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Oldest tool ever found in Turkey alters European history

The quartzite flake, described in Quaternary Science Reviews, is “the earliest securely-dated artifact from Turkey ever recorded,” and its discovery pushes back the presumed date of human migration into Europe, researcher Danielle Schreve says, per EurekAlert.

Her eye just happened to be “drawn to a pinkish stone on the surface” while studying a sediment deposit in an ancient river bend near Gediz.

“When I turned it over for a better look, the features of a humanly-struck artifact were immediately apparent,” Schreve says. Other hominin fossils were found in Turkey in 2007, but experts aren’t confident about their age.

Some say an ancient skull shows humans were in Turkey as far back as 1.3 million years ago, but others date it to about 500,000 years ago, LiveSciencereports.

In the case of the flake, researchers used high-precision radioisotopic dating on the ancient river deposit in which the artifact was found. They also used magnetic minerals within the regions’ rocks to gauge the position of the magnetic poles around the time it was left.

The data revealed a “secure chronology,” showing humans were in the area between 1.24 million and 1.17 million years ago, experts say. (Find out why modern humans’ bones are weaker than those of their ancestors.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Turkey’s Oldest Tool Alters European History

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Dutch biker gang grabs rifles, joins Kurds in fight against ISIS

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The No Surrender motorcycle club. (Reuters)

Members of a massive Dutch motorcycle gang, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, recently joined Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq, vowing to “exterminate the rodents.”

The leader of No Surrender — which has dozens of chapters in the Netherlands and across Europe — told state broadcaster NOS on Friday that three of its members have traveled to Mosul in Northern Iraq to take up the fight against ISIS, AFP reports.

A photo posted on a Dutch-Kurdish Twitter account last week shows a heavily-tattooed man in military garb flashing the “victory” sign alongside a Kurdish fighter inside a bunker.

“Ron from The Netherlands has joined the Kurds to exterminate the rodents of [ISIS],” a caption with the photo reads, according to the New York Post.

Countries around the world have been trying to stop people from joining the jihadists in the Islamic State, but a Dutch public prosecutor says it’s OK for its citizens to fight against them.

“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,” Wim de Bruin told AFP on Tuesday. “You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands.”

Dutch citizens are also not allowed to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party because it is blacklisted as a terrorist organization, De Bruin added.

Meanwhile, Kurdish militiamen fought pitched street battles Wednesday with the extremists in a Syrian Kurdish border town near Turkey, making small advances, activists and officials told The Associated Press.

In the border town of Kobani, members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, were advancing hours after the U.S.-led coalition stepped up airstrikes against ISIS in and around the town, said Asya Abdullah, a Syrian Kurdish leader.

Abdullah, the co-president of Syria’s powerful Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, told The Associated Press that Kurdish fighters have advanced near the hill of Tel Shair that overlooks part of the town, taking advantage of the air raids that slowed the push by the militants. Abdullah spoke by phone from Kobani.

U.S. Central Command said Wednesday that 18 airstrikes near Kobani destroyed 16 ISIS-occupied buildings. One airstrike near the Haditha Dam in western Iraq destroyed an ISIS armed vehicle and guard shack, while four airstrikes in Baiji destroyed an ISIS building, a Humvee and artillery.

In mid-September, the Islamic State group launched its offensive on Kobani — also known under its Arabic name of Ayn Arab — and captured dozens of nearby Kurdish villages, as well as about a third of the town. The fighting in and around Kobani has killed more than 500 people and forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the border into Turkey.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists around the country, said Wednesday’s clashes were taking place in the eastern neighborhoods of Kobani as well as the southern edge of the town.

The Observatory also reported several airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition in the town Wednesday and plumes of smoke rising from the strikes were visible across the border in Turkey.

Also Wednesday, Syria’s Foreign Ministry dismissed Turkey’s calls for a no-fly zone on the Syrian territories as a “flagrant violation” of the U.N. charter and international law.

“Syria categorically rejects the establishment of no-fly zones on any part of the Syrian territories under any pretext,” the ministry said.

Turkey has said it won’t join the fight against the Islamic State extremists in Syria unless the U.S.-led coalition also goes after the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, including establishing a no-fly zone and a buffer zone along the Turkish border.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dead two-headed dolphin discovered in Turkey

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In this photo of con-joined dolphin taken by gym teacher Tugrul Metin, while he was vacationing during the first few days of August 2014, in the Aegean Sea coastal town of Dikili, Izmir province of Turkey.AP/Tugrul Metin

Turkish media reports say Turkish scientists will examine a two-headed dolphin that washed up on a beach in western Turkey.

The private Dogan news agency said the remains of conjoined dolphin calf were discovered on a beach in Dikili, near the Aegean city of Izmir last week by a vacationing gym teacher.

It quoted Akdeniz University marine biologist Mehmet Gokoglu as saying the dolphin was a rare occurrence, similar to conjoined twins.

Marine biologists at Akdeniz University will study the dolphin.

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Talking Turkey – Facts About Thanksgiving

Talking Turkey – Facts About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

  • The pilgrims did NOT have the first Thanksgiving as we know it.  In fact, Puritans gave thanks by fasting.  The harvest festival with the Pilgrims was to celebrate having enough food not to starve that winter.  The primary foods were corn and eel, though the native Americans also brought in venison, which was the height of the feast.  It was much later that Americans decided this early feast should be called the “first Thanksgiving.”
  • The association between Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims had been suggested as early as 1841 when Alexander Young identified the 1621 harvest celebration as the “first Thanksgiving” in New England, but their importance among the holiday’s symbols did not occur until after 1900. It was then that the familiar illustrations of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down to dinner in peace and concord appeared widely in calendar art and on patriotic murals.
  • The pilgrims did not want to go to Plymouth Rock.  They stopped there because they ran out of beer.  Beer was a great way to boil and preserve water and provide nutrition and calories.
  • Squanto, the native that helped them, had lived in England as a slave and returned to America.  He spoke English and knew their ways, so he was a natural go-between.Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
  • Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
  • Thanksgiving was a National Day of Prayer – hence, the Giving of Thanks to God
  • Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.  It was, in part, a celebration of the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg that early July.
  • The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920’s.
  • In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.

Fun Facts about Thanksgiving Today

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  • In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • Each year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 – 18 pounds of turkey.
  • Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
  • Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.
  • Although, Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
  • Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.

Fun Turkey Facts

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  • The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
  • The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger.
  • Turkey has more protein than chicken or beef.
  • Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.
  • Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clucking noise.
  • Commercially raised turkeys cannot fly.
  • Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.
  • A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
  • Turkeys have poor night vision.
  • It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.
  • A 16-week-old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster.
  • Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  • Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He “pardons” it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

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