'Ancient' skeleton unearthed in Sri Lanka
Archaeologists in Sri Lanka have unearthed an ancient human skeleton from Fa Hien Cave in the district of Kalutara, Western Province, Sri Lanka. The find, thought to be homo sapien, is the first complete prehistoric human skeleton unearthed in the country; items excavated from the same layer as the remains have been confirmed as dating back 37,000 years. Stone and bone tools were also unearthed, as well as ornaments made of beads and weapons made of animal bone.
Sketches for one of Walt Disney’s earliest characters, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, have been animated for the first time – 85 years after they were first drawn. Oswald, who was born in 1927 – one year before Mickey Mouse – was created by Walt Disney and animator Ub Iwerks while the former was working at Universal. The lucky rabbit starred in 26 cartoons in the 1920s and 1930s, but Disney had to relinquish control of the character when he left Universal. Oswald, with his oversized ears, big eyes and shorts, is often seen as a precursor to Mickey Mouse.
Richard J Evans, regius professor of history at the University of Cambridge, has been awarded a knighthood for services to scholarship in the Queen’s birthday honours.
A specialist in the Third Reich, Sir Richard is a prolific author and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine. His books include Death in Hamburg (winner of the Wolfson Literary Award for History) and In Defence of History, which has so far been translated into eight languages.
A 1927 painting by artist Joan Miro has sold for £23.5 million at auction in London, a new auction record for the Spanish painter. Peinture (Etoile Bleue), which translates as Painting (Blue Star), was expected to fetch no more than £15 million, but has tripled in price since it was last sold in 2007. At the same auction, which took place at Sotheby’s, Pablo Picasso's Homme Assis sold for £6.2 million.
The woman who bore the world's first in vitro fertilisation (IVF) baby has died at the age of 64. Lesley Brown received the pioneering treatment after trying to conceive naturally for nine years, and gave birth to a daughter, Louise, in 1978 – the first of around four million children to be born through in vitro fertilisation. The treatment was administered by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards – the latter won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010 for devising the technique, which has been described as “a milestone of modern medicine”. You can read more about the history of IVF at the BBC website.
It may be raining across much of the UK, but today is the official start of summer. Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge to observe the summer solstice, an event celebrated by thousands of pagans across the world. This year, however, revellers were forced to look to their watches to mark the moment as cloud cover hid the sunrise. The monument is believed to have been an important religious site for early Britons around 4,000 years ago, but modern-day pagan celebrations at Stonehenge only really began in the 20th century. You can see pictures of celebrations at Stonehenge through the years at the BBC website.