Tech News

IBM's CodeNet Dataset Can Teach AI To Translate Computer Languages

developers - Posted On:2021-05-11 06:14:57 Source: slashdot

IBM announced during its Think 2021 conference on Monday that its researchers have crafted a Rosetta Stone for programming code. Engadget reports: In effect, we've taught computers how to speak human, so why not also teach computers to speak more computer? That's what IBM's Project CodeNet seeks to accomplish. "We need our ImageNet, which can snowball the innovation and can unleash this innovation in algorithms," [Ruchir Puri, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist at IBM Research, said during his Think 2021 presentation]. CodeNet is essentially the ImageNet of computers. It's an expansive dataset designed to teach AI/ML systems how to translate code and consists of some 14 million snippets and 500 million lines spread across more than 55 legacy and active languages -- from COBOL and FORTRAN to Java, C++, and Python. "Since the data set itself contains 50 different languages, it can actually enable algorithms for many pairwise combinations," Puri explained. "Having said that, there has been work done in human language areas, like neural machine translation which, rather than doing pairwise, actually becomes more language-independent and can derive an intermediate abstraction through which it translates into many different languages." In short, the dataset is constructed in a manner that enables bidirectional translation. That is, you can take some legacy COBOL code -- which, terrifyingly, still constitutes a significant amount of this country's banking and federal government infrastructure -- and translate it into Java as easily as you could take a snippet of Java and regress it back into COBOL. CodeNet can be used for functions like code search and clone detection, in addition to its intended translational duties and serving as a benchmark dataset. Also, each sample is labeled with its CPU run time and memory footprint, allowing researchers to run regression studies and potentially develop automated code correction systems. Project CodeNet consists of more than 14 million code samples along with 4000-plus coding problems collected and curated from decades' of programming challenges and competitions across the globe. "The way the data set actually came about," Puri said, "there are many kinds of programming competitions and all kinds of problems -- some of them more businesslike, some of them more academic. These are the languages that have been used over the last decade and a half in many of these competitions with 1000s of students or competitors submitting solutions." Additionally, users can run individual code samples "to extract metadata and verify outputs from generative AI models for correctness," according to an IBM press release. "This will enable researchers to program intent equivalence when translating one programming language into another." [...] IBM intends to release the CodeNet data to the public domain, allowing researchers worldwide equal and free access. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Voyager 1 Detects Plasma 'Hum'

science - Posted On:2021-05-11 04:14:58 Source: slashdot

Obipale shares a report from Phys.Org: Voyager 1 -- one of two sibling NASA spacecraft launched 44 years ago and now the most distant human-made object in space -- still works and zooms toward infinity. The craft has long since zipped past the edge of the solar system through the heliopause -- the solar system's border with interstellar space -- into the interstellar medium. Now, its instruments have detected the constant drone of interstellar gas (plasma waves), according to Cornell University-led research published in Nature Astronomy. Examining data slowly sent back from more than 14 billion miles away, Stella Koch Ocker, a Cornell doctoral student in astronomy, has uncovered the emission. "It's very faint and monotone, because it is in a narrow frequency bandwidth," Ocker said. "We're detecting the faint, persistent hum of interstellar gas." This work allows scientists to understand how the interstellar medium interacts with the solar wind, Ocker said, and how the protective bubble of the solar system's heliosphere is shaped and modified by the interstellar environment. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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MDMA Passes a Big Test For PTSD Treatment

science - Posted On:2021-05-10 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: In an important step toward medical approval, MDMA, the illegal drug popularly known as Ecstasy or Molly, was shown to bring relief to those suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder when paired with talk therapy. Of the 90 people who took part in the new study, which is expected to be published later this month in Nature Medicine, those who received MDMA during therapy experienced a significantly greater reduction in the severity of their symptoms compared with those who received therapy and an inactive placebo. Two months after treatment, 67 percent of participants in the MDMA group no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD, compared with 32 percent in the placebo group. MDMA produced no serious adverse side effects. Some participants temporarily experienced mild symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite. Before MDMA-assisted therapy can be approved for therapeutic use, the Food and Drug Administration needs a second positive Phase 3 trial, which is currently underway with 100 participants. Approval could come as early as 2023. Mental health experts say that this research -- the first Phase 3 trial conducted on psychedelic-assisted therapy -- could pave the way for further studies on MDMA's potential to help address other difficult-to-treat mental health conditions, including substance abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, eating disorders, depression, end-of-life anxiety and social anxiety in autistic adults. And, mental health researchers say, these studies could also encourage additional research on other banned psychedelics, including psilocybin, LSD and mescaline. "This is a wonderful, fruitful time for discovery, because people are suddenly willing to consider these substances as therapeutics again, which hasn't happened in 50 years," said Jennifer Mitchell, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the new study. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Facebook Is Testing Pop-Up Messages Telling People To Read a Link Before They Share It

news - Posted On:2021-05-10 21:29:59 Source: slashdot

Following Twitter's lead, Facebook is trying out a new feature designed to encourage users to read a link before sharing it. TechCrunch reports: The test will reach 6% of Facebook's Android users globally in a gradual rollout that aims to encourage "informed sharing" of news stories on the platform. Users can still easily click through to share a given story, but the idea is that by adding friction to the experience, people might rethink their original impulses to share the kind of inflammatory content that currently dominates on the platform. The strategy demonstrates Facebook's preference for a passive strategy of nudging people away from misinformation and toward its own verified resources on hot-button issues like COVID-19 and the 2020 election. While the jury is still out on how much of an impact this kind of gentle behavioral shaping can make on the misinformation epidemic, both Twitter and Facebook have also explored prompts that discourage users from posting abusive comments. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon 'Seized and Destroyed' 2 Million Counterfeit Products In 2020

slashdot - Posted On:2021-05-10 21:00:03 Source: slashdot

Amazon "seized and destroyed" over 2 million counterfeit products that sellers sent to Amazon warehouses in 2020 and "blocked more than 10 billion suspected bad listings before they were published in our store," the company said in its first "Brand Protection Report." Ars Technica reports: In 2020, "we seized and destroyed more than 2 million products sent to our fulfillment centers and that we detected as counterfeit before being sent to a customer," Amazon's report said. "In cases where counterfeit products are in our fulfillment centers, we separate the inventory and destroy those products so they are not resold elsewhere in the supply chain," the report also said. Third-party sellers can also ship products directly to consumers instead of using Amazon's shipping system. The 2 million fakes found in Amazon fulfillment centers would only account for counterfeit products from sellers using the "Fulfilled by Amazon" service. The counterfeit problem got worse over the past year. "Throughout the pandemic, we've seen increased attempts by bad actors to commit fraud and offer counterfeit products," Amazon VP Dharmesh Mehta wrote in a blog post yesterday. Amazon's new report was meant to reassure legitimate sellers that their products won't be counterfeited. While counterfeits remain a problem for unsuspecting Amazon customers, the e-commerce giant said that "fewer than 0.01 percent of all products sold on Amazon received a counterfeit complaint from customers" in 2020. Of course, people may buy and use counterfeit products without ever realizing they are fake or without reporting it to Amazon, so that percentage may not capture the extent of the problem. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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DHS Launches Warning System To Find Domestic Terrorism Threats On Public Social Media

news - Posted On:2021-05-10 20:14:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: The Department of Homeland Security has begun implementing a strategy to gather and analyze intelligence about security threats from public social media posts, DHS officials said. The goal is to build a warning system to detect the sort of posts that appeared to predict an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but were missed or ignored by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the officials said. The focus is not on the identity of the posters but rather on gleaning insights about potential security threats based on emerging narratives and grievances. So far, DHS is using human beings, not computer algorithms, to make sense of the data, the officials said. "We're not looking at who are the individual posters," said a senior official involved in the effort. "We are looking at what narratives are resonating and spreading across platforms. From there you may be able to determine what are the potential targets you need to protect." The officials didn't describe what criteria or methods the analysts would use to parse the data. They said DHS officials have been consulting with social media companies, private companies and nonprofit groups that analyze open-source social media data. Law enforcement officers and intelligence analysts are legally entitled to examine -- without warrants -- what people say openly on Twitter, Facebook and other public social media forums, just as they can take in information from reading newspapers. But civil liberties groups generally oppose government monitoring of social media, arguing that it doesn't produce much intelligence and risks chilling free speech. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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FDA authorizes Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Science - Posted On:2021-05-10 19:44:59 Source: arstechnica

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents between the ages of 12 to 15, the agency announced Monday evening.

In the announcement, acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock called the authorization “a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic” that will bring the country “closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, echoed that sentiment. He called the ability to vaccinate children and teens “a critical step” in the fight against COVID-19.

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Harley-Davidson Launches All-Electric Motorcycle Brand 'LiveWire'

hardware - Posted On:2021-05-10 19:29:59 Source: slashdot

Harley-Davidson on Monday launched an all-electric motorcycle brand "LiveWire," the latest effort by the company to ramp up bets on the rapidly growing electric-vehicle market. Reuters reports: Named after Harley's first electric motorbike, which was unveiled in [2014], the "LiveWire" division is slated to launch its first branded motorcycle in July. The company had said in February it would create a separate electric vehicle-focused division, as it aims to attract the next generation of younger and more environmentally conscious riders. "We are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV," Chief Executive Officer Jochen Zeitz said in a statement on Monday. "LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future." "There's a new logo and a new 'virtual' headquarters, with engineering teams stationed in Silicon Valley and Milwaukee," notes The Verge. "LiveWire will work with Harley-Davidson dealerships as an independent brand, with a blend of digital and physical retail formats." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Game Developers Break Silence Around Salaries

games - Posted On:2021-05-10 18:44:59 Source: slashdot

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry. Axios reports: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises. In 2020, Blizzard employees shared their salaries anonymously via a spreadsheet to compare compensation. The pay gap between people at the top, and workers on the ground is measurable in hundreds of thousands of dollars -- even when those CEOs take pay cuts. What they're saying: A lead designer on "Hearthstone" working for Blizzard Entertainment: "I started getting paid fairly once I started asking questions. I only started asking questions once I better understood what I was worth. Understanding what your worth can be a difficult question, but this helps." A lead designer at Blackbird Interactive: "Every single person who plays games should take a good look at #GameDevPaidMe and get a sense for what the people who make your art actually make." A senior game designer at Reflector Entertainment: "Don't wait for your employer to give you the raise you deserve, be open to talking to other companies even if you feel you are at a 'great' spot." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Electric Cars 'Will Be Cheaper To Produce Than Fossil Fuel Vehicles By 2027'

technology - Posted On:2021-05-10 18:14:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Electric cars and vans will be cheaper to produce than conventional, fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2027, and tighter emissions regulations could put them in pole position to dominate all new car sales by the middle of the next decade, research has found. By 2026, larger vehicles such as electric sedans and SUVs will be as cheap to produce as petrol and diesel models, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF, with small cars reaching the threshold the following year. The falling cost of producing batteries for electric vehicles, combined with dedicated production lines in carmarkers' plants, will make them cheaper to buy, on average, within the next six years than conventional cars, even before any government subsidies, BloombergNEF found. The new study, commissioned by Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based non-profit organization that campaigns for cleaner transport in Europe, predicts new battery prices will fall by 58% between 2020 and 2030 to $58 per kilowatt hour. A reduction in battery costs to below $100 per kWh, is viewed as an important step towards greater take-up of fully electric vehicles, and would largely remove the financial appeal of hybrid electric vehicles, which combine a battery with a conventional engine. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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FDA Clears Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids Ages 12 To 15

science - Posted On:2021-05-10 17:44:59 Source: slashdot

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Pfizer and BioNTech's request to allow their Covid-19 vaccine to be given to kids ages 12 to 15 on an emergency use basis, allowing states to get middle school students vaccinated before the fall. The two-dose vaccine is already authorized for use in people 16 and older. CNBC reports: Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said the decision brings "us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic." She assured parents that the agency "undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data" before clearing it for use in the teens. The companies said in late March that the vaccine was found to be 100% effective in a clinical trial of more than 2,000 adolescents. They also said the vaccine elicited a "robust" antibody response in the children, exceeding those in an earlier trial of older teens and young adults. Side effects were generally consistent with those seen in adults, they added. Vaccinating children is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic. The nation is unlikely to achieve herd immunity -- when enough people in a given community have antibodies against a specific disease -- until children can get vaccinated, health officials and experts say. Children make up around 20% of the total U.S. population, according to government data. Between 70% and 85% of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated against Covid to achieve herd immunity, experts say, and some adults may refuse to get the shots. Though more experts now say herd immunity is looking increasingly unlikely as variants spread. The report notes that the same two-dose regimen that's use for people 16 years of age and older will also be used for kids ages 12 to 15. FDA approval for kids under age 12 could come in the second half of the year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Apple invests $45 million more in Gorilla Glass-maker Corning

Tech - Posted On:2021-05-10 17:29:59 Source: arstechnica

Apple has invested an additional $45 million in US-based Corning Incorporated, the maker of Gorilla Glass, the companies announced today.

A news release from Apple says the investment will help "expand Corning's manufacturing capacity in the US" and "drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product life."

The investment will come out of Apple's $5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which was established in 2017 to invest in manufacturing jobs and infrastructure in the United States related to Apple's products like the iPhone.

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AMD is Biting at Intel's Server Market Share With Its Largest Gains in Over a Decade

slashdot - Posted On:2021-05-10 17:29:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report: The first few months of 2021 have been absolutely massive for AMD and Intel. According to the latest report from Mercury Research, the first three months of 2021 saw the largest yearly increase in shipments of CPUs in a quarter of a century, and second only to the final moments of 2020 in terms of raw volume. You'd be perhaps surprised to learn that Intel has gained a touch in overall x86 market share in Q1 2021, whereas AMD reportedly lost out. There's only a percentage point in it: a 1% gain for Intel and a 1% loss for AMD, though. Far from major gains in either direction. Mercury Research puts that down to an increase in budget chip shipments for Chipzilla, which tallies with other figures out of the tech giant as of late. But where Intel has gained in mobile processor market share, it loses out marginally in desktop. That's where AMD's Ryzen processors are seemingly crushing it, and despite some difficulty sourcing the top-tier chips, such as the Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 9 5900X, AMD is still managing to make gains within the market predisposed to Intel processors for so long. [...] But perhaps the biggest win in AMD's eyes is the 1.8% increase in server market share quarter to quarter, and 3.8 percent year on year. That means its Epyc processors are selling supremely well against Intel's Xeon chips, and the market that AMD will be most determined to get more of a footing in. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Wildlife is Thriving in Chernobyl 35 Years After the Nuclear Explosion

news - Posted On:2021-05-10 16:44:59 Source: slashdot

In the absence of humans, the region around Chernobyl is being reclaimed by nature. From a report: 35 years ago a total of 350,000 people were evacuated from the territory after one of humanity's worst nuclear disasters. Ukrainian authorities say the area may not be fit for humans for another 24,000 years. Today, however, it serves as Among the Chernobyl exclusion zone, endangered animals thrive, including the stunning Przewalski's horses. For many decades they were considered the last truly wild horse in the world. In the 1970s they were almost rendered extinct in the wild, but a captive breeding program managed to rescue the species from extinction. Today, several hundred live in the wild in the steppes of Asia and in Europe, but there's also a steadily growing population - to the surprise of many - in Chernobyl. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Gas Flaring Declined in 2020, Study Finds

news - Posted On:2021-05-10 16:15:00 Source: slashdot

Gas flaring worldwide decreased by 5 percent in the pandemic year, mostly because of lower demand for oil, according to a recent report from the World Bank. From a report: While the overall drop was expected, the report offered a detailed picture of the flaring activities around the world, with steep declines in some areas, like the United States, and surprising increases in others, notably China. Flaring occurs when the gas that emerges with crude oil is burned off rather than captured. That burning emits carbon dioxide, a gas that is the main contributor to climate change. According to World Bank officials, flaring adds roughly 400 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions to the atmosphere every year. According to the report, Russia was responsible for more flaring overall than any other country in 2020, contributing 15 percent of the global total. But within Russia, there were areas of progress. Burning continued to decrease in the Khanty-Mansi region of Siberia, where flaring volumes have dropped by nearly 80 percent over the previous 15 years. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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It’s the battle of the alien symbiotes in Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2021-05-10 15:30:00 Source: arstechnica

Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road) returns as intrepid reporter Eddie Brock, infected with a parasitic alien symbiote that gives him super powers, in Venom: There Will be Carnage. Directed by motion-capture icon Andy Serkis, it's the sequel to 2018's box-office smash, Venom. After being delayed for nearly a year due to the ongoing pandemic, Sony just dropped the official trailer, in which Brock/Venom must battle serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson, Zombieland), infected with another alien symbiote dubbed Carnage.

(Some spoilers for first film below.)

A Venom film was in development at New Line Cinema back in 1997, although the project didn't really get off the ground until Sony acquired the rights to the character, as well as Spider-Man. Sony initially planned for Venom and Spider-Man to inhabit a shared universe, given their history in the comics. (Spider-Man was Venom's first host, before moving on to Brock, and the character gradually evolved from villain to more of an antihero.) The disappointing box office performance of 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 changed those plans, and Venom was re-conceived as a standalone film, with Tom Hardy signing on as the star and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer agreeing to direct.

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Amazon “seized and destroyed” 2 million counterfeit products in 2020

Biz & IT - Posted On:2021-05-10 15:30:00 Source: arstechnica

Amazon "seized and destroyed" over 2 million counterfeit products that sellers sent to Amazon warehouses in 2020 and "blocked more than 10 billion suspected bad listings before they were published in our store," the company said in its first "Brand Protection Report."

In 2020, "we seized and destroyed more than 2 million products sent to our fulfillment centers and that we detected as counterfeit before being sent to a customer," Amazon's report said. "In cases where counterfeit products are in our fulfillment centers, we separate the inventory and destroy those products so they are not resold elsewhere in the supply chain," the report also said.

Third-party sellers can also ship products directly to consumers instead of using Amazon's shipping system. The 2 million fakes found in Amazon fulfillment centers would only account for counterfeit products from sellers using the "Fulfilled by Amazon" service.

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Apple Suppliers Linked To Uyghur Forced Labor in New Report

apple - Posted On:2021-05-10 15:30:00 Source: slashdot

Several Apple suppliers may have used forced labor in China, according to The Information. From a report: Working with two human rights groups, the publication identified seven companies that supplied products or services to Apple and supported forced labor programs, according to statements made by the Chinese government. The programs target the country's Muslim minority population, particularly Uyghurs living in Xinjiang. Six of the seven suppliers were said to participate in work programs operated by the Chinese government, The Information reports, which human rights groups describe as frequently offering cover for forced labor. Workers can be jailed for refusing to join the work programs, the report says, and those enrolled in the programs are often moved far from their homes. One of the suppliers operated in Xinjiang, the region of China predominantly populated by Uyghurs and where the most egregious human rights violations have reportedly taken place. The companies supplied Apple with antennas, cables, and coatings, among other products and services, according to The Information. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Thousands of Tor Exit Nodes Attacked Cryptocurrency Users Over the Past Year

it - Posted On:2021-05-10 14:59:59 Source: slashdot

For more than 16 months, a threat actor has been seen adding malicious servers to the Tor network in order to intercept traffic and perform SSL stripping attacks on users accessing cryptocurrency-related sites. From a report: The attacks, which began in January 2020, consisted of adding servers to the Tor network and marking them as "exit relays," which are the servers through which traffic leaves the Tor network to re-enter the public internet after being anonymized. But since January 2020, a threat actor has been inserting thousands of malicious servers into the Tor network to identify traffic heading to cryptocurrency mixing websites and perform an SSL stripping attack, which is when traffic is downgraded from an encrypted HTTPS connection to plaintext HTTP. The belief is that the attacker has been downgrading traffic to HTTP in order to replace cryptocurrency addresses with their own and hijack transactions for their own profit. The attacks are not new and were first documented and exposed last year, in August, by a security researcher and Tor node operator known as Nusenu. At the time, the researcher said the attacker managed to flood the Tor network with malicious Tor exit relays on three occasions, peaking their attack infrastructure at around 23% of the entire Tor network's exit capacity before being shut down by the Tor team on every occasion. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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By eating them, hyenas gathered 9 Neanderthal skeletons in one cave

Science - Posted On:2021-05-10 14:45:00 Source: arstechnica

Archaeologists in Italy recently unearthed the remains of at least nine Neanderthals in Guattari Cave, near the Tyrrhenian Sea about 100 km southeast of Rome. While excavating a previously unexplored section of the cave, archaeologists from the Archaeological Superintendency of Latina and the University of Tor Vergata recently unearthed broken skulls, jawbones, teeth, and pieces of several other bones, which they say represent at least nine Neanderthals. That brings the cave’s total to at least 10; anthropologist Alberto Carlo Blanc found a Neanderthal skull in another chamber in 1939.

Italy was a very different place 60,000 years ago. Hyenas, along with other Pleistocene carnivores, stalked rhinoceroses, wild horses (an extinct wild bovine called aurochs), and people.

“Neanderthals were prey for these animals. Hyenas hunted them, especially the most vulnerable, like sick or elderly individuals,” Tor Vergata University archaeologist Mario Rolfo told The Guardian. The archaeologists found the Neanderthal remains mingled with the bones of rhinos, giant deer, wild horses, and other hyenas. Predators and scavengers tend to leave behind different parts of the skeleton than, say, flowing water or simple burial—and tooth marks are usually a dead giveaway.

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