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Losing Maya Heritage to Looters

In Focus<p>Stolen artifacts are making it from the Guatemalan jungle to wealthy black-market buyers.<p><i>Part of our weekly "In Focus" series—stepping back, looking closer.</i><p><b>Deep in the jungle in the north of Guatemala, along deep-rutted 4x4 tracks, the pyramids of the great Maya city of Xultún are hidden</b> …

Swapping Young Blood for Old Reverses Aging

Muscle tone, endurance, memory, and smell improve in elderly mice infused with blood from younger mice<p>In what could have profound implications for understanding the process of aging, a trio of scientific papers published today show that infusing elderly mice with the blood of young mice can reverse …

Face-to-Face With Ancient Civilizations

Changing Planet<p>After a full day of academic talks during the opening of the 2014 Dialogue of Civilizations conference, top archaeologists from around the world put aside their PowerPoint presentations and flew out from Istanbul to distant Adıyaman in far southeastern Turkey to begin the itinerant …

"Pinocchio Rex" Found; Dinosaur Sported Long Snout

Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived alongside its cousin T. rex.<p>It's no lie—a new tyrannosaur nicknamed "Pinocchio rex" has been unearthed in China, a new study says.<p><b>The discovery confirms that long-snouted tyrannosaurs once roamed the Earth, laying to rest a long-running debate.</b><p>Formally described as</i> …

Hot Stew in the Ice Age? Evidence Shows Neanderthals Boiled Food

An ancient diet expert suggests our early cousins knew how to boil their meals.<p>Neanderthal cooking likely wouldn't have won any prizes on <i>Top Chef</i>, but a paleontologist suggests that our ancient cousins knew how to cook a mean stew, without even a stone pot to their name.<p>"I think it's pretty likely …

Princes and Princesses Among 50 Egyptian Mummies Unearthed

Royal mummies from Egypt's golden age surprise scholars.<p>Offering hopes for tracing the family secrets of the ancient pharaohs, more than 50 royal mummies have emerged in Egypt's Valley of the Kings from a tomb long sealed by rubble and little suspected of harboring royalty. (Related: "Valley of the …

Expand Your Mind At Brazil's Pyramids of the Guardians of the Pharaohs

5 Painfully Clever Flash Drive Tricks We Wish We'd Thought Of

Most of us see our USB flash drives as expendable, one-trick ponies—good for storing and sharing files and not much else. But with the appropriate …

Coding Sucks: Why a Job in Programming Is Absolute Hell

Every friend I have with a job that involves picking up something heavier than a laptop more than twice a week eventually finds a way to slip …

Java’s Ancient Buddhist Masterpiece

TravelIntelligent Travel<p>Two hundred years ago, British statesman Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles rediscovered the sprawling <b>temple of Borobudur</b> on a remote hilltop in <b>Java</b>, Indonesia, hidden under a tangle of thick jungle.<p>Today the shrine endures as a symbol of quiet resilience—the world’s largest …

Neanderthals Lived in Small, Isolated Populations, Gene Analysis Shows

Genetic differences highlight how the path of these ancient humans diverged from ours.<p>Modern humanity's ancient cousins, the Neanderthals, lived in small groups that were isolated from one another, suggests an investigation into their DNA. The analysis also finds that Neanderthals lacked some human …

Meet Kryptodrakon: Oldest Known Pterodactyl Found in China

Kryptodrakon flew the Jurassic skies about 163 million years ago.<p>The oldest known pterodactyl has been unearthed in China, pushing back the evolution of the ancient flying reptiles by five million years, a new study says.<p>Dubbed <i>Kryptodrakon progenitor</i>, the beast had a wingspan of 4.5 feet (1.4 …

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Cold War Spy-Satellite Images Unveil Lost Cities

Cold War reconnaissance photos triple the number of known archaeology sites across the Middle East.<p>A study of Cold War spy-satellite photos has tripled the number of known archaeological sites across the Middle East, revealing thousands of ancient cities, roads, canals, and other ruins.<p>In recent …

Continuing Excavations at an Ancient Burial Site Last Touched in 1919

Wildlife<p>Mounds of sand from the pyramid. Photo courtesy of Geoff Emberling.<p>One of our major goals this season is to investigate the largest pyramid at the site, which was not excavated by George Reisner in 1919 (the last time an archaeologist worked on the burials at El Kurru). Reisner was, among …

First Asteroid With Rings Discovered

Move over, Saturn—rings aren't just for giant planets anymore.<p>Saturn has rings, of course, and so do the other gas giants of our solar system—Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune—albeit wispier ones than Saturn's.<p><b>But until now it seemed that only giant planets had the gravity to hold on to the billions of</b> …

Dwarf Planet Discovery Hints at Hidden World Orbiting Solar System

Plenty of dwarf planets hide out beyond Pluto, perhaps steered by something much bigger.<p>Discovery of an icy "dwarf" world beyond Pluto hints that a much bigger planet may hide even farther out in the dim reaches of the solar system, astronomers suggested on Wednesday. (Read "Our Solar System" in</i> …

New Pygmy Tyrannosaur Found, Roamed the Arctic

At 20 feet long, Nanuqsaurus hoglundi measured about half the size of T. rex.<p>A great discovery came in a small package for paleontologists who've unearthed a new species of tiny tyrannosaur in northern Alaska.<p>Dubbed <i>Nanuqsaurus hoglundi</i>, the polar pygmy measured about 20 feet (6 meters) long, about …

Largest Predatory Dinosaur in Europe Found, Was "Big Bruiser"

Thirty-two-foot carnivore likely used brute force to take down prey.<p>A new species of dinosaur found in Portugal was big—<i>and</i> bad, a new study says.<p><i>Torvosaurus gurneyi</i>, perhaps the biggest predatory dinosaur yet found in Europe, was an especially strong carnivore that likely used its four-inch-long …

Study Says Cahokia, America's First City, Was a Melting Pot

The teeth of ancient inhabitants indicates that massive immigration may have driven the city's explosive growth.<p>A thousand years after the Native American city known as Cahokia sprouted on a floodplain east of modern-day St. Louis, Missouri, the story of its explosive birth and precipitous decline …

Tiny Algae Responsible for Mysterious Fossil Whale Graveyard?

Algal blooms might have been responsible for mass deaths in ancient baleen whales.<p>Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant …

Doomsday Seed Vault's New Adds: "Space Beer" Barley, Brazil Beans

About 20,000 new crop varieties have been sent to the Arctic facility.<p>Beer and whiskey lovers, raise a glass to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which has just taken in 20,000 new crop varieties—including 575 types of barley.<p>The seeds, sourced from more than a hundred countries, arrived this week to …

On Way to New World, First Americans Made a 10,000-Year Pit Stop

The first human settlers of the New World may have spent ten millennia on the landmass that linked Siberia and Alaska.<p>Sediment cores from Alaska and the Bering Sea support genetic evidence that the first human settlers of the New World spent thousands of years inhabiting Beringia, the region that …

Wolf Tracks Found on Mt. Hood, First Since 1947

<i>National Geographic Young Explorer Jay Simpson is part of the Wolf OR-7 Expedition, a 1,200-mile adventure in the tracks of a lone wolf beginning May 2014. Using an estimated GPS track of the lone Wolf OR-7, they’ll have 42 days to mountain bike and hike across Oregon and Northern California. Their</i> …

Are We Living in a Black Hole?

Our universe may reside within a vast, black hole.<p>Let's rewind the clock. Before humans existed, before Earth formed, before the sun ignited, before galaxies arose, before light could even shine, there was the Big Bang. This happened 13.8 billion years ago.<p>But what about before that? Many …

One-of-a-Kind Aztec Dog Burials Found in Mexico

Bones of a dozen dogs, buried together 500 years ago, puzzle archaeologists.<p>Archaeologists in Mexico City have made an extraordinary discovery—the skeletons of 12 dogs all mysteriously buried together more than 500 years ago, in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.<p>Dog burials have been uncovered …

Scientists Return to Explore a Second Fossil Chamber

<i>Paleoanthropologist and science blogger John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has just returned to South Africa with NG Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand and others to continue work on the hominin discoveries of the Rising Star caves. Follow him on</i> …

New Dam in Turkey Threatens to Flood Ancient City and Archaeological Sites

Tigris River Dam puts wildlife and culture at risk, critics say.<p>From the Neolithic caves riddling its cliffs to the honey-colored, 15th-century minarets looming over its streets, Hasankeyf, Turkey, is a living museum of epic proportion.<p>Rare birds soar around the crumbling towers of its Artuqid …

Unlocking Secrets of the Grand Canyon's Age

Rocks from the iconic gorge provide the clues.<p>To the untrained eye, the Grand Canyon might just look like one big hole in the ground. But to some scientists, the American Southwest's iconic gorge is increasingly looking like several ancient canyons of different ages, stitched together by erosion …