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Maya more warlike than previously thought

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Republication from  news.berkeley.edu (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY)

 

David Wahl (right) and Lysanna Anderson taking a sample from Lake Ek’Naab using a hand-operated piston core on an inflatable platform. (Photo courtesy of Francisco Estrada-Belli, Tulane University)

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The Maya of Central America are thought to have been a kinder, gentler civilization, especially compared to the Aztecs of Mexico. At the peak of Mayan culture some 1,500 years ago, warfare seemed ritualistic, designed to extort ransom for captive royalty or to subjugate rival dynasties, with limited impact on the surrounding population.

Only later, archeologists thought, did increasing drought and climate change lead to total warfare — cities and dynasties were wiped off the map in so-called termination events — and the collapse of the lowland Maya civilization around 1,000 A.D. (or C.E., current era).

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Maya culture territory was much vaster than known, thousands of newly discovered constructionsreveal

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Republication from Washington Post

by Cleve R. Wootson Jr. February 3 at 3:59 PM Email the author

This digital 3-D image provided by Guatemala’s Mayan Heritage and Nature Foundation, PACUNAM, shows a depiction of the Maya archaeological site at Tikal in Guatemala created using lidar aerial mapping technology.  (Canuto & Auld-Thomas/PACUNAM via AP)

Archaeologists have spent more than a century traipsing through the Guatemalan jungle, Indiana Jones-style, searching through dense vegetation to learn what they could about the Maya civilization that was one of the dominant societies in Mesoamerica for centuries.

But the latest discovery — one archaeologists are calling a “game changer” — didn’t even require a can of bug spray.

Scientists using high-tech, airplane-based lidar mapping tools have discovered tens of thousands of structures constructed by the Maya: defense works, houses, buildings, industrial-size agricultural fields, even new pyramids. The findings, announced Thursday, are already reshaping long-held views about the size and scope of the Maya civilization.

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Ancestors of Native Americans migrated in single wave, genetic study finds

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Reblogged/ Source: news.ku.edu/2015/07/21/ancestors-native-americans-migrated-single-wave-23000-years-ago-genetic-study-finds

LAWRENCE — A new genome-scale study that includes a University of Kansas anthropological geneticist has determined ancestors of present-day Native Americans arrived in the Americas as part of a single-migration wave from Siberia no earlier than 23,000 years ago.

Later migrations of Aleuts and Eskimos occurred approximately 9,000 and 4,000 years ago.

“Using coalescence analyses, not just using one piece of DNA, but the entire genome, we find that the earliest someone could have come to the Americas was 23,000 years ago,” said Michael Crawford, head of KU’s Laboratory of Biological Anthropology and a professor of anthropology. “This study also pretty well does in the whole idea that gene flow from Europe contributed to the original migration of present-day Native Americans.”

Crawford is a co-author on the study, and the journal Science has published its results online. The Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen headed the international research team, which included co-authors Eske Willerslev, a Lundbeck Foundation professor at the center in Copenhagen; Maanasa Raghavan, a postdoctoral researcher at the center; Yun Song, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, statistics and integrative biology at University of California, Berkeley; and David Meltzer, an anthropology professor at Southern Methodist University, among others.

To more accurately pinpoint the account of how and when modern humans populated the Americas from Siberia, the team generated genomic data from several present-day and past Native American and Siberian populations. This included an analysis of the DNA of the fossil known as Kennewick Man, found along the Columbia River in Washington State in 1996.

“This is not just mitochondrial DNA,” Crawford said. “It’s shown on the entire genome that’s been sequenced.”

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