years ago. million years ago.  

The second network – which concerns intentional self-mastery – appeared 2 million years ago, while the most recent, which governs creative self-awareness, only appeared 100,000 years ago.

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Charles Darwin is not the first father of the theory of evolution, but the Iraqi scientist Al-Jahiz

About 1000 years before Charles Darwin wrote a book on how animals change through a process he called « natural selection, » a Muslim philosopher living in Iraq named Al-Jahiz had already preceded him. .

British scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is one of the cornerstones of modern science.

The idea that species gradually change over time through a mechanism called natural selection has revolutionized our understanding of the living world.

But it seems that the theory of evolution itself also has an ancestor in the Islamic world.

His real name Abu Usman Amr Bahr Bahr Alkanani al-Basri is remembered by history by his nickname, Al-Jahiz, which means someone whose eyes seem to be sticking out of their sockets.

His most famous work, The Book of Animals, is designed as an encyclopedia featuring 350 animals, in which Al-Jahiz presents ideas that bear a striking resemblance to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

« Animals engage in a struggle for existence and for resources, to avoid being eaten and to reproduce, » writes Al-Jahiz, « environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure their survival. survival, thus transforming them into new species ”.

He adds, “Animals that survive to reproduce can pass their characteristics on to their offspring. « 

It was clear to Al-Jahiz that the living world was in constant struggle for survival and that one species was always stronger than another.

Charles Darwin rightly deserves his reputation as a scientist who has spent years traveling and observing the natural world, and who founded his theory with unprecedented precision and clarity to transform the way we see the world.

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The mystery of the 2000-year-old “first computer” finally uncovered?

Part of the Antikythera Mechanism was exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens in 2014.
Part of the Antikythera Mechanism was exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens in 2014.

Researchers around the world have been wondering about the Antikythera mechanism for more than a century  . This machine, discovered by divers in 1901, has since been considered the world’s first analog computer, designed there? 2,000 years old. Today, scientists from London’s Global University (UCL), recognized worldwide for its academic excellence, believe they have solved the mystery of this pioneering computational object. Well, in part. They began to build a replica of the device with modern means, before doing the same with the techniques of Antiquity, revealed  The Guardian on  Friday March 12.

This astronomical calculator would have been able to display the movement of the Universe and predict the movement of the five planets known at the time, but also the phases of the Moon and solar and lunar eclipses.

Brass, cogwheels, dials?

Discovered in the middle of a treasure recovered from a merchant ship that languished off the Greek island of Antikythera, this supercomputer is made up of damaged fragments of brass and 30 bronze cogwheels connected to dials and pointers. However, two-thirds of the structure has not been found. After decades of academic work, scientists have concluded that this discovery is indeed a masterpiece of mechanical engineering.

What is the mission of the Perseverance robot

published by Jules Bercy

NASA’s perseverance rover, which left Cape Canaveral on July 30, 2020, landed safely on the Red Planet, Thursday, February 18, after having traveled 480 million kilometers. A crucial scientific step to try to find out if life existed on Mars

The main objective pursued with this rover is to search for signs of a possible past microbial life on  Mars . If these predecessors – Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity – have demonstrated that liquid water flowed over the Red Planet and that it once fulfilled the conditions necessary for the development of life, Perseverance will attempt to determine whether it is. actually sheltered.

The rover will collect rock and soil samples, enclose them in tubes, and leave them on the planet’s surface for a return to Earth by 2031. In addition to studying geology, Perseverance’s instruments will allow the testing of various technologies, with a view to a future mission inhabited by humans on Mars. One of the planned experiments is to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the red planet. This oxygen could be used for respiration and fuel.

Quelle est la mission du robot Persévérance

Le rover persévérance de la Nasa, parti de Cap Canaveral le 30 juillet 2020 s’est posé sans encombre sur la planète rouge, jeudi 18 février, après avoir parcouru 480 millions de kilomètres. Une étape scientifique cruciale pour tenter de savoir si la vie a existé sur Mars

Le rover persévérance de la NASA qui s’est posé sur Mars jeudi

Le principal objectif poursuivi avec ce rover est la recherche de signes d’une possible vie passée microbienne sur Mars. Si ces prédécesseurs – Spirit, Opportunity et Curiosity – ont permis de démontrer que de l’eau liquide a coulé sur la Planète rouge et qu’elle a autrefois rempli les conditions nécessaires au développement de la vie, Perseverance tentera de déterminer si elle l’a réellement abritée.

Le rover collectera des échantillons de roche et de sol, les enfermera dans des tubes et les laissera à la surface de la planète pour un retour sur Terre d’ici 2031. En plus de l’étude de la géologie, les instruments de Perseverance vont permettre de tester diverses technologies, dans la perspective d’une future mission habitée par des humains sur Mars. Produire de l’oxygène à partir du dioxyde de carbone présent dans l’atmosphère de la planète rouge fait notamment partie des expériences prévues. Cet oxygène pourrait être utilisé pour la respiration et le carburant.

The life of a small second on Earth for man

published by Jules bercy

99.9% of species that lived on earth have now disappeared

The earth is the cradle of humanity. Man reigns supreme there, without anything seeming to be able to stop him. Yet planet earth did not wait for man to begin its history.

Since life appeared, the earth has hosted countless species, which have followed one another for more or less long time. But 99.9% of the species that lived on earth have now disappeared. Some have gradually evolved into other species. Others died suddenly. On average, their passage on earth lasts only a few million years.

If the history of the earth were written in a thousand-page book, life would appear there around page 185. This life would only be represented by single cells for more than 700 pages. Until the explosion of the multicellular species, from pages 870 to 880. The outflow of the waters was only found on page 916.

During this constant transformation, the planet has also undergone 5 major crises including one, 250 million years ago, during which life on earth almost disappeared. This mass extinction has led to the disappearance of 70% of terrestrial species and 96% of marine species. The planet took nearly 10 million years to recover and resume dance of evolution, with its disappearances, and its newcomers like this time the dinosaurs on page 960 of the history of the Earth.

 At the end of the book, the entire history of Homo sapiens from its appearance until today, would be the subject of only a handful of lines, at the very bottom of the very last page. Its presence on earth therefore represents only 0.004% of its very long history. Man has not been around for a long time, but it does not mean to evolve any more.

 All species are at the peak of evolution, and all are perfectly adapted to their natural environment, from the barnacle, firmly anchored on its whale … to the tiny Dik-Dik apparently so fragile but which survives the repeated attacks of eagles , pythons and lions since time immemorial.

There is no indication that the human species should be eternal. Nor even that it will take longer than the others to disappear. The most probable is that its passage on earth represents only a blink of an eye on the scale of the history of its planet.

A derisory duration. Almost… insignificant?

3,000-year-old purple fabric found in Israel

Fragments of purple textiles discovered in Timna, southern Israel, were unveiled this week in Israel, providing a glimpse of the wealth of people living in the region during the biblical times of Kings David and Solomon, researchers say.Article written by

Fragment of purple fabrics discovered in Timna in the south of Israel, January 31, 2021 (DAFNA GAZIT / ISRAELI ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY / AFP)
Fragment of purple fabrics discovered in Timna in the south of Israel, January 31, 2021 (DAFNA GAZIT / ISRAELI ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY / AFP)

The remains of purple-dyed cloth were found during archaeological excavations in the Timna Valley, a former copper production site in southern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority (AIA) said in a joint statement with the Universities of Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan (center).

« This is the first time that textiles dyed purple and dating from the Iron Age have been found in Israel and the Levant, » the statement said.

A prestigious dye more expensive than gold

Radiocarbon dating makes it possible to date these fibers to around 1000 years before our era, that is to say at the time of the reign of Kings David and Solomon according to the Bible, he continues. “In antiquity, purple clothing was associated with nobility, priests, and of course royalty,” says Dr. Naama Sukenik, curator at AIA.

« The magnificent purple hue, the fact that it does not fade and the difficulty in producing this dye, which is found in tiny amounts in the bodies of small mollusks, » made royal purple a prestigious dye that « cost often more expensive than gold, ”she emphasizes. Until now, only mollusc shells and pottery with stains of dye, attesting to the purple industry, had been unearthed.

Sign of a « stratified » and « complex » society

« For the first time, we have direct evidence, fabrics dyed and preserved for 3,000 years, » enthuses  Naama Sukenik. For Professor Erez Ben-Yosef, of the Archeology Department at Tel Aviv University, these finds in Timna allow us to learn more about the kingdom of Edom, populated by nomadic tribes, and which bordered the kingdom of ‘Israel in the south.

« The new findings reinforce our hypothesis that there was an elite in Timna, attesting to a stratified society , » he says. And they could, according to him, revolutionize ideas about Nomads in the Iron Age, « capable of creating a complex socio-political structure » .

Source : Franceinfo

The incredible discovery: Homo luzonensis, a new human species

Illustration of an archaeological excavation
Illustration of an archaeological excavation • Credits: DEA / FOTOTECA INASA – Getty

An international multidisciplinary team discovered a new human species, Homo luzonensis, during excavations carried out in the Callao cave, located on the island of Luzon, in the north of the Philippines.

An international multidisciplinary team co-directed by Florent Détroit, paleoanthropologist at the Musée de l’Homme, has discovered a new human species, Homo luzonensis. This discovery was made during excavations carried out in the Callao cave, located on the island of Luzon, in the north of the Philippines. Published on April 11, 2019 by the journal Nature , the study of fossils dated 50 to 67,000 years old highlights a mosaic of singular morphological characteristics that differentiates Homo luzonensis from other species of the genus Homo and underlines the major role played by the Island Southeast Asia in evolutionary history.

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Archeology: how the “most significant” biblical texts have been hidden for thousands of years

Archaeological News: Silver Scrolls of Ketef Hinnom

Archaeologists have found a myriad of wonders in the Middle East over the centuries, but « one of the most important discoveries » of the earliest known biblical texts could have been hidden forever without sheer luck.

The silver scrolls of Ketef Hinnom have been described by  archaeologists  as the greatest discovery for biblical studies. Discovered in the Hinnon Valley in 1979 by a team of Israeli archaeologists  , the silver scrolls contain some of the earliest known records  from texts found in the Hebrew Bible. The rollers are known as KH1 and KH2, and were dated between 650 BC and 587 BC.

Archeology news: Silver Scroll of Ketef Hinnom
The silver scrolls of Ketef hinnom contain the most known biblical texts

Placed in Paleo-Hebrew, their faded inscriptions correspond to passages from the Book of Exodus and Deuteronomy, among others.

However, the scrolls were lost almost 3,000 years ago and remained hidden from all knowledge under a collapsed cave southwest of the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to Professor Tom Meyer, a Middle Eastern language expert from Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, the scrolls were found by luck.

Professor Meyer told « In 1979, a team of Israeli archaeologists led by Dr. Gabriel Barkay inspected rock burial chambers in the Hinnom Valley just outside the walls of Jerusalem on the old road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

Archaeological News: Silver Scrolls is the Irael Museum
Ketef Hinnom’s scrolls are now on display at the Israel Museum in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.

« What has been discovered is one of the most important biblical

discoveries never made: the oldest biblical text ever found.  » 

After an initial examination of what is known as Cave 24, archaeologists have determined that it is empty.

What they didn’t realize at the time was that the collapsed cave had buried biblical treasures from the time of the first temple in Jerusalem.

Professor Meyer said: « A local 13 year old boy who had tagged with the team of archaeologists stayed behind and did what most 13 year old boys could do: he found a tool and started to dig in the ground of the burial room 25 in the cave

« At the time, archaeologists did not realize that an earthquake had occurred about 2,600 years ago, causing the cave ceiling to collapse and the remains of anyone who lived in the cave on the ground, frozen in time for 2,600 years.

“The boy dug a small hole and touched the dirt. He brought some of the objects unearthed to archaeologists who soon searched the burial chamber.

“Among the most spectacular finds were two silver objects measuring one inch by four inches and 0.5 inches by 1.5 inches, and are now known as K1 and K2 respectively.Archaeological News: The silver scrolls are on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Archaeological news: Hinnom Valley in Israel
Archaeological News: Ancient scrolls were discovered in a collapsed cave in the Hinnom Valley

“It took archaeologists three years to unravel them because of their extremely fragile nature. « 

Professor Meyer said: « The long process was worth the wait as the silver scrolls, which were probably amulets or charms worn on a necklace, turned out to be inscribed with the first known surviving text also found in the Hebrew Bible: Numbers 6:24 -26.

“This passage recorded in the book of Numbers is called the Priestly Blessing; he begins by imploring God to give physical and spiritual blessings to his people and to keep or protect them from all evil.

“The prayer continues by asking God to make his face or his nature favorable to the children of Israel and to be kind to them.

“Finally, the blessing implores God to be a source of comfort for his people and to bless them with peace. « 

Ancient pottery found around the silver scrolls helped archaeologists determine their probable age.

Dating back to the 6th century BC scrolls, the scrolls were found to be 400 years older than the famous Dead Sea scrolls.

Professor Meyer said: « The opening of the fragile scroll clearly revealed a verbatim copy of the famous

Priestly blessing in numbers 6: 24-26 as well as portions of other familiar verses from the Torah.

« This is another example where archaeological discoveries confirm the historical accuracy of the Bible. «