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Archaeological fieldwork preceding housing development revealed a Mesolithic site in a primary context. A central hearth was evident from a cluster of calcined flint and bone, the latter producing a modelled date for the start of occupation at 8220–7840 cal bc and ending at 7960–7530 cal bc (95% probability). The principal activity was the knapping of bladelets, the blanks for microlith production. Impact-damaged microliths indicated the re-tooling of hunting weaponry, while microwear analysis of other tools demonstrated hide working and butchery activity at the site. The lithics can be classified as a Honey Hill assemblage type on the basis of distinctive leaf-shaped microlithic points with inverse basal retouch.
Such assemblages have a known concentration in central England and are thought to be temporally intermediate between the conventional British Early and Late Mesolithic periods. The lithic assemblage is compared to other Honey Hill type and related Horsham type assemblages from south-eastern England. Both assemblage types are termed Middle Mesolithic and may be seen as part of wider developments in the late Preboreal and Boreal periods of north-west Europe. Rapid climatic warming at this time saw the northward expansion of deciduous woodland into north-west Europe. Emerging new ecosystems presented changes in resource patterns and the Middle Mesolithic lithic typo-technological developments reflect novel foraging strategies as adaptations to the new opportunities of Boreal forest conditions. While Honey Hill-type assemblages are seen as part of such wider processes their distinctive typological signature attests to autochthonous, regional developments of human groups infilling the landscape. Such cultural insularity may reflect changing social boundaries with reduction in mobility range and physical isolation caused by rising sea level and the creation of the British archipelago.
We present a model to map the 3D distribution of dust in the Milky Way. Although dust is just a tiny fraction of what comprises the Galaxy, it plays an important role in various processes. In recent years various maps of dust extinction have been produced, but we still lack a good knowledge of the dust distribution. Our presented approach leverages line-of-sight extinctions towards stars in the Galaxy at measured distances. Since extinction is proportional to the integral of the dust density towards a given star, it is possible to reconstruct the 3D distribution of dust by combining many lines-of-sight in a model accounting for the spatial correlation of the dust. Such a technique can be used to infer the most probable 3D distribution of dust in the Galaxy even in regions which have not been observed. This contribution provides one of the first maps which does not show the “fingers of God” effect. Furthermore, we show that expected high precision measurements of distances and extinctions offer the possibility of mapping the spiral arms in the Galaxy.
We use methods of differential astrometry to construct a small field inertial reference frame stable at the micro-arcsecond level. Using Gaia measurements of field angles we look at the influence of the number of reference stars and the stars magnitude as well as astrometric systematics on the total error budget with the help of Gaia-like simulations around the Ecliptic Pole in a differential astrometric scenario. We find that the systematic errors are modeled and reliably estimated to the μas level even in fields with a modest number of 37 stars with G <13 mag over a 0.24 sq. degrees field of view for short timescales of the order of a day for a perfect instrument and with high-cadence observations. Accounting for large-scale calibrations by including the geometric instrument model over such short timescales requires fainter stars down to G=14 mag without diminishing the accuracy of the reference frame.
The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migratory flyways. Most threats are increasing in intensity, particularly in non-breeding areas, where habitat loss resulting from residential and commercial development, aquaculture, mining, transport, disturbance, problematic invasive species, pollution and climate change were regarded as having the greatest detrimental impact. Fewer threats (mining, disturbance, problematic native species and climate change) were identified as widely affecting breeding areas. Numeniini populations face the greatest number of non-breeding threats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, especially those associated with coastal reclamation; related threats were also identified across the Central and Atlantic Americas, and East Atlantic flyways. Threats on the breeding grounds were greatest in Central and Atlantic Americas, East Atlantic and West Asian flyways. Three priority actions were associated with monitoring and research: to monitor breeding population trends (which for species breeding in remote areas may best be achieved through surveys at key non-breeding sites), to deploy tracking technologies to identify migratory connectivity, and to monitor land-cover change across breeding and non-breeding areas. Two priority actions were focused on conservation and policy responses: to identify and effectively protect key non-breeding sites across all flyways (particularly in the East Asian- Australasian Flyway), and to implement successful conservation interventions at a sufficient scale across human-dominated landscapes for species’ recovery to be achieved. If implemented urgently, these measures in combination have the potential to alter the current population declines of many Numeniini species and provide a template for the conservation of other groups of threatened species.
High-quality data from appropriate archives are needed for the continuing improvement of radiocarbon calibration curves. We discuss here the basic assumptions behind 14C dating that necessitate calibration and the relative strengths and weaknesses of archives from which calibration data are obtained. We also highlight the procedures, problems, and uncertainties involved in determining atmospheric and surface ocean 14C/12C in these archives, including a discussion of the various methods used to derive an independent absolute timescale and uncertainty. The types of data required for the current IntCal database and calibration curve model are tabulated with examples.
The ecological impacts of introduced species can reveal mechanisms underlying habitat selection and behaviour. We investigated the habitat use of native frog species and the invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) in tropical northern Australia to measure overlap in habitat use, and to test if the presence of the cane toad influences frog behaviour. Native frog species and the cane toad both preferred habitats close to water and unvegetated holes. However, native frogs were found further from water (on average 19.4 m) than were toads (on average 12.6 m), and preferred areas with higher vegetation (8–50 cm) than did toads, which were more abundant in vegetation lower than 8 cm. For both types of anuran, the next neighbour was more often of the same type (89% in frogs, 52% in toads) than expected by chance (observed ratio: 75% frogs vs 25% toads), reflecting these differences in habitat use. Our counts of frog abundance increased on average 14.5% in areas from which we removed cane toads temporarily. This result suggests that cane toads inhibit the activity of native anurans either by inducing avoidance, or by reducing activity. By modifying the behaviour and spatial distribution of native taxa, invasive cane toads may curtail activities such as feeding and breeding.
Human neuroimaging studies of reward processing typically involve tasks that engage decision-making processes in the dorsal striatum or focus upon the ventral striatum’s response to feedback expectancy. These studies are often compared to the animal literature; however, some animal studies include both feedback and nonfeedback events that activate the dorsal striatum during feedback expectancy. Differences in task parameters, movement complexity, and motoric effort to attain rewards may partly explain ventral and dorsal striatal response differences across species. We, therefore, used a target capture task during functional neuroimaging that was inspired by a study of single cell modulation in the internal globus pallidus during reward-cued, rotational arm movements in nonhuman primates. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, participants used a fiberoptic joystick to make a rotational response to an instruction stimulus that indicated both a target location for a capture movement and whether or not the trial would end with feedback indicating either a small financial gain or a neutral outcome. Portions of the dorsal striatum and pallidum demonstrated greater neural activation to visual cues predicting potential gains relative to cues with no associated outcome. Furthermore, both striatal and pallidal regions displayed a greater response to financial gains relative to neutral outcomes. This reward-dependent modulation of dorsal striatal and pallidal activation in a target-capture task is consistent with findings from reward studies in animals, supporting the use of motorically complex tasks as translational paradigms to investigate the neural substrates of reward expectancy and outcome in humans. (JINS, 2015, 21, 399–411)
Correlations between host phenotype and vulnerability to parasites can clarify the processes that enhance rates of parasitism, and the effects of parasites on their hosts. We studied an invasive parasite (the pentastome Raillietiella frenatus, subclass Pentastomida, order Cephalobaenida) infecting a new host (the invasive cane toad Rhinella marina), in tropical Australia. We dissected toads over a 27-month period to investigate seasonal changes in pentastome population dynamics and establish which aspects of host phenotype are related to infection. Pentastome prevalence and intensity varied seasonally; male toads were 4 times more likely to be infected than were females; and prevalence was highest in hosts of intermediate body size. The strong sex effect may reflect habitat or dietary divergence between the sexes, resulting in males encountering parasites more often. The relationship between pentastome prevalence and host size likely reflects a role for acquired immunity in preventing re-infection. Infection did not influence host body condition (fatbody size), suggesting that R. frenatus does not impose high energy costs in cane toads. Infected toads had heavier spleens (likely an immune response to infection) and larger testes (perhaps since reproductively active hosts have altered microhabitat use and/or immunocompetence) than did uninfected conspecifics. Although experimental studies are required to identify the causal bases of such patterns, our data confirm that infection status within a population can be strongly linked to host phenotypic traits.