Anniversary of the Discovery of the First Neanderthal Skeleton

On this day in 1908 the first relatively complete skeleton of a Neanderthal was found buried in a cave in France. The individual whose skeleton was found was in old age when he died and suffering from severe osteoarthritis. This along with the biases of the scientist who originally reconstructed the skeleton helped to bolster the early view of Neanderthals as slouching, ape-like, and unintelligent.

Since then research has revealed much more about what Neanderthals were really like and has shown that they were far more intelligent and more like humans, both in appearance and abilities, than we once thought. They may have buried their dead, fashioned tools, used pigments for decoration, and might even have had the ability to talk to each other.

And they also interbred with humans, passing on genetic information that is still with us today and may have helped us to fight diseases. We’re still not sure why the Neanderthals went extinct, but research continues.


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Science News – May 27th, 2016

Science News! Let’s take a look at some of the important developments in science this week…

First, scientists entered the Bruniquel Cave in southern France, which had been sealed off for thousands of years, and found mysterious semicircles of stalagmites and evidence of fires that had been created by Neanderthals. Uranium dating shows the rings were stacked up 175,000 years ago, which makes them among the oldest structures created by our human relatives ever found. What the purpose of the structures was is still a mystery. Do you have a theory? Read more from the Smithsonian here.

Second, astronomers using the world’s most powerful telescope and a gravitational lensing technique were able to detect the faintest galaxy of the early universe yet found. The galaxy was born just after the Big Bang and appears to us as it was 13 Billion years ago. Read more from here.

Third, the American military has reported the first instance of a bacteria resistant to colistin, a drug considered the last resort in killing superbugs. Although resistant to this last resort drug, the bacteria in this case was luckily not resistant to a class of drugs called carbapenems, and the patient who was carrying the bacteria is now well. However, if bacteria that are resistant to carbapenems are also able to acquire the resistance to colistin they may be unstoppable. Read more from the New York Times here.

Those are just a few of the exciting things going on in the world of science this week. Have you heard about any other interesting science news lately? Leave a comment and let us know!

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