Eyebrow Raising Although humans have lost most of the hair…

Eyebrow Raising

Although humans have lost most of the hair from their bodies and faces over many thousands of years of evolution, we have kept a few distinctive patches. One example is eyebrows, which are thought to be important not only for keeping sweat out of our eyes but also for communication and even sexual attraction. Eyebrow thickness varies from person to person – as seen in these three examples – and it appears to be something you inherit from your parents, suggesting that it is strongly controlled by genes. Researchers have now used careful genetic analysis to pinpoint a number of variations in ‘control switches’ in DNA, which affect eyebrow thickness in people from a wide range of ethnic groups by altering the activity of genes involved in hair growth. But they found no evidence that these variations were under strong sexual selection pressure, suggesting that eyebrow thickness has no impact on attractiveness.

Written by Kat Arney

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Remains of 5,000 year old logboat discovered in Irish river close to Newgrange

Scientific dating has confirmed that the remains of a logboat found in the River Boyne close to the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site dates to the Neolithic period, over 5,000 years ago.

Remains of 5,000 year old logboat discovered in Irish river close to Newgrange
Scientific dating has confirmed that the logboat is more 5,000 years old 
[Credit: Irish Times]

The prehistoric logboat was found in June 2016 by four local anglers while fishing on the river at Oldbridge, County Meath. Stephen Murphy, Kieran Maher, William Gregory and David Johnston immediately reported it to the heritage authorities.

The remains of the vessel consist of a 3m length of wood which would have formed the base of the boat. It is estimated that the logboat was originally more than 4m long, shaped out of the trunk of an oak tree using stone axes.

This discovery is one of 11 logboats found in the River Boyne, though this is the first boat found to date to the Neolithic period – a sample of the wood has very recently been radiocarbon dated to between 3,300-2,900BC. This is the period of the construction of the great passage tomb complexes of Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange.

The National Monuments Service Underwater Archaeology Unit and the National Museum of Ireland collaborated in recording the boat and carefully removing it from the river bed to the museum facilities, where it is currently undergoing conservation.

Minister Madigan said: “I want to sincerely thank all involved for reporting this discovery so quickly, which has allowed for its care and ongoing conservation and for this exciting new scientific date to be obtained. This new knowledge adds to the wonderful archaeological discoveries made this summer across Brú na Bóinne and enhances our understanding of the people within this special landscape, so dominated by the great River Boyne which would have played such a central part in their lives.

“The importance of this discovery and the scientific date which has now been obtained for it lies in its contemporaneity with the building of the Great Passage tomb of Newgrange and the other wonderful passage tombs that dominate our World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne. It is tempting to ponder the part such a vessel might have played in the construction of these burial monuments and the lives of those who built them, in ferrying people along the river, and transporting materials and stones used to build the great tombs.”

Details will be added to the Department’s online Wreck Viewer which launched earlier this year and which helps promote a wider appreciation of Ireland’s maritime and riverine archaeology and the important role boats and ships played in the development of our island society over millennia.

Source: Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht [November 23, 2018]



2018 November 23 Good Morning Leonid Image Credit &…

2018 November 23

Good Morning Leonid
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephane Vetter (Nuits sacrées), TWAN

Explanation: On November 17, just an hour before sunrise, this bright and colorful meteor flashed through clear predawn skies. Above a sea of clouds this striking autumn morning’s moment was captured from Hochblauen, a prominent 1165 meter high summit in southern Germany’s Black Forest. Shining through the twilight, Sirius as well as the familiar stars of Orion are recognizable near the southwestern horizon, and the meteor seems headed right for the hunter’s belt and sword. Still, as part of the annual Leonid meteor shower, the meteor trail does point back to the shower’s radiant. The constellation Leo is high above the horizon and off the top left of the frame.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181123.html