Human evolution

Neanderthals died out due to intermarriage with modern humans, mathematicians say

In “Neanderthals: Bad luck and its part in their downfall” (New Scientist, 07 April 2011), Mark Buchanantells us, The popular theory has it that humans soon displaced Neanderthals thanks to their superior skills and adaptations. But mathematicians Armando Neves at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Maurizio Serva at the Read More…

Human evolution

Human evolution: Did stone tools really change human hands?

In “Stone Tools Influenced Hand Evolution in Human Ancestors, Anthropologists Say,” (ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2011), we learn (repeated twice more in a single short piece), that New research from anthropologists at the University of Kent has confirmed Charles Darwin’s speculation that the evolution of unique features in the human hand was influenced by increased tool Read More…

Human evolution

Two challenges for KL – (fossil) Lucy’s defender

A most interesting discussion has got started here at “But ‘Lucy’ herself is mostly an artifact”. Commenter KL got it going, I suspect, by observing that I certainly don’t consider you hicks. However, my spouse and associates are primate researchers, physical anthropologists, geologists and archeologists. It’s strange to come here and see their work dismissed Read More…

Human evolution

Examining claims for Neanderthal ancestry in humans

In “Q&A: Who is H. sapiens really, and how do we know?” (BMC Biology 2011, 9:20doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-20), Mason Liang and Rasmus Neilsen explain reasons for thinking that humans and Neanderthals interbred: Is it true that modern humans have Neanderthals and other archaic species in their direct ancestry?  According to two recently published papers by Green et Read More…

Human evolution

Coffee!! Warm beer and raw eggs explain migration to Europe

Massively. In “Fire did not spark human colonisation of cold Europe”, we learn that one particular treasured Darwin myth – humans accidentally discovered fire, and then everything happens – might not be so. “The European evidence strongly suggests that the habitual and controlled use of fire was a late phenomenon,” Villa and Roebroeks conclude.  The Read More…

Human evolution

Human evolution: No. I. Do. Not. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

I just couldn’t. From ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011), we learn “Missing DNA Helps Make Us Human”: Tracing the expression of the protein through development, Kingsley and his colleagues concluded that the sequence contributes to the development of sensory whiskers found on the faces of many mammals, and prickly surface spines found on the penises of Read More…

Human evolution

Coffee!! with your human evolution: Scientists have seen your future and it is Fat City Central

Or maybe not. From Britain’s Independent (Olly Bootle, 28 February 2011), we learn, “Our species is still evolving, but future humans might be more like Danny DeVito than Stuart Broad”: The realisation that differing fertility levels might be driving change in our species has led evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns, from Yale University, to look at Read More…

Human evolution

“Ardi continues to shake the human family tree” # 29 of Discover Mag’s top 100 stories 2010

Ardi is a 4.4-million-year-old fossil female, considered a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees, was bipedal but reported to have lived in woodlands. That threw into doubt the great savannah myth of human origins. Not long after, came the “backlash”, as writer Jill Neimark puts it, when other authorities contended that she did live on the Read More…

Human evolution

Coffee!! Wake up to the smell of deep fried onions …

This from the Onion to start your day: Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back To One Large Goat ‘Wait, That Can’t Be Right,’ Scientists Say FEBRUARY 17, 2011 | ISSUE 47•07 As their colleagues huddled together and whispered behind them, researchers from Australia and Japan explained how one 6-foot-tall goat with a hominid skeletal structure spawned Read More…

Evolution Human evolution

Templeton’s Love Affair with Evolution

This just in from the Templeton Foundation. They’re convinced that all informed scientific criticism of evolutionary theory died long ago. Check out especially the following link: www.templeton.org/evolution. Does evolution explain human nature? Three distinguished scholars explored this Big Question during a recent discussion sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, Yale University, and Discover magazine. The Read More…