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April 21st, 2013

Excellent Survey for the General Reader

April 21, 2013

Masters of the Planet

by Ian Tattersall

Palgrave MacMillan 2012

266 pp., illistrations, $17.64 from Amazon

Reviewed by Jay Greene

April 14th, 2013

Controversial Puzzle Remains

April 14, 2013

A puzzling set of fossils, discovered near Johannesburg in 2008 and surrounded by controversy from the first, are back in the news and both the puzzle and the controversy are no nearer resolution.  Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand and his son uncovered the first of these fossils.

February 20th, 2013

Lucy completes US tour - SoCal is last stop

February 20, 2013

The world famous 3 million year old fossil nicknamed Lucy has been touring the United States for the past five years and is now headed home to her place of origin, Ethiopia. Discovered by Donald Johansson, founder of the Institute of Human Origins, in 1974 is making her last stop in the US and is on exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California through April 28.

February 9th, 2013

Agassiz - Creator or Creationist?

February 09, 2013

Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science
Author: Christoph Irmscher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 2013. 448 pp. $35

Reviewed by Kevin Padian in Nature

February 8th, 2013

Ancient sediments to yield secrets

February 08, 2013

A large scale, transdisciplinary research effort seeking to match ocean core samples by drilling into ancient lake sediments will commence in East Africa this summer, it has been announced by Arizona State University and the Institute of human origins.

February 8th, 2013

Crafting stone and hypotheses

February 08, 2013

The changing way we view evidence is a lot like knapping stone to make a tool. We chip away at one idea and shape it into something different. John Shea is a noted archaeologist and iconoclast, arguing“advances” in stone tool technology were responses to particular needs and not necessarily evidence of increased cognition.

December 18th, 2012

An Infamous But Instructive Story

December 18, 2012

One hundred years ago today an amateur scientist named Charles Dawson announced his discovery in 1908 of an ancient skull,  immediately dubbed “ Piltdown man”, in a gravel pit near the town of Piltdown, England . Thus began an infamous but ultimately instructive series of events in the annals of science.

October 7th, 2012

Big brained humans

October 07, 2012

We humans have the largest brain relative to body weight, compared to all other animals.  On average the human brain is three times the size that of our nearest primate relative, the chimpanzee.  Why is this so? In a think piece in last week’s edition of the journal Science, Michael Balter summarizes some of the hypotheses.

September 2nd, 2012

Genome of Near Relative Analyzed

September 02, 2012

The importance of genetic research in helping us understand diversity among our ancestors is playing an ever more important part. Last week a paper in the journal Science Express cast new light on a previously dimly glimpsed people referred to as the Denisovans.

September 2nd, 2012

Newly Found Fossils, Same Old Puzzle

September 02, 2012

A Nature paper in early August announced the finding of  dramatic fossils and refocused attention on the significance of fossils found decades ago.  The team led by Meave Leakey said bones found at Koobi Foora near the shores of Lake Turkana resembled those found forty years ago near this same location.