Home / Marc Masters

Marc Masters

Molecular archaeology

IMAGE: This is a blind cave salamander (Proteus anguinus). view more  Credit: Photo: Patrick Cabrol Copyrights: Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) Using the largest and most informative molecular phylogenetic dataset ever analysed, evolutionary biologists were able to construct a new phylogenetic tree of jawed vertebrates. This new tree resolves several key relationships that have remained controversial, including the identification of lungfishes as the closest living relatives of land vertebrates. The evolution of jawed vertebrates is part of our own history since humans belong to the tetrapods more specifically we are mammals, or, even more specifically, primates. The study utilised …

Read More »

Possible Extinct Human Relative Detected in Saliva

BUFFALO, NEW YORK—According to a report in The International Business Times, researchers led by Omer Gokcumen of the University at Buffalo say they detected a “ghost” species of ancient hominin while they were studying a protein that occurs in saliva and its influence on the bacteria in the human mouth. To study the protein, known as MUC7, the researchers examined the MUC7 gene in more than 2,500 modern human genomes. The researchers say a version of the gene found in people living in sub-Saharan Africa was “wildly different” from those found in other modern humans. Gokcumen explained that even the …

Read More »

18th-Century Plague Victims Unearthed in Medieval Cemetery

POZNAŃ, POLAND—The remains of three people who may have died during an early eighteenth-century epidemic have been unearthed at the site of a medieval cemetery in west-central Poland, according to a report in Science & Scholarship in Poland. A silver coin helped archaeologists date the burials. “The medieval graves are dug deep beneath the surface of the earth, so it was a surprise to discover three skeletons above them,” said archaeologist Pawel Pawlak. As many as eight or nine thousand people, or 65 percent of the population of Poznań, are thought to have died of the plague in 1709. “The …

Read More »

Small Pot Unearthed at Scotland’s Ness of Brodgar

ORKNEY, SCOTLAND—BBC News reports that a rare small pot with a “waisted” profile has been discovered at the Ness of Brodgar, a 5,000-year-old complex of monumental stone buildings enclosed by thick stone walls. Victorian archaeologists suggested such pots could have held incense, perhaps in ceremonies, according to site director Nick Card. He added that such pots seem to be associated with the burials, but analysis of residues in the pots has been inconclusive. The pots could also have been used to carry embers for cremations, he said. To read in-depth about the Ness of Brodgar, go to “Neolithic Europe’s Remote …

Read More »

A History of Citrus Fruit

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL—Archaeobotanist Dafna Langgut of Tel Aviv University has traced the spread of citrus fruit from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean, according to a report in Live Science. She used ancient texts, murals, coins, and other artifacts to study the ancient citrus trade, and she tracked the spread of citrus fruits from Southeast Asia into the Mediterranean through fossil pollen, charcoals, seeds, and other fruit remains. Langgut found that by the third and second centuries B.C., the citron had spread to the western Mediterranean from the Levant, where a 2,500-year-old fruit was found in a Persian-style garden in Jerusalem. …

Read More »

Israel Agrees to Remove Metal Detectors at Entrances to Aqsa Mosque Compound

Israel Agrees to Remove Metal Detectors at Entrances to Aqsa Mosque Compound  New York Times Israel removes Jerusalem metal detectors after cabinet vote  BBC News Israel: Metal Detectors Will Be Removed From Jerusalem Holy Site  NPR How a 1929 Dispute Frames Today’s Temple Mount Conflict  Bloomberg Full coverage More interesting Articles from

Read More »

‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Says After Meeting Senate Investigators

‘I Did Not Collude,’ Kushner Says After Meeting Senate Investigators  New York Times Pressure on Trump grows as Kushner is questioned  The Hill Kushner: Questioning Trump’s Win ‘Ridicules’ His Supporters  NBCNews.com Jared Kushner’s only excuse: He has no idea what he’s doing  Washington Post What Jared Kushner’s Statement Reveals About Russian Methods  The Atlantic Full coverage More interesting Articles from

Read More »

In Taking Aim at His Attorney General, Trump Tests Sessions’s Views

In Taking Aim at His Attorney General, Trump Tests Sessions’s Views  New York Times The Latest: Trump speaks to advisers about firing Sessions  ABC News Cruz being considered to replace Sessions: report  The Hill Rudy Giuliani: Jeff Sessions ‘made the right decision’ to recuse from Russia probe  CNN Forget Russia. I’d fire Jeff Sessions over civil forfeiture.  USA TODAY Full coverage More interesting Articles from

Read More »

Of course millennials take drugs but we’re not stupid

The possibility of a plan to decriminalise small quantities of drugs has sparked predictable howls of outrage and siren warnings. The proposal, backed by key Fine Gael figures such as the Taoiseach, Minister for Health and Minister for Drugs, could mean that if a person is caught carrying small amounts of cannabis, cocaine or heroin this would no longer be a criminal offence. So, does this mean – as some suggest – that a new generation of young people are at risk of becoming drug-addled dropouts? It’s time to get a grip. Decriminalisation would not provide younger people with a …

Read More »