Fossil finger points to early humans entering Saudi Arabia

This photo provided by Michael Petraglia shows six different views of a Homo sapiens fossil finger bone from the Al-Wusta archaeological site in Saudi Arabia. In a report released on Monday, researchers say the bone provides a new clue about when and how our species migrated out of Africa, with hunter-gatherers reaching the Saudi Arabia area by 85,000 years ago. (Ian Cartwright/Michael Petraglia via AP)
Updated 09 April 2018

Fossil finger points to early humans entering Saudi Arabia

New York: An ancient human finger bone found in Saudi Arabia provides a new clue about when and how our species migrated out of Africa.
Researchers say it shows hunter-gatherers had reached that area by 85,000 years ago. Previously discovered human fossils show an earlier human presence in Israel and possibly China.
Scientists believe early people left Africa more than once after evolving there at least 300,000 years ago.
The bone, from an adult and most likely a middle finger, was found in 2016 about 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of the Sinai Peninsula. Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, says the ancient people probably left Africa through the peninsula.
He and others report the discovery Monday in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.


South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

Updated 25 May 2020

South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

  • It is believed the robots could help with social distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues
  • The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year

DAEJEON, South Korea: The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way toward customers.
“Here is your Rooibos almonds tea latte, please enjoy. It’s even better if you stir it,” it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.
After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules toward what the government calls “distancing in daily life.”
Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.
“Our system needs no input from people from order to delivery, and tables were sparsely arranged to ensure smooth movements of the robots, which fits will with the current ‘untact’ and distancing campaign,” he said.
The system, which uses a coffee-making robotic arm and a serving robot, can make 60 different types of coffee and serves the drinks to customers at their seats. It can also communicate and transmit data to other devices and contains self-driving technology to calculate the best routes around the cafe.
An order of six drinks, processed through a kiosk, took just seven minutes. The only human employee at the two-story cafe was a patissier who also has some cleaning duties and refills ingredients.
The manufacturer and the scientific institute aim to supply at least 30 cafes with robots this year.
“Robots are fun and it was easy because you don’t have to pick up your order,” said student Lee Chae-mi, 23. “But I’m also a bit of worried about the job market as many of my friends are doing part-time jobs at cafes and these robots would replace humans.”