When did we start wearing clothes? We don’t know for sure, but the genetics of lice, prehistoric needles, and ivory carvings give us some clues.
Dogs diverged genetically from wolves between 20 and 40 millennia ago. But the first specimen that is indisputably a dog was found in a German quarry and dates back 14,200 years.
When he arrived in London in 1850, Obaysch was the first hippopotamus in Europe for more than a millennium.
In 2008 archaeologists dug up a 2,800-year-old skull in Yorkshire, and discovered an extremely well preserved brain still inside.
In ancient art from Europe to India a particular artistic motif frequently appears: a male or female figure grabbing two wild creatures, one in each hand. These are the Master and Mistress of Animals.
The Areni-1 cave in southern Armenia is the site of the oldest shoe, and also the oldest winery, in the world.
Around five million years ago, the Strait of Gibraltar closed and the Mediterranean dried up. When it reopened, the sea refilled in less than two years.
Knitting is hundreds of years old, but similar techniques are even older: sprang dates back to 1400 BCE at least, and nålebinding as far as 6500 BCE.
In 1924 Nikolai Vavilov, a Russian / Soviet scientist, identified the geographic regions where crops were first domesticated: the Vavilov Centres of Diversity.
For a period of about four thousand years, during the Neolithic Subpluvial, the Sahara was green. Rivers, lakes, trees, savanna, and pre-historic societies flourished in this wet period.
In 1939, a geologist dug up mammoth-ivory fragments inside a cave in Germany. Two weeks later, World War II began and they were forgotten. The fragments were reconstructed later, and turned out to be the earliest art in the world.
Why would someone want a hole in the head? And how do we know that it was prehistoric surgery and not, you know, murder?
Farmers remove weeds from their crops. But they miss the weeds that look like crops. Over time, these weeds come to mimic the crops around them. And in some cases, they become crops themselves.