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New studies publised in Nature reveal, Indus era is 8,000 year-old and older than Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization

According to this study Egyptian civilization began in 7000bc-3000bc and Mesopotamian began in 6500bc-3100bc which much later than Indus Valley Civilization

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Harappan Civilization Site. Image Source - Wikipedia
  • Indus Valley civilization is 5000 years older than previously thought
  • The study is done using a new carbon dating technique
  • Scientists from IIT-Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted the study, published in journal ‘Nature’ last week (May 2016)

A study -published last week (May of 2016) in the reputed journal ‘Nature’ by a group of researchers in India shows that the Indus valley civilization is 5000 years older than what we previously perceived. This study was done using a new carbon dating technique on animal fragment and pottery fragments.

According to this study, Indus valley civilization is even older than Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations.

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The study was conducted by scientists from IIT-Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The study shows that the mature Indus valley civilization began in 8000bc to 2000bc and not 2600bc to 1600 and it pushes pre harappan civilization to 9000bc to 8000c. Egyptian civilization began in 7000bc to 3000bc and Mesopotamian began in 6500bc to 3100bc which much later then Indus Valley Civilization according to this study.

Indus Valley Civilization map. Image Source - Wikipedia
Indus Valley Civilization map. Image Source – Wikipedia

“Our study pushes back the antiquity to as old as 8th millennium before present and will have major implications to the evolution of human settlements in Indian sub-continent,” Anindya Sarkar, a professor at the department of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kharagpur, said in a statement.

Sankar .who also worked with the researcher from ASI in the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad and Pune’s Deccan College. They even used a technique known Optically Stimulated Luminescence in this study. In this technique the amount of light emitted from mineral grains to date past events can be measured.

This study has also given a new theory as to how Harappan civilization must have declined. Earlier it was believed that the civilization got declined because of climate change.

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But according to the new theory climate change did play a role but it is not the main reason behind the declination harappan civilization. It had more to do with the change in cropping patterns and storage of grains.

“Our study suggests that the climate was probably not the sole cause of Harappan decline. Despite the monsoon decline, the civilisation did not disappear. The people changed their farming practices.

“They switched from water-intensive crops when monsoon was stronger to drought-resistant crops when it was weaker. Our work shows they did not give up despite the change in climate conditions,” said Anindya Sarkar of the Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur and the lead investigator.

“Our study suggests that other causes, like change in subsistence strategy, by shifting crop patterns rather than climate change was responsible for the Harappan collapse,” Sarkar said.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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New Locust Swarms Threaten Agriculture in Ethiopia

New Swarms of Locusts Threaten Crops, Food Security in Ethiopia

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Locust Ethiopia
An Ethiopian boy attempts to fend off desert locust as they fly in a farm on the outskirt of Jijiga in Somali region, Ethiopia. VOA

A new round of locust swarms has hit Ethiopia and is again threatening crops and food security, say agricultural officials.

Dereje Hirpha, the Oromia region’s head of locust control, tells VOA’s Horn of Africa Service that the new generation of locusts was first reported weeks ago in the Raya district and has since spread across thousands of hectares in 40 districts of the region.

The fast-moving swarm is threatening crops in a country where more than 80 percent of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood.

Locust Outbreak
A Samburu boy uses a wooden stick to try to swat a swarm of desert locust filling the air, as he herds his camel. VOA

Similar locusts wave hit Ethiopia a year ago.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it believes heavy rainfall in East Africa has contributed to the growth of locust swarms in the area.

This new generation is arriving from Somaliland, while breeding has continued on both sides of the Red Sea, and in Sudan and Eritrea, according to experts.

USAID plans to work with the U.N. Food  and Agriculture Organization to prevent and control the spread of locusts, its office of communication says.  The agency is training more than 300 pest experts and providing 5,000 sets of protective equipment for locust fighters.

Hirpha says authorities are spraying the affected areas from planes and vehicles on the ground to ward off the pests.

Locals, meanwhile, are engaged in their own combat operation.  When a locust swarm approaches, residents try to scare them away by blowing whistles, drumming empty buckets, setting fires, and shooting into the air.

Locust chasers take position in green areas to disperse the swarms before the descend.

Locust Ethiopia
A man tries to catch locust while standing on a rooftop. VOA

“From a distance the swarm looks like a brown cloud, a sandstorm,” says Sora Kura, one of the chasers in the Borana zone.

The swarm follows the wind direction and is also guided by hairy antenna on their heads that detect smells and other signals of food, Hirpha says. According to the FAO, the swarms can move up to 150 kilometers per day.

USAID says the swarms will likely spread next to southwest Ethiopia and northwestern Kenya, and may enter Uganda and South Sudan.

Desert locusts can comfortably live in a warm, sandy environment like Eastern Ethiopia and Somaliland, Hirpha says.

Also Read- Ozone-Depleting Substance Causes Half of Arctic Warming

Ethiopia has to report any assessment of the crops lost to the pests.  In 2003 and 2005, locust outbreaks in more than 20 countries, mainly in North Africa, cost farmers $3.6 billion, according to the FAO. (VOA)