Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The skinny

The skinny: Study says ancient 'Nutcracker Man' really ate grass

jaw-dropping news

'Nutcracker man' is more of a salad guy

After a half-century of referring to an ancient pre-human as "Nutcracker Man" because of his large teeth and powerful jaw, scientists now conclude that he actually chewed grasses instead. According to a new report in today's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, carbon in the enamel of 24 teeth from 22 individuals who lived in east Africa between 1.4 million and 1.9 million years ago was analyzed. One type of carbon is produced from tree leaves, nuts and fruit, another from grasses and grasslike plants called sedges. Turns out that the early human known as Paranthropus boisei did not eat nuts but dined more heavily on grasses than any other human ancestor or human relative studied to date. Only an extinct species of grass-eating baboon ate more, researchers said. "Frankly, we didn't expect to find the primate equivalent of a cow dangling from a remote twig of our family tree,'' co-author Matt Sponheimer of the University of Colorado said. The skull of Paranthropus was discovered by Mary and Louis Leakey in 1959 at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and helped put the Leakeys on the world stage.

smart phone

Leaking house dials 911 for help

After months of enduring a leaking pipe that buckled its floors and sagged its ceilings, an empty Massachusetts house somehow called police for help. The Salem News reported the 911 call went out to police from a house in Marblehead last week after water short-circuited the phone system, apparently sparking the emergency call. Officers were sent to the address after the call was recorded as a hang up and a return call got static. Inside, they found the wreckage, including potentially toxic mold, from a pipe that apparently burst during the winter.

Pedicure appeal

Salon owner fishes for favorable ruling

An Arizona appeals court says a business owner is entitled to challenge the constitutionality of state rules barring her from using fish in her salon pedicures. The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Cindy Vong can sue over the Arizona Board of Cosmetology's threat to pull her license if she didn't stop offering the pedicure, which uses fish to eat dead skin off clients' feet. The board alleged the fish were unsafe because they couldn't be sterilized.

pride and prejudice

Polling place now ponchos-free zone

An Ohio elections board has dropped a plan to give voters a poncho to cover up if they come to the polls wearing clothing that promotes local schools. The board in southeast Ohio's Washington County announced the poncho policy last month. Board members said they felt showing school pride would amount to illegal polling-place campaigning on behalf of tax measures on today's ballot for the Marietta and Warren Local schools. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted disagreed.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Study says ancient 'Nutcracker Man' really ate grass 05/02/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to watch this weekend: 'GLOW,' second season of 'Preacher'

    Blogs

    Ready to rumble: GLOW

    Four words: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Yes, the fluorescent, body-slamming soap opera GLOW starring a cast of exaggerated characters is back, this time as a fictionalized Netflix series. Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) stars as Ruth, a down-on-her-luck actor …

    Alison Brie, left, and Betty Gilpin in GLOW on Netflix.
  2. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students

    Science

    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszlo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. Editorial: Trump, not military, should set troop levels in Afghanistan

    Editorials

    There is no task more solemn for any American president than the decision to send troops off to war. In delegating authority over troops levels in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has shirked his obligation to own and defend his Afghan policy, while further divorcing America's military strategy there …

  4. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  5. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft

    Preps

    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]