Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Evidence of brain surgery in ancient Greece, a sharp spike in methane emissions in 2019

ScientiFix, our weekly feature, offers you a summary of the top global science stories of the week, with links to their sources.

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Crops were cultivated in Amazon 10,000 years ago

Our image of the Amazon rainforest as a pristine, thick ecosystem unaffected by human presence seem to be getting proved wrong with each passing day. An international team of researchers discovered this week that in a remote location within Amazon, in what is today northern Bolivia, there was cultivation of squash and maize from 10,000 years ago to up to just 6000 years ago. Inhabitants of this area also created thousands of artificial islands in the forest. There are four areas in the world where we believe agriculture originated independently: China and India (rice), Middle East (grains), Central America and Mexico (maize) and the Andes (potato and quinoa). Southwestern Amazonia could be a key fifth region. More on BBC.

Very complex, intensive brain surgery performed in ancient Greece

New research from Greece revealed the forensic assessment of the archaeological discovery of the remains of archers from the Roman Empire. The assessment of 10 skeletal remains, of four women and six men, deduced them to be of high social standing between the 4th and 7th centuries CE. Their bones showed trauma and injuries, and evidence of a complex form of brain surgery. The serious trauma wounds indicated that they had ben surgically treated by a physician with training in trauma care, likely a military physician. More on Archaeology News.

2019 saw a drastic spike in methane emissions and we don’t know why

Methane levels rose drastically last year, showing a dramatic increase in the second most potent greenhouse gas. Methane is emitted from both fossil fuel as well as through natural sources such as cow burps, volcanic emissions and bacteria. There is also a large quantity of methane trapped in permafrost. Methane is weaker only to water vapour, but is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. More on Bloomberg.

Anak Krakatau volcano erupts in Indonesia

The Anak Krakatau island volcano in Indonesia erupted multiple times on Friday, spewing out a 500m high column of smoke and ash. Its first eruption lasted for a few seconds, but the second lasted for 40 minutes. The sound caused by the volcano created a rumble that echoed through the locked down street of Greater Jakarta. The volcanic activity has since stopped and the residents have been advised not to panic as there is no danger except for ash drop. More on Jakarta Post.

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