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Step Aside, Lucy; Your Distant Ancestor Walked Upright, Researchers Claim

Penn State researchers are trying to scoop the coveted title of “discoverers of the first upright-walking hominid” with a CT scan of their champion, Orrorin (see 02/23/2001 headline).  They have the ball and socket joint of the specimen (thought to be like a chimpanzee) and a bit of the bony neck that connects the ball […]

British Cave Art Wins Admiration

The British are overtaking the French in the ancient cave art competition; National Geographic News reports that “English caves may hold the most elaborate Ice Age cave-art ceiling ever discovered.”  Thought to be 12,000 to 13,000 years old based on radiocarbon results and “stylistic comparison.”  There was some surprise that the art could have survived […]

Zoo Monkey Walks Upright

For what it’s worth, there’s a story going around about a macaque in an Israeli zoo started walking on its hind legs after a near-death experience (see MSNBC News and picture).  One news source is calling it a missing link, another claiming the strange behavior is due to brain damage. This calls for a monkey […]

Maybe Neanderthals Were Artists After All

Revised dating of human bones near figurines has cast an assumption about early humans into doubt, reports Nature Science Update.  Aurignacian artefacts, like horse figurines and other carved images, have long been thought to be telltale indicators of modern man.  Vogelherd cave near Ulm, Germany was considered the best example, because sandwiched between modern human […]

Another Hominid Find Rocks the Charts

Another hominid skull dubbed OL 45500 has been reported in Science,1 a juvenile said to belong to Homo erectus.  Its classification is problematic because it exhibits a mosaic of features rather than fitting neatly into an evolutionary sequence.  The scientists state, “Although the cranium represents possibly the smallest adult or near-adult known between 1.7 and […]

Key to Evolution of Culture Suggested

Visualize chimpanzees exercising their antics in the jungle: grooming, screeching at one another, chasing off rivals.  Now shift the scene to human activities in a large city: fans cheering their team at a stadium, an audience applauding a concert, kids screaming on an amusement park roller coaster, a congregation singing hymns at church, students taking […]

Modern Cavemen Found

National Geographic News has a remarkable true story about some families that lived underground in the darkness and dampness of a cave for nearly two years in recent times.  And now, the rest of the story: they were Jews hiding out from the Nazis. This incredible story of survival in the midst of danger points […]

Humans and Chimps Compared

In case you had an identity crisis last time at the zoo, Current Biology can provide psychoanalysis.  The May 25 issue posted two articles side by side: one, simply entitled “Humans,”1 and the other, “Chimps.”2  Various comparisons are contrasts are drawn, including a few surprising facts, such as this statement: “Based on relative amounts of […]

Early Humans Refused to Be Classified

We humans like to classify things, and when we classify ourselves, we sometimes get into trouble.  We create groups of “us” and “them” that breed conflicts.  A fight of sorts is going on between paleoanthropologists, reports Science News1 May 22, over what to make of some skulls found in a cave in Romania.  The skulls […]

Neanderthals Matured Faster

The news media are all echoing a story out of Nature April 291 that Neanderthals matured by age 15, as indicated by their teeth.  A News and Views article in the same issue by Jay Kelley2 begins, It is nearly 150 years since the existence of Neanderthals was first recognized, but debate about their relationship […]

Another Human Distinctive: Lying

Here’s another evolutionary conundrum: animals usually don’t tell lies.  Why is lying such a well-documented human trait, but rare in the animal kingdom?  Animals signal their own and their enemies in many complex ways.  It would seem that lying would have evolved as a useful strategy many times in the animal kingdom, yet apparently it […]

Eugenics Documentary Opens at Holocaust Museum

Michael Ollove at the Baltimore Sun reports on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum entitled Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.  The exhibit shows a 1937 Nazi propaganda film that invokes the law of natural selection as support for weeding out the unfit.  Ollove writes, The narrator declares that “we humans have sinned […]

Neanderthals Not Our Cousins, Expert Claims

The news media are reporting claims that Neanderthals and modern humans never interbred, based on work from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.  Both EurekAlert and Nature Science Update repeat the claim that the institute’s study of DNA and bones from four Neanderthals and five modern humans from scattered locations rules out any interbreeding. […]

The Paleoanthropologist Mantra: “We Need More Fossils!”

Everyone join in and chant “the mantra of all paleontologists: We need more fossils!”  If you are a seeker of bones that might give clues of human ancestry, repeating this phrase might relieve stress.     In quotes above is the concluding line of an editorial by David R. Begun in the March 5 issue […]

Evolution of Language Debated

The Feb. 27 issue of Science features the topic of the evolution of language.1  The thousands of words in 10 articles might be summarized by the title of a book review by Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy: “Many Perspectives, No Consensus.”2 Since there are many perspectives and no consensus, language evolution is one of the subjects Darwinists love.  […]
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