Featurette

Text in lost language may reveal god or goddess worshipped by Etruscans at ancient temple

Archaeologists in Italy have discovered what may be a rare sacred text in the Etruscan language that is likely to yield rich details about Etruscan worship and early beliefs of a lost culture fundamental to western traditions.

The lengthy text is on a large 6th century sandstone slab uncovered from an Etruscan temple. Continue reading

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Good news! You’re likely burning more calories than you thought

Counting calories burned is popular, but leading standardized equations used to predict or estimate calories burned while walking assume that one size fits all. They’ve been in place for close to half a century and were based on data from a limited number of people.

A new SMU study found that under firm, level ground conditions, the leading standards are relatively inaccurate and have significant bias — predicting too few calories burned in 97 percent of cases researchers examined.
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New look at Pizarro’s conquest of Inca reveals foot soldiers were awed by empire’s grandeur

Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro’s 1532 attack on the Inca empire during a two-day conflict in Cajamarca, Peru is an infamous episode in history.

But efforts by the pre-contact Inca to display their power and authority to the Spanish through architecture, landscape, geoglyphs, textiles, ceramics, feather work and metalwork failed to stop Pizarro, says SMU pre-Columbian expert Adam Herring. Continue reading

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Charity, social justice and earth-friendly activism replace big houses, diamond rings and ostentatious living for status seekers

Keeping up with the Joneses has taken on a whole new meaning, according to new research by a professor in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Rich people traditionally flaunted their wealth with ostentatious living, designer … Continue reading

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17 million-year-old whale fossil provides 1st exact date for East Africa’s puzzling uplift

Whale, fossil, kenya, Great Rift, Africa, Jacobs, WichuraUplift associated with East Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the environmental changes it produced have puzzled scientists for decades because the timing and starting elevation have been poorly constrained.

Now paleontologists have tapped a fossil from the most precisely dated beaked whale in the world — and the only stranded whale ever found so far inland on the African continent — to pinpoint a date when the mysterious elevation began. Continue reading

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SMU analysis of recent North Texas earthquake sequence reveals geologic fault, epicenters in Irving and West Dallas

Locations of seismic instruments as of Jan. 30, 2015, with revised earthquake locations in dark red. (USGS)Initial results from the seismology team at Southern Methodist University reveal that a recent series of earthquakes near old Texas Stadium in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were relatively shallow and concentrated along a narrow two-mile line that indicates a fault extending from Irving into West Dallas. SMU and the United States Geological Survey have shared an interim report with the mayors of Dallas and Irving. Continue reading

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Scientists issue call to action for archaeological sites threatened by rising seas, urban development

Western%20Site%20Margin%20400x300.jpgShould global warming cause sea levels to rise as predicted in coming decades, thousands of archaeological sites in coastal areas around the world will be lost to erosion.

With no hope of saving all these sites, an SMU archaeologist and others call for scientists to assess the sites most at risk.

Photo: A site at Anacapa Island, southern California, is in danger of eroding into the ocean. (Credit: Reeder)
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