Press Releases 2016

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"No Anthropocene without us!"

December 07, 2016
The earth sciences have defined a new human age - now social scientists are calling for broader and more interdisciplinary discussion [more]
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The hidden bacterial legacy of ancient cultures

November 15, 2016
Dr. Jessica Hendy and Dr. Christina Warinner win the 200,000 € Annual Donation Award of the Max Planck Society [more]
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Archaeogenetics reveals unknown migration in the South Pacific  

October 03, 2016
Genetic evidence overturn established colonization model. [more]
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Sound of words is no coincidence

September 12, 2016
Particular sounds are preferred or avoided in non-related languages far more often than previously assumed [more]
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Shedding light on the Justinian plague

August 30, 2016
First complete reconstruction of the early medieval pathogen genome Yersinia pestis from Bavarian skeletons [more]
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In search of a golden age - The hunt for war treasure in the Philippines has hidden meanings

August 09, 2016
The famous World War II treasure probably never existed, but is simply a continuation of a long local tradition of folklore. [more]
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Genome of 6,000-year-old barley grains sequenced for first time

July 15, 2016
Discovering new data on barley domestication - Oldest plant genome reconstructed to date [more]
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Massive open-access database on human cultures created

July 08, 2016
An international team of researchers has developed a website at to help answer long-standing questions about the forces that shaped human cultural diversity. [more]
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Neandertal cannibalism and Neandertal bones used as tools in Northern Europe

July 06, 2016
New findings from the archaeological collections from the Troisième caverne of Goyet in Belgium excavated almost 150 years ago. [more]
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European Black Death as source of modern plague

June 08, 2016
A single strain of plague bacteria sparked multiple historical and modern pandemics. [more]
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Humans affected natural ecosystems for thousand of years

June 06, 2016
‘Pristine’ landscapes simply do not exist anywhere in the world today and, in most cases, have not existed for at least several thousand years, says a new study in the journal PNAS. [more]
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Ancient crops provide a window into Madagascar’s past  

May 30, 2016
By analyzing the remains of ancient crops an international research team has provided the first archaeological signature of the westward Austronesian expansion. [more]
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History on Ice

May 02, 2016
Researchers paint a genetic portrait of Ice Age Europe [more]
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The dark side of religion

April 04, 2016
How ritual human sacrifice helped create unequal societies [more]
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Genetics reveals the impact of lifestyle on evolution  

April 04, 2016
Y-chromosomal lineages that are associated with southern African Bantu-speaking agriculturalists have a higher rate of evolution than those associated with traditional foraging groups, probably due to the higher average age at paternity of the agriculturalists. [more]
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Ancient DNA shows European wipe-out of early Americans

April 01, 2016
The first largescale study of ancient DNA from early American people has confirmed the devastating impact of European colonisation on the Indigenous American populations of the time. Wolfgang Haak, groupleader at MPI for the Science of Human History since summer 2015 is senior author on the study of an international research team. Press Release, The University of Adelaide, Australia [more]
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Prehistoric loss of biodiversity

February 22, 2016
Scientists explore the role of climate change and ancient human activity in the disappearance of Zanzibar’s large fauna [more]
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Europe’s population dramatically changed at the end of the last Ice Age  

February 04, 2016
Genetic analyses shed new light on early European population dynamics   [more]
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The hideout of the Black Death

January 22, 2016
Historical pathogens survived for more than four centuries in Europe [more]
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English are one third Anglo-Saxon - DNA from ancient British skeletons reflect immigrant history

January 18, 2016
For the first time, researchers have been able to directly estimate the Anglo-Saxon ancestry of the British population from ancient skeletons, showing how Anglo-Saxon immigrants mixed with the native population. Stephan Schiffels and Wolfgang Haak, groupleaders at MPI for the Science of Human History since summer 2015 are leading authors on the study. Press Release, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK [more]
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Gastritis pathogens found in iceman Oetzi

January 07, 2016
Helicobacter pylori genome of the glacier mummy decoded - new questions about the early migration of people in Europe [more]
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