viernes, 8 de julio de 2016

Italians model 17,000-year-old brain from child's skull


The skull was found in Calabria's Grotta del Romito.

The discovery of a 17,000-year-old skull in southern Italy has allowed a team of scientists to accurately recreate the brain of mans' ancient ancestors for the very first time.

The skull belonged to boy of between 10 and 12 years old and was found in Calabria's Grotta del Romito, a cave used by homo sapiens between 23,000 and 10,000 years ago.

It is precisely the young age of the skull which has allowed scientists to recreate an ancient brain.

“The boy was still growing and therefore the bones of his skull were quite soft,” explained Fabio Martini, a professor of ancient history at the University of Florence.

“The pressure of the growing brain on the bone left a sort of 'imprint' on the inside of the skull. Now, thanks to 3D scanners and computer technology, we have been able to create a reliable 3D model of an ancient brain, which is groundbreaking,” Martini added.

“Soon we will be able to hold in our hands the brain of a 17,000-year-old boy.”

The extraordinary ability to reconstruct the brain gives anthropologists, paleontologists and neuroscientists the opportunity to directly compare the brain of a young hunter-gatherer with the brain of a modern child.

“It will allow us to look at the development of different areas of the organ, such as the language centre and see how they developed.”

In looking at areas of the brain responsible for things like social interaction, spatial coordination and language, scientists hope to shed new light on the lives our ancestors led.

The Paleolithic site at the Grotta del Romito, is one of the most important Paleolithic sites in Europe and has so far revealed a series of dwellings, graffiti and graves, which have proven central to the understanding of Italy's human history before the agricultural revolution. The Local


Link 2: Antropologia: sarà ricostruito cervello paleolitico
"Per la prima volta possiamo toccare con mano un cervello paleolitico”. Lo ha annunciato il professore Fabio Martini, archeologo dell’Università di Firenze, che ha presentato, nel luogo in cui è avvenuto, il ritrovamento del cranio di un bambino risalente al Paleolitico, nel geosito della Grotta del Romito, in Calabria...


Actualización: Boy's 'perfect' remains give scientists chance to recreate prehistoric brain in 3D - CBC News

The 17,000-year-old remains, including the skull, of a young boy discovered in an Italian cave in 2011 are giving scientists the chance to gain insight into late-paleolithic life. (Fabio Martini)

Archeological find in Italy offers researchers insight into progression of human speech

He was a young boy of about 10 who died in the rugged hills of what is now the southern Italian region of Calabria.

The cause of his death is not known. However, the elaborate decorations of seashells and ochre designs found around his carefully laid body show he was loved and mourned.

Now, 17,000 years later, the boy's remains are allowing scientists not only to make 3D virtual and plastic recreations of a young prehistoric human brain, but also to gain a better understanding of everything from what our late-paleolithic human ancestors ate to the progression of human speech.

"He's a one-of-the-kind in that there are no other samples from the same period that are in such perfect condition," Fabio Macciardi, a neuroscientist with the University of California Irvine, says of the boy whose remains have been dubbed Romito 9 by scientists...

Pinturas funerarias decoraban los megalitos más antiguos de Europa


1/2. Dolmen de Mané Rutual. Locmariaquer, Morbihan, France | prehistoricjersey.net
 
Investigadores de la UNED y de la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares analizan los pigmentos procedentes del conjunto megalítico de Bretaña. Los resultados confirman que la decoración pictórica de las cámaras funerarias era una práctica extendida y las pinturas formaban parte de los rituales mortuorios durante el Neolítico europeo.

Hasta hace poco se pensaba que la decoración de los megalitos mediante grabados en las rocas era algo propio de la fachada atlántica, mientras que el empleo de pinturas era característico de la zona mediterránea. Ahora, una investigación en la que participa la UNED ha revelado la presencia de pigmentos habituales del arte rupestre en construcciones neolíticas de Bretaña, uno de los referentes del megalitismo europeo por la antigüedad y la cantidad de los monumentos que alberga. Los resultados confirman que la decoración pictórica de las cámaras funerarias era una práctica extendida y los autores apuntan a posibles conexiones culturales durante el Neolítico.

En el análisis de las muestras, que previamente fueron tomadas en seis localizaciones del noroeste francés, se empleó una técnica no destructiva que utiliza la espectroscopía Raman a escala microscópica para detectar cada uno de sus componentes. Tras identificar los minerales propios del sustrato, rocas graníticas y calcáreas, los expertos hallaron hematita, un óxido de hierro que se utilizaba para conseguir el color rojo, así como carbón amorfo y óxidos de manganeso, ambos habituales en las pinturas negras: “también hemos encontrado otros componentes adicionales en la pintura, como la calcita o el yeso, que se han podido añadir para obtener distintas tonalidades o propiedades de la pintura. Es como si empleasen recetas pictóricas” señala Antonio Hernanz, investigador del Grupo de Microscopía Raman e Infrarroja de la UNED y coautor del estudio publicado en Journal of Raman Spectroscopy. [...] divulgauned.es


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