Anthropology news

genetic mystery

A post at http://anthropology.net (20th July 2012) is about a new paper published in the journal Cell, 'Evolutionary History and Adaptation from High Coverage Whole-Genome Sequencing of Diverse African Hunter Gatherers' - focussed on Pygmies from Cameroon and Khoesan Hadza and Sadawe (Tanzania). Their genetic diversity is surprising. The researchers were led to believe an otherwise unknown hominid or early human group has left a mark on the genetic history of these peoples. This led to Richard Klein saing the conclusions were irresponsible.

Neanderthals ... another assumption bites the dust

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718192007.htm ... the unique arm morphology of Neanderthals, thought to be due to coming up close to their prey and thrusting with their spears, is now found to be due to scraping activities, such as hide preparation. So, the idea of Neanderthals as big strong spear thrusters has taken a tumble - what evidence is there for close quarters hunting activity now? The article is in PLsS ONE 2012 7(7)ie40349 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0040349

Paisley Caves in Oregon

To begin with, George Howard has set up a series of You Tube videos on his web site that will interest catastrophists in general. They are mostly to do with the Younger Dryas boundary event - with some panel discussion at different conferences - see www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL28A35F70BD8CA0A8&feature=plcp and http://cosmictusk.com/now-showing-tusk-tv/

Clever Neanderthals ... until this is dusted down in flames

At http://anthropology.net/2012/06/14/were-paleolithic-european-cave-painti... is an argument that revolves around the viability of dating techniques and whether methodologies different to C14 are singing from the same hymn sheet. In that respect, a new paper might very well debunk this one very quickly. In the meantime we have a paper in Science that wonders if Neanderthals rather than modern humans were responsible for some of the cave art - in this instance, in Spain.

Pit of Bones ... controversy

Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in Kensington is at loggerheads with Spanish fellow palaeontologists over the dating of human fossils at Atapuerco in northern Spain - see the controversy as reported in The Observer at www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jun/10/fossil-dating-row-sima-huesos-spa...

Asian Roots

An article in the Australian science magazine, Cosmos - see www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5651/early-primates-originated-asia-migrated... is a funny kind of piece that has been published in the journal PNAS. Is it biased? Does it extrapolate a theory out of thin air? It seems that some anthropologists would be happy if early primates and hominids had an origin in Asia rather than Africa - but does any of this matter to anyone?

Lower Pecos rock art

At http://discovermagazine.com/2012/may/11-decoding-ancient-secrets-of-whit... ... the Lower Pecos is an arid expanse situated in SW Texasand somewhat remote from the beaten track. Some 4000 years ago it was populated bya people that have left behind a considerable amount of wall to wall rock art in shallow caves and rock shelters. They include human figures, deer, birds, rabbits, snakes, coyote, mountain lion and various desert animals.

The arrival of modern humans in europe

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092226.htm ... the Aurignacian culture people were living in SW Germany from as early as 43,000 years ago, it is now being argued. They are thought to be responsible for rock and cave art and various other innovations (but there is a certain amount of prejudice involved here and acceptance of paradigms others might not agree with).

Blondes and genes

It seems blonde hair is not confined to Scandinavia and Europe as up to ten per cent of Melanesians, who are somewhat black in skin colour, also have blonde hair. This trait didn't come from sex starved ships crew from the West either - a study has shown it evolved long before contact with foreigners in boats looking for girls in grass skirts (see www.nature.com/news/blonde-hair-evolved-more-thanonce-1.10587 (the study was published in the journal Science).