history

Now, it's no surprise that Neanderthals didn't brush their teeth. Nor did they go to the dentist.

That means bits of food and the microbes in their mouths just stayed stuck to their teeth. While not so good for dental hygiene, these dental plaques are a great resource for scientists interested in understanding more about Neanderthal diet and lifestyle.

Among the rolling hills of ancient Africa, sometime around 8000 B.C., a dusty traveler was making gastronomic history, quite by accident.

Thirsty from a long, hot journey, the weary herdsman reached for the sheepskin bag of milk knotted to the back of his pack animal. But as he tilted his head to pour the warm liquid into his mouth, he was astonished to find that the sheep's milk had curdled. The rough terrain and constant joggling of the milk had transformed it into butter --- and bewilderingly, it tasted heavenly.

In the waning years of the Civil War, advertisements like this began appearing in newspapers around the country:

"INFORMATION WANTED By a mother concerning her children.

There are very few scenarios where I could see myself considering the flesh of a fellow human being as food, and the ultimatum "eat today or die tomorrow" comes up in all of them. Most people are probably with me on this.

But Bill Schutt's newest book, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, reveals that from a scientific perspective, there's a predictable calculus for when humans and animals go cannibal. And far more humans — and animals — have dipped into the world of cannibalism than you might have imagined.

The word 'refugee' has a surprising origin

Feb 20, 2017
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William Hogarth 

As long as there has been war, there have also been people fleeing conflict and attempting to find shelter outside their homeland.

But in English, the word "refugee" is suprisingly recent in origin. It has its roots in 17th-century France, when a huge influx of French migrants known as Huguenots left their country to escape religious persecution. The French réfugié became the English refugee.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the famous words "all men are created equal," but he also owned more than 600 slaves over the course of his life.

His Virginia plantation called Monticello is being renovated to shed more light on the enslaved people who lived and worked there.

One of the most notable of those slaves was Sally Hemings. Jefferson is widely believed to have fathered her six children. The museum is working to restore a restroom believed to be Hemings' living quarters.

It has been three-quarters of a century since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The order, issued just over two months after Japan's surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, gave the U.S. military the ability to designate areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded."

Plants that feed on flesh have fascinated scientists going all the way back to Charles Darwin, and researchers now have new insight into how these meat-eaters evolved.

Even plants that evolved continents away from one another rely on strikingly similar tricks to digest their prey.

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman

Feb 1, 2017
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Brendan McDermid/Reuters

As Americans grapple with Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, it's a good time to point out a little-known irony. The Statue of Liberty — that symbol of American freedom and diversity that has greeted immigrants for generations — was originally modeled after an Arab woman.

The statue's designer, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, was enamored with Egyptian pyramids and monumental sculpture. According to historian Edward Berenson, in the 1860s, Bartholdi decided to build a monument to commemorate the opening of Egypt's Suez Canal.

Six million years ago, giant otters weighing more than 100 pounds lived among birds and water lilies in the wooded wetlands of China's Yunnan province.

That's according to new research from a team of scientists who discovered a well-preserved cranium of the newly-discovered species in an open lignite mine in 2010. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.

How well do you know U.S. history? We dare you to try our test and figure out how much you really know about the traditions and customs around the official swearing-in of the president of the United States.

Archaeologists have unearthed a unique pendant buried on the site of a Nazi extermination camp. They say that they know of only one other that is similar, which belonged to Anne Frank.

Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial announced the find on Sunday, saying that they have ascertained the charm may have belonged to a girl named Karoline Cohn.

The nightshade family has some of the most economically important and useful crops on Earth. That includes, of course, deadly nightshade or belladonna, which produces the medicine atropine, as well as potatoes, tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, tobacco and eggplant.

Clare Hollingworth, the war correspondent who told the world of the outbreak of World War II, has died at 105.

She died Tuesday evening in Hong Kong, according to long-time friend Cathy Hilborn Feng, who says Hollingworth "had a smile before she left us."

Imagine being able to collect the DNA of a human ancestor who's been dead for tens of thousands of years from the dirt on the floor of a cave. Sounds fantastic, but scientists in Germany think they may be able to do just that. If they're successful, it could open a new door into understanding the extinct relatives of humans.

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