‘Sistine Chapel Of The Ancients’ Cliff Drawings Revealed In Colombia

Tens of thousands of cliff drawings dating back to the Ice Age have been revealed on nearly eight miles of cliff faces in Colombia’s Amazon rainforest. Archaeologists are calling the discovery “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients.”

Dating back as far as 12,500 years ago, it is one of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric cliff paintings. The red-ocher murals depict an incredibly wide array of creatures, from humans, horses, tapirs, fish, alligators, turtles and birds to extinct species including giant sloths, mastodons, camelids and three-toe ungulates (hooved mammals) with trunks.

“We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them,” José Iriarte, an archaeologist at Exeter University, told the Guardian. “Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.”

Iriarte and his British-Colombian team discovered the first of the enormous trove of images in 2017 but kept it a secret while continuing to work. Previously, the remote area — requiring a two-hour drive from San José del Guaviare and a four-hour trek through the forest — was inaccessible to outsiders during Colombia’s 50-year civil war. The Serranias of Chiribiquete and La Lindosa opened up to scientific researchers after the 2016 peace treaty between the rebel guerilla group FARC and the Colombian government.

Archaeologists believe that the artists who created the images were among the first humans to live in the western Amazon. At the time, the area was transforming from a landscape of savannahs, thorny scrub, and forests into the tropical rainforest of today. The researchers published some of their findings in April in the journal Quaternary International

The prehistoric artists chose smooth rock walls sheltered from rain as a canvas for their detailed paintings. Some of the images are so high up on the cliff walls that the researchers had to use drones to photograph them.

“These rock paintings are spectacular evidence of how humans reconstructed the land, and how they hunted, farmed and fished,” said Dr. Iriarte in a Exeter University statement. “It is likely art was a powerful part of culture and a way for people to connect socially. The pictures show how people would have lived amongst giant, now extinct, animals, which they hunted.”

In 2018, the Colombian government declared the Serrania La Lindosa as a new protected archaeological site, and there is hope that the site will be one day be opened up to the public.

The cliffs are a natural, open-air gallery, in contrast, say, to France’s famous Lascaux cave art, which had

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University of Windsor denounces fraternity after hateful messages in private chat group revealed

a close up of a building: University of Windsor President Rob Gordon says that the university will be launching an investigation into the hateful messages.

© Chris Ensing/CBC
University of Windsor President Rob Gordon says that the university will be launching an investigation into the hateful messages.

The University of Windsor is denouncing hateful online messages allegedly exchanged by members of the Delta Chi fraternity in a private chat group, and is also suspending any opportunities for the fraternity to use university spaces.

The private Facebook messages include racist and Anti-Black comments and comments promoting violence. The comments allegedly made by members of the frat were exposed by two university anti-racism groups, which sent them to the university demanding action.

“In the past year with greater attention on police brutality and anti-Black racism in the U.S. and Canada, it’s clear that the problem of racism is not over,” At University of Windsor, one of the student advocacy groups, said in an email about the messages. “Within the same time frame that the Delta Chi Fraternity posted on their Instagram about the police murder of George Floyd, they were calling Black protestors r-words, “criminals” and “idiots” in their chats. This strategy of being an ally publicly while privately harboring dangerous and racist views is all too common at University of Windsor.”


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The outage from the community did not stop there.

“This is currently happening at the University of Windsor. The Delta Chi Fraternity needs to be held accountable. I am absolutely disgusted,” a Twitter user tweeted.

“It’s difficult to imagine how fellow Black students at the University of Windsor are expected to focus on exams and school when there is a lack of remedial measures taken to address anti-Blackness exhibited by students on campus,” Tweeted another.

a sign in front of a brick building: The comments allegedly made by members of the frat were exposed by two university anti-racism groups, which sent them to the university demanding action.

© Darrin Di Carlo/CBC
The comments allegedly made by members of the frat were exposed by two university anti-racism groups, which sent them to the university demanding action.

CBC has viewed the screen captures shared by the anti-racism groups, ExposeUWindsor and @UWindsor, but has not been able to view the original pages. 

In a statement on Thursday, University of Windsor President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Rob Gordon called the messages “Disturbing, unacceptable, and entirely incongruent with the values of our school and the work we are doing to create a more inclusive and equitable community at the University of Windsor.”

Gordon apologized and said that he takes “responsibility for the progress we need to make to ensure that our campus protects the emotional, physical, and psychological safety of everyone in our community.”

“We will immediately be launching an investigation into this matter,” he added.

The statement said that the university has contacted the fraternity’s leadership in the United States and the Windsor Police Service.

The statement comes on the same day that the university’s Anti-Black Racism Task Force started its public consultation process.

“That work has already begun but we have much, much more to do before we can move forward as an organization,” the statement reads.

CBC News is seeking comment from the local fraternity and its U.S.-based leadership.

The Facebook page for the local chapter appeared to

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Fossils purported to be world’s earliest animals revealed as algae

Nov. 23 (UPI) — Fossils previously heralded as the earliest evidence of animal life have been revealed to be algae. The reinterpretation, announced Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, will force scientists to reconsider early animal evolution.

“It brings the oldest evidence for animals nearly 100 million years closer to the present day,” study co-author Lennart van Maldegem said in a news release.

“We were able to demonstrate that certain molecules from common algae can be altered by geological processes — leading to molecules which are indistinguishable from those produced by sponge-like animals,” said van Maldegem, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University.

The new research reverses the trend of fresh discoveries pushing the emergence of animal life further and further back on the evolutionary timeline.

For decades, scientists have struggled to pinpoint the origins of animal life, but recently, a series of discoveries suggested sponge-like animals began proliferating in Earth’s oceans during the Ediacaran Period, as many 635 million years ago.

“Ten years ago, scientists discovered the molecular fossils of an animal steroid in rocks that were once at the bottom of an ancient sea in the Middle East,” said study co-author Jochen Brocks.

“The big question was, how could these sponges have been so abundant, covering much of the seafloor across the world, but leave no body fossils?” said Brocks, an ANU professor.

It turns out, sponges weren’t abundant — they didn’t exist yet.

Though it’s true that sponges remain the only organisms that produce the steroids of note, the latest research suggests ocean chemistry can convert algae sterols into ‘animal’ sterols.

“These molecules can be generated in the lab when simulating geological time and temperatures, but we also showed such processes did happen in ancient rocks,” said ANU researcher Ilya Bobrovskiy, who first discovered the steroid fossils 10 years ago.

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Thousands More To Be Revealed Soon

For countless millennia, planets beyond our Solar System were mere speculation.

Only since the 1990s has science revealed their existence.

Today, more than 4,000 exoplanets are known, revealed from their effects on the stars they orbit.

But plenty of planets should have no parent stars at all.

Perhaps surprisingly, these rogue planets should be extraordinarily common.

Many young planets get ejected as solar systems form, creating “orphaned” planets.

Others formed as members of insufficiently massive, failed solar systems.

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