Existence of Neanderthals Supports MRE

From this article above, research has been conducted on the oldest Neanderthal skeletal fossil found in Germany, supporting the MRE theory by the neanderthals gene pool slowly decreasing as mutation occurred due to changes in diet, weather patterns, and other environmental factors. This sub species was not able to survive, yet gave production to the homo sapiens, even though some homo sapiens had never been Neanderthals. They state the reason for this was for temporary and unique evolutionary factors that turned to become obsolete after generations

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals/neanderthal-mitochondrial-dna

Inspiring Mummification

I found this article on the National Geographic website:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/08/pictures/120813-mummies-chinchorro-proceedings-desert-driest-chile/#/death-cult-mummies-desert-shore_58198_600x450.jpg

 

The article consists of a collection of photographs of bodies preserved either by natural or artificial processes (the artificial process being called mummification). It is thought by some archaeologists that mummification done by ancient people was inspired by them finding naturally preserved bodies in dry environments such as the desert and trying to replicate the process. It is very interesting to me to see how ancient cultural activities that seem so strange to us had been motivated. I sometimes wonder if the ancient peoples ever considered that people in later centuries would find and study the things that they left behind.

Old World monkeys and apes diverged later than thought

I was surfing the internet and saw this article on the national geographic website…

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/05/old_world_monkeys_and_apes_diverged_later/

Based off of fossil evidence, scientists have believed that Old World monkeys and apes diverged somewhere between 29 and 34.5 million years ago. But recent discoveries of skulls such as the Saadanius hijazensis have given scientists reason to believe that the split between the ape-human lineage and the Old World monkeys happened closer to 24 or 25 million years ago. This article relates to this course because we have learned all about primate lineages and the evolution of primates which this directly concerns. I thought this article was very enlightening and I think it’s cool that a few fossil discoveries can shift everyones theories about when Old World monkeys and apes diverged.

Missing Link in Human Evolution

I was browsing the web and came across this article on national geographic…

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0413_060413_evolution.html

Scientists have discovered more fossils that are similar to “Lucy” found in the 1970s. These new fossils found in the Afar desert of Ethiopia are thought to have been from the Australopithecus anamensis species and date back to about 4.1 million years ago. This relates to this course because scientists are always looking for new fossil specimens and when some are found they can look at remodeling what we already know about our past. I thought this was an interesting article because it shows relates directly to this course and it’s always neat when new discoveries are made.

humanae

http://humanae.tumblr.com/

I stumbled upon this project by a woman named Angelica Dass. She’s compiling pictures of people form the shoulders up, sampling pixels from their faces to calculate their unique skin color. I found it via a website called ‘curiosity counts’, which has a hoard of unrelated things, but among them was a link to this, which said “At last! Someone debunking that the color “Flesh” is more than taupe.”

I thought this was a neat idea that tied in with our Section 6 activities on Race. As I scrolled through them, I realized that not only did the concepts of skin tone categories blur, but other features did, too- hair color, eye color, noses, ears, face shapes, mouths, it all became jumbled, with each persons features uniquely different, and yet, on such a grand scale almost indistinguishable.

I think it would be neat to propose a similar activity as we did in Section 6, when we were asked to associate countries with races, but with these pictures. What is the person’s country of origin? What is their race? (Even, what language do they speak, or with what accent?)

Definitely striking to see.

Extreme Cave Diving

I had been skimming through Netflix instant the other day, and came across a PBS/National Geographic video on “extreme cave diving”. It hooked me in because it seemed like such a scary, risky thing to do: literally diving into the unknown. I ended up watching it because of this interest, thinking it might have a thread or two of connection to this course.

The video follows along a team which includes an anthropologist and a smattering of other divers (a camera man, etc), who take a series of dives in the Bahamas, into what they call “blue holes”, which are water-filled caves (either inland or among the shallow waters) that appear a bright blue because of their depth. Back when the islands had been above sea level during the ice age, rain hollowed out these ‘caves’ into the islands, and as sea levels rose again with the recession of glacial ice, forming an interesting niche to explore.

The dangers that go with any cave exploration exist (cave-ins and such), but the team also has to deal with the much greater dangers of doing so under water! The disorientation and lack of visibility (laying lines to follow and find their way back out), seemed especially nerve-wracking.

It was really interesting to me to see how even such a specific facet of, or job in, anthropology can be so interconnected with other sciences, scientists, and current projects. They uncovered skeletal remains that had been preserved from a lack of oxygen that deep in the blue hole, and even discovered bones from a number of new bird species, as well as a big ol’ crocodile skull, fully intact.

The video is almost an hour long, but if you’re interested and have a little time to kill, I thought it was worth a watch.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1405567128/

The Faces of our Ancestors

I found this article on discovery news where a group of scientists got together and made models of our early ancestors.

http://news.discovery.com/human/early-human-ancestors-faces.html

I found this article interesting because it shows pictures of what our ancestors looked like. a lot of these species in this article we learned about such as Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus. I liked how we already learned about these species then getting to see them.

Lucy’s neighbors discovered

I was on national geographic’s website and I saw an article about the fossil named Lucy that I found interesting.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/120328-lucy-fossil-foot-science-australopithecus-trees-evolution/

This article discusses how newly discovered fossils could be the same species as Lucy and found in the same area. We learned about Lucy early in this course so I had some background knowledge before reading this article.I found this article interesting because Lucy’s species doesn’t have many known fossils so maybe we will be able to learn more.

Seagoing Hominids

http://news.discovery.com/history/ancient-hominids-sailors-seas.html

This was stated in one of the Becoming Human videos that we watched and it really intrigued me. I didn’t know if it was out dated information or not, so I did some research on it. While we still don’t know why they traveled on the sea, it is widely accepted that they did.

It is fascinating that our ancient ancestors that could not even speak, could and did risk their lives on the open ocean. The researchers that study this think that the early hominids used some sort of raft to make their way over to islands.

New Fossils Indicate Early Branching of Human Family Tree

After writing my Unit 2 Essay, I became interested in the possible evolutionary relationships between hominids.  Browsing through the science section of The New York Times online, I came across this very interesting article…

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/science/new-fossils-indicate-offshoots-in-human-family-tree.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=evolution 

Scientists have recently discovered three new fossil specimens in the Koobi Fora region of Kenya, Africa.  The fossils show that there are at least two other Homo species that lived approximately two million years ago (alongside Homo erectus).  Dr. Fred Spoor, a member of the discovery team and the director of the fossil analysis, states that “human evolution is not this straight line it was once thought to be.”  East Africa was a very crowded place with multiple species.  This is very interesting to me, for there is so much more research needed to be done in order to finally pin down the truth about hominid lineage.  There are so many theories out there; it will be interesting to see when another breakthrough discovery will present itself.  This article relates to the theories presented in Chapter 8 in our Human Antiquity text book.