Doubts Cast on Oldest Fossil Case of Deafness

I recently wrote an article on this site about the possible occurrence of Surfer's Ear in Neanderthals. During that article we mostly discussed what might have caused these external auditory exostoses (EAEs), but I didn't discuss what implications these might have had for the Neanderthal's hearing. Until this month (October 2019) if you had looked up the... Continue Reading →

Tuberculosis in the Triassic

Very few infectious diseases leave their traces on your bones. This is a problem for palaeontologists because only bones tend to get fossilised, and soft tissues are vanishing rare in the geological record. Even when these are preserved they're extremely unlikely to reveal signs of any infection the animal might have suffered. Therefore very few... Continue Reading →

Neanderthal Surfer’s Ear

I've blogged about Neanderthal ear's recently as a paper had suggested they might have been at increased risk of ear infections, but it turns out that might not be the only ear problem Neanderthal's faced. Earlier this year (2019) a paper was published discussing an unusual feature of Neanderthal skulls. It's been known for a long... Continue Reading →

Venomous Dinosaurs?

Anyone who has ever watched Jurassic Park will remember the iconic scenes with the venom-spitting Dilophosaurus. Its vibrant frill and the foul, sticky poison it spits to blind its prey made for dramatic imagery, but is any of grounded in reality? Were there any venomous dinosaurs? As most dinosaur fans probably already know the film-makers of... Continue Reading →

Neanderthal Inner Ear Infections?

Did Neanderthals die out because they suffered from chronic ear infections? That’s the possibility raised by a new study that has attempted to reconstruct the structure of the Neanderthal inner ear. Today middle ear infections are usually a minor hazard of childhood that clear up quickly following a course of antibiotics. Untreated though ear infections... Continue Reading →

9,000 Year Old Ritual Decapitation

Occasionally in the life of some archaeologists there must come moments when they feel like they are excavating the aftermath of a particularly gruesome horror movie. The recent discovery of a severed head and hands from east-central Brazil is a case in point. The research was performed by an international team, led by researchers from... Continue Reading →

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