International Research Team Discovers Oldest Known Sexed Personal Ornament

An international team of researchers, including UC Davis Associate Professor of Anthropology Nicolas Zwyns, has uncovered the earliest known representation of a sexed personal ornament in human history. The study, published in Scientific Reports, describes and analyzes a phallus-shaped black pendant discovered in northern Mongolia and dating back to 42,000 years ago. In addition to pushing back the timeline for sexed symbolic representation in the archaeological record, the pendant was discovered in a location where Homo sapiens mingled with other ancient human species, including the extinct Denisovans. The research adds more fuel to the debate about whether figurative depictions in art was a trait exclusive to Homo sapiens in ancient human history.

Climate Change Likely Led to Violence in Early Andean Populations

Violence during climatic change has evidence in history. University of California, Davis, researchers said they have have found a pattern of increased violence during climatic change in the south central Andes between A.D. 470 and 1500. During that time, which includes the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (ca. A.D. 900-1250), temperatures rose, drought occurred, and the first states of the Andes collapsed.

Denisovans or Homo Sapiens: Who Were the First to Settle (Permanently) on the Tibetan Plateau?

The Tibetan Plateau has long been considered one of the last places to be populated by people in their migration around the globe. A new paper by archaeologists at UC Davis highlights that our extinct cousins, the Denisovans, reached the “roof of the world” about 160,000 years ago — 120,000 years earlier than previous estimates for our species — and even contributed to our adaptation to high altitude.

‘Earworm’ Researchers Lead Off Podcast’s New Season

Unfold, a UC Davis podcast, recently launched its third season with College of Letters and Science researchers talking about “Why Is That Song Stuck in My Head?” The episode examines music, memory and what "earworms" — those songs that get stuck in your head — can teach us about how the brain works.

Celebrating 150 Years of the Periodic Table

Did you know the periodic table of chemical elements turned 150 years old in 2019? To celebrate the chart's 150th anniversary, the College of Letters and Science asked our experts to share their favorite element. 

Christyann Darwent: Archaeology Adventures in the Arctic

Christyann Darwent, an associate professor of anthropology at UC Davis, studies how humans adapt to arid, arctic environments and coastal ecosystems. As a zooarchaeologist, Darwent studies animal skeletal remains to better understand what past human economies and environments were like. UC Davis College of Letters and Science writing intern James Sommer ’18 sat down with Darwent in spring 2018 to learn about the Arctic locations she has traveled to, as well as the discoveries she’s made throughout her journey.