Posts from the ‘south africa’ Category

jtotheizzoe:

‘Earliest’ evidence of modern human culture found

How far back do you think human culture goes? You know, the sharing of creative ideas like tools and creation?

Decades of study on some basic tools pulled from a cave in South Africa have finally determined that traces of modern human culture surfaced as far back as 44,000 years ago. That’s more than double the last estimates!

The San hunter-gatherers of South Africa (one pictured above) still use basic bone, wood and stone tools. Artifacts found in this South African cave are so close to the tools used today that there’s no doubt that 44,000 years ago, a cultured clan was making and using them regularly. They even mastered organic poisons taken from castor beans to tip their spears with.

This is a very cool find, and adds some detail to the timeline of human evolution. Considering that our modern anatomy only showed up ~150,000 years ago, it’s exciting to discover that shared tool creation and culture weren’t that far behind. 

So let’s all try to act a little cultured today in their honor, shall we??

(via BBC News)

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The Square Kilometer Array is truly an incredible project and I can’t wait to see what it produces in a decade or so. It’s also a huge boon to Australia and South Africa in particular, bringing both huge economical and scientific rewards to them. The breadth of its uses sounds like something from a sci-fi novel or computer game: 

The SKA will map precisely the positions of the nearest billion galaxies. The structure they trace on the cosmos should reveal new details about “dark energy”, the mysterious negative pressure that appears to be pushing the Universe apart at an ever-increasing speed.

The telescope will also detail the influence of magnetic fields on the development of stars and galaxies. And it will zoom in on pulsars, the dead stars that emit beams of radio waves that sweep across the Earth like super-accurate time signals.

Astronomers believe these dense objects may hold the key to a more complete theory of gravity than that proposed by Einstein.