- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 9 years ago
Archaeological bones are usually dated by radiocarbon measurement of extracted collagen. However, low collagen content, contamination from the burial environment, or museum conservation work, such as addition of glues, preservatives, and fumigants to “protect” archaeological materials, have previously led to inaccurate dates. These inaccuracies in turn frustrate the development of archaeological chronologies and, in the Paleolithic, blur the dating of such key events as the dispersal of anatomically modern humans. Here we describe a method to date hydroxyproline found in collagen (~10% of collagen carbon) as a bone-specific biomarker that removes impurities, thereby improving dating accuracy and confidence. This method is applied to two important sites in Russia and allows us to report the earliest direct ages for the presence of anatomically modern humans on the Russian Plain. These dates contribute considerably to our understanding of the emergence of the Mid-Upper Paleolithic and the complex suite of burial behaviors that begin to appear during this period.
Study of human adaptation to extreme environments is important for understanding our cultural and genetic capacity for survival. The Pucuncho Basin in the southern Peruvian Andes contains the highest-altitude Pleistocene archaeological sites yet identified in the world, about 900 meters above confidently dated contemporary sites. The Pucuncho workshop site [4355 meters above sea level (masl)] includes two fishtail projectile points, which date to about 12.8 to 11.5 thousand years ago (ka). Cuncaicha rock shelter (4480 masl) has a robust, well-preserved, and well-dated occupation sequence spanning the past 12.4 thousand years (ky), with 21 dates older than 11.5 ka. Our results demonstrate that despite cold temperatures and low-oxygen conditions, hunter-gatherers colonized extreme high-altitude Andean environments in the Terminal Pleistocene, within about 2 ky of the initial entry of humans to South America.
Mate preferences often fail to correspond with actual mate choices. We present a novel explanation for this phenomenon: People overestimate their willingness to reject unsuitable romantic partners. In two studies, single people were given the opportunity to accept or decline advances from potential dates who were physically unattractive (Study 1) or incompatible with their dating preferences (Study 2). We found that participants were significantly less willing to reject these unsuitable potential dates when they believed the situation to be real rather than hypothetical. This effect was partially explained by other-focused motives: Participants for whom the scenario was hypothetical anticipated less motivation to avoid hurting the potential date’s feelings than participants actually felt when they believed the situation to be real. Thus, other-focused motives appear to exert an influence on mate choice that has been overlooked by researchers and laypeople alike.
Setting a target quit date (TQD) is often an important component in smoking cessation treatment, but ambiguity remains concerning the optimal timing (ie, quitting spontaneously versus delaying to prepare).
An absolute timescale for evolution is essential if we are to associate evolutionary phenomena, such as adaptation or speciation, with potential causes, such as geological activity or climatic change. Timescales in most phylogenetic studies use geologically dated fossils or phylogeographic events as calibration points, but more recently, it has also become possible to use experimentally derived estimates of the mutation rate as a proxy for substitution rates. The large radiation of drosophilid taxa endemic to the Hawaiian islands has provided multiple calibration points for the Drosophila phylogeny, thanks to the “conveyor belt” process by which this archipelago forms and is colonized by species. However, published date estimates for key nodes in the Drosophila phylogeny vary widely, and many are based on simplistic models of colonization and coalescence or on estimates of island age that are not current. In this study, we use new sequence data from seven species of Hawaiian Drosophila to examine a range of explicit coalescent models and estimate substitution rates. We use these rates, along with a published experimentally determined mutation rate, to date key events in drosophilid evolution. Surprisingly, our estimate for the date for the most recent common ancestor of the genus Drosophila based on mutation rate (25-40 Ma) is closer to being compatible with independent fossil-derived dates (20-50 Ma) than are most of the Hawaiian-calibration models and also has smaller uncertainty. We find that Hawaiian-calibrated dates are extremely sensitive to model choice and give rise to point estimates that range between 26 and 192 Ma, depending on the details of the model. Potential problems with the Hawaiian calibration may arise from systematic variation in the molecular clock due to the long generation time of Hawaiian Drosophila compared with other Drosophila and/or uncertainty in linking island formation dates with colonization dates. As either source of error will bias estimates of divergence time, we suggest mutation rate estimates be used until better models are available.
The global initiative for neonatal tetanus elimination was launched in 1989 following the unacceptably high neonatal morbidity and mortality from tetanus. Since then tremendous progress has been made evidenced with a 94% reduction in mortality. Despite this impressive progress, two global target dates have been missed, the latest being in 2005; which led to a further target of 2015 as the global neonatal tetanus elimination date. This target date has probably been missed again as there are still 21 countries yet to be validated. Nigeria is one such country and contributes two-thirds of the burden of neonatal tetanus globally. What are the prospects and challenges of neonatal tetanus elimination in Nigeria? This paper discusses these and other relevant issues regarding neonatal tetanus elimination and sustaining clearance.
Lake ice is a sensitive indicator of climate change. Based on the disparities between the brightness temperatures of lake ice and water, passive microwave data can be used to monitor the ice variations of a lake. With focus on the analysis of long time series variability of lake ice, this study extracts four characteristic dates related to lake ice (the annual freeze start, freeze completion, ablation start and ablation completion dates) for Qinghai Lake from 1979 to 2016 using Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) passive microwave brightness temperature data. The corresponding freezing duration, ablation duration, complete freezing duration and ice coverage duration are calculated. Applying Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) daily snow products, the accuracy of the results derived from passive microwave data is validated. The validation analysis shows a strong agreement (R(2) ranges from 0.70 to 0.85, mean absolute error (MAE) ranges from 2.25 to 3.94days) in the freeze start, ablation start, and ablation completion dates derived from the MODIS data and passive microwave data; the ice coverage duration also has a small error (relative error (RE)=2.95%, MAE=3.13days), suggesting that the results obtained from passive microwave data are reliable. The results show that the freezing dates of Qinghai Lake have been delayed and the ablation dates have advanced. Over 38years, the freeze start date and freeze completion date have been pushed back by 6.16days and 2.27days, respectively, while the ablation start date and ablation completion date have advanced by 11.24days and 14.09days, respectively. The freezing duration and ablation duration have shortened by 3.89days and 2.85days, respectively, and the complete freezing duration and ice coverage duration have shortened by 14.84days and 21.21days, respectively. There is a significant negative correlation between the ice coverage duration and the mean air temperature in winter.
Reduction in rice yield caused by high temperature-induced spikelet sterility has been a serious concern in rice production. To date, several screening methods have been used, although their reproducibility is sometimes poor due to artifacts mainly caused by varietal differences in heading dates and panicle heights (i.e., the distance from the lamps).
During the Sangamon Episode, North America occasionally experienced warm climates. At Hopwood Farm, IL, a small kettle lake filled with sediment after the Illinois Episode glaciers retreated from southern Illinois. To date those deposits, 14 mollusc samples newly collected with associated sediment from three depths at Hopwood Farm were dated by standard electron spin resonance (ESR) dating. ESR can date molluscs from ~0.5 ka to >2 Ma in age with 5-10% precision, by comparing the accumulated radiation dose with the total radiation dose rate from the mollusc and its environment. Because all molluscs contained ≤0.6 ppm U, their ages do not depend on the assumed U uptake model. Using five different species, ESR analyses for 14 mollusc subsamples from Hopwood Farm showed that Unit 3, a layer rich in lacustrine molluscs, dates at 102 ± 7 ka to 90 ± 6 ka, which correlates with Marine (Oxygen) Isotope Stage 5c-b. Thus, the period with the highest non-arboreal pollen at Hopwood also correlates with the European Brørup, Dansgaard-Oeschger Event DO 23, a time period when climates were cooling and drying somewhat over the same period.
In Brazilian archaeological shellmounds, many species of land snails are found abundantly distributed throughout the occupational layers, forming a contextualized set of samples within the sites and offering a potential alternative to the use of charcoal for radiocarbon dating analyses. In order to confirm the effectiveness of this alternative, one needs to prove that the mollusk shells reflect the atmospheric carbon isotopic concentration in the same way charcoal does. In this study, 18 terrestrial mollusk shells with known collection dates from 1948 to 2004 AD, around the nuclear bombs period, were radiocarbon dated. The obtained dates fit the SH1-2 bomb curve within less than 15 years range, showing that certain species from the Thaumastus and Megalobulimus genera are reliable representatives of the atmospheric carbon isotopic ratio and can, therefore, be used to date archaeological sites in South America.