Scientists in Egypt have identified a new species of four-legged whale that lived around 43 million years ago. The fossil of the amphibious Phiomicetus anubis was originally discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. Its skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead after which it was named. The ancestors of modern whales developed from land-dwelling deer-like mammals that lived on land over the course of 10 million years.
The Department of Justice on Tuesday ordered the forfeiture of a tablet containing a portion of the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” one of the oldest known works of literature. The forfeiture is part of an ongoing process to return thousands of clay tablets and bullae that were illegally smuggled out of Iraq and purchased by Hobby Lobby.
American and Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed what could be the oldest known beer factory at one of the most prominent archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, a top antiquities official said Saturday. He said the factory apparently dates back to the region of King Narmer, who is widely known for his unification of ancient Egypt at the beginning of the First Dynastic Period (3150 B.C.- 2613 B.C.).
Archaeologists have unearthed 2,000-year-old mummies with golden tongues placed inside their mouths in northern Egypt, the antiquities ministry says. It is thought the dead were given gold foil amulets shaped like tongues so that they could speak before the court of the god Osiris in the afterlife. Ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris was lord of the underworld and judge of the dead.
A tomb belonging to a senior official in Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty has been unveiled around 20 miles south of Cairo. The newly opened necropolis, located near Saqqara, contains vivid colored reliefs and well-preserved inscriptions painted in a special green resin that have kept its pigment over the last 4,300 years. Built from white limestone bricks, it is thought to belong to a nobleman known as Khuwy and was discovered last month.
Humans settled in the Americas much earlier than previously thought, according to new finds from Mexico. They suggest people were living there 33,000 years ago, twice the widely accepted age for the earliest settlement of the Americas. The results are based on work at Chiquihuite Cave, a high-altitude rock shelter in central Mexico. Archaeologists found nearly 2,000 stone tools, suggesting the cave was used by people for at least 20,000 years.
An ancient Native American sauna, dating back to the 14th Century, has been uncovered by archaeologists in Mexico City. Central components of the sweat lodge where the tub or steam bath pool was located are still intact, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. Known as temazcals, these structures were built by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica, and used for medicinal purposes, spiritual rituals and for women to give birth.
Fossils of the largest parrot ever recorded have been found in New Zealand. Estimated to have weighed about 7kg (1.1st), it would have been more than twice as heavy as the kākāpo, previously the largest known parrot. Paleontologists have named the new species Heracles inexpectatus to reflect its unusual size and strength and the unexpected nature of the discovery.
Scientists have uncovered a ‘limb pit’ of human bones at a Civil War battlefield in Virginia. The pit gives insight into the trials of early combat surgeons. The remains were discovered in 2014 and marks a pivotal development in understanding medical practices of the time. The remains are amputated limbs of wounded Union soldiers.
Two 500-year-old iron ship anchors have been discovered on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, potentially offering an insight into the Spanish invasion. Archaeologists say they may have belonged to the fleet led by Spain’s Hernán Cortés, who conquered the Aztec empire in the 16th Century. Last year another anchor was discovered nearby, containing wood originating from a Spanish tree.