Modern-day athletes often nurse their muscles with supplement shakes or chocolate milk after a workout. Similarly, gladiators, the sports stars of the Roman Empire, may have guzzled a drink made from the ashes of charred plants — a rich source of calcium, which is essential for building bones, researchers report this month in the journal PLOS One.
"Plant ashes were evidently consumed to fortify the body after physical exertion, and to promote better bone healing," Fabian Kanz, a forensic anthropologist at the Medical University of Vienna who led the research, said in a statement. "Things were similar then to what we do today."
Prehistoric cave paintings of animals and human hands in Indonesia are as ancient as similar paintings found in Western Europe, according to a new study that suggests humans may have carried this art tradition with them when they migrated out of Africa.
"Until now, we've always believed that cave painting was part of a suite of complex symbolic behavior that humans invented in Europe," says archaeologist Alistair Pike of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. "This is actually showing that it's highly unlikely that the origin of painting caves was in Europe."