History-bending

7 archaeological discoveries that rewrote history in 2020

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Every year, archaeologists dig up and analyze clues about how our ancient ancestors lived, what threats they faced, and how they adapted to sometimes harsh environments.

Here are 7 archaeological finds from 2020 that transformed our views of ancient history

1. Saber-toothed tiger skull

A 15-inch-long saber-toothed tiger skull gave scientists a new estimate for just how big these big cats could get: about the weight of a grand piano.

Helge Andersson

2. Viking stone

This year, scientists may have cracked a century-long mystery: decoding a message from ancient Vikings on a giant slab of granite. The message? Beware of environmental catastrophe.

Eugenio Acevez

3. 9,900-year-old skull

An ancient human skull found in the submerged Tulum cave system revealed that more than one group of humans arrived in Central and North American, complicating what we know about human settlement in this region of the globe.

4. Mammoth bone house

A pile of ancient mammoth bones shows how ancient humans could have built structures in northern Russia to withstand bitterly cold weather.

5. Female warrior skeletons

Three different generations of Scythian warrior women were found at a site in Russia, suggesting that women and girls went into battle between 900 and 200 BCE.

6. Extremely old tooth

The discovery of an 800,000-year-old tooth revealed that the ancient human Homo-antecessor is not a direct ancestor to humans, but part of an entirely different branch of species.

7. Ancient jawbone

This 160,000-year-old jawbone unearthed from a cave in Tibet appears to belong to an enigmatic ancient human ancestor called the Denisovans. The finding allowed scientists to start piecing together the history of these mysterious early humans.

Read more science and nature stories here.

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