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Neandertal ancestry, going, going, ..., gone (?)

A deluge of new data from Upper Paleolithic Europe will give us all a lot to think about. It is incredible that Neandertal ancestry seems to have decreased over time in Europe (Oase1 is off-cline with lots of extra Neandertal ancestry from a recent genealogical Neandertal in the family tree). Show More Summary

More on Kennewick Man

A new technical report re-analyzes the data of Rasmussen et al. study on Kennewick man and confirms that he is related to Native Americans. From the report:We find the Kennewick sample has the highest shared similarity to Native American...Show More Summary

The developmental obstetrical dilemma

Alik Huseynov and colleagues have a data-rich paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examining age-related changes in the human pelvis: “Developmental evidence for obstetric adaptation of the human female pelvis”. Show More Summary

Bursts in human male demography

From the paper:When the tree is calibrated with a mutation rate estimate of 0.76 × 10-9 mutations per base pair per year9, the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of the tree is ~190,000 years, but we consider the implications of alternative mutation rate estimates below. Show More Summary

Mitochondrial evidence of introgression among North American mammoths

Hendrik Poinar and colleagues have a new paper in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution that reports new mitochondrial genomes from 67 North American mammoth specimens. These include specimens attributed to three mammoth species defined by paleontologists, the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), the Jefferson mammoth (M. Show More Summary

Dmanisi and dispersal of Homo from Africa

Discover last April ran a feature article about the finds from Dmanisi. They have made this available online: “The First Humans to Know Winter”. Dmanisi is in some ways a keystone: Earliest site to preserve evidence of fossil humans outside of Africa, earliest site with clear evidence of H. Show More Summary

Link: Costs of scientific publishing

Jonathan Tennant and colleagues have a new review of the impacts of open access scientific publishing: “The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review”. The review comments on the costs of traditional...Show More Summary

Jewish and Indian ancestry in the Bene Israel

PLoS ONE 11(3): e0152056. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152056 The Genetics of Bene Israel from India Reveals Both Substantial Jewish and Indian Ancestry Yedael Y. Waldman, Arjun Biddanda, Natalie R. Davidson, Paul Billing-Ross, Maya Dubrovsky, Christopher L. Show More Summary

Link: The origin of peer review

Nature has an essay by Alex Csiszar recounting the first episode of peer review by the Royal Society, negotiated between William Whewell and John Lubbock on a paper about orbital motions by George Airy in 1831: “Peer review: Troubled from the start”. Show More Summary

Link: Discover magazine on South African hominin sites

Discover magazine did its March, 2016 cover story on the recent hominin discoveries of South Africa, including Rising Star and Malapa, and other important finds. They have now made that article available online: “Rethinking Humanity’s Roots”. Link: Discover magazine on South African hominin sites was originally published by John Hawks at john hawks weblog on April 23, 2016.

Genetic flatlining of island foxes

Carl Zimmer’s article on “Foxes That Endure Despite a Lack of Genetic Diversity” is interesting and useful: However the animals arrived on the Channel Islands, they adapted quickly. The oldest island fox fossils date back 7,000 years and show that they were small even then. Show More Summary

Lee Berger named to Time 100

Lee Berger had been named one of the “Pioneers” in the Time 100 Most Influential People. It’s quite an accomplishment for any anthropologist to make such a list, and it’s great to see the impact of recent fossil hominin discoveries ranking...Show More Summary

Australopithecus sediba fossils now on MorphoSource

Lee Berger gave the luncheon plenary lecture at the meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists last Saturday, covering the recent discoveries from the Dinaledi Chamber and a broad historical overview of his exploration...Show More Summary

Short-faced bear convergence and the diversity of American extinct bears

A neat new paper by Kieren Mitchell and colleagues in Biology Letters has an mtDNA phylogeny for some extinct bears of the Americas. The main conclusion is that the giant short-faced bears of North America and South America evolved convergently...Show More Summary

A symposium on the biology and context of Homo naledi

I was in Atlanta with colleagues last week for the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists were last week, in association with the Paleoanthropology Society meeting. I’ll try to give some highlights ofShow More Summary

On the margins of politics

I am going slightly out of depths with this post, traversing into the territory of yet-to-be-formed thoughts, which could either be speculations or reflections; responses, or idiosyncratic musings. Part of it emerges with the experience...Show More Summary

Why I’m Voting for the Boycott Part 1: David vs. Goliath

Last November anthropologists attending the AAA business meeting in Denver voted by an astounding 1040-136 to endorse the resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions, but this was just a resolution to put the boycott to a vote, not an actual endorsement of that boycott by the entire AAA membership. Show More Summary

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