Agriculture, declining mobility drove humans’ shift to lighter bones

From Science Daily: Agriculture, declining mobility drove humans’ shift to lighter bones.

Modern lifestyles have famously made humans heavier, but, in one particular way, noticeably lighter weight than our hunter-gatherer ancestors: in the bones. Now a new study of the bones of hundreds of humans who lived during the past 33,000 years in Europe finds the rise of agriculture and a corresponding fall in mobility drove the change, rather than urbanization, nutrition or other factors. [continue].

Excuse me while I go off to become ridiculously active.

When the woolly mammoth ran out, early man turned to roasted vegetables

From the L.A. Times: When the woolly mammoth ran out, early man turned to roasted vegetables.

Long before early humans in North America grew corn and beans, they were harvesting and cooking the bulbs of lilies, wild onions and other plants, roasting them for days over hot rocks, according to a Texas archaeologist.

The evidence for this practice has long been known of in fire-cracked rock piles found throughout the continent, but archaeologists have tended to ignore it "because a new pyramid or a Clovis arrow point is much sexier," said archaeologist Alston V. Thoms of Texas A&M University. [continue]

Ancient graves suggest human sacrifice

From discovery.com: Ancient Graves Suggest Human Sacrifice.

Physically disabled people may have been ritually sacrificed by European hunter-gatherer tribes as early as 24,000 years ago, according to an investigation into burials from the Upper Paleolithic period.

Well known in large, stratified ancient societies, ritual human sacrifice has never been apparent in the archaeological data of Upper Paleolithic Europe (about 26,000 to 8,000 B.C.).

But, according to lead study author Vincenzo Formicola of the University of Pisa in Italy, several of these burials suggest that human sacrifices may have been an important ritual activity in this period.

"Our findings show that the Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers developed a complex system of beliefs, symbols and rituals that are unknown in small groups of modern foragers," Formicola told Discovery News. [continue]