Skull of a 35 to 50-year-old male from Rome, Italy. Isotope ratios suggest he may have been born near the Alps. (Photo: Kristina Killgrove)
Here are five extra short summaries of scientific studies published during the past week, available free via open-access journals for anyone and everyone to read and enjoy!
1) The first physical evidence of individual migrants to ancient Rome. Archaeologists have analysed 105 skeletons from Rome, thought to data back to the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. Stable isotopes of oxygen, carbon, and strontium showed where these individuals may have come from and even what they might have eaten. Eight skeletons are believed to be those of migrants most likely from North Africa and The Alps. The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
2) Climate Change could delay transatlantic flights to the US. The effect of the jet stream is already felt on transatlantic flights: Westbound flights often take longer than eastbound flights, which ride the jet stream from the US to Europe. The strengthened jet stream, as predicted under climate change scenarios, means that flights from New York to London will become shorter, but New York bound flights will take longer, slowed by a stronger jet stream. Overall, round trips are expected to take significantly longer, meaning increased fuel use and cost.
The results are published as open-access in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.
3) 50 million year old fossil birds found in the high Arctic could have implications for the future prospects of bird colonies under modern climate change. The fossil birds date back to The Eocene, 53 million years ago, when the Earth is believed to be as warm or warmer as some of the scenarios predicted for present day climate change. The scientists behind the new discovery suggest that new bird colonies are likely at high latitudes as the climate warms. The results are published open-access in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.
Read the original scientific paper.
4) A 9,000-year-old collection of fish bones in Sweden suggests that the locals were more settled than archaeologists had previously thought. Over 200,000 bones, dating back to the Early Mesolithic time, contradicts conventional ideas about the nomadic lifestyle of these ancient Swedes. It suggests a more settled community with more advanced knowledge of how to effectively store their food for times of hardship. The results are published open-access in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
5) Increased CO2 may make drylands greener. Satellite data suggest that many drylands are becoming greener, even if rainfall had not been increasing at these locations. But scientists have struggled to decipher why this was happening. A new study suggests that increased atmospheric CO2 means that plants become more efficient water users, which means that soil water also increases, allowing vegetation to grow. The results are published open-access in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.
Read the original scientific paper. [wp-svg-icons icon=”mug” wrap=”i”]
Killgrove, K., & Montgomery, J. (2016). All Roads Lead to Rome: Exploring Human Migration to the Eternal City through Biochemistry of Skeletons from Two Imperial-Era Cemeteries (1st-3rd c AD) PLOS ONE, 11 (2) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147585
Williams, P. (2016). Transatlantic flight times and climate change Environmental Research Letters, 11 (2) DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/2/024008
Stidham, T., & Eberle, J. (2016). The palaeobiology of high latitude birds from the early Eocene greenhouse of Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada Scientific Reports, 6 DOI: 10.1038/srep20912
Boethius, A. (2016). Something rotten in Scandinavia: The world’s earliest evidence of fermentation Journal of Archaeological Science, 66, 169-180 DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2016.01.008
Lu, X., Wang, L., & McCabe, M. (2016). Elevated CO2 as a driver of global dryland greening Scientific Reports, 6 DOI: 10.1038/srep20716