Discovery of the oldest wooden structure known to date

A 476,000-year-old wooden structure

It is the oldest wooden structure ever discovered. It was assembled long before the appearance of Homo sapiens on Earth. This historic discovery was made in Zambia near the Kalambo River Falls. The particular conditions and in particular the humidity of the site have allowed the wood to survive through the ages without decomposing.

The structure in question is composed of 2 logs assembled in a cross, fitted into each other thanks to a notch of around ten centimeters which was obviously carved with stone tools. According to the researchers, it could be the fragment of a larger construction, perhaps linked to the habitat, perhaps a platform to stay dry during the river floods.

The appearance of Homo sapiens dates back 300,000 years. So it was not him who made this structure. 476,000 years ago several species of hominids lived in Africa. We don’t know who assembled these pieces of wood. But This discovery gives us insight into the intelligence and technical skills of these archaic humans. Which made the lead author of this study published in Nature, Larry Barham, say: “This discovery changed my vision of our first ancestors. These people were more like us than we thought. »

To find out more: Scientific publication in Nature magazine and an article from the newspaper Le monde

The amazing learning abilities of a little jellyfish

She has no brain and yet she is capable of learning! The Caribbean box jellyfish has a very rudimentary nervous system which includes 4 structures each made up of 6 eyes and around a thousand neurons. We are very far from the 500 million neurons of octopuses whose intelligence no longer needs to be demonstrated.

To study the learning abilities of these small jellyfish, the researchers placed them in an aquarium with black striped walls. In less than 8 minutes, the jellyfish stopped bumping against the edges of the jar. They learned to associate the impact against the wall with the scratches they perceived and they implemented a strategy to avoid them..

The researchers were very surprised by the learning speed of these jellyfish. This is comparable to that of animals with much more complex nervous systems. This discovery suggests that these learning abilities emerged earlier than previously thought during evolution.

To find out more: Scientific publication in the journal Current Biology and an article in science and future

In 250 million years, Earth will be much less welcoming to mammals

According to a recent study our planet will have become frankly inhospitable for mammals in 250 million years. And for once it won’t be our fault. Homo sapiens will probably no longer be around to see it. Our species will have evolved into something else or will have become extinct.

In this distant future, all the continents will have joined to form a single supercontinentthe Sun will be hotter and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere higher. According to the scientists’ model, only 8 to 16% of the supercontinent will be habitable for mammals.. The interior will be desert with temperatures between 40 and 70°C. Mammals (if they got that far) could then give way to other, more adapted animals, as did the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

To find out more: The scientific publication published in Nature Geoscience

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