An Egyptian papyrus, from between 1500 and 1300 BC, offers a method for diagnosing pregnancy. It advises women to pee into a bag of barley and a bag of wheat. The papyrus is one of many currently being translated by an international team of researchers at the University of Copenhagen. Flip through the gallery to see more intriguing archaeological finds.
Courtesy The Papyrus Carlsberg Collection
These four dinosaurs showcase the evolution of alvarezsaurs. From left, Haplocheirus, Xiyunykus, Bannykus and Shuvuuia reveal the lengthening of the jaws, reduction of teeth and changes in the hand and arm.
Viktor Radermacher/University of the Witwatersrand
Eorhynchochelys sinensis is an early turtle that lived 228 million years ago. It had a toothless beak, but no shell.
The leg bones of a 7-year-old, recovered from an ancient Roman cemetery, show bending and deformities associated with rickets.
The famed Easter Island statues, called moai, were originally full-body figures that have been partially covered over the passage of time. They represent important Rapa Nui ancestors and were carved after a population was established on the island 900 years ago.
Dale Simpson Jr/University of Queensland
Researchers stand at the excavation site of Aubrey Hole 7, where cremated human remains were recovered at Stonehenge to be studied. New research suggests that 40% of 25 individuals buried at Stonehenge weren't from there -- but they possibly transported stones from west Wales and helped build it.
Adam Stanford of Aerial-Cam Ltd.
The fossil of the newly discovered armored dinosaur Akainacephalus johnsoni was found in southern Utah.
Natural History Museum of Utah
The foot is one part of a partial skeleton of a 3.32 million-year-old skeleton of an Australopithecus afarensis child dubbed Selam.
Zeray Alemseged/University of Chicago
The asteroid impact that caused dinosaurs to go extinct also destroyed global forests, according to a new study. This illustration shows one of the few ground-dwelling birds that survived the toxic environment and mass extinction.
Philipp M. Krzeminski
The remains of a butchered rhinoceros are helping researchers to date when early humans reached the Philippines. They found a 75% complete skeleton of a rhinoceros that was clearly butchered, with 13 of its bones displaying cut marks and areas where bone was struck to release marrow, at the Kalinga archaeological site on the island of Luzon.
Thomas Ingicco/Mission Marche aux Philippines
This is just one of 26 individuals found at the site of a fifth-century massacre on the Swedish island of Öland. This adolescent was found lying on his side, which suggests a slower death. Other skeletons found in the homes and streets of the ringfort at Sandby borg show signs of sudden death by blows to the head.
Kalmar County Museum
The skeleton of a young woman and her fetus were found in a brick coffin dated to medieval Italy. Her skull shows an example of neurosurgery, and her child was extruded after death in a rare "coffin birth."
University of Ferrara
This portion of a whale skull was found at the Calaveras Dam construction site in California, along with at least 19 others. Some of the pieces measure 3 feet long.
Sara Yogi/UC Berkeley
A Stone Age cow skull shows trepanation, a hole in the cranium that was created by humans as as surgical intervention or experiment.
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi/Nature
On the left is a fossilized skull of our hominin ancestor Homo heidelbergensis, who lived 200,000 to 600,000 years ago. On the right is a modern human skull. Hominins had pronounced brow ridges, but modern humans evolved mobile eyebrows as their face shape became smaller.
Nature Ecology and Evolution
A central platform at Star Carr in North Yorkshire, England, was excavated by a research team studying past climate change events at the Middle Stone Age site. The Star Carr site is home to the oldest evidence of carpentry in Europe and of built structures in Britain.
POSTGLACIAL project/University of York
On the left is a 13,000-year-old footprint as found in the sediment on Calvert Island, off the Canadian Pacific coast. On the right is a digitally enhanced image, showing details of the footprint.
This wall with paintings is in the La Pasiega Cave in Spain. The ladder shape of red horizontal and vertical lines is more than 64,000 years old and was made by Neanderthals.
These perforated shells were found in Spain's Cueva de los Aviones sea cave and date to between 115,000 and 120,000 years ago. Researchers believe these served as body ornamentation for Neanderthals.
The earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa has been recovered in Israel. This suggests that modern humans left Africa at least 50,000 years earlier than previously believed. The upper jawbone, including several teeth, was recovered in a prehistoric cave site.
Courtesy Christina Warinner/Teposcolula-Yucundaa Archaeological Project
Standing about 4 feet tall, early human ancestor Paranthropus boisei had a small brain and a wide, dish-like face. It is most well-known for having big teeth and hefty chewing muscles.
Fred Lewsey/Cambridge Universy
A grand grave of a great Viking warrior excavated during the 1880s has been found to be that of a woman. She was also buried with a gaming board and pieces, hierarchically associated with officers to use for battle strategy and tactics. The drawing is a reconstruction of how the grave with the woman originally may have looked.
Þórhallur Þráinsson/Neil Price/Uppsala University
An illustration shows the dodo on Mauritius near the Mare aux Songes, where many dodo skeletons have been recovered.
Julian Hume/UK National History Museum
A 5,000-year-old dog skull found in Germany underwent whole genome sequencing. It was found to be very similar to the genome of modern dogs, suggesting that all modern dogs are direct ancestors of the domesticated dogs that lived in the world's earliest farming communities in Europe.
Amelie Scheu/Nature Research
Razanandrongobe sakalavae, or "Razana," was one of the top predators of the Jurassic period in Madagascar 170 million years ago. Although it looks different from modern-day crocodiles and had teeth similar to a T. rex's, Razana was not a dinosaur but a crocodile relative with a deep skull.
An artist's reconstruction shows Macrauchenia patachonica, which roamed South America thousands of years ago. Combining a range of odd characteristics from llamas and camels to rhinos and antelopes, Macrauchenia defied clarification until now and has been added to the tree of life. It belongs to a sister group of Perissodactyla, which includes horses, rhinos and tapirs.
Jorge Blanco/Nature Research
This prosthetic device was made for a priest's daughter who had to have her right big toe amputated 3,000 years ago. This surprisingly lifelike toe was made to look natural by a skilled artisan who wanted to maintain the aesthetic as well as mobility during the Early Iron Age. It was designed to be worn with sandals, the footwear of choice at the time.
University of Basel
The oldest fossil remains of Homo sapiens, dating back 300,000 years, were found at a site in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. This is 100,000 years older than previously discovered fossils of Homo sapiens that have been securely dated. The fossils, including a partial skull and a lower jaw, belong to five different individuals including three young adults, an adolescent and a child estimated to be 8 years old.
Courtesy Jean-Jacques Hublin/MPI-EVA, Leipzig
Nodosaurs were herbivores who walked on four legs and were covered in tank-like armor and dotted with spikes for protection. But this recently unveiled 110 million-year-old fossil is the most well-preserved of the armored dinosaurs ever unearthed.