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Paleoanthropologists Fight Tooth and Nail

Ann Gibbons, reporter for Science, seems to enjoy watching the fights about human ancestry.  At Science Now, she began a news item about an alleged fossil human ancestor with a joke: How many paleoanthropologists does it take to locate a molar on the correct side of a fossil jawbone?  The short answer to this joke, […]

The Evolution of Irresponsibility

Evolutionists at the University of Minnesota have developed a theory for the evolution of impulsive behavior, reports EurekAlert.  They say that because our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they had to grab what they could without thought of future reward or punishment: When psychologists study kids who are good at waiting for a reward, they find those […]

Archaeology Is Hindered by Evolutionary Assumptions

Why was a complex village uncovered in Uruguay called “unexpected”?  Peter W. Stahl (anthropology, Binghamtom U.) asks the question in the Dec. 2 issue of Nature:1 Evidence of unexpected complexity in an ancient community in Uruguay is a further blow to the conventional view of prehistoric development in marginal areas of lowland South America.   […]

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Blurs

How was National Geographic able to publish an artist’s reconstruction of Homo floriensis (aka Hobbit Man) the same day Nature published the find? (See 10/27/2004 headline).  Martin Kemp (U. of Oxford, UK) explains in the Dec. 2 issue1 how Peter Schouten, an artist, got the gig: Tim Flannery, director of the South Australian Museum …. […]

Middle Earth in Indonesia?  Fossil “Hobbits” Smash Evolutionary Ring

Here we go again: another alleged human ancestor fossil that shakes up the evolutionary family tree.  No sooner had Nature1 announced a little 1-meter tall fossil female “hominin” that the discoverers classified as Homo erectus, that the science news media like MSNBC and the BBC flew into action reporting it as “fossil hobbits”  They seem […]

Neandertal Promoted to Fully Human

The myth of the brutish, subhuman Neandertal is apparently almost dead.  Science1 Oct. 1 showed a picture of him in a business suit in an article entitled, “Dressed for Success: Neandertal Culture Wins Respect.”  Michael Balter writes, “respect is growing for Neandertals” as evidence mounts that they made jewelry, wore clothing, and survived a variety […]

Human Common Ancestor Lived 3500 Years Ago

Nature Science Update reported on a surprising find by Joseph Change (Yale) and Douglas Rohde (MIT).  They claim, based on computer modeling of human breeding and migration, that we are all related to the same common ancestor, not millions, but just thousands of years ago, possibly just 1500 BC in Asia, and that perhaps a […]

Name-Calling at the Human Evolution Meeting

As predicted earlier this month (see 09/03/2004 commentary), Lucy’s lovers were not going to take her demotion lying down.  Proponents of Orrorin claim their 6 million year old rival walked upright millions of years before the 2-4 million year old australopithecines, and even had a gait more human-like than Lucy.  To Ann Gibbons, reporting in […]

Scientists Try to Read Neandertal Minds

If dead men tell no tales, living ones certainly do.  Most of us have trouble reading one another’s minds when staring face to face, but some paleoanthropologists, with nothing but skeletons and a few stone tools and burial sites to look at, have no hesitation in reading the Neandertal mind.  Bruce Bower writes in Science […]

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 […]
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