Papua New Guinea

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Scientists Find Earth's Oldest Civilization

Indigenous Australians, Papuans can trace DNA back 50K years

(Newser) - New research suggests that the title of world's oldest civilization goes to the indigenous populations of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Scientists say the DNA of these people can be traced back to an original wave of settlers from Africa more than 50,000 years ago, reports the Guardian ... More »

The Villain of Pearl Harbor Might've Lost a Gold Tooth

Dick Portillo thinks he's found it

(Newser) - An American history buff was leading an expedition through Papua New Guinea last year when one of his companions noticed something shiny sticking out of the mud at the site of a 1943 plane crash. It turned out to be a small gold tooth, but it wasn't the material... More »

Bizarre Mummies Still Startle in Remote Zone

Villagers in Papua New Guinea used unusual smoking process

(Newser) - "Their facial expressions were cut straight out of a Hollywood scream-fest," writes Ian Lloyd Neubauer, describing 14 smoked corpses found in an indentation under a cliff above the village of Angapenga in Papua New Guinea. The remains, he writes for the BBC , were "arranged on bamboo scaffolding... More »

Tribe Became Immune to Brain Disease— by Eating Brains

The cannibalistic practice spread disease that some managed to resist

(Newser) - When members of the Fore tribe in Papua New Guinea ate the brains of their extended kin at funerals, it was their way of paying respect. Unfortunately, the ritual also helped spread kuru prion disease, a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)—a rare but fatal brain disease that can lead... More »

Invasive 'Walking' Fish Headed to Australia

'Aggressive' climbing perch can crawl and breathe on land, suffocate native species

(Newser) - Ecologists from Down Under are keeping a wary eye on ocean waters as an "aggressive" fish migrates south from Papua New Guinea toward the Aussie mainland. What makes Anabas testudineus, or the climbing perch, so frightening that one scientist tells the Guardian it would be a "major disaster"... More »

WWII Airman's Remains Found in New Guinea Jungle

Herbert 'Buddy' Young was shot down in his B-24 bomber in April 1944

(Newser) - Herbert "Buddy" Young's family says he was scheduled to come home after putting in 300 combat-mission hours when he subbed as co-pilot in a B-24 bomber called "Hot Garters" on April 10, 1944. The WWII plane was shot down over the jungles of Papua New Guinea, and... More »

South Pacific Volcano Erupts, Diverts Flights

Residents flee Papua New Guinea's Mount Tavurvur

(Newser) - Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano still hasn't blown its top, but an eruption is disrupting aviation on the other side of the world: Flights between Australia and Asia have been diverted and an ash cloud could disrupt flight plans further after a major eruption in Papua New Guinea, the AP... More »

Scientists Find Bat Feared Extinct

Female from species not seen in more than a century is found (and killed)

(Newser) - Researchers studying bats in Papua New Guinea came across a long-lost friend in their nets: a female identified as a New Guinea big-eared bat, reports Scientific American . It's noteworthy because no specimen has been seen in 124 years, and the species was feared to be extinct. Now that a... More »

Pacific Fears Spread of Sorcery-Killings

Papua New Guinea brings back death penalty as countermeasure

(Newser) - A conference being held at Australia's National University generally would fly under the radar—but when the topic is witchcraft, the equation changes. What experts are talking about: The fear that sorcery-related violence could spread from Papua New Guinea to other parts of the Pacific. Time reports that deaths... More »

Accused Witch Burned Alive in Papua New Guinea

Despite scores of witnesses, no arrests have been made

(Newser) - The AP has a horrific story from Papua New Guinea, where a 20-year-old woman was tortured by a mob and then burned alive after being accused of witchcraft. Hundreds of bystanders watched, and some even photographed her death, but local police have yet to make a single arrest. Kepari Leniata,... More »

Genes Show Ancient Link Between Australia, India

Migrants from India brought dingoes, researchers say

(Newser) - The belief that Australia's Aborigines existed in isolation for tens of thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers has been upended by a new genetic study, the BBC reports. Researchers found that while there is a strong genetic link between Aboriginal Australians and the people of New... More »

Introducing the 'World's Dullest Culture'

The Baining of Papua New Guinea ban kids from playing

(Newser) - A Papua New Guinea group known to anthropologists as "the dullest people on Earth" do everything they can to discourage children from playing, writes Peter Gray at Psychology Today . The Baining—who have caused at least one frustrated anthropologist to give up studying them—are small-scale farmers almost entirely... More »

Cult Busted for Eating Sorcerers

New Guinea group thought witch doctors were charging too much

(Newser) - Twenty-nine members of an alleged cannibal cult have been arrested in Papua, New Guinea, for allegedly hunting, killing, and eating at least seven sorcerers, police revealed today. They allegedly ate their victims' brains raw and made a soup from their penises, the AFP reports. The gang was part of a... More »

238 Saved, 112 Still Missing in Ferry Wreck

No bodies yet found in Papua New Guinea wreck

(Newser) - Rescuers have managed to find 238 survivors of the ferry that sank off Papua New Guinea yesterday and get them to safety—but that still leaves 112 of the 350 who were aboard the Rabaul Queen unaccounted for, the New York Times reports. Search teams, which are using three ships,... More »

Papua New Guinea Ferry Sinks With 350 Onboard

Helicopters, merchant ships join frantic rescue effort

(Newser) - Hundreds of people are missing and feared dead after a ferry with up to 350 people on board sank off Papua New Guinea's northern coast. Merchant ships that arrived on the scene after the Rabaul Queen sent a distress signal have rescued 28 people, and helicopters have joined the... More »

World's Smallest Frog Found

Tiny amphibian discovered in Papua New Guinea

(Newser) - A species of frog so tiny that several of them could fit on a fingernail with room to spare has been found hopping around the forests of Papua New Guinea. At 0.27 inches long, Paedophryne amauensis is the smallest frog ever discovered and, by some measures, is the world'... More »

Plane Carrying 32 Goes Down in Papua New Guinea

Locals say four passengers survived

(Newser) - A plane carrying 32 passengers went down in Papua New Guinea today, and local villagers say just four people survived the crash. The Airlines PNG Dash 8, a twin-propeller plane, crashed en route from Lae to Madang, the AP reports; there was reportedly a violent storm going on at the... More »

Body Found in Home of Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister

His son is questioned in woman's death

(Newser) - Police arrested the adopted son of Papua New Guinea's acting prime minister after a woman's body was found at their family home, an official said today. Acting PM Sam Abal said he had personally reported the "alleged murder" on Monday after the woman's body was found... More »

WWII Pilot Who Forever Repaid Rescuers Dies at 94

Getting shot down in Pacific shaped Fred Hargesheime's whole life

(Newser) - Shot down by a Japanese fighter in 1943, a young US pilot landed in the jungle of a Japanese-held island. He survived, barely, for a month before fate and Pacific islanders found him, nursed him back to health in secret, and eventually got him back in American hands. Fred Hargesheimer,... More »

Indonesia Issues Tsunami Warning After 6.8 Quake

Temblor struck off Papua New Guinea

(Newser) - Indonesia says it issued a tsunami warning after a powerful quake hit off Papua New Guinea. The US Geological Survey says the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 and was centered 325 miles northeast of the capital, Port Morseby. It struck 31 miles beneath the ocean floor. Fauzi,... More »

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