The oldest signs of heavy metal pollution caused by human activity, dating from the early Stone Age, have been found in caves in Spain and Gibraltar, officials said Monday.
The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, indicate prehistoric humans inhabited caves with high heavy metal levels caused from fires, fumes and ashes which could have played a role in their tolerance of environmental pollution.
The highest levels of heavy metals — copper, lead, nickel and zinc — were found in Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar, a tiny British territory on Spain’s southern tip, where well preserved Neanderthal hearths have been found.
“It is the earliest known evidence of heavy metal pollution resulting from human activity,” the government of Gibraltar said in a statement.
Traces of heavy metal pollution were also found in Vanguard Cave in Gibraltar from fires as well as in El Pirulejo in southern Spain linked to the use of galena, a lead sulphide used as a source of pigment or as raw material to manufacture beads, according to the study.
The scientists also found heavy metal pollution at Gran Dolina, a cave site in the Sierra de Atapuerca region of central Spain near Burgos. But they concluded that this came from bat and bird droppings and not from human activity.
They said the sites mentioned comprised “earliest evidence of pollution by heavy metals in archaeological sites” anywhere in the world.
“Despite these high pollution levels, the contaminated soils might not have posed a major threat to Homo sapiens populations,” the study said.
“Altogether, the data presented here indicate a long-term exposure of Homo sapiens to these elements, via fires, fumes and their ashes, which could have played certain role in environmental-pollution tolerance, a hitherto neglected influence.”
Democrat mocks Trump for being the wrong person to lead the charge on mental illness
President Donald Trump may not be the best person to focus on mental health in America, a Democratic senator explained on MSNBC.
"All In" host Chris Hayes interviewed Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) before a live studio audience.
The two discussed Trump's focus on mental health instead of gun control following the latest mass shootings in America.
"I saw this article about the mental health proposal being floated. I gotta say, the more I hear him talk about mental health, the more freaked out I get, honestly," Hayes explained. "It seems like — like sci-fi dystopia. They want to do something like DARPA, the notorious Pentagon research association called HARPA. It’s going to develop 'breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence...The document goes on to list a number of widely used technologies it suggests could be used to help collect data, including Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home."
Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report
President Donald Trump appears unprepared to deal with a potential recession, the Associated Press reported Friday.
"Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office," the AP reported. "The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies."
ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories
Multiple federal departments have been pushing far-right propaganda to federal employees.
"An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD and the Department of Homeland Security, included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers," BuzzFeed News reported Friday.