Scientists Find Oldest-Ever Human DNA

Sarah Hedgecock · 12/09/13 03:56PM

Good news for you hardcore genealogy enthusiasts: scientists have almost completely reconstructed the oldest DNA yet found in a humanlike species.

Science Watch: The Sharks of Mystery

Hamilton Nolan · 11/07/13 04:37PM

Asteroid tails! Clean bacteria! Dinosaur gore! See-thru snails! Desert farming! Traffic math! Moon craters! And toothy fish that can't be killed! It's your Thursday Science Watch, where we watch science—with rancor!

Dozens of Hidden Pyramids Found in Sudan

Mallory Ortberg · 02/09/13 05:40PM

Had you asked me last week if the number of known pyramids in the world was likely to substantially increase anytime soon, I might have said no; how wrong I would have been. LiveScience recently reported that in the last three years "at least 35" petite pyramids have been uncovered for the first time in millennia at a single site in Sudan.

This Week in 'Million-Dollar' Biblical Archaeology Lawsuits: A Breakdown

Mallory Ortberg · 02/03/13 02:35PM

Simcha Jacobovici, the Canadian documentary director who claimed in 2011 to have found two of the nails used to crucify Jesus, is suing archaeologist Joe Zias for libel. There are few things more enjoyable than fights between academics, particularly when one of the academics is being accused of pandering and sensationalism. The blog posts fly thick and fast, the petitions sing with wounded intellectual pride ("we the undersigned simply and collegially request that Mr. Jacobovici abandon his lawsuit"), and everyone gets a chance to play.

Archaeological Intrigue Surrounds Exhumation of Possible English Monarch

Mallory Ortberg · 12/15/12 05:00PM

There is no form of intrigue more delicious than archaeological intrigue, and this story is just riddled with it: royal exhumations, parking lots, anonymous sources, whiffs of conspiracy and official denials. Select your finest knife and heftiest fork; draw a damask napkin over your lap, and prepare to tuck in.

This 16th-Century Korean Love Letter from a Woman to Her Dead Husband Will Break Your Heart

Max Read · 09/06/12 05:35PM

This brutal, heartbreaking love letter was found in 1998, lying on the mummified body of Eung-Tae Lee, a 30-year-old Korean man who'd died in 1586, some four hundred years before. Lee was tall and bearded — "The dark mustache made me feel that he must have had a charming appearance," says the former director of the Andong National University Museum — and left behind him a pregnant wife, the letter's author. Here it is, via Letters of Note:

Ancient 'Sex-Pistol Man' Culture Being Studied by Archaeologists

Lauri Apple · 11/22/11 10:25AM

Long, long ago (the 1970s), in a faraway and strange land (the 1970s), there existed a tiny anarchistic tribe called the Sex Pistols. Though noted mainly for their music, they also dabbled in the visual arts—decorating their London cave dwellings with whimsical pictures called "graffiti."

Cyborg Drone Beetle Soldiers Are Coming to a Head Near You

Hamilton Nolan · 09/02/11 04:33PM

Mars rocks! Skinny gene! Saffron cancer! Body odor! Beetle drones! Intergalactic traffic! Antibiotic resistance! Old fossils! And a whole new theory of prehistoric hand axe timing! It's your Friday Science Watch, where we watch science—coleopteristically!

Seventeen New Pyramids Discovered from Space

Max Read · 05/25/11 06:14PM

Pyramids, being rather large, are not really the kinds of things one expects to be lost easily. And yet! Seventeen new (well, not "new," but) pyramids have been identified through the use of satellite imaging, which can see underground.

Hummingbird-Sized Ant Fossil Discovered in Wyoming

Max Read · 05/03/11 09:41PM

Paleoentomologist Bruce Archibald has identified a Wyoming fossil as a "monstrously big ant." How big? About the size of a two-inch hummingbird, as you can see above. So, yes, "monstrously big."

Possible Da Vinci Code Prequel Unearthed

Max Read · 03/30/11 02:06AM

Who wants to read ancient books made of metal? Scientists, that's who! And some of them are very excited to get their hands on these particular ancient metal books, which might "be more significant than the Dead Sea Scrolls."

The Stone Age Swedish Penis Carving

Max Read · 07/23/10 02:26AM

Archaeologists in Sweden have discovered a stone age antler carving in an "erected-penis-like-shape." Is it an "ancient dildo"? Maybe! It could also be a tool for "chipping flakes of flint." But, come on, that's not as fun. [Live Science]