The Japanese Macaque

After watching “Life in the Trees” by David Attenborough in Unit Two, I became interested in learning more about the Japanese Macaque.  I went on Youtube and found a short, 5-minute video on these interesting monkeys…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhM_v5SOPaI

These monkeys reside in the Japanese Alps where temperatures drop to -4 degrees Fahrenheit.  The Japanese Macaque has dense, thick layers of fur that help it withstand the brutal temperatures.  They are clever primates that have acquired different ways of foraging for the limited food in the region.  The Japanese Alps were made by volcanoes that are still active.  Within the volcanoes exists hot, thermal springs that the Macaque’s flock to avoid the brutal cold.  The springs reach a staggering 106 degrees Fahrenheit, but not all are welcome to enjoy the ‘spa.’  The Japanese Macaque’s have a rank-based society.  Only the highest ranking Macaque’s and their infants are welcome to enjoy the springs.  Others are forced out if they try to trespass.  Throughout the video, the monkeys groom one another; this promotes social cohesion (Unit Two).  Overall, I truly enjoyed this video.  I learned a lot more about this interesting monkey; this video portrays how the Macaque’s had to adapt to such irregular extremes, through time and space.  Visibly, they are successful.

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.