Anthropology news

A Negritoe Migration?

Negritoes are a very obvious minority population element in various parts of SE Asia and the Pacific, and once lived in India (and still inhabit the Andaman Islands) and various other places enroute (even in the Malayan peninsular), and it could be argued they represent a well defined migration, an Out of Africa movement that has some reality. At www.gmanews.tv/print/197541/ a footbone has been found in a cave in the Philippines that has been dated as early as 67,000 years  ago.

Homo erectus

At www.nature.com/news.2010/100728/full/news.2010.377.html there is a news report issued by Nature on attempts to date, both geologically and historically, a cache of Homo erectus fossils discovered in the 1930s, together with 25,000 vertebrate remains, in Java. Homo erectus in Indonesia potentially lived until the Late Pleistocene at the same time as Homo sapiens inhabited other parts of the world. An expedition back to the site has been made and the bone bed reopened and extended.

Neanderthal diet

We often hear about the Neanderthal diet - lots of meat. They hunted mammoths using only wooden spears - and approached near enough to get a shot into a vital spot - but is this picture true? A study in Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia repeats the same old stereo-type, prompted by some Russian research on an arm-bone of a Neanderthal that had lived some 100,000 years ago.

Jewish Origins

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603123207.htm genome analysis has probed Jewish genetics - or distinctly Jewish populations (see American Journal of Human Genetics June 2010). The idea is to find out if there is a distinctly Jewish race - which is a bit of a stupid question as Judaism is a religion and must embrace more than one strand of human genetics.

Genetic research in Africa

At www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-researchers-add-genetic-data-archaeology.html there is a report, or news flash, about genetic research they hope will shed light on the demographic history of Africa as it is now known from anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic studies, and it is being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It is nice to read some research which does not mention global warming.

Diminutive humans in trees

At http://news.discovery.com/human/get-ready-for-more-proto-humans.html May 24th ... there is a story of another hominid addition to the human fossil bank, Homo gautengensis. Found in South Africa and just 3 feet tall it spent a lot of time in trees and had big teeth adapted to chewing plant material. The past few years have witnessed a lot of new discoveries and it seems anthropologists have in the possession bones that await study and clarification.

Neanderthals and Genes.

Science Daily May 6th (see www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100506141559.htm ) the fossil record indicates modern humans differ physically from Neanderthals.

Reachable Stars

In Reachable Stars: Patterns in Ethno-astronomy of Eastern North America, George Langford, University of Alabama Press: 2007. Ethno-astronomy is one of those amusing word constructs that is basically a woolly way of describing star based Native American myths and legends. Anyway, it is a compilation of stories that took many years to pull together.

Human Origins

One of the big consensus theories is that human origins are closely bound up with the Out of Africa theory. Conventional science outlets and the popular media, such as the BBC, constantly cite the theory as fact as if there was no alternative anthropological ideas. The theory is especially vexious to some as it assumes a pure Homo sapiens strain migrated out of the African continent at some point between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago and all other human groups, including Neanderthals for example, or Homo erectus, have no imput in modern genes.

Dating anomalies

Science News (www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id58346 ) April 16th ... new age estimates for Homo erectus fossils from Java have produced puzzling results. Anthrolopologists thought Homo erectus had survived on Java until 30,000 years ago - but the new dating method indicates they died out much earlier. The difference is due to the application of differing dating methodologies.