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Monday, October 29

The ape-like shoulder blades of a skeleton thought to have belonged to a young Australopithecus afarensis child suggest that these early hominids could climb trees. Scientists have been debating whether or not A. afarensis was capable of climbing, in addition to walking upright on the ground, based upon the famous 3.2 million-year-old partial skeleton known as Lucy and a 3.6 million-year-old male skeleton known as Big Man. “Juvenile members of A. afarensis may have been more active climbers than adults,” adds paleobiologist David Green of Midwestern University. He and Zeresenay Alemseged of the California Academy of Sciences recently extracted the shoulder blade fossils, which were discovered in Ethiopia in 2000, from the surrounding rock.

A second set of human remains unearthed at a Franciscan friary in Leicester, England, may have belonged to Ellen Luenor, who founded the friary in the thirteenth century with her husband, Gilbert. The woman’s remains had been disturbed and reburied, along with those of other individuals. Archaeologists suspect that this occurred sometime during the seventeenth century, when the site was used as a mansion’s garden. “They were buried at a higher level than the church floor and the bones were not intact, which suggests that someone dug them up by accident and reburied them in a different spot, just not as deep,” said Mathew Morris of the University of Leicester. A male skeleton discovered at the site may have belonged to the last Plantagenet king, Richard III, who was supposedly buried in the friary church. DNA test results on those remains are due in another two weeks.

The excavation of a 600-year-old Hindu temple in Penatih, Bali, has been halted for lack of funds. “The Denpasar Archaeology Agency has already proposed funding for the Penatih excavation from next year’s budget,” said I Made Geria, head of the agency. Archaeologists suspect that the foundations of this building are part of a larger temple complex.

Archaeologists from New Zealand, Turkey, and Australia have finished a third season at the Gallipoli battlefield, located in Turkey, along the Dardanelles Strait. They have surveyed trenches, tunnel entrances, and dugouts in three separate areas. They also found bullets, boot fragments, shrapnel, a bayonet, and even a Roman camp. The Battle of Gallipoli was fought from April, 1915 to January, 1916. More than 120,000 soldiers were killed, and many more were wounded and sickened by unsanitary conditions.

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