Findings, by Rafil Kroll-Zaidi

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.

Ocean Front Property in Arizona, a mixed-media diptych by Rosson Crow © The artist. Courtesy The Hole, New York City

Fifty-thousand-year-old three-ply string was found in France, and a twenty-thousand-year-old circle of sixty-four mammoth skulls and fifty-one mandibles was found in the Russian Plain. Archaeologists reported that the 10,500-year-old Göbekli Tepe was constructed on a precise geometric layout, that the Bronze Age Mediterranean ostrich egg trade was unexpectedly widespread, and that an Iron Age infant at Uamh An Ard Achadh, in the parish of Strath, on An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, was unrelated to the woman and fetus with whom it was buried. A rock carving in Teymareh, Iran, could not be dated, owing to U.S. sanctions on the materials required for radiocarbon dating, but was determined to be a mantis-man. Even during Arabia’s Dark Millennium, when food scarcity led to the ritualistic consumption of dugongs on Akab Island, the Jubbah oasis remained inhabited. People buried at Mözs-Icsei dulo were found to have deformed skulls and a diet rich in millets. Machine learning proved successful in distinguishing ancient human feces from ancient dog feces, which can be difficult not only because the two species’ feces come in similar sizes and shapes, but also because humans ate dogs and dogs ate human feces. Ice cores reflect a sharp rise in atmospheric lead levels after Henry II made amends for the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket by building new churches with lead roofs. Medieval skeletons from Jutland indicated the use of copper kitchen utensils, and conquistadores depended on indigenous American copper smelters for the manufacture of munitions. Ten thousand years ago, humans began creating thousands of Amazonian forest islands in the savannas of the Llanos de Moxos. Human populations in East Asia are losing body odor as they evolve, amateur martial artists smell worse after a fight if they lose, and male ring-tailed lemurs exude a fruity perfume from their wrists.

Rising levels of carbon dioxide may lead to a decline in human cognitive abilities, while rising heat may increase suicide rates. Observations taken on Valentine’s Day suggest that Betelgeuse is warmer than previously thought, and a study of rudists’ shells revealed that in the late Cretaceous, oceans reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and there were 372 days in a year. Four of the ten Indian Ocean Dipoles that have occurred since 1240 postdate 1960. An immense reduction in cold-water plankton occurred during the twentieth century, and North Atlantic Subtropical Mode Water is losing its capacity to store carbon, as are tropical rainforests, but the kelp forests of Tierra del Fuego remain relatively stable. Sea turtles find the smell of biofouled plastic appetizing. New Caledonian reef manta rays take nighttime dives as deep as 672 meters.

Researchers explained that sleep contains “islands of wakefulness,” and wakefulness, “islands of sleep.” Bedtime procrastinators were found to have more “eveningness tendencies.” Aboriginal Australians have higher levels of sleep apnea, and sleep-hygiene interventions improve the sleep of Navajo caretakers of developmentally disabled children. Florida adolescents who sleep four hours a night or less are, compared with those who sleep at least eight hours a night, 85 percent more likely to bring guns to school. Children’s dreams, which were found to be more thematically diverse and less structured than those of adults, are likelier to feature a living person as having died, while adults’ dreams tend to feature the return to life of someone who has died, as well as instances of arriving too late. As women grow older, their dream selves grow less likely to see other women and less likely to be victimized. Dreamers rarely encounter God.