How did the plague reshape Bronze Age Europe?

In the early Bronze Age, there was an infusion of a different genetic makeup in Europe whose origin ancient DNA experts are trying to explain. Image credit - geograph/David Dixon, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Europe changed dramatically during the Bronze Age, with huge population shifts generally ascribed to the rise of new metal technologies, trading and climate change. But scientists believe that there may have been another reason for this social upheaval – the plague, possibly transported by, or on the back of, newly domesticated horses. Plague is forever … Read more

Plants and sensors are being used to help Bologna locals rediscover their city

Reusing historical buildings for new purposes - an urban planning approach known as adaptive reuse - is breathing new life into cities like Bologna. Image credit - Flickr/ Yuri Virovets, licensed under CC BY 2.0

by Richard Kemeny Lining rundown historic areas of cities with plant life and smart sensors and reusing old buildings for new purposes are helping to breathe new life into Europe’s decaying urban spaces. Historic buildings and places, known as a city’s cultural heritage, can attract tourists and provide a shared sense of history for residents. … Read more

Genetic error led humans to evolve bigger, but more vulnerable, brains

The skull of a Australopithecus sediba, a species of Australopithecines, who were our ancestors and whose brains started to grow two to three million years ago. Image credit - Australopithecus sediba by Brett Eloff, courtesy Profberger and Wits University is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Newly-discovered genes that helped supersize human brains along with DNA retrieved from extinct humans, which can still be found in people living today, are expanding scientists’ understanding of how our species evolved. One of the major features that distinguish humans from other primates is the size of our brains, which underwent rapid evolution from about … Read more

Black Sea research could reveal cultural sites and methane ice – Dr Adrian Stanica

Understanding the Black Sea requires chemistry, biology, geology, hydrology and oceanography, says Dr Adrian Stanica.

Cooperative marine research projects between the countries surrounding the Black Sea could reveal cultural heritage sites and unknown resources such as frozen methane, as well as enhance economic growth, bolster tourism and strengthen political bonds, according to Dr Adrian Stanica. He is Director-General of the Romanian National Institute of Marine Geology and Geoecology (GeoEcoMar) and … Read more