Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away at the ripe old age of 92.
The 11,500-year-old remains of an infant girl from Alaska have shed new light on the peopling of the Americas.
Genetic analysis of the child, allied to other data, indicates she belonged to a previously unknown, ancient group.
Scientists say what they have learnt from her DNA strongly supports the idea that a single wave of migrants moved into the continent from Siberia just over 20,000 years ago.
Lower sea-levels back then would have created dry land in the Bering Strait.
It would have submerged again only as northern ice sheets melted and retreated.
The pioneering settlers became the ancestors of all today’s Native Americans, say Prof Eske Willerslev and colleagues. His team has published its genetics assessment in the journal Nature.
The skeleton of the six-week-old infant was unearthed at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in 2013.
The local indigenous community have named her “Xach’itee’aanenh t’eede gay”, or “sunrise girl-child”.
The science team refers to her simply as USR1.
“These are the oldest human remains ever found in Alaska, but what is particularly interesting here is that this individual belonged to a population of humans that we have never seen before,” explained Prof Willerslev, who is affiliated to the universities of Copenhagen and Cambridge.
“It’s a population that is most closely related to modern Native Americans but is still distantly related to them. So, you can say she comes from the earliest, or most original, Native American group – the first Native American group that diversified.
“And that means she can tell us about the ancestors of all Native Americans,” he told BBC News.
Scientists study the history of ancient populations by analysing the mutations, or small errors, that accumulate in DNA down through the generations.
These patterns, when combined with demographic modelling, make it possible to draw connections between different groups of people over time.
The new study points to the existence of an ancestral population that started to become distinct genetically from East Asians around 34,000 years ago, and which had completed the separation by roughly 25,000 years ago – indicative of the Bering land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska having been crossed, or at the very least of the ancestral population having become geographically isolated in north-east Siberia.
The analysis further suggests that a group of Ancient Beringians, represented by USR1, then subsequently began to diverge from the pioneer migrants. This genetic separation occurs at about 20,000 years ago and is the result of these people staying put in Alaska for several thousand years.
Others in the pioneer wave, however, moved south to occupy territories beyond the ice.
This onward-moving branch ultimately became the two genetic groups that are recognised as the ancestors of today’s indigenous populations.
Prof Willerslev said: “Before this girl’s genome, we only had more recent Native Americans and ancient Siberians to try to work out the relationships and times of divergence. But now we have an individual from a population between the two; and that really opens the door to address these fundamental questions.”
More definitive answers would only come with the discovery of further remains in north-east Siberia and Alaska, the scientist added.
That is complicated in the case of the north-west American state because its acidic soils are unfavourable to the preservation of skeletons and in particular their DNA material.
Early photographic technology lacked a crucial ingredient — color. As early as the invention of the medium, skilled artisans applied color to photographs by hand, attempting to convey the vibrancy and immediacy of life in vivid detail (with mostly crude results).
The age-old practice of colorization has been revived with modern digital precision in a new book, The Paper Time Machine.
With images curated by Retronaut creator Wolfgang Wild and colorized according to meticulous period research by Jordan Lloyd of Dynamichrome, the book aims to collapse the divide between historical imagery and present-day viewers.
Featuring 124 photos, from the first known photographic self-portrait, to a young and clean-shaven Abraham Lincoln, to unseen images from the Walt Disney archive, the book presents black-and-white originals alongside startlingly lifelike color remixes.
July 7, 1865
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky was a Russian chemist and photographer, best known for his pioneering work in color photography during the early 20th century. His priceless color photographs documenting the waning days of the Russian Empire before the First World War and the Russian Revolution are today some of the most prized possession of the United States Library of Congress.
In the beginning of the 20th century, color photography was still in its infancy. It was the German photochemist Adolf Miethe, with whom Prokudin-Gorsky studied briefly the techniques, who greatly improved the three-color principle of color photography. Using a specialized camera developed by Adolf Miethe, Prokudin-Gorsky took three black and white images in quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, which were later recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. Because exposure time was often high and the three color-filtered photographs were not taken at the same time, subjects that did not hold steady during the entire operation exhibited colored fringes around its edges in the resulting color image. Such fringes are characteristics of many Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs.
The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan (1880-1944), poses for his portrait, taken in 1911 shortly after his accession. As ruler of an autonomous city-state in Islamic Central Asia, the Emir presided over the internal affairs of his emirate as absolute monarch, although since the mid-1800s Bukhara had been a vassal state of the Russian Empire. With the establishment of Soviet power in Bukhara in 1920, the Emir fled to Afghanistan where he died in 1944.
Around 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. Tsar Nicholas II granted him permits that allowed him to travel unmolested across restricted areas and instructed the empire’s bureaucracy to cooperate with the photographer. For six years from 1909 through 1915 Prokudin-Gorsky travelled across the length and breadth of the vast country in a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom capturing vivid portraits of a lost world. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia’s diverse population. According to one estimate, Prokudin-Gorsky took over 10,000 photographs during these years.
After the Russian Revolution, Prokudin-Gorsky left Russia in 1918 and eventually settled in Paris. Prokudin-Gorsky couldn’t take all of his photographs with him when he left Russia. Some sources claim he only had about 3,500 negatives with him before leaving the country, of which nearly half were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material they deemed strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky’s negatives were given away, and some he hid on his departure. The remaining negatives—about 1,900 of them—and about 700 more album prints were purchased by the United States Library of Congress in 1948, four years after the death of Prokudin-Gorsky.
An Armenian woman from Artvin in national costume.
A merchant at the Samarkand market displays colorful silk, cotton, and wool fabrics as well as a few traditional carpets. A framed page of the Koran hangs at the top of the stall
Dressed in traditional Central Asian attire, a vendor of locally grown melons poses at his stand in the marketplace of Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan.
Prokudin-Gorskii and others ride the Murmansk Railroad in a handcar along the shores of Lake Onega near Petrozavodsk.
Young Russian peasant women offer berries to visitors to their izba, a traditional wooden house, in a rural area along the Sheksna River near the small town of Kirillov.
Wooden mills using wind-power to grind wheat and rye are photographed in the middle of summer on the vast Siberian plain in rural Ialutorovsk county in Western Siberia.
A young Kazakh family in colorful traditional dress moving across the Golodnaia (or “Hungry”) steppe in present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Many Central Asiatic peoples, for example the Kirghiz, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks, lived nomadic lives on the steppes, valleys, and deserts, migrating seasonally from one place to another as opportunities for obtaining food, water, and shelter changed.
Wearing traditional dress and headgear, a Turkmen camel driver poses with his camel, laden with what is most likely grain or cotton. Camel caravans remained the most common means of transporting food, raw materials, and manufactured goods in Central Asia well into the railroad era.
Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii poses near a mountain stream, thought to be the Karolitskhali River in the Caucasus Mountains near the seaport of Batumi on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.
This photo shows the interior of a tea packaging and weighing operation located at the Chakva tea farm and processing plant just north of Batumi, close to the Black Sea coast in what is now the Republic of Georgia. The Chakva farm and plant was one of the major suppliers of tea to all parts of the Russian Empire.
In this portrait, Prokudin-Gorksii captures the traditional dress, jewelry, and hairstyle of an Uzbek woman standing on a richly decorated carpet at the entrance to a yurt, a portable tent used for housing by the nomadic peoples of Central Asia.
Five inmates stare out from a zindan, a traditional Central Asian prison–in essence a pit in the earth with a low structure built on top. The guard, with Russian rifle and bayonet, is attired in Russian-style uniform and boots.
A small nineteenth-century wooden chapel, was on the north side of the White Lake in north central European Russia.
In the early years of the First World War, Prokudin-Gorskii photographed a group of prisoners of war from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The men are probably Poles, Ukrainians, and members of other Slavic nationalities, imprisoned at an unidentified location in the far north of European Russia near the White Sea. This image escaped being confiscated by border guards probably because what is being represented is not immediately obvious.
A Bashkir switch operator poses by the mainline of the railroad, near the town of Ust’ Katav on the Yuryuzan River between Ufa and Cheliabinsk in the Ural Mountain region of European Russia.
The Ural Mountain region is noted for the richness of its iron deposits and ores. The Bakaly hills, in the area outside the city of Ekaterinburg, provide the locale for a small-scale family mining operation.