Aktuelles - OD Earth and History of Life

Bronze statuette intended to contain a mummified cat (Ptolemaic period, 332–30 B.C.) (photo: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1956)
19/06/2017

Domestication of the cat: ancient DNA reveals significant role of the Near East and Egypt

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Reinout Verbeke

DNA found at archaeological sites reveals that the origins of our domestic cat are in the Near East and ancient Egypt. Cats were domesticated by the first farmers some 10,000 years ago. They later spread across Europe and other parts of the world via trade hub Egypt.

Two Mystacodon selenensis individuals diving down to catch eagle rays along the seafloor of a shallow cove off the coast of present-day Peru. CREDIT Alberto Gennari.
11/05/2017

Baleen Whales’ Ancestors Were Toothy Suction Feeders

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Reinout Verbeke

Modern whales’ ancestors probably hunted and chased down prey, but somehow, those fish-eating hunters evolved into filter-feeding leviathans.

Pieces of wood in the layer of waste at the Emile Braun place in Ghent (Photo: Koen Deforce, RBINS)
24/10/2016

A Medieval Layer of Waste Reveals Mass Deforestation in Flanders

post by
Reinout Verbeke

The analysis of an archaeological layer of waste has shown that the area around the Belgian city of Ghent was completely deforested during its growth in the 10th to 12th century.

Reconstruction of the placoderm nursery: young placoderms in shallow waters (above), adult animals in deeper waters (below). (Image: Justine Jacquot-Hameon, MNHN)
23/08/2016

360 Million Year Old Fish Nursery Found in Namur

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Reinout Verbeke

Palaeontologists have found 360 million year old placoderms, the oldest known jawed vertebrates, in the quarry of Strud, close to Namur. They mostly found young animals, which could be an indication that it was a nursery or spawning place.

Pollen types that are frequently found in medieval and post-medieval cesspits: chervil (a), starflower (b), myrtle family (c), lungwort (d), gum rockrose (e), cluster of chervil (f). (Photo: RBINS)
19/08/2016

Pollen from Medieval Cesspits Reveal Medieval Diet

post by
Reinout Verbeke

Between 1100 and 1700, the menu of the ‘Belgians’ mostly consisted of cereal products and occasionally some exotic ingredients, like honey from Spain or cloves from Indonesia. Researcher Koen Deforce (RBINS) analysed pollen that were collected in ancient Flemish cesspits.

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