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  #321  
Old 14th May 2012, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Chimpanzee Uses Innovative Foresighted Methods to Fool Humans [free]

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Originally Posted by Mjt View Post
Did you get to work at the zoo?
luckiest Puppy ever!!!!
Tomorrow I will drag out my early childhood development books to see at what age the little bald chimps are able to plan for future events. Cant remember off the top of my head. I seem to recall that the ability to modify behavior to decieve, is quite advanced, as in the chimps ability to hide its usual aggression traits before the missile launch. Sorry I cant help but laugh, good on him.
Volunteer [Docent]. It was fun. We did courses run by keepers at Perth Zoo on the animals, so that we could answer questions from the public. We even did some hands-on stuff, but most of the hands-on [animal handling] was in the Children's Zoo.
Yeah, good on him. I feel like throwing rocks at humans sometimes too. Can't blame him.
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  #322  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:36 AM
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Default Bone Grown from Human Embryonic Stem Cells

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Bone Grown from Human Embryonic Stem Cells


New work is a significant step forward in using pluripotent stem cells to repair and replace bone tissue in patients. Bone replacement therapies are relevant in treating patients with a variety of conditions, including wounded military personnel, patients with birth defects, or patients who have suffered other traumatic injury. (Credit: © Marco Desscouleurs / Fotolia)

ScienceDaily (May 14, 2012) — Dr. Darja Marolt, an Investigator at The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Laboratory, is lead author on a study showing that human embryonic stem cells can be used to grow bone tissue grafts for use in research and potential therapeutic application. Dr. Marolt conducted this research as a post-doctoral NYSCF -- Druckenmiller Fellow at Columbia University in the laboratory of Dr. Gordana Vunjak- Novakovic.
The study, published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of May 14th, is the first example of using bone cell progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells to grow compact bone tissue in quantities large enough to repair centimeter-sized defects. When implanted in mice and studied over time, the implanted bone tissue supported blood vessel ingrowth, and continued development of normal bone structure, without demonstrating any incidence of tumor growth.
Dr. Marolt's work is a significant step forward in using pluripotent stem cells to repair and replace bone tissue in patients. Bone replacement therapies are relevant in treating patients with a variety of conditions, including wounded military personnel, patients with birth defects, or patients who have suffered other traumatic injury.
Since conducting this work as proof of principle at Columbia University, Dr. Marolt has continued to build upon this research as an Investigator in the NYSCF Laboratory, developing bone grafts from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS cells are similar to embryonic stem cells in that they can also give rise to nearly any type of cell in the body, but iPS cells are produced from adult cells and as such are individualized to each patient. By using iPS cells rather than embryonic stem cells to engineer tissue, Dr. Marolt hopes to develop personalized bone grafts that will avoid immune rejection and other implant complications.
The New York Stem Cell Foundation has supported Dr. Marolt's research throughout her career, first through a NYSCF -- Druckenmiller Fellowship to fund her post-doctoral work at Columbia University, and now with a NYSCF -- Helmsley Investigator Award at The New
York Stem Cell Foundation Laboratory. "The continuity of funding provided by NYSCF has allowed me to continue my research uninterrupted, making progress more quickly than would have otherwise been possible," Dr. Marolt said.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0514161616.htm

DBD's note:- Linkie to PNAS paper brokenatefied at time of posting.
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  #323  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:48 AM
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Default Anthropologists Discover Earliest Form of Wall Art

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0514152952.htm

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Anthropologists Discover Earliest Form of Wall Art

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Anthropologists, including NYU's Randall White, working in southern France have determined that a 1.5 metric ton block of engraved limestone constitutes the earliest evidence of wall art. Their research shows the piece to be approximately 37,000 years old and offers rich evidence of the role art played in the daily lives of Early Aurignacian humans. Pictured above are pieces of the discovery, which depict animals in red and black paint. (Credit: Images courtesy of Raphaëlle Bourrillon)

ScienceDaily (May 14, 2012) — Anthropologists working in southern France have determined that a 1.5 metric ton block of engraved limestone constitutes the earliest evidence of wall art. Their research, reported in the most recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows the piece to be approximately 37,000 years old and offers rich evidence of the role art played in the daily lives of Early Aurignacian humans.
The research team, composed of more than a dozen scientists from American and European universities and research institutions, has been excavating at the site of the discovery -- Abri Castanet -- for the past 15 years. Abri Castanet and its sister site Abri Blanchard have long been recognized as being among the oldest sites in Eurasia bearing artifacts of human symbolism. Hundreds of personal ornaments have been discovered, including pierced animal teeth, pierced shells, ivory and soapstone beads, engravings, and paintings on limestone slabs.
"Early Aurignacian humans functioned, more or less, like humans today," explained New York University anthropology professor Randall White, one of the study's co-authors. "They had relatively complex social identities communicated through personal ornamentation, and they practiced sculpture and graphic arts."
Aurignacian culture existed until approximately 28,000 years ago.
In 2007, the team discovered an engraved block of limestone in what had been a rock shelter occupied by a group of Aurignacian reindeer hunters. Subsequent geological analysis revealed the ceiling had been about two meters above the floor on which the Aurignacians lived -- within arms' reach.
Using carbon dating, the researchers determined that both the engraved ceiling, which includes depictions of animals and geometric forms, and the other artifacts found on the living surface below were approximately 37,000 years old.
"This art appears to be slightly older than the famous paintings from the Grotte Chauvet in southeastern France," explained White, referring to the cave paintings discovered in 1994.
"But unlike the Chauvet paintings and engravings, which are deep underground and away from living areas, the engravings and paintings at Castanet are directly associated with everyday life, given their proximity to tools, fireplaces, bone and antler tool production, and ornament workshops."
He added that this discovery, combined with others of approximately the same time period in southern Germany, northern Italy, and southeastern France, raises new questions about the evolutionary and adaptive significance of art and other forms of graphic representation in the lives of modern human populations.
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  #324  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:54 AM
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Default Breastfeeding Benefits: Human Breast Milk Ingredient Adjusts to Optimize for Benefici

MILF!
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Breastfeeding Benefits: Human Breast Milk Ingredient Adjusts to Optimize for Beneficial Gut Bacteria Over Time


A new University of Illinois study shows that human milk oligosaccharides, or HMO, produce short-chain fatty acids that feed a beneficial microbial population in the infant gut. Not only that, the bacterial composition adjusts as the baby grows older and its needs change. (Credit: © Roxana / Fotolia)

ScienceDaily (May 14, 2012) — A new University of Illinois study shows that human milk oligosaccharides, or HMO, produce short-chain fatty acids that feed a beneficial microbial population in the infant gut. Not only that, the bacterial composition adjusts as the baby grows older and its needs change.
Even though HMO are a major component of human milk, present in higher concentration than protein, many of their actions in the infant are not well understood. Furthermore, they're virtually absent from infant formula. The scientists wanted to find out what formula-fed babies were missing.
"We refer to HMO as the fiber of human milk because we don't have the enzymes to break down these compounds. They pass into the large intestine where the bacteria digest them.
"We're curious about the role they play in the development of the breast-fed infant's gut bacteria because the bacteria found in the guts of formula-fed infants is different," said Sharon Donovan, the U of I's Melissa M. Noel Endowed Professor in Nutrition and Health.
With this study, Donovan is gaining insight into the mystery. For the first time, scientists have shown that a complex mixture of HMO and a single HMO component produce patterns of short-chain fatty acids that change as the infant gets older.
A healthy microbiome has both short- and long-term effects on an infant's health. In the short term, beneficial bacteria protect the infant from infection by harmful bacteria. In the long term, beneficial bacteria strengthen the immune system so that it can fend off chronic health problems like food allergies and asthma, she said.
In the study, breast milk was obtained from mothers of preterm infants at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, and the HMO were isolated and analyzed. The scientists tested bacteria from 9- and 17-day-old sow-reared and formula-fed piglets. Because piglets grow so rapidly, these ages reflect approximately three- and six-month-old human infants.
The colon bacteria were added to test tubes containing HMO and two prebiotics commonly used in infant formulas. These mixtures were allowed to ferment and then sampled to see how the bacterial population was changing over time and what products were being produced by the bacteria.
"When the HMOs were introduced, the bacteria produced short-chain fatty acids, at some cases at higher levels than other prebiotics now used in infant formula. The short-chain fatty acids can be used as a fuel source for beneficial bacteria and also affect gastrointestinal development and pH in the gut, which reduces the number of disease-causing pathogens," she said.
Further, different HMOs produced different patterns of short-chain fatty acids, and the composition of bacteria in the gut changed over time. "It was distinctly different at 9 vs. 17 days, making it likely that the functions of HMO change as the human infant gets older," she said.
According to Donovan, HMO are critically important in understanding how breastfeeding protects babies.
"Several companies are now able to synthesize HMO, and in the future, we may be able to use them to improve infant formula. There's evidence that these compounds can bind to receptors on immune cells and, to our knowledge, no current prebiotic ingredient can do that," she said.
Funding was provided by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0514122836.htm

Li, M., L. L. Bauer, et al. (2012). "Microbial Composition and In Vitro Fermentation Patterns of Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Prebiotics Differ between Formula-Fed and Sow-Reared Piglets." The Journal of Nutrition 142(4): 681-689.
Quote:
The microbial composition and in vitro fermentation characteristics of human milk oligosaccharides (HMO), lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT), a 2:1 mixture of polydextrose (PDX) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and short-chain fructooligosaccharides (scFOS) by pooled ascending colonic microbiota from 9- and 17-d-old formula-fed (FF) and sow-reared (SR) piglets were assessed. pH change and gas, SCFA, and lactate production were determined after 0, 2, 4, 8, and 12 h of incubation. In most donor groups, the pH change was greater for scFOS fermentation and lower for PDX/GOS than for other substrates. LNnT fermentation produced larger amounts of gas, total SCFA, acetate, and butyrate than did the other substrates, whereas HMO and scFOS produced higher amounts of propionate and lactate, respectively. In general, pH change, total SCFA, acetate, and propionate production were greater in pooled inoculum from FF and 9-d-old piglets, whereas SR-derived inoculum produced higher amounts of butyrate and lactate after 4 h fermentation. Gut microbiota were assessed by 16S ribosomal RNA V3 gene denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis and real-time qPCR. Microbial structures differed among the 4 groups before fermentation, with higher counts of Bifidobacterium in SR piglets and higher counts of Clostridium cluster IV, XIVa, and Bacteroides vulgatus in FF piglets. Lactobacillus counts were higher in 9-d-old piglets than in 17-d-old piglets, regardless of diet. Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, and clostridial species increased after 8 and 12 h fermentation on most substrates. In summary, piglet diet and age affect gut microbiota, leading to different fermentation patterns. HMO have potential prebiotic effects due to their effects on SCFA production and microbial modulation.
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/142/4/681.abstract
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  #325  
Old 15th May 2012, 11:00 AM
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Default Why Humans Don't Continuously Replace Their Teeth

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Pufferfish at the 'Beak' of Evolution: Why Humans Don't Continuously Replace Their Teeth

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Giant porcupine puffer. (Credit: © martywakat / Fotolia)

ScienceDaily (May 14, 2012) — Prickly pufferfish could hold the key to why humans do not continually replace their teeth and may lead to advances in dental therapies.
New research focusing on tooth development in the deadly fish -unchanged through evolution -- shows that after the first generation of teeth the programme for continued tooth replacement modifies to form a distinctive and unusual `parrot like´ beak.
The study, which is the first time scientists have analysed the development of the fish´s unique beak, also supports the idea that evolution doesn´t make jumps, as its distinctive bite has been modified from a set of genes responsible for tooth development and preserved over 400 million years.
Dr Gareth Fraser of the University of Sheffield´s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, who led the project, said: "It goes beyond fishes and even morphological novelty; we can use the pufferfish beak as a model for a simplified tooth replacement system -- composed of just four continually replacing teeth that make up the beak structure. It is of great interest for science to understand the process of tooth replacement, to understand the genes that govern the continued supply of teeth and mechanisms of dental stem cell maintenance.
"As humans only replace their teeth once, fishes and pufferfish in particular, can be looked at as a new model to help us to answer questions like how continuous tooth replacement programmes are maintained throughout life? This would help our understanding of why humans have lost this replacement potential, and furthermore how can we use knowledge of the genetic underpinnings of tooth replacement in fishes to facilitate advances in dental therapies."
Pufferfish are bony fish, which are extremely diverse and make up almost half of all living vertebrates. This group uses a highly conserved process to form a unique beak-like jaw that has made teeth in all vertebrates -- animals with spines -- for millions of years.
The research catalogued the dental development throughout all stages of the pufferfish´s growth, from the production of initial-teeth to the construction of its distinctive `beak´. The research showed that the strange structure didn´t appear from scratch during embryonic development as a complete vertebrate novelty, but rather originates from the modified development of replacement teeth after the formation of an initial dentition, which appears like `normal´ fish teeth.
Dr Fraser added: "The beak structure is made from many bands of dentine, stacked together, each band represents a new replacement `tooth´, and they can have more than seven separate bands making up the beak, with new bands continuously being formed to replace those damaged by eating.
"Only after the start of the tooth replacement programme in just four of these first-generation teeth does this novel and bizarre beak-like structure appear. It is an example of re-specification of its genetic tool-kit for tooth development toward a very alternative, and unique, dentition.
Pufferfishes are the most bizarre of the bony fishes and have recently become a useful genetic model with the pufferfish genome project near completion. It is hoped it will provide a valuable model system for genetics, genomics, biomedical sciences and now development, not to mention the importance of this group to our understanding of the evolution of morphological novelty and vertebrate diversity.
The paper was carried out in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London and King´s College London.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0514112826.htm

Fraser, G. J., R. Britz, et al. (2012). "Replacing the first-generation dentition in pufferfish with a unique beak." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Quote:
Teleost fishes comprise approximately half of all living vertebrates. The extreme range of diversity in teleosts is remarkable, especially, extensive morphological variation in their jaws and dentition. Some of the most unusual dentitions are found among members of the highly derived teleost order Tetraodontiformes, which includes triggerfishes, boxfishes, ocean sunfishes, and pufferfishes. Adult pufferfishes (Tetraodontidae) exhibit a distinctive parrot-like beaked jaw, forming a cutting edge, unlike in any other group of teleosts. Here we show that despite novelty in the structure and development of this “beak,” it is initiated by formation of separate first-generation teeth that line the embryonic pufferfish jaw, with timing of development and gene expression patterns conserved from the last common ancestor of osteichthyans. Most of these first-generation larval teeth are lost in development. Continuous tooth replacement proceeds in only four parasymphyseal teeth, as sequentially stacked, multigenerational, jaw-length dentine bands, before development of the functional beak. These data suggest that dental novelties, such as the pufferfish beak, can develop later in ontogeny through modified continuous tooth addition and replacement. We conclude that even highly derived morphological structures like the pufferfish beak form via a conserved developmental bauplan capable of modification during ontogeny by subtle respecification of the developmental module.
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/04/1119635109
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  #326  
Old 18th May 2012, 06:49 PM
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Default Special Suppliment on Human Conflict [FREE] in SCIENCE

http://www.sciencemag.org/site/speci...ct/index.xhtml

FREE, but you have to register. Lots of interesting articles.

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In this special issue on human conflict, we consider the deep evolutionary roots of violent confrontation. We trace the trajectory of violence and war throughout history, exploring racism, ethnic conflicts, the rise of terrorism, and the possible future of armed conflicts. We also consider our innate capacity to mediate conflict and our ability to achieve—and live in—peace.
Competition and conflict both among and within species, for food or a place to live or a mate, are implicit in the process of evolution and thus intrinsic to our biology. But like many other animals, we are also social beings, and, like them, we have evolved behaviors to avoid the detrimental effects of excessive intraspecies violence. These include ritual singing or fighting displays, acts of submission or conciliation, and simple spatial avoidance seen in diverse species as birds, ants, and our primate relatives.
The groups we consider ourselves to be part of, our “ingroups,” are critical to our understanding of “self ” and categorization of “other” or “outgroups”; these groups often form the basis for conflict. Groups can have myriad identities. The first were certainly those of kin, and then ethnicity, but as societies grew, groups identified themselves in more complex ways. Our sense of a “group self ” influences the way we see and feel about the world around us: We are more likely to empathize with those of our own group and more likely to dehumanize outgroups. Groups based around religious or sacred values can increase ingroup reliance and cooperation through costly rituals, and they can also inspire nonrational sacrifices (suicide bombing, for example), whereas reasoned social contracts seem less able to inspire such fervent loyalty. But although we are ready to see the world as made up of coalitions, it is also true that our perception of “us” and “them” is not primordial because people have constantly shifted affiliations throughout history.
This special section looks at the past and future of conflict and the kinds of data needed to analyze it. However, our interest in conflict must ultimately be to facilitate peace. There are many examples of neighboring societies that do not war against each other, and they appear to have worked in part by expanding the “us.” It seems that encompassing a common identity with other groups and transforming outsiders into insiders provides an effective way to overcome conflict. Although some systems (the European Union) still war against outside entities, others (the Orang Asli societies in Malaysia) do not. We hope that understanding how human societies have overcome the odds and developed peaceful relations will help chart a path to a less violent future.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6083/818.short

FOR EXAMPLE:-
Atran, S. and J. Ginges (2012). "Religious and Sacred Imperatives in Human Conflict." Science 336(6083): 855-857.
Quote:
Religion, in promoting outlandish beliefs and costly rituals, increases ingroup trust but also may increase mistrust and conflict with outgroups. Moralizing gods emerged over the last few millennia, enabling large-scale cooperation, and sociopolitical conquest even without war. Whether for cooperation or conflict, sacred values, like devotion to God or a collective cause, signal group identity and operate as moral imperatives that inspire nonrational exertions independent of likely outcomes. In conflict situations, otherwise mundane sociopolitical preferences may become sacred values, acquiring immunity to material incentives. Sacred values sustain intractable conflicts that defy “business-like” negotiation, but also provide surprising opportunities for resolution.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6083/855.abstract

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  #327  
Old 23rd May 2012, 06:14 PM
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Default Archaeology: Spectacular Tomb Containing More Than 80 Individuals Discovered in Peru

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0522114643.htm

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Archaeology: Spectacular Tomb Containing More Than 80 Individuals Discovered in Peru


Excavating the tomb. (Credit: Image courtesy of Libre de Bruxelles, Universit)

ScienceDaily (May 22, 2012) — A team of archaeologists from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) has discovered a spectacular tomb containing more than eighty individuals of different ages. This discovery -- provisionally dated to around 1000 years ago -- was made at the site of Pachacamac, which is currently under review for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Pachacamac, situated on the Pacific coast about thirty kilometres from Lima, is one of the largest Prehispanic sites in South America. Professor Peter Eeckhout -- under the auspices of the ULB -- has been carrying out fieldwork at the site for the past 20 years. The 2012 season resulted in some particularly remarkable discoveries.
The Ychsma Project team undertook to record and excavate a series of Inca storage facilities (15th-16th c. AD), as well as a more ancient cemetery which had been detected during exploratory work in 2004.
It was here -- directly in front of the Temple of Pachacamac -- that the most important discovery was made. A scatter of later period burials was found to conceal an enormous burial chamber 20 metres long ; miraculously, it had survived the pillaging of the colonial period -- which was particularly intensive on this site -- and was completely intact.
The tomb is oval in outline, excavated into the earth and covered with a roof of reeds supported by carved and shaped tree trunks. A dozen newborn babies and infants were distributed around the perimeter, their heads oriented towards the tomb. The main chamber was seperated into two sections, separated by a wall of mud bricks which served as a base for yet more burials.
Inside the chambers, the archaeologists uncovered the remains of more than 70 skeletons and mummies (many of which still retained their wrappings), all in the characteristic fœtal position. The burials represented both sexes and all ages, and were often accompanied by offrenda including ceramic vessels, animals (dogs, guinea pigs), copper and gold alloy artefacts, masks (or 'false heads') in painted wood, calabashes, etc. These items are currently under restoration and analysis. Babies and very young infants were particularly common.
The team's group of physical anthropologists, under the direction of Dr Lawrence Owens (University of London), have posited the possibility of a genetic relationship between many of the individuals, on the basis of certain morphological traits recorded in the skeletons. Certain of the individuals suffered mortal injuries, physical trauma or serious illness.
Previous work by the Ychsma Project has revealed the extensive presence of disease in the Pachacamac skeletal population, leading to the suggestion that the affected individuals had, as testified by Inca sources, travelled to the site in search of a cure: a form of Prehispanic Lourdes.
Professor Eeckhout and his colleagues are currently carrying out laboratory analyses aimed at answering numerous questions that have arisen concerning this discovery, and how to contextualise it within the wider context of the site and the period(s) in question. Were the infants sacrificed ? Were the bodies all interred at the same time as a form of communal burial, or was the chamber reused over longer periods of time like some sort of crypt? Did the individuals come from Pachacamac or further afield? Did they belong to the same family or larger kinship group ? What was their cause of death…?
The artefacts found in the tomb date it stylistically to around 1000 AD, although this is yet to be confirmed radiometrically. The importance of the site cannot be overstated: Pachacamac is a candidate for inclusion on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Ychsma Project benefits from the support of the ULB's Centre for Archaeological and Heritage Research, the ULB Foundation, and from the National Fund for Scientific Research.
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  #328  
Old 23rd May 2012, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Archaeology: Spectacular Tomb Containing More Than 80 Individuals Discovered in P

Bring on the radiometric. It will answer some questions about the re-use of the burial chamber and also the possibility of a sacred healing site if disease can be attributed.
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  #329  
Old 23rd May 2012, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Archaeology: Spectacular Tomb Containing More Than 80 Individuals Discovered in P

Indeed. In fact I am surprised they have not done it already.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Archaeology: Spectacular Tomb Containing More Than 80 Individuals Discovered in P

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Originally Posted by Darwinsbulldog View Post
Indeed. In fact I am surprised they have not done it already.
Yep, what I thought. It would answer some questions.
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