Sample records for bahrelghazali mio-pliocene hominids


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    Full Text Available There are few previous references to fossil crustaceans for the Neogene marine layers of the Canary Islands (Spain. The Mio-Pliocene marine sedimentary layers in the eastern islands (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were previously characterised by the presence of numerous fossil fauna, mainly anthozoans and molluscs, which correspond to an equatorial-typepalaeoclimate, warmer than the present climate. This Mio-Pliocene transition dated between 9.3 and 4.1 Ma. In this paper, 12 fossil crustacean taxa are identified and classified, including decapods and barnacles: Balanus concavus Bronn, 1831, Balanus spongicola Brown, 1827, Balanus perforatus Bruguière, 1789, Chenolobia testudinaria Linnè, 1767, Tetraclita cf. rubescens Darwin, 1854, Callianassa matsoni Rathbun, 1935, Callianassa sp., Upogebia sp, Eriphia aff. verrucosa (Forskal, 1775 , Maja sp., Scylla michelini Milne-Edwards, 1861 and Ocypode sp. Some of these taxa mean new references for the Atlantic islands and the North African Atlantic and definitely enlarge the palaeographic distribution of Neogene crustaceans beyond the Mediterranean region, extending it to the North Atlantic. Particularly significant are the presence of Tetraclita cf. rubescens ,this being the first reported fossil occurrence of this barnacle outside the North America Pacific coasts, and Chenolobia testudinaria , indicating for the first time the existence of marine turtles in these islands during the Neogene. These results are coherent with previous research hypothesising the existence of a flow of surface water between the Pacific and Atlantic in the Mio-Pliocene transition (Central American Seaway, CAS which explains the arrival of organisms, in larval stage, from Central America to the Canary Islands.

  2. Hypercarnivory, durophagy or generalised carnivory in the Mio-Pliocene hyaenids of South Africa?

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    Adam Hartstone-Rose


    Full Text Available Carnivorans, the members of the order Carnivora, exhibit wide dietary diversity – from overwhelmingly herbivorous species (like the giant and red pandas to species that specialise in the consumption of flesh (like the hypercarnivorous felids. Throughout the evolution of this order, many craniodental forms have emerged and gone extinct – notably the sabretooth felids that existed until the late Pleistocene. However, one carnivoran lineage, remarkable for its extreme masticatory adaptations, persists – the bone-cracking hyaenids. Three of the four extant members of this family (Crocuta crocuta, Hyaena hyaena and Parahyaena brunnea are among the most durophagous mammals to have ever lived. The fourth extant hyaenid – the aardwolf (Proteles cristatus – also exhibits impressive, although wholly different, masticatory adaptations as one of the most derived mammalian insectivores. How and when did the level of durophagy evident in extant bone-cracking hyenas evolve, and how do Mio-Pliocene hyenas compare to the extant members of the order in terms of their own dietary specialisations? An examination of the premolars of the Mio-Pliocene hyaenids from Langebaanweg, South Africa suggests that modern levels of durophagy appeared relatively recently. Results from an analysis of dental radii-of-curvature and premolar intercuspid notches suggest that these hyenas were neither bone crackers nor flesh specialists, but were dietary generalists.

  3. Groundwater geochemistry of a Mio-Pliocene aquifer in the northeastern Algerian Sahara (Djamaa region) (United States)

    Houari, Idir Menad; Nezli, Imed Eddine; Belksier, Mohamed Salah


    The groundwater resources in the Northern Sahara are represented by two superimposed major aquifer systems: the Intercalary Continental (CI) and the Terminal Complex (CT). The waters of these aquifers pose serious physical and chemical quality problems; they are highly mineralized and very hard. The present work aims to describe the water's geochemical evolution of sand groundwater (Mio-Pliocene) of the Terminal Complex in the area of Djamaa, by the research of the relationship between water's chemical composition and lithology of aquifer formations through. The results obtained show that the water's chemistry is essentially governed by the dissolution of evaporate formations, which gives to, waters an excessive mineralization expressed by high concentrations of sulfates, chlorides and sodium.

  4. Mio-Pliocene aridity in the south-central Andes associated with Southern Hemisphere cold periods. (United States)

    Amidon, William H; Fisher, G Burch; Burbank, Douglas W; Ciccioli, Patricia L; Alonso, Ricardo N; Gorin, Andrew L; Silverhart, Perri H; Kylander-Clark, Andrew R C; Christoffersen, Michael S


    Although Earth's climate history is best known through marine records, the corresponding continental climatic conditions drive the evolution of terrestrial life. Continental conditions during the latest Miocene are of particular interest because global faunal turnover is roughly synchronous with a period of global glaciation from ∼6.2-5.5 Ma and with the Messinian Salinity Crisis from ∼6.0-5.3 Ma. Despite the climatic and ecological significance of this period, the continental climatic conditions associated with it remain unclear. We address this question using erosion rates of ancient watersheds to constrain Mio-Pliocene climatic conditions in the south-central Andes near 30° S. Our results show two slowdowns in erosion rate, one from ∼6.1-5.2 Ma and another from 3.6 to 3.3 Ma, which we attribute to periods of continental aridity. This view is supported by synchrony with other regional proxies for aridity and with the timing of glacial ‟cold" periods as recorded by marine proxies, such as the M2 isotope excursion. We thus conclude that aridity in the south-central Andes is associated with cold periods at high southern latitudes, perhaps due to a northward migration of the Southern Hemisphere westerlies, which disrupted the South American Low Level Jet that delivers moisture to southeastern South America. Colder glacial periods, and possibly associated reductions in atmospheric CO 2 , thus seem to be an important driver of Mio-Pliocene ecological transitions in the central Andes. Finally, this study demonstrates that paleo-erosion rates can be a powerful proxy for ancient continental climates that lie beyond the reach of most lacustrine and glacial archives.

  5. Micromammal biostratigraphy of the Alcoy Basin (Eastern Spain): remarks on the Mio-Pliocene boundary of the Iberian Peninsula

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    Mansino, S.; Fierro, I.; Tossal, A.; Montoya, P.; Ruiz-Sánchez, F.J.


    The study of 13 micromammal localities in the southern section of the Gormaget ravine (Alcoi Basin, SE Spain) and another 4 localities in the northern section has allowed us to define four local biozones in the dawn of the Pliocene, possibly recording the Mio-Pliocene boundary. The great density of localities close to the Mio-Pliocene boundary has enabled us to achieve a great resolution in the biozonation of the earliest Pliocene, only comparable in the Iberian Peninsula to the record of the Teruel Basin (NE Spain). We interpret these biozones in the light ofthe Neogene Mammal units and the European Land Mammal Ages, and correlate them with other local biozones defined for the same time span in the Iberian Peninsula.

  6. Micromammal biostratigraphy of the Alcoy Basin (Eastern Spain): remarks on the Mio-Pliocene boundary of the Iberian Peninsula

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    Mansino, S.; Fierro, I.; Tossal, A.; Montoya, P.; Ruiz-Sánchez, F.J.


    The study of 13 micromammal localities in the southern section of the Gormaget ravine (Alcoi Basin, SE Spain) and another 4 localities in the northern section has allowed us to define four local biozones in the dawn of the Pliocene, possibly recording the Mio-Pliocene boundary. The great density of localities close to the Mio-Pliocene boundary has enabled us to achieve a great resolution in the biozonation of the earliest Pliocene, only comparable in the Iberian Peninsula to the record of the Teruel Basin (NE Spain). We interpret these biozones in the light ofthe Neogene Mammal units and the European Land Mammal Ages, and correlate them with other local biozones defined for the same time span in the Iberian Peninsula.

  7. Mio-Pliocene to Pleistocene paleotopographic evolution of Brittany (France) from a sequence stratigraphic analysis: relative influence of tectonics and climate (United States)

    Brault, N.; Bourquin, S.; Guillocheau, F.; Dabard, M.-P.; Bonnet, S.; Courville, P.; Estéoule-Choux, J.; Stepanoff, F.


    The Mio-Pliocene in Western Europe is a period of major climatic and tectonic change with important topographic consequences. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct these topographic changes (based on sedimentological analysis and sequence stratigraphy) for the Armorican Massif (western France) and to discuss their significance. The Mio-Pliocene sands of the Armorican Massif (Red Sands) are mainly preserved in paleovalleys and are characterized by extensive fluvial sheetflood deposits with low-preservation and by-pass facies. This sedimentological study shows that the Red Sands correspond to three main sedimentary environments: fluvial (alluvial fan, low-sinuosity rivers and braided rivers), estuarine and some rare open marine deposits (marine bioclastic sands: "faluns" of French authors). Two orders of sequences have been correlated across Brittany with one or two minor A/ S cycles comprised within the retrogradational trend of a major cycle. The unconformity at the base of the lower cycle is more marked than the unconformity observed at the top, which corresponds to a re-incision of the paleovalley network. A comparison of the results of the sequence stratigraphy analysis with eustatic variations and tectonic events during the Mio-Pliocene allows (1) to discuss their influence on the evolution of the Armorican Massif and (2) to compare the stratigraphic record with other west-European basins. The unconformity observed at the base of the first minor cycle may be attributed to Serravallian-Tortonian tectonic activity and/or eustatic fall, and the unconformity of the second minor cycle may be attributed to Late Tortonian-Early Messinian tectonic activity. The earlier unconformity is coeval with the development of a "smooth" paleovalley network compared to the jagged present-day relief. A single episode of Mio-Pliocene deformation recorded in Brittany may be dated as Zanclean, thus explaining the lack of the maximum flooding surface except in isolated areas. From

  8. Magnetic record of Mio-Pliocene red clay and Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence in the Chinese Loess Plateau

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    Yougui Song


    Full Text Available This article presents magnetic data of a 300-m-thick Mio-Pliocene red clay and Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence near Chaona town in the Central Chinese Loess Plateau. Detailed magnetostratigraphy shows that the aeolian red clay began to accumulate at ca. 8.1 Ma. Here, we presented a high-resolution rock magnetic data at 20–40 cm intervals within 4.5–8 ka span per sample of this section, which has been published in Song et al. (2014 [1] and (2017 [2]. The dataset including the following magnetic parameters: mass magnetic susceptibility (χ, frequency-dependent susceptibility (χfd, saturation magnetization (Ms, saturation remanent magnetization (Mrs, coercive force (Bc, remanent coercivity (Bcr, saturation isothermal remanent magnetization (SIRM and S-ratio. Magnetic susceptibility and hysteresis parameters were measured at Lanzhou University and Kyoto University, respectively. This data provides a high-resolution rock magnetic evidences for understanding East Asia Monsoon change, Asian interior aridification and tectonic effect of the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau since middle Miocene period. Keywords: Rock magnetic record, Late Miocene and Pliocene red clay, Quaternary loess-paleosol sequence, Chinese Loess Plateau

  9. Multiple tectonic mode switches indicate short-duration heat pulses in a Mio-Pliocene metamorphic core complex, West Papua, Indonesia (United States)

    White, L. T.; Hall, R.; Gunawan, I.


    The Wandaman Peninsula is a narrow (2 km) promontory in remote western New Guinea. The peninsula is almost entirely composed of medium- to high-grade metamorphic rocks considered to be associated with a Mio-Pliocene metamorphic core complex. Previous work has shown that the uplift and exhumation of the core complex has potentially brought some extremely young eclogite to the surface. These might be comparable to the world's youngest (4.3 Ma) eclogites found in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands at the opposite end of New Guinea. We show that tectonic history of this region is complex. This is because the metamorphic sequences in the Wandaman Peninsula record multiple phases of deformation, all within the last few million years. This is demonstrated through methodical collation of cross-cutting relations from field and microstructural studies across the peninsula. The first phase of deformation and metamorphism is associated with crustal extension and partial melting that took place at 5-7 Ma according to new U-Pb data from metamorphic zircons. This extensional phase ceased after a tectonic mode switch and the region was shortened. This is demonstrated by two phases of folding (1. recumbent and 2. open) that overprint the earlier extensional fabrics. All previous structures were later overprinted by brittle extensional faults and uplift. This extensional phase is still taking place today, as is indicated by submerged forests exposed along the coastline associated with recent earthquakes and hot springs. The sequence of metamorphic rocks that are exposed in the Wandaman Peninsula show that stress and thermal conditions can change rapidly. If we consider that the present is a key to the past, then such results can identify the duration of deformation and metamorphic events more accurately than in much older orogenic systems.

  10. Mio Pliocene volcaniclastic deposits in the Famatina Ranges, southern Central Andes: A case of volcanic controls on sedimentation in broken foreland basins (United States)

    Martina, Federico; Dávila, Federico M.; Astini, Ricardo A.


    A well-constrained record of Miocene-Pliocene explosive volcanism is preserved within the broken foreland of Western Argentina along the Famatina Ranges. This paper focuses on the volcaniclastic record known as the Río Blanco member of the El Durazno Formation. Three facies can be recognized in the study area: (1) massive tuffs; (2) volcaniclastic conglomerates and (3) pumiceous sandstones. These facies are interpreted as primary pyroclastic flow deposits (ignimbrites) and reworked volcanogenic deposits within interacting volcanic-fluvial depositional systems. Alternation between ignimbrites and volcanogenic sandstones and conglomerates suggest a recurrent pattern of sedimentation related to recurrent volcanic activity. Considering the facies mosaic and relative thicknesses of facies, short periods of syn-eruption sedimentation (volcaniclastic deposits) seem to have been separated by longer inter-eruption periods, where normal stream-flow processes were dominant. The volcaniclastic component decreases up-section, suggesting a gradual reduction in volcanic activity. The mean sedimentation rate of the Río Blanco member is higher (0.44 mm/year) than those obtained for the underlying and overlying units. This increase cannot be fully explained by foreland basement deformation and tectonic loading. Hence, we propose subsidence associated with volcanic activity as the causal mechanism. Volcanism would have triggered additional accommodation space through coeval pyroclastic deposition, modification of the stream equilibrium profile, flexural loading of volcanoes, and thermal processes. These mechanisms may have favored the preservation of volcaniclastic beds in the high-gradient foreland system of Famatina during the Mio-Pliocene. Thus, the Río Blanco member records the response of fluvial systems to large, volcanism-induced sediment loads.

  11. Ecomorphological characterization of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids (Rodentia from south-western Europe since the latest Middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary (MN 7/8–MN13

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    Ana R. Gomez Cano


    Full Text Available Rodents are the most speciose group of mammals and display a great ecological diversity. Despite the greater amount of ecomorphological information compiled for extant rodent species, studies usually lack of morphological data on dentition, which has led to difficulty in directly utilizing existing ecomorphological data of extant rodents for paleoecological reconstruction because teeth are the most common or often the only micromammal fossils. Here, we infer the environmental ranges of extinct rodent genera by extracting habitat information from extant relatives and linking it to extinct taxa based on the phenogram of the cluster analysis, in which variables are derived from the principal component analysis on outline shape of the upper first molars. This phenotypic “bracketing” approach is particularly useful in the study of the fossil record of small mammals, which is mostly represented by isolated teeth. As a case study, we utilize extinct genera of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids, ranging from the Iberoccitanian latest middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary, and compare our results thoroughly with previous paleoecological reconstructions inferred by different methods. The resultant phenogram shows a predominance of ubiquitous genera among the Miocene taxa, and the presence of a few forest specialists in the two rodent groups (Murinae and Cricetidae, along with the absence of open environment specialists in either group of rodents. This appears to be related to the absence of enduring grassland biomes in the Iberian Peninsula during the late Miocene. High consistency between our result and previous studies suggests that this phenotypic “bracketing” approach is a very useful tool.

  12. Ecomorphological characterization of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids (Rodentia) from south-western Europe since the latest Middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary (MN 7/8–MN13) (United States)

    Kimura, Yuri; Blanco, Fernando; Menéndez, Iris; Álvarez-Sierra, María A.; Hernández Fernández, Manuel


    Rodents are the most speciose group of mammals and display a great ecological diversity. Despite the greater amount of ecomorphological information compiled for extant rodent species, studies usually lack of morphological data on dentition, which has led to difficulty in directly utilizing existing ecomorphological data of extant rodents for paleoecological reconstruction because teeth are the most common or often the only micromammal fossils. Here, we infer the environmental ranges of extinct rodent genera by extracting habitat information from extant relatives and linking it to extinct taxa based on the phenogram of the cluster analysis, in which variables are derived from the principal component analysis on outline shape of the upper first molars. This phenotypic “bracketing” approach is particularly useful in the study of the fossil record of small mammals, which is mostly represented by isolated teeth. As a case study, we utilize extinct genera of murines and non-arvicoline cricetids, ranging from the Iberoccitanian latest middle Miocene to the Mio-Pliocene boundary, and compare our results thoroughly with previous paleoecological reconstructions inferred by different methods. The resultant phenogram shows a predominance of ubiquitous genera among the Miocene taxa, and the presence of a few forest specialists in the two rodent groups (Murinae and Cricetidae), along with the absence of open environment specialists in either group of rodents. This appears to be related to the absence of enduring grassland biomes in the Iberian Peninsula during the late Miocene. High consistency between our result and previous studies suggests that this phenotypic “bracketing” approach is a very useful tool. PMID:28966888

  13. Hominid evolution: genetics versus memetics (United States)

    Carter, Brandon


    The last few million years on planet Earth have witnessed two remarkable phases of hominid development, starting with a phase of biological evolution characterized by rather rapid increase of the size of the brain. This has been followed by a phase of even more rapid technological evolution and concomitant expansion of the size of the population that began when our own particular ‘sapiens’ species emerged, just a few hundred thousand years ago. The present investigation exploits the analogy between the neo-Darwinian genetic evolution mechanism governing the first phase, and the memetic evolution mechanism governing the second phase. From the outset of the latter until very recently - about the year 2000 - the growth of the global population N was roughly governed by an equation of the form dN/Ndt=N/T*, in which T* is a coefficient introduced (in 1960) by von Foerster, who evaluated it empirically as about 200 000 million years. It is shown here how the value of this hitherto mysterious timescale governing the memetic phase is explicable in terms of what happened in the preceding genetic phase. The outcome is that the order of magnitude of the Foerster timescale can be accounted for as the product of the relevant (human) generation timescale, about 20 years, with the number of bits of information in the genome, of the order of 10 000 million. Whereas the origin of our ‘homo’ genus may well have involved an evolutionary hard step, it transpires that the emergence of our particular ‘sapiens’ species was rather an automatic process.

  14. Cerebral cortices of East african early hominids. (United States)

    Falk, D


    An endocast of the frontal lobe of a reconstructed skull, which is approximately 2 million years old, from the Koobi Fora region of Kenya appears to represent the oldest human-like cortical sulcal pattern in the fossil record, while the endocast from another skull from the same region produces an endocast that appears apelike in its frontal lobe and similar to endocasts from earlier South African australopithecines. New analysis of paleoanatomical evidence thus indicates that at least two taxa of early hominids coexisted in East Africa.

  15. Dating of fossil hominid: problems and perspectives

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    Poupeau, G.; Danon, J.; Baksi, A.K.


    The hominid dating anterior to the Homo Erectus has been based up to now on the rocks and minerals geochronology of vulcanic origem in stratigraphic relation with the fossils. Two methods are widely used, potassium-argon and uranium fission track dating. The vulcanic material dating; lava, lephra, associated with the hominid leavings show big difficults essentially connected to several types of contamination and modification. Two available examples inside the east-african rift show the probelms linked to these dating. The current progresses in the dating methods can contribute by one hand to a better utilization of the K-Ar and fisson track methods for the vulcanic materials. By other hand, with the introduction of new dating methods (thermoluminescence and electron paramagnetic resonance) will be possible to date directly whether the fossil bone itself or the associated sedimentar material. This open new perspectives in particular for every sites which are not inter-stratified with the vulcanic material. (L.C.) [pt

  16. The face of Olduvai Hominid 12. (United States)

    Antón, Susan C


    Facial remains of Homo erectus are rare and their scarcity hinders our understanding of the variability and relationships in this taxon. Previously undescribed fragments of the peri-orbital region and unidentified matches between fragments of Olduvai Hominid 12 (OH 12) enhance comparison of the African H. erectus hypodigm. The newly reconstructed upper face and maxilla of OH 12 is most similar in size and shape to that of KNM-ER 3733, despite being as much as one million years younger than the Koobi Fora hominin. However, the posterior vault and mastoid region of OH 12 are most similar to OH 9. This combination of morphology suggests that the relationship between the Olduvai and Koobi Fora portions of the H. erectus hypodigm requires reconsideration.

  17. A new malaria agent in African hominids.

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    Benjamin Ollomo


    Full Text Available Plasmodium falciparum is the major human malaria agent responsible for 200 to 300 million infections and one to three million deaths annually, mainly among African infants. The origin and evolution of this pathogen within the human lineage is still unresolved. A single species, P. reichenowi, which infects chimpanzees, is known to be a close sister lineage of P. falciparum. Here we report the discovery of a new Plasmodium species infecting Hominids. This new species has been isolated in two chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes kept as pets by villagers in Gabon (Africa. Analysis of its complete mitochondrial genome (5529 nucleotides including Cyt b, Cox I and Cox III genes reveals an older divergence of this lineage from the clade that includes P. falciparum and P. reichenowi (approximately 21+/-9 Myrs ago using Bayesian methods and considering that the divergence between P. falciparum and P. reichenowi occurred 4 to 7 million years ago as generally considered in the literature. This time frame would be congruent with the radiation of hominoids, suggesting that this Plasmodium lineage might have been present in early hominoids and that they may both have experienced a simultaneous diversification. Investigation of the nuclear genome of this new species will further the understanding of the genetic adaptations of P. falciparum to humans. The risk of transfer and emergence of this new species in humans must be now seriously considered given that it was found in two chimpanzees living in contact with humans and its close relatedness to the most virulent agent of malaria.

  18. Selective constraint on noncoding regions of hominid genomes.

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    Eliot C Bush


    Full Text Available An important challenge for human evolutionary biology is to understand the genetic basis of human-chimpanzee differences. One influential idea holds that such differences depend, to a large extent, on adaptive changes in gene expression. An important step in assessing this hypothesis involves gaining a better understanding of selective constraint on noncoding regions of hominid genomes. In noncoding sequence, functional elements are frequently small and can be separated by large nonfunctional regions. For this reason, constraint in hominid genomes is likely to be patchy. Here we use conservation in more distantly related mammals and amniotes as a way of identifying small sequence windows that are likely to be functional. We find that putatively functional noncoding elements defined in this manner are subject to significant selective constraint in hominids.

  19. Selective Constraint on Noncoding Regions of Hominid Genomes.

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    Full Text Available An important challenge for human evolutionary biology is to understand the genetic basis of human-chimpanzee differences. One influential idea holds that such differences depend, to a large extent, on adaptive changes in gene expression. An important step in assessing this hypothesis involves gaining a better understanding of selective constraint on noncoding regions of hominid genomes. In noncoding sequence, functional elements are frequently small and can be separated by large nonfunctional regions. For this reason, constraint in hominid genomes is likely to be patchy. Here we use conservation in more distantly related mammals and amniotes as a way of identifying small sequence windows that are likely to be functional. We find that putatively functional noncoding elements defined in this manner are subject to significant selective constraint in hominids.

  20. Palaeodemography of the Atapuerca-SH Middle Pleistocene hominid sample. (United States)

    Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Nicolás, M E


    We report here on the palaeodemographic analysis of the hominid sample recovered to date from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) Middle Pleistocene cave site in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). The analysis of the mandibular, maxillary, and dental remains has made it possible to estimate that a minimum of 32 individuals, who probably belonged to the same biological population, are represented in the current SH human hypodigm. The remains of nine-individuals are assigned to males, and nine to females, suggesting that a 1:1 sex ratio characterizes this hominid sample. The survivorship curve shows a low representation of infants and children, a high mortality among the adolescents and prime-age adults, and a low older adult mortality. Longevity was probably no greater than 40 years. This mortality pattern (adolescents and adults); which in some aspects resembles that observed in Neandertals, is quite different from those reported for recent foraging human groups. The adult age-at-death distribution of the SH hominid sample appears to be neither the consequence of underaging the older adults, nor of differential preservation or of the recognition of skeletal remains. Thus if we accept that they had a life history pattern similar to that of modern humans there would appear to be a clear contradiction between the demographic distribution and the demographic viability of the population represented by the SH hominid fossils. The possible representational bias of the SH hominid sample, as well as some aspects of the reproductive biology of the Pleistocene populations are also discussed.

  1. Enamel hypoplasia in the middle pleistocene hominids from Atapuerca (Spain). (United States)

    Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Pérez, P J


    The prevalence and chronology of enamel hypoplasias were studied in a hominid dental sample from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) Middle Pleistocene site at the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, northern Spain). A total of 89 permanent maxillary teeth, 143 permanent mandibular teeth, and one deciduous lower canine, belonging to a minimum of 29 individuals, were examined. Excluding the antimeres (16 maxillary and 37 mandibular cases) from the sample, the prevalence of hypoplasias in the permanent dentition is 12.8% (23/179), whereas the deciduous tooth also showed an enamel defect. No statistically significant differences were found between both arcades and between the anterior and postcanine teeth for the prevalence of hypoplasias. In both the maxilla and the mandible the highest frequency of enamel hypoplasias was recorded in the canines. Only one tooth (a permanent upper canine) showed two different enamel defects, and most of the hypoplasias were expressed as faint linear horizontal defects. Taking into account the limitations that the incompleteness of virtually all permanent dentitions imposes, we have estimated that the frequency by individual in the SH hominid sample was not greater than 40%. Most of the hypoplasias occurred between birth and 7 years (N = 18, X = 3.5, SD = 1.3). Both the prevalence and severity of the hypoplasias of the SH hominid sample are significantly less than those of a large Neandertal sample. Furthermore, prehistoric hunter-gatherers and historic agricultural and industrial populations exhibit a prevalence of hypoplasias generally higher than that of the SH hominids. Implications for the survival strategies and life quality of the SH hominids are also discussed.

  2. South Turkwel: a new pliocene hominid site in Kenya. (United States)

    Ward, C V; Leakey, M G; Brown, B; Brown, F; Harris, J; Walker, A


    New fossils discovered south of the Turkwel River in northern Kenya include an associated metacarpal, capitate, hamate, lunate, pedal phalanx, mandibular fragment, and teeth. These fossils probably date to around 3.5 m.y.a. Faunal information suggests that the environment at South Turkwel was predominantly bushland. The mandibular and dental remains are fragmentary, but the postcranial fossils are informative. Comparisons with Australopithecus, modern human, chimpanzee and gorilla hand bones suggest that the Turkwel hominid was most like Australopithecus afarensis and A. africanus. Carpometacarpal articulations are intermediate between those of modern humans and African apes, suggesting enhanced gripping capabilities compared with extant apes. The hamulus was strikingly large, similar in proportion only to Neandertals and some gorillas, suggesting the presence of powerful forearms and hands. There are no indicators of adaptations to knuckle-walking or suspensory locomotion in the hand, and the pedal phalanx suggests that this hominid was habitually bipedal. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

  3. Foot bones from Omo: implications for hominid evolution. (United States)

    Gebo, Daniel L; Schwartz, Gary T


    We reanalyze a hominid talus and calcaneus from Omo dating to 2.2 mya and 2.36 mya, respectively. Although both specimens occur at different localities and times, both tarsals articulate well together, suggesting a single taxon on the basis of size and function. We attribute these foot bones to early Homo on the basis of their morphology. The more modern-like tarsal morphology of these Omo foot bones makes them very similar to a talus from Koobi Fora (KNM-ER 813), a specimen attributed to Homo rudolfensis or Homo erectus. Although the Omo tarsals are a million years younger than the oldest known foot bones from Hadar, both localities demonstrate anatomical differences representing two distinct morphological patterns. Although all known hominid tarsals demonstrate clear bipedal features, the tarsal features noted below suggest that biomechanical changes did occur over time, and that certain features are associated with different hominid lineages (especially the robust australopithecines). Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  4. Posterior dental size reduction in hominids: the Atapuerca evidence. (United States)

    Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Nicolas, M E


    In order to reassess previous hypotheses concerning dental size reduction of the posterior teeth during Pleistocene human evolution, current fossil dental evidence is examined. This evidence includes the large sample of hominid teeth found in recent excavations (1984-1993) in the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene cave site of the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). The lower fourth premolars and molars of the Atapuerca hominids, probably older than 300 Kyr, have dimensions similar to those of modern humans. Further, these hominids share the derived state of other features of the posterior teeth with modern humans, such as a similar relative molar size and frequent absence of the hypoconulid, thus suggesting a possible case of parallelism. We believe that dietary changes allowed size reduction of the posterior teeth during the Middle Pleistocene, and the present evidence suggests that the selective pressures that operated on the size variability of these teeth were less restrictive than what is assumed by previous models of dental reduction. Thus, the causal relationship between tooth size decrease and changes in food-preparation techniques during the Pleistocene should be reconsidered. Moreover, the present evidence indicates that the differential reduction of the molars cannot be explained in terms of restriction of available growth space. The molar crown area measurements of a modern human sample were also investigated. The results of this study, as well as previous similar analyses, suggest that a decrease of the rate of cell proliferation, which affected the later-forming crown regions to a greater extent, may be the biological process responsible for the general and differential dental size reduction that occurred during human evolution.

  5. New fission-track ages of mio-pliocene tuffs in the Sierras Pampeanas and Precordillera of Argentina

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tabbutt, K.; Naeser, C.W.; Jordan, T.E.; Cerveny, P.F.


    Fission-track dates were determined for 18 volcanic tuff horizons located in nine Neogene foreland basin sequences distributed throughout the Precordillera and Sierras Pampeanas of Northwestern Argentina, an area of nearly horizontal subduction. These and other data indicate that a lower age limit for the sedimentary sequences studied is approximately 17 Ma. Therefore these fission-track dates constrain both the history of volcanic activity and the time of deposition in several foreland basins from the middle Miocene to Recent. Although the dates range from 3.6±0.8 Ma to 17.0±1.9 Ma, there is a marked increase in the number of ashes younger than 9 Ma. This implies that two distinct episodes of volcanic activity affected the region. The source of some of these tuffs is unknown but they are probably limited to the 'flat-slab' region between 27 deg and 32 deg S. Tuffs at Rio Blanco and Santa Florentina that are spatially associated with the Mogotes dacite domes of the Famatina Range represented magmatism bracketed from about 7 to 4 Ma in the region underlain by the flat-subducted plate. The stratigraphic relations in the basins show that the faulting that uplifted Sierra de Famatina was contemporaneous with the volcanism which reached the surface along the bounding faults. (Author) [es

  6. Sawfishes and Other Elasmobranch Assemblages from the Mio-Pliocene of the South Caribbean (Urumaco Sequence, Northwestern Venezuela) (United States)


    The Urumaco stratigraphic sequence, western Venezuela, preserves a variety of paleoenvironments that include terrestrial, riverine, lacustrine and marine facies. A wide range of fossil vertebrates associated with these facies supports the hypothesis of an estuary in that geographic area connected with a hydrographic system that flowed from western Amazonia up to the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. Here the elasmobranch assemblages of the middle Miocene to middle Pliocene section of the Urumaco sequence (Socorro, Urumaco and Codore formations) are described. Based on new findings, we document at least 21 taxa of the Lamniformes, Carcharhiniformes, Myliobatiformes and Rajiformes, and describe a new carcharhiniform species (†Carcharhinus caquetius sp. nov.). Moreover, the Urumaco Formation has a high number of well-preserved fossil Pristis rostra, for which we provide a detailed taxonomic revision, and referral in the context of the global Miocene record of Pristis as well as extant species. Using the habitat preference of the living representatives, we hypothesize that the fossil chondrichthyan assemblages from the Urumaco sequence are evidence for marine shallow waters and estuarine habitats. PMID:26488163

  7. First record of the megatoothed shark Carcharocles megalodon from the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation of Northern California.


    Boessenecker, Robert W.


    Megatoothed sharks (Family: Otodontidae) are among the most widely reported sharks in Cenozoic marine sediments worldwide, and certain species such as the famed Carcharocles megalodon are particularly abundant in Neogene deposits on the Atlantic margin of the United States. Cenozoic marine strata on the Pacific margin of North America have yielded one of the most densely sampled marine vertebrate records anywhere, but published occurrences of shark assemblages are uncommon. Rarer yet are publ...

  8. Sawfishes and Other Elasmobranch Assemblages from the Mio-Pliocene of the South Caribbean (Urumaco Sequence, Northwestern Venezuela.

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    Jorge D Carrillo-Briceño

    Full Text Available The Urumaco stratigraphic sequence, western Venezuela, preserves a variety of paleoenvironments that include terrestrial, riverine, lacustrine and marine facies. A wide range of fossil vertebrates associated with these facies supports the hypothesis of an estuary in that geographic area connected with a hydrographic system that flowed from western Amazonia up to the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. Here the elasmobranch assemblages of the middle Miocene to middle Pliocene section of the Urumaco sequence (Socorro, Urumaco and Codore formations are described. Based on new findings, we document at least 21 taxa of the Lamniformes, Carcharhiniformes, Myliobatiformes and Rajiformes, and describe a new carcharhiniform species (†Carcharhinus caquetius sp. nov.. Moreover, the Urumaco Formation has a high number of well-preserved fossil Pristis rostra, for which we provide a detailed taxonomic revision, and referral in the context of the global Miocene record of Pristis as well as extant species. Using the habitat preference of the living representatives, we hypothesize that the fossil chondrichthyan assemblages from the Urumaco sequence are evidence for marine shallow waters and estuarine habitats.

  9. Sawfishes and Other Elasmobranch Assemblages from the Mio-Pliocene of the South Caribbean (Urumaco Sequence, Northwestern Venezuela). (United States)

    Carrillo-Briceño, Jorge D; Maxwell, Erin; Aguilera, Orangel A; Sánchez, Rodolfo; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R


    The Urumaco stratigraphic sequence, western Venezuela, preserves a variety of paleoenvironments that include terrestrial, riverine, lacustrine and marine facies. A wide range of fossil vertebrates associated with these facies supports the hypothesis of an estuary in that geographic area connected with a hydrographic system that flowed from western Amazonia up to the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. Here the elasmobranch assemblages of the middle Miocene to middle Pliocene section of the Urumaco sequence (Socorro, Urumaco and Codore formations) are described. Based on new findings, we document at least 21 taxa of the Lamniformes, Carcharhiniformes, Myliobatiformes and Rajiformes, and describe a new carcharhiniform species (†Carcharhinus caquetius sp. nov.). Moreover, the Urumaco Formation has a high number of well-preserved fossil Pristis rostra, for which we provide a detailed taxonomic revision, and referral in the context of the global Miocene record of Pristis as well as extant species. Using the habitat preference of the living representatives, we hypothesize that the fossil chondrichthyan assemblages from the Urumaco sequence are evidence for marine shallow waters and estuarine habitats.

  10. Age of the earliest known hominids in Java, Indonesia. (United States)

    Swisher, C C; Curtis, G H; Jacob, T; Getty, A G; Suprijo, A; Widiasmoro


    40Ar/39Ar laser-incremental heating of hornblende separated from pumice recovered at two hominid sites in Java, Indonesia, has yielded well-defined plateaus with weighted mean ages of 1.81 +/- 0.04 and 1.66 +/- 0.04 million years ago (Ma). The hominid fossils, a juvenile calvaria of Pithecanthropus and a partial face and cranial fragments of Meganthropus, commonly considered part of the Asian Homo erectus hypodigm, are at least 0.6 million years older than fossils referred to as Homo erectus (OH-9) from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and comparable in age with the oldest Koobi Fora Homo cf. erectus (Homo ergaster) in Kenya. These ages lend further credence to the view that Homo erectus may have evolved outside of Africa. If the ancestor of Homo erectus ventured out of Africa before 1.8 Ma, the dispersal would have predated the advent of the Acheulean culture at 1.4 Ma, possibly explaining the absence of these characteristic stone cleavers and hand axes in East Asia.

  11. Reexamination of the immature hominid maxilla from Tangier, Morocco. (United States)

    Minugh-Purvis, N


    Reexamination of the immature Upper Pleistocene hominid maxilla from Mugharet el-'Aliya (Tangier), Morocco is undertaken in light of new evidence on the growth and development of Upper Pleistocene hominids. Metric and qualitative comparisons were made with 17 immature Upper Pleistocene maxillae, and with a recent Homo sapiens sapiens sample. No unambiguous criteria for aligning the maxilla with Neandertals were found, although one character, the degree of maxillary flexion on the zygoma, strongly suggests that this child could be a representative of H.s. sapiens. The probable lack of a canine fossa in Mugharet el-'Aliya 1, the primary criterion used previously to align it with Neandertals, cannot be accurately extrapolated to its adult form from this juvenile. The present evidence suggests that it is inappropriate to refer to this fossil as "Neandertal-like" or as a North African "neandertaloid." Thus, the Tangier maxilla should not be cited as evidence for the presence of Neandertal facial features in North Africa during the Upper Pleistocene.

  12. Interproximal grooving in the Atapuerca-SH hominid dentitions. (United States)

    Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Arsuaga, J L; Pérez, P J


    The dental sample recovered from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) Middle Pleistocene cave site of the Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain) includes 296 specimens. Interproximal wear grooves have been observed in 20 maxillary and mandibular posterior teeth belonging to at least five of the 32 individuals identified so far in the SH hypodigm. Interproximal grooving affected only the adults, and at an age between 25 and 40 years. The appearance, morphology, and location pattern of the SH wear grooves are similar to those reported in other fossil hominids and in more recent human populations. Two alternative proposals, the toothpicking and the fiber or sinew processing hypotheses, compete for explaining the formation of this anomalous wear. The characteristics observed in the wear grooves of the SH teeth are compatible only with the habitual probing of interdental spaces by means of hard and inflexible objects. Dietary grit may also have contributed to the abrasion of the root walls during the motion of the dental probes.

  13. Stratigraphy, artefact industries and hominid associations for Sterkfontein, member 5. (United States)

    Kuman, K; Clarke, R J


    A revised stratigraphy for the early hominid site of Sterkfontein (Gauteng Province, South Africa) reveals a complex distribution of infills in the main excavation area between 2.8 and 1.4 m.y.a, as well as deposits dating to the mid to late Pleistocene. New research now shows that the Member 4 australopithecine breccia (2.8-2.6 Ma) extends further west than was previously thought, while a late phase of Member 4 is recognized in a southern area. The artefact-bearing breccias were defined sedimentologically as Member 5, but one supposed part of these younger breccias, the StW 53 infill, lacks in situ stone tools, although it does appear to post-date 2.6 Ma when artefacts first appear in the archaeological record. The StW 53 hominid, previously referred to Homo habilis, is here argued to be Australopithecus. The first artefact-bearing breccia of Member 5 is the Oldowan Infill, estimated at 2-1.7 Ma. It occupies a restricted distribution in Member 5 east and contains an expedient, flake-based tool industry associated with a few fossils of Paranthropos robustus. An enlarged cave opening subsequently admitted one or more Early Acheulean infills associated in Member 5 west with Homo ergaster. The artefacts attest to a larger site accumulation between ca. 1.7 and 1.4 Ma, with more intensive use of quartzite over quartz and a subtle but important shift to large flakes and heavier-duty tools. The available information on palaeoenvironments is summarized, showing an overall change from tropical to sub-tropical gallery forest, forest fringe and woodland conditions in Member 4 to more open woodland and grassland habitats in the later units, but with suggestions of a wet localized topography in the Paranthropus -bearing Oldowan Infill. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  14. Morphometric variation in Plio-Pleistocene hominid distal humeri. (United States)

    Lague, M R; Jungers, W L


    The magnitude and meaning of morphological variation among Plio-Pleistocene hominid distal humeri have been recurrent points of disagreement among paleoanthropologists. Some researchers have found noteworthy differences among fossil humeri that they believe merit taxonomic separation, while others question the possibility of accurately sorting these fossils into different species and/or functional groups. Size and shape differences among fossil distal humeri are evaluated here to determine whether the magnitude and patterns of these differences can be observed within large-bodied, living hominoids. Specimens analyzed in this study have been assigned to various taxa (Australopithecus afarensis, A. africanus, A. anamensis, Paranthropus, and early Homo) and include AL 288-1m, AL 288-1s, AL 137-48a, AL 322-1, Gomboré IB 7594, TM 1517, KNM-ER 739, KNM-ER 1504, KMN-KP 271 (Kanapoi), and Stw 431. Five extant hominoid populations are sampled to provide a standard by which to consider differences found between the fossils, including two modern human groups (Native American and African American), one group of Pan troglodytes, and two subspecies of Gorilla gorilla (G.g. beringei, G.g. gorilla). All possible pairwise d values (average Euclidena distances) are calculated within each of the reference populations using an exact randomization procedure. This is done using both raw linear measurements as well as scale-free shape data created as ratios of each measurement to the geometric mean. Differences between each pair of fossil humeri are evaluated by comparing their d values to the distribution of d values found within each of the reference populations. Principal coordinate analysis and an unweighted pair group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) cluster analysis are utilized to further assess similarities and differences among the fossils. Finally, canonical variates analysis and discriminant analysis are employed using all hominoid samples in order to control for

  15. Earliest Pleistocene hominid cranial remains from Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia: taxonomy, geological setting, and age. (United States)

    Gabunia, L; Vekua, A; Lordkipanidze, D; Swisher, C C; Ferring, R; Justus, A; Nioradze, M; Tvalchrelidze, M; Antón, S C; Bosinski, G; Jöris, O; Lumley, M A; Majsuradze, G; Mouskhelishvili, A


    Archaeological excavations at the site of Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia have uncovered two partial early Pleistocene hominid crania. The new fossils consist of a relatively complete cranium and a second relatively complete calvaria from the same site and stratigraphic unit that yielded a hominid mandible in 1991. In contrast with the uncertain taxonomic affinity of the mandible, the new fossils are comparable in size and morphology with Homo ergaster from Koobi Fora, Kenya. Paleontological, archaeological, geochronological, and paleomagnetic data from Dmanisi all indicate an earliest Pleistocene age of about 1.7 million years ago, supporting correlation of the new specimens with the Koobi Fora fossils. The Dmanisi fossils, in contrast with Pleistocene hominids from Western Europe and Eastern Asia, show clear African affinity and may represent the species that first migrated out of Africa.

  16. Evidence for widespread degradation of gene control regions in hominid genomes.

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    Peter D Keightley


    Full Text Available Although sequences containing regulatory elements located close to protein-coding genes are often only weakly conserved during evolution, comparisons of rodent genomes have implied that these sequences are subject to some selective constraints. Evolutionary conservation is particularly apparent upstream of coding sequences and in first introns, regions that are enriched for regulatory elements. By comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes, we show here that there is almost no evidence for conservation in these regions in hominids. Furthermore, we show that gene expression is diverging more rapidly in hominids than in murids per unit of neutral sequence divergence. By combining data on polymorphism levels in human noncoding DNA and the corresponding human-chimpanzee divergence, we show that the proportion of adaptive substitutions in these regions in hominids is very low. It therefore seems likely that the lack of conservation and increased rate of gene expression divergence are caused by a reduction in the effectiveness of natural selection against deleterious mutations because of the low effective population sizes of hominids. This has resulted in the accumulation of a large number of deleterious mutations in sequences containing gene control elements and hence a widespread degradation of the genome during the evolution of humans and chimpanzees.

  17. Paleomagnetic dates of hominid remains from Yuanmou, China, and other Asian sites. (United States)

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Nakaya, Hideo; Urabe, Atsushi; Saegusa, Haruo; Shunrong, Xue; Jiyun, Yin; Xuepin, Ji


    Two hominid upper central incisors found in the Yuanmou Basin in southwest China in 1965 have affinities with Homo erectus fossils from Zhoukoudian, but exhibit primitive features. The Yuanmou hominid remains are alleged to be coeval with or older than African specimens dated at about 1.8 m.y.a. Recent age refinements of geomagnetic short reversal events and excursions permit assigning the Yuanmou hominid-bearing bed to the early Brunhes chron (about 0.7 m.y.a.). Magnetochronological assessments confirm that the Lantian calotte which has been dated to about 1.2 m.y.a., is the oldest reliable evidence for the emergence of Homo in eastern Asia as well as China, and that hominid fossils from Sangiran and Mojokerto, Java, do not exceed 1.1 Ma in age. These results refute the view that the genus Homo migrated into eastern Asia in the late Pliocene or the earliest Pleistocene. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Working Memory: A Cognitive Limit to Non-Human Primate Recursive Thinking Prior to Hominid Evolution

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    Dwight W. Read


    Full Text Available In this paper I explore the possibility that recursion is not part of the cognitive repertoire of non-human primates such as chimpanzees due to limited working memory capacity. Multiple lines of data, from nut cracking to the velocity and duration of cognitive development, imply that chimpanzees have a short-term memory size that limits working memory to dealing with two, or at most three, concepts at a time. If so, as a species they lack the cognitive capacity for recursive thinking to be integrated into systems of social organization and communication. If this limited working memory capacity is projected back to a common ancestor for Pan and Homo, it follows that early hominid ancestors would have had limited working memory capacity. Hence we should find evidence for expansion of working memory capacity during hominid evolution reflected in changes in the products of conceptually framed activities such as stone tool production. Data on the artifacts made by our hominid ancestors support this expansion hypothesis for hominid working memory, thereby leading to qualitative differences between Pan and Homo.

  19. Dating by fission tracks in archaeology. 3. Tephrochronology and Hominid dating

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Poupeau, G.; Zuleta, E.


    Tephras (or volcanic ashes) are excellent stratigraphic tracers. Its utilization in this domain, or tephrochronology, is shortly presented. The main archaeological utilization of the tephrochronology is related with the dating of fossil hominids, there where exist the volcano-fossil sedimentar series, at Ceylon or at East-African Rift. (L.C.) [pt

  20. Lapa vermelha IV Hominid 1: morphological affinities of the earliest known American

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    Neves Walter A.


    Full Text Available Several studies concerning the extra-continental morphological affinities of Paleo-Indian skeletons, carried out independently in South and North America, have indicated that the Americas were first occupied by non-Mongoloids that made their way to the New World through the Bering Strait in ancient times. The first South Americans show a clear resemblance to modern South Pacific and African populations, while the first North Americans seem to be at an unresolved morphological position between modern South Pacific and Europeans. In none of these analyses the first Americans show any resemblance to either northeast Asians or modern native Americans. So far, these studies have included affirmed and putative early skeletons thought to date between 8,000 and 10,000 years B.P. In this work the extra-continental morphological affinities of a Paleo-Indian skeleton well dated between 11,000 and 11,500 years B.P. (Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1, or "Luzia" is investigated, using as comparative samples Howells' (1989 world-wide modern series and Habgood's (1985 Old World Late Pleistocene fossil hominids. The comparison between Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1 and Howells' series was based on canonical variate analysis, including 45 size-corrected craniometric variables, while the comparison with fossil hominids was based on principal component analysis, including 16 size-corrected variables. In the first case, Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1 exhibited an undisputed morphological affinity firstly with Africans and secondly with South Pacific populations. In the second comparison, the earliest known American skeleton had its closest similarities with early Australians, Zhoukoudian Upper Cave 103, and Taforalt 18. The results obtained clearly confirm the idea that the Americas were first colonized by a generalized Homo sapiens population which inhabited East Asia in the Late Pleistocene, before the definition of the classic Mongoloid morphology.

  1. Dental size variation in the Atapuerca-SH Middle Pleistocene hominids. (United States)

    Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Sarmiento, S; Cunha, E; Rosas, A; Bastir, M


    The Middle Pleistocene Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos (SH) site in Spain has yielded the largest sample of fossil hominids so far found from a single site and belonging to the same biological population. The SH dental sample includes a total of 452 permanent and deciduous teeth, representing a minimum of 27 individuals. We present a study of the dental size variation in these hominids, based on the analysis of the mandibular permanent dentition: lateral incisors, n=29; canines, n=27; third premolars, n=30; fourth premolars, n=34; first molars, n=38; second molars, n=38. We have obtained the buccolingual diameter and the crown area (measured on occlusal photographs) of these teeth, and used the bootstrap method to assess the amount of variation in the SH sample compared with the variation of a modern human sample from the Museu Antropologico of the Universidade of Coimbra (Portugal). The SH hominids have, in general terms, a dental size variation higher than that of the modern human sample. The analysis is especially conclusive for the canines. Furthermore, we have estimated the degree of sexual dimorphism of the SH sample by obtaining male and female dental subsamples by means of sexing the large sample of SH mandibular specimens. We obtained the index of sexual dimorphism (ISD=male mean/female mean) and the values were compared with those obtained from the sexed modern human sample from Coimbra, and with data found in the literature concerning several recent human populations. In all tooth classes the ISD of the SH hominids was higher than that of modern humans, but the differences were generally modest, except for the canines, thus suggesting that canine size sexual dimorphism in Homo heidelbergensis was probably greater than that of modern humans. Since the approach of sexing fossil specimens has some obvious limitations, these results should be assessed with caution. Additional data from SH and other European Middle Pleistocene sites would be necessary to test

  2. Africa's wild C4 plant foods and possible early hominid diets. (United States)

    Peters, Charles R; Vogel, John C


    A small minority of Africa's wild plant foods are C4. These are primarily the seeds of some of the C4 grasses, the rootstocks and stem/leaf bases of some of the C4 sedges (especially papyrus), and the leaves of some of the C4 herbaceous dicots (forbs). These wild food plants are commonly found in disturbed ground and wetlands (particularly the grasses and sedges). Multiple lines of evidence indicate that C4 grasses were present in Africa by at least the late Miocene. It is a reasonable hypothesis that the prehistory of the C4 sedges parallels that of the C4 grasses, but the C4 forbs may not have become common until the late Pleistocene. CAM plants may have a more ancient history, but offer few opportunities for an additional C4-like dietary signal. The environmental reconstructions available for the early South African hominid sites do not indicate the presence of large wetlands, and therefore probably the absence of a strong potential for a C4 plant food diet. However, carbon isotope analyses of tooth enamel from three species of early South African hominids have shown that there was a significant but not dominant contribution of C4 biomass in their diets. Since it appears unlikely that this C4 component could have come predominantly from C4 plant foods, a broad range of potential animal contributors is briefly considered, namely invertebrates, reptiles, birds, and small mammals. It is concluded that the similar average C4 dietary intake seen in the three South African hominid species could have been acquired by differing contributions from the various sources, without the need to assume scavenging or hunting of medium to large grazing ungulates. Effectively similar dominantly dryland paleo-environments may also be part of the explanation. Theoretically, elsewhere in southern and eastern Africa, large wetlands would have offered early hominids greater opportunities for a C4 plant diet.

  3. Revisions of K/Ar ages for the Hadar hominid site, Ethiopia

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    Walter, R.C.; Aronson, J.L. (Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH (USA). Dept. of Geology)


    Conventional K/Ar age measurements are reported for two volcanic units from the hominid-bearing Hadar Formation. These ages represent revision of previously published ages for the BKT-2 tephra and the Kadada Moumou basalt. BKT-2 is revised from 2.65 to 2.9 Myr BP and the Kadada Moumou basalt is revised from 3.0 to 3.6 Myr BP.

  4. The Quequén Salado river basin: Geology and biochronostratigraphy of the Mio-Pliocene boundary in the southern Pampean plain, Argentina (United States)

    Beilinson, E.; Gasparini, G. M.; Tomassini, R. L.; Zárate, M. A.; Deschamps, C. M.; Barendregt, R. W.; Rabassa, J.


    The Quequén Salado river basin has been the focus of several contributions since the first decades of the XX century, namely dealing with the general geological features of the deposits and with the vertebrate remains. In this paper, the Neogene geological history documented by the Quequén Salado river exposures is reconstructed by means of stratigraphic, sedimentological and paleomagnetic studies along with the paleontological analysis of vertebrate remains. The study area is a crucial setting not only to better understand the evolution of the southern Pampas basin during the late Miocene-early Pliocene interval, but also to test the validity of the biochronologic and biostratigraphic schemes, especially the "Irenense". A geological model for the Quequén Salado river valley is proposed: a case of downcutting and headward erosion that contributes with a coherent interpretation to explain the spatial distribution of facies and fossil taxa: the younger in the distal sector of the Quequén Salado middle basin and the older in the lower basin. The sedimentary record is believed to represent the distal reaches of a distributary fluvial system that drained from the Ventania ranges. The stratigraphic section of Paso del Indio Rico results a key stratigraphic site to fully understand the stratigraphic nature of the boundary between the Miocene and the Pliocene (the Huayquerian and Montehermosan stages/ages). In this sense, two stratigraphically superposed range zones have been recognized in the area: Xenodontomys ellipticus Range Zone (latest Miocene-early Pliocene; late Huayquerian), and Eumysops laeviplicatus Range Zone (early Pliocene; Montehermosan). Taking into account the available geological and paleontological evidences, the "Irenense" would not represent a valid biostratigraphic unit, since, according to the geological model here proposed, it would be represented by elements of the Xenodontomys ellipticus Range Zone in the lower QS basin and by elements of the Eumysops laeviplicatus Range Zone in the middle QS basin.

  5. Comparative taphonomy, taphofacies, and bonebeds of the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation, central California: strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation in shallow marine settings.

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    Robert W Boessenecker

    Full Text Available Taphonomic study of marine vertebrate remains has traditionally focused on single skeletons, lagerstätten, or bonebed genesis with few attempts to document environmental gradients in preservation. As such, establishment of a concrete taphonomic model for shallow marine vertebrate assemblages is lacking. The Neogene Purisima Formation of Northern California, a richly fossiliferous unit recording nearshore to offshore depositional settings, offers a unique opportunity to examine preservational trends across these settings.Lithofacies analysis was conducted to place vertebrate fossils within a hydrodynamic and depositional environmental context. Taphonomic data including abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, articulation, polish, and biogenic bone modification were recorded for over 1000 vertebrate fossils of sharks, bony fish, birds, pinnipeds, odontocetes, mysticetes, sirenians, and land mammals. These data were used to compare both preservation of multiple taxa within a single lithofacies and preservation of individual taxa across lithofacies to document environmental gradients in preservation. Differential preservation between taxa indicates strong preservational bias within the Purisima Formation. Varying levels of abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, and articulation are strongly correlative with physical processes of sediment transport and sedimentation rate. Preservational characteristics were used to delineate four taphofacies corresponding to inner, middle, and outer shelf settings, and bonebeds. Application of sequence stratigraphic methods shows that bonebeds mark major stratigraphic discontinuities, while packages of rock between discontinuities consistently exhibit onshore-offshore changes in taphofacies.Changes in vertebrate preservation and bonebed character between lithofacies closely correspond to onshore-offshore changes in depositional setting, indicating that the dominant control of preservation is exerted by physical processes. The strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation and preservational bias within the Purisima Formation has implications for paleoecologic and paleobiologic studies of marine vertebrates. Evidence of preservational bias among marine vertebrates suggests that careful consideration of taphonomic overprint must be undertaken before meaningful paleoecologic interpretations of shallow marine vertebrates is attempted.

  6. Mio-Pliocene glaciations of Central Patagonia: New evidence and tectonic implications Glaciaciones mio-pliocenas en Patagonia central: nueva evidencia e implicancias tectónicas

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    Yves Lagabrielle


    Full Text Available Patagonia is well known for spectacular oceurrences of a variety of glacial-derived landforms and deposits and for a long history of ancient glaciations. In this paper, we first review the diverse evidence that demonstrates the development of glacial-related sedimentary units within the Central Patagonian Cordillera since 7 Ma. Well preserved glacial landforms at the top surface of mesetas on both sides of the Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires are described: the Meseta Guenguel to the north, and the volcanic Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires to the south. The latter meseta corresponds to a 3 Ma old, morphologically inverted paleo-piedmont, based on Ar/Ar dates of the uppermost lava flows. It shows evidence of glacier advances to the NE direction. Over a distance of 20 km, glacial landforms observed by remote sensing data and digital elevation model define glacial tongues that were fed by the Cordillera reliefs to the west. These lobes are now beheaded from their westward sources along a morpho-structural corridor that bounds the Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires to the west. These remnants can be correlated with the oldest glacial landforms recognized north of Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires, on the Meseta Guenguel that form the Chipanque moraine system. From these features it is concluded that the glacial drainage network of Central Patagonia has been strongly modified following relief inversion in response to erosion processes and to tectonic causes. Changes occurred after 3 Ma, from a smooth piedmont surface covered by an extensive ice mantle ending with ampie glacial lobes, to the current series of deeply incised glacial valleys such as the Lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires depression. These new data bear important con-straints on the history and development of the first glaciations in southern South America.Patagonia es bien conocida por una espectacular geomorfología glacial y por una larga historia de antiguas glaciaciones. En este artículooprimero se describe la variada evidencia que demuestra el desarrolloo, desde hace 7 Ma, de unidades sedimentarias glacigénicas en la Cordillera Patagónica Central. Luego se describe una bien preservada geomorfología glacial en la cima de mesetas expuestas a ambos lados del lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires: en la Meseta Guenguel en el lado norte y en la meseta volcánica del lago Buenos Aires en el lado sur. Esta última corresponde a un paleo-piedemonte morfológicamente invertido de 3 Ma acorde a edades Ar/Ar de las lavas basálticas superiores. Exhibe evidencia del avance de glaciares hacia el NE. Observaciones hechas con sensores remotos y con modelos de elevación digital evidenciaron la presencia de formas glaciales a loolargo de una distancia de 20 km, las que fueron alimentadas desde los relieves cordilleranos ubicados al oeste. Estos lóbulos están ahora descabezados de su fuente ubicada al oeste a loolargo de un corredor morfoestructural que limita la Meseta del lago Buenos Aires por el oeste. Estos remanentes pueden ser correlacionados con las formas glaciales más antiguas reconocidas al norte del lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires en la Meseta Guenguel y que forman el sistema de morrenas Chipanque. Sobre la base de estos antecedentes se concluye que el sistema de drenaje de la Patagonia Central ha sido fuertemente modificado subsecuentemente a la inversion del relieve en respuesta a procesos erosivos y a causas tectónicas. Hubo cambios después de 3 Ma, desde una suave superficie de piedemonte cubierta por un extenso manto de hielooterminando con amplios lóbulos glaciales, hasta la actual serie de valles glaciales profundamente incididos tales como la depresión del lago General Carrera-Buenos Aires. Estos nuevos datos entregan importantes antecedentes a la historia y desarrolloode las primeras glaciaciones cenozoicas del sur de América del Sur.

  7. Comparative taphonomy, taphofacies, and bonebeds of the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation, central California: strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation in shallow marine settings. (United States)

    Boessenecker, Robert W; Perry, Frank A; Schmitt, James G


    Taphonomic study of marine vertebrate remains has traditionally focused on single skeletons, lagerstätten, or bonebed genesis with few attempts to document environmental gradients in preservation. As such, establishment of a concrete taphonomic model for shallow marine vertebrate assemblages is lacking. The Neogene Purisima Formation of Northern California, a richly fossiliferous unit recording nearshore to offshore depositional settings, offers a unique opportunity to examine preservational trends across these settings. Lithofacies analysis was conducted to place vertebrate fossils within a hydrodynamic and depositional environmental context. Taphonomic data including abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, articulation, polish, and biogenic bone modification were recorded for over 1000 vertebrate fossils of sharks, bony fish, birds, pinnipeds, odontocetes, mysticetes, sirenians, and land mammals. These data were used to compare both preservation of multiple taxa within a single lithofacies and preservation of individual taxa across lithofacies to document environmental gradients in preservation. Differential preservation between taxa indicates strong preservational bias within the Purisima Formation. Varying levels of abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, and articulation are strongly correlative with physical processes of sediment transport and sedimentation rate. Preservational characteristics were used to delineate four taphofacies corresponding to inner, middle, and outer shelf settings, and bonebeds. Application of sequence stratigraphic methods shows that bonebeds mark major stratigraphic discontinuities, while packages of rock between discontinuities consistently exhibit onshore-offshore changes in taphofacies. Changes in vertebrate preservation and bonebed character between lithofacies closely correspond to onshore-offshore changes in depositional setting, indicating that the dominant control of preservation is exerted by physical processes. The strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation and preservational bias within the Purisima Formation has implications for paleoecologic and paleobiologic studies of marine vertebrates. Evidence of preservational bias among marine vertebrates suggests that careful consideration of taphonomic overprint must be undertaken before meaningful paleoecologic interpretations of shallow marine vertebrates is attempted.

  8. Variations of the Indian summer monsoon over the Mio-Pliocene recorded in the Bengal Fan (IODP Exp354): implications for the evolution of the terrestrial biosphere. (United States)

    Galy, Valier; Feakins, Sarah; Karkabi, Elias; Ponton, Camilo; Galy, Albert; France-Lanord, Christian


    A pressing challenge in climate research is understanding the temporal evolution of the Indian monsoon system; its response to global and regional climatic controls (including warming); as well as implications in terms of vegetation (C4 expansion), erosion of the Himalaya and carbon sequestration in the Bengal Fan. Studies on climate dynamics have recently offered new insights into the mechanistic controls on the monsoon: the tectonic boundary of the Himalaya is implicated as the major control on Indian summer monsoon dynamics today. Since this region has been uplifted since at least the late Oligocene, it is possible to test the response of monsoon precipitation to global and regional climate change, and also understand feedbacks on the climate system via carbon sequestration in the Bengal Fan. The evidence for monsoon intensity changes across the Miocene and Pliocene is currently incomplete given temporal uncertainty and diagenesis in terrestrial records; biases in the records reconstructed from the distal fan; and conflicting evidence from wind speed and aridity metrics for a stronger or weaker monsoon. Our alternative approach is therefore to study the basin-wide hydrological changes recorded in a multi-proxy, multi-site study of the marine sediments of the Bengal Fan recovered during IODP expedition 354. In turbiditic sediments of Himalayan origin, the late Miocene C4 expansion was found in all three long records recovered during expedition 354 (i.e. at sites U1451, U1450 and U1455, from East to West) based on stable carbon isotope composition of terrestrial leaf-wax compounds. Cores from sites U1455 (a reoccupation of DSDP Leg 22 Site 218) provide the highest resolution record of the C4 transition, which appears to occur abruptly within a relatively continuous series of turbiditic sequences. Bio- and magneto-stratigraphic dating of these records by members of Expedition 354 science party is underway and will provide the best stratigraphic constraint of the C4 expansion in the Himalayan system. Hemipelagic sediments generally carry 13C enriched signatures indicative of C4-dominated source areas, and based on a combination of the wind field climatology and the wetness and ecosystems of source regions today, we suggest that these would likely represent wind transport, likely from peninsular India. Interestingly we found hemipelagic horizons carrying this enriched 13C character prior to the C4 expansion recorded in turbiditic sediments, likely revealing an earlier C4 colonization of peninsular India. Based on our preliminary data we thus propose that C4 plants colonized peninsular India around 9-10 Ma. The hydrogen isotopic composition of the same leaf-wax compounds reveals a surprisingly small (on the order of 10 ‰) isotopic shift associated with the late Miocene C4 expansion. In contrast, the hydrogen isotope composition shift observed across the last deglaciation is far greater (ca. 40‰; Hein et al., in prep.). Cores from site U1451, provide a low resolution record across at least the last 26 Myr and appear to indicate a long term hydrological change from ca. 11Ma to ca. 7Ma, as inferred from progressive D enrichment in the biomarker records. These compound specific hydrogen isotope data will be discussed in the context of changing erosion patterns and attendant variations in the strength of the Indian summer monsoon as well as with respect to the mechanisms that led to the C4 expansion.

  9. Influence of the Eastern California Shear Zone on deposition of the Mio-Pliocene Bouse Formation: Insights from the Cibola area, Arizona (United States)

    Dorsey, Rebecca J.; O'Connell, Brennan; Homan, Mindy B.; Bennett, Scott E. K.


    The Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ) is a wide zone of late Cenozoic strike-slip faults and related diffuse deformation that currently accommodates ~20–25% of relative Pacific–North America plate motion in the lower Colorado River region (Fig. 1A; Dokka and Travis, 1990; Miller et al., 2001; Guest et al., 2007; Mahan et al., 2009). The ECSZ is kinematically linked southward to dextral faults in the northern Gulf of California (Bennett et al., 2016a), and it may have initiated ca. 8 Ma when major strike-slip faults developed in the northern Gulf and Salton Trough region (Bennett et al., 2016b; Darin et al., 2016; Woodburne, 2017). Thus deformation related to the ECSZ occurred in the lower Colorado River region during deposition of the Bouse Formation, which is commonly bracketed between 6.0 and 4.8 Ma (House et al., 2008; Sarna-Wojcicki et al., 2011; Spencer et al., 2013) and may be as old as 6–7 Ma in the south (McDougall and Miranda Martínez, 2014, 2016). Post-4.5 Ma broad sagging is recognized along the lower Colorado River (Howard et al., 2015), but the possibility that faults of the ECSZ influenced local to regional subsidence patterns during deposition of the Bouse Formation has received little attention to date (e.g., Homan, 2014; O’Connell et al., 2016). The Bouse Formation is a widespread sequence of late Miocene to early Pliocene deposits exposed discontinuously along the lower Colorado River corridor (Fig. 1A). In the southern Blythe basin it consists of three regionally correlative members: (1) Basal Carbonate, consisting of supratidal and intertidal mud-flat marls, intertidal and shallow subtidal bioclastic grainstone and conglomerate, and subtidal marl; (2) Siliciclastic member, consisting of Colorado River-derived green claystone, red mudstone and siltstone, and cross-bedded river channel sandstone; and (3) Upper Bioclastic member fossiliferous sandy calcarenite, coarse pebbly grainstone, and calcareous-matrix conglomerate (Homan, 2014; Dorsey et al., 2016; O’Connell et al., 2016, 2017). The southern Bouse Formation has been interpreted as recording deposition in either a lake (Spencer and Patchett, 1997; Spencer et al., 2008, 2013; Bright et al., 2016) or shallow marine setting (Buising, 1990; McDougall, 2008; McDougall and Miranda Martínez, 2014; O’Connell et al., 2017).In this paper we summarize key results from five field seasons of detailed stratigraphic analysis south of Cibola, Ariz. ( . 1). The data reveal systematic stratal thinning and thickening, pinch-outs, and wedging patterns in the Bouse Formation that we conclude were produced by syn-depositional tilting in response to growth of normal faults near the eastern margin of the basin. Similar stratal patterns in other nearby areas suggest widespread structural controls on deposition of the Bouse Formation. A palinspastic reconstruction of the lower Colorado River region at 5 Ma, modified from Bennett et al. (2016), provides insight to regional fault geometries in the ECSZ that may have controlled syn-depositional tilting and subsidence in Bouse depocenters shortly prior to and during initiation of the Colorado River.

  10. Pattern of dental development in Hominid XVIII from the Middle Pleistocene Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos site (Spain). (United States)

    Bermudez De Castro, J M; Rosas, A


    . We describe the pattern of dental development of Hominid XVIII from the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos (SH) site of the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). As expected, this pattern is similar to that of modern humans. A delay of development of the lower and upper canines was observed. In contrast, the relative advanced development of the lower second molars and, especially, the upper and lower third molars is noteworthy. This latter feature seems to be common in Pleistocene hominids, and suggests that the pattern of dental development evolved in the genus Homo during the Pleistocene. In European Middle Pleistocene hominids, this pattern probably was facilitated by the extra space available in the mandible and maxilla for developing teeth. Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  11. Hominid mandibular corpus shape variation and its utility for recognizing species diversity within fossil Homo. (United States)

    Lague, Michael R; Collard, Nicole J; Richmond, Brian G; Wood, Bernard A


    Mandibular corpora are well represented in the hominin fossil record, yet few studies have rigorously assessed the utility of mandibular corpus morphology for species recognition, particularly with respect to the linear dimensions that are most commonly available. In this study, we explored the extent to which commonly preserved mandibular corpus morphology can be used to: (i) discriminate among extant hominid taxa and (ii) support species designations among fossil specimens assigned to the genus Homo. In the first part of the study, discriminant analysis was used to test for significant differences in mandibular corpus shape at different taxonomic levels (genus, species and subspecies) among extant hominid taxa (i.e. Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo). In the second part of the study, we examined shape variation among fossil mandibles assigned to Homo (including H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, early African H. erectus/H. ergaster, late African H. erectus, Asian H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). A novel randomization procedure designed for small samples (and using group 'distinctness values') was used to determine whether shape variation among the fossils is consistent with conventional taxonomy (or alternatively, whether a priori taxonomic groupings are completely random with respect to mandibular morphology). The randomization of 'distinctness values' was also used on the extant samples to assess the ability of the test to recognize known taxa. The discriminant analysis results demonstrated that, even for a relatively modest set of traditional mandibular corpus measurements, we can detect significant differences among extant hominids at the genus and species levels, and, in some cases, also at the subspecies level. Although the randomization of 'distinctness values' test is more conservative than discriminant analysis (based on comparisons with extant specimens), we were able to detect at least four distinct groups among the

  12. Hominid mandibular corpus shape variation and its utility for recognizing species diversity within fossil Homo (United States)

    Lague, Michael R; Collard, Nicole J; Richmond, Brian G; Wood, Bernard A


    Mandibular corpora are well represented in the hominin fossil record, yet few studies have rigorously assessed the utility of mandibular corpus morphology for species recognition, particularly with respect to the linear dimensions that are most commonly available. In this study, we explored the extent to which commonly preserved mandibular corpus morphology can be used to: (i) discriminate among extant hominid taxa and (ii) support species designations among fossil specimens assigned to the genus Homo. In the first part of the study, discriminant analysis was used to test for significant differences in mandibular corpus shape at different taxonomic levels (genus, species and subspecies) among extant hominid taxa (i.e. Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo). In the second part of the study, we examined shape variation among fossil mandibles assigned to Homo(including H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, early African H. erectus/H. ergaster, late African H. erectus, Asian H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). A novel randomization procedure designed for small samples (and using group ‘distinctness values’) was used to determine whether shape variation among the fossils is consistent with conventional taxonomy (or alternatively, whether a priori taxonomic groupings are completely random with respect to mandibular morphology). The randomization of ‘distinctness values’ was also used on the extant samples to assess the ability of the test to recognize known taxa. The discriminant analysis results demonstrated that, even for a relatively modest set of traditional mandibular corpus measurements, we can detect significant differences among extant hominids at the genus and species levels, and, in some cases, also at the subspecies level. Although the randomization of ‘distinctness values’ test is more conservative than discriminant analysis (based on comparisons with extant specimens), we were able to detect at least four distinct groups

  13. Geochronology, stratigraphy and geochemistry of Cindery Tuff in Pliocene hominid-bearing sediments of the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. (United States)

    Hall, C M; Walter, R C; Westgate, J A; York, D

    Cindery Tuff is a subalkaline, rhyolitic air-fall deposit that was probably produced by a mixed-magma eruption. It is a distinctive, datable, regional isochronous marker bed within the Pliocene sediments of the Middle Awash district, and is stratigraphically situated between two new fossil hominid discoveries. Based on 40Ar/39Ar analyses of plagioclase, rhyolitic glass and basaltic glass, as well as fission-track analyses of zircons, we estimate its age to be 3.8-4.0 Myr. This implies that associated hominid skull fragments are at least 3.9 Myr old.

  14. Discovery of novel isoforms of huntingtin reveals a new hominid-specific exon.

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    Albert Ruzo

    Full Text Available Huntington's disease (HD is a devastating neurological disorder that is caused by an expansion of the poly-Q tract in exon 1 of the Huntingtin gene (HTT. HTT is an evolutionarily conserved and ubiquitously expressed protein that has been linked to a variety of functions including transcriptional regulation, mitochondrial function, and vesicle transport. This large protein has numerous caspase and calpain cleavage sites and can be decorated with several post-translational modifications such as phosphorylations, acetylations, sumoylations, and palmitoylations. However, the exact function of HTT and the role played by its modifications in the cell are still not well understood. Scrutiny of HTT function has been focused on a single, full length mRNA. In this study, we report the discovery of 5 novel HTT mRNA splice isoforms that are expressed in normal and HTT-expanded human embryonic stem cell (hESC lines as well as in cortical neurons differentiated from hESCs. Interestingly, none of the novel isoforms generates a truncated protein. Instead, 4 of the 5 new isoforms specifically eliminate domains and modifications to generate smaller HTT proteins. The fifth novel isoform incorporates a previously unreported additional exon, dubbed 41b, which is hominid-specific and introduces a potential phosphorylation site in the protein. The discovery of this hominid-specific isoform may shed light on human-specific pathogenic mechanisms of HTT, which could not be investigated with current mouse models of the disease.

  15. Discovery of Novel Isoforms of Huntingtin Reveals a New Hominid-Specific Exon (United States)

    Popowski, Melissa; Haremaki, Tomomi; Croft, Gist F.; Deglincerti, Alessia; Brivanlou, Ali H.


    Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating neurological disorder that is caused by an expansion of the poly-Q tract in exon 1 of the Huntingtin gene (HTT). HTT is an evolutionarily conserved and ubiquitously expressed protein that has been linked to a variety of functions including transcriptional regulation, mitochondrial function, and vesicle transport. This large protein has numerous caspase and calpain cleavage sites and can be decorated with several post-translational modifications such as phosphorylations, acetylations, sumoylations, and palmitoylations. However, the exact function of HTT and the role played by its modifications in the cell are still not well understood. Scrutiny of HTT function has been focused on a single, full length mRNA. In this study, we report the discovery of 5 novel HTT mRNA splice isoforms that are expressed in normal and HTT-expanded human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines as well as in cortical neurons differentiated from hESCs. Interestingly, none of the novel isoforms generates a truncated protein. Instead, 4 of the 5 new isoforms specifically eliminate domains and modifications to generate smaller HTT proteins. The fifth novel isoform incorporates a previously unreported additional exon, dubbed 41b, which is hominid-specific and introduces a potential phosphorylation site in the protein. The discovery of this hominid-specific isoform may shed light on human-specific pathogenic mechanisms of HTT, which could not be investigated with current mouse models of the disease. PMID:26010866

  16. Analyses of plant biomarkers in modern ecosystems to improve vegetation reconstructions at hominid sites (United States)

    Uno, K. T.; Boisserie, J. R.; Cerling, T. E.; Polissar, P. J.


    Reconstructing vegetation at hominid localities in eastern Africa remains a significant challenge for examining the role of climate and environment in human evolution. Plant wax biomarker approaches, particularly carbon isotopes of n-alkyl lipids, have been increasingly used to estimate the proportion of C3 and C4­ vegetation in past environments. Identifying new biomarkers indicative of vegetation type, specifically those that can be used to identify (C3) grasses prior to the late Miocene C4 expansion, will enable vegetation reconstructions during the first half of the Neogene, where much remains to be learned about hominid environments. Here, we begin to look beyond carbon isotopes from n-alkyl lipids by analyzing molecular distributions and screening for new plant biomarkers that can be used to identify plant functional types or possibly, more specific taxonomic information. We evaluate molecular distributions, carbon isotope ratios, and pentacyclic triterpenoid methyl esters (PTMEs) in modern soils from a wide range of ecosystems in Ethiopia and Kenya where vegetation types, fraction woody cover, and climatic conditions are known. Preliminary data suggest PTMEs are associated with grassy ecosystems but absent from forested ones. We also find that woody cover can be estimated using n-alkane molecular distributions. This non-isotopic approach to reconstructing woody cover opens the door to reconstructing Neogene vegetation provided the molecular distributions of C3 grasses in the past are similar to those of modern C4 grasses.

  17. Auditory ERPs to stimulus deviance in an awake chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes: towards hominid cognitive neurosciences.

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    Ari Ueno

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: For decades, the chimpanzee, phylogenetically closest to humans, has been analyzed intensively in comparative cognitive studies. Other than the accumulation of behavioral data, the neural basis for cognitive processing in the chimpanzee remains to be clarified. To increase our knowledge on the evolutionary and neural basis of human cognition, comparative neurophysiological studies exploring endogenous neural activities in the awake state are needed. However, to date, such studies have rarely been reported in non-human hominid species, due to the practical difficulties in conducting non-invasive measurements on awake individuals. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We measured auditory event-related potentials (ERPs of a fully awake chimpanzee, with reference to a well-documented component of human studies, namely mismatch negativity (MMN. In response to infrequent, deviant tones that were delivered in a uniform sound stream, a comparable ERP component could be detected as negative deflections in early latencies. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The present study reports the MMN-like component in a chimpanzee for the first time. In human studies, various ERP components, including MMN, are well-documented indicators of cognitive and neural processing. The results of the present study validate the use of non-invasive ERP measurements for studies on cognitive and neural processing in chimpanzees, and open the way for future studies comparing endogenous neural activities between humans and chimpanzees. This signifies an essential step in hominid cognitive neurosciences.

  18. A new horned crocodile from the Plio-Pleistocene hominid sites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

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    Christopher A Brochu

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The fossil record reveals surprising crocodile diversity in the Neogene of Africa, but relationships with their living relatives and the biogeographic origins of the modern African crocodylian fauna are poorly understood. A Plio-Pleistocene crocodile from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, represents a new extinct species and shows that high crocodylian diversity in Africa persisted after the Miocene. It had prominent triangular "horns" over the ears and a relatively deep snout, these resemble those of the recently extinct Malagasy crocodile Voay robustus, but the new species lacks features found among osteolaemines and shares derived similarities with living species of Crocodylus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The holotype consists of a partial skull and skeleton and was collected on the surface between two tuffs dated to approximately 1.84 million years (Ma, in the same interval near the type localities for the hominids Homo habilis and Australopithecus boisei. It was compared with previously-collected material from Olduvai Gorge referable to the same species. Phylogenetic analysis places the new form within or adjacent to crown Crocodylus. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The new crocodile species was the largest predator encountered by our ancestors at Olduvai Gorge, as indicated by hominid specimens preserving crocodile bite marks from these sites. The new species also reinforces the emerging view of high crocodylian diversity throughout the Neogene, and it represents one of the few extinct species referable to crown genus Crocodylus.

  19. Comparative morphometric analysis of the proximal femur of African hominids and felids

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    Andrew Gallagher


    Full Text Available Size and shape of the mammalian proximal femur and taxon-specific distinctions in the relative proportions of the proximal articulation, the femoral neck and the proximal femoral diaphysis, are critical determinants in its adaptation to differential biomechanical stresses and observed locomotor habitus in different taxa. The morphometrics of the proximal femur are considered equally critical in the assessment of locomotor habitus of extinct fossil mammals, particularly extinct Miocene anthropoids and Plio-Pleistocene hominins. Analyses of size and shape of k=10 dimensions of the proximal femur were undertaken for a large sample series of two extant mammal families the Felidae and Hominidae using conventional multivariate statistical procedures, commonly used size-correction methods, and post-hoc tests of significance. While significant differences in form do exist, there are equally striking convergences in the functional morphology of extant hominid and felid taxa. Multivariate and bivariate allometric analyses confirm that the proximal femur of these two mammalian families share a common underlying structure manifest in a shared first common principal component. Nevertheless, while considerable convergences in general form of the proximal femur of African hominids and large-bodied felids are apparent, there exist equally discreet distinctions which are consistent with the differential structural demands imposed by their distinct locomotor and behavioural habitus.

  20. On the age of the hominid fossils at the Sima de los Huesos, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain: paleomagnetic evidence. (United States)

    Parés, J M; Pérez-González, A; Weil, A B; Arsuaga, J L


    We report new paleomagnetic data for the Middle Pleistocene hominid-bearing strata in the Sima de los Huesos, North Spain. Sediments (brown muds with human and bear fossils and the underlying sterile clayey and sandy unit) preserve both normal and reversed magnetic components. The sterile unit has exclusively reversed magnetization, dating back to the Matuyama Chron, and thus is Lower Pleistocene in age. The overlying fossiliferous muds have a dominant normal magnetization that overprints a partially resolved reversed magnetization. These data are compatible with one of the reversal events that occurred during the Brunhes Chron. Combined with the existing U-series dates and evidence from the macro- and microfauna, these paleomagnetic results suggest an age of the hominid fossils between 325 to 205 ka, whereas the underlying sand and silts are older than 780 ka. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  1. Ages of tuff beds at East African early hominid sites and sediments in the Gulf of Aden (United States)

    Sarna-Wojcicki, A. M.; Meyer, C.E.; Roth, P.H.; Brown, F.H.


    The early hominids of East Africa were dated by determining the ages of tuff beds at the sites. Despite much research using palaeomagnetic and K/Ar-dating techniques, some of those ages are still controversial 1,2. To obtain independent age estimates for these tephra layers, we have examined cores from DSDP Sites 231 and 232 in the Gulf of Aden (Fig. 1a) which consist mainly of calcareous nannofossil ooze, but also contain rare tephra horizons3 dated by interpolation from the established nannofossil stratigraphy (Fig. 1b). Chemical analysis confirms that the identity and sequence of these horizons is the same as that at the East African sites. We conclude that the age of the Tulu Bor Tuff is <3.4 Myr and hence that the Hadar hominid specimens are also

  2. Environmental significance of Upper Miocene phosphorites at hominid sites in the Lukeino Formation (Tugen Hills, Kenya) (United States)

    Dericquebourg, Perrine; Person, Alain; Ségalen, Loïc; Pickford, Martin; Senut, Brigitte; Fagel, Nathalie


    The Lukeino Formation contains an important sedimentary and fossiliferous record of the late Miocene (6.09-5.68 Ma), which has in particular yielded the fossil remains of the oldest East African bipedal hominid called Orrorin tugenensis. This fluvio-lacustrine sedimentary succession crops out in the Kenyan part of the East African Rift. It is mainly composed of clay to sandy clay deposits intercalated with volcanic ash horizons, and localized layers of carbonates and diatomites. A detailed sedimentological and mineralogical study of the Lukeino Formation was conducted to throw light on the environmental conditions in which the hominids lived. Several centimetric, relatively continuous and indurated phosphatic horizons, of sedimentary origin, were identified at two sites (Sunbarua and Kapcheberek). Mineralogical (XRD) and geochemical analyses as well as observations by SEM, which was coupled with an energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) microprobe, indicate that the autochthonous phosphate layers are composed of a micritic matrix of francolite (38-93%), with incorporation of silicates in variable proportions from one layer to another. The phosphate matrix contains very well preserved and abundant diatom frustules in the basal phosphate layer. These diatoms are identified as Aulacoseira granulata, implying a pH of 7.8-8.2 for freshwaters of the Palaeolake Lukeino. Calcitic tubular structures, linked to a possible bacterial origin, are also observed locally. Phosphate layers occur abruptly within a thick clay-sandy series, associated with an intense runoff phase during the deposition of this interval of the Lukeino Formation. The massive and cyclic input of phosphorus to the lake promoted productivity to the stage where it caused a diatom bloom. The establishment of several phosphate horizons testifies to successive phases of eutrophication of Palaeolake Lukeino. The diatom cells provided some of the organic matter, which was decomposed by bacterial activity at the

  3. Pliocene and pleistocene hominid-bearing sites from west of lake turkana, kenya. (United States)

    Harris, J M; Brown, F H; Leakey, M G; Walker, A C; Leakey, R E


    Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil localities near the western shoreline of Lake Turkana, ranging in age between 1 million and 3.5 million years in age, have produced important new hominid specimens including most of a Homo erectus skeleton and a relatively complete early robust australopithecine cranium. The lacustrine, fluviatile, and terrestrial strata are designated the Nachukui Formation, which is subdivided into eight members. The distribution of sedimentary facies within the Nachukui Formation suggests that, as today, the Labur and Murua Rith ranges formed the western margin of the basin and were drained by eastward-flowing rivers that fed into the forerunner of the present lake or a major river system. There is also stratigraphic evidence for tectonic movement during the deposition of these sediments. Twenty-three of the tuffs observed in the succession occur also in the Koobi Fora Formation east of the lake and in the Shungura Formation of the lower Omo Valley and permit precise correlation among these three localities. Fortyseven fossiliferous sites from West Turkana have yielded more than 1000 specimens of 93 mammalian species. The mammalian fossils represent nine sequential assemblages that augment information about faunal and environmental change from elsewhere in the basin.

  4. Analysis of the dental morphology of Plio-pleistocene hominids. I. Mandibular molars: crown area measurements and morphological traits. (United States)

    Wood, B A; Abbott, S A


    This study has used accurate measurements of crown area and precise assessments of the morphological traits of mandibular molars in an attempt to define the metrical and morphological characteristics of early hominid taxa. A total of 196 Plio-Pleistocene hominid molars were either allocated to one of six informal taxonomic groups or considered as individual cases. Accurate measurements of crown base area made from occlusal photographs have enabled us to estimate the effects of interproximal wear on crown areas. The average correction factor over the three molar types is around 2-4% with a maximum of 6%. The patterns of distribution of extra cusps show interesting differences between taxa. None of the M-1S in the two groups of 'gracile' hominids from East and South Africa bears a C6, but it is common in the two 'robust' taxa. The distribution of a C7 is the reverse of this, it being rare in the robust' taxa, and more common in the 'gracile' groups. There is thus no simple relationship between cusp number and tooth size. Our observations on the protostylid suggest that though it is more common in the 'robust' australopithecines than the 'graciles', when it does occur it is more strongly expressed in the 'gracile' group. The combination of simple metrical data, and the assessment of morphological traits, can help in the classification of enigmatic or incomplete specimens. Some isolated teeth from the collection at Koobi Fora can confidently be assigned to Australopithecus boisei, and useful guides have been provided for taxonomic assessment of the skull KNM-ER 1805, and the mandibles KNM-ER 1506 and 1820.

  5. Geometric morphometric analysis of allometric variation in the mandibular morphology of the hominids of Atapuerca, Sima de los Huesos site. (United States)

    Rosas, Antonio; Bastir, Markus


    Allometry is an important factor of morphological integration that contributes to the organization of the phenotype and its variation. Variation in the allometric shape of the mandible is particularly important in hominid evolution because the mandible carries important taxonomic traits. Some of these traits are known to covary with size, particularly the retromolar space, symphyseal curvature, and position of the mental foramen. The mandible is a well studied system in the context of the evolutionary development of complex morphological structures because it is composed of different developmental units that are integrated within a single bone. In the present study, we investigated the allometric variation of two important developmental units that are separated by the inferior nerve (a branch of CN V3). We tested the null hypothesis that there would be no difference in allometric variation between the two components. Procrustes-based geometric morphometrics of 20 two-dimensional (2D) landmarks were analyzed by multivariate regressions of shape on size in samples from 121 humans, 48 chimpanzees, and 50 gorillas (all recent specimens), eight fossil hominids from Atapuerca, Sima de los Huesos (AT-SH), and 17 Neandertals. The findings show that in all of the examined species, there was significantly greater allometric variation in the supra-nerve unit than in the infra-nerve unit. The formation of the retromolar space exhibited an allometric relationship with the supra-nerve unit in all of the species studied. The formation of the chin-like morphology is an "apodynamic" feature of the infra-nerve unit in the AT-SH hominids. The results of this study support the hypothesis that allometry contributes to the organization of variation in complex morphological structures. Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  6. The 'temporal effect' in hominids: Reinvestigating the nature of support for a chimp-human clade in bone morphology. (United States)

    Pearson, Alannah; Groves, Colin; Cardini, Andrea


    In 2004, an analysis by Lockwood and colleagues of hard-tissue morphology, using geometric morphometrics on the temporal bone, succeeded in recovering the correct phylogeny of living hominids without resorting to potentially problematic methods for transforming continuous shape variables into meristic characters. That work has increased hope that by using modern analytical methods and phylogenetically informative anatomical data we might one day be able to accurately infer the relationships of hominins, including the closest extinct relatives of modern humans. In the present study, using 3D virtually generated models of the hominid temporal bone and a larger suite of geometric morphometric and comparative techniques, we have re-examined the evidence for a Pan-Homo clade. Despite differences in samples, as well as the type of raw data, the effect of measurement error (and especially landmark digitization by a different operator), but also a broader perspective brought in by our diverse set of approaches, our reanalysis largely supports Lockwood and colleagues' original results. However, by focusing not only mainly on shape (as in the original 2004 analysis) but also on size and 'size-corrected' (non-allometric) shape, we demonstrate that the strong phylogenetic signal in the temporal bone is largely related to similarities in size. Thus, with this study, we are not suggesting the use of a single 'character', such as size, for phylogenetic inference, but we do challenge the common view that shape, with its highly complex and multivariate nature, is necessarily more phylogenetically informative than size and that actually size and size-related shape variation (i.e., allometry) confound phylogenetic inference based on morphology. This perspective may in fact be less generalizable than often believed. Thus, while we confirm the original findings by Lockwood et al., we provide a deep reinterpretation of their nature and potential implications for hominid phylogenetics

  7. The Sima de los Huesos hominids date to beyond U/Th equilibrium (>350 kyr) and perhaps to 400-500 kyr: New radiometric dates (United States)

    Bischoff, J.L.; Shamp, D.D.; Aramburu, Arantza; Arsuaga, J.L.; Carbonell, E.; Bermudez de Castro, Jose Maria


    The Sima de los Huesos site of the Atapuerca complex near Burgos, Spain contains the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals in a mud breccia underlying an accumulation of the Middle Pleistocene cave bear (U. deningeri). Earlier dating estimates of 200 to 320 kyr were based on U-series and ESR methods applied to bones, made inaccurate by unquantifiable uranium cycling. We report here on a new discovery within the Sima de los Huesos of human bones stratigraphically underlying an in situ speleothem. U-series analyses of the speleothem shows the lower part to be at isotopic U/Th equilibrium, translating to a firm lower limit of 350 kyr for the SH hominids. Finite dates on the upper part suggest a speleothem growth rate of c. 1 cm/32 kyr. This rate, along with paleontological constraints, place the likely age of the hominids in the interval of 400 to 600 kyr. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Early hominid stone tool production and technical skill 2.34 Myr ago in West Turkana, Kenya. (United States)

    Roche, H; Delagnes, A; Brugal, J P; Feibel, C; Kibunjia, M; Mourre, V; Texier, P J


    Well-documented Pliocene archaeological sites are exceptional. At present they are known only in East Africa, in the Hadar and Shungura formations of Ethiopia and in the Nachukui formation of Kenya. Intensive archeological survey and a series of test excavations conducted in the Nachukui formation since 1987 have led to the discovery of more than 25 archaeological sites whose ages range from 2.34 to 0.7 million years before present (Myr), and to the extensive excavation of two 2.34-Myr sites, Lokalalei 1 in 1991 and Lokalalei 2C in 1997. Lokalalei 2C yielded nearly 3,000 archaeological finds from a context of such good preservation that it was possible to reconstitute more than 60 sets of complementary matching stone artefacts. These refits, predating the Koobi Fora refits by 500 Kyr, are the oldest ever studied. Here we describe a technological analysis of the core reduction sequences, based on these refits, which allows unprecedented accuracy in the understanding of flake production processes. We can thus demonstrate greater cognitive capacity and motor skill than previously assumed for early hominids, and highlight the diversity of Pliocene technical behaviour.

  9. Direct radiocarbon dates for Vindija G1 and Velika Pećina Late Pleistocene hominid remains (United States)

    Smith, Fred H.; Trinkaus, Erik; Pettitt, Paul B.; Karavanić, Ivor; Paunović, Maja


    New accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dates taken directly on human remains from the Late Pleistocene sites of Vindija and Velika Pećina in the Hrvatsko Zagorje of Croatia are presented. Hominid specimens from both sites have played critical roles in the development of current perspectives on modern human evolutionary emergence in Europe. Dates of ≈28 thousand years (ka) before the present (B.P.) and ≈29 ka B.P. for two specimens from Vindija G1 establish them as the most recent dated Neandertals in the Eurasian range of these archaic humans. The human frontal bone from Velika Pećina, generally considered one of the earliest representatives of modern humans in Europe, dated to ≈5 ka B.P., rendering it no longer pertinent to discussions of modern human origins. Apart from invalidating the only radiometrically based example of temporal overlap between late Neandertal and early modern human fossil remains from within any region of Europe, these dates raise the question of when early modern humans first dispersed into Europe and have implications for the nature and geographic patterning of biological and cultural interactions between these populations and the Neandertals. PMID:10535913

  10. Alluvial systems as archives for environmental change at a Hominid site with Oldowan archaeological occurrences: the Homa Peninsula, southwestern Kenya (United States)

    Vincent, Thomas; Whitfield, Elizabeth; Kirby, Jason; Hunt, Christopher; Bishop, Laura; Plummer, Thomas; Ditchfield, Peter


    The Homa Peninsula, southwestern Kenya, preserves fossiliferous sedimentary sequences dating to the Plio-Pleistocene. Evidence of hominids inhabiting an open grassland setting and utilising Oldowan tools has been reported here, as well as some of the oldest known traces of hominin activity. Reconstructions of the palaeoenvironment have suggested that alluvial and lake marginal environments on a grassy plain, between wooded slopes and a permanent water body might be plausible. However, these interpretations are based only on field sedimentological analyses and stable isotope analysis at a single site on the peninsula (Kanjera South). It is the aim of this study to utilise a multiproxy approach to develop our understanding of the palaeoenvironmental characteristics here. Sediments will also be characterized at a new site (Nyayanga) through field analyses, as well as through analyses of particle size, siliceous microfossils (diatoms, phytoliths and sponge spicules), pollen and stable isotopes. By utilizing this approach, new insights into the palaeoecology, palaeohydromorphology and palaeoclimate of the locale may be revealed, expanding the limited data available to palaeoanthropological studies of Oldowan occurrences in east Africa. Efforts to refine palaeoenvironmental reconstructions of Kanjera South through particle size analysis have shown that sediments in the lower beds of the sequence are characterised by poor sorting, a bimodal distribution and sand/silty-sand grade material. This suggests rapid deposition and/or a variable hydrological regime and may represent the role of relatively unconfined ephemeral channels in the transportation and deposition of sediments. Fluvial reworking of aeolian sediments, most likely during unconfined flood events may also have occurred.

  11. Combined ESR/U-series chronology of Acheulian hominid-bearing layers at Trinchera Galeria site, Atapuerca, Spain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Falgueres, Christophe; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Shao, Qingfeng; Bischoff, James L.; Perez-Gonzalez, Alfredo; Ortega, Ana Isabel; Bermudez de Castro, Jose Maria; Olle, Andreu; Vallverdu, Josep; Quiles, Anita; Ghaleb, Bassam; Moreno, Davinia; Dolo, Jean-Michel; Vallverdu, Josep; Carbonell, Eudald; Arsuaga, Juan Luis


    The Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain, is known from many prehistoric and paleontologic sites documenting human prehistory in Europe. Three major sites, Gran Dolina, Galeria and Sima del Elefante, range in age from the oldest hominin of Western Europe dated to 1.1 to 1.3 Ma (millions of years ago) at Sima del Elefante to c.a. 0.2 Ma on the top of the Galeria archaeological sequence. Recently, a chronology based on luminescence methods (Thermoluminescence [TL] and Infrared Stimulated Luminescence [IRSL]) applied to cave sediments was published for the Gran Dolina and Galeria sites. The authors proposed for Galeria an age of 450 ka (thousands of years ago) for the units lower GIII and GII, suggesting that the human occupation there is younger than the hominid remains of Sima de los Huesos (≥530 ka) around 1 km away. In this paper, we present new results obtained by combined Electron Spin Resonance/Uranium-series (ESR/U-series) dating on 20 herbivorous teeth from different levels at the Galeria site. They are in agreement with the TL results for the upper part of the stratigraphic sequence (GIV and GIIIb), in the range of between 200 and 250 ka. But for the GIIIa to GIIb levels, the TL ages become abruptly older by 200 ka while ESR ages remain relatively constant. Finally, the TL and ESR data agree in the lowest part of the section (GIIa); both fall in the range of around 350-450 ka. Our results suggest a different interpretation for the GII, GIII and GIV units of Galeria and the upper part of Gran Dolina (TD10 and TD11) than obtained by TL. The ESR/U-series results are supported by a Bayesian analysis, which allows a better integration between stratigraphic information and radiometric data. (authors)

  12. ESR analyses on tooth enamel from the Paleolithic layers at the Obi-Rakhmat hominid site, Uzbekistan: Tackling a dating controversy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Skinner, Anne R.; Blackwell, Bonnie A.B.; Mian, Abubakar; Baboumian, Shaunte M.; Blickstein, Joel I.B.; Wrinn, Patrick J.; Krivoshapkin, A.I.; Derevianko, A.P.; Lundburg, Joyce A.


    In the Tien Shan Mt., northeastern Uzbekistan, the Obi-Rakhmat rockshelter has yielded newly discovered hominid remains associated with an abundant Paleolithic industry and a rich faunal assemblage in typical cave fill sediment. Eight bovid teeth were dated by standard and isochron ESR to resolve the 50 ky discrepancy between the 14 C and 234 Th/ 234 U ages for Obi-Rakhmat. All the dentine contained high U concentrations, up to 150 ppm. External dose rates of 470-820μGy/y were calculated from volumetrically averaged sediment geochemistry for all layers and mineralogies within 30 cm of the teeth. One tooth from Layer 12.3 averaged 57±2ka assuming linear U uptake, while three from Layer 13 averaged 66±2ka, that from Layer 14.3,73±4ka, and three from Layer 21.2,87±4ka. Isochron and 230 Th/ 234 U analyses suggest that the teeth did experience linear uptake with ∼5% recent secondary U remobilization. These dates indicate that the site was inhabitted during Oxygen Isotope Stages (OIS) 5a-4, as climates were generally cooling, but beginning to fluctuate more widely. Assuming a constant sedimentation rate of 22 cm/ky, the hominid remains date to ∼74ka

  13. Shape analysis of spatial relationships between orbito-ocular and endocranial structures in modern humans and fossil hominids. (United States)

    Pereira-Pedro, Ana Sofia; Masters, Michael; Bruner, Emiliano


    The orbits and eyes of modern humans are situated directly below the frontal lobes and anterior to the temporal lobes. Contiguity between these orbital and cerebral elements could generate spatial constraints, and potentially lead to deformation of the eye and reduced visual acuity during development. In this shape analysis we evaluate whether and to what extent covariation exists between ocular morphology and the size and spatial position of the frontal and temporal areas in adult modern humans. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to investigate patterns of variation among the brain and eyes, while computed tomography (CT) was used to compare cranial morphology in this anatomical region among modern humans, extinct hominids and chimpanzees. Seventeen landmarks and semi-landmarks that capture the outline of the eye, frontal lobe, anterior fossa/orbital roof and the position of the temporal tips were sampled using lateral scout views in two dimensions, after projection of the average grayscale values of each hemisphere, with midsagittal and parasagittal elements overlapped onto the same plane. MRI results demonstrated that eye position in adult humans varies most with regard to its horizontal distance from the temporal lobes and, secondly, in its vertical distance from the frontal lobes. Size was mainly found to covary with the distance between the eye and temporal lobes. Proximity to these cerebral lobes may generate spatial constraints, as some ocular deformation was observed. Considering the CT analysis, modern humans vary most with regard to the orientation of the orbits, while interspecific variation is mainly associated with separation between the orbits and endocranial elements. These findings suggest that size and position of the frontal and temporal lobes can affect eye and orbit morphology, though potential effects on eye shape require further study. In particular, possible effects of these spatial and allometric relationships on the eye and vision

  14. Freshwater on the route of hominids "out of Africa" during the last interglacial revealed by U-Th in northern Red Sea fossil reefs (United States)

    Lazar, B.; Stein, M.; Agnon, A.; Shaked, Y.


    The migration of Anatomically Modern Hominids (AMH) "out of Africa" is a fundamental problem in the study of human culture concerning that the route passed through the presently hyperarid deserts surrounding the Red Sea. Here, we outline the evidence for significant presence of freshwater in a well developed phreatic coastal aquifer along the Red Sea shores during the last interglacial period. The fringing coral reefs were tectonically uplifted through the freshwater lens resulting in extensive recrystallization of reef framework from the primary aragonite into calcite. We developed a novel open-system U-Th dating methodology that enabled us estimating two ages for the calcitic reef terrace: 1. The original age of the reef terrace, deposited at ~190 ka BP; and 2. the time of freshwater recrystallization (from the primary aragonite into calcite) at ~140 ka BP. The age of freshwater recrystallization is consistent with other geological lines of evidence placing the time of AMH migration "out of Africa" at the onset of the last interglacial. It is likely therefore that during that time the hyperarid Red Sea area was wetter than today facilitating the migration of AMH to Europe and Asia.

  15. A reassessment of the study of cut mark patterns to infer hominid manipulation of fleshed carcasses at the Flk Zinj 22 site, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel


    Full Text Available Previous experimental studies on cut marks have suggested that cut mark percentages and their anatomical distribution (based on element type and bone section type could be used to differentiate primary access to fleshed carcasses from secondary access to defleshed carcasses. In this study, the experimental sample of this type of studies is increased and further data are included to infer a primary access by hominids to carcasses at the FLK Zinj site of Olduvai.

    Estudios experimentales anteriores sobre marcas de corte han sugerido que los porcentajes de marcas de corte y su distribución (basada en tipo de hueso y tipo de sección ósea podrían usarse para diferenciar un acceso primario a carcasas con carne de un acceso secundario a carcasas descarnadas. En este estudio semejante muestra experimental se ve ampliada y se muestran más datos que sirven para inferir que los homínidos tuvieron un acceso primario a las carcasas representadas en el yacimiento FLK Zinj de Olduvai.

  16. High-resolution U-series dates from the Sima de los Huesos hominids yields 600 +∞-66: implications for the evolution of the early Neanderthal lineage (United States)

    Bischoff, James L.; Williams, Ross W.; Rosenbauer, Robert J.; Aramburu, Arantza; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Garcia, Nuria; Cuenca-Bescos, Gloria


    The Sima de los Huesos site of the Atapuerca complex near Burgos, Spain contains the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals in a mud-breccia underlying an accumulation of the Middle Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus deningeri). We report here on new high-precision dates on the recently discovered speleothem SRA-3 overlaying human bones within the Sima de los Huesos. Earlier analyses of this speleothem by TIMS (thermal-ionization mass-spectrometry) showed the lower part to be indistinguishable from internal isotopic equilibrium at the precision of the TIMS instrumentation used, yielding minimum age of 350 kyr (kyr = 103 yr before present). Reanalysis of six samples of SRA-3 by inductively-coupled plasma-multicollector mass-spectrometry (ICP-MS) produced high-precision analytical results allowing calculation of finite dates. The new dates cluster around 600 kyr. A conservative conclusion takes the lower error limit ages as the minimum age of the speleothem, or 530 kyr. This places the SH hominids at the very beginnings of the Neandertal evolutionary lineage.

  17. The early Pleistocene deciduous hominid molar FS-72 from the Sangiran Dome of Java, Indonesia: A taxonomic reappraisal based on its comparative endostructural characterization. (United States)

    Zanolli, Clément; Grine, Frederick E; Kullmer, Ottmar; Schrenk, Friedemann; Macchiarelli, Roberto


    Among the ten fossil hominid deciduous teeth reported so far from the Pleistocene sediments of the Sangiran Dome of Java are two isolated lower second molars: specimens PCG.2 from the Kabuh Formation and FS-72 from the Pucangan Formation. While PCG.2 appears to be certainly attributable to Homo erectus, FS-72 is somewhat more problematic, even though it is commonly listed within the Indonesian H. erectus hypodigm. Largely because of its large size, it was originally attributed to Meganthropus paleojavanicus. Subsequent study highlighted a set of metric and nonmetric crown features also found in Australopith and African early Homo (notably H. habilis) homologues. An additional problem with the taxonomic assignment of isolated teeth from the Pleistocene of Java is the presence of Pongo in these same deposits. To assess the taxonomic affinity of FS-72, we investigated its inner structure (tissue proportions and enamel-dentine junction morphology) by using techniques of 2-3D virtual imaging coupled with geometric morphometric analyses. The results show that FS-72 has thinner enamel compared to fossil and recent humans and that its topographic repartition more closely follows the pongine pattern. It also exhibits a Pongo-like elongated morphology of the enamel-dentine junction, with proportionally lower and mesiodistally spaced dentine horns. Given the morphological and metric similarities between fossil orangutan and H. erectus molars, we tested the hypothesis that its internal morphology more closely resembles the patterns evinced by PCG.2 and modern humans than Pongo. Accordingly, we consider that FS-72 more likely represents a dm2 of Pongo rather than Homo. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  18. Combined ESR/U-series chronology of Acheulian hominid-bearing layers at Trinchera Galería site, Atapuerca, Spain. (United States)

    Falguères, Christophe; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Bischoff, James L; Pérez-González, Alfredo; Ortega, Ana Isabel; Ollé, Andreu; Quiles, Anita; Ghaleb, Bassam; Moreno, Davinia; Dolo, Jean-Michel; Shao, Qingfeng; Vallverdú, Josep; Carbonell, Eudald; Bermúdez de Castro, Jose María; Arsuaga, Juan Luis


    The Sierra de Atapuerca, northern Spain, is known from many prehistoric and palaeontological sites documenting human prehistory in Europe. Three major sites, Gran Dolina, Galería and Sima del Elefante, range in age from the oldest hominin of Western Europe dated to 1.1 to 1.3 Ma (millions of years ago) at Sima del Elefante to c.a. 0.2 Ma on the top of the Galería archaeological sequence. Recently, a chronology based on luminescence methods (Thermoluminescence [TL] and Infrared Stimulated Luminescence [IRSL]) applied to cave sediments was published for the Gran Dolina and Galería sites. The authors proposed for Galería an age of 450 ka (thousands of years ago) for the units lower GIII and GII, suggesting that the human occupation there is younger than the hominid remains of Sima de los Huesos (>530 ka) around 1 km away. In this paper, we present new results obtained by combined Electron Spin Resonance/Uranium-series (ESR/U-series) dating on 20 herbivorous teeth from different levels at the Galería site. They are in agreement with the TL results for the upper part of the stratigraphic sequence (GIV and GIIIb), in the range of between 200 and 250 ka. But for the GIIIa to GIIb levels, the TL ages become abruptly older by 200 ka while ESR ages remain relatively constant. Finally, the TL and ESR data agree in the lowest part of the section (GIIa); both fall in the range of around 350-450 ka. Our results suggest a different interpretation for the GII, GIII and GIV units of Galería and the upper part of Gran Dolina (TD10 and TD11) than obtained by TL. The ESR/U-series results are supported by a Bayesian analysis, which allows a better integration between stratigraphic information and radiometric data. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Megalake Chad impact on climate and vegetation during the late Pliocene and the mid-Holocene

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Contoux


    Full Text Available Given the growing evidence for megalakes in the geological record, assessing their impact on climate and vegetation is important for the validation of palaeoclimate simulations and therefore the accuracy of model–data comparison in lacustrine environments. Megalake Chad (MLC occurrences are documented not only for the mid-Holocene but also for the Mio-Pliocene (Schuster et al., 2009. At this time, the surface covered by water would have reached up to ~350 000 km2 (Ghienne et al., 2002; Schuster et al., 2005; Leblanc et al., 2006, making it an important evaporation source, possibly modifying climate and vegetation in the Chad Basin. We investigated the impact of such a giant continental water area in two different climatic backgrounds within the Paleoclimate Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (PMIP3: the late Pliocene (3.3 to 3 Ma, i.e. the mid-Piacenzian warm period and the mid-Holocene (6 kyr BP. In all simulations including MLC, precipitation is drastically reduced above the lake surface because deep convection is inhibited by overlying colder air. Meanwhile, convective activity is enhanced around MLC because of the wind increase generated by the flat surface of the megalake, transporting colder and moister air towards the eastern shore of the lake. The effect of MLC on precipitation and temperature is not sufficient to widely impact vegetation patterns. Nevertheless, tropical savanna is present in the Chad Basin in all climatic configurations, even without MLC presence, showing that the climate itself is the driver of favourable environments for sustainable hominid habitats.

  20. Paléocontraintes et déformations syn- et post-collision Afrique Europe identifiées dans la couverture mésozoïque et cénozoïque du Haut Atlas occidental (Maroc)Syn- and post-collision Africa Europe palaeostresses and deformations identified in the West High-Atlas Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover (Morocco) (United States)

    Amrhar, Mostafa

    Palaeostresses and deformation axis reconstruction related to the intracontinental High-Atlas uplift evidences two shortening phases from Upper Cretaceous to Quaternary. The first compression is oriented N20-30°E and is Maastrichtian to Oligocene age; the second one, oriented N120-160°E, is syn-Mio-Pliocene. Tectonic inversion of the lateral to compressive Jurassic regime is contemporaneous with the beginning of Africa and Europe collision. Rotation of the Mio-Pliocene shortening orientation could be linked to the change of the convergence direction between the Africa and Europe plates. To cite this article: M. Amrhar, C. R. Geoscience 334 (2002) 279-285.

  1. Cognitive cladistics and cultural override in Hominid spatial cognition


    Haun, D.; Rapold, C.; Call, J.; Janzen, G.; Levinson, S.


    Current approaches to human cognition often take a strong nativist stance based on Western adult performance, backed up where possible by neonate and infant research and almost never by comparative research across the Hominidae. Recent research suggests considerable cross-cultural differences in cognitive strategies, including relational thinking, a domain where infant research is impossible because of lack of cognitive maturation. Here, we apply the same paradigm across children and adults o...

  2. Cognitive cladistics and cultural override in Hominid spatial cognition

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Haun, D.B.M.; Rapold, C.J.; Call, J.; Janzen, G.; Levinson, S.C.


    Current approaches to human cognition often take a strong nativist stance based on Western adult performance, backed up where possible by neonate and infant research and almost never by comparative research across the Hominidae. Recent research suggests considerable cross-cultural differences in

  3. Explaining the imperfection of the molecular clock of hominid mitochondria.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eva-Liis Loogväli

    Full Text Available The molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA has been extensively used to date various genetic events. However, its substitution rate among humans appears to be higher than rates inferred from human-chimpanzee comparisons, limiting the potential of interspecies clock calibrations for intraspecific dating. It is not well understood how and why the substitution rate accelerates. We have analyzed a phylogenetic tree of 3057 publicly available human mitochondrial DNA coding region sequences for changes in the ratios of mutations belonging to different functional classes. The proportion of non-synonymous and RNA genes substitutions has reduced over hundreds of thousands of years. The highest mutation ratios corresponding to fast acceleration in the apparent substitution rate of the coding sequence have occurred after the end of the Last Ice Age. We recalibrate the molecular clock of human mtDNA as 7990 years per synonymous mutation over the mitochondrial genome. However, the distribution of substitutions at synonymous sites in human data significantly departs from a model assuming a single rate parameter and implies at least 3 different subclasses of sites. Neutral model with 3 synonymous substitution rates can explain most, if not all, of the apparent molecular clock difference between the intra- and interspecies levels. Our findings imply the sluggishness of purifying selection in removing the slightly deleterious mutations from the human as well as the Neandertal and chimpanzee populations. However, for humans, the weakness of purifying selection has been further exacerbated by the population expansions associated with the out-of Africa migration and the end of the Last Ice Age.

  4. Origin of hominids: European or African origin, neither or both?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Senut, B.


    Full Text Available For the last twenty years, some scientists have suggested that the African ape and humans lineages emerged in Europe, a scenario known as the “Back to Africa Hypothesis”. Even though hominoids were widespread in Eurasia during the Middle and Upper Miocene due to the tropical conditions which prevailed in this region, we cannot dismiss the fact that they were present in Africa (contra some authors. Actually, they were highly diverse at that same time (at least 10 lineages represented even if the fossil record is less complete than in Eurasia. Postcranial elements from African species suggest that some features of modern hominoids were already present in the Lower and Middle Miocene of Africa and were not restricted to European ones. Considering the available evidence, it is not possible at this stage to favour a European origin over an African one. Hominoids were living in the tropical areas of Northern Africa and Southern Eurasia and faunal exchanges between the two continents occurred throughout the Middle and Upper Miocene, as the Tethys did not act as an effective barrier to interchanges between Europe and Asia.

    Durante los últimos veinte años, algunos científicos han sugerido que los grandes monos africanos y los linajes humanos surgieron en Europa, un escenario conocido como la “ Hipótesis de la vuelta a Africa”. A pesar de que los homínidos se extendieron en Eurasia durante el Mioceno Medio y Superior debido a las condiciones tropicales que prevalecian en esta region, no podemos descartar el hecho de que ellos estuvieron presentes en Africa (contra algunos autores. En realidad, ellos tuvieron una alta diversidad al mismo tiempo (al menos 10 líneas representadas, incluso si el registro fosil es menos completo que el de Eurasia. Elementos postcraneales de especies africanas sugieren que en algunos carácteres los homínidos modernos estaban ya presentes en el Mioceno Inferior y Medio de Africa, no sólo restringidos a las formas europeas. Teniendo en cuenta las evidencias disponibles, no es posible, en el estado actual de conocimiento, favorecer más un origen europeo que otro africano. Los homínidos vivieron en áreas tropicales del Norte de África y del Sur de Eurasia, cambios faunísticos se sucedieron entre los dos continents a lo largo del Mioceno Medio y Superior, sin que el Tetis actuase como una barrera efectiva a los intercambios entre Europa y Asia.

  5. Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence (United States)

    Scally, Aylwyn; Dutheil, Julien Y.; Hillier, LaDeana W.; Jordan, Greg E.; Goodhead, Ian; Herrero, Javier; Hobolth, Asger; Lappalainen, Tuuli; Mailund, Thomas; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; McCarthy, Shane; Montgomery, Stephen H.; Schwalie, Petra C.; Tang, Y. Amy; Ward, Michelle C.; Xue, Yali; Yngvadottir, Bryndis; Alkan, Can; Andersen, Lars N.; Ayub, Qasim; Ball, Edward V.; Beal, Kathryn; Bradley, Brenda J.; Chen, Yuan; Clee, Chris M.; Fitzgerald, Stephen; Graves, Tina A.; Gu, Yong; Heath, Paul; Heger, Andreas; Karakoc, Emre; Kolb-Kokocinski, Anja; Laird, Gavin K.; Lunter, Gerton; Meader, Stephen; Mort, Matthew; Mullikin, James C.; Munch, Kasper; O’Connor, Timothy D.; Phillips, Andrew D.; Prado-Martinez, Javier; Rogers, Anthony S.; Sajjadian, Saba; Schmidt, Dominic; Shaw, Katy; Simpson, Jared T.; Stenson, Peter D.; Turner, Daniel J.; Vigilant, Linda; Vilella, Albert J.; Whitener, Weldon; Zhu, Baoli; Cooper, David N.; de Jong, Pieter; Dermitzakis, Emmanouil T.; Eichler, Evan E.; Flicek, Paul; Goldman, Nick; Mundy, Nicholas I.; Ning, Zemin; Odom, Duncan T.; Ponting, Chris P.; Quail, Michael A.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Searle, Stephen M.; Warren, Wesley C.; Wilson, Richard K.; Schierup, Mikkel H.; Rogers, Jane; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Durbin, Richard


    Summary Gorillas are humans’ closest living relatives after chimpanzees, and are of comparable importance for the study of human origins and evolution. Here we present the assembly and analysis of a genome sequence for the western lowland gorilla, and compare the whole genomes of all extant great ape genera. We propose a synthesis of genetic and fossil evidence consistent with placing the human-chimpanzee and human-chimpanzee-gorilla speciation events at approximately 6 and 10 million years ago (Mya). In 30% of the genome, gorilla is closer to human or chimpanzee than the latter are to each other; this is rarer around coding genes, indicating pervasive selection throughout great ape evolution, and has functional consequences in gene expression. A comparison of protein coding genes reveals approximately 500 genes showing accelerated evolution on each of the gorilla, human and chimpanzee lineages, and evidence for parallel acceleration, particularly of genes involved in hearing. We also compare the western and eastern gorilla species, estimating an average sequence divergence time 1.75 million years ago, but with evidence for more recent genetic exchange and a population bottleneck in the eastern species. The use of the genome sequence in these and future analyses will promote a deeper understanding of great ape biology and evolution. PMID:22398555

  6. Will dragonblood survive the next period of climate change? Current and future potential distribution of Dracaena cinnabari (Socotra, Yemen)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Attorre, F.; Francesconi, F.; Taleb, N.; Scholte, P.; Saed, A.; Alfo, M.; Bruno, F.


    The potential impact of climate change on Dracaena cinnabari, a spectacular relict of the Mio-Pliocene Laurasian subtropical forest in Socotra (Yemen), was analysed. Current distribution, abundance and vertical structure of D. cinnabari populations were assessed with 74 plots in nine remnant areas.

  7. Y-Chromosome variation in hominids: intraspecific variation is limited to the polygamous chimpanzee.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriele Greve

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: We have previously demonstrated that the Y-specific ampliconic fertility genes DAZ (deleted in azoospermia and CDY (chromodomain protein Y varied with respect to copy number and position among chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes. In comparison, seven Y-chromosomal lineages of the bonobo (Pan paniscus, the chimpanzee's closest living relative, showed no variation. We extend our earlier comparative investigation to include an analysis of the intraspecific variation of these genes in gorillas (Gorilla gorilla and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus, and examine the resulting patterns in the light of the species' markedly different social and mating behaviors. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis (FISH of DAZ and CDY in 12 Y-chromosomal lineages of western lowland gorilla (G. gorilla gorilla and a single lineage of the eastern lowland gorilla (G. beringei graueri showed no variation among lineages. Similar findings were noted for the 10 Y-chromosomal lineages examined in the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus, and 11 Y-chromosomal lineages of the Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii. We validated the contrasting DAZ and CDY patterns using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR in chimpanzee and bonobo. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: High intraspecific variation in copy number and position of the DAZ and CDY genes is seen only in the chimpanzee. We hypothesize that this is best explained by sperm competition that results in the variant DAZ and CDY haplotypes detected in this species. In contrast, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans-species that are not subject to sperm competition-showed no intraspecific variation in DAZ and CDY suggesting that monoandry in gorillas, and preferential female mate choice in bonobos and orangutans, probably permitted the fixation of a single Y variant in each taxon. These data support the notion that the evolutionary history of a primate Y chromosome is not simply encrypted in its DNA sequences, but is also shaped by the social and behavioral circumstances under which the specific species has evolved.

  8. Bone strength and athletic ability in hominids: Ardipithecus ramidus to Homo sapiens (United States)

    Lee, S. A.


    The ability of the femur to resist bending stresses is determined by its midlength cross-sectional geometry, its length and the elastic properties of the mineral part of the bone. The animal's athletic ability, determined by a ``bone strength index,'' is limited by this femoral bending strength in relation to the loads on the femur. This analysis is applied to the fossil record for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus. Evidence that the femoral bone strength index of modern Homo sapiens has weakened over the last 50,000 years is found.

  9. Primates, Lice and Bacteria: Speciation and Genome Evolution in the Symbionts of Hominid Lice. (United States)

    Boyd, Bret M; Allen, Julie M; Nguyen, Nam-Phuong; Vachaspati, Pranjal; Quicksall, Zachary S; Warnow, Tandy; Mugisha, Lawrence; Johnson, Kevin P; Reed, David L


    Insects with restricted diets rely on symbiotic bacteria to provide essential metabolites missing in their diet. The blood-sucking lice are obligate, host-specific parasites of mammals and are themselves host to symbiotic bacteria. In human lice, these bacterial symbionts supply the lice with B-vitamins. Here, we sequenced the genomes of symbiotic and heritable bacterial of human, chimpanzee, gorilla, and monkey lice and used phylogenomics to investigate their evolutionary relationships. We find that these symbionts have a phylogenetic history reflecting the louse phylogeny, a finding contrary to previous reports of symbiont replacement. Examination of the highly reduced symbiont genomes (0.53-0.57 Mb) reveals much of the genomes are dedicated to vitamin synthesis. This is unchanged in the smallest symbiont genome and one that appears to have been reorganized. Specifically, symbionts from human lice, chimpanzee lice, and gorilla lice carry a small plasmid that encodes synthesis of vitamin B5, a vitamin critical to the bacteria-louse symbiosis. This plasmid is absent in an old world monkey louse symbiont, where this pathway is on its primary chromosome. This suggests the unique genomic configuration brought about by the plasmid is not essential for symbiosis, but once obtained, it has persisted for up to 25 My. We also find evidence that human, chimpanzee, and gorilla louse endosymbionts have lost a pathway for synthesis of vitamin B1, whereas the monkey louse symbiont has retained this pathway. It is unclear whether these changes are adaptive, but they may point to evolutionary responses of louse symbionts to shifts in primate biology. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  10. Impacts of curatorial and research practices on the preservation of fossil hominid remains. (United States)

    Le Cabec, Adeline; Toussaint, Michel


    Fossil remains are the only physical evidence of past forms of life which researchers can use to study the evolutionary biology of a species, especially regarding the human lineage. We review and consider the way in which the conditions surrounding a fossil's discovery and its use for scientific research impacts its long-term preservation. The deterioration of the body starts soon after death, continues in the sediments and only a subsample of the anatomical elements will persist and may finally be unearthed by archeologists. From their recovery onwards, fossil remains are exposed to many sources of further damage: from handling, restoration, measuring to invasive sampling. On the one hand, curators are faced with the inherent challenge of balancing their responsibility to protect fossil specimens with allowing researchers to perform specific analyses or invasive sampling detrimental to the preservation of the fossil. On the other hand, scientists may find their analyses complicated by multiple factors including taphonomy, or restoration techniques (e.g., consolidants, cleaning chemicals). We provide several historical examples illustrating the complex nature of the factors acting on fossil preservation. We discuss concerns about producing and sharing (digital) data from fossils. Finally, we also suggest and support some curatorial practices which maximize the traceability of treatments underwent by a fossil.

  11. Longevity and plasticity of CFTR provide an argument for noncanonical SNP organization in hominid DNA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aubrey E Hill

    Full Text Available Like many other ancient genes, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR has survived for hundreds of millions of years. In this report, we consider whether such prodigious longevity of an individual gene--as opposed to an entire genome or species--should be considered surprising in the face of eons of relentless DNA replication errors, mutagenesis, and other causes of sequence polymorphism. The conventions that modern human SNP patterns result either from purifying selection or random (neutral drift were not well supported, since extant models account rather poorly for the known plasticity and function (or the established SNP distributions found in a multitude of genes such as CFTR. Instead, our analysis can be taken as a polemic indicating that SNPs in CFTR and many other mammalian genes may have been generated--and continue to accrue--in a fundamentally more organized manner than would otherwise have been expected. The resulting viewpoint contradicts earlier claims of 'directional' or 'intelligent design-type' SNP formation, and has important implications regarding the pace of DNA adaptation, the genesis of conserved non-coding DNA, and the extent to which eukaryotic SNP formation should be viewed as adaptive.

  12. Uranium-series disequilibrium data for tooth fragments from the fossil hominid site at Ternifine, Algeria

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Szabo, B.J.


    Uranium-series dating ussumes that fossil bones rapidly takes up uranium, although no thorium or protactinium, soon after burial, and that the bone neither gains nor loses uranium and 230 Th, and 231 Pa. The report analyses elephant molar-tooth fragments for uranium series dating. Three samples were heated for eight hours, the concentrations were determined on a solid-source mass spectrometer, and the 234 U/ 238 U, 230 Th/ 234 U and 231 Pa/ 235 U activivy ratios were determined by alpha spectrometric analyses using chemical and instrumental procedures. There is no firm radiometric age estimate of the prehistoric site of Ternifine, Algeria but is believe to be between 200 000 and 1 100 000 years

  13. Evolution of the auditory ossicles in extant hominids: metric variation in African apes and humans (United States)

    Quam, Rolf M; Coleman, Mark N; Martínez, Ignacio


    The auditory ossicles in primates have proven to be a reliable source of phylogenetic information. Nevertheless, to date, very little data have been published on the metric dimensions of the ear ossicles in African apes and humans. The present study relies on the largest samples of African ape ear ossicles studied to date to address questions of taxonomic differences and the evolutionary transformation of the ossicles in gorillas, chimpanzees and humans. Both African ape taxa show a malleus that is characterized by a long and slender manubrium and relatively short corpus, whereas humans show the opposite constellation of a short and thick manubrium and relatively long corpus. These changes in the manubrium are plausibly linked with changes in the size of the tympanic membrane. The main difference between the incus in African apes and humans seems to be related to changes in the functional length. Compared with chimpanzees, human incudes are larger in nearly all dimensions, except articular facet height, and show a more open angle between the axes. The gorilla incus resembles humans more closely in its metric dimensions, including functional length, perhaps as a result of the dramatically larger body size compared with chimpanzees. The differences between the stapedes of humans and African apes are primarily size-related, with humans being larger in nearly all dimensions. Nevertheless, some distinctions between the African apes were found in the obturator foramen and head height. Although correlations between metric variables in different ossicles were generally lower than those between variables in the same bone, variables of the malleus/incus complex appear to be more strongly correlated than those of the incus/stapes complex, perhaps reflecting the different embryological and evolutionary origins of the ossicles. The middle ear lever ratio for the African apes is similar to other haplorhines, but humans show the lowest lever ratio within primates. Very low levels of sexual dimorphism were found in the ossicles within each taxon, but some relationship with body size and several dimensions of the ear bones was found. Several of the metric distinctions in the incus and stapes imply a slightly different articulation of the ossicular chain within the tympanic cavity in African apes compared with humans. The limited auditory implications of these metric differences in the ossicles are also discussed. Finally, the results of this study suggest that several plesiomorphic features for apes may be retained in the ear bones of the early hominin taxa Australopithecus and Paranthropus as well as in the Neandertals. PMID:24845949

  14. Shark-Cetacean trophic interaction, Duinefontein, Koeberg, (5 Ma, South Africa

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Romala Govender


    Full Text Available This study forms part of a larger project to reconstruct the Mio-Pliocene marine palaeoenvironment along South Africa’s west coast. It documents the shark–cetacean trophic interaction during the Zanclean (5 Ma at Duinefontein (Koeberg. The damage described on the fragmentary cetacean bones was compared with similar damage observed on fossils from Langebaanweg, a Mio-Pliocene site on the west coast of South Africa, and data present in the literature. This comparison showed that the damage was the result of shark bites. The state of preservation makes it difficult to determine if the shark bite marks were the cause of death or as a result of scavenging. The presence of the bite marks on the bone would, however, indicate some degree of skeletonisation. Bite marks on some cranial fragments would suggest that the cetacean’s body was in an inverted position typical of a floating carcass. The preservation of the material suggests that the bones were exposed to wave action resulting in their fragmentation as well as abrasion, polishing and rolling. It also suggests that the cetacean skeletons were exposed for a long time prior to burial. The morphology of the bites suggests that the damage was inflicted by sharks with serrated and unserrated teeth. Shark teeth collected from the deposit include megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon, white (Carcharodon carcharias as well as mako (Isurus sp. and Cosmopolitodus hastalis sharks, making these sharks the most likely predators/scavengers.

  15. Correlation of Plio Pleistocene Tephra in Ethiopian and Kenyan rift basins: Temporal calibration of geological features and hominid fossil records (United States)

    WoldeGabriel, Giday; Hart, William K.; Katoh, Shigehiro; Beyene, Yonas; Suwa, Gen


    The 200-m-thick fossiliferous Konso Formation and overlying terrace deposits, which crop out at the end of the southern sector of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), contain more than 30 distal tephra layers. Local and regional tephra correlations of more than 20 tephra units were established using major and trace element data of discrete and purified bulk glass samples within the Konso study area. Eleven correlative marker tuffs were recognized in stratigraphic sections of both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sediments in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The Turoha, Hope, Ivory, Bright White, and Boleshe Tuffs in the Konso Formation, and the Upper White Tuff in the overlying terrace deposits are securely correlated with the KBS, Akait, Lokapetamoi, Chari, Lower Nariokotome, and Silbo Tuffs of the Omo-Turkana Basin, using least mobile major elements (CaO, Fe 2O 3*, and TiO 2) and geochronology. Preliminary correlations are also suggested between the Konso Formation distal tephra and proximal units of the Quaternary caldera-forming silicic centers in the central sector of the MER. The strongly peralkaline tuffs of the Konso Formation are compositionally similar to proximal eruptions mostly located along the Quaternary axial rift zone of the southern, central, and northern sectors of the MER. The tephra correlation provides information about the temporal and spatial features of the volcanic and tectonic processes recorded in the evolving basins. Thickness and sedimentation rate were determined for both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sections, measured between the Turoha (=KBS; 1.91 ± 0.03 Ma) and the Bright White (=Chari; 1.40 ± 0.02 Ma) Tuffs. Although the lithostratigraphic sequence at the Konso study area is younger, sedimentation rate within the Konso Formation was comparable to that of the Koobi Fora Formation, higher in the Nachukui Formation, and lower in the Shungura Formation. Local and regional differences in thickness and sedimentation rates within the Plio-Pleistocene deposits of the Konso, Shungura, Nachukui, and Koobi Fora Formations may be attributed to erosion associated with increased topographic gradients maintained by continued subsidence mostly along axial fault zones of basins and uplift along the margins of the broadly rifted zone of the Omo-Turkana Basin and the southern sector of the MER.

  16. Estimation of the net acid load of the diet of ancestral preagricultural Homo sapiens and their hominid ancestors. (United States)

    Sebastian, Anthony; Frassetto, Lynda A; Sellmeyer, Deborah E; Merriam, Renée L; Morris, R Curtis


    Natural selection has had diet resulting from the inventions of agriculture and animal husbandry. The objective was to estimate the net systemic load of acid (net endogenous acid production; NEAP) from retrojected ancestral preagricultural diets and to compare it with that of contemporary diets, which are characterized by an imbalance of nutrient precursors of hydrogen and bicarbonate ions that induces a lifelong, low-grade, pathogenically significant systemic metabolic acidosis. Using established computational methods, we computed NEAP for a large number of retrojected ancestral preagricultural diets and compared them with computed and measured values for typical American diets. The mean (+/- SD) NEAP for 159 retrojected preagricultural diets was -88 +/- 82 mEq/d; 87% were net base-producing. The computational model predicted NEAP for the average American diet (as recorded in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) as 48 mEq/d, within a few percentage points of published measured values for free-living Americans; the model, therefore, was not biased toward generating negative NEAP values. The historical shift from negative to positive NEAP was accounted for by the displacement of high-bicarbonate-yielding plant foods in the ancestral diet by cereal grains and energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods in the contemporary diet-neither of which are net base-producing. The findings suggest that diet-induced metabolic acidosis and its sequelae in humans eating contemporary diets reflect a mismatch between the nutrient composition of the diet and genetically determined nutritional requirements for optimal systemic acid-base status.

  17. Geology and preliminary dating of the hominid-bearing sedimentary fill of the Sima de los Huesos Chamber, Cueva Mayor of the Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain. (United States)

    Bischoff, J L; Fitzpatrick, J A; León, L; Arsuagà, J L; Falgueres, C; Bahain, J J; Bullen, T


    Sediments of the Sima de los Huesos vary greatly over distances of a few meters. This is typical of interior cave facies, and caused by cycles of cut and fill. Mud breccias containing human bones, grading upwards to mud containing bear bones, fill an irregular surface cut into basal marks and sands. The lack of Bedding and the chaotic abundance of fragile speleothem clasts in the fossiliferous muds suggests that the deposit was originally a subterranean pond facies, and that after emplacement of the human remains, underwent vigorous post-depositional rotation and collapse and brecciation, caused by underlying bedrock dissolution and undermining. The fossiliferous deposits are capped by flowstone and guano-bearing muds which lack large-mammal fossils. U-series and radiocarbon dating indicates the capping flowstones formed from about 68 ka to about 25 ka. U-series analyses of speleothem clasts among the human fossils indicate that all are at, or close to, isotopic equilibrium (> 350 ka). The distribution of U-series dates for 25 bear bones (154 +/- 66 ka) and for 16 human bones (148 +/- 34 ka) is similar and rather broad. Because the human bones seem to be stratigraphically older than chose of the bears, the results would indicate that most of the bones have been accumulating uranium irregularly with time. Electron spin resonance (ESR) analyses of six selected bear bones indicates dates of 189 +/- 28 ka, for which each is cordant with their corresponding U-series date (181 +/- 41 ka). Combined ESR and U-series dates for these samples yielded 200 +/- 4 ka. Such agreement is highly suggestive that uranium uptake in these bones was close to the early-uptake (EU) model, and the dates are essentially correct. Another three selected samples yielded combined ESR U-series dates of 320 +/- 4 ka with a modeled intermediate-mode of uranium uptake. The dating results, therefore, seem to provide a firm minimum age of about 200 ka for the human entry: and suggestive evidence of entry before 320 ka.

  18. Hominid visitation of the Moravian Karst during the Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition: New results from Pod Hradem Cave (Czech Republic)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Nejman, L.; Wood, R.; Wright, D.; Lisá, Lenka; Nerudová, Z.; Neruda, P.; Přichystal, A.; Svoboda, Jiří


    Roč. 108, JUL 2017 (2017), s. 131-146 ISSN 0047-2484 Institutional support: RVO:67985831 ; RVO:68081758 Keywords : Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition * chronology * AMH * Neanderthal * Pod Hradem Cave * Moravia Subject RIV: AC - Archeology, Anthropology, Ethnology; AC - Archeology, Anthropology, Ethnology (ARUB-Q) OBOR OECD: Environmental sciences (social aspects to be 5.7); Archaeology (ARUB-Q) Impact factor: 3.932, year: 2016

  19. Sociální rozumění u lidí a ostatních hominidů

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Urban, Petr


    Roč. 69, č. 7 (2014), s. 591-603 ISSN 0046-385X R&D Projects: GA ČR GPP401/12/P544 Institutional support: RVO:67985955 Keywords : Social cognition * Anthropological difference * Theory of mind * Interactive turn * Joint attention * Joint intentionality * Apes Subject RIV: AA - Philosophy ; Religion

  20. The role of docosahexaenoic and the marine food web as determinants of evolution and hominid brain development: the challenge for human sustainability. (United States)

    Crawford, Michael A; Broadhurst, C Leigh


    Life originated on this planet about 3 billion years ago. For the first 2.5 billion years of life there was ample opportunity for DNA modification. Yet there is no evidence of significant change in life forms during that time. It was not until about 600 million years ago, when the oxygen tension rose to a point where air-breathing life forms became thermodynamically possible, that a major change can be abruptly seen in the fossil record. The sudden appearance of the 32 phyla in the Cambrian fossil record was also associated with the appearance of intracellular detail not seen in previous life forms. That detail was provided by cell membranes made with lipids (membrane fats) as structural essentials. Lipids thus played a major, as yet unrecognised, role as determinants in evolution. The compartmentalisation of intracellular, specialist functions as in the nucleus, mitochondria, reticulo-endothelial system and plasma membrane led to cellular specialisation and then speciation. Thus, not only oxygen but also the marine lipids were drivers in the Cambrian explosion. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (all-cis-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid, C22:6ω3 or C22:6, n-3, DHA) is a major feature of marine lipids. It requires six oxygen atoms to insert its six double bonds, so it would not have been abundant before oxidative metabolism became plentiful. DHA provided the membrane backbone for the emergence of new photoreceptors that converted photons into electricity, laying the foundation for the evolution of other signalling systems, the nervous system and the brain. Hence, the ω3 DHA from the marine food web must have played a critical role in human evolution. There is also clear evidence from molecular biology that DHA is a determinant of neuronal migration, neurogenesis and the expression of several genes involved in brain growth and function. That same process was essential to the ultimate cerebral expansion in human evolution. There is now incontrovertible support of this hypothesis from fossil evidence of human evolution taking advantage of the marine food web. Lipids are still modifying the present evolutionary phase of our species; their signature is evident in the changing panorama of non-communicable diseases. The most worrying change in disease pattern is the sharp rise in brain disorders, which, in the European Union, has overtaken the cost of all other burdens of ill health at €386 billion for the 25 member states at 2004 prices. In 2007, the UK cost was estimated at £77 billion and confirmed in 2010 at £105 billion - greater than heart disease and cancer combined. The rise in mental ill health is now being globalised. The solution to the rising vascular disorders in the last century and now brain disorders in this century lies in a radical reappraisal of the food system, which last century was focussed on protein and calories, with little attention paid to the requirements of the brain - the very organ that was the determinant of human evolution. With the marine fish catch having plateaued 20 years ago and its sustainability now under threat, a critical aspect of this revision is the development of marine agriculture from estuarine, coastal and oceanic resources. Such action is likely to play a key role in future health and intelligence.

  1. Geology of Isla de Mona, Puerto Rico (United States)

    Frank, E.F.; Wicks, Carol M.; Mylroie, J.; Troester, J.; Alexander, E.C.; Carew, J.L.


    Isla de Mona is a carbonate island located in the Mona Passage 68 km west of Puerto Rico. The tectonically uplifted island is 12 km by 5 km, with an area of 55 km2, and forms a raised flat-topped platform or meseta. The meseta tilts gently to the south and is bounded by near vertical cliffs on all sides. These cliffs rise from 80 m above sea level on the north to 20 m above the sea on the southern coast. Along the southwestern and western side of the island a three- to six-meter-high Pleistocene fossil reef abuts the base of the cliff to form a narrow coastal plain. The meseta itself consists of two Mio-Pliocene carbonate units, the lower Isla de Mona Dolomite and the upper Lirio Limestone. Numerous karst features, including a series of flank margin caves primarily developed at the Lirio Limestone/Isla de Mona Dolomite contact, literally ring the periphery of the island.

  2. Foramen magnum position in bipedal mammals. (United States)

    Russo, Gabrielle A; Kirk, E Christopher


    The anterior position of the human foramen magnum is often explained as an adaptation for maintaining balance of the head atop the cervical vertebral column during bipedalism and the assumption of orthograde trunk postures. Accordingly, the relative placement of the foramen magnum on the basicranium has been used to infer bipedal locomotion and hominin status for a number of Mio-Pliocene fossil taxa. Nonetheless, previous studies have struggled to validate the functional link between foramen magnum position and bipedal locomotion. Here, we test the hypothesis that an anteriorly positioned foramen magnum is related to bipedalism through a comparison of basicranial anatomy between bipeds and quadrupeds from three mammalian clades: marsupials, rodents and primates. Additionally, we examine whether strepsirrhine primates that habitually assume orthograde trunk postures exhibit more anteriorly positioned foramina magna compared with non-orthograde strepsirrhines. Our comparative data reveal that bipedal marsupials and rodents have foramina magna that are more anteriorly located than those of quadrupedal close relatives. The foramen magnum is also situated more anteriorly in orthograde strepsirrhines than in pronograde or antipronograde strepsirrhines. Among the primates sampled, humans exhibit the most anteriorly positioned foramina magna. The results of this analysis support the utility of foramen magnum position as an indicator of bipedal locomotion in fossil hominins. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Paléointensités géomagnétiques absolues complémentaires de la Basse Californie : évaluation des données du Pliocène et du Pléistocène inférieur et moyen (United States)

    Morales, Juan; Goguitchaichvili, Avto; Cañon-Tapia, Edgardo; Negrete, Raquel


    From a large collection (more than 300 oriented cores) of Baja California Mio-Pliocene volcanic units, sampled for magnetostratigraphy and tectonics, 46 samples were selected for Thellier paleointensity experiments because of their low viscosity index, stable remanent magnetization and close to reversible continuous thermomagnetic curves. 19 samples, coming from 4 individual basaltic lava flows, yielded reliable paleointensity estimates with the flow-mean virtual dipole moments (VDM) ranging from 3.6 to 6.2 ×10 22 A m 2. Our results, although not numerous, are of high technical quality and comparable to other paleointensity data recently obtained on younger lava flows. The NRM fractions used for paleointensity determination range from 38 to 79% and the quality factors vary between 4.8 and 16.7, being normally greater than 5. The combination of Baja California data with the available comparable quality Plio-Plesitocene paleointensity results yields a mean VDM of 6.3 ×10 22 A m 2, which is almost 80% of the present geomagnetic axial dipole. Reliable paleointensity results for the last 5 Ma are still scarce and of dissimilar quality, which makes it hard to draw any firm conclusions regarding the Pliocene and Early/Middle Pleistocene evolution of the geomagnetic field. To cite this article: J. Morales et al., C. R. Geoscience 335 (2003).

  4. Hydrogeological geochemical and isotopic study of the coastal aquifer of Sousse Eastern, Tunisia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ben-Hamouda, M. F.; Carreira, P.; Marques, J. M.; Eggenkamp, H.


    At Sahel, near one of the seaside resort available in Tunisia, the water quantity and quality is a major problem ever at southern center of Tunisia. The Oued Laya coastal system is no exception. The levels, a shallow aquifer up to depths of about 60 m whose reservoir is mainly formed by Mio-Pliocnesediments (with some gypsum lenses dispersed within the geological formations) and deep aquifer, situated between 100 and 250 m depth, located in the Miocene sandstone formations. The results of geochemical and isotopic studies have shown that groundwater salinity seems not be linked with the increasing water well's abstraction. In contrast, water mineralization seems to acquired by dissolution of minerals in the aquifer system especially halie and gypsum. Besides ion exchange processes play also an important role in the groundwater mineralization. Therefore, it clearly appears that several sources might contribute with different mineralization to the selenization of the aquifer through the natural recharge and also through the return of water irrigation. The contamination of the Mio-Pliocene shallow aquifer by a mixture with seawater is confirmed, and stable isotopes data do not support the hypothesis of mixing with seawater. (Author)

  5. Late Pleistocene acceleration of deformation across the northern Tianshan piedmont (China) evidenced from the morpho-tectonic evolution of the Dushanzi anticline (United States)

    Charreau, Julien; Saint-Carlier, Dimitri; Lavé, Jérôme; Dominguez, Stéphane; Blard, Pierre-Henri; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Brown, Nathan D.; Malatesta, Luca Claude; Wang, Shengli; Rhodes, Edward J.


    We document the temporal evolution of deformation in the northern Tianshan piedmont where the deformation is partitioned across several thrusts and folds. We focus on the Dushanzi anticline, where abandoned terraces and growth strata allow us to constrain the history of folding since the Miocene. Based on subsurface seismic imaging, structural measurements and morphological analysis, we show that this anticline is associated with two decollement levels. We use kink band migration in growth strata dated by paleomagnetism to constrain the shortening from the Mio-Pliocene to the Holocene. Our results show that the Dushanzi anticline has been active since at least 8 Ma and that the fold grew at a steady shortening rate of 0.6 ± 0.1 mm/yr from 8 to 1.5 Ma with possible variations from 2.5 to 1.5 Ma. Then it accelerated rapidly to a rate of 4.3 ± 1.0 mm/yr over at least the last 100 ka. These results, together with similar temporal shortening evolutions across other structures, suggest that the deformation rate across the eastern Tianshan piedmont increased relatively recently. This may reflect either a redistribution of the deformation from the internal structures toward the borders or a general acceleration of the deformation across the entire range.

  6. Site characterization and site response in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (United States)

    Hough, Susan E.; Yong, Alan K.; Altidor, Jean Robert; Anglade, Dieuseul; Given, Douglas D.; Mildor, Saint-Louis


    Waveform analysis of aftershocks of the Mw7.0 Haiti earthquake of 12 January 2010 reveals amplification of ground motions at sites within the Cul de Sac valley in which Port-au-Prince is situated. Relative to ground motions recorded at a hard-rock reference site, peak acceleration values are amplified by a factor of approximately 1.8 at sites on low-lying Mio-Pliocene deposits in central Port-au-Prince and by a factor of approximately 2.5–3 on a steep foothill ridge in the southern Port-au-Prince metropolitan region. The observed amplitude, predominant periods, variability, and polarization of amplification are consistent with predicted topographic amplification by a steep, narrow ridge. A swath of unusually high damage in this region corresponds with the extent of the ridge where high weak-motion amplifications are observed. We use ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) imagery to map local geomorphology, including characterization of both near-surface and of small-scale topographic structures that correspond to zones of inferred amplification.

  7. Tertiary block rotations in the Fars Arc (Zagros, Iran) (United States)

    Aubourg, C.; Smith, B.; Bakhtari, H. R.; Guya, N.; Eshraghi, A.


    The Fars arc accommodates the oblique convergence between the Arabic plate and the Iran block. Many geological observations suggest block rotations from regional to local scales. We present palaeomagnetic investigations in the Fars arc and its eastern termination, the Zagros-Makran syntaxis. Sixty-four sites have been sampled covering the Palaeocene Pabdeh Fm. to Mio-Pliocene Agha-Jhari Fm., the latest being the most sampled formation. We document pre-tilting components in all formations. However, coarse fractions of Agha-Jhari clastics formation retain a post-tilting remagnetization. As a whole, block rotations rarely exceed 20°. In the western Fars arc, clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations of small amplitudes are consistent with the torsions observed near the strike slip Kazerun and Mangarak faults. In the Zagros Makran syntaxis, counter-clockwise and clockwise rotations are observed, respectively, in the western and eastern part. This pattern is consistent with an amplification of the shape of the syntaxis. Between Zagros and Makran, palaeomagnetic data support that the present-day arcuate shape of the arc is secondary. We assume that most of the block rotations took place during the Plio-Pleistocene, during a blocking stage of the Zagros-Makran syntaxis. We emphasize the role of Oman Peninsula which plays as an indenter for the propagation of the Fars thrust belt.

  8. The Transylvanian Basin (Romania) and its relation to the Carpathian fold and thrust belt: Insights in gravitational salt tectonics

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Krezsek, Csaba [SNGN ROMGAZ, 4 Unirii 551025 Medias (Romania); Bally, Albert W. [Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Rice, 6100 South Main Street, Houston, TX 77005-1892 (United States)


    Interpretation of regional seismic profiles, stratigraphic and sedimentologic data improved insights in the evolution of the Transylvanian Basin. The basin evolution was coeval with the post-Mid-Cretaceous to recent deformation of the Carpathian Mts. Four tectonostratigraphic megasequences are differentiated: Upper Cretaceous (rift), Paleogene (sag), Lower Miocene (flexural basin) and Middle to Upper Miocene (backarc sequence dominated by gravitational tectonics). The Mid-Miocene continental collision in the Eastern Carpathians is associated with the rising Carpathians. This uplift enhanced the differential load, which, together with the high heat flow induced by Late Miocene to Pliocene arc volcanism, triggered large-scale Mio-Pliocene gravity spreading of the salt overburden. This 'mega-slide' comprises three structural domains, as follows: extensional weld (upslope), contractional folds (central) and contractional toe thrust (downslope). The diapirs in the east indicate a pre-shortening reactive/passive growth stage. The central folds are mostly the result of late shortening. Basement involved thrusting uplifted the toe thrust domain by the Late Pliocene. The Late Neogene to recent Carpathians uplift, backarc volcanism and gravity spreading are largely coeval. (author)

  9. Autogenic Versus Allogenic Controls on the Evolution of a Coupled Fluvial Megafan-Mountainous Catchment System: Insight from Numerical Modelling (United States)

    Mouchene, M.; van der Beek, P.; Carretier, S.; Mouthereau, F.


    Alluvial megafans are sensitive recorders of landscape evolution, controlled by both autogenic processes and allogenic forcing, and they are influenced by the coupled dynamics of the fan with its mountainous catchment. The Mio-Pliocene Lannemezan megafan in the northern Pyrenean foreland (SW France) was abandoned by its mountainous feeder stream during the Quaternary and subsequently incised. The flight of alluvial terraces abandoned along the stream network may suggest a climatic control on the incision. We use a landscape evolution numerical model (CIDRE) to explore the relative roles of autogenic processes and external forcing in the building, abandonment and incision of a foreland megafan, and we compare the results with the inferred evolution of the Lannemezan megafan. Autogenic processes are sufficient to explain the building of a megafan and the long-term entrenchment of its feeding river on time and space scales that match the Lannemezan setting. Climate, through temporal variations in precipitation rate, may have played a role in the episodic pattern of incision on a shorter timescale. In contrast, base-level changes, tectonic activity in the mountain range or tilting of the foreland through flexural isostatic rebound do not appear to have played a role in the abandonment of the megafan.

  10. Late cenozoic magmatism in the South Patagonian batholith: SHRIMP U-Pb zircon age evidence

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fanning, C.M; Herve, F; Pankhurst, R.J; Thomson, S; Faundez, V


    The North Patagonian Batholith (NPB) has a zonal age pattern which includes a well defined belt of Miocene and Mio-Pliocene plutons in its central portion (Pankhurst et al., 1999) which are spatially, and probably genetically related to the Liquine-Ofqui Fault Zone. Previous geochronological studies in the Southern Patagonian Batholith (SPB), as summarized by Bruce et al. (1991), have yielded 9 late Cenozoic K-Ar or Ar-Ar ages out of a total of 116 age determinations. None of these young ages correspond to U-Pb determinations on zircons, and some of the young ages correspond to satellite plutons east of the SPB proper, such as the Torres del Paine intrusion. In this paper we present the first late Cenozoic SHRIMP U-Pb zircon ages in the area of the SPB. The morphology of the analysed zircon crystals is described and leads to some inferences on the methodology and on the geological interpretation of the obtained ages (au)

  11. Thallium in mineral resources extracted in Poland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bojakowska I.


    Full Text Available Thallium concentrations in primary mineral commodities extracted in Poland and processed in high temperatures were determined by ICP-MS method. Samples of hard and brown coal, copper-silver and zinclead ores, argillaceous and calcareous rocks of different genesis and age were analyzed. The highest thallium concentrations occur in the zinc-lead ores, the average content being of 52.1 mg/kg. The copper ores contain in average 1.4 mg/kg of thallium. Hard coals from the Upper Silesian Coal Basin display higher thallium content than those exploited in the Lublin Coal Basin. Brown coals from Turow deposit distinguish by much higher values, 0.7 mg/kg Tl, than those from huge Bełchatów and smaller Konin-Turek region deposits. Average thallium concentrations in clays used for ceramic materials are lower than 1 mg/kg, except of Mio-Pliocene Slowiany deposit. The average content of thallium in the studied limestone and dolomite raw materials for cement, lime, and metallurgical flux, and refractories is very low in comparison to the average amounts in the world carbonate rocks.

  12. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae). (United States)

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong


    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants. © 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

  13. Impact of climate changes during the last 5 million years on groundwater in basement aquifers. (United States)

    Aquilina, Luc; Vergnaud-Ayraud, Virginie; Les Landes, Antoine Armandine; Pauwels, Hélène; Davy, Philippe; Pételet-Giraud, Emmanuelle; Labasque, Thierry; Roques, Clément; Chatton, Eliot; Bour, Olivier; Ben Maamar, Sarah; Dufresne, Alexis; Khaska, Mahmoud; Le Gal La Salle, Corinne; Barbecot, Florent


    Climate change is thought to have major effects on groundwater resources. There is however a limited knowledge of the impacts of past climate changes such as warm or glacial periods on groundwater although marine or glacial fluids may have circulated in basements during these periods. Geochemical investigations of groundwater at shallow depth (80-400 m) in the Armorican basement (western France) revealed three major phases of evolution: (1) Mio-Pliocene transgressions led to marine water introduction in the whole rock porosity through density and then diffusion processes, (2) intensive and rapid recharge after the glacial maximum down to several hundred meters depths, (3) a present-day regime of groundwater circulation limited to shallow depth. This work identifies important constraints regarding the mechanisms responsible for both marine and glacial fluid migrations and their preservation within a basement. It defines the first clear time scales of these processes and thus provides a unique case for understanding the effects of climate changes on hydrogeology in basements. It reveals that glacial water is supplied in significant amounts to deep aquifers even in permafrosted zones. It also emphasizes the vulnerability of modern groundwater hydrosystems to climate change as groundwater active aquifers is restricted to shallow depths.

  14. Plio-quaternary deposits in the Eastern Rharb (Nw Morocco): Electrosequential characterization (United States)

    Al Mazini, Imane; Mridekh, Abdelaziz; Kili, Malika; El Mansouri, Bouâbid; El Bouhaddioui, Mohamed; Magrane, Bouchaib


    The Rharb basin, of which our study area is part, is located at the western extremity of the south Rif corridor. It corresponds to a subsiding zone that appeared in the Upper Miocene, between two major structural domains: the Rif to the north and east and the Meseta domain to the south. The eastern part of this basin is characterized by a Plio-Quaternary continental fill. Its geographical position and its structural and paleo-environmental contexts are reflected by a great facies heterogeneity. This work aims to image the subsurface structure and to characterize the distribution mode of Plio-Quaternary deposits of the eastern Rharb. The use of a database consisting of geo-electrical cross sections, hydrogeological drilling and wireline logging integrated in a Geographic Information System (GIS) allowed us to establish a new three-dimensional model of the top of the Mio-Pliocene substratum, new geo-electrical cross sections, as well as the isopach maps of lower, intermediate, upper and superficial geo-electric interval. This approach allowed us to characterize the Plio-Quaternary deposits of the study area and to highlight the effects of the tectonic regime and the relative sea level fluctuations on the sequential organization of these deposits. Our new model shows the development of prograding, aggrading and retrograding parasequences denoting the existence of autogenic mechanisms in the organization of plio-quaternary deposits of the eastern part of the Rharb basin. Therefore, it opens new perspectives for the exploration of water resources and monitoring their quality throughout the basin.

  15. Inherited weaknesses control deformation in the flat slab region of Central Argentina (United States)

    Stevens, A.; Carrapa, B.; Larrovere, M.; Aciar, R. H.


    The Sierras Pampeanas region of west-central Argentina has long been considered a geologic type-area for flat-slab induced thick-skinned deformation. Frictional coupling between the horizontal subducting plate and South American lithosphere from ~12 Ma to the present provides an obvious causal mechanism for the basement block uplifts that characterize this region. New low temperature thermochronometry data show basement rocks from the central Sierras Pampeanas (~ longitude 66 ̊ W) including Sierras Cadena de Paiman, Velasco and Mazan retain a cooling history of Paleozoic - Mesozoic tectonics events. Results from this study indicate that less than 2 km of basement has been exhumed since at least the Mesozoic. These trends recorded by both apatite fission track (AFT) and apatite helium (AHe) thermochronometry suggest that recent Mio-Pliocene thick-skinned deformation associated with flat-slab subduction follow inherited zones of weakness from Paleozoic terrane sutures and shear zones and Mesozoic rifting. If a Cenozoic foreland basin exisited in this region, its thickness was minimal and was controlled by paleotopography. Pre-Cenozoic cooling ages in these ranges that now reach as high as 4 km imply significant exhumation of basement rocks before the advent of flat slab subduction in the mid-late Miocene. It also suggests that thick-skinned deformation associated with flat slab subduction may at least be facilitated by inherited crustal-scale weaknesses. At the most, pre-existing zones of weakness may be required in regions of thick-skinned deformation. Although flat-slab subduction plays an important role in the exhumation of the Sierras Pampeanas, it is likely not the sole mechanism responsible for thick-skinned deformation in this region. This insight sheds light on the interpretation of modern and ancient regions of thick-skinned deformation in Cordilleran systems.

  16. Uranium exploration in Bangladesh

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Faruquee, A.R.


    The sedimentary succession of Bangladesh has continental sandstones with lignite and organic matter which are favourable host rocks for sedimentary uranium. The shield areas around Bangladesh are considered good source areas for uranium. Encouraged by this idea, the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) started an exploration programme in 1976 with the assistance of the IAEA and the United Nations Development Programme. Preliminary reconnaissance radiometric surveys carried out in 1976-1977 in the Chittagong, Chittagong hill tract and Sylhet districts identified some anomalies with 3 to 5 times the background (XBG). This was followed by regional reconnaissance radiometric surveys which were carried out between 1977 and 1985 in some of the anticlines of the Chittagong and Sylhet districts, including an airborne (helicopter) survey over the Jaldi area. These surveys resulted in the discovery of more than 300 radiometric anomalies of 3 to 60 XBG. They occur in the medium to fine grained ferruginous sandstones of the Dupitila and Tipam Formations of Mio-Pliocene age. These anomalous beds show variation in slime and heavy mineral contents. Some samples collected from the anomalous beds contain uranium and thorium ranging from 20 to 100 ppm and 100 to 1000 ppm, respectively. Exploratory drilling to a depth of about 400 ft was carried out on a very limited scale in the northeastern part of the Sylhet district. Gamma logging of these holes indicated many subsurface anomalies (3 to 21 XBG) in the Dupitila Formation. These anomalies are linked to thin layers with restricted lateral extensions. Geochemical orientation studies and radon surveys were done in some selected areas of Sylhet to test their suitability for further surveys. 9 refs, 13 figs, 4 tabs

  17. Vicariance and Its Impact on the Molecular Ecology of a Chinese Ranid Frog Species-Complex (Odorrana schmackeri, Ranidae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yongmin Li

    Full Text Available Paleogeological events and Pleistocene climatic fluctuations have had profound influences on the genetic patterns and phylogeographic structure of species in southern China. In this study, we investigated the population genetic structure and Phylogeography of the Odorrana schmackeri species complex, mountain stream-dwelling odorous frogs, endemic to southern China. We obtained mitochondrial sequences (1,151bp of the complete ND2 gene and two flanking tRNAs of 511 individuals from 25 sites for phylogeographic analyses. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed seven divergent evolutionary lineages, with mean pairwise (K2P sequence distances from 7.8% to 21.1%, except for a closer ND2 distance (3.4%. The complex geological history of southern China drove matrilineal divergence in the O. schmackeri species complex into highly structured geographical units. The first divergence between lineage A+B and other lineages (C-G had likely been influenced by the uplift of coastal mountains of Southeast China during the Mio-Pliocene period. The subsequent divergences between the lineages C-G may have followed the formation of the Three Gorges and the intensification of the East Asian summer monsoon during the late Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Demographic analyses indicated that major lineages A and C have been experienced recent population expansion (c. 0.045-0.245 Ma from multiple refugia prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM. Molecular analysis suggest that these seven lineages may represent seven different species, three described species and four cryptic species and should at least be separated into seven management units corresponding to these seven geographic lineages for conservation.

  18. Depósitos epitermales de baja sulfuración ricos en sulfuros de metales base, distrito aurífero La Carolina, San Luis, Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gallard-Esquivel María Cecilia


    Full Text Available Low-sulfidation epithermal base-metal sulfide-rich deposits, La Carolina gold-bearing district,San Luis, Argentina. La Carolina gold-bearing district is located at the western end of the Metallogenetic Belt of San Luis, which is spatially and genetically related to the mesosilicic volcanism of mio-pliocene age. The volcanic arc experienced an eastward migration, due to the flattening of the Nazca plate in the segment 27°-33°S, known as the Pampean flat-slab. At La Carolina, the volcanic activity occurred between 8.2 and 6.3 Ma. It encompasses lavas and pyroclastics of andesitic, dacitic, latitic and trachytic composition. The mesosilicic magmas belong to normal to high-k calc-alkaline and shoshonitic suites. Structural analysis shows that previous structures have strongly controlled the emplacement of volcanic rocks and related mineral deposits at La Carolina allowing to define a pullapart.In this gold-bearing district there are eigth small mineralized prospects. The mineralogy consists of pyrite, arsenic rich pyrite, galena, sphalerite, marcasite, melnikovite, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, tennantitetetrahedrite, digenite, covellite, bornite, pyrargiryte, hessite, silvanite, pearceite, argirodite, gold, silver, greigite, boulangerite, jamesonite and electrum. The gangue consists of quartz, calcite, chalcedony and minor adularia.The hydrothermal alteration is widespread and comprise phyllic and argillic mineral assemblages characterized by sericite, illite, interstratified I/S, and silicic; propylitic alteration is also present as an outer halo. Fluid inclusions studies show that the formation temperatures range between 230º to 330º C. Boiling and mixing with meteoric water led to mineral precipitation. Based on the mineralogy, textures, hydrothermal alteration, formation temperatures,fluid chemistry and prospective geochemistry the mineralizations have been classified as low-sulfidation epithermal base-metal sulfide-rich deposits.

  19. Gravimetry contributions to the study of the complex western Haouz aquifer (Morocco): Structural and hydrogeological implications (United States)

    Chouikri, Ibtissam; el Mandour, Abdennabi; Jaffal, Mohammed; Baudron, Paul; García-Aróstegui, José-Luis; Manar, Ahmed; Casas, Albert


    This study provides new elements that illustrate the benefits of combining gravity, structural, stratigraphic and piezometric data for hydrogeological purposes. A combined methodology was applied to the western Haouz aquifer (Morocco), one of the main sources of water for irrigation and human consumption in the Marrakech region. First, a residual anomaly map was calculated from the Bouguer anomaly data. The computed map provided information on the ground density variation, revealing a strong control by a regional gradient. We then used various filtering techniques to delineate the major geological structures such as faults and basins: vertical and horizontal derivatives and upward continuation. This technique highlighted news structures and provided information on their dip. The gravity anomalies perfectly delineated the basement uplifts and the sedimentary thickening in depressions and grabens. The interpretation of gravimetric filtering, geological and hydrogeological data then highlighted two types of groundwater reservoirs, an unconfined aquifer hosted in conglomeratic mio-pliocene and quaternary rocks, covering the entire western Haouz and a deep confined aquifer contained in cenomanian-turonian limestone and eocene dolomitic formations in the south. Combining piezometric and residual anomaly maps revealed that groundwater flow and storage was in perfect agreement with the structures showing a negative anomaly, while structures with positive anomalies corresponded to groundwater divides. The study of gravity gradient zones by contact analysis enhanced the existing structural pattern of the study area and highlighted new structures, mainly oriented N70 and N130. The results of this study present a common framework and provide a notable step forward in the knowledge of the geometry and the groundwater flow pattern of the western Haouz aquifer, and will serve as a solid basis for a better water resource management.

  20. Probing atomic scale transformation of fossil dental enamel using Fourier transform infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy: a case study from the Tugen Hills (Rift Gregory, Kenya). (United States)

    Yi, Haohao; Balan, Etienne; Gervais, Christel; Ségalen, Loïc; Roche, Damien; Person, Alain; Fayon, Franck; Morin, Guillaume; Babonneau, Florence


    A series of fossil tooth enamel samples was investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, (13)C and (19)F magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS NMR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Tooth remains were collected in Mio-Pliocene deposits of the Tugen Hills in Kenya. Significant transformations were observed in fossil enamel as a function of increasing fluorine content (up to 2.8wt.%). FTIR spectroscopy revealed a shift of the ν1 PO4 stretching band to higher frequency. The ν2 CO3 vibrational band showed a decrease in the intensity of the primary B-type carbonate signal, which was replaced by a specific band at 864cm(-1). This last band was ascribed to a specific carbonate environment in which the carbonate group is closely associated to a fluoride ion. The occurrence of this carbonate defect was consistently attested by the observation of two different fluoride signals in the (19)F NMR spectra. One main signal, at ∼-100ppm, is related to structural F ions in the apatite channel and the other, at -88ppm, corresponds to the composite defect. These spectroscopic observations can be understood as resulting from the mixture of two phases: biogenic hydroxylapatite (bioapatite) and secondary fluorapatite. SEM observations of the most altered sample confirmed the extensive replacement of the bioapatite by fluorapatite, resulting from the dissolution of the primary bioapatite followed by the precipitation of carbonate-fluorapatite. The ν2 CO3 IR bands can be efficiently used to monitor the extent of this type of bioapatite transformation during fossilization. Copyright © 2014 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. East African Cenozoic vegetation history. (United States)

    Linder, Hans Peter


    The modern vegetation of East Africa is a complex mosaic of rainforest patches; small islands of tropic-alpine vegetation; extensive savannas, ranging from almost pure grassland to wooded savannas; thickets; and montane grassland and forest. Here I trace the evolution of these vegetation types through the Cenozoic. Paleogene East Africa was most likely geomorphologically subdued and, as the few Eocene fossil sites suggest, a woodland in a seasonal climate. Woodland rather than rainforest may well have been the regional vegetation. Mountain building started with the Oligocene trap lava flows in Ethiopia, on which rainforest developed, with little evidence of grass and none of montane forests. The uplift of the East African Plateau took place during the middle Miocene. Fossil sites indicate the presence of rainforest, montane forest and thicket, and wooded grassland, often in close juxtaposition, from 17 to 10 Ma. By 10 Ma, marine deposits indicate extensive grassland in the region and isotope analysis indicates that this was a C 3 grassland. In the later Miocene rifting, first of the western Albertine Rift and then of the eastern Gregory Rift, added to the complexity of the environment. The building of the high strato-volcanos during the later Mio-Pliocene added environments suitable for tropic-alpine vegetation. During this time, the C 3 grassland was replaced by C 4 savannas, although overall the extent of grassland was reduced from the mid-Miocene high to the current low level. Lake-level fluctuations during the Quaternary indicate substantial variation in rainfall, presumably as a result of movements in the intertropical convergence zone and the Congo air boundary, but the impact of these fluctuations on the vegetation is still speculative. I argue that, overall, there was an increase in the complexity of East African vegetation complexity during the Neogene, largely as a result of orogeny. The impact of Quaternary climatic fluctuation is still poorly understood

  2. Osteometrical and functional analysis and evolution of autopodia in the genus Homo

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Nývltová Fišáková, Miriam


    Roč. 49, - (2003), s. 107-109 ISSN 1210-048X Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z8001916 Keywords : Pleistocene * Fossil Hominids * Palaeolithic Subject RIV: AC - Archeology, Anthropology, Ethnology

  3. Significance of some previously unrecognized apomorphies in the nasal region of Homo neanderthalensis.


    Schwartz, J H; Tattersall, I


    For many years, the Neanderthals have been recognized as a distinctive extinct hominid group that occupied Europe and western Asia between about 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. It is still debated, however, whether these hominids belong in their own species, Homo neanderthalensis, or represent an extinct variant of Homo sapiens. Our ongoing studies indicate that the Neanderthals differ from modern humans in their skeletal anatomy in more ways than have been recognized up to now. The purpose of ...

  4. Re-visiting the notion of Deep Incarnation in light of 1 Corinthians 15:28 and emergence theory


    Bentley, Wessel


    Niels Hendrik Gregersen's 'Deep Incarnation' is opening up possibilities for engagement between science and theology. Recent discoveries, like that of Homo naledi, raise questions about how inclusive a Christian doctrine of Incarnation is. Is Jesus only God incarnate for Homo sapien sapiens, or is the incarnation inclusive of preceding hominid species as well? Does the incarnation stretch beyond the hominid line? This chapter engages Gregersen's understanding of Deep Incarnation in light of 1...

  5. Clavicles, scapulae and humeri from the Sima de los Huesos site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). (United States)

    Carretero, J M; Arsuaga, J L; Lorenzo, C


    The scapulae, clavicles and humeri recovered from the Sima de los Huesos (SH) site between 1976 and 1994 are studied. All elements are briefly described anatomically with metrics and compared with other fossil hominids in order to establish the morphological pattern of the SH hominids. A minimum of 13 individuals are represented by the humeri in the SH sample. Almost all of them can be classified as adolescents and young adults. The morphology of the SH hominid shoulder girdle and humeri indicates that much of the shoulder morphology recognized in the later true Neandertal was present in Europe long before they appeared. Thus, this morphological pattern is not exclusive to Neandertals alone. The SH clavicles, scapulae and humeri share with the Neandertals many traits usually considered to be Neandertal specializations. The comparative analysis of the SH evidence suggests that most of the SH and Neandertal shared traits are either primitive features within the genus Homo or even for all hominids, or display high variability within different hominid samples. These traits must be used with caution, or not used at all, in phylogenetic analysis. There are, however, traits that to date have only been detected in the SH hominids and the Neanderials, which could be exclusive to the European phyletic lineage (clade) of Homo.

  6. Phylogeography and diversification history of the day-gecko genus Phelsuma in the Seychelles islands. (United States)

    Rocha, Sara; Posada, David; Harris, D James


    Lying in a shallow continental shelf cyclically affected by oscillating sea levels since the Miocene, the Seychelles islands are particularly interesting for evolutionary studies. Recent molecular studies are generating an emerging picture of the origin of its biota, yet very little is known regarding their phylogeographic structure or on the factors promoting diversification within the archipelago. Here we aimed to obtain a detailed depiction of the genetic structure and evolution of one of the most widespread vertebrate groups in the archipelago: the day-geckos of the genus Phelsuma. In parallel, we aimed to infer divergence times between species and subspecies, testing a long-standing hypothesis that argues for different time since sympatry between species as the cause of their different morphological differentiation across the archipelago. Molecular data corroborated the existence of two main lineages, corresponding to the two currently recognized species. Divergences between species likely date back to the Mio-Pliocene, while more recent, Pleistocenic, divergences are suggested within each species. Populations from outer islands share mtDNA haplotypes with inner island populations, suggesting very recent dispersals (or introductions). We found no evidence of current gene flow between species, but results pointed to the possibility of gene flow between (now allopatric) subspecies. Time estimates suggest a synchronous divergence within each species (between island groups). The geographic patterns of genetic variation agree with previous taxonomic subdivisions within each species and the origin of outer islands populations is clearly tracked. The similar intraspecific divergence time estimates obtained suggest that the differential body-size differentiation between species within each group of islands may be driven by factors other than character displacement proportional to time since sympatry, as previously suggested. These factors could include different

  7. Water-borne radon and hydrogeochemical based uranium exploration in Rajamundry sandstone, W. Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jeyagopal, A.V.; Rajaraman, H.S.; Som, Anjan


    The lithology and sedimentary structures of the Rajamundry Formation of the Mio-Pliocene age covering an area of 1100 indicate that it may be a typical valley fill sediment. It is about 600 m thick comprising sandstone and clay with lignite as the main lithounits. It is continental in onshore and marine in the offshore and is in contact with Gondwana sediments and Rajamundry traps. Tertiary sandstones are important hosts for uranium mineralisation. The reducing gas (Methane or other volatile hydrocarbon) moving to uraniferous oxidising water has precipitated uranium in the sediments in South Texas and Northwest Colorado, USA: (a) along faults, (b) above petroliferous aquifers, (c) vertically above hydrocarbon accumulations and (d) oil-water interface at hydrocarbon accumulations i.e., at the points of introduction of reducent into oxidising ground waters. In this context, Rajamundry sandstone lying above the natural gas and petroleum bearing Krishna Godavari basin with faults is an important geological setting for uranium mineralisation. The exploration strategies of hydrogeochemical survey and water-borne Radon (Rn) surveys were selected in this soil-covered area. Hydrogeochemical survey carried out in the Rajamundry sandstone has brought out four hydro-uranium anomalous zones with water samples (10-45ppb) falling around Kadiyadda, Madhavaram, Erramalla and Chinna Malapalle areas of West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. The zones vary from 9 to 24 sq km area. Water-borne Radon was utilized as a tool for exploration of uranium in this soil covered terrain. Rn contours cluster around two zones around Kadiyadda and SW of Gollagudem wherein the Rn value is >60 counts/50 sec/500 ml. These Rn anomalies fall within the above mentioned hydrouranium anomalous zones. Gamma-ray logging of private bore wells has recorded relatively higher radioactivity in Kommugudem, which also falls in the high hydrouranium - high waterborne radon zone. These data and

  8. Burial and thermal history simulation of the Abu Rudeis-Sidri oil field, Gulf of Suez-Egypt: A 1D basin modeling study (United States)

    Awadalla, Ahmed; Hegab, Omar A.; Ahmed, Mohammed A.; Hassan, Saad


    An integrated 1D model on seven wells has been performed to simulate the multi-tectonic phases and multiple thermal regimes in the Abu Rudeis-Sidri oilfield. Concordance between measured and calculated present-day temperatures is achieved with present-day heat flows in the range of 42-55 mW/m2. Reconstruction of the thermal and burial histories provides information on the paleotemperature profiles, the timing of thermal activation as well as the effect of the Oligo-Miocene rifting phases and its associated magmatic activity. The burial histories show the pre-rift subsidence was progressive but modest, whereas the syn-rift was more rapid (contemporaneous with the main rifting phases and basin formation). Finally, the early post-rift thermal subsidence was slow to moderate in contrast to the late post-rift thermal subsidence which was moderate to rapid. The simulated paleo heat flow illustrates a steady state for the pre-rift phase and non-steady state (transient) for syn-rift and postrift phases. Three geothermal regimes are recognized, each of which is associated with a specific geological domain. 1) A lower geothermal regime reflects the impact of stable tectonics (pre-rift). 2) The higher temperature distribution reflects the syn-rift high depositional rate as well as the impact of stretching and thinning (rifting phases) of the lithosphere. 3) A local higher geothermal pulse owing to the magmatic activity during the Oligo-Miocene time (ARM-1 and Sidri-7 wells). Paleoheat flow values of 100mW/m2 (Oligo-Miocene rifting phase) increased to 120mW/m2 (Miocene rifting phase) and lesser magnitude of 80mW/m2 (Mio- Pliocene reactivation phase) have been specified. These affected the thermal regime and temperature distribution by causing perturbations in subsurface temperatures. A decline in the background value of 60mW/m2 owing to conductive cooling has been assigned. The blanketing effect caused by low thermal conductivity of the basin-fill sediments has been simulated

  9. Are There High Meteorite Concentrations in the Atacama Desert/Chile? (United States)

    Scherer, P.; Delisle, G.


    We have visited numerous regions of the Atacama desert between Copiapo (27 degrees, 15'S) and Calama (22 degrees, 25'S) to assess their potential as a high-yield meteorite concentration surface, easily exploitable by search efforts within a reasonable time frame. According to our observations, this desert is characterized by the following features: a) A high percentage of the desert consists of sloping surfaces on which soil movement occurs, presumably by very infrequent, though heavy rain. b) Vast areas of the desert are covered by a dm-thick sand layer of dark colour. Since the sand is too coarse-grained to be transported by wind it presumably resulted from in-situ weathering of rock debris derived from nearby mountains. We suspect that impacting smaller objects can easily penetrate the sand layer. c) The sand layer is typically dotted by rocks, fist-size or smaller, that are covered by a thick layer of desert paint (reddish-brown to black colour). Most country rocks are of volcanic origin (rhyolite, andesite, basalt) and are typically of grey to black colour. A noticeable colour contrast in particular to potential stony meteorites is almost nonexistent. d) Soil salts with a potential to speed up weathering processes are ubiquitous near the surface. e) The Pampa de Mejillones, 45 km north of Antofagasta, is one of the few light-coloured areas in the Atacama desert. The surface, being of Mio-Pliocene age, consists of an almost continuous layer of light-brown fossil shells (bivalves and gastropodes). Fluvially transported dark rocks from adjacent outcrops rest on top. The latter material is covered again by desert paint. Few meteorite discoveries have been reported from this area (Pampa (a),(b),(c)). f) Numerous old tire tracks, in particular around mines in operation, crisscross most areas of the Atacama. Undetected objects such as large masses of iron bodies are not likely to have remained undiscovered in great numbers any more. We conclude that the potential of

  10. Geomorphological approach in karstic domain: importance of underground water in the Jura mountains. (United States)

    Rabin, Mickael; Sue, Christian; Champagnac, Jean Daniel; Bichet, Vincent; Carry, Nicolas; Eichenberger, Urs; Mudry, Jacques; Valla, Pierre


    The Jura mountain belt is the north-westernmost and one of the most recent expressions of the Alpine orogeny (i.e. Mio-Pliocene times). The Jura has been well studied from a structural framework, but still remains the source of scientific debates, especially regarding its current and recent tectonic activity [Laubscher, 1992; Burkhard and Sommaruga, 1998]. It is deemed to be always in a shortening state, according to leveling data [Jouanne et al., 1998] and neotectonic observations [Madritsch et al., 2010]. However, the few GPS data available on the Jura do not show evidence of shortening, but rather a low-magnitude extension parallel to the arc [Walpersdorf et al., 2006]. Moreover, the traditionally accepted assumption of a collisional activity of the Jura raises the question of its geodynamic origin. The Western Alps are themselves in a post-collisional regime and characterized by a noticeable isostatic-related extension, due to the interaction between buoyancy forces and external dynamics [Sue et al., 2007]. Quantitative morphotectonic approaches have been increasingly used in active mountain belts to infer relationship between climates and tectonics in landscape evolution [Whipple, 2009]. In this study, we propose to apply morphometric tools to calcareous bedrock, in a slowly deformed mountain belt. In particular, we have used watersheds metrics determination and associated river profiles analysis to allow quantifying the degree and nature of the equilibrium between the tectonic forcing and the fluvial erosional agent [Kirby and Whipple, 2001]. Indeed, long-term river profiles evolution is controlled by climatic and tectonic forcing through the following expression [Whipple and Tucker, 1999]: S = (U / K) 1/n Am/n (with U: uplift rate, K: empirical erodibility factor, function of hydrological and geological settings; A: drained area, m, n: empirical parameters). We present here a systematic analysis of river profiles applied to the main drainage system of the

  11. Post-Eocene climate change across continental Australia and the diversification of Australasian spiny trapdoor spiders (Idiopidae: Arbanitinae). (United States)

    Rix, Michael G; Cooper, Steven J B; Meusemann, Karen; Klopfstein, Seraina; Harrison, Sophie E; Harvey, Mark S; Austin, Andrew D


    -plugging in transitional arid zone taxa have evolved twice independently in Western Australia, while in Misgolas and Cataxia, burrow door-building behaviours have likely been independently lost at least three times in the eastern Australian mesic zone. We also show that the presence of idiopids in New Zealand (Cantuaria) is likely to be the result of recent dispersal from Australia, rather than ancient continental vicariance. By providing the first comprehensive, continental synopsis of arid zone biogeography in an Australian arachnid lineage, we show that the diversification of arbanitine Idiopidae was intimately associated with climate shifts during the Neogene, resulting in multiple Mio-Pliocene radiations. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Baboon feeding ecology informs the dietary niche of Paranthropus boisei.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriele A Macho

    Full Text Available Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%-80% of their tissues' δ(13C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei's food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%-42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2-4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins, explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species' derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation.

  13. Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. (United States)

    White, Tim D; Asfaw, Berhane; DeGusta, David; Gilbert, Henry; Richards, Gary D; Suwa, Gen; Howell, F Clark


    The origin of anatomically modern Homo sapiens and the fate of Neanderthals have been fundamental questions in human evolutionary studies for over a century. A key barrier to the resolution of these questions has been the lack of substantial and accurately dated African hominid fossils from between 100,000 and 300,000 years ago. Here we describe fossilized hominid crania from Herto, Middle Awash, Ethiopia, that fill this gap and provide crucial evidence on the location, timing and contextual circumstances of the emergence of Homo sapiens. Radioisotopically dated to between 160,000 and 154,000 years ago, these new fossils predate classic Neanderthals and lack their derived features. The Herto hominids are morphologically and chronologically intermediate between archaic African fossils and later anatomically modern Late Pleistocene humans. They therefore represent the probable immediate ancestors of anatomically modern humans. Their anatomy and antiquity constitute strong evidence of modern-human emergence in Africa.

  14. The beginnings of human palaeontology: prehistory, craniometry and the 'fossil human races'. (United States)

    Goodrum, Matthew R


    Since the nineteenth century, hominid palaeontology has offered critical information about prehistoric humans and evidence for human evolution. Human fossils discovered at a time when there was growing agreement that humans existed during the Ice Age became especially significant but also controversial. This paper argues that the techniques used to study human fossils from the 1850s to the 1870s and the way that these specimens were interpreted owed much to the anthropological examination of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age skeletons retrieved by archaeologists from prehistoric tombs throughout Europe. What emerged was the idea that a succession of distinct human races, which were identified using techniques such as craniometry, had occupied and migrated into Europe beginning in the Ice Age and continuing into the historic period. This marks a phase in the history of human palaeontology that gradually gave way to a science of palaeoanthropology that viewed hominid fossils more from the perspective of evolutionary theory and hominid phylogeny.

  15. Examining time trends in the Oldowan technology at Beds I and II, Olduvai Gorge. (United States)

    Kimura, Yuki


    The lithic analysis of the Bed I and II assemblages from Olduvai Gorge reveals both static and dynamic time trends in early hominids' technology from 1.8 to 1.2 m.y.a. The Bed I Oldowan (1.87-1.75 m.y.a.) is characterized by the least effort strategy in terms of raw material exploitation and tool production. The inclusion of new raw material, chert, for toolmaking in the following Developed Oldowan A (DOA, 1.65-1.53 m.y.a.) facilitated more distinctive and variable flaking strategies depending on the kind of raw materials. The unique characters of DOA are explainable by this raw material factor, rather than technological development of hominids. The disappearance of chert in the subsequent Developed Oldowan B and Acheulian (1.53-1.2 m.y.a.) necessitated a shift in tool production strategy more similar to that of Bed I Oldowan than DOA. However, the evidence suggests that Bed II hominids might have been more skillful toolmakers, intensive tool-users, and engaged in more active transport of stone tools than the Bed I predecessors. Koobi Fora hominids maintained a more static tool-using behavior than their Olduvai counterparts due mainly to a stable supply of raw materials. They differed from Olduvai hominids in terms of less battering of cores, consistent transport behavior, and few productions of side-struck flakes, indicating a regional variation of toolmaking and using practice. However, they shared with Olduvai hominids a temporal trend toward the production of larger flakes from larger cores after 1.6 m.y.a. Increased intake of animal resources and the expansion of ranging area of Homo ergaster would have led to the development of technological organization. Technological changes in the Oldowan industry are attested at Olduvai Gorge, Koobi Fora, and Sterkfontein, suggesting that it was a pan-African synchronous phenomenon, beginning at 1.5 m.y.a.

  16. Re-visiting the notion of Deep Incarnation in light of 1 Corinthians 15:28 and emergence theory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wessel Bentley


    Full Text Available Niels Hendrik Gregersen’s ‘Deep Incarnation’ is opening up possibilities for engagementbetween science and theology. Recent discoveries, like that of Homo naledi, raise questions abouthow inclusive a Christian doctrine of Incarnation is. Is Jesus only God incarnate for Homo sapiensapiens, or is the incarnation inclusive of preceding hominid species as well? Does the incarnationstretch beyond the hominid line? This chapter engages Gregersen’s understanding of DeepIncarnation in light of 1 Corinthians 15:28 and emergence theory. It proposes that there is a directcorrelation between worldview and how we believe in the inclusive nature of divine incarnation.

  17. The geological, isotopic, botanical, invertebrate, and lower vertebrate contexts for aripithecus ramidus

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Woldegabriel, Giday [Los Alamos National Laboratory; Ambrose, Stanley H [UNIV OF ILLINOIS; Barboni, Doris [CEREGE, FRANCE; Bonneffille, Raymond [CEREGE, FRANCE; Bremond, Laurent [MONTPELLIER, FRANCE; Currie, Brian [MIAMI UNIV, OXFORD, OHIO; Degusta, David [STANFORD UNIV.; Hart, William K [MIAMI UNIV, OXFORD, OHIO; Murray, Alison M [UNIV OF ALBERTA; Renne, Paul R [UC/BERKELEY; Jolly - Saad, M C [NANTERRE, FRANCE; Stewart, Kathlyn M [CANADA; White, Tim D [UC/BERKELEY


    Sediments containing Ardipithecus ramidus were deposited 4.4 million years ago on an alluvial floodplain in Ethiopia's western Afar rift. The Lower Aramis Member hominid-bearing unit, now exposed across a >9-kilometer structural arc, is sandwiched between two volcanic tuffs that have nearly identical {sup 40}Ar/{sup 39}Ar ages. Geological data presented here, along with floral, invertebrate, and vertebrate paleontological and taphonomic evidence associated with the hominids, suggest that they occupied a wooded biotope over the western three-fourths of the paleotransect. Phytoliths and oxygen and carbon stable isotopes of pedogenic carbonates provide evidence of humid cool woodlands with a grassy substrate.

  18. Evolution of Humans: Understanding the Nature and Methods of Science through Cooperative Learning (United States)

    Lee, Yeung Chung


    This article describes the use of an enquiry-based approach to the study of human evolution in a practical context, integrating role-playing, jigsaw cooperative learning and scientific argumentation. The activity seeks to unravel the evolutionary relationships of five hominids and one ape from rather "messy" evidence. This approach enhanced the…

  19. Chromosome Connections: Compelling Clues to Common Ancestry (United States)

    Flammer, Larry


    Students compare banding patterns on hominid chromosomes and see striking evidence of their common ancestry. To test this, human chromosome no. 2 is matched with two shorter chimpanzee chromosomes, leading to the hypothesis that human chromosome 2 resulted from the fusion of the two shorter chromosomes. Students test that hypothesis by looking for…

  20. Bovids as indicators of Plio-Pleistocene paleoenvironments in east Africa. (United States)

    Kappelman, J; Plummer, T; Bishop, L; Duncan, A; Appleton, S


    Reconstructions of the paleoenvironments of early hominids offer a framework for understanding hominid ecological and behavioral adaptations. Habitat reconstructions typically rely upon various biological or physical habitat indicators, and here we present reconstructions of the Plio-Pleistocene paleohabitats of Koobi Fora and Olduvai Gorge as based on fossil bovids (Artiodactyla: Bovidae). Bovids are the most common faunal element at most Neogene hominid and hominoid fossil localities and have been widely studied. This study addresses the functional morphology of the bovid femur through discriminant function analysis and provides additional support for the observation that certain features of the femur demonstrate clear correlations with the amount of vegetative cover in different modern habitats. The reconstructions for both Koobi Fora and Olduvai Gorge suggest that the full range of environments inhabited by living bovids was present during the Plio-Pleistocene. Koobi Fora appears to have had a somewhat higher percentage of more closed habitats than the relatively more open habitats of Olduvai Gorge. These habitat reconstructions are in broad agreement with other reconstructions based on a purely taxonomic approach to the bovid remains. Grounding our reconstructions of paleoenvironments in studies of functional morphology can help to develop a richer idea of the habitats and resources available to early hominids.

  1. The Power of Natural Selection: A Guided Investigation of Three Case Studies (United States)

    Beachly, William


    I describe a quantitative approach to three case studies in evolution that can be used to challenge college freshmen to explore the power of natural selection and ask questions that foster a deeper understanding of its operation and relevance. Hemochromatosis, the peppered moth, and hominid cranial capacity are investigated with a common algebraic…

  2. Sadhana | Indian Academy of Sciences

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    As a non-hominid comparison set, we consider a random population of five-link robots with simplified joint angle and torque constraints. We generate 20,000 such robot models and sequentially optimize their throwing motion. Since good initial guesses are needed for each optimization, the robots are first arranged in ...

  3. Facial orientation and facial shape in extant great apes: a geometric morphometric analysis of covariation. (United States)

    Neaux, Dimitri; Guy, Franck; Gilissen, Emmanuel; Coudyzer, Walter; Vignaud, Patrick; Ducrocq, Stéphane


    The organization of the bony face is complex, its morphology being influenced in part by the rest of the cranium. Characterizing the facial morphological variation and craniofacial covariation patterns in extant hominids is fundamental to the understanding of their evolutionary history. Numerous studies on hominid facial shape have proposed hypotheses concerning the relationship between the anterior facial shape, facial block orientation and basicranial flexion. In this study we test these hypotheses in a sample of adult specimens belonging to three extant hominid genera (Homo, Pan and Gorilla). Intraspecific variation and covariation patterns are analyzed using geometric morphometric methods and multivariate statistics, such as partial least squared on three-dimensional landmarks coordinates. Our results indicate significant intraspecific covariation between facial shape, facial block orientation and basicranial flexion. Hominids share similar characteristics in the relationship between anterior facial shape and facial block orientation. Modern humans exhibit a specific pattern in the covariation between anterior facial shape and basicranial flexion. This peculiar feature underscores the role of modern humans' highly-flexed basicranium in the overall integration of the cranium. Furthermore, our results are consistent with the hypothesis of a relationship between the reduction of the value of the cranial base angle and a downward rotation of the facial block in modern humans, and to a lesser extent in chimpanzees.

  4. Chimpanzee Food Preferences, Associative Learning, and the Origins of Cooking (United States)

    Beran, Michael J.; Hopper, Lydia M.; de Waal, Frans B.M.; Sayers, Ken; Brosnan, Sarah F.


    A recent report suggested that chimpanzees demonstrate the cognitive capacities necessary to understand cooking (Warneken & Rosati, 2015). We offer alternate explanations and mechanisms that could account for the behavioral responses of those chimpanzees without invoking the understanding of cooking as a process. We discuss broader issues surrounding the use of chimpanzees in modeling hominid behavior and understanding aspects of human evolution. PMID:26659967

  5. Chimpanzee Food Preferences, Associative Learning, and the Origins of Cooking


    Beran, Michael J.; Hopper, Lydia M.; de Waal, Frans B.M.; Sayers, Ken; Brosnan, Sarah F.


    A recent report suggested that chimpanzees demonstrate the cognitive capacities necessary to understand cooking (Warneken & Rosati, 2015). We offer alternate explanations and mechanisms that could account for the behavioral responses of those chimpanzees without invoking the understanding of cooking as a process. We discuss broader issues surrounding the use of chimpanzees in modeling hominid behavior and understanding aspects of human evolution.

  6. Chimpanzee food preferences, associative learning, and the origins of cooking. (United States)

    Beran, Michael J; Hopper, Lydia M; de Waal, Frans B M; Sayers, Ken; Brosnan, Sarah F


    A recent report suggested that chimpanzees demonstrate the cognitive capacities necessary to understand cooking (Warneken & Rosati, 2015). We offer alternate explanations and mechanisms that could account for the behavioral responses of those chimpanzees, without invoking the understanding of cooking as a process. We discuss broader issues surrounding the use of chimpanzees in modeling hominid behavior and understanding aspects of human evolution.

  7. Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Permanent link: Keywords. Palaeoanthropology; human evolution; Louis Leakey; Mary Leakey; Africa; Olduvai gorge; fossil hominids. Author Affiliations. Rajan Gaur1. Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Sector 14, Chandigarh UT 160 014, India ...

  8. Beyond the Pleistocene: Using Phylogeny and Constraint to Inform the Evolutionary Psychology of Human Mating (United States)

    Eastwick, Paul W.


    Evolutionary psychologists explore the adaptive function of traits and behaviors that characterize modern Homo sapiens. However, evolutionary psychologists have yet to incorporate the phylogenetic relationship between modern Homo sapiens and humans' hominid and pongid relatives (both living and extinct) into their theorizing. By considering the…

  9. The evolution of lethal intergroup violence


    Kelly, Raymond C.


    Recent findings and analyses in evolutionary biology, archaeology, and ethnology provide a favorable conjuncture for examining the evolution of lethal intergroup violence among hominids during the 2.9-million-year Paleolithic time span. Here, I seek to identify and investigate the main turning points in this evolutionary trajectory and to delineate the periodization that follows from this inquiry.

  10. The evolution of lethal intergroup violence. (United States)

    Kelly, Raymond C


    Recent findings and analyses in evolutionary biology, archaeology, and ethnology provide a favorable conjuncture for examining the evolution of lethal intergroup violence among hominids during the 2.9-million-year Paleolithic time span. Here, I seek to identify and investigate the main turning points in this evolutionary trajectory and to delineate the periodization that follows from this inquiry.

  11. The evolutionary significance of the Wajak skulls

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Storm, P.


    Ever since their description by Dubois (1920, 1922) the Wajak skulls Java) have played an important role in the discussions on the evolution of modern humans in Australasia. Because of the robust morphology of the skull, Wajak Man was seen as a link between Pleistocene hominids from Java (Solo) and

  12. Original Synthetic Article: The relationships between occlusion and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Materials and Methods: These correlations were analyzed by using a metric methodology applied to x-rays or CT scan images of extant and fossil skulls. Results and conclusions: This approach presents major interests for the study of occluso-postural balances in fossil hominids as well as for the analysis of the evolutionary ...

  13. First fossil insectivores from Flores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hoek Ostende, van den L.W.; Berch, van der G.; Awe Due, R.


    The hominid bearing strata from the Liang Bua cave on Flores have yielded a large amount of microvertebrate remains. Among these are three mandibles of shrews, the first record of fossil insectivores from the island. The fossils, representing two different species, are not referable to any of the

  14. Transgressive systems tract development and incised-valley fills within a quaternary estuary-shelf system: Virginia inner shelf, USA (United States)

    Foyle, A.M.; Oertel, G.F.


    High-frequency Quaternary glacioeustasy resulted in the incision of six moderate- to high-relief fluvial erosion surfaces beneath the Virginia inner shelf and coastal zone along the updip edges of the Atlantic continental margin. Fluvial valleys up to 5 km wide, with up to 37 m of relief and thalweg depths of up to 72 m below modern mean sea level, cut through underlying Pleistocene and Mio-Pliocene strata in response to drops in baselevel on the order of 100 m. Fluvially incised valleys were significantly modified during subsequent marine transgressions as fluvial drainage basins evolved into estuarine embayments (ancestral generations of the Chesapeake Bay). Complex incised-valley fill successions are bounded by, or contain, up to four stacked erosional surfaces (basal fluvial erosion surface, bay ravinement, tidal ravinement, and ebb-flood channel-base diastem) in vertical succession. These surfaces, combined with the transgressive oceanic ravinement that generally caps incised-valley fills, control the lateral and vertical development of intervening seismic facies (depositional systems). Transgressive stratigraphy characterizes the Quaternary section beneath the Virginia inner shelf where six depositional sequences (Sequences I-VI) are identified. Depositional sequences consist primarily of estuarine depositional systems (subjacent to the transgressive oceanic ravinement) and shoreface-shelf depositional systems; highstand systems tract coastal systems are thinly developed. The Quaternary section can be broadly subdivided into two parts. The upper part contains sequences consisting predominantly of inner shelf facies, whereas sequences in the lower part of the section consist predominantly of estuarine facies. Three styles of sequence preservation are identified. Style 1, represented by Sequences VI and V, is characterized by large estuarine systems (ancestral generations of the Chesapeake Bay) that are up to 40 m thick, have hemicylindrical wedge geometries

  15. The promotion of geomorphosites on salt from Sovata - Praid and Turda using cultural and scientific tourism (United States)

    Toma, B.; Irimus, I.; Petrea, D.


    The paper highlights the role of geomorphosites on salt, in experts and specialists training, in geography of tourism and planning, namely, the involvement of educational factor in defining managerial and marketing skills of future specialists in training. Geographical area of investigation belongs to the Transylvanian tectonic basin, overlapped to saliferous tectonic area from eastern Transylvania, represented by Praid - Sovata - Corund anticline and Sic -Cojocna - Turda anticline, analysis is focused on the Praid - Sovata and Turda diapirs. Saliferous area Praid - Sovata - Corund is situated on the contact area of the Transylvanian Basin with neo-eruptiv mountain chain of Eastern Carpathians, Calimani - Gurghiu - Harghita, and at the contact of Târnavelor Plateau with the orogen alignment of Gurghiu - Harghita Mountains. The salt body, in the horizontal plane, has a quasi-circular shape, slightly ellipsoidal, with diameters of 1.2 and 1.4 km, and is estimated to have a burial depth of 2.6 to 2.8 km. The salt massif from Praid, pierce the Mio-Pliocene blanket around and appears at the surface as diapir, flanked by sedimentary rocks that are partially covered by extrusive post-Pliocene volcanic formations and Quaternary deposits. Evaporitic deposits presents a varied lithology represented by gypsum, anhydrite, salt rock, potassium salt and celestine. The salt massif from Turda develops on the anticline Sic -Cojocna - Turda, oriented NE - SW, 2 km NE of Turda's downtown. It has an elongated shape, about 4 km, with widths ranging from 700 m to 200 m and also with a thickness ranging from 750 m to over 1000 m. In terms of stratigraphy, the salt massif is surrounded by deposits belonging to Badenian, Sarmatian and Quaternary. Due to salt dissolution by meteoric waters, carsto-saline lakes were formed, and due to ceiling collapse, because of an intensive exploitation, and infiltrations of rainwater and rivers, antropo-salted lakes were formed. The water and mud of

  16. Crustal structure of Tolfa domes complex (northern Latium - Italy) inferred from receiver functions analysis: an interplay between tectonics and magmatism (United States)

    Buttinelli, M.; Bianchi, I.; Anselmi, M.; Chiarabba, C.; de Rita, D.; Quattrocchi, F.


    The Tolfa-Cerite volcanic district developed along the Tyrrhenian passive margin of central Italy, as part of magmatic processes started during the middle Pliocene. In this area the uncertainties on the deep crustal structures and the definition of the intrusive bodies geometry are focal issues that still need to be addressed. After the onset of the spreading of the Tyrrhenian sea during the Late Miocene, the emplacement of the intrusive bodies of the Tolfa complex (TDC), in a general back-arc geodynamical regime, generally occurred in a low stretching rate, in correspondence of the junctions between major lithospheric discontinuities. Normal faults, located at the edge of Mio-Pliocene basins, were used as preferential pathways for the rising of magmatic masses from the mantle to the surface. We used teleseismic recordings at the TOLF and MAON broad band station of the INGV seismic network (located between the Argentario promontory and Tolfa-Ceriti dome complexes -TDC-) to image the principal seismic velocity discontinuities by receiver function analysis (RF's). Together with RF’s velocity models of the area computed using the teleseismic events recorded by a temporary network of eight stations deployed around the TDC, we achieve a general crustal model of this area. The geometry of the seismic network has been defined to focus on the crustal structure beneath the TDC, trying to define the main velocity changes attributable to the intrusive bodies, the calcareous basal complex, the deep metamorphic basement, the lower crust and the Moho. The analysis of these data show the Moho at a depth of 23 km in the TDC area and 20 km in the Argentario area. Crustal models also show an unexpected velocity decrease between 12 and 18 km, consistent with a slight dropdown of the Vp/Vs ratio, imputable to a regional mid-crustal shear zone inherited from the previous alpine orogenesis, re-activated in extensional tectonic by the early opening phases of the Tyrrhenian sea. Above

  17. Neogene Uplift and Exhumation of Plutonic Bodies in the Beni Bou Ifrour Massif (Nador, northeastern Morocco) (United States)

    Lebret, Noëmie; Jolivet, Laurent; Branquet, Yannick; Bourdier, Jean-Louis; Jolivet, Marc; Marcoux, Eric


    In Neogene times, the whole Mediterranean Sea was the center of an intense magmatic activity. This post-collisional magmatism produced a large amount of volcanic edifices through the Alpine belts, together with some intrusives. These plutonic bodies can be associated with skarn-type mineralization, well-known in Elba Island or Serifos Island (Cyclades), where they are generally exhumed by detachment faults. In Morocco, the plutons hosted by the Beni Bou Ifrour massif are connected to the biggest skarn-type iron concentrations of the country (production > 60 Mt, reserves ≈ 25 Mt). The purpose of this work is to explain the late uplift of this massif and subsequent exhumation of the intrusives. As a final product of the Africa-Eurasia plate convergence since ca. 70 Ma, the Rif Mountains constitute the westernmost segment of the Mediterranean Alpine belts. In the oriental part of this range, volcanic summits and Paleozoic to Mesozoic massifs outcrop in the surrounding Mio-Pliocene plains. The Beni Bou Ifrour massif, in the Nador province, consists in a dome-shaped folded Mesozoic series (Domerian to Barremian) affected by a slight epizonal regional metamorphism (ca. 14-12 Ma), dislocated by Neogene NE-SW faults and eventually sealed by upper Miocene transgressive sediments. The hosted intrusives (7.58 ± 0.03 Ma; Duggen et al., 2005) are the plutonic equivalents to the potassic calc-alkaline lavas (andesites mainly) from the surrounding "satellite" volcanic massifs. They turn out to stand in higher topographic position than the younger shoshonitic lavas of the neighboring Gourougou stratovolcano (6.12 ± 0.01 Ma; Duggen et al., 2005). Previous studies have attributed this uplift to the action of normal faults (pull-apart basins; Guillemin & Houzay, 1982), thrusting (Kerchaoui, 1985; 1995) or even of a caldeira resurgence (El Bakkali, 1995). To discriminate against those exhumation mechanisms, field work has been performed, coming along with new cross-sections to

  18. Evidence of focused fluid flow associated to the gas hydrate wedge on the angolan margin (United States)

    Casenave, Viviane; Imbert, Patrice; Gay, Aurélien


    The Lower Congo basin, offshore south west Africa, is a prolific petroleum province, which has been extensively investigated and exploited for more than 30 years. The study area is located above a producing oil and gas field, the hydrocarbons being trapped in turbidite channels on a tectonic horst. The work is based on the analysis of 3-D seismic and site survey data (2D AUV, grab samples and ROV photos) above a deeper oil and gas field called Moho. The analysis of this seismic data set reveals numerous evidence of focused fluid flow through the Mio-Pliocene interval, including present-day seafloor seep features and shallow buried paleo-seeps, indicating past activity of the system. The main fluid migration-related structures are the followings: 1. Stacked amplitude anomalies, interpreted as the result of vertical migrations of gas are pervasive. Most of these seep features seem to correspond to fossil events as they are interpreted as successive precipitation at the seafloor of patches of seep carbonates (MDAC, Methane Derived Authigenic Carbonates) stacked during the activity of a seep. 2. Another phenomenon of gas migration through the sediment pile is visible on the seismic data of the Moho area: it is the BSR (Bottom Simulating Reflector) located above a horst. The BSR is formed by 2 patches, which cover a small area about 1.5 km² for the largest and 0.5 km2 for the smallest. These two BSRs are located under a depth of water included between 600 and 700 m, into the BSR wedging area. 3. A 'spider morphology' is visible on the seafloor. It corresponds to depressions forming variable-sized furrows oriented slightly oblique to the slope dip direction, directly above the upslope limit of the BSR patches. ROV photos and movies from these furrows showed the presence of seep carbonates and of bacterial carpets, linked with methane leak at the seafloor. A similar 'spider morphology' was also identified in subsurface, at 20 ms under the seafloor, further down the slope

  19. Histoire tertiaire de l'Arche de Brahmaputra ; son rôle dans la prospection des hydrocarbures du Haut Assam (Inde (résumé Tertiary History of Brahmaputra Arch. Its Role in Hydrocarbon Prospects of Upper Assam, India (Abstract

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    Murty K. N.


    sub-surface regional structure of the present Upper Assam Valley is a broad arch - Brahmaputra arch - parallel to and just a little south of Brahmaputra river, formed by two opposite tiltings: an initial palaeoslope towards south-east during Palaeocene-Oligocene and the other towards north-west during Mio-Pliocene. Two phases of migration of hydrocarbons con be recognised. The study enables assessment of future hydrocarbon prospects in Upper Assam. This arch has similar geological history as that of Bend-arch of north-central Texas and Huffon-Seminole-Ozark Arch of Oklahoma where rich pools have been found in nearby oil the rocks involved in the arching.

  20. Parametric study of the impact of waste pollutants on groundwater: the case of Abidjan District (Ivory Coast) (United States)

    Agnès Kouamé, Amenan; Jaboyedoff, Michel; Tacher, Laurent; Derron, Marc-Henri; Franz, Martin


    Abidjan like numerous African cities is experiencing a significant and uncontrolled population growth. The annual growth rate is estimated at 3.99% by the National Institute of Statistics. This rapid population growth also generates growing needs in general and especially for drinking water and economic activities. In the District of Abidjan, groundwater comes from the Mio-Pliocene age aquifer called "Continental Terminal". This unconfined aquifer is the main source of water supply. Its lithology consists of four levels. Actually only the two upper levels outcrop and constitute the main part of the Continental Terminal aquifer. Some recent studies report a potential overexploitation and pollution of Abidjan groundwater (Jourda, 1986, Kouame 2007, Deh, 2013). This deterioration in water quality could be due to the release of domestic and industrial waste water, pesticide and fertilizer from crops and toxic waste sites containing high doses of organochlorines, of hydrogen sulfide and sulfides. This risk is also linked to the economic activities such as car workshops, gas stations and the sand exploitation in the lagoon. To observe the likely evolution of such contaminants in the subsurface and we developed hydrogeological models that couple groundwater flow and transport with FEFLOW software. The model is composed of a sandy layer where two constant hydraulic heads of 55 m and 0.2 m are imposed on the north and the south respectively. We carried out grain size analysis of some samples (E2, E3, E4, E5, and E6) which shows particle size ranging between 0.0001 mm and 8 mm. This grain size analysis performed by sieving underwater and laser indicates that these five soils are: loamy sand with traces of clay and gravel for E2 and E5; Sandy loam with traces of clay for E3; Sand with traces of clay and gravel for E4 and Sand with traces of silt and clay for E6. Their porosity and average values of permeability coefficient K measured in the laboratory range from 0.2 to 0

  1. Revised age estimates of Australopithecus-bearing deposits at Sterkfontein, South Africa. (United States)

    Berger, Lee R; Lacruz, Rodrigo; De Ruiter, Darryl J


    The Sterkfontein fossil site in South Africa has produced the largest concentration of early hominin fossils from a single locality. Recent reports suggest that Australopithecus from this site is found within a broad paleontological age of between 2.5-3.5 Ma (Partridge [2000] The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 100-125; Partridge et al. [2000a], The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 129-130; Kuman and Clarke [2000] J Hum Evol 38:827-847). Specifically, the hominin fossil commonly referred to as the "Little Foot" skeleton from Member 2, which is arguably the most complete early hominin skeleton yet discovered, has been magnetostratigraphically dated to 3.30-3.33 Ma (Partridge [2000] The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 100-125; Partridge et al. [2000a], The Cenozoic of Southern Africa, Oxford: Oxford Monographs, p. 129-130). More recent claims suggest that hominin fossils from the Jacovec Cavern are even older, being dated to approximately 3.5 Ma. Our interpretation of the fauna, the archeometric results, and the magnetostratigraphy of Sterkfontein indicate that it is unlikely that any Members yet described from Sterkfontein are in excess of 3.04 Ma in age. We estimate that Member 2, including the Little Foot skeleton, is younger than 3.0 Ma, and that Member 4, previously dated to between 2.4-2.8 Ma, is more likely to fall between 1.5-2.5 Ma. Our results suggest that Australopithecus africanus should not be considered as a temporal contemporary of Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus bahrelghazali, and Kenyanthropus platyops. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  2. Tempo and mode in human evolution. (United States)

    McHenry, H M


    The quickening pace of paleontological discovery is matched by rapid developments in geochronology. These new data show that the pattern of morphological change in the hominid lineage was mosaic. Adaptations essential to bipedalism appeared early, but some locomotor features changed much later. Relative to the highly derived postcrania of the earliest hominids, the craniodental complex was quite primitive (i.e., like the reconstructed last common ancestor with the African great apes). The pattern of craniodental change among successively younger species of Hominidae implies extensive parallel evolution between at least two lineages in features related to mastication. Relative brain size increased slightly among successively younger species of Australopithecus, expanded significantly with the appearance of Homo, but within early Homo remained at about half the size of Homo sapiens for almost a million years. Many apparent trends in human evolution may actually be due to the accumulation of relatively rapid shifts in successive species. PMID:8041697

  3. A new interdisciplinary approach to the study of the origins of traditional polyphony

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    Jordania Joseph


    Full Text Available The article discusses a new model of the origins of choral singing in the context of human evolutionary history. Hominid interaction with predators is seen as a crucial force in the evolution of human morphology and behaviour. Group singing and dancing, with body painting and the use of masks, are perceived as critical elements of the strategy to deter predators and to put hominids into an altered state of consciousness. In this state, humans do not feel fear and pain and are ready to sacrifice their lives for the common goal. This psychological condition is still important to many human group activities, particularly in religion and the military. The mosaic distribution of polyphonic traditions is discussed in the context of the origins of language and articulated speech.

  4. Brief communication: Is variation in the cranial capacity of the Dmanisi sample too high to be from a single species? (United States)

    Lee, Sang-Hee


    This study uses data resampling to test the null hypothesis that the degree of variation in the cranial capacity of the Dmanisi hominid sample is within the range variation of a single species. The statistical significance of the variation in the Dmanisi sample is examined using simulated distributions based on comparative samples of modern humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Results show that it is unlikely to find the maximum difference observed in the Dmanisi sample in distributions of female-female pairs from comparative single-species samples. Given that two sexes are represented, the difference in the Dmanisi sample is not enough to reject the null hypothesis of a single species. Results of this study suggest no compelling reason to invoke multiple taxa to explain variation in the cranial capacity of the Dmanisi hominids. (c) 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc

  5. Development and progress: advancing towards environmental crisis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gomez G, Luis Jair


    Physical, biological and social evolution is doubtless. One of its first manifestations is the arrival of technique when hominids emerge from pre-hominids. Those first technical developments implied a new relation man/environment that was expressed in three components that appeared successively and pushed each other in time and space like this: dominion over nature, population concentration (urbanism), and population growth. Techniques are to generate three notorious effects on the relation man/nature: 1. Deep intervention on the physical environment: mining and industrial transformation processes; 2. Deep intervention on the biological environment: development of agriculture with a decrease in biodiversity; and 3. Deep intervention on the social environment: going from a pre-modern communitarian world, to the individualism of modernity; and from the agrarian field to the big city. All these technical developments boosted dominion of the technosphere over the ecosphere, which led to the appearance of the Environmental Crisis, whose most notable manifestation is Climatic Change.

  6. The relative cost of bent-hip bent-knee walking is reduced in water. (United States)

    Kuliukas, Algis V; Milne, Nick; Fournier, Paul


    The debate about how early hominids walked may be characterised as two competing hypotheses: They moved with a fully upright (FU) gait, like modern humans, or with a bent-hip, bent-knee (BK) gait, like apes. Both have assumed that this bipedalism was almost exclusively on land, in trees or a combination of the two. Recent findings favoured the FU hypothesis by showing that the BK gait is 50-60% more energetically costly than a FU human gait on land. We confirm these findings but show that in water this cost differential is markedly reduced, especially in deeper water, at slower speeds and with greater knee flexion. These data suggest that the controversy about australopithecine locomotion may be eased if it is assumed that wading was a component of their locomotor repertoire and supports the idea that shallow water might have been an environment favourable to the evolution of early forms of "non-optimal" hominid bipedalism.

  7. Denisovans, Melanesians, Europeans, and Neandertals: The Confusion of DNA Assumptions and the Biological Species Concept. (United States)

    Caldararo, Niccolo


    A number of recent articles have appeared on the Denisova fossil remains and attempts to produce DNA sequences from them. One of these recently appeared in Science by Vernot et al. (Science 352:235-239, 2016). We would like to advance an alternative interpretation of the data presented. One concerns the problem of contamination/degradation of the determined DNA sequenced. Just as the publication of the first Neandertal sequence included an interpretation that argued that Neandertals had not contributed any genes to modern humans, the Denisovan interpretation has considerable influence on ideas regarding human evolution. The new papers, however, confuse established ideas concerning the nature of species, as well as the use of terms like premodern, Archaic Homo, and Homo heidelbergensis. Examination of these problems presents a solution by means of reinterpreting the results. Given the claims for gene transfer among a number of Mid Pleistocene hominids, it may be time to reexamine the idea of anagenesis in hominid evolution.

  8. The First Joke: Exploring the Evolutionary Origins of Humor

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    Joseph Polimeni


    Full Text Available Humor is a complex cognitive function which often leads to laughter. Contemporary humor theorists have begun to formulate hypotheses outlining the possible innate cognitive structures underlying humor. Humor's conspicuous presence in the behavioral repertoire of humankind invites adaptive explanations. This article explores the possible adaptive features of humor and ponders its evolutionary path through hominid history. Current humor theories and previous evolutionary ideas on humor are reviewed. In addition, scientific fields germane to the evolutionary study of humor are examined: animal models, genetics, children's humor, humor in pathological conditions, neurobiology, humor in traditional societies and cognitive archeology. Candidate selection pressures and associated evolutionary mechanisms are considered. The authors conclude that several evolutionary-related topics such as the origins of language, cognition underlying spiritual feelings, hominid group size, and primate teasing could have special relevance to the origins of humor.

  9. Additional results on palaeomagnetic stratigraphy of the Koobi Fora Formation, east of Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf), Kenya (United States)

    Hillhouse, J.W.; Ndombi, J.W.M.; Cox, A.; Brock, A.


    The magnetostratigraphy of the hominid-bearing sediments exposed east of Lake Turkana has been strengthened by new palaeomagnetic results. Ages obtained from several tuffs by the 40Ar/39Ar method suggest an approxmate match between the observed magnetozones and the geomagnetic polarity time scale; however, the palaeomagnetic results are also compatible with a younger chronology suggested by conventional K-Ar dating of the KBS Tuff. ?? 1977 Nature Publishing Group.

  10. A new species of great ape from the late Miocene epoch in Ethiopia. (United States)

    Suwa, Gen; Kono, Reiko T; Katoh, Shigehiro; Asfaw, Berhane; Beyene, Yonas


    With the discovery of Ardipithecus, Orrorin and Sahelanthropus, our knowledge of hominid evolution before the emergence of Pliocene species of Australopithecus has significantly increased, extending the hominid fossil record back to at least 6 million years (Myr) ago. However, because of the dearth of fossil hominoid remains in sub-Saharan Africa spanning the period 12-7 Myr ago, nothing is known of the actual timing and mode of divergence of the African ape and hominid lineages. Most genomic-based studies suggest a late divergence date-5-6 Myr ago and 6-8 Myr ago for the human-chimp and human-gorilla splits, respectively-and some palaeontological and molecular analyses hypothesize a Eurasian origin of the African ape and hominid clade. We report here the discovery and recognition of a new species of great ape, Chororapithecus abyssinicus, from the 10-10.5-Myr-old deposits of the Chorora Formation at the southern margin of the Afar rift. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first fossils of a large-bodied Miocene ape from the African continent north of Kenya. They exhibit a gorilla-sized dentition that combines distinct shearing crests with thick enamel on its 'functional' side cusps. Visualization of the enamel-dentine junction by micro-computed tomography reveals shearing crest features that partly resemble the modern gorilla condition. These features represent genetically based structural modifications probably associated with an initial adaptation to a comparatively fibrous diet. The relatively flat cuspal enamel-dentine junction and thick enamel, however, suggest a concurrent adaptation to hard and/or abrasive food items. The combined evidence suggests that Chororapithecus may be a basal member of the gorilla clade, and that the latter exhibited some amount of adaptive and phyletic diversity at around 10-11 Myr ago.

  11. The earliest evidence of true lambdoid craniosynostosis: the case of "Benjamina", a Homo heidelbergensis child. (United States)

    Gracia, Ana; Martínez-Lage, Juan F; Arsuaga, Juan-Luis; Martínez, Ignacio; Lorenzo, Carlos; Pérez-Espejo, Miguel-Angel


    The authors report the morphological and neuroimaging findings of an immature human fossil (Cranium 14) diagnosed with left lambdoid synostosis. The skull was recovered at the Sima de los Huesos site in Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). Since the human fossil remains from this site have been dated to a minimum age of 530,000 years, this skull represents the earliest evidence of craniosynostosis occurring in a hominid. A brief historical review of craniosynostosis and cranial deformation is provided.

  12. Oreopithecus was a bipedal ape after all: Evidence from the iliac cancellous architecture (United States)

    Rook, Lorenzo; Bondioli, Luca; Köhler, Meike; Moyà-Solà, Salvador; Macchiarelli, Roberto


    Textural properties and functional morphology of the hip bone cancellous network of Oreopithecus bambolii, a 9- to 7-million-year-old Late Miocene hominoid from Italy, provide insights into the postural and locomotor behavior of this fossil ape. Digital image processing of calibrated hip bone radiographs reveals the occurrence of trabecular features, which, in humans and fossil hominids, are related to vertical support of the body weight, i.e., to bipedality. PMID:10411955

  13. Cranial base morphology and temporal bone pneumatization in Asian Homo erectus. (United States)

    Balzeau, Antoine; Grimaud-Hervé, Dominique


    The external morphological features of the temporal bone are used frequently to determine taxonomic affinities of fossils of the genus Homo. Temporal bone pneumatization has been widely studied in great apes and in early hominids. However, this feature is rarely examined in the later hominids, particularly in Asian Homo erectus. We provide a comparative morphological and quantitative analysis of Asian Homo erectus from the sites of Ngandong, Sambungmacan, and Zhoukoudian, and of Neandertals and anatomically modern Homo sapiens in order to discuss causes and modalities of temporal bone pneumatization during hominid evolution. The evolution of temporal bone pneumatization in the genus Homo is more complex than previously described. Indeed, the Zhoukoudian fossils have a unique pattern of temporal bone pneumatization, whereas Ngandong and Sambungmacan fossils, as well as the Neandertals, more closely resemble the modern human pattern. Moreover, these Chinese fossils are characterized by a wide midvault and a relatively narrow occipital bone. Our results support the point of view that cell development does not play an active role in determining cranial base morphology. Instead, pneumatization is related to available space and to temporal bone morphology, and its development is related to correlated morphology and the relative disposition of the bones and cerebral lobes. Because variation in pneumatization is extensive within the same species, the phyletic implications of pneumatization are limited in the taxa considered here.

  14. A Comprehensive Exploration of Java Man: Bio-Cultural Evolution from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens

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    Samuel J Haryono


    An overlap of time period between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens has not been confirmed. In the history of man, there have been two missing links: one between man and ape, and one between progressive Homo erectus and archaic Homo sapiens.  Specimen dating on Java Man has been discrepant among research groups, and the use of molecular biology in ancient specimens has been a novelty. This study intends to use fossilised specimens, to harvest DNA to be sequenced for ribosomal DNA analysis for comparative phylogeny among ancient and modern man and other hominids. Dental calculus will be analysed to identify starch, carbohydrate, and protein to illustrate paleo dietary pattern. Soil samples will be examined for pollen and phytoliths to elaborate on ancient ecosystem. Blood samples will be procured from indigenous people along the riverflow region of Bengawan Solo to analyse modern human DNA. We hope that we may reconstruct the evolution pathway, construct the phylogenetic tree between ancient and modern hominids, and discover the uniqueness of Homo sapiens sapiens. Keywords: Java Man, Ribosomal DNA, Hominid Phylogenetic,

  15. Neanderthal teeth from Moula-Guercy, Ardèche, France. (United States)

    Hlusko, Leslea J; Carlson, Joshua P; Guatelli-Steinberg, Debbie; Krueger, Kristin L; Mersey, Ben; Ungar, Peter S; Defleur, Alban


    Here we describe dental remains from a Neanderthal fossil assemblage from Moula-Guercy, France. Our report demonstrates that the Moula-Guercy hominid remains contribute important morphological, developmental, and behavioral data to understanding Neanderthal evolutionary history. We include gross comparative morphological descriptions and enamel surface microstructure and microwear data. These teeth reveal numerous characteristics that are diagnostic of Neanderthals and provide no evidence for the presence of any other hominid taxa. Enamel growth increment data from the Moula-Guercy specimens yield evidence of a Neanderthal pattern of development, although at the lower end of the range of variation. The presence of a significant number of linear enamel hypoplasias indicates that these individuals were stressed during childhood. Molar microwear data suggest that these Neanderthals did not differ significantly from modern humans in terms of the fracture properties of the food they were consuming. The incisor microwear and macro striations provide evidence that these individuals may have been using their anterior teeth as tools, similar to the practices of several modern human populations such as the Inuit, Ipiutak, and Australian Aboriginals, and reminiscent of evidence from other Neanderthals from Krapina, Croatia, as well as the 600,000 year old hominids from Sima de los Huesos, Spain. Am J Phys Anthropol 151:477-491, 2013.© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Copyright ©2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. The temporal bones from Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). A phylogenetic approach. (United States)

    Martínez, I; Arsuaga, J L


    Three well-preserved crania and 22 temporal bones were recovered from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site up to and including the 1994 field season. This is the largest sample of hominid temporal bones known from a single Middle Pleistocene site and it offers the chance to characterize the temporal bone morphology of an European Middle Pleistocene population and to study the phylogenetic relationships of the SH sample with other Upper and Middle Pleistocene hominids. We have carried out a cladistic analysis based on nine traits commonly used in phylogenetic analysis of Middle and Late Pleistocene hominids: shape of the temporal squama superior border, articular eminence morphology, contribution of the sphenoid bone to the median glenoid wall, postglenoid process projection, tympanic plate orientation, presence of the styloid process, mastoid process projection, digastric groove morphology and anterior mastoid tubercle. We have found two autapomorphies on the Home erectus temporal bone: strong reduction of the postglenoid process and absence of the styloid process. Modern humans, Neandertals and the Middle Pleistocene fossils from Europe and Africa constitute a clade characterized by a convex superior border of the temporal squama. The European Middle Pleistocene fossils from Sima de los Huesos, Petralona, Steinheim, Bilzingsleben and Castel di Guido share a Neandertal apomorphy: a relatively flat articular eminence. The fossils from Ehringsdorf, La Chaise Suardi and Biache-Saint-Vaast also display another Neandertal derived trait: an anteriorly obliterated digastric groove. Modern humans and the African Middle Pleistocene fossils share a synapomorphy: a sagittally orientated tympanic plate.

  17. Great apes prefer cooked food. (United States)

    Wobber, Victoria; Hare, Brian; Wrangham, Richard


    The cooking hypothesis proposes that a diet of cooked food was responsible for diverse morphological and behavioral changes in human evolution. However, it does not predict whether a preference for cooked food evolved before or after the control of fire. This question is important because the greater the preference shown by a raw-food-eating hominid for the properties present in cooked food, the more easily cooking should have been adopted following the control of fire. Here we use great apes to model food preferences by Paleolithic hominids. We conducted preference tests with various plant and animal foods to determine whether great apes prefer food items raw or cooked. We found that several populations of captive apes tended to prefer their food cooked, though with important exceptions. These results suggest that Paleolithic hominids would likewise have spontaneously preferred cooked food to raw, exapting a pre-existing preference for high-quality, easily chewed foods onto these cooked items. The results, therefore, challenge the hypothesis that the control of fire preceded cooking by a significant period.

  18. The antler finds at Bilzingsleben, excavations 1969-1993

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    Jürgen Vollbrecht


    Full Text Available 2820 antler remains from the Lower Palaeolithic site of Bilzingsleben, Thuringia, Germany (excavations 1969-1993 were the subject of detailed investigations. The two major goals were: 1.the consideration of taphonomic aspects 2.the critical evaluation of suggestions about artificial modifications to the antler material A detailed morphological description of the antler material provided the basis for the investigation. A prerequisite was the transfer of provenance data onto an x-y coordinate grid. Taphonomic aspects considered in this work include the relative frequencies of antler elements, estimates regarding the minimum number of individual deer, their age structure and seasonality, and, insofar as the condition of the antlers allowed, the classification of surface preservation, size classes and spatial distribution of the finds. The assemblage of antler finds, the majority of which seems to have come from red deer, is dominated by small fragments, mostly of tines. About one quarter of the finds are larger than 150 mm. Lower beams are more abundant than upper beams (e.g. crowns. Detailed counting, substantiated by systematic reconstruction, shows that in general the antlers are incomplete. After reconstruction of unshed antlers, it was possible to assess the minimum number of heads at 150 animals. Preliminary counting of postcranial and cranial (non antler cervid material points to about 70 cervids. Intentional accumulation of antlers by hominids can only be accepted as the reason for these disproportionate figures if other site formation processes can be ruled out. In fact, the correlation between sediment thickness and maximum antler densities, at least for finds smaller than 120mm, suggests that fluvial accumulation has to be taken into account as a probable element of the site formation history. Further, the mixture of unifacially abraded finds together with finds that exhibit bifacial abrasion points to a succession of changing fluvial

  19. Ophiolite Emplacement and the Effects of the Subduction of the Active Chile Ridge System: Heterogeneous Paleostress Regimes Recorded in the Taitao Ophiolite (Southern Chile Emplazamiento de ofiolitas y los efectos de la subducción de la dorsal activa de Chile: Regímenes heterogéneos de paleostress registrados en la Oflolita Taitao (Sur de Chile

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eugenio E Veloso


    Full Text Available The repeated north and southward migration of the Chile Triple junction, offshore the Península de Taitao, is expected to have imposed contrasting stress fields in the forearc for the last 6 Ma because of changes in convergence direction and rate of subducting plates. NNW-SSE to E-W and minor NE-SW striking brittle faults developed in the plutonic units of the Mio-Pliocene Taitao Ophiolite, whereas NNE-SSW and minor NW-SE trending faults developed in its eastern border (Bahía Barrientes fault-zone. These brittle faults are studied to elucídate the style of ophiolite emplacement and the tectonic effects resulting from the alternated migration of the Chile Triple junction in the área. Analyses of heterogeneous fault-slip data on both áreas suggest that faults were activated by different stress fields. Two different compressional stress fields were identified in the plutomc units (A and B, whereas three different stress fields, ranging from compressional to strike-slip, were identified in the BahíaBarrientos fault-zone (C, D and E. Calculated directions of Oj axes for A, C, D and E solutions are mostly E-W trending, roughly similar to the convergence direction of subducting plates, whereas that for B solution is counterclockwise rotated ca. 60° with respect to the previous E-W trend. Brittle structures related to solution B were attributed to an early deformation of the ophiolite, most probably developed shortly after its emplacement {ca. 6 Ma. These structures were further counterclockwise rotated, while new structures (related to solution A developed in the plutomc units in order to absorb the continuous deformation. In the eastern margin of the ophiolite, the stress field divided inte compressional and strike-slip components. During periods of relatively strong compression (fast subduction of the Nazca píate, the fault-zone experienced well defined compressional and strike-slip movements (solutions C and D. In contrast, during periods of

  20. Our Magnetic Planet (Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture) (United States)

    Laj, Carlo


    and Turkey) allowed to show that the main post-cretaceous geodynamical evolution of the Aegean Realm is dominated since 30 My by two phases of rotational deformation in opposite sense around two poles: one just north of Albania for the western part, the second in the South Eastern Mediterranean for the eastern part. During the sampling of Mio-Pliocene marls in Crete, using a LETI portable magnetometer to the development of which I have participated, we sampled a geomagnetic reversal registered over about 50 cm of sediments. Interestingly, some intermediate directions were clearly apparent. This gave me the idea that the dynamical directional behaviour of the reversing field could be studied. At the time, only a very few and very incomplete similar records existed. For me, this has been the beginning of an extraordinary adventure still going on today. From the accumulation of data, first from Crete, then from other worldwide spread sites, it became apparent, as illustrated in a cover of Nature, that sedimentary reversal transition paths had a tendency to coincide with the seismically cold deep regions, suggesting that a lower mantle control existed over the reversing geodynamo. This idea, sometimes greeted with scepticism, has stimulated joint efforts to test it both from different disciplines and different experimental and theoretical approaches. It is fair to say that 25 years after it was proposed, our idea is still "on the table" and discussed. We then turned to the study of the changes of the geomagnetic field intensity, still inadequately described at the time. Because measurements of traditional small cubic samples was largely too time consuming to allow surveys of the amplitude we had in mind, I adapted the u-channel measurement techniques to small access pass-through cryogenic magnetometers, and suggested to W. Goree of 2G-Enterprises a modification of the standard pick-up coil geometry (called the Laj-system by the manufacturer) to allow high spatial

  1. Fossil evidence for the origin of Homo sapiens. (United States)

    Schwartz, Jeffrey H; Tattersall, Ian


    Our species Homo sapiens has never received a satisfactory morphological definition. Deriving partly from Linnaeus's exhortation simply to "know thyself," and partly from the insistence by advocates of the Evolutionary Synthesis in the mid-20th Century that species are constantly transforming ephemera that by definition cannot be pinned down by morphology, this unfortunate situation has led to huge uncertainty over which hominid fossils ought to be included in H. sapiens, and even over which of them should be qualified as "archaic" or as "anatomically modern," a debate that is an oddity in the broader context of paleontology. Here, we propose a suite of features that seems to characterize all H. sapiens alive today, and we review the fossil evidence in light of those features, paying particular attention to the bipartite brow and the "chin" as examples of how, given the continuum from developmentally regulated genes to adult morphology, we might consider features preserved in fossil specimens in a comparative analysis that includes extant taxa. We also suggest that this perspective on the origination of novelty, which has gained a substantial foothold in the general field of evolutionary developmental biology, has an intellectual place in paleoanthropology and hominid systematics, including in defining our species, H. sapiens. Beginning solely with the distinctive living species reveals a startling variety in morphologies among late middle and late Pleistocene hominids, none of which can be plausibly attributed to H. sapiens/H. neanderthalensis admixture. Allowing for a slightly greater envelope of variation than exists today, basic "modern" morphology seems to have appeared significantly earlier in time than the first stirrings of the modern symbolic cognitive system. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  2. Patterns of dental development in Homo, Australopithecus, Pan, and Gorilla. (United States)

    Smith, B H


    Smith ([1986] Nature 323:327-330) distinguished patterns of development of teeth of juvenile fossil hominids as being "more like humans" or "more like apes" based on statistical similarity to group standards. Here, this central tendency discrimination (CTD) is tested for its ability to recognize ape and human patterns of dental development in 789 subadult hominoids. Tooth development of a modern human sample (665 black southern Africans) was scored entirely by an outside investigator; pongid and fossil hominid samples (59 Pan, 50 Gorilla, and 14 fossil hominids) were scored by the author. The claim of Lampl et al. ([1993] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 90:113-127) that Smith's 1986 method succeeds in only 8% of human cases was not sustained. Figures for overall success of classification (87% humans, 68% apes) mask important effects of teeth sampled and age class. For humans, the power of CTD varied between 53% and 92% depending on the number and kind of teeth available--nearly that of a coin toss when data described only two nearby teeth, but quite successful with more teeth or distant teeth. For apes, only age class affected accuracy: "Infant" apes (M1 development or = root 1/4), however, were correctly discriminated in 87% of cases. Overall, CTD can be considered reliable (accuracy of 92% for humans and 88% for apes) when data contrast development of distant dental fields and subjects are juveniles (not infants). Restricting analysis of fossils to specimens satisfying these criteria, patterns of dental development of gracile australopithecines and Homo habilis remain classified with African apes. Those of Homo erectus and Neanderthals are classified with humans, suggesting that patterns of growth evolved substantially in the Hominidae. To standardize future research, the computer program that operationalizes CTD is now available.

  3. Early Acheulean technology in the Rietputs Formation, South Africa, dated with cosmogenic nuclides. (United States)

    Gibbon, Ryan J; Granger, Darryl E; Kuman, Kathleen; Partridge, Timothy C


    An absolute dating technique based on the build-up and decay of (26)Al and (10)Be in the mineral quartz provides crucial evidence regarding early Acheulean hominid distribution in South Africa. Cosmogenic nuclide burial dating of an ancient alluvial deposit of the Vaal River (Rietputs Formation) in the western interior of South Africa shows that coarse gravel and sand aggradation there occurred ca 1.57+/-0.22Ma, with individual ages of samples ranging from 1.89+/-0.19 to 1.34+/-0.22Ma. This was followed by aggradation of laminated and cross-bedded fine alluvium at ca 1.26+/-0.10Ma. The Rietputs Formation provides an ideal situation for the use of the cosmogenic nuclide burial dating method, as samples could be obtained from deep mining pits at depths ranging from 7 to 16 meters. Individual dates provide only a minimum age for the stone tool technology preserved within the deposits. Each assemblage represents a time averaged collection. Bifacial tools distributed throughout the coarse gravel and sand unit can be assigned to an early phase of the Acheulean. This is the first absolute radiometric dated evidence for early Acheulean artefacts in South Africa that have been found outside of the early hominid sites of the Gauteng Province. These absolute dates also indicate that handaxe-using hominids inhabited southern Africa as early as their counterparts in East Africa. The simultaneous appearance of the Acheulean in different parts of the continent implies relatively rapid technology development and the widespread use of large cutting tools in the African continent by ca 1.6Ma.

  4. Evolution of life history and behavior in Hominidae: towards phylogenetic reconstruction of the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. (United States)

    Duda, Pavel; Zrzavý, Jan


    The origin of the fundamental behavioral differences between humans and our closest living relatives is one of the central issues of evolutionary anthropology. The prominent, chimpanzee-based referential model of early hominin behavior has recently been challenged on the basis of broad multispecies comparisons and newly discovered fossil evidence. Here, we argue that while behavioral data on extant great apes are extremely relevant for reconstruction of ancestral behaviors, these behaviors should be reconstructed trait by trait using formal phylogenetic methods. Using the widely accepted hominoid phylogenetic tree, we perform a series of character optimization analyses using 65 selected life-history and behavioral characters for all extant hominid species. This analysis allows us to reconstruct the character states of the last common ancestors of Hominoidea, Hominidae, and the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. Our analyses demonstrate that many fundamental behavioral and life-history attributes of hominids (including humans) are evidently ancient and likely inherited from the common ancestor of all hominids. However, numerous behaviors present in extant great apes represent their own terminal autapomorphies (both uniquely derived and homoplastic). Any evolutionary model that uses a single extant species to explain behavioral evolution of early hominins is therefore of limited use. In contrast, phylogenetic reconstruction of ancestral states is able to provide a detailed suite of behavioral, ecological and life-history characters for each hypothetical ancestor. The living great apes therefore play an important role for the confident identification of the traits found in the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor, some of which are likely to represent behaviors of the fossil hominins. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Brain Morphology of the Zhoukoudian H.erectus Half a Million Years Ago

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    WU Xiujie


    @@ In the process of human evolution,how has the brain changed? When did it happen? Why did it happen?These questions are some of the hottest topics in paleoanthropology today.The study of brain evolution falls into the sub-discipline of paleoneurology and is based on direct examination of the fossil record of humans and their closest hominid relatives.Unfortunately,brains are not preserved in the fossil record.The most direct evidence of ancestral brains is available,however,from endocasts.An endocast is the impression taken from the inside of a cranium retaining the surface features of the brain.

  6. Endocasts-the direct evidence and recent advances in the study of human brain evolution

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)


    Brain evolution is one of the most important aspects of human evolution, usually studied through endocasts. Analysis of fossil hominid endocasts allows inferences on functional anatomy, physiology, and phylogeny. In this paper, we describe the general features of endocast studies and review some of the major topics in paleoneurology. These are: absolute and relative brain size evolution; brain shape variation; brain asymmetry and lateralization; middle meningeal vessels and venous sinuses; application of computed tomography and virtual imaging; the history of Chinese brain endocast studies. In particular, this review emphasizes endocast studies on Chinese hominin fossils.

  7. [Evolutionary history of human locomotor system--from walking to long-distance running]. (United States)

    Viranta-Kovanen, Suvi


    Bipedality evolved in hominids more than 4 million years ago. Bipedals were a diverse group including the lineage of obligatory walkers that finally lead to humans. Important anatomical changes in this group were: enhanced lumbar lordosis, shortening of the ilium, and emphasize on the parasagittal movements. Long-distance running evolved much later and it was associated with well-developed plantar arches, strengthening of muscles supporting the erect trunk, and decoupling of the pectoral girdle and head. In addition to anatomical changes, humans have many physiological adaptations to long-distance running. It is likely that the ability to run long-distance has been important for the survival of our species.

  8. Skeletal adaptations to bipedalism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vasiljević Perica


    Full Text Available Bipedalism is the main characteristic of humans. During evolutin bipedalism emerged probably as an adaptation to a changing environment. Major changes in skeletal system included femur, pelvis, skull and spine. The significance of bipedal locomotion: Bipedalism freed the forelimbs for carrying objects, creation and usage of tools. In the upright position animals have a broader view of the environment and the early detection of predators is crucial for survival. Bipedal locomotion makes larger distances easier to pass, which is very important in the migration of hominids.

  9. Monophyly and extensive extinction of advanced eusocial bees: insights from an unexpected Eocene diversity. (United States)

    Engel, M S


    Advanced eusociality sometimes is given credit for the ecological success of termites, ants, some wasps, and some bees. Comprehensive study of bees fossilized in Baltic amber has revealed an unsuspected middle Eocene (ca. 45 million years ago) diversity of eusocial bee lineages. Advanced eusociality arose once in the bees with significant post-Eocene losses in diversity, leaving today only two advanced eusocial tribes comprising less than 2% of the total bee diversity, a trend analogous to that of hominid evolution. This pattern of changing diversity contradicts notions concerning the role of eusociality for evolutionary success in insects.

  10. Biometrical studies upon hominoid teeth: the coefficient of variation, sexual dimorphism and questions of phylogenetic relationship. (United States)

    Blumenberg, B


    Sexual dimorphism as a function of variation in hominoid tooth metrics has been investigated for four groups of taxa: Recent great apes (two subfamilies), Dryopiths (one subfamily), Ramapiths (one subfamily) and hominids (one family). Gorilla, and to a lesser extent Pan, appear characterized by very high levels of sexual dimorphism and meet several criteria for statistical outliers. Recent great apes are the only group exhibiting consistently high levels of sexual dimorphism. Ramapiths are the only group characterized by low levels of sexual dimorphism and their relative canine length is most similar to Dryopiths. Both Dryopiths and hominids contain taxa with low and intermediate levels of sexual dimorphism. The Gingerich and Shoeninger hypothesis relating coefficients of variation to occlusal complexity is supported. Non-parametric statistics suggest that homogeneity of coefficient of variation profiles over most of the tooth row is characteristic of only the Dryopiths and a composite data set composed of the Dryopith plus Ramapith tooth measurements. Oxnard's model for the multifactorial basis of multiple sexual dimorphisms is also supported. The Dryopith and hominid patterns of sexual dimorphism are similar, an observation that suggests phylogenetic relationship. At the taxonomic level of subfamily or family, sexual dimorphism is a character of cladistic usefulness and possible phylogenetic valence. Assuming that breeding system and sexual dimorphism are functional correlates as many workers suggest, then Ramapithecus sp. China, Sivapithecus indicus and possibly Australopithecus boisei are good candidates for having possessed monogamous breeding/social structures. All Dryopith taxa, S. sivalensis, Sivapithecus sp. China, A. afarensis, Homo habilis and H. erectus emerge as the best candidates for having possessed a polygynous breeding/social structure. No biometrical affinities of Ramapiths with hominids can be demonstrated and some phylogenetic relationship with

  11. K-Ar age estimate for the KBS Tuff, East Turkana, Kenya

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McDougall, I.; Maier, R.; Sutherland-Hawkes, P.; Gleadow, A.J.W.


    Stone tools and numerous vertebrate fossils including hominids, have been found in close stratigraphic proximity to the KBS Tuff, whose age has been the subject of much debate. Concordant K-Ar ages, averaging 1.89 +- 0.01 Myr, are reported on anorthoclase phenocrysts from 13 pumice clasts collected from within the KBS Tuff or its correlatives. It is believed that this age is the best estimate currently available for the time of formation of this important marker horizon within the East Turkana Basin. (author)

  12. Neutron Imaging in Cultural Heritage Research at the FRM II Reactor of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Center

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Burkhard Schillinger


    Full Text Available Neutron Imaging is ideally suited for applications in cultural heritage even at small reactors with moderate image resolution. However, recently, high resolution imaging is being increasingly used for advanced studies, especially in paleontology. The special contrast for hydrogen and between neighboring elements in the periodic system allows for new applications that are not accessible for X-rays, like organic material in enclosed containers made of ceramics or metals, fossilized bones in chalk rock or in ferrous “red” beds, and even for animal and hominid teeth. Fission neutrons permit the examination of large samples that otherwise show large attenuation for thermal neutrons.

  13. Accelerated evolution of the ASPM gene controlling brain size begins prior to human brain expansion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Natalay Kouprina


    Full Text Available Primary microcephaly (MCPH is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by global reduction in cerebral cortical volume. The microcephalic brain has a volume comparable to that of early hominids, raising the possibility that some MCPH genes may have been evolutionary targets in the expansion of the cerebral cortex in mammals and especially primates. Mutations in ASPM, which encodes the human homologue of a fly protein essential for spindle function, are the most common known cause of MCPH. Here we have isolated large genomic clones containing the complete ASPM gene, including promoter regions and introns, from chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and rhesus macaque by transformation-associated recombination cloning in yeast. We have sequenced these clones and show that whereas much of the sequence of ASPM is substantially conserved among primates, specific segments are subject to high Ka/Ks ratios (nonsynonymous/synonymous DNA changes consistent with strong positive selection for evolutionary change. The ASPM gene sequence shows accelerated evolution in the African hominoid clade, and this precedes hominid brain expansion by several million years. Gorilla and human lineages show particularly accelerated evolution in the IQ domain of ASPM. Moreover, ASPM regions under positive selection in primates are also the most highly diverged regions between primates and nonprimate mammals. We report the first direct application of TAR cloning technology to the study of human evolution. Our data suggest that evolutionary selection of specific segments of the ASPM sequence strongly relates to differences in cerebral cortical size.

  14. Evolution of division of labor: emergence of different activities among group members. (United States)

    Nakahashi, Wataru; Feldman, Marcus W


    The division of labor is an important component of the organization of human society. However, why this division evolved in hominids requires further investigation. Archeological evidence suggests that it appeared after the emergence of Homo sapiens and contributed to the great success of our species. We develop a mathematical model to investigate under what conditions division of labor should evolve. We assume two types of resources the acquisition of which demands different skills, and study the evolution of the strategy that an individual should use to divide its lifetime into learning and using each skill. We show that division of labor likely evolves when group size is large, skill learning is important for acquiring resources, and there is food sharing within a group. We also investigate division of labor by gender under the assumption that the genders have different efficiencies in acquiring each resource. We show that division of labor by gender likely evolves when skill learning is important and the difference in efficiencies between genders in acquiring resources is large. We discuss how the results of our analysis might apply to the evolution of division of labor in hominids. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. High-resolution record of the Matuyama–Brunhes transition constrains the age of Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran dome, Indonesia (United States)

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kamishima, Yuko; Kondo, Megumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Kitaba, Ikuko; Danhara, Tohru; Aziz, Fachroel; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kumai, Hisao


    A detailed paleomagnetic study conducted in the Sangiran area, Java, has provided a reliable age constraint on hominid fossil-bearing formations. A reverse-to-normal polarity transition marks a 7-m thick section across the Upper Tuff in the Bapang Formation. The transition has three short reversal episodes and is overlain by a thick normal polarity magnetozone that was fission-track dated to the Brunhes chron. This pattern closely resembles another high-resolution Matuyama–Brunhes (MB) transition record in an Osaka Bay marine core. In the Sangiran sediments, four successive transitional polarity fields lie just below the presumed main MB boundary. Their virtual geomagnetic poles cluster in the western South Pacific, partly overlapping the transitional virtual geomagnetic poles from Hawaiian and Canary Islands’ lavas, which have a mean 40Ar/39Ar age of 776 ± 2 ka. Thus, the polarity transition is unambiguously the MB boundary. A revised correlation of tuff layers in the Bapang Formation reveals that the hominid last occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran area are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff, which underlies the MB transition. The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka. The MB boundary currently defines the uppermost horizon yielding Homo erectus fossils in the Sangiran area. PMID:22106291

  16. High-resolution record of the Matuyama-Brunhes transition constrains the age of Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran dome, Indonesia. (United States)

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kamishima, Yuko; Kondo, Megumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Kitaba, Ikuko; Danhara, Tohru; Aziz, Fachroel; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kumai, Hisao


    A detailed paleomagnetic study conducted in the Sangiran area, Java, has provided a reliable age constraint on hominid fossil-bearing formations. A reverse-to-normal polarity transition marks a 7-m thick section across the Upper Tuff in the Bapang Formation. The transition has three short reversal episodes and is overlain by a thick normal polarity magnetozone that was fission-track dated to the Brunhes chron. This pattern closely resembles another high-resolution Matuyama-Brunhes (MB) transition record in an Osaka Bay marine core. In the Sangiran sediments, four successive transitional polarity fields lie just below the presumed main MB boundary. Their virtual geomagnetic poles cluster in the western South Pacific, partly overlapping the transitional virtual geomagnetic poles from Hawaiian and Canary Islands' lavas, which have a mean (40)Ar/(39)Ar age of 776 ± 2 ka. Thus, the polarity transition is unambiguously the MB boundary. A revised correlation of tuff layers in the Bapang Formation reveals that the hominid last occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran area are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff, which underlies the MB transition. The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka. The MB boundary currently defines the uppermost horizon yielding Homo erectus fossils in the Sangiran area.

  17. Stone tool function at the paleolithic sites of Starosele and Buran Kaya III, Crimea: behavioral implications. (United States)

    Hardy, B L; Kay, M; Marks, A E; Monigal, K


    Stone tools are often the most abundant type of cultural remains at Paleolithic sites, yet their function is often poorly understood. Investigations of stone tool function, including microscopic use-wear and residue analyses, were performed on a sample of artifacts from the Paleolithic sites of Starosele (40,000-80,000 years BP) and Buran Kaya III (32,000-37,000 years BP). The Middle Paleolithic levels at Starosele exhibit a typical variant of the local Micoquian Industry. The artifacts from Buran Kaya III most closely resemble an Early Streletskayan Industry associated with the early Upper Paleolithic. The results of the functional analyses suggest that hominids at both sites were exploiting woody and starchy plant material as well as birds and mammals. Both sites show evidence of hafting of a wide variety of tools and the possible use of projectile or thrusting spears. These analyses were performed by using two different techniques conducted by independent researchers. Combined residue and use-wear analyses suggest that both the Upper Paleolithic and Middle Paleolithic hominids at these sites were broad-based foragers capable of exploiting a wide range of resources.

  18. Buccal dental microwear variability in extant African Hominoidea: taxonomy versus ecology. (United States)

    Galbany, Jordi; Estebaranz, Ferran; Martínez, Laura M; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro


    Buccal microwear patterns on teeth are good indicators of the abrasiveness of foodstuffs and have been used to trace the dietary habits of fossil species, including primates and hominids. However, few studies have addressed the variability of this microwear. The abrasiveness of dietary components depends not only on the hardness of the particles ingested, but also on the presence of dust and other exogenous elements introduced during food processing. These elements are responsible for the microwear typology observed on the enamel surfaces of primate teeth. Here we analyzed the variability of buccal microwear patterns in African Great Apes (Gorilla gorilla and Pan troglodytes), using tooth molds obtained from the original specimens held in several osteological collections. Our results suggest that ecological adaptations at subspecies or population level account for differences in microwear patterns, which are attributed to habitat and ecological conditions within populations rather than differences between species. The findings from studies on the variability of buccal dental microwear in extant species will contribute to a better understanding of extinct hominids' diet and ecology.

  19. Palaeopathology: Current challenges and medical impact. (United States)

    Rühli, Frank J; Galassi, Francesco M; Haeusler, Martin


    Palaeopathology is the science which studies ancient human diseases. Throughout its relatively young history it underwent tremendous technological and methodological improvements (from pure morphology and histology to CT scanning) that have constantly reshaped its scientific rationale. Among other achievements, the study of mummies and fossilized hominids has allowed to effectively extract ancient DNA, prove the existence of atherosclerosis in ancient times, demonstrate the presence of disease vectors, better clarify the etiology of infectious diseases otherwise only postulated on the basis of ancient accounts as well as to show the presence of spine pathology in our hominid ancestors. The research levels in this discipline are three: basic research, individual cases, population. The first and the third levels contribute most to the discipline, while the second is the one more appealing to the general public on account of its description of important cases reports. In addition, a recently introduced sub-specialty of palaeopathology, pathography is aiming to use an interdisciplinary approach to find traces of diseases in ancient literary sources and artistic representations. In spite of its discoveries, palaeopathology is not always viewed positively by clinicians because certain old-fashioned techniques are still due to technical restrictions. The authors provide a set of suggestions on how to strengthen the scientific recognition of this subject and explain at length how it could contribute to the progress of medical research. Clin. Anat. 29:816-822, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  20. Aural exostoses (surfer's ear) provide vital fossil evidence of an aquatic phase in Man's early evolution. (United States)

    Rhys Evans, P H; Cameron, M


    For over a century, otolaryngologists have recognised the condition of aural exostoses, but their significance and aetiology remains obscure, although they tend to be associated with frequent swimming and cold water immersion of the auditory canal. The fact that this condition is usually bilateral is predictable since both ears are immersed in water. However, why do exostoses only grow in swimmers and why do they grow in the deep bony meatus at two or three constant sites? Furthermore, from an evolutionary point of view, what is or was the purpose and function of these rather incongruous protrusions? In recent decades, paleoanthropological evidence has challenged ideas about early hominid evolution. In 1992 the senior author suggested that aural exostoses were evolved in early hominid Man for protection of the delicate tympanic membrane during swimming and diving by narrowing the ear canal in a similar fashion to other semiaquatic species. We now provide evidence for this theory and propose an aetiological explanation for the formation of exostoses.

  1. Spain's magic mountain: narrating prehistory at Atapuerca. (United States)

    Hochadel, Oliver


    The Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain is ranked among the most important excavation sites in human origins research worldwide. The project boasts not only spectacular hominid fossils, among them the 'oldest European', but also a fully fledged 'popularization industry'. This article interprets this multimedia industry as a generator of different narratives about the researchers as well as about the prehistoric hominids of Atapuerca. It focuses on the popular works of the three co-directors of the project. Juan Luis Arsuaga, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Eudald Carbonell make deliberate use of a variety of narrative devices, resonant cultural references and strategies of scientific self-commodification. All three, in different ways, use the history of science and of their own research project to mark their place in the field of human origins research, drawing on mythical elements to tell the story of the rise of a humble Spanish team overcoming all odds to achieve universal acclaim. Furthermore, the co-directors make skilful use of palaeofiction - that of Björn Kurtén and Jean Auel, as well as writing their own - in order to tell gripping stories about compassion and solidarity in human prehistory. This mixture of nationalist and universalist narratives invites the Spanish audience to identify not just with 'their ancestors' but also with the scientists, as objects and subjects of research become conflated through popularization.

  2. Brains, tools, innovation and biogeography in crows and ravens

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jønsson, Knud Andreas; Fabre, Pierre-Henri Fréderic; Irestedt, Martin


    BACKGROUND:Crows and ravens (Passeriformes: Corvus) are large-brained birds with enhanced cognitive abilities relative to other birds. They are among the few non-hominid organisms on Earth to be considered intelligent and well-known examples exist of several crow species having evolved innovative....... Hence, we propose that all crows and ravens have relatively large brains compared to other birds and thus the potential to be innovative if conditions and circumstances are right.......BACKGROUND:Crows and ravens (Passeriformes: Corvus) are large-brained birds with enhanced cognitive abilities relative to other birds. They are among the few non-hominid organisms on Earth to be considered intelligent and well-known examples exist of several crow species having evolved innovative...... Corvus. We date the phylogeny and determine ancestral areas to investigate historical biogeographical patterns of the crows. Additionally, we use data on brain size and a large database on innovative behaviour and tool use to test whether brain size (i) explains innovative behaviour and success...

  3. Quantifying temporal bone morphology of great apes and humans: an approach using geometric morphometrics (United States)

    Lockwood, Charles A; Lynch, John M; Kimbel, William H


    The hominid temporal bone offers a complex array of morphology that is linked to several different functional systems. Its frequent preservation in the fossil record gives the temporal bone added significance in the study of human evolution, but its morphology has proven difficult to quantify. In this study we use techniques of 3D geometric morphometrics to quantify differences among humans and great apes and discuss the results in a phylogenetic context. Twenty-three landmarks on the ectocranial surface of the temporal bone provide a high level of anatomical detail. Generalized Procrustes analysis (GPA) is used to register (adjust for position, orientation and scale) landmark data from 405 adults representing Homo, Pan, Gorilla and Pongo. Principal components analysis of residuals from the GPA shows that the major source of variation is between humans and apes. Human characteristics such as a coronally orientated petrous axis, a deep mandibular fossa, a projecting mastoid process, and reduced lateral extension of the tympanic element strongly impact the analysis. In phenetic cluster analyses, gorillas and orangutans group together with respect to chimpanzees, and all apes group together with respect to humans. Thus, the analysis contradicts depictions of African apes as a single morphotype. Gorillas and orangutans lack the extensive preglenoid surface of chimpanzees, and their mastoid processes are less medially inflected. These and other characters shared by gorillas and orangutans are probably primitive for the African hominid clade. PMID:12489757

  4. Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime (United States)

    Reynolds, Sally C.; Gallagher, Andrew


    List of contributors; Foreword J. T. Francis Thackeray; 1. African genesis: an evolving paradigm Sally C. Reynolds; 2. Academic genealogy Peter Ungar and Phillip V. Tobias; Part I. In Search of Origins: Evolutionary Theory, New Species, and Paths into the Past: 3. Speciation in hominin evolution Colin Groves; 4. Searching for a new paradigm for hominid origins in Chad (Central Africa) Michel Brunet; 5. From hominoid arboreality to hominid bipedalism Brigitte Senut; 6. Orrorin and the African ape/hominid dichotomy Martin Pickford; 7. A brief history and results of 40 years of Sterkfontein excavations Ronald J. Clarke; Part II. Hominin Morphology Through Time: Brains, Bodies and Teeth: 8. Hominin brain evolution, 1925-2011: an emerging overview Dean Falk; 9. The issue of brain reorganisation in Australopithecus and early hominids: Dart had it right Ralph L. Holloway; 10. The mass of the human brain: is it a spandrel? Paul R. Manger, Jason Hemingway, Muhammad Spocter and Andrew Gallagher; 11. Origin and diversity of early hominin bipedalism Henry M. McHenry; 12. Forelimb adaptations in Australopithecus afarensis Michelle S. M. Drapeau; 13. Hominin proximal femur morphology from the Tugen Hills to Flores Brian G. Richmond and William L. Jungers; 14. Daily rates of dentine formation and root extension rates in Paranthropus boisei, KNM-ER 1817, from Koobi Fora, Kenya M. Christopher Dean; 15. On the evolutionary development of early hominid molar teeth and the Gondolin Paranthropus molar Kevin L. Kuykendall; 16. Digital South African fossils: morphological studies using reference-based reconstruction and electronic preparation Gerhard W. Weber, Philipp Gunz, Simon Neubauer, Philipp Mitteroecker and Fred L. Bookstein; Part III. Modern Human Origins: Patterns, and Processes: 17. Body size in African Middle Pleistocene Homo Steven E. Churchill, Lee R. Berger, Adam Hartstone-Rose and Headman Zondo; 18. The African origin of recent humanity Milford H. Wolpoff and Sang-Hee Lee

  5. Sédimentation et tectonique dans le bassin marin Eocène supérieur-Oligocène des Alpes du Sud Sedimentation and Tectonics in the Upper Eocene-Oligocene Marine Basin in the Southern Alps

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    Riche P.


    'exprime nettement moins que précédemment. Le toit des grès est marqué par une surface de discontinuité fortement érosive correspondant à des canyons sous-marins de direction NE-SO. Cette surface peut être mise en relation avec l'écoulement des olistostromes qui termine le remplissage du bassin. La mise en place de ces olistostromes et des olistolithes qui les accompagnent n'est pas paléontologiquement datée : elle débute avec la fin de la sédimentation gréseuse. L'ensemble est encore affecté par une distension E-O ce qui tend à montrer que cette mise en place est antérieure à la phase de serrage miocène. La confrontation entre les observations de terrain, les expériences de sédimentation en canal et l'interprétation sismique de bassins offshore argumente les interprétations proposées. This paper is based on local field surveys performed recently by Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP and Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs (ENSPM in the western part of the southern Alps nummulitic basin, to help interpret seismic data. It underlines the role of extensional tectonics during sedimentation. It questions the geodynamic interpretation of the basin as a foredeep basin in the Alpine orogenic belt. On a Mesozoic basement folded by the Pyreneo-Provençale orogeny, as early as the Lutetian the nummulitic transgression flooded the eastern area, which was subsequently obscured by the Pennine main fault during Mio-Pliocene times. It spread westward during the Upper Eocene. In the meantime, an E-W extension, shown clearly along the Var River faults and along the edge of the Pelvoux range, fragmented the fringes of the basin with blocks tilted during sedimentation. The result is fast changes of facies within the basal carbonates, which pass from platform types to slope types and to thin gravitational sediments farther into the basin. The overlying marls correspond to slope facies wrapping the inherited topography. The Gres d'Annot s. l

  6. La châine andine du Pérou Central: chronologie, orientation et styles des phases tectoniques du Tertiaire Supérieur - Aperçus sur la Tectonique Quaternaire

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    fase de deformaciones quebradizas del plioceno, según una dirección de acortamiento N 090 (entre 8 y 4,5 M A. Una fase mioceno reciente (entre 14 y 10,5 M.A. con dirección N 000 en las Altas Mesetas y quizás de dirección N 045 en la Cordillera Occidental da deformaciones quebradizas pero con una ligera tectónica flexible La fase mioceno antiguo (entre 21 y 14 M.A. está caracterizada por una dirección N 045, estructuras quebradizas y anchas estructuras flexibles. La fase oligoceno inferior (entre 21,5 y 40 M.A. concierne a esfuerzos mucho más importantes en estructuras mas profundas. Las fases mioceno y plioceno están superpuestas. El estudio de la falla de Gran Bretaña confirma estos resultados sin que se pueda tener la prueba de dos fases mioceno se trata de un accidente de descolgamiento con escasos desechos horizontales. Las fallas de la zona de La Oroya-Junín-Tarma tienen una geometría semejante al accidente de Gran Bretaña: se pueden observar tres fases sin que sea posible darles una fecha pero sus características corresponden a las fases plioceno, mioceno y oligoceno inferior. Algunas observaciones en la Cordillera Blanca parecen relacionarse a las del Sur de Huancavelica, pero quedan por precisar. El cuaternario muestra una tectónica compresiva de direcciones N 130 en la Cordillera Blanca y San Ramón, N 000 y N 040 en la cuenca de Huancayo (eventualmente también N 075 siguiendo la edad de la formación Jauja. No se ha observado fallas normales mas que en la Cordillera Blanca (¿distensión? ¿subida del macizo granítico?. The mio-pliocene tectonic episodes are studied in many sectors of the Central Peruvian Andes South of Huancavelica (Choclococha, Huachocolpa, Lircay, a pliocene episode of breaking compression but with a light folding tectonic The ancient miocene episode (between 8 and 4.5 m y.. A recent miocene episode (between 14 and 105 m.y of direction N 000 in the High Plateaux and may be of direction N 045 in the western chain of

  7. The role of tephra studies in African paleoanthropology as exemplified by the Sidi Hakoma Tuff (United States)

    WoldeGabriel, Giday; Endale, Tamrat; White, Tim D.; Thouveny, Nicolas; Hart, William K.; Renne, Paul R.; Asfaw, Berhane


    Beginning in the 1960s, geological and paleoanthropological exploration of the Ethiopian rift system's basins have led to the discovery and assembly of the most comprehensive record of human biological and technological change during the last 6 million years. The hominid fossils, including partial skeletons, were primarily discovered in the Afar Rift, the Main Ethiopian Rift, and in the Omo Basin of the broadly rifted zone of SW Ethiopia. The paleoanthropological research areas within the SW Afar Rift that have yielded many diverse hominid species and the oldest stone tools are, from north to south, Woranso-Mille (aff. Ardipithecus and Au. afarensis), Hadar (Au. afarensis, Homo sp.), Dikika (Au. afarensis), Gona (Ar. kadabba, Ar. ramidus, H. erectus, and oldest stone tools), Middle Awash (Ar. kadabba, Ar. ramidus, Au. anamensis, Au. afarensis, Au. garhi, H. erectus, H. rhodesiensis, H. sapiens idaltu, and the oldest paleo-butchery locality), and Galili (Au. afarensis). Additional hominid remains were discovered at Melka Kunture on the banks of the Awash River near its source along the western margin of the central part of the Main Ethiopian Rift (H. erectus), at Konso (H. erectus and A. boisei), and at the southern end of the MER, and in the Omo Basin (Au. anamensis, Au. afarensis, Au. aethiopicus, Au. boisei, H. habilis, and H. erectus). Distal and sometimes proximal tephra units interbedded within fossilifeous sedimentary deposits have become key elements in this work by providing chronological and correlative control and depositional contexts. Several regional tephra markers have been identified within the northern half of the eastern African rift valley in Ethiopia and Kenya, and in marine sediments of the Gulf of Aden Rift and the NW Indian Ocean. Out of the many regional tephra stratigraphic markers that range in age from the early Pliocene (3.97 Ma) to the late Pleistocene (0.16 Ma), the Sidi Hakoma Tuff (SHT) has been more widely identified and thoroughly

  8. Environmental availability, behavioural diversity and diet: a zooarchaeological approach from the TD10-1 sublevel of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain) and Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain) (United States)

    Blasco, Ruth; Rosell, Jordi; Fernández Peris, Josep; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Carbonell, Eudald


    The suggestion that the Neanderthal linage hominids had predominantly rich diet in meat derived from large game is progressing towards views which propose a higher nutritional diversity, at least in some regions. These postulates situate hominids as the knower of their natural surroundings and make them capable of selecting within the range of resources available in their landscapes. Using a zooarchaeological approach, the taxonomical representation in an anthropogenic site could indicate both the environment diversity that human groups can exploit and the decisions that they make when selecting prey. The Optimal Foraging theory is a basic decision model that is ideally applied within a larger framework of constraining conditions such as differential prey distributions, food-consumer imbalances and/or competition, among others. Nevertheless, if this theory is applied to human behaviour, uncontrolled variables could exist and substantially alter some predictions. These variables may not always be related to the need to optimise the resources; additionally, they can respond to the questions related to nutritional ecology, cultural standards or social relationships conditioned by ecological or technological factors. Environmental and socio-cultural aspects invite us to reflect on the characteristics that delimit the pre-Upper Palaeolithic diet and its correct assessment in relation to the availability of prey in the environment and the human behavioural parameters. In this study, we present data from several levels of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain, MIS 9-5e) and a sample from the TD10-1 sublevel of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain, MIS 9). Both sites have been interpreted as habitat places and allow us to infer the high plasticity of human groups with respect to methods and techniques of acquisition and use of a diverse spectrum of prey. Environmental availability, duration and type of settlement seem to significantly influence the taxonomical

  9. The 'big bang' theory of the origin of psychosis and the faculty of language. (United States)

    Crow, Timothy J


    To achieve a unified concept of the aetiology of psychosis. The nuclear symptoms of "schizophrenia" occur with approximately the same age- and sex-specific incidence in all human populations. No substantive environmental precipitant has been identified, and yet these "illnesses" are associated with deviations in brain structure that are uniform across populations, are established late in development and relate to the capacity for language. No genes have been identified by linkage or association strategies. It is postulated that the variation 1. relates precisely to the genetic mechanism that distinguishes the species Homo sapiens from its precursor. 2. constitutes a class of epigenetic diversity intrinsic to the genetic control of the species characteristic (the "specific mate recognition system" according to the theory of HEH Paterson). 3. reflects the role of the cerebral torque in the neuro-developmental re-organization that enabled the faculty of language. A genetic mechanism involving both the X and the Y chromosomes is suggested by 1) evidence for anomalies of asymmetry of brain structure and function in the sex chromosome aneuploidies, 2) a same sex concordance effect for handedness, 3) sex differences in lateralization, and verbal and spatial ability, and their inter-relationships. These three facts direct attention to the Xq21.3/Yp11.2 homology block that was established by an X to Y duplication 6 million years ago, ie at the time of origin of the hominid lineage. Within this block a gene pair (Protocadherin11X and Y) expressed as two cell surface adhesion molecules at axo-dendritic synapses has been subject to change (16 amino-acid substitutions in the Y, and critically 5 in the X sequence) in the hominid lineage. The X to Y duplication and its subsequent modification (4 deletions and a paracentric inversion) on the Y may have played a central role in hominid speciation with the most recent change (at around 160,000 years) representing the transition to

  10. Genetics and the making of Homo sapiens. (United States)

    Carroll, Sean B


    Understanding the genetic basis of the physical and behavioural traits that distinguish humans from other primates presents one of the great new challenges in biology. Of the millions of base-pair differences between humans and chimpanzees, which particular changes contributed to the evolution of human features after the separation of the Pan and Homo lineages 5-7 million years ago? How can we identify the 'smoking guns' of human genetic evolution from neutral ticks of the molecular evolutionary clock? The magnitude and rate of morphological evolution in hominids suggests that many independent and incremental developmental changes have occurred that, on the basis of recent findings in model animals, are expected to be polygenic and regulatory in nature. Comparative genomics, population genetics, gene-expression analyses and medical genetics have begun to make complementary inroads into the complex genetic architecture of human evolution.

  11. Genetic, physiologic and ecogeographic factors contributing to variation in Homo sapiens: Homo floresiensis reconsidered. (United States)

    Richards, Gary D


    A new species, Homo floresiensis, was recently named for Pleistocene hominid remains on Flores, Indonesia. Significant controversy has arisen regarding this species. To address controversial issues and refocus investigations, I examine the affinities of these remains with Homo sapiens. Clarification of problematic issues is sought through an integration of genetic and physiological data on brain ontogeny and evolution. Clarification of the taxonomic value of various 'primitive' traits is possible given these data. Based on this evidence and using a H. sapiens morphological template, models are developed to account for the combination of features displayed in the Flores fossils. Given this overview, I find substantial support for the hypothesis that the remains represent a variant of H. sapiens possessing a combined growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor I axis modification and mutation of the MCPH gene family. Further work will be required to determine the extent to which this variant characterized the population.

  12. The Impact of Evolutionary Driving Forces on Human Complex Diseases: A Population Genetics Approach

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    Amr T. M. Saeb


    Full Text Available Investigating the molecular evolution of human genome has paved the way to understand genetic adaptation of humans to the environmental changes and corresponding complex diseases. In this review, we discussed the historical origin of genetic diversity among human populations, the evolutionary driving forces that can affect genetic diversity among populations, and the effects of human movement into new environments and gene flow on population genetic diversity. Furthermore, we presented the role of natural selection on genetic diversity and complex diseases. Then we reviewed the disadvantageous consequences of historical selection events in modern time and their relation to the development of complex diseases. In addition, we discussed the effect of consanguinity on the incidence of complex diseases in human populations. Finally, we presented the latest information about the role of ancient genes acquired from interbreeding with ancient hominids in the development of complex diseases.

  13. Ontogenetic study of the supraorbital region in modern humans: a longitudinal test of the spatial model. (United States)

    Fiscella, Gabriela N; Smith, Fred H


    The structural significance of the hominid supraorbital torus and its morphological variation have always been a controversial topic in physical anthropology. Understanding the function of browridge variation in living and fossil human populations is relevant to questions of human evolution. This study utilizes radiograph images to evaluate the spatial model in modern humans during ontogeny. This structural model attributes variation in the supraorbital region to the positional relationship between the neurocranium and the orbits. The relationship between measurements of the antero-posterior supraorbital length and the factors specified in the spatial model were assessed by correlation and partial correlation analyses. Growth rates were also examined to study ontogenetic trajectories and infer aspects of developmental relationships between critical variables. Results agree with previous research supporting the existence of spatial influences between the neural and orbital-upper facial regions on browridge length during ontogeny.

  14. Music as a technology for social bonding: Comment on "Music, empathy, and cultural understanding" by E. Clarke et al. (United States)

    Launay, Jacques


    From the perspective of evolutionary psychology music can be seen as problematic. Despite its ubiquity there is still no clearly agreed function in terms of improving the fitness of the species. Is it therefore fairer to judge it as 'auditory cheesecake' (see [1]) rather than attributing it with any specific purpose? An alternative argument is that it plays a fundamental role in the formation of human social bonds, and the authors of ;Music, empathy, and cultural understanding; concur with the view that music has a unique capacity to help people connect with others [2]. There is now evidence that even in the modern world there is a significant effect of our social bonds on health and longevity [3], suggesting that our hominid ancestors might have relied heavily on their social network for survival. If music has the capacity to encourage the formation of these social bonds it could form a powerful tool in the success of our species.

  15. Sergey Vladimirovich Vasilyev is 50!

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    Gerasimova Margarita M.


    Full Text Available Colleagues congratulate Sergey Vladimirovich Vasilyev, head, Department of physical anthropology of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Historical Sciences, on his 50th birth anniversary. The data on his biography and current scientific and organizational activities are provided. S. V. Vasilyev has proved himself as an expert in a wide scale of problems; he has conducted research in a variety of fields: from ethology of primates and morphology of the earliest hominids to the variability in the framework of different contemporary human communities, including problems of genetics and the possibility of identifying the remains of historical figures. He considers himself a disciple of Ya. Ya. Roginsky and A. A. Zubov. Of recent, the sphere of S.V. Vasilyev’s special attention has included the study of the craniology of medieval population of the European part of Russia. He has authored 11 monographs and over 150 articles on anthropology and paleoanthropology.

  16. Archaeogenetics in evolutionary medicine. (United States)

    Bouwman, Abigail; Rühli, Frank


    Archaeogenetics is the study of exploration of ancient DNA (aDNA) of more than 70 years old. It is an important part of the wider studies of many different areas of our past, including animal, plant and pathogen evolution and domestication events. Hereby, we address specifically the impact of research in archaeogenetics in the broader field of evolutionary medicine. Studies on ancient hominid genomes help to understand even modern health patterns. Human genetic microevolution, e.g. related to abilities of post-weaning milk consumption, and specifically genetic adaptation in disease susceptibility, e.g. towards malaria and other infectious diseases, are of the upmost importance in contributions of archeogenetics on the evolutionary understanding of human health and disease. With the increase in both the understanding of modern medical genetics and the ability to deep sequence ancient genetic information, the field of archaeogenetic evolutionary medicine is blossoming.

  17. Three new human skulls from the Sima de los Huesos Middle Pleistocene site in Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. (United States)

    Arsuaga, J L; Martínez, I; Gracia, A; Carretero, J M; Carbonell, E


    Three important fossil hominids were found in July 1992 in the Middle Pleistocene cave site called Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Northern Spain). One is a complete calvaria (cranium 4), the second a virtually complete cranium (cranium 5), the third represents a more fragmentary cranium of an immature individual (cranium 6). There is a large difference in size between the two adult specimens (for example endocranial volume 1,125 cm3 versus 1,390 cm3). The Atapuerca human remains are dated to > 300,000 years. The Atapuerca cranial sample fits within the 'archaic Homo sapiens' group, but is well differentiated from the Asian Homo erectus group. The extensive Atapuerca human collection is the most complete sample of Middle Pleistocene humans yet discovered from one site, and appears to document an early stage in Neanderthal evolution.

  18. A complete human pelvis from the Middle Pleistocene of Spain. (United States)

    Arsuaga, J L; Lorenzo, C; Carretero, J M; Gracia, A; Martínez, I; García, N; Bermúdez de Castro, J M; Carbonell, E


    The Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos in Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain, has yielded around 2,500 fossils from at least 33 different hominid individuals. These have been dated at more than 200,000 years ago and have been classified as ancestors of Neanderthals. An almost complete human male pelvis (labelled Pelvis 1) has been found, which we associate with two fragmentary femora. Pelvis 1 is robust and very broad with a very long superior pubic ramus, marked iliac flare, and a long femoral neck. This pattern is probably the primitive condition from which modern humans departed. A modern human newborn would pass through the birth canal of Pelvis 1 and this would be even larger in a female individual. We estimate the body mass of this individual at 95 kg or more. Using the cranial capacities of three specimens from Sima de los Huesos, the encephalization quotients are substantially smaller than in Neanderthals and modern humans.

  19. The Paleo-Anthropocene and the Genesis of the Current Landscape of Israel

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    Ackermann Oren


    Full Text Available Worldwide, human impact on natural landscapes has intensified since prehistoric times, and this is well documented in the global archaeological record. The period between the earliest hominids and the Industrial Revolution of the late 18-19th centuries is known as the Paleo-Anthropocene. The current study reviews key geoarchaeological, floral and faunal factors of the Paleo-Anthropocene in Israel, an area that has undergone human activities in various intensities since prehistoric times. It discusses significant human imprints on these three features in the Israeli landscape, demonstrating that its current form is almost entirely anthropogenic. Moreover, some of the past physical changes still dynamically shape Israel’s zoological, archaeological and geomorphic landscape today. It is hoped that insights from this article might aid in guiding present-day management strategies of undeveloped areas through renewal of human activity guided by traditional knowledge.

  20. A tentative framework for the acquisition of language and modern human cognition. (United States)

    Tattersall, Ian


    Modern human beings process information symbolically, rearranging mental symbols to envision multiple potential realities. They also express the ideas they form using structured articulate language. No other living creature does either of these things. Yet it is evident that we are descended from a non-symbolic and non-linguistic ancestor. How did this astonishing transformation occur? Scrutiny of the fossil and archaeological records reveals that the transition to symbolic reasoning happened very late in hominid history - indeed, within the tenure of anatomically recognizable Homo sapiens. It was evidently not simply a passive result of the increase in brain size that typified multiple lineages of the genus Homo over the Pleistocene. Instead, a brain exaptively capable of complex symbolic manipulation and language acquisition was acquired in the major developmental reorganization that gave rise to the anatomically distinctive species Homo sapiens. The new capacity it conferred was later recruited through the action of a cultural stimulus, most plausibly the spontaneous invention of language.

  1. Reflections on the Schön affair (United States)

    Brandon, David; Santic, Branko


    In her feature article on the fraud perpetrated by Jan Hendrik Schön (May pp24-29), Eugenie Samuel Reich concludes that the fake data Schön generated at Bell Labs were designed primarily to meet the expectations of his peers. She is probably right, but the Schön case was by no means the first of its kind. A century ago the Piltdown fraud, in which medieval cranial fragments were matched with part of an orang-utan jaw bone, convinced British archaeologists and palaeontologists that early hominids developed on the South Downs. The scientific evidence was never fully accepted outside the British Empire, but it still took the UK's Natural History Museum 50 years to recognize the hoax. "Piltdown man" was created to meet the expectations of the British archaeological community, and hence the fraud succeeded.

  2. Paleo-oncology: the role of ancient remains in the study of cancer. (United States)

    Halperin, Edward C


    Paleo-oncology is the study of carcinomas and sarcomas in ancient human populations and their hominid precursors. These populations are informative concerning the possible influences on cancer of morphologic and functional evolution, diet, lifestyle, and other environmental factors. The prevalence of cancer in ancient populations might have differed from that in modern humans, because of substantial differences in tobacco and alcohol use, diet, life expectancy, and the availability of treatment. The available physical data concerning cancer in antiquity includes evidence of its existence in animal fossils and ancient humans and their precursors. The difficulties of paleo-oncologic research include a limited soft tissue record. In evaluating cancer in ancient remains, one must also deal with the problem of pseudopathology: whether an observed tissue change is all antemortem pathologic lesion or a postmortem artifact. Future archeological discoveries and the application of improved diagnostic techniques may enable paleo-oncology to make further contributions to our understanding of cancer.

  3. Cultural Evolutionary Perspectives on Creativity and Human Innovation. (United States)

    Fogarty, Laurel; Creanza, Nicole; Feldman, Marcus W


    Cultural traits originate through creative or innovative processes, which might be crucial to understanding how culture evolves and accumulates. However, because of its complexity and apparent subjectivity, creativity has remained largely unexplored as the dynamic underpinning of cultural evolution. Here, we explore the approach to innovation commonly taken in theoretical studies of cultural evolution and discuss its limitations. Drawing insights from cognitive science, psychology, archeology, and even animal behavior, it is possible to generate a formal description of creativity and to incorporate a dynamic theory of creativity into models of cultural evolution. We discuss the implications of such models for our understanding of the archaeological record and the history of hominid culture. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Human Uniqueness, Cognition by Description, and Procedural Memory

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    John Bolender


    Full Text Available Evidence will be reviewed suggesting a fairly direct link between the human ability to think about entities which one has never perceived — here called “cognition by description” — and procedural memory. Cognition by description is a uniquely hominid trait which makes religion, science, and history possible. It is hypothesized that cognition by description (in the manner of Bertrand Russell’s “knowledge by description” requires variable binding, which in turn utilizes quantifier raising. Quantifier raising plausibly depends upon the computational core of language, specifically the element of it which Noam Chomsky calls “internal Merge”. Internal Merge produces hierarchical structures by means of a memory of derivational steps, a process plausibly involving procedural memory. The hypothesis is testable, predicting that procedural memory deficits will be accompanied by impairments in cognition by description. We also discuss neural mechanisms plausibly underlying procedural memory and also, by our hypothesis, cognition by description.

  5. Potassium-argon dating in archaeology

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    McDougall, I. (Australian National Univ., Canberra (Australia). Research School of Earth Sciences)


    The potassium-argon (K-Ar) isotopic dating method can provide precise and accurate numerical ages on suitable rocks, especially igneous rocks, over a wide range of age from less than 100,000 years old, with no older limit. Together with its variants, the {sup 40}Ar/{sup 39}Ar technique, the K-Ar method is very useful for the numerical age calibration of stratigraphic sequences, including those containing archaeological or fossil material, in cases where appropriate rocks for dating are present. This brief review of the basis of the K-Ar dating method and the underlying assumptions, concludes with an example of its application to the Plio-Pleistocene stratigraphic sequence in the Turkana Basin, northern Kenya. By dating alkali feldspars separated from pumice blocks in tuffaceous beds, excellent age control has been obtained for the wealth of vertebrate fossils, including hominids, as well as archaeological materials that has been found in the sequence. (author).

  6. Paleoparasitology: the origin of human parasites

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    Adauto Araujo


    Full Text Available Parasitism is composed by three subsystems: the parasite, the host, and the environment. There are no organisms that cannot be parasitized. The relationship between a parasite and its host species most of the time do not result in damage or disease to the host. However, in a parasitic disease the presence of a given parasite is always necessary, at least in a given moment of the infection. Some parasite species that infect humans were inherited from pre-hominids, and were shared with other phylogenetically close host species, but other parasite species were acquired from the environment as humans evolved. Human migration spread inherited parasites throughout the globe. To recover and trace the origin and evolution of infectious diseases, paleoparasitology was created. Paleoparasitology is the study of parasites in ancient material, which provided new information on the evolution, paleoepidemiology, ecology and phylogenetics of infectious diseases.

  7. Miocene small-bodied ape from Eurasia sheds light on hominoid evolution. (United States)

    Alba, David M; Almécija, Sergio; DeMiguel, Daniel; Fortuny, Josep; Pérez de los Ríos, Miriam; Pina, Marta; Robles, Josep M; Moyà-Solà, Salvador


    Miocene small-bodied anthropoid primates from Africa and Eurasia are generally considered to precede the divergence between the two groups of extant catarrhines—hominoids (apes and humans) and Old World monkeys—and are thus viewed as more primitive than the stem ape Proconsul. Here we describe Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov., a small-bodied (4 to 5 kilograms) primate from the Iberian Miocene (11.6 million years ago) that displays a mosaic of primitive characteristics coupled with multiple cranial and postcranial shared derived features of extant hominoids. Our cladistic analyses show that Pliobates is a stem hominoid that is more derived than previously described small catarrhines and Proconsul. This forces us to reevaluate the role played by small-bodied catarrhines in ape evolution and provides key insight into the last common ancestor of hylobatids (gibbons) and hominids (great apes and humans). Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  8. The history of African trypanosomiasis

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    Steverding Dietmar


    Full Text Available Abstract The prehistory of African trypanosomiasis indicates that the disease may have been an important selective factor in the evolution of hominids. Ancient history and medieval history reveal that African trypanosomiasis affected the lives of people living in sub-Saharan African at all times. Modern history of African trypanosomiasis revolves around the identification of the causative agents and the mode of transmission of the infection, and the development of drugs for treatment and methods for control of the disease. From the recent history of sleeping sickness we can learn that the disease can be controlled but probably not be eradicated. Current history of human African trypanosomiasis has shown that the production of anti-sleeping sickness drugs is not always guaranteed, and therefore, new, better and cheaper drugs are urgently required.

  9. An evolutionary perspective on gradual formation of superego in the primal horde

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    Erdem ePulcu


    Full Text Available Freud proposed that the processes which occurred in the primal horde are essential for understanding superego formation and therefore, the successful dissolution of the Oedipus complex. However, Freud theorized superego formation in the primal horde as if it is an instant, all-or-none achievement. The present paper proposes an alternative model aiming to explain gradual development of superego in the primitive man. The proposed model is built on knowledge from evolutionary and neural sciences as well as anthropology, and it particularly focuses on the evolutionary significance of the acquisition of fire by hominids in the Pleistocene period in the light of archaeological findings. Acquisition of fire is discussed as a form of sublimation which might have helped Prehistoric man to maximise the utility of limited evolutionary biological resources, potentially contributing to the rate and extent of bodily evolution. The limitations of both Freud's original conceptualisation and the present model are discussed accordingly in an interdisciplinary framework.

  10. Actions speak louder than words in socially foraging human groups. (United States)

    Sumner, Seirian; King, Andrew J


    SOCIAL FORAGING IN HUMANS HAS A DEEP EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY: early hominids searched for dispersed food sources in a patchy, uncertain environment. A fundamental assumption is that social foragers benefit by exchanging information about food sources, in order to make collective decisions based on pooled information. We conducted the first experimental test of this assumption, and showed that, as predicted, communication significantly enhanced group performance. A further, unexpected result was that physical communication through gesturing, rather than verbal communication, appeared to play a crucial role in the early stages of group interaction, facilitating consensus decision making by groups.  The importance of gestures in human interactions may therefore be underestimated, and this has important implications for modern human societies, where communications are becoming increasingly dominated by virtual modes of communication that preclude the use of gestures. 

  11. Should autism be considered a canary bird telling that Homo sapiens may be on its way to extinction? (United States)

    Christophersen, Olav Albert


    There has been a dramatic enhancement of the reported incidence of autism in different parts of the world over the last 30 years. This can apparently not be explained only as a result of improved diagnosis and reporting, but may also reflect a real change. The causes of this change are unknown, but if we shall follow T.C. Chamberlin's principle of multiple working hypotheses, we need to take into consideration the possibility that it partly may reflect an enhancement of the average frequency of responsible alleles in large populations. If this hypothesis is correct, it means that the average germline mutation rate must now be much higher in the populations concerned, compared with the natural mutation rate in hominid ancestors before the agricultural and industrial revolutions. This is compatible with the high prevalence of impaired human semen quality in several countries and also with what is known about high levels of total exposure to several different unnatural chemical mutagens, plus some natural ones at unnaturally high levels. Moreover, dietary deficiency conditions that may lead to enhancement of mutation rates are also very widespread, affecting billions of people. However, the natural mutation rate in hominids has been found to be so high that there is apparently no tolerance for further enhancement of the germline mutation rate before the Eigen error threshold will be exceeded and our species will go extinct because of mutational meltdown. This threat, if real, should be considered far more serious than any disease causing the death only of individual patients. It should therefore be considered the first and highest priority of the best biomedical scientists in the world, of research-funding agencies and of all medical doctors to try to stop the express train carrying all humankind as passengers on board before it arrives at the end station of our civilization.

  12. Thickened cranial vault and parasagittal keeling: correlated traits and autapomorphies of Homo erectus? (United States)

    Balzeau, Antoine


    Homo erectus sensu lato (s.l.) is a key species in the hominin fossil record for the study of human evolution, being one of the first species discovered and perhaps the most documented, but also because of its long temporal range and having dispersed out of Africa earlier than any other human species. Here I test two proposed autapomorphic traits of H. erectus, namely the increased thickness of the upper cranial vault and parasagittal keeling. The definition of these two anatomical features and their expression and variation among hominids are discussed. The results of this study indicate that the upper vault in Asian H. erectus is not absolutely thicker compared with fossil anatomically modern Homo sapiens, whereas Broken Hill and Petralona have values above the range of variation of H. erectus. Moreover, this anatomical region in Asian H. erectus is not significantly thicker compared with Pan paniscus. In addition, these results demonstrate that cranial vault thickness should not be used to make hypotheses regarding sexual attribution of fossil hominin specimens. I also show that the relation between relief on the external surface of the upper vault, parasagittal keeling and bregmatic eminence, and bone thickness is complex. In this context, the autapomorphic status of the two analysed traits in H. erectus may be rejected. Nevertheless, different patterns in the distribution of bone thickness on the upper vault were identified. Some individual variations are visible, but specificities are observable in samples of different species. The pattern of bone thickness distribution observed in Asian H. erectus, P. paniscus, possibly australopiths, and early Homo or Homo ergaster/erectus appears to be shared by these different species and would be a plesiomorphic trait among hominids. In contrast, two apomorphic states for this feature were identified for Neandertals and H. sapiens. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Developmental identity versus typology: Lucy has only four sacral segments. (United States)

    Machnicki, Allison L; Lovejoy, C Owen; Reno, Philip L


    Both interspecific and intraspecific variation in vertebral counts reflect the action of patterning control mechanisms such as Hox. The preserved A.L. 288-1 ("Lucy") sacrum contains five fused elements. However, the transverse processes of the most caudal element do not contact those of the segment immediately craniad to it, leaving incomplete sacral foramina on both sides. This conforms to the traditional definition of four-segmented sacra, which are very rare in humans and African apes. It was recently suggested that fossilization damage precludes interpretation of this specimen and that additional sacral-like features of its last segment (e.g., the extent of the sacral hiatus) suggest a general Australopithecus pattern of five sacral vertebrae. We provide updated descriptions of the original Lucy sacrum. We evaluate sacral/coccygeal variation in a large sample of extant hominoids and place it within the context of developmental variation in the mammalian vertebral column. We report that fossilization damage did not shorten the transverse processes of the fifth segment of Lucy's sacrum. In addition, we find that the extent of the sacral hiatus is too variable in apes and hominids to provide meaningful information on segment identity. Most importantly, a combination of sacral and coccygeal features is to be expected in vertebrae at regional boundaries. The sacral/caudal boundary appears to be displaced cranially in early hominids relative to extant African apes and humans, a condition consistent with the likely ancestral condition for Miocene hominoids. While not definitive in itself, a four-segmented sacrum accords well with the "long-back" model for the Pan/Homo last common ancestor. Am J Phys Anthropol 160:729-739, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Throwing behavior and mass distribution of stone selection in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). (United States)

    Cleveland, A; Rocca, A R; Wendt, E L; Westergaard, G C


    Cannell [Journal of Archaeological Science 29:335-339, 2002] argued that sex-based differences among humans in terms of the mass of chosen throwing stones could be used to infer body mass and patterns of sexual dimorphism in early hominids from Olduvai and Koobi Fora by examining the mass distributions of unaltered stone tools at those sites. We examined this hypothesis in tufted capuchin monkeys using a comparative approach, by investigating the relationships among body mass, sex, stone weight preference, and accuracy in a throwing task. The subject sample consisted of nine monkeys trained to perform an aimed-throwing task in which a food reward could be obtained by throwing a stone into a bucket. We found that 1) the subjects showed a strong mean stone mass preference; 2) the females chose heavier stones than the males, in terms of absolute mean selected stone mass and selected stone mass relative to body mass; 3) subjects threw more accurately when they used stones of preferred mass vs. stones of nonpreferred mass; and 4) overall, the males were more accurate in the throwing task than the females. We conclude that capuchins are highly selective when choosing throwing stones, and that this confers an advantage for throwing accuracy. Our results indicate that the sexually dimorphic pattern in stone mass preference observed among humans does not generalize to Cebus apella. We suggest that researchers examining this pattern in humans in an attempt to explain early hominid patterns of dimorphism and behavior should take into account not only stone weight preference, but also its adaptive advantage. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  15. Game-Changing Innovations: How Culture Can Change the Parameters of Its Own Evolution and Induce Abrupt Cultural Shifts (United States)


    One of the most puzzling features of the prehistoric record of hominid stone tools is its apparent punctuation: it consists of abrupt bursts of dramatic change that separate long periods of largely unchanging technology. Within each such period, small punctuated cultural modifications take place. Punctuation on multiple timescales and magnitudes is also found in cultural trajectories from historical times. To explain these sharp cultural bursts, researchers invoke such external factors as sudden environmental change, rapid cognitive or morphological change in the hominids that created the tools, or replacement of one species or population by another. Here we propose a dynamic model of cultural evolution that accommodates empirical observations: without invoking external factors, it gives rise to a pattern of rare, dramatic cultural bursts, interspersed by more frequent, smaller, punctuated cultural modifications. Our model includes interdependent innovation processes that occur at different rates. It also incorporates a realistic aspect of cultural evolution: cultural innovations, such as those that increase food availability or that affect cultural transmission, can change the parameters that affect cultural evolution, thereby altering the population’s cultural dynamics and steady state. This steady state can be regarded as a cultural carrying capacity. These parameter-changing cultural innovations occur very rarely, but whenever one occurs, it triggers a dramatic shift towards a new cultural steady state. The smaller and more frequent punctuated cultural changes, on the other hand, are brought about by innovations that spur the invention of further, related, technology, and which occur regardless of whether the population is near its cultural steady state. Our model suggests that common interpretations of cultural shifts as evidence of biological change, for example the appearance of behaviorally modern humans, may be unwarranted. PMID:28036346

  16. Tortoises as a dietary supplement: A view from the Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel (United States)

    Blasco, Ruth; Rosell, Jordi; Smith, Krister T.; Maul, Lutz Christian; Sañudo, Pablo; Barkai, Ran; Gopher, Avi


    Dietary reconstructions can offer an improved perspective on human capacities of adaptation to the environment. New methodological approaches and analytical techniques have led to a theoretical framework for understanding how human groups used and adapted to their local environment. Faunal remains provide an important potential source of dietary information and allow study of behavioural variation and its evolutionary significance. Interest in determining how hominids filled the gaps in large prey availability with small game or what role small game played in pre-Upper Palaeolithic societies is an area of active research. Some of this work has focused on tortoises because they represent an important combination of edible and non-edible resources that are easy to collect if available. The exploitation of these slow-moving animals features prominently in prey choice models because the low handling costs of these reptiles make up for their small body size. Here, we present new taphonomic data from two tortoise assemblages extracted from the lower sequence of the Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel (420-300 ka), with the aim of assessing the socio-economic factors that may have led to the inclusion of this type of resource in the human diets. We show that hominid damage on large tortoise specimens from Qesem Cave is not unusual and that evidence such as cut marks, percussion marks and consistent patterns of burning suggests established sequences of processing, including cooking in the shell, defleshing, and direct percussion to access the visceral content. These matters make it possible not only to assess the potential role of tortoises as prey, but also to evaluate collecting behaviour in the resource acquisition systems and eco-social strategies at the Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex (AYCC) in the southern Levant.

  17. Dating the Naisiusiu Beds, Olduvai Gorge, by electron spin resonance (United States)

    Skinner, A. R.; Hay, R. L.; Masao, F.; Blackwell, B. A. B.


    The lower beds at Olduvai Gorge are well known for containing early hominid fossils and Oldowan stone tools, and their ages have been established by 40Ar/ 39Ar dating and paleomagnetic stratigraphy. Ages are generally less certain for the upper deposits at Olduvai Gorge because of the scarcity of datable tuffs. The youngest archaeologically significant site at Olduvai is microlithic LSA, which lies in the type section of the Naisiusiu Beds. The age for the site is controversial, with 14C dates of 17,000-17,550 (Hay, R.L., 1976 Geology of Olduvai Gorge, University of California Press, Berkeley) and >42,000 BP (Manega, P.C., 1993. Geochronology, geochemistry, and isotopic study of the Plio-Pleistocene Hominid sites and the Ngorongoro Volcanic Highland in Northern Tanzania. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO). The tuff bed in the zone with artifacts does not contain materials datable by 40Ar/ 39Ar, and some other dating method was needed. In the summer of 2001, five equid teeth were collected from the type Naisiusiu site. Another tooth had previously been collected. ESR ages have been determined for three teeth from the archaeological level and their ages cluster around 62±5 ka, assuming linear uranium uptake. Another tooth from a level without artifacts and believed to be significantly younger dated to 39±5 ka, again assuming LU. These dates are considerably older than previous estimates and suggest that the East African MSA/LSA transition occurred very early.

  18. Swift and sure-footed on the Savanna: A study of Hadzabe gaits and feet in Northern Tanzania. (United States)

    Musiba, Charles M; Tuttle, Russell H; Hallgrímsson, Benedikt; Webb, David M


    Data on footprints and gait of 54 Hadzabe, 6-70 years of age expand understanding of pedal morphology of unshod people and assist the development of ideas about the evolution of hominid bipedality and upright posture. Contrary to published data on gaits and pedal morphology of unshod populations, Hadzabe (also known as Hadza) from northern Tanzania exhibit values of stride length, relative stride length, and walking speeds that exceed those of rural and small-town populations. In all observable plantar features, including foot indices, an interdigital space between the hallux and second toe, fanning of the foot anteriorly, and foot angles (in-toeing and out-toeing), Hadzabe feet are comparable with those of never-shod Machiguengas in Perú. On average, Hadzabe hallucal gaps and ball widths are narrower than those of Machiguengas and other unshod short people. Hadzabe feet are also characterized by valgus halluces versus the varus halluces of never-shod Machiguengas and certain West Africans. Although characterized by a valgus toe, Hadzabe hallucal angles, which do not exceed 20°, are lower than those of Northern Hemispheric urbanites and shod rural populations of the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. Hadzabe also exhibit less medial and lateral rotation of the hip joint than Machiguengas do. The heel and the longitudinal arch impressions of the Hadzabe footprints closely resemble those of the Laetoli bipeds in the manner of weight distribution during locomotion. The striking similarity of footprint impressions, especially the heel and the longitudinal arch, between Hadzabe and Laetoli hominid footprints clearly imply that the pedal features of the Laetoli printmakers are remarkably humanoid. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 9:303-321, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Copyright © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  19. How is sagittal balance acquired during bipedal gait acquisition? Comparison of neonatal and adult pelves in three dimensions. Evolutionary implications. (United States)

    Tardieu, Christine; Bonneau, Noémie; Hecquet, Jérôme; Boulay, Christophe; Marty, Catherine; Legaye, Jean; Duval-Beaupère, Geneviève


    We compare adult and intact neonatal pelves, using a pelvic sagittal variable, the angle of sacral incidence, which presents significant correlations with vertebral curvature in adults and plays an important role in sagittal balance of the trunk on the lower limbs. Since the lumbar curvature develops in the child in association with gait acquisition, we expect a change in this angle during growth which could contribute to the acquisition of sagittal balance. To understand the mechanisms underlying the sagittal balance in the evolution of human bipedalism, we also measure the angle of incidence of hominid fossils. Fourty-seven landmarks were digitized on 50 adult and 19 intact neonatal pelves. We used a three-dimensional model of the pelvis (DE-VISU program) which calculates the angle of sacral incidence and related functional variables. Cross-sectional data from newborns and adults show that the angle of sacral incidence increases and becomes negatively correlated with the sacro-acetabular distance. During ontogeny the sacrum becomes curved, tends to sink down between the iliac blades as a wedge and moves backward in the sagittal plane relative to the acetabula, thus contributing to the backwards displacement of the center of gravity of the trunk. A chain of correlations links the degree of the sacral slope and of the angle of incidence, which is tightly linked with the lumbar lordosis. We sketch a model showing the coordinated changes occurring in the pelvis and vertebral column during the acquisition of bipedalism in infancy. In the australopithecine pelves, Sts 14 and AL 288-1, and in the Homo erectus Gona pelvis the angle of sacral incidence reaches the mean values of humans. Discussing the incomplete pelves of Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecus sediba and the Nariokotome Boy, we suggest how the functional linkage between pelvis and spine, observed in humans, could have emerged during hominid evolution. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Should autism be considered a canary bird telling that Homo sapiens may be on its way to extinction?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olav Albert Christophersen


    Full Text Available There has been a dramatic enhancement of the reported incidence of autism in different parts of the world over the last 30 years. This can apparently not be explained only as a result of improved diagnosis and reporting, but may also reflect a real change. The causes of this change are unknown, but if we shall follow T.C. Chamberlin's principle of multiple working hypotheses, we need to take into consideration the possibility that it partly may reflect an enhancement of the average frequency of responsible alleles in large populations. If this hypothesis is correct, it means that the average germline mutation rate must now be much higher in the populations concerned, compared with the natural mutation rate in hominid ancestors before the agricultural and industrial revolutions. This is compatible with the high prevalence of impaired human semen quality in several countries and also with what is known about high levels of total exposure to several different unnatural chemical mutagens, plus some natural ones at unnaturally high levels. Moreover, dietary deficiency conditions that may lead to enhancement of mutation rates are also very widespread, affecting billions of people. However, the natural mutation rate in hominids has been found to be so high that there is apparently no tolerance for further enhancement of the germline mutation rate before the Eigen error threshold will be exceeded and our species will go extinct because of mutational meltdown. This threat, if real, should be considered far more serious than any disease causing the death only of individual patients. It should therefore be considered the first and highest priority of the best biomedical scientists in the world, of research-funding agencies and of all medical doctors to try to stop the express train carrying all humankind as passengers on board before it arrives at the end station of our civilization.

  1. A cross-species study of gesture and its role in symbolic development: Implications for the gestural theory of language evolution

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristen eGillespie-Lynch


    Full Text Available Using a naturalistic video database, we examined whether gestures scaffolded the symbolic development of a language-enculturated chimpanzee, a language-enculturated bonobo, and a human child during the second year of life. These three species constitute a complete clade: species possessing a common immediate ancestor. A basic finding was the functional and formal similarity of many gestures between chimpanzee, bonobo, and human child. The child’s symbols were spoken words; the apes’ symbols were lexigrams, noniconic visual signifiers. A developmental pattern in which gestural representation of a referent preceded symbolic representation of the same referent appeared in all three species (but was statistically significant only for the child. Nonetheless, across species, the ratio of symbol to gesture increased significantly with age. But even though their symbol production increased, the apes continued to communicate more frequently by gesture than by symbol. In contrast, by15-18 months of age, the child used symbols more frequently than gestures. This ontogenetic sequence from gesture to symbol, present across the clade but more pronounced in child than ape, provides support for the role of gesture in language evolution. In all three species, the overwhelming majority of gestures were communicative (paired with eye-contact, vocalization, and/or persistence. However, vocalization was rare for the apes, but accompanied the majority of the child’s communicative gestures. This finding suggests the co-evolution of speech and gesture after the evolutionary divergence of the hominid line. Multimodal expressions of communicative intent (e.g., vocalization plus persistence were normative for the child, but less common for the apes. This finding suggests that multimodal expression of communicative intent was also strengthened after hominids diverged from apes.

  2. Evolution of Human Body Height and Its Implications in Ergonomics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    İzzet DUYAR


    Full Text Available Body height is an crucial variable in the design and production of all physical spaces, primarily in the manifacturing of clothes and means of transportation. Having such an ergonomic significance, the height of the human being has constantly changed during the course of history. There exist strong data suggesting that this change is still continue. To find out stages of evolution of human height throughout the ages up to the present will help us to illuminate the human-environment relations, and to predict the possible changes that the human height might be subjected to in the future. In view of these reasons, the changes that has occured in human height from the period at which hominids appeared until humans’ transition into settled life have been closely examined. The study was carried out on the basis of the data obtained from the earlier studies in literature. These data, when considered as a whole, reveal that the human height did not continuously increase in a linear fashion in its evolutionary path but recorded some increases and decreases at different stages. The difference between males and females (sexual dimorphism has not shown a steady decrease either; instead, it has exhibited an oscillating pattern. The modern humans as a species is not unique in terms of their height; as a matter of fact, two million years ago hominids had existed at approximately the same height as the Homo sapiens. Although the average height had shown some decrease in Homo erectus, its distribution pattern was not much different than the one observed in the modern human societies. In the findings dated to the early stages of the Upper Paleolithic Age, height showed a tendency to increase again

  3. Raising Darwin's consciousness : Female sexuality and the prehominid origins of patriarchy. (United States)

    Hrdy, S B


    Sociobiologists and feminists agree that men in patriarchal social systems seek to control females, but sociobiologists go further, using Darwin's theory of sexual selection and Trivers's ideas on parental investment to explain why males should attempt to control female sexuality. From this perspective, the stage for the development under some conditions of patriarchal social systems was set over the course of primate evolution.Sexual selection encompasses both competition between males and female choice. But in applying this theory to our "lower origins" (prehominid ancestors), Darwin assumed that choices were made by essentially "coy" females. I argue here that female solicitation of multiple males (either simultaneously or sequentially, depending on the breeding system) characterized prehominid females; this prehominid legacy of cyclical sexual assertiveness, itself possibly a female counter-strategy to male efforts to control the timing of female reproduction, generated further male counter-strategies. This dialectic had important implications for emerging hominid mating systems, human evolution, and the development of patriarchal arrangements in some human societies. For hominid males who will invest in offspring, there would be powerful selection for emotions, behaviors, and customs that ensure them certainty of paternity. The sexual modesty that so struck Darwin can be explained as a recent evolved or learned (perhaps both) adaptation in women to avoid penalties imposed by patrilines on daughters and mates who failed to conform to the patriline's prevailing norms for their sex. Other supposedly innate universals, such as female preferences for wealthy husbands, are also likely to be facultative accommodations by women to constraints set up when patrilines monopolized resources needed by females to survive and reproduce, and passed on intergenerational control of these resources preferentially to sons.

  4. A systematic reassessment and paleogeographic review of fossil xenarthra from Peru

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    exclusivamente andino presentando formas de tamaño pequeño, cuadrupedos y con tendencia a pastar perteneciente al subgénero M. (Pseudomegatherium e incluye a M. (P. tarijensis, M. (P. elenense, M. (P. urbinai y una nueva especie de la zona norandina. Las grandes especies de perezosos como M. (Megatherium americanum, Lestodon sp., y Scelidotherium leptocephalum descubiertos en las Pampas Argentinas no han sido reportados en el Perú. Un nuevo megaloníquido muy peculiar fue descubierto en la costa norte (desierto de Cupisnique y en los Andes, cerca al lago Titicaca (cueva casa del diablo. Dataciones relizadas con 14C, así como la asociación faunística indican que la mayoría de los mamíferos fósiles del Perú pertenecen al Lujanense. A lo largo de la costa y probablemente en la Amazonía, los Xenarthra han sido descubiertos en localidades abiertas, en contraste con la región andina donde la mayor parte de los especímenes se conservaron en cuevas. En el Perú y en toda Sudamérica los grandes Xenartros se extinguen al comienzo del Holoceno. A revision of Peruvian Xenarthra and the discovery of new specimens have increased our knowledge of the Order in this country. About thirty sites from three geographic regions, Amazonian Forest, the Andes, and the coast have yielded Xenarthra in Peru. The only well known Pre-Pleistocene Xenarthra is Thalassocnus from the Mio-Pliocene of the Pisco Formation. Pleistocene Phyllophaga (Megatheriidae, Nothrotheriidae, Mylodontidae, and Megalonychidae and Cingulata (Pampatheriidae and Glyptodontidae are rare in the Amazonian forest region, abundant in the coastal region and are particularly frequent in the Andes (between 2 500 and 4 500 meters. Cingulata are not as diverse and are represented only by Holmesina cf. paulacoutoi along the coast and Glyptodon clavipes in the Andes. The mylodontid Glossotherium sp. is recognized in the entire Peruvian coast and the scelidothere Scelidodon chiliensis is abundant in both the Andes and northern

  5. Evidence from facial morphology for similarity of Asian and African representatives of Homo erectus. (United States)

    Rightmire, G P


    It has been argued that Homo erectus is a species confined to Asia. Specialized characters displayed by the Indonesian and Chinese skulls are said to be absent in material from eastern Africa, and individuals from Koobi Fora and Nariokotome are now referred by some workers to H. ergaster. This second species is held to be the ancestor from which later human populations are derived. The claim for two taxa is evaluated here with special reference to the facial skeleton. Asian fossils examined include Sangiran 4 and Sangiran 17, several of the Ngandong crania, Gongwangling, and of course the material from Zhoukoudian described by Weidenreich ([1943] Palaeontol. Sin. [New Ser. D] 10:1-484). African specimens compared are KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-ER 3883 from Koobi Fora and KNM-WT 15000 from Nariokotome. Hominid 9 from Olduvai is useful only insofar as the brows and interorbital pillar are preserved. Neither detailed anatomical comparisons nor measurements bring to light any consistent patterns in facial morphology which set the African hominids apart from Asian H. erectus. Faces of the African individuals do tend to be high and less broad across the orbits. Both of the Koobi Fora crania but not KNM-WT 15000 have nasal bones that are narrow superiorly, while the piriform aperture is relatively wide. In many other characters, including contour of the supraorbital torus, glabellar prominence, nasal bridge dimensions, internasal keeling, anatomy of the nasal sill and floor, development of the canine jugum, orientation of the zygomaticoalveolar pillar, rounding of the anterolateral surface of the cheek, formation of a malar tubercle, and palatal rugosity, there is variation among individuals from localities within the major geographic provinces. Here it is not possible to identify features that are unique to either the Asian or African assemblages. Additional traits such as a forward sloping "crista nasalis," presence of a "sulcus maxillaris," a high (and massive) cheek coupled

  6. Variation and diversity in Homo erectus: a 3D geometric morphometric analysis of the temporal bone. (United States)

    Terhune, Claire E; Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A


    Although the level of taxonomic diversity within the fossil hominin species Homo erectus (sensu lato) is continually debated, there have been relatively few studies aiming to quantify the morphology of this species. Instead, most researchers have relied on qualitative descriptions or the evaluation of nonmetric characters, which in many cases display continuous variation. Also, only a few studies have used quantitative data to formally test hypotheses regarding the taxonomic composition of the "erectus" hypodigm. Despite these previous analyses, however, and perhaps in part due to these varied approaches for assessing variation within specimens typically referred to H. erectus (sensu lato) and the general lack of rigorous statistical testing of how variation within this taxon is partitioned, there is currently little consensus regarding whether this group is a single species, or whether it should instead be split into separate temporal or geographically delimited taxa. In order to evaluate possible explanations for variation within H. erectus, we tested the general hypothesis that variation within the temporal bone morphology of H. erectus is consistent with that of a single species, using great apes and humans as comparative taxa. Eighteen three-dimensional (3D) landmarks of the temporal bone were digitized on a total of 520 extant and fossil hominid crania. Landmarks were registered by Generalized Procrustes Analysis, and Procrustes distances were calculated for comparisons of individuals within and between the extant taxa. Distances between fossil specimens and between a priori groupings of fossils were then compared to the distances calculated within the extant taxa to assess the variation within the H. erectus sample relative to that of known species, subspecies, and populations. Results of these analyses indicate that shape variation within the entire H. erectus sample is generally higher than extant hominid intraspecific variation, and putative H. ergaster

  7. Magnetostratigraphy of the Koobi Fora Formation, Lake Turkana, Kenya (United States)

    Hillhouse, J. W.; Cerling, T. E.; Brown, F. H.


    The Koobi Fora Formation, a Pliocene and Pleistocene sequence of sedimentary deposits northeast of Lake Turkana, has yielded numerous fossils and stone artifacts of early hominids. Stratigraphic correlation of the hominid-bearing deposits throughout the Turkana region was established primarily by the chemistry and isotopic ages of volcanic tuffs and complemented by magnetostratigraphic studies. We have reinterpreted previously published magnetostratigraphy from the upper part of the Koobi Fora Formation because the original stratigraphy and dating of tuffs have been revised. In our reinterpretation we include previously unpublished data from the uppermost part of the formation. The upper magnetozones correlate with parts of the Brunhes Normal-Polarity Chron and Matuyama Reversed-Polarity Chron (about 0.6-0.85 Ma) and are separated from the magnetozones of the upper part of the Matuyama (2.0-1.25 Ma) by a disconformity. The Olduvai Normal-Polarity Subchron is represented within the Matuyama, but the lower part of the Matuyama (2.4-2.0 Ma) is missing due to an erosional disconformity. We have also determined magnetozones in the lower part of the Koobi Fora Formation, which had not been sampled for paleomagnetism during the earlier studies. Our time calibration of the magnetozones is made possible by isotopic dating of several tuffs and by chemical correlation of Koobi Fora tuffs with dated tuffs in the Shungura Formation of southern Ethiopia. The tephra correlations are corroborated by the excellent concordance between the magnetostratigraphies of the Koobi Fora and Shungura formations. The lower part of the Koobi Fora spans the interval from about 4 Ma to 2.4 Ma, within the Gilbert Reversed-Polarity and Gauss Normal-Polarity chrons. Rock magnetic studies indicate that detrital magnetite carries most of the stable remanence, although hematite contributes to the remanence as indicated by thermal demagnetization. The hematite, which presumably formed by

  8. Can Cooler Heads Prevail? (United States)

    Rice, A. R.


    The significant correlation between dropping temperatures throughout the Pliocene and the concomitant explosive expansion of the Hominid brain has led a number of workers to postulate climate change drove human evolution. Our brain (that of Homo sapiens), comprises 1-2 percent of our body weight but consumes 20 -25 percent of the body's caloric intake. We are "hotheads". Brains are extremely sensitive to overheating but we are endowed with unparalleled thermal regulation, much of it given over to protecting the Central Nervous System (CNS). Will there be reversed trends with global warming? The human brain has been shrinking since the end of the Ice Ages, losing about 150cc over the past 10,000 years. Polar bear skulls have been downsizing as well. Almost all mass extinctions or evolutionary upheavals are attributed to global warming: e.g. the Permian/Triassic (P/T) event, i.e., "The Great Dying", 250 million years ago (~90% of all life forms wiped out); the Paleocene/ Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 55 million years ago. They may be analogs for what might await us. Large creatures, whose body size inhibits cooling, melted away during the PETM. Horses, initially the size of dogs then, reduced to the size of cats. An unanticipated hazard for humans that may attend extreme global warming is dumbing down or needing to retreat to the Poles as did those creatures that survived the P/T event (some references:; Kandel, E. et al Principles of Neural Science 4th ed. New York (US): McGraw-Hill, 2000; Selective Brain Cooling in Early Hominids:phylogenetic and evolutionary implications, Reeser, H.,; How the body controls brain temperature; the temperature shielding effect of cerebral blood flow, Mingming Z. et al. J Appl Physiol. 2006 November; 101(5): 1481-1488; news/2014/03/140327-climate-change-shrinks-salamanders-global-warming-science/; Heat illness and

  9. Race, genetics, and human reproductive strategies. (United States)

    Rushton, J P


    The international literature on racial differences is reviewed, novel data are reported, and a distinct pattern is found. People of east Asian ancestry and people of African ancestry average at opposite ends of a continuum, with people of European ancestry averaging intermediately, albeit with much variability within each major race. The racial matrix emerges from measures taken of reproductive behavior, sex hormones, twinning rate, speed of physical maturation, personality, family stability, brain size, intelligence, law abidingness, and social organization. An evolutionary theory of human reproduction is proposed, familiar to biologists as the r-K scale of reproductive strategies. At one end of this scale are r-strategies, which emphasize high reproductive rates; at the other end are K-strategies, which emphasize high levels of parental investment. This scale is generally used to compare the life histories of widely disparate species, but here it is used to describe the immensely smaller variations among human races. It is hypothesized that, again on average, Mongoloid people are more K-selected than Caucasoids, who are more K-selected than Negroids. The r-K scale of reproductive strategies is also mapped on to human evolution. Genetic distances indicate that Africans emerged from the ancestral hominid line about 200,000 years ago, with an African/non-African split about 110,000 years ago, and a Caucasoid/Mongoloid split about 41,000 years ago. Such an ordering fits with and explains how and why the variables cluster.

  10. [The origins of language: an analysis from the aphasia perspective]. (United States)

    Ardila, A

    Different areas of knowledge have contributed to a better understanding of the origins of human language. AIM. To relate our current knowledge about the origins of language with the language pathology found in the case of brain injuries (aphasia). There are two fundamental forms of aphasia, which linked to defects in the lexico-semantic and grammatical systems of language (Wernicke-type aphasia and Broca-type aphasia, respectively). From observations made on children's development of language and experiments with primates, it has been shown that language initially appears as a lexico-semantic system. Grammar correlates with the ability to represent actions (verbs) and depends on what is known as Broca's area and its related brain circuits, but it is also related to the ability to quickly carry out the sequencing of the articulatory movements required for speaking (speech praxis). Language may have appeared as a lexico-semantic system much earlier than language as a syntactic system. The former may have developed around 200,000-300,000 years ago, coinciding with the increase in the temporal lobe, and would have existed in other hominids. Language as a grammatical system appeared perhaps as recently as 50,000 years ago and seems to be exclusive to Homo sapiens.

  11. USER principle as relating the human environmental management

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)



    The environmental variable can be understood as the resulting biosphere space that has suffered the occurrence of pre-biotic, biotic and anthropic processes. This necessary expansion of the environmental frontier allows understand clearly the magnitude the great complexity of the process immersed in the current environmental problematic. This, taking into account the analysis of the reference systems used by the different species to face their interaction with the nature. Hence, it is necessary to evaluate the human referential process of reality, as a responsible specie of the derange shown by the Environmental Mother Eve. The latest hominid development of an Artificial Reference System (ARS) (linguistic symbols), points to the constitution of the casual factor that triggers such an environmental problematic. The expansive dynamics accomplished by the ARS has not always made reference to the natural ambience that created them. The formulation of the Unprivilegeness of Symbolic Endogenous Referents (USER) Principle (Kernakis 1986, 1997), as a necessary epistemological consequence of the Special Relativity from Einstein, entails to the reversion of the local privileges created by the ARS, stating a referential crisis as alternative to a potential environmental collapse. AII these could lead to the most intra-specific understanding with the nature, antonomastical fragmented by the privileges of the ARS. Such integration species-nature would allow to make possible an spontaneous natural-cultural arranging of the environmental balance

  12. Phylogenetic Applications of the Minimum Contradiction Approach on Continuous Characters

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    Marc Thuillard


    Full Text Available We describe the conditions under which a set of continuous variables or characters can be described as an X-tree or a split network. A distance matrix corresponds exactly to a split network or a valued X-tree if, after ordering of the taxa, the variables values can be embedded into a function with at most a local maximum and a local minimum, and crossing any horizontal line at most twice. In real applications, the order of the taxa best satisfying the above conditions can be obtained using the Minimum Contradiction method. This approach is applied to 2 sets of continuous characters. The first set corresponds to craniofacial landmarks in Hominids. The contradiction matrix is used to identify possible tree structures and some alternatives when they exist. We explain how to discover the main structuring characters in a tree. The second set consists of a sample of 100 galaxies. In that second example one shows how to discretize the continuous variables describing physical properties of the galaxies without disrupting the underlying tree structure.

  13. The Australopithecines – An Extinct Group of Human Ancestors: My Scientific Interest in South Africa

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    Kaszycka Katarzyna A.


    Full Text Available I introduce the subject of my research interest in South Africa - the australopithecines - a group of bipedal, small-brained and large-toothed creatures from the Plio-Pleistocene, from which the human genus arose. I then briefly discuss various topics of my research, concerning: (1 Taxonomic status and morphological description of the extinct human relative from the Kromdraai site (Australopithecus robustus; (2 Graphic reconstruction of the partial skull from Kromdraai - specimen numbered TM 1517; (3 Assessment of size sexual dimorphism of the South African australopithecines (Australopithecus robustus and Australopithecus africanus, which, in terms of facial features, was pronounced - being almost gorilla-sized; (4 Social behavior of a fossil hominid species from around 2 million years ago, which, in terms of the social structure, was most likely a multimale-multifemale one; and (5 An event from the history of paleoanthropology, concerning the content of the 1924/25 photographs of the Taung Child (Australopithecus africanus - the first australopithecine skull discovered.

  14. Possible brucellosis in an early hominin skeleton from sterkfontein, South Africa.

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    Ruggero D'Anastasio

    Full Text Available We report on the paleopathological analysis of the partial skeleton of the late Pliocene hominin species Australopithecus africanus Stw 431 from Sterkfontein, South Africa. A previous study noted the presence of lesions on vertebral bodies diagnosed as spondylosis deformans due to trauma. Instead, we suggest that these lesions are pathological changes due to the initial phases of an infectious disease, brucellosis. The macroscopic, microscopic and radiological appearance of the lytic lesions of the lumbar vertebrae is consistent with brucellosis. The hypothesis of brucellosis (most often associated with the consumption of animal proteins in a 2.4 to 2.8 million year old hominid has a host of important implications for human evolution. The consumption of meat has been regarded an important factor in supporting, directing or altering human evolution. Perhaps the earliest (up to 2.5 million years ago paleontological evidence for meat eating consists of cut marks on animal remains and stone tools that could have made these marks. Now with the hypothesis of brucellosis in A. africanus, we may have evidence of occasional meat eating directly linked to a fossil hominin.

  15. Human origins: Out of Africa (United States)

    Tattersall, Ian


    Our species, Homo sapiens, is highly autapomorphic (uniquely derived) among hominids in the structure of its skull and postcranial skeleton. It is also sharply distinguished from other organisms by its unique symbolic mode of cognition. The fossil and archaeological records combine to show fairly clearly that our physical and cognitive attributes both first appeared in Africa, but at different times. Essentially modern bony conformation was established in that continent by the 200–150 Ka range (a dating in good agreement with dates for the origin of H. sapiens derived from modern molecular diversity). The event concerned was apparently short-term because it is essentially unanticipated in the fossil record. In contrast, the first convincing stirrings of symbolic behavior are not currently detectable until (possibly well) after 100 Ka. The radical reorganization of gene expression that underwrote the distinctive physical appearance of H. sapiens was probably also responsible for the neural substrate that permits symbolic cognition. This exaptively acquired potential lay unexploited until it was “discovered” via a cultural stimulus, plausibly the invention of language. Modern humans appear to have definitively exited Africa to populate the rest of the globe only after both their physical and cognitive peculiarities had been acquired within that continent. PMID:19805256

  16. Sex differences in impulsive and compulsive behaviors: a focus on drug addiction. (United States)

    Fattore, Liana; Melis, Miriam


    Sex differences in inhibition and self-regulation at a behavioral level have been widely described. From an evolutionary point of view, the different selection pressures placed on male and female hominids led them to differ in their behavioral strategies that allowed our species to survive during natural selection processes. These differences reflect changes in neural and structural plasticity that might be the core of sex differences, and of the susceptibility towards one psychiatric condition rather than another. The goal of the present review is to summarize current evidence for such a dichotomy in impulsive and compulsive behavior with a focus on drug addiction. Sex-dependent differences in drug abuse and dependence will be examined in the context of pathophysiological regulation of impulse and motivation by neuromodulators (i.e. gonadal hormones) and neurotransmitters (i.e. dopamine). Advances in the understanding of the sex differences in the capability to control impulses and motivational states is key for the determination of efficacious biologically based intervention and prevention strategies for several neuropsychiatric disorders where loss of impulse control and compulsivity are the core symptoms. © 2016 Society for the Study of Addiction.

  17. Chemistry and mineralogy of some Plio-Pleistocene tuffs from the Shungura Formation, southwest Ethiopia (United States)

    Martz, A. M.; Brown, F. H.


    The Shungura Formation of southwestern Ethiopia has yielded many tens of thousands of vertebrate fossils including hominids and microvertebrates, and in addition has also yielded fossil wood, pollen, and invertebrates. Widespread tuffs have made subdivision and detailed mapping of the formation possible, have provided material for potassium-argon dating, and have allowed direct lithostratigraphic correlation with the Koobi Fora Formation in northern Kenya. The basis for correlation between the two formations is the distinctive chemistry of the tuffs, but systematic chemical variation within some tuffs invalidates some statistical correlation techniques. Here chemical analysis of glass separates and minerals from tuffs of the Shungura and Usno Formations are presented which may allow further ties to be established when data become available on other tuffs of the Koobi Fora Formation. The tuffs consist primarily of glass, but also contain phenocrysts of anorthoclase, hedenbergitic pyroxene, sodic amphibole, ilmenite, titanomagnetite, chevkinite, quartz, zircon, and rarely orthopyroxene and plagioclase. The glasses show evidence of alkali loss during hydration, and are not now peralkaline, although it is likely that they were initially. The source volcanoes were most likely situated within the Ethiopian rift valley, or on its margins.

  18. New Australopithecus boisei calvaria from East Lake Turkana, Kenya. (United States)

    Brown, B; Walker, A; Ward, C V; Leakey, R E


    The calvaria of an adult Australopithecus boisei from Area 104, Koobi Fora, Lake Turkana, is described. The specimen, KNM-ER 23000, comes from sediments dated to about 1.9 Ma. It consists of the frontal, both parietals, both temporals, most of the occipital as well as two small pieces of sphenoid, and a mandibular tooth root. The specimen is presumed to be an adult male, based on its size and the great development of features associated with the masticatory apparatus. KNM-ER 23000 is close in general size and shape to KNM-ER 406, KNM-ER 13750, and Olduvai Hominid 5 and it has a mixture of features seen in these three roughly contemporaneous crania. The frontal, especially the tori, resembles that of OH 5; the parietals are most like those of KNM-ER 13750; the occipital is like those of the two other Turkana specimens, and the temporals have a mixture of features from all of these, This specimen adds to our knowledge of variability in A. boisei.

  19. The Lake Ndutu cranium and early Homo sapiens in Africa. (United States)

    Rightmire, G P


    The partial cranium from Lake Ndutu, near Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania, has generally been viewed as Homo erectus, although points of similarity to H. sapiens have also been recognized. Bones of the vault are in fact quite thick, and the cranium is small. Length and breadth dimensions are comparable to those of earlier H. erectus from Koobi Fora and Ileret, and the Ndutu individual is more similar in size to O.H. 12 than to O.H. 9. Unfortunately, the facial skeleton and frontal bone are very incomplete, and little useful information can be obtained from these parts of the existing reconstruction. The parietals are also damaged, but the left temporal is more satisfactorily preserved, and the occiput is nearly complete. Occipital morphology, mastoid shape, and characteristics of the glenoid cavity and tympanic plate probably provide the best available guide to affinities of the Ndutu hominid. In many of these features the cranium resembles Broken Hill, Elandsfontein, and other African fossils referred to archaic H. sapiens. There are some similarities to modern humans also, but no ties to the Neanderthals of Europe. Allocation of Ndutu to an African subspecies of H. sapiens seems most appropriate, even if the pattern of relationships between such archaic populations and recent humans is still unclear.

  20. Sherwood Washburn's New physical anthropology: rejecting the "religion of taxonomy". (United States)

    Mikels-Carrasco, Jessica


    Many physical anthropologists and nearly all of those studying primatology today can trace their academic genealogy to Sherwood Larned Washburn. His New physical anthropology, fully articulated in a 1951 paper, proposed that the study of hominid evolution must link understandings of form, function, and behavior along with the environment in order most accurately to reconstruct the evolution of our ancestors. This shift of concentration from strictly analyzing fossil remains to what Washburn termed adaptive complexes challenged not only Washburn's predecessors, but also led Washburn to critique the very system of academia within which he worked. Collaboration across multiple disciplines, linking the four fields of anthropology in order to understand humans and application of our understandings of human evolution to the betterment of society, are the hallmarks of Washburnian anthropology. In this paper I will explore how Washburn's New physical anthropology led him to not only change the research direction in physical anthropology, but also to challenge the academia within which he worked. I will conclude by reflecting on the prospects of continuing to practice Washburnian Anthropology.

  1. ‘Archaeology Time with Miss Jessica’ Archaeology education in summer schools and summer camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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    Jessica Sutherland


    Full Text Available Archaeology education benefits not only archaeologists, but also teachers and students. It fosters future stewards of our cultural heritage while making any classroom lesson more exciting and engaging for the students. In an effort to realize both of these goals, the author undertook an archaeology education programme in her local area of Upper Peninsula Michigan using a dual approach. She coordinated and implemented archaeology education activities in four local elementary schools during summer school, on a weekly basis, and developed and led an archaeology summer camp for children in conjunction with a local chapter of the 4-H Club. Teaching methods and activities varied between the two approaches; however, object handling was a key component of every lesson. Activities included learning about the instructor through examining objects she had brought from home, the dustbin game and skeleton game, a wastebasket excavation to learn context and stratigraphy, a mock excavation, a pot-mending activity, the creation of a museum exhibit, a “Maya Math” activity using the Maya numbering system, and a human evolution activity using replica hominid crania. Each approach presented its own challenges and rewards, but ultimately the author was able to inculcate over one hundred future stewards of our cultural heritage.

  2. Tempo and mode of genomic mutations unveil human evolutionary history. (United States)

    Hara, Yuichiro


    Mutations that have occurred in human genomes provide insight into various aspects of evolutionary history such as speciation events and degrees of natural selection. Comparing genome sequences between human and great apes or among humans is a feasible approach for inferring human evolutionary history. Recent advances in high-throughput or so-called 'next-generation' DNA sequencing technologies have enabled the sequencing of thousands of individual human genomes, as well as a variety of reference genomes of hominids, many of which are publicly available. These sequence data can help to unveil the detailed demographic history of the lineage leading to humans as well as the explosion of modern human population size in the last several thousand years. In addition, high-throughput sequencing illustrates the tempo and mode of de novo mutations, which are producing human genetic variation at this moment. Pedigree-based human genome sequencing has shown that mutation rates vary significantly across the human genome. These studies have also provided an improved timescale of human evolution, because the mutation rate estimated from pedigree analysis is half that estimated from traditional analyses based on molecular phylogeny. Because of the dramatic reduction in sequencing cost, sequencing on-demand samples designed for specific studies is now also becoming popular. To produce data of sufficient quality to meet the requirements of the study, it is necessary to set an explicit sequencing plan that includes the choice of sample collection methods, sequencing platforms, and number of sequence reads.

  3. Procesos de formación de los yacimientos plio-pleistocenicos africanos y su relevancia para los modelos de comportamiento homínido

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    Ignacio de la Torre Sainz


    Full Text Available La controversia surgida a principios de los años 80 sobre la naturaleza del registro del Plio-Pleistoceno, ha conducido a un debate aún vigente en torno a los agentes envueltos en la formación de los primeros yacimientos arqueológicos. Algunos autores argüyeron que estos depósitos eran palimpsestos en los que la actividad humana fue marginal, mientras que otros opinan que son el resultado de unas estrategias complejas llevadas a cabo por los primeros representantes del género Homo. En el presente trabajo se hace una valoración crítica de los datos disponibles sobre el registro arqueológico plio-pleistocénico, y se propone el marco conductual que hizo posible la formación de estos primeros yacimientos.The controversy about the formation of the early Piio-Pieistocene archaeological site formation has resulted in a wide array of studies regarding the different processes involved therein. Some authors argüe that early sites were palimpsest where hominid intervention was minimal, whereas other researchers support the idea that sites were referential places used by the earliest representatives of the genus Homo. This paper presents the available evidence supporting either hyphoteses and several behavioral models are critically revised.

  4. Contributions to the history of psychology: XC. Evolutionary biology and heritable traits (with reference to oriental-white-black differences): the 1989 AAAS paper. (United States)

    Rushton, J P


    Genetic distance estimates calculated from DNA sequencing indicate that in years since emergence from the ancestral hominid line, Mongoloids = 41,000, Caucasoids = 110,000, and Negroids = 200,000. Data also show that this succession is matched by numerous other differences such that Mongoloids > Caucasoids > Negroids in brain size and intelligence (cranial capacity = 1448, 1408, 1334 cm3; brain weight = 1351, 1336, 1286 gm.; millions of excess neurons = 8900, 8650, 8550; IQ = 107, 100, 85); maturational delay (age to walk alone, age of first intercourse, age of death); sexual restraint (ovulation rate, intercourse frequencies, sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS); quiescent temperament (aggressiveness, anxiety, sociability); and social organization (law abidingness, marital stability, mental health). This pattern is ordered by a theory of r/K reproductive strategies in which Mongoloids are posited to be more K-selected than Caucasoids and especially more than Negroids. (K-selected reproductive strategies emphasize parental care and are to be contrasted with r-selected strategies which emphasize fecundity, the bioenergetic trade-off between which is postulated to underlie cross-species differences in brain size, speed of maturation, reproductive effort, and longevity.) It is suggested that this pattern came about because the ice ages exerted greater selection pressures on the later emerging populations to produce larger brains, longer lives, and more K-like behavior. One theoretical possibility is that evolution is progressive and that some populations are more "advanced" than others. Predictions are made concerning economic projections and the spread of AIDS.

  5. Emergence of a Homo sapiens-specific gene family and chromosome 16p11.2 CNV susceptibility. (United States)

    Nuttle, Xander; Giannuzzi, Giuliana; Duyzend, Michael H; Schraiber, Joshua G; Narvaiza, Iñigo; Sudmant, Peter H; Penn, Osnat; Chiatante, Giorgia; Malig, Maika; Huddleston, John; Benner, Chris; Camponeschi, Francesca; Ciofi-Baffoni, Simone; Stessman, Holly A F; Marchetto, Maria C N; Denman, Laura; Harshman, Lana; Baker, Carl; Raja, Archana; Penewit, Kelsi; Janke, Nicolette; Tang, W Joyce; Ventura, Mario; Banci, Lucia; Antonacci, Francesca; Akey, Joshua M; Amemiya, Chris T; Gage, Fred H; Reymond, Alexandre; Eichler, Evan E


    Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the locus and identify bolA family member 2 (BOLA2) as a gene duplicated exclusively in Homo sapiens. We estimate that a 95-kilobase-pair segment containing BOLA2 duplicated across the critical region approximately 282 thousand years ago (ka), one of the latest among a series of genomic changes that dramatically restructured the locus during hominid evolution. All humans examined carried one or more copies of the duplication, which nearly fixed early in the human lineage--a pattern unlikely to have arisen so rapidly in the absence of selection (P sapiens-specific duplication. In summary, the duplicative transposition of BOLA2 at the root of the H. sapiens lineage about 282 ka simultaneously increased copy number of a gene associated with iron homeostasis and predisposed our species to recurrent rearrangements associated with disease.

  6. Milk composition of captive vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) and rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) with observations on gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and white handed gibbon (Hylobates lar). (United States)

    Osthoff, G; Hugo, A; de Wit, M; Nguyen, T P M; Seier, J


    The nutrient content and fatty acid composition of vervet monkey milk has been determined and is compared with rhesus macaque, and two hominoid apes, the white handed gibbon and gorilla. With 15.7+/-4.1 g protein, 33.1+/-9.4 g fat, and 85.1+/-7.5 g lactose per kg milk, vervet monkey milk does not differ from that of rhesus macaque, and is within the range of other primates. Small amounts (>1 g kg(-1)) of oligosaccharides, glucose, galactose and fucose were noted. In comparison, gorilla milk has a low fat content of 13.8 g kg(-1), but contains high levels of oligosaccharides at 7.0 g kg(-1) milk. The hominoid partner, the white handed gibbon, contains no oligosaccharides and a milk fat content similar to other hominoid species. Differences between vervet monkey and rhesus macaque milks were observed in the electrophoretic pattern of the milk proteins, mainly amongst the kappa- and gamma-caseins, which also differ from that of the hominids. The fatty acid contents of these milks differ from studies where a natural diet of leafy material was available in that a low content of alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) was noted. A phylogenetic effect is observed for the content of 8:0, 10:0 fatty acids between the Cercopithecidae and Hominoidea, and a further phylogenetic effect suggested between the Hylobatidae and Hominidae.

  7. Visitors views of human origins after visiting the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site

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    Anthony Lelliott


    Full Text Available The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, west of Johannesburg, was designated in 1999 because of its importance as a locality where numerous hominid fossils have been discovered since the 1930s. In this article, responses to questions from a survey of more than 800 adult visitors to the Cradle of Humankind visitor centres are analysed, covering their understanding of the concept of the "cradle" and their views on human evolution. Findings indicated that 63% of the respondents conceptualised the cradle as the origin or birthplace of humankind, and a similar proportion thought that nowhere else could be called the Cradle of Humankind (77% of people of South African nationality thought this. Nearly 60% of respondents accepted that humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor, while 25% disagreed. South Africans were less likely to accept human evolution than their international counterparts. The great majority of participants who accepted human evolution based their agreement on various forms of evidence and their knowledge of evolution. A religious foundation was used for their rationale by 60% of those who rejected evolution, with 33% citing evidence for their rejection. The implications of the findings are discussed in the light of public awareness and human origins.

  8. Out of Africa: modern human origins special feature: human origins: out of Africa. (United States)

    Tattersall, Ian


    Our species, Homo sapiens, is highly autapomorphic (uniquely derived) among hominids in the structure of its skull and postcranial skeleton. It is also sharply distinguished from other organisms by its unique symbolic mode of cognition. The fossil and archaeological records combine to show fairly clearly that our physical and cognitive attributes both first appeared in Africa, but at different times. Essentially modern bony conformation was established in that continent by the 200-150 Ka range (a dating in good agreement with dates for the origin of H. sapiens derived from modern molecular diversity). The event concerned was apparently short-term because it is essentially unanticipated in the fossil record. In contrast, the first convincing stirrings of symbolic behavior are not currently detectable until (possibly well) after 100 Ka. The radical reorganization of gene expression that underwrote the distinctive physical appearance of H. sapiens was probably also responsible for the neural substrate that permits symbolic cognition. This exaptively acquired potential lay unexploited until it was "discovered" via a cultural stimulus, plausibly the invention of language. Modern humans appear to have definitively exited Africa to populate the rest of the globe only after both their physical and cognitive peculiarities had been acquired within that continent.

  9. The nasal and paranasal architecture of the Middle Miocene ape Pierolapithecus catalaunicus (primates: Hominidae): phylogenetic implications. (United States)

    Pérez de Los Ríos, Miriam; Moyà-Solà, Salvador; Alba, David M


    The internal (nasal and paranasal) cranial anatomy of the Middle Miocene (11.9 Ma [millions of years ago]) great ape Pierolapithecus catalaunicus (Hominidae: Dryopithecini) is described on the basis of computed-tomography scans of the holotype specimen (IPS21350), with particular emphasis on its phylogenetic implications. Pierolapithecus displays the following characters: an anteriorly-restricted maxillary sinus that posteriorly spreads towards the ethmoidal area (thus resembling the pongine condition), although being situated well above the molar roots (as in kenyapithecins, other dryopithecins and pongines); lack of frontal sinus (a synapomorphy of derived pongines, independently acquired by both cercopithecoids and hylobatids); posteriorly-situated turbinals (as in Pongo); anteriorly-projecting nasolacrimal canal (as in Pongo); and probably stepped nasal floor with non-overlapping premaxillary-maxillary contact (as in dryopithecines and stem hominoids, although it cannot be conclusively shown due to bone damage). Overall, Pierolapithecus displays a mosaic of primitive hominid and derived pongine features that are inconsistent with this taxon being a hominine (as previously suggested). Two alternative phylogenetic interpretations are possible: Pierolapithecus may be a stem member of the Hominidae as previously suggested in its original description, or alternatively this taxon may be a stem member of the Ponginae s.l. (with the European dryopithecines being the sister taxon to the Asian pongines). Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional models used for teaching Human Evolution in Secondary Schools. Learning proficiency assessment. A Case Study

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    Ulisses Dardon


    Full Text Available The evolution of the human species is a topic of extreme importance reported in the “Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais do Ensino Médio – PCNEM” (National Curriculum Standards of Secondary Education, although it is not often taught as part of basic education. This work presents the results of an experimental work performed with 31 students of a religious high school of State of Rio de Janeiro. Learning proficiency was assessed by using two-dimensional (2D and three-dimensional (3D illustration techniques of hominids skulls and a Pongidae for teaching Human Evolution. The teaching-learning process using these methodologies was more effective with the application of three-dimensional (3D illustration techniques. The group of students that used 3D illustrations were able to observe similarities and differences between the presented taxonomic models, and formulate hypotheses about their palaeobiology more consistently than the students that used 2D models. Results of this work indicate that the use of three-dimensional techniques (3D provides an excellent support to teaching-learning process in basic education, captivating and stimulating new interests of students during the educational process.

  11. Exploring the Potential of Laser Ablation Carbon Isotope Analysis for Examining Ecology during the Ontogeny of Middle Pleistocene Hominins from Sima de los Huesos (Northern Spain). (United States)

    Garcia, Nuria; Feranec, Robert S; Passey, Benjamin H; Cerling, Thure E; Arsuaga, Juan Luis


    Laser ablation of tooth enamel was used to analyze stable carbon isotope compositions of teeth of hominins, red deer, and bears from middle Pleistocene sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain, to investigate the possibility that this technique could be used as an additional tool to identify periods of physiological change that are not detectable as changes in tooth morphology. Most of the specimens were found to have minimal intra-tooth variation in carbon isotopes (< 2.3‰), suggesting isotopically uniform diets through time and revealing no obvious periods of physiological change. However, one of the two sampled hominin teeth displayed a temporal carbon isotope shift (3.2‰) that was significantly greater than observed for co-occurring specimens. The δ13C value of this individual averaged about -16‰ early in life, and -13‰ later in life. This isotopic change occurred on the canine crown about 4.2 mm from the root, which corresponds to an approximate age of two to four years old in modern humans. Our dataset is perforce small owing to the precious nature of hominid teeth, but it demonstrates the potential utility of the intra-tooth isotope profile method for extracting ontogenetic histories of human ancestors.

  12. The Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain): palaeoenvironment and habitats of Homo heidelbergensis during the Middle Pleistocene (United States)

    García, Nuria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis


    Interpreting how environmental dynamics respond to global climate change and how this has affected human evolution and dispersal is an on-going topic of debate. During the early Middle Pleistocene (˜0.6-0.4 Ma), as compared to earlier, environmental conditions were relatively more stable, with longer climatic cycles alternating between open and forested landscapes. During this interval, humans spread successfully providing an important number of fossil sites where fossils or tools are reported. The Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain) site (Atapuerca-SH) is one of the earliest localities with hominin evidence in the European Middle Pleistocene, with the most important accumulation of Homo heidelbergensis so far. We have analyzed the abundant faunal record from Sima de los Huesos, which is mainly comprised of carnivores, in order to approach an interpretation of the palaeoenvironmental circumstances where these hominids inhabited within the Sierra. Other sites from Sierra de Atapuerca referred to the same Faunal Unit (FU 6), are roughly contemporaneous, and include important ungulates, which are here analyzed with Atapuerca-SH. Additional information provided by isotopic analysis helps elucidate the ancient ecology of taxa present in Sima de los Huesos allowing for an accurate portrayal of the setting in which humans lived. The timing of the spread of Homo heidelbergensis is dominated by a relative climatic and environmental stability and points to a landscape dominated by savannah-like open woodland.

  13. Auditory capacities in Middle Pleistocene humans from the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain. (United States)

    Martínez, I; Rosa, M; Arsuaga, J-L; Jarabo, P; Quam, R; Lorenzo, C; Gracia, A; Carretero, J-M; Bermúdez de Castro, J-M; Carbonell, E


    Human hearing differs from that of chimpanzees and most other anthropoids in maintaining a relatively high sensitivity from 2 kHz up to 4 kHz, a region that contains relevant acoustic information in spoken language. Knowledge of the auditory capacities in human fossil ancestors could greatly enhance the understanding of when this human pattern emerged during the course of our evolutionary history. Here we use a comprehensive physical model to analyze the influence of skeletal structures on the acoustic filtering of the outer and middle ears in five fossil human specimens from the Middle Pleistocene site of the Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca of Spain. Our results show that the skeletal anatomy in these hominids is compatible with a human-like pattern of sound power transmission through the outer and middle ear at frequencies up to 5 kHz, suggesting that they already had auditory capacities similar to those of living humans in this frequency range.

  14. [Sierra of the Atapuerca, thinking about the evolution]. (United States)

    Carbonell, Eudald


    Homo sapiens walks to the future in a uncertain way. The fosil evidences from the lithosphere can help us to get into know the social and cultural evolution of all the species that have precede us and even our own. Atapuerca, with more than 1.2 MA old of fossilized history from the Pleistocene to the Holocene is throwing a scientific message through the study of all its archaeological sites. There are thousands of animal and human fossils in Trinchera del Ferrocarril, Cueva de Gran Dolina, Sima del Elefante and Galeria that yield information on the cultural cannibalism practices by Homo antecessor 900,000 years ago, and the hunting and gathering that Homo heidelbergensis developed 400,000 years ago. Finally in the Sima de los Huesos, with a similar chronology than at the H. heidelbergensis sites from the Trinchera del Ferrocarril, we find the first intentional accumulation of hominid bodies. These contributions are significant to the knowledge of the biological and cultural human evolution and permits to deepen it empirically. We hope that understanding the message we will be able to improve our species through the socialization of the scientific knowledge.

  15. Right-handed fossil humans. (United States)

    Lozano, Marina; Estalrrich, Almudena; Bondioli, Luca; Fiore, Ivana; Bermúdez de Castro, José-Maria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carbonell, Eudald; Rosas, Antonio; Frayer, David W


    Fossil hominids often processed material held between their upper and lower teeth. Pulling with one hand and cutting with the other, they occasionally left impact cut marks on the lip (labial) surface of their incisors and canines. From these actions, it possible to determine the dominant hand used. The frequency of these oblique striations in an array of fossil hominins documents the typically modern pattern of 9 right- to 1 left-hander. This ratio among living Homo sapiens differs from that among chimpanzees and bonobos and more distant primate relatives. Together, all studies of living people affirm that dominant right-handedness is a uniquely modern human trait. The same pattern extends deep into our past. Thus far, the majority of inferred right-handed fossils come from Europe, but a single maxilla from a Homo habilis, OH-65, shows a predominance of right oblique scratches, thus extending right-handedness into the early Pleistocene of Africa. Other studies show right-handedness in more recent African, Chinese, and Levantine fossils, but the sample compiled for non-European fossil specimens remains small. Fossil specimens from Sima del los Huesos and a variety of European Neandertal sites are predominately right-handed. We argue the 9:1 handedness ratio in Neandertals and the earlier inhabitants of Europe constitutes evidence for a modern pattern of handedness well before the appearance of modern Homo sapiens. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. A probabilistic approach to the assessment of some life history pattern parameters in a Middle Pleistocene human population. (United States)

    Durand, A I; Ipina, S L; Bermúdez de Castro, J M


    Parameters of a Middle Pleistocene human population such as the expected length of the female reproductive period (E(Y)), the expected interbirth interval (E(X)), the survival rate (tau) for females after the expected reproductive period, the rate (phi(2)) of women who, given that they reach first birth, do not survive to the end of the expected reproductive period, and the female infant plus juvenile mortality rate (phi(1)) have been assessed from a probabilistic standpoint provided that such a population were stationary. The hominid sample studied, the Sima de los Huesos (SH) cave site, Sierra de Atapuerca (Spain), is the most exhaustive human fossil sample currently available. Results suggest that the Atapuerca (SH) sample can derive from a stationary population. Further, in the case that the expected reproductive period ends between 37 and 40 yr of age, then 24 less, similarE(Y) less, similar27 yr, E(X)=3 yr, 0.224

  17. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes’ Hearing Evolution (United States)

    Braga, J.; Loubes, J-M.; Descouens, D.; Dumoncel, J.; Thackeray, J. F.; Kahn, J-L.; de Beer, F.; Riberon, A.; Hoffman, K.; Balaresque, P.; Gilissen, E.


    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species’ sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the “hypertrophied” cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  18. DNH 109: A fragmentary hominin near-proximal ulna from Drimolen, South Africa

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    Andrew Gallagher


    Full Text Available We describe a fragmentary, yet significant, diminutive proximal ulna (DNH 109 from the Lower Pleistocene deposits of Drimolen, Republic of South Africa. On the basis of observable morphology and available comparative metrics, DNH 109 is definitively hominin and is the smallest African Plio-Pleistocene australopith ulna yet recovered. Mediolateral and anteroposterior dimensions of the proximal diaphysis immediately distal to the m. brachialis sulcus in DNH 109 yield an elliptical area (π/4 *m-l*a-p that is smaller than the A.L. 333-38 Australopithecus afarensis subadult from Hadar. Given the unusually broad mediolateral/anteroposterior diaphyseal proportions distal to the brachialis sulcus, the osseous development of the medial and lateral borders of the sulcus, and the overall size of the specimen relative to comparative infant, juvenile, subadult and adult comparative hominid ulnae (Gorilla, Pan and Homo, it is probable that DNH 109 samples an australopith of probable juvenile age at death. As a result of the fragmentary state of preservation and absence of association with taxonomically diagnostic craniodental remains, DNH 109 cannot be provisionally assigned to any particular hominin genus (Paranthropus or Homo at present. Nonetheless, DNH 109 increases our known sample of available Plio-Pleistocene subadult early hominin postcrania.

  19. Direct radiocarbon dates for prehistoric paintings at the Altamira, El Castillo and Niaux caves

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Valladas, H.; Cachier, H.; Maurice, P.; Arnold, M.; Quiros, F.B. de; Valdes, V.C.; Uzquiano, P.


    Among things that most strikingly distinguish modern humans from other hominids and the rest of the animal kingdom is the ability to represent things and events pictorially. Complex paintings of the type discovered in the Altamira, El Castillo, Niaux and Lascaux caves represent an important stepping stone in the cultural evolution of humankind. Until now dates were derived from style or dated remains left by prehistoric visitors and could be biased by prolonged occupation or visits unrelated to painting activity. Here we report the first radiocarbon dates for the charcoal used to draw stylistically similar bisons in these caves: 14,000 ± 400 yr BP in the Spanish caves of Altamira, 12,990 ± 200 yr BP in El Castillo, and 12,890 ± 160 yr BP for a bison of different style in the French Pyrenean cave of Niaux. Our results demonstrate the imprecise nature of stylistic dating and show that painting dates derived from remains of human activities should be used with caution. (Author)

  20. The importance of the nutritive value of old bones in the diet of Bearded vultures Gypaetus barbatus. (United States)

    Margalida, Antoni; Villalba, Daniel


    Vultures are central-place foragers and need to optimize their foraging behaviour to offset travel costs by increasing their energy gain. This process is more obvious in certain vulture species that do not feed their young by regurgitation and so must carry food items back to the nest. The Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus is the only species with a bone-diet based. We analysed the chemical composition of bones and the age-related changes in their nutritive value to assess the differences in energy content between bones of differing age, body part and species. We found differences between specific anatomical parts, species and the age of the bones. Fresh bones contain 108% as much energy as fresh meat and, interestingly, dry bones retain 90% of the protein found in fresh bones. Dry femurs weighing 140 g retain enough protein to be comparable to 111 g of fresh meat, in energy terms. Compared to meat-eating species, the specialized osteophagous diet of the Bearded Vulture seems to have certain advantages. A better understanding of nutrient levels in food remains could help to improve theoretical foraging models, assist in conservation management, and even improve our understanding of the use of bones by early hominids.

  1. Evolutionary history of enigmatic bears in the Tibetan Plateau-Himalaya region and the identity of the yeti. (United States)

    Lan, Tianying; Gill, Stephanie; Bellemain, Eva; Bischof, Richard; Nawaz, Muhammad Ali; Lindqvist, Charlotte


    Although anecdotally associated with local bears ( Ursus arctos and U. thibetanus ), the exact identity of 'hominid'-like creatures important to folklore and mythology in the Tibetan Plateau-Himalaya region is still surrounded by mystery. Recently, two purported yeti samples from the Himalayas showed genetic affinity with an ancient polar bear, suggesting they may be from previously unrecognized, possibly hybrid, bear species, but this preliminary finding has been under question. We conducted a comprehensive genetic survey of field-collected and museum specimens to explore their identity and ultimately infer the evolutionary history of bears in the region. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequences determined clade affinities of the purported yeti samples in this study, strongly supporting the biological basis of the yeti legend to be local, extant bears. Complete mitochondrial genomes were assembled for Himalayan brown bear ( U. a. isabellinus ) and black bear ( U. t. laniger ) for the first time. Our results demonstrate that the Himalayan brown bear is one of the first-branching clades within the brown bear lineage, while Tibetan brown bears diverged much later. The estimated times of divergence of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayan bear lineages overlap with Middle to Late Pleistocene glaciation events, suggesting that extant bears in the region are likely descendants of populations that survived in local refugia during the Pleistocene glaciations. © 2017 The Authors.

  2. Cosmic evolution, life and man

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oro, J.


    Among the most basic problems confronting science are those regarding the origin of the universe, the origin of life and the origin of man. This general overview starts (1) with a brief introduction addressed primarily to the Cyril Ponnamperuma Memorial. Then, the thesis is presented that the appearance of life and intelligence on our planet can be understood as the result of a number of cosmic and biological evolutionary processes, including (2) the stellar thermonuclear synthesis of the biogenic elements other than hydrogen (C, N, O, P and S), their dispersal into space, and their combination into circumstellar and interstellar molecules. (3) The formation of the Solar System and the Earth-Moon System. (4) The role of comets and carbonaceous chondrites in contributing organic matter to the primitive Earth. (5) The prebiotics synthesis of amino acids, purines, pyrimidines, fatty acids, and other biochemical monomers. (6) The prebiotic condensation reactions leading to the synthesis of oligomers such as oligonucleotides and oligopeptides, with replicative and catalytic activities. (7) The synthesis of amphiphilic lipids, and their self-assembly into liposomes with bi-layered membranes. (8) The formation of protocellular structures. (9) The activation of protocells into a functioning Darwin's ancestral cell. (10) Early evolution of life. (11) The K-T boundary event and the disappearance of dinosaurs. (12) Evolution of hominids leading to Homo sapiens. (13) The rapid development of civilization. (14) The exploration of the Solar System. (15) Life beyond our planetary system. (16) Epilogue. Peace from cosmic evolution? (Abstract only)

  3. Tracking Alu evolution in New World primates

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    Batzer Mark A


    Full Text Available Abstract Background Alu elements are Short INterspersed Elements (SINEs in primate genomes that have proven useful as markers for studying genome evolution, population biology and phylogenetics. Most of these applications, however, have been limited to humans and their nearest relatives, chimpanzees. In an effort to expand our understanding of Alu sequence evolution and to increase the applicability of these markers to non-human primate biology, we have analyzed available Alu sequences for loci specific to platyrrhine (New World primates. Results Branching patterns along an Alu sequence phylogeny indicate three major classes of platyrrhine-specific Alu sequences. Sequence comparisons further reveal at least three New World monkey-specific subfamilies; AluTa7, AluTa10, and AluTa15. Two of these subfamilies appear to be derived from a gene conversion event that has produced a recently active fusion of AluSc- and AluSp-type elements. This is a novel mode of origin for new Alu subfamilies. Conclusion The use of Alu elements as genetic markers in studies of genome evolution, phylogenetics, and population biology has been very productive when applied to humans. The characterization of these three new Alu subfamilies not only increases our understanding of Alu sequence evolution in primates, but also opens the door to the application of these genetic markers outside the hominid lineage.

  4. Viable Syntax: Rethinking Minimalist Architecture

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    Ken Safir


    Full Text Available Hauser et al. (2002 suggest that the human language faculty emerged as a genetic innovation in the form of what is called here a ‘keystone factor’—a single, simple, formal mental capability that, interacting with the pre-existing faculties of hominid ancestors, caused a cascade of effects resulting in the language faculty in modern humans. They take Merge to be the keystone factor, but instead it is posited here that Merge is the pre-existing mechanism of thought made viable by a principle that permits relations interpretable at the interfaces to be mapped onto c-command. The simplified minimalist architecture proposed here respects the keystone factor as closely as possible, but is justified on the basis of linguistic analyses it makes available, including a relativized intervention theory applicable across Case, scope, agreement, selection and linearization, a derivation of the A/A’-distinction from Case theory, and predictions such as why in situ wh-interpretation is island-insensitive, but susceptible to intervention effects.

  5. Magnetochronology and stratigraphy at Gran Dolina section, Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain). (United States)

    Parés, J M; Pérez-González, A


    The Atapuerca Site (Burgos, N. Spain) is an extensive archaeological site which has yielded numerous human fossil remains. The Gran Dolina section, one of the open-air excavations and subject of this study, consists of a sedimentary infilling of 18 m thickness in a gallery originated by karstification of the host Cretaceous limestones. In this paper we present new stratigraphic and paleomagnetic evidence for the age and the sedimentary environment of the karst infilling where the archaeological site is located. Paleomagnetic dating places the hominids (Aurora stratum) in the Matuyama reversed Chron, hence before 780 ka. We also report evidence for a short normal polarity event at the bottom of the section that we speculate as being Jaramillo or Kamikatsura. The early and well-constrained date of the Atapuerca archaeological site, its location in the cul-de-sac we know as Europe, its stratigraphic context, the abundant fossil remains and the stone tool industry make it one of the most important localities for the question of the earliest human occupation in Europe. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

  6. Evaluating alternative gait strategies using evolutionary robotics. (United States)

    Sellers, William I; Dennis, Louise A; W -J, Wang; Crompton, Robin H


    Evolutionary robotics is a branch of artificial intelligence concerned with the automatic generation of autonomous robots. Usually the form of the robot is predefined and various computational techniques are used to control the machine's behaviour. One aspect is the spontaneous generation of walking in legged robots and this can be used to investigate the mechanical requirements for efficient walking in bipeds. This paper demonstrates a bipedal simulator that spontaneously generates walking and running gaits. The model can be customized to represent a range of hominoid morphologies and used to predict performance parameters such as preferred speed and metabolic energy cost. Because it does not require any motion capture data it is particularly suitable for investigating locomotion in fossil animals. The predictions for modern humans are highly accurate in terms of energy cost for a given speed and thus the values predicted for other bipeds are likely to be good estimates. To illustrate this the cost of transport is calculated for Australopithecus afarensis. The model allows the degree of maximum extension at the knee to be varied causing the model to adopt walking gaits varying from chimpanzee-like to human-like. The energy costs associated with these gait choices can thus be calculated and this information used to evaluate possible locomotor strategies in early hominids.

  7. The significance of the subplate for evolution and developmental plasticity of the human brain. (United States)

    Judaš, Miloš; Sedmak, Goran; Kostović, Ivica


    The human life-history is characterized by long development and introduction of new developmental stages, such as childhood and adolescence. The developing brain had important role in these life-history changes because it is expensive tissue which uses up to 80% of resting metabolic rate (RMR) in the newborn and continues to use almost 50% of it during the first 5 postnatal years. Our hominid ancestors managed to lift-up metabolic constraints to increase in brain size by several interrelated ecological, behavioral and social adaptations, such as dietary change, invention of cooking, creation of family-bonded reproductive units, and life-history changes. This opened new vistas for the developing brain, because it became possible to metabolically support transient patterns of brain organization as well as developmental brain plasticity for much longer period and with much greater number of neurons and connectivity combinations in comparison to apes. This included the shaping of cortical connections through the interaction with infant's social environment, which probably enhanced typically human evolution of language, cognition and self-awareness. In this review, we propose that the transient subplate zone and its postnatal remnant (interstitial neurons of the gyral white matter) probably served as the main playground for evolution of these developmental shifts, and describe various features that makes human subplate uniquely positioned to have such a role in comparison with other primates.

  8. Precuneus proportions and cortical folding: A morphometric evaluation on a racially diverse human sample. (United States)

    Bruner, Emiliano; Pereira-Pedro, Ana Sofia; Chen, Xu; Rilling, James K


    Recent analyses have suggested that the size and proportions of the precuneus are remarkably variable among adult humans, representing a major source of geometrical difference in midsagittal brain morphology. The same area also represents the main midsagittal brain difference between humans and chimpanzees, being more expanded in our species. Enlargement of the upper parietal surface is a specific feature of Homo sapiens, when compared with other fossil hominids, suggesting the involvement of these cortical areas in recent modern human evolution. Here, we provide a survey on midsagittal brain morphology by investigating whether precuneus size represents the largest component of variance within a larger and racially diverse sample of 265 adult humans. Additionally, we investigate the relationship between precuneus shape variation and folding patterns. Precuneus proportions are confirmed to be a major source of human brain variation even when racial variability is considered. Larger precuneus size is associated with additional precuneal gyri, generally in its anterior district. Spatial variation is most pronounced in the dorsal areas, with no apparent differences between hemispheres, between sexes, or among different racial groups. These dorsal areas integrate somatic and visual information together with the lateral elements of the parietal cortex, representing a crucial node for self-centered mental imagery. The histological basis and functional significance of this intra-specific variation in the upper precuneus remains to be evaluated. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  9. Testing Connections between Campanian Ignimbrite Volcanism, Climate, and the Final Decline of the Neanderthals (United States)

    Black, B. A.; Manga, M.; Neely, R. R., III


    The eruption of the Campanian Ignimbrite 40,000 years ago coincided approximately with the final decline of the Neanderthals and a technological and cultural transition from the Middle to Upper Paleolithic. Two end-member hypotheses have been advanced to explain Neanderthal decline: competition with anatomically modern humans and failure to adapt in the face of environmental stresses. The eruption of the Campanian Ignimbrite has been cited as a potentially major cause of such environmental stress. In this work, we draw on published datasets including ice core records, maps and simulations of ash dispersal, and petrologic measurements to constrain the characteristics of the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption. To investigate the climatic effects of the eruption, we use a three-dimensional sectional aerosol model to simulate the global aerosol cloud after 25 Tg and 100 Tg sulfur release scenarios. We couple these aerosol properties to a comprehensive earth system model under last glacial conditions. We find that summer temperatures were colder for several years after the eruption, with some simulations predicting temperature decreases of up to 10 degrees in Eastern Europe and Asia. While this cold interval may have impacted hominid communities in Siberia, the overall distribution of the cooling we observe in our model is inconsistent with catastrophic collapse of Neanderthal populations in Europe. Nonetheless, the volcanic cooling could have influenced daily life for a generation of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans.


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    Full Text Available The human life-history is characterized by long development and introduction of new developmental stages, such as childhood and adolescence. The developing brain had important role in these life-history changes because it is expensive tissue which uses up to 80% of resting metabolic rate in the newborn and continues to use almost 50% of it during the first 5 postnatal years. Our hominid ancestors managed to lift-up metabolic constraints to increase in brain size by several interrelated ecological, behavioral and social adaptations, such as dietary change, invention of cooking, creation of family-bonded reproductive units, and life-history changes. This opened new vistas for the developing brain, because it became possible to metabolically support transient patterns of brain organization as well as developmental brain plasticity for much longer period and with much greater number of neurons and connectivity combinations in comparison to apes. This included the shaping of cortical connections through the interaction with infant's social environment, which probably enhanced typically human evolution of language, cognition and self-awareness. In this review, we propose that the transient subplate zone and its postnatal remnant (interstitial neurons of the gyral white matter probably served as the main playground for evolution of these developmental shifts, and describe various features that makes human subplate uniquely positioned to have such a role in comparison with other primates.

  11. 40Ar/(39)Ar geochronology and paleomagnetic stratigraphy of the Lukeino and lower Chemeron Formations at Tabarin and Kapcheberek, Tugen Hills, Kenya. (United States)

    Deino, Alan L; Tauxe, Lisa; Monaghan, Marc; Hill, Andrew


    (40)Ar/(39)Ar single-crystal laser-fusion dating, K-Ar dating, and paleomagnetic reversal stratigraphy have been used to determine the chronostratigraphy of the Kabarnet Trachyte, Lukeino Formation, Kaparaina Basalt Formation, and Chemeron Formation at the sites of Kapcheberek (BPRP#77) and Tabarin (BPRP#77) in the Tugen Hills, Kenya. The succession ranges in age from 6.56-3.8 Ma. The upper Lukeino Formation at Kapcherberek, including the fauna from the site BPRP#76, was deposited during chron C3r and can be constrained to the interval 5.88-5.72 Ma. The Chemeron Formation at Tabarin includes at the base an ignimbrite and associated basal air-fall tuff with a combined age of 5.31+/-0.03 Ma. Sedimentary and volcaniclastic rocks of the Chemeron Formation which unconformably overlie the ignimbrite record chrons C3n.2n through C2Ar. The combined(40)Ar/(39)Ar and paleomagnetic data constrain the age of this sequence to 4.63-3.837 Ma. The age of the Tabarin mandible fragment (KNM-TH 13150) and associated fauna at site BPRP#77 in the Chemeron Formation is 4.48-4.41 Ma, marginally older than similar early hominids from Aramis, Ethiopia. Basin subsidence appears to be defining an overall accumulation rate of about 17 cm/ka over the 2.7 Ma represented at Tabarin and Kapcheberek, despite episodes of rapid accumulation and hiatuses. Copyright 2002 Academic Press.

  12. A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in Human APOBEC3C Enhances Restriction of Lentiviruses.

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    Cristina J Wittkopp


    Full Text Available Humans express seven human APOBEC3 proteins, which can inhibit viruses and endogenous retroelements through cytidine deaminase activity. The seven paralogs differ in the potency of their antiviral effects, as well as in their antiviral targets. One APOBEC3, APOBEC3C, is exceptional as it has been found to only weakly block viruses and endogenous retroelements compared to other APOBEC3s. However, our positive selection analyses suggest that APOBEC3C has played a role in pathogen defense during primate evolution. Here, we describe a single nucleotide polymorphism in human APOBEC3C, a change from serine to isoleucine at position 188 (I188 that confers potent antiviral activity against HIV-1. The gain-of-function APOBEC3C SNP results in increased enzymatic activity and hypermutation of target sequences when tested in vitro, and correlates with increased dimerization of the protein. The I188 is widely distributed in human African populations, and is the ancestral primate allele, but is not found in chimpanzees or gorillas. Thus, while other hominids have lost activity of this antiviral gene, it has been maintained, or re-acquired, as a more active antiviral gene in a subset of humans. Taken together, our results suggest that APOBEC3C is in fact involved in protecting hosts from lentiviruses.

  13. Narrating Palaeolithic Human Settlement History : the case of the Imjin-Hantan River Area, Korea

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    Yongwook Yoo


    Full Text Available This article intends to furnish a narrative story-telling with the broad perspective on the human past rather than simply depending on the analytical examination of archaeological data. For the purpose of this task, Ferdinand Braudel’s concept of “la longue durée” is applied to parallel the environmental background and hominid’s life/land-use patterns based on the geological data and archaeological remains. The Imjin-Hantan River Area (IHRA, known for the discovery of Acheulian-like handaxe, was occupied from ca 0.23 mya to the final Pleistocene; the hominids continuously changed their residing patterns in the landscape with actively modifying the lithic technological organization as a response to the environmental change. Integrating the geological features, absolute dates and characteristics of lithic assemblages from individual sites, we can recognize six phases of environmental changes based on the development of river channel system. These six phases witness different patterns of hominid’s adaptation in this area and correspondingly yield different mode of raw material utilization and lithic procurement. While more accurate geological dates are yet to be published and the description of lithic assemblages may be changed by new data, it is prospecting that Braudel’s la longue durée is a useful concept for meaningfully narrating a long-term human occupation history in the discipline of prehistoric archaeology.

  14. Reconstructing the plinian and co-ignimbrite sources of large volcanic eruptions: A novel approach for the Campanian Ignimbrite. (United States)

    Marti, Alejandro; Folch, Arnau; Costa, Antonio; Engwell, Samantha


    The 39 ka Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) super-eruption was the largest volcanic eruption of the past 200 ka in Europe. Tephra deposits indicate two distinct plume forming phases, Plinian and co-ignimbrite, characteristic of many caldera-forming eruptions. Previous numerical studies have characterized the eruption as a single-phase event, potentially leading to inaccurate assessment of eruption dynamics. To reconstruct the volume, intensity, and duration of the tephra dispersal, we applied a computational inversion method that explicitly accounts for the Plinian and co-ignimbrite phases and for gravitational spreading of the umbrella cloud. To verify the consistency of our results, we performed an additional single-phase inversion using an independent thickness dataset. Our better-fitting two-phase model suggests a higher mass eruption rate than previous studies, and estimates that 3/4 of the total fallout volume is co-ignimbrite in origin. Gravitational spreading of the umbrella cloud dominates tephra transport only within the first hundred kilometres due to strong stratospheric winds in our best-fit wind model. Finally, tephra fallout impacts would have interrupted the westward migration of modern hominid groups in Europe, possibly supporting the hypothesis of prolonged Neanderthal survival in South-Western Europe during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition.

  15. The evolution of violence in men: the function of central cholesterol and serotonin. (United States)

    Wallner, Bernard; Machatschke, Ivo H


    Numerous studies point to central serotonin as an important modulator of maladaptive behaviors. In men, for instance, low concentrations of this neurotransmitter are related to hostile aggression. A key player in serotonin metabolism seems to be central cholesterol. It plays a fundamental role in maintaining the soundness of neuron membranes, especially in the exocytosis transport of serotonin vesicles into the synaptic cleft. In this review, we attempt an evolutionary approach to the neurobiological basis of human male violence. Hominid evolution was shaped by periods of starvation but also by energy demands of an increasingly complex brain. A lack of food resources reduces uptake of glucose and results in a decreased energy-supply for autonomous brain cholesterol synthesis. Consequently, concentrations of neuromembrane cholesterol decrease, which lead to a failure of the presynaptic re-uptake mechanism of serotonin and ultimately to low central serotonin. We propose that starvation might have affected the larger male brains earlier than those of females. Furthermore, this neurophysiological process diminished the threshold for hostile aggression, which in effect represented a prerequisite for being a successful hunter or scavenger. In a Darwinian sense, the odds to acquire reliable energetic resources made those males to attractive spouses in terms of paternal care and mate support. To underpin these mechanisms, a hypothetical four-stage model of synaptic membrane destabilization effected by a prolonged shortage of high-energy, cholesterol-containing food is illustrated.

  16. The fossil record as a tool in cyclo stratigraphy: the incidence of Milankovitch-scale palaeoenvironmental changes on palaeocommunities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rodriguez-Tovar, F. J.


    Cyclo stratigraphic analysis at the Milankovitch scale has to date mainly been approached through the sedimentary record, although palaeontological data (the fossil record) is known to provide useful evidence of orbital-scale cycles of precession, obliquity and eccentricity. Orbit ally induced marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental changes determine variable responses on the part of the resident communities. Aside from the disruption of communities, complex evolutionary responses including stasis, speciation and extinction phenomena may take place. Cyclic variations in the marine past-biota at the community level, or in some particular taxa, have often been associated with orbit ally induced changes in palaeoenvironmental parameters. Cyclo stratigraphic research into foraminifera, radiol aria and nanno fossil data, mainly from Cretaceous sediments, may contribute significantly to our understanding of the planktonic community's response, whereas the response of the benthic community, deriving mainly from benthic foraminifera and trace fossils, has been studied to a lesser extent. Recognition of Milankovitch cycles from terrestrial palaeocommunities is relatively scarce and based mainly on the study of Pliocene-Miocene pollen assemblages. Astronomical forced climate changes determine well known variations in the distribution of terrestrial vegetation, but can also affect the terrestrial animal community, including hominid populations (migration, dispersion and colonisation). (Author)

  17. Culture, Urbanism and Changing Human Biology. (United States)

    Schell, L M


    Anthropologists have long known that human activity driven by culture changes the environment. This is apparent in the archaeological record and through the study of the modern environment. Perhaps the largest change since the paleolithic era is the organization of human populations in cities. New environments can reshape human biology through evolution as shown by the evolution of the hominid lineage. Evolution is not the only process capable of reshaping our biology. Some changes in our human biology are adaptive and evolutionary while others are pathological. What changes in human biology may be wrought by the modern urban environment? One significant new change in the environment is the introduction of pollutants largely through urbanization. Pollutants can affect human biology in myriad ways. Evidence shows that human growth, reproduction, and cognitive functioning can be altered by some pollutants, and altered in different ways depending on the pollutant. Thus, pollutants have significance for human biologists and anthropologists generally. Further, they illustrate the bio-cultural interaction characterizing human change. Humans adapt by changing the environment, a cultural process, and then change biologically to adjust to that new environment. This ongoing, interactive process is a fundamental characteristic of human change over the millennia.

  18. Ancient hunters and their modern representatives: William Sollas's (1849-1936) Anthropology from disappointed bridge to trunkless tree and the instrumentalisation of racial conflict. (United States)

    Sommer, Marianne


    During the first decades of the 20th century, many anthropologists who had previously adhered to a linear view of human evolution, from an ape via Pithecanthropus erectus (today Homo erectus) and Neanderthal to modern humans, began to change their outlook. A shift towards a branching model of human evolution began to take hold. Among the scientific factors motivating this trend was the insight that mammalian evolution in general was best represented by a branching tree, rather than by a straight line, and that several new fossil hominids were discovered that differed significantly in their morphology but seemed to date from about the same period. The ideological and practical implications of imperialism and WWI have also been identified as formative of the new evolutionary scenarios in which racial conflict played a crucial role. The paper will illustrate this general shift in anthropological theory for one particular scientist, William Sollas (1849-1936). Sollas achieved a synthesis of human morphological and cultural evolution in what I will refer to as an imperialist model. In this theoretical framework, migration, conflict, and replacement became the main mechanisms for progress spurred by 'nature's tyrant,' natural selection.

  19. Lecture One: Rediscovering Darwin for theology – Rethinking human personhood

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Wentzel van Huyssteen


    Full Text Available In a series of three articles, presented at the Goshen Annual Conference on Science and Religion in 2015, with the theme ‘Interdisciplinary Theology and the Archeology of Personhood’, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen considers the problem of human evolution – also referred to as ‘the archaeology of personhood’ – and its broader impact on theological anthropology. These Goshen Lectures explore the potentiality that the history of human evolution provides bridge theories to theological anthropology and thus to a positive and constructive way of appropriating Darwinian thought for a public, interdisciplinary Christian theology. Lecture One tracks a select number of contemporary proposals for the evolution of aspects of human personhood. These aspects were of significance for Darwin: the evolution of cognition; the evolution of imagination, music and language; the evolution of morality; and the evolution of the religious disposition. The article acknowledges the close ties to hominid ancestors and focuses on the emergence of human distinctiveness, consciousness and personhood, and the propensity for religious awareness and experience.

  20. The Paradox of Isochrony in the Evolution of Human Rhythm

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    Andrea Ravignani


    Full Text Available Isochrony is crucial to the rhythm of human music. Some neural, behavioral and anatomical traits underlying rhythm perception and production are shared with a broad range of species. These may either have a common evolutionary origin, or have evolved into similar traits under different evolutionary pressures. Other traits underlying rhythm are rare across species, only found in humans and few other animals. Isochrony, or stable periodicity, is common to most human music, but isochronous behaviors are also found in many species. It appears paradoxical that humans are particularly good at producing and perceiving isochronous patterns, although this ability does not conceivably confer any evolutionary advantage to modern humans. This article will attempt to solve this conundrum. To this end, we define the concept of isochrony from the present functional perspective of physiology, cognitive neuroscience, signal processing, and interactive behavior, and review available evidence on isochrony in the signals of humans and other animals. We then attempt to resolve the paradox of isochrony by expanding an evolutionary hypothesis about the function that isochronous behavior may have had in early hominids. Finally, we propose avenues for empirical research to examine this hypothesis and to understand the evolutionary origin of isochrony in general.

  1. The hypoglossal canal and the origin of human vocal behavior (United States)

    Kay, Richard F.; Cartmill, Matt; Balow, Michelle


    The mammalian hypoglossal canal transmits the nerve that supplies the muscles of the tongue. This canal is absolutely and relatively larger in modern humans than it is in the African apes (Pan and Gorilla). We hypothesize that the human tongue is supplied more richly with motor nerves than are those of living apes and propose that canal size in fossil hominids may provide an indication about the motor coordination of the tongue and reflect the evolution of speech and language. Canals of gracile Australopithecus, and possibly Homo habilis, fall within the range of extant Pan and are significantly smaller than those of modern Homo. The canals of Neanderthals and an early “modern” Homo sapiens (Skhul 5), as well as of African and European middle Pleistocene Homo (Kabwe and Swanscombe), fall within the range of extant Homo and are significantly larger than those of Pan troglodytes. These anatomical findings suggest that the vocal capabilities of Neanderthals were the same as those of humans today. Furthermore, the vocal abilities of Australopithecus were not advanced significantly over those of chimpanzees whereas those of Homo may have been essentially modern by at least 400,000 years ago. Thus, human vocal abilities may have appeared much earlier in time than the first archaeological evidence for symbolic behavior. PMID:9560291

  2. Gender, risk assessment, and political ambition. (United States)

    Sweet-Cushman, Jennie


    In the United States, women have long held the right to vote and can participate fully in the political process, and yet they are underrepresented at all levels of elected office. Worldwide, men's dominance in the realm of politics has also been the norm. To date, scholars have focused on supply-side and demand-side explanations of women's underrepresentation but differences in how men and women assess electoral risk (the risk involved in seeking political office) are not fully explained. To fill this gap, I explore how evolutionary theory offers insights into gendered differences in political ambition and the evaluation of electoral risk. Using the framework of life-history theory, I hypothesize that both cognitive and environmental factors in human evolution, particularly as they relate to sexual selection and social roles, have shaped the psychology of ambition in gendered ways affecting contemporary politics. Cognitive risk-assessment mechanisms evolving in the hominid line came to be expressed differently in females and males, in women and men. These gendered expressions plausibly reflect differentiable environmental pressures in the past and may help explain behaviors in and barriers to women's electoral political activity in the present. If so, then the success of efforts to increase such activity - or, regressively, to suppress it - may be better understood.

  3. Cosmic evolution, life and man

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oro, J [Houston Univ., Houston, TX (United States). Dept. of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences


    Among the most basic problems confronting science are those regarding the origin of the universe, the origin of life and the origin of man. This general overview starts (1) with a brief introduction addressed primarily to the Cyril Ponnamperuma Memorial. Then, the thesis is presented that the appearance of life and intelligence on our planet can be understood as the result of a number of cosmic and biological evolutionary processes, including (2) the stellar thermonuclear synthesis of the biogenic elements other than hydrogen (C, N, O, P and S), their dispersal into space, and their combination into circumstellar and interstellar molecules. (3) The formation of the Solar System and the Earth-Moon System. (4) The role of comets and carbonaceous chondrites in contributing organic matter to the primitive Earth. (5) The prebiotics synthesis of amino acids, purines, pyrimidines, fatty acids, and other biochemical monomers. (6) The prebiotic condensation reactions leading to the synthesis of oligomers such as oligonucleotides and oligopeptides, with replicative and catalytic activities. (7) The synthesis of amphiphilic lipids, and their self-assembly into liposomes with bi-layered membranes. (8) The formation of protocellular structures. (9) The activation of protocells into a functioning Darwin`s ancestral cell. (10) Early evolution of life. (11) The K-T boundary event and the disappearance of dinosaurs. (12) Evolution of hominids leading to Homo sapiens. (13) The rapid development of civilization. (14) The exploration of the Solar System. (15) Life beyond our planetary system. (16) Epilogue. Peace from cosmic evolution? (Abstract only).

  4. The adaptive nature of the human neurocognitive architecture: an alternative model. (United States)

    La Cerra, P; Bingham, R


    The model of the human neurocognitive architecture proposed by evolutionary psychologists is based on the presumption that the demands of hunter-gatherer life generated a vast array of cognitive adaptations. Here we present an alternative model. We argue that the problems inherent in the biological markets of ancestral hominids and their mammalian predecessors would have required an adaptively flexible, on-line information-processing system, and would have driven the evolution of a functionally plastic neural substrate, the neocortex, rather than a confederation of evolutionarily prespecified social cognitive adaptations. In alignment with recent neuroscientific evidence, we suggest that human cognitive processes result from the activation of constructed cortical representational networks, which reflect probabilistic relationships between sensory inputs, behavioral responses, and adaptive outcomes. The developmental construction and experiential modification of these networks are mediated by subcortical circuitries that are responsive to the life history regulatory system. As a consequence, these networks are intrinsically adaptively constrained. The theoretical and research implications of this alternative evolutionary model are discussed.

  5. Ancient origin and gene mosaicism of the progenitor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M Cristina Gutierrez


    Full Text Available The highly successful human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis has an extremely low level of genetic variation, which suggests that the entire population resulted from clonal expansion following an evolutionary bottleneck around 35,000 y ago. Here, we show that this population constitutes just the visible tip of a much broader progenitor species, whose extant representatives are human isolates of tubercle bacilli from East Africa. In these isolates, we detected incongruence among gene phylogenies as well as mosaic gene sequences, whose individual elements are retrieved in classical M. tuberculosis. Therefore, despite its apparent homogeneity, the M. tuberculosis genome appears to be a composite assembly resulting from horizontal gene transfer events predating clonal expansion. The amount of synonymous nucleotide variation in housekeeping genes suggests that tubercle bacilli were contemporaneous with early hominids in East Africa, and have thus been coevolving with their human host much longer than previously thought. These results open novel perspectives for unraveling the molecular bases of M. tuberculosis evolutionary success.

  6. Brain disorders and the biological role of music. (United States)

    Clark, Camilla N; Downey, Laura E; Warren, Jason D


    Despite its evident universality and high social value, the ultimate biological role of music and its connection to brain disorders remain poorly understood. Recent findings from basic neuroscience have shed fresh light on these old problems. New insights provided by clinical neuroscience concerning the effects of brain disorders promise to be particularly valuable in uncovering the underlying cognitive and neural architecture of music and for assessing candidate accounts of the biological role of music. Here we advance a new model of the biological role of music in human evolution and the link to brain disorders, drawing on diverse lines of evidence derived from comparative ethology, cognitive neuropsychology and neuroimaging studies in the normal and the disordered brain. We propose that music evolved from the call signals of our hominid ancestors as a means mentally to rehearse and predict potentially costly, affectively laden social routines in surrogate, coded, low-cost form: essentially, a mechanism for transforming emotional mental states efficiently and adaptively into social signals. This biological role of music has its legacy today in the disordered processing of music and mental states that characterizes certain developmental and acquired clinical syndromes of brain network disintegration. © The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press.

  7. Stamping, Clapping and Chanting: An Ancient Learning Pathway?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marion M. Long


    Full Text Available In this review I explore the effect of temporal integration as a means of improving learning in schoolchildren. I focus first on theorists that have linked physical activity with a positive effect on children’s learning and second to psychological studies that have established the existence of innate temporal patterns. These findings are related to a model of temporal integration that I have developed from Croce’s writings on aesthetics (1900. From philosophy to neurology, I discuss recent neurological findings relating to timing and conclude that an organ of temporal integration, regulation and coordination operates in the brain with respect to physical, intuitive and higher cognitive function. I link recent findings in neurophysiology to notably similar findings in recent biomusicological studies. The finding that humans have an involuntary physical response to loud, low-frequency sounds are attributed to an innate legacy of proto-music and proto-dance behaviour among hominids. I develop the model of temporal integration further by examining the literature on stamping and clapping patterns of ancient traditional dances in relation to Husserl’s writings on theoretical succession. From philosophy to pedagogy, I summarise the review by proposing stamping, clapping and chanting as a means of achieving improved temporal integration.

  8. Short faces, big tongues: developmental origin of the human chin.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Coquerelle

    Full Text Available During the course of human evolution, the retraction of the face underneath the braincase, and closer to the cervical column, has reduced the horizontal dimension of the vocal tract. By contrast, the relative size of the tongue has not been reduced, implying a rearrangement of the space at the back of the vocal tract to allow breathing and swallowing. This may have left a morphological signature such as a chin (mental prominence that can potentially be interpreted in Homo. Long considered an autopomorphic trait of Homo sapiens, various extinct hominins show different forms of mental prominence. These features may be the evolutionary by-product of equivalent developmental constraints correlated with an enlarged tongue. In order to investigate developmental mechanisms related to this hypothesis, we compare modern 34 human infants against 8 chimpanzee fetuses, whom development of the mandibular symphysis passes through similar stages. The study sets out to test that the shared ontogenetic shape changes of the symphysis observed in both species are driven by the same factor--space restriction at the back of the vocal tract and the associated arrangement of the tongue and hyoid bone. We apply geometric morphometric methods to extensive three-dimensional anatomical landmarks and semilandmarks configuration, capturing the geometry of the cervico-craniofacial complex including the hyoid bone, tongue muscle and the mandible. We demonstrate that in both species, the forward displacement of the mental region derives from the arrangement of the tongue and hyoid bone, in order to cope with the relative horizontal narrowing of the oral cavity. Because humans and chimpanzees share this pattern of developmental integration, the different forms of mental prominence seen in some extinct hominids likely originate from equivalent ontogenetic constraints. Variations in this process could account for similar morphologies.

  9. Validation of plaster endocast morphology through 3D CT image analysis. (United States)

    Schoenemann, P Thomas; Gee, James; Avants, Brian; Holloway, Ralph L; Monge, Janet; Lewis, Jason


    A crucial component of research on brain evolution has been the comparison of fossil endocranial surfaces with modern human and primate endocrania. The latter have generally been obtained by creating endocasts out of rubber latex shells filled with plaster. The extent to which the method of production introduces errors in endocast replicas is unknown. We demonstrate a powerful method of comparing complex shapes in 3-dimensions (3D) that is broadly applicable to a wide range of paleoanthropological questions. Pairs of virtual endocasts (VEs) created from high-resolution CT scans of corresponding latex/plaster endocasts and their associated crania were rigidly registered (aligned) in 3D space for two Homo sapiens and two Pan troglodytes specimens. Distances between each cranial VE and its corresponding latex/plaster VE were then mapped on a voxel-by-voxel basis. The results show that between 79.7% and 91.0% of the voxels in the four latex/plaster VEs are within 2 mm of their corresponding cranial VEs surfaces. The average error is relatively small, and variation in the pattern of error across the surfaces appears to be generally random overall. However, inferior areas around the cranial base and the temporal poles were somewhat overestimated in both human and chimpanzee specimens, and the area overlaying Broca's area in humans was somewhat underestimated. This study gives an idea of the size of possible error inherent in latex/plaster endocasts, indicating the level of confidence we can have with studies relying on comparisons between them and, e.g., hominid fossil endocasts. Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  10. A new species of Nyanzachoerus (Cetartiodactyla: Suidae from the late Miocene Toros-Ménalla, Chad, central Africa.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean-Renaud Boisserie

    Full Text Available During the latest Miocene and the early Pliocene, tetraconodontine suids were the most predominant large omnivorous mammals in Africa. Yet, new species were often identified on the grounds of limited evidence, a situation impacting their value for biochronological correlations as well as for environmental and biogeographical reconstructions. The description of the most abundant known collection of craniodental remains attributed to the tetraconodontine Nyanzachoerus helps to improve this situation. These specimens were collected in the upper Miocene deposits at Toros-Ménalla, northern Chad, central Africa, by the Mission Paléoanthropologique Franco-Tchadienne. We compared them with Nyanzachoerus from eastern and southern Africa, using extant species as a reference for patterns of morphological variation. Thanks to a large sample of observations, our work focused as much on craniomandibular morphology as on dental morphology and metrics (improved by an index scoring for the complexity of distal third molars and a detailed investigation of premolar-molar ratios. We recognized two taxa at Toros-Ménalla: Nyanzachoerus khinzir nov. sp. and Ny. cf. australis. We also revised the taxonomic status for other species, including: the restriction of Ny. syrticus to its holotype specimen from Sahabi (Libya, the resurrection of the nomen Ny. tulotos, and the synonymy of Ny. kuseralensis with Ny. waylandi. At Toros-Ménalla, Ny. khinzir was the only suid coexisting with the anthracotheriid Libycosaurus and the hominid Sahelanthropus, whereas Ny. cf. australis was associated with a different, probably younger faunal context. Nyanzachoerus. khinzir, which probably had a diversified diet, supports a latest Miocene biogeographical distinction between central Africa and eastern Africa.

  11. Recent evolution of the NF-κB and inflammasome regulating protein POP2 in primates

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    Harton Jonathan A


    Full Text Available Abstract Background Pyrin-only protein 2 (POP2 is a small human protein comprised solely of a pyrin domain that inhibits NF-κB p65/RelA and blocks the formation of functional IL-1β processing inflammasomes. Pyrin proteins are abundant in mammals and several, like POP2, have been linked to activation or regulation of inflammatory processes. Because POP2 knockout mice would help probe the biological role of inflammatory regulation, we thus considered whether POP2 is common in the mammalian lineage. Results BLAST searches revealed that POP2 is absent from the available genomes of not only mice and rats, but those of other domestic mammals and New World monkeys as well. POP2 is however present in the genome of the primate species most closely related to humans including Pan troglodytes (chimpanzees, Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaques and others. Interestingly, chimpanzee POP2 is identical to human POP2 (huPOP2 at both the DNA and protein level. Macaque POP2 (mqPOP2, although highly conserved is not identical to the human sequence; however, both functions of the human protein are retained. Further, POP2 appears to have arisen in the mammalian genome relatively recently (~25 mya and likely derived from retrogene insertion of NLRP2. Conclusion Our findings support the hypothesis that the NLR loci of mammals, encoding proteins involved in innate and adaptive immunity as well as mammalian development, have been subject to recent and strong selective pressures. Since POP2 is capable of regulating signaling events and processes linked to innate immunity and inflammation, its presence in the genomes of hominids and Old World primates further suggests that additional regulation of these signals is important in these species.

  12. Sexual division of labor: energetic and evolutionary scenarios. (United States)

    Panter-Brick, Catherine


    This article examines comparative energetic data on hunter-gatherers in the context of evolutionary scenarios of the sexual division of labor, with respect to both specific task allocation and overall levels of daily physical activity. The division of labor between men and women, well marked in contemporary foraging societies, was once posited as the "true watershed" for the evolution of the genus Homo. Some research on brain-wiring even links sex differences in cognitive and spatial abilities to sex-specific foraging activities. Most recent evolutionary arguments posit that men focus on hunting and women on gathering activities to realize potentially conflicting mating and parenting goals. A range of cooperative strategies (male/female and female/female) for child provisioning is also under investigation. Attention to energetic and reproductive trade-offs has usefully challenged the proposition that women are excluded from big-game hunting due to constraints of foraging ecology and reproduction. Simplistic assumptions about gender roles are thus increasingly questioned in anthropology, as well as in archaeology. Current models in behavioral ecology explore ways in which foraging practices vary with ecological circumstances, aiming to derive testable hypotheses from fine-grained data on the behavior of contemporary hunter-gatherers. Data on overall physical activity levels (PAL) can also serve to evaluate relative male/female workloads in modern groups, reconstruct hominid energy requirements and activity profiles, and examine changes with subsistence intensification. Male/female PAL ratios show that a task-specific division of labor does not readily extrapolate to 24-hour energy expenditure and that male/female differences in workloads were not necessarily reduced with the transition to agriculture. With respect to gender roles and PAL, a shift away from facile stereotypes of human behavior is evident. The challenge is to incorporate a range of behavioral

  13. Climate-mediated shifts in Neandertal subsistence behaviors at Pech de l'Azé IV and Roc de Marsal (Dordogne Valley, France). (United States)

    Hodgkins, Jamie; Marean, Curtis W; Turq, Alain; Sandgathe, Dennis; McPherron, Shannon J P; Dibble, Harold


    Neandertals disappeared from Europe just after 40,000 years ago. Some hypotheses ascribe this to numerous population crashes associated with glacial cycles in the late Pleistocene. The goal of this paper is to test the hypothesis that glacial periods stressed Neandertal populations. If cold climates stressed Neandertals, their subsistence behaviors may have changed-requiring intensified use of prey through more extensive nutrient extraction from faunal carcasses. To test this, an analysis of Neandertal butchering was conducted on medium sized bovid/cervid remains composed of predominately red deer (Cervus elaphus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), and roe deer (Capreolus caprelous) deposited during global warm and cold phases from two French sites: Pech de l'Azé IV (Pech IV, Bordes' excavation) and Roc de Marsal (RDM). Analysis of surface modification on high survival long bones and proximal and middle phalanges demonstrates that skeletal elements excavated from the cold levels (RDM Level 4, Pech IV Level I2) at each cave have more cut marks and percussion marks than elements from the warm levels (RDM Level 9, Pech IV Level Y-Z) after controlling for fragment size. At both sites, epiphyseal fragments are rare, and although this pattern can result from carnivore consumption, carnivore tooth marks are almost nonexistent (climate, but may have been a general Neandertal behavioral characteristic, suggesting that these hominids were regularly on the edge of sufficient nutrient availability even during interglacials. Overall, the faunal assemblages from Roc de Marsal and Pech IV provide some support for the hypothesis that Neandertals were processing faunal remains more heavily during glacial periods, suggesting a response to increased nutritional stress during colder time periods. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. A ~600 kyr duration Early Pleistocene record from the West Turkana (Kenya) HSPDP drill site: elemental XRF variability to reconstruct climate change in Turkana Boy's backyard (United States)

    Stockhecke, M.; Beck, C. C.; Brown, E. T.; Cohen, A.; Deino, A. L.; Feibel, C. S.; Sier, M.


    Outcrops in the Kenyan and Ethiopian rift valleys document repeated occurrences of freshwater lakes and wooded landscapes over the past 4 million years at locations that are currently seasonally-dry savanna. Studies of the rich fossil records, in combination with outcropping lacustrine sequences, led to major breakthroughs in our knowledge of driving factors in human evolution. However, study of continuous drill core from ancient lake basins provides a basis for to unravel East African climate dynamics in an unseen fashion. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), and the related Olorgesailie Drilling Project, recovered ~2 km of drill core since 2012. A major project goal is characterization of East African paleoclimate in order to evaluate its impact on hominin evolution. XRF core scanning data provide a means of evaluating records of past environmental conditions continuously and at high resolution. However, the HSPDP records contain complex lithologies reflecting repeated episodes of inundation and desiccation of the lake basins. Nevertheless, careful data evaluation based on detailed lithostratigraphy, which includes smear-slide microscopic analyses and X-radiographic images, allows disentanglement of complex signals and robust identification of continuous sequences for any cyclostratigraphic and statistical analysis. At the HSPDP Turkana Basin site a 175.6 m-long core the covers the Early Pleistocene time window during which hominids first expanded out of Africa and marine records document reorganization of tropical climate and the development of the strong Walker circulation. This drill site carries particular interest as it is located in only 2.5 km from the location of one of the most complete hominin skeletons ever recovered (Turkana Boy). Here we present a methodological approach to address the highly variable lithostratigraphy of the East African records to establish comprehensive and environmentally meaningful paleoclimate timeseries

  15. Complex pattern of variation in neurocranial ontogeny revealed by CT-scanning. (United States)

    Anzelmo, Marisol; Ventrice, Fernando; Kelmansky, Diana; Sardi, Marina


    The neurocranium of hominid species has been largely studied with reference to the midsagittal plane, with variations being attributed to brain evolution. By contrast, there is limited information on variation in non-midsagittal regions, which are the points of insertion of muscles and bony structures related to mastication. This work aims to analyze ontogenetic changes and sexual dimorphism (SD) in midsagittal and non-midsagittal neurocranial structures from a contemporary human sample comprising 138 computed tomography (CT) cranial images of individuals ranging from infants to adults. Morphology of the vault and the base was assessed by registering landmarks and semilandmarks, which were analyzed by geometric morphometrics, and the endocranial volume (EV). The results of regressions and Kruskal-Wallis test indicate that the major size and shape changes in both midsagittal and non-midsagittal regions occur during infancy and juvenility; shape changes are also associated with an increase in EV. The size of the midsagittal vault, the shape of the non-midsagittal vault and the size of the base show an extension of ontogenetic trajectories. Sexes show similar changes in shape but different changes in size. We conclude that brain growth appears to be an important factor influencing the morphology of the neurocranium, at least during infancy and childhood. Subsequent changes may be attributed to osteogenic activity and the differential growth of the brain lobes. Masticatory-related bony structures and muscles may not be strong enough factors to induce independent modifications in non-midsagittal structures. The small influence of the cranial muscles would explain why the human neurocranium is a quite integrated structure.

  16. New evidence for diet and niche partitioning in Rudapithecus and Anapithecus from Rudabánya, Hungary. (United States)

    Deane, Andrew S; Nargolwalla, Mariam C; Kordos, László; Begun, David R


    Rudabánya is rare among Eurasian Miocene fossil primate localities in preserving both a hominid and pliopithecoid, and as such provides the unique opportunity to reconstruct the nature of sympatry and niche partitioning in these taxa. Rudapithecus and Anapithecus have similar locomotor and positional behavior and overlapping body mass ranges. While prior analyses of molar occlusal anatomy and microwear identify Rudapithecus as a soft-object frugivore, reconstructing the dietary behavior of Anapithecus has been more problematic. This taxon has been interpreted to be more folivorous by some, and more frugivorous by others. Here, we use high-resolution polynomial curve fitting (HR-PCF) to quantify and evaluate the mesiodistal and cervico-incisal curvatures of the incisor crowns of Rudapithecus and Anapithecus to identify diet-specific morphological variation in these taxa. Results are consistent with the interpretation that Anapithecus and Rudapithecus were primarily frugivorous and had diets that included similar resource types. However, Anapithecus may have consumed greater amounts of foliage, similar to extant mixed folivore-frugivores (i.e., Gorilla gorilla gorilla, Symphalangus syndactylus), while Rudapithecus generated elevated compressive loads in the incisor region consistent with a specialized role for the anterior dentition in food processing (i.e., removal of tough protective fruit pericarps). We interpret these findings in light of the paleoecology at Rudabánya and conclude that, if these taxa were indeed sympatric, Anapithecus may have used additional leaf consumption as a seasonal fallback resource to avoid direct competition with Rudapithecus. Conversely, Rudapithecus may have relied on less preferred and harder fruiting resources as a seasonal fallback resource during periods of fruit scarcity. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Osteocalcin protein sequences of Neanderthals and modern primates. (United States)

    Nielsen-Marsh, Christina M; Richards, Michael P; Hauschka, Peter V; Thomas-Oates, Jane E; Trinkaus, Erik; Pettitt, Paul B; Karavanic, Ivor; Poinar, Hendrik; Collins, Matthew J


    We report here protein sequences of fossil hominids, from two Neanderthals dating to approximately 75,000 years old from Shanidar Cave in Iraq. These sequences, the oldest reported fossil primate protein sequences, are of bone osteocalcin, which was extracted and sequenced by using MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Through a combination of direct sequencing and peptide mass mapping, we determined that Neanderthals have an osteocalcin amino acid sequence that is identical to that of modern humans. We also report complete osteocalcin sequences for chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and a partial sequence for orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), all of which are previously unreported. We found that the osteocalcin sequences of Neanderthals, modern human, chimpanzee, and orangutan are unusual among mammals in that the ninth amino acid is proline (Pro-9), whereas most species have hydroxyproline (Hyp-9). Posttranslational hydroxylation of Pro-9 in osteocalcin by prolyl-4-hydroxylase requires adequate concentrations of vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid), molecular O(2), Fe(2+), and 2-oxoglutarate, and also depends on enzyme recognition of the target proline substrate consensus sequence Leu-Gly-Ala-Pro-9-Ala-Pro-Tyr occurring in most mammals. In five species with Pro-9-Val-10, hydroxylation is blocked, whereas in gorilla there is a mixture of Pro-9 and Hyp-9. We suggest that the absence of hydroxylation of Pro-9 in Pan, Pongo, and Homo may reflect response to a selective pressure related to a decline in vitamin C in the diet during omnivorous dietary adaptation, either independently or through the common ancestor of these species.

  18. Nonocclusal dental microwear analysis of 300,000-year-old Homo heilderbergensis teeth from Sima de los Huesos (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain). (United States)

    Pérez-Pérez, A; Bermúdez De Castro, J M; Arsuaga, J L


    Casts of nonocclusal enamel surfaces of 190 teeth from the Middle Pleistocene site of Sima de los Huesos have been micrographed by scanning electron microscopy. Microscopic analyses of striation density and length by orientation show distinct patterns of intrapopulation variability. Significant differences in the number and length of the striations by orientation are found between maxillary and mandibular teeth. This probably reflects differences in the mechanical forces involved in the process of chewing food. Significant differences are present between isolated and in situ teeth that could be caused by postdepositional processes differentially affecting the isolated teeth. In addition, a distinct and very unusual striation pattern is observed in a sample of teeth that can be explained only by a strong nondietary, most probably postmortem abrasion of the enamel surfaces. These teeth have a very high density of scratches, shorter in length than those found on other teeth, that are not indicative of dietary habits. No known depositional process may account for the presence of such postmortem wear since heavy transportation of materials within the clayish sediments has been discarded for the site. Despite this, a characteristic dietary striation pattern can be observed in most of the teeth analyzed. Most likely the diet of the Homo heidelbergensis hominids from Sima de los Huesos was highly abrasive, probably with a large dependence on hard, poorly processed plant foods, such as roots, stems, and seeds. A highly significant sex-related difference in the striation pattern can also be observed in the teeth analyzed, suggesting a differential consistency in the foods eaten by females and males.

  19. Behavioral, Ecological, and Evolutionary Aspects of Meat-Eating by Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii). (United States)

    Hardus, Madeleine E; Lameira, Adriano R; Zulfa, Astri; Atmoko, S Suci Utami; de Vries, Han; Wich, Serge A


    Meat-eating is an important aspect of human evolution, but how meat became a substantial component of the human diet is still poorly understood. Meat-eating in our closest relatives, the great apes, may provide insight into the emergence of this trait, but most existing data are for chimpanzees. We report 3 rare cases of meat-eating of slow lorises, Nycticebus coucang, by 1 Sumatran orangutan mother-infant dyad in Ketambe, Indonesia, to examine how orangutans find slow lorises and share meat. We combine these 3 cases with 2 previous ones to test the hypothesis that slow loris captures by orangutans are seasonal and dependent on fruit availability. We also provide the first (to our knowledge) quantitative data and high-definition video recordings of meat chewing rates by great apes, which we use to estimate the minimum time necessary for a female Australopithecus africanus to reach its daily energy requirements when feeding partially on raw meat. Captures seemed to be opportunistic but orangutans may have used olfactory cues to detect the prey. The mother often rejected meat sharing requests and only the infant initiated meat sharing. Slow loris captures occurred only during low ripe fruit availability, suggesting that meat may represent a filler fallback food for orangutans. Orangutans ate meat more than twice as slowly as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), suggesting that group living may function as a meat intake accelerator in hominoids. Using orangutan data as a model, time spent chewing per day would not require an excessive amount of time for our social ancestors (australopithecines and hominids), as long as meat represented no more than a quarter of their diet. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10764-011-9574-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

  20. From mouth to hand: gesture, speech, and the evolution of right-handedness. (United States)

    Corballis, Michael C


    The strong predominance of right-handedness appears to be a uniquely human characteristic, whereas the left-cerebral dominance for vocalization occurs in many species, including frogs, birds, and mammals. Right-handedness may have arisen because of an association between manual gestures and vocalization in the evolution of language. I argue that language evolved from manual gestures, gradually incorporating vocal elements. The transition may be traced through changes in the function of Broca's area. Its homologue in monkeys has nothing to do with vocal control, but contains the so-called "mirror neurons," the code for both the production of manual reaching movements and the perception of the same movements performed by others. This system is bilateral in monkeys, but predominantly left-hemispheric in humans, and in humans is involved with vocalization as well as manual actions. There is evidence that Broca's area is enlarged on the left side in Homo habilis, suggesting that a link between gesture and vocalization may go back at least two million years, although other evidence suggests that speech may not have become fully autonomous until Homo sapiens appeared some 170,000 years ago, or perhaps even later. The removal of manual gesture as a necessary component of language may explain the rapid advance of technology, allowing late migrations of Homo sapiens from Africa to replace all other hominids in other parts of the world, including the Neanderthals in Europe and Homo erectus in Asia. Nevertheless, the long association of vocalization with manual gesture left us a legacy of right-handedness.

  1. The developmental clock of dental enamel: a test for the periodicity of prism cross-striations in modern humans and an evaluation of the most likely sources of error in histological studies of this kind (United States)

    Antoine, Daniel; Hillson, Simon; Dean, M Christopher


    Dental tissues contain regular microscopic structures believed to result from periodic variations in the secretion of matrix by enamel- and dentine-forming cells. Counts of these structures are an important tool for reconstructing the chronology of dental development in both modern and fossil hominids. Most studies rely on the periodicity of the regular cross-banding that occurs along the long axis of enamel prisms. These prism cross-striations are widely thought to reflect a circadian rhythm of enamel matrix secretion and are generally regarded as representing daily increments of tissue. Previously, some researchers have argued against the circadian periodicity of these structures and questioned their use in reconstructing dental development. Here we tested the periodicity of enamel cross-striations – and the accuracy to which they can be used – in the developing permanent dentition of five children, excavated from a 19th century crypt in London, whose age-at-death was independently known. The interruption of crown formation by death was used to calibrate cross-striation counts. All five individuals produced counts that were strongly consistent with those expected from the independently known ages, taking into account the position of the neonatal line and factors of preservation. These results confirm that cross-striations do indeed reflect a circadian rhythm in enamel matrix secretion. They further validate their use in reconstructing dental development and in determining the age-at-death of the remains of children whose dentitions are still forming at the time of death. Significantly they identify the most likely source of error and the common difficulties encountered in histological studies of this kind. PMID:19166472

  2. Brains, tools, innovation and biogeography in crows and ravens (United States)


    Background Crows and ravens (Passeriformes: Corvus) are large-brained birds with enhanced cognitive abilities relative to other birds. They are among the few non-hominid organisms on Earth to be considered intelligent and well-known examples exist of several crow species having evolved innovative strategies and even use of tools in their search for food. The 40 Corvus species have also been successful dispersers and are distributed on most continents and in remote archipelagos. Results This study presents the first molecular phylogeny including all species and a number of subspecies within the genus Corvus. We date the phylogeny and determine ancestral areas to investigate historical biogeographical patterns of the crows. Additionally, we use data on brain size and a large database on innovative behaviour and tool use to test whether brain size (i) explains innovative behaviour and success in applying tools when foraging and (ii) has some correlative role in the success of colonization of islands. Our results demonstrate that crows originated in the Palaearctic in the Miocene from where they dispersed to North America and the Caribbean, Africa and Australasia. We find that relative brain size alone does not explain tool use, innovative feeding strategies and dispersal success within crows. Conclusions Our study supports monophyly of the genus Corvus and further demonstrates the direction and timing of colonization from the area of origin in the Palaearctic to other continents and archipelagos. The Caribbean was probably colonized from North America, although some North American ancestor may have gone extinct, and the Pacific was colonized multiple times from Asia and Australia. We did not find a correlation between relative brain size, tool use, innovative feeding strategies and dispersal success. Hence, we propose that all crows and ravens have relatively large brains compared to other birds and thus the potential to be innovative if conditions and circumstances

  3. Knuckle-walking anteater: a convergence test of adaptation for purported knuckle-walking features of African Hominidae. (United States)

    Orr, Caley M


    distal radius in the hominin lineage might be indicative of a knuckle-walking ancestry for bipedal hominins if interpreted within the biomechanical and phylogenetic context of hominid locomotor evolution. Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc

  4. Tool-use training in a species of rodent: the emergence of an optimal motor strategy and functional understanding.

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    Kazuo Okanoya

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Tool use is defined as the manipulation of an inanimate object to change the position or form of a separate object. The expansion of cognitive niches and tool-use capabilities probably stimulated each other in hominid evolution. To understand the causes of cognitive expansion in humans, we need to know the behavioral and neural basis of tool use. Although a wide range of animals exhibit tool use in nature, most studies have focused on primates and birds on behavioral or psychological levels and did not directly address questions of which neural modifications contributed to the emergence of tool use. To investigate such questions, an animal model suitable for cellular and molecular manipulations is needed. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrated for the first time that rodents can be trained to use tools. Through a step-by-step training procedure, we trained degus (Octodon degus to use a rake-like tool with their forelimbs to retrieve otherwise out-of-reach rewards. Eventually, they mastered effective use of the tool, moving it in an elegant trajectory. After the degus were well trained, probe tests that examined whether they showed functional understanding of the tool were performed. Degus did not hesitate to use tools of different size, colors, and shapes, but were reluctant to use the tool with a raised nonfunctional blade. Thus, degus understood the functional and physical properties of the tool after extensive training. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings suggest that tool use is not a specific faculty resulting from higher intelligence, but is a specific combination of more general cognitive faculties. Studying the brains and behaviors of trained rodents can provide insights into how higher cognitive functions might be broken down into more general faculties, and also what cellular and molecular mechanisms are involved in the emergence of such cognitive functions.

  5. Dragon's paradise lost: palaeobiogeography, evolution and extinction of the largest-ever terrestrial lizards (Varanidae.

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    Scott A Hocknull

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: The largest living lizard species, Varanus komodoensis Ouwens 1912, is vulnerable to extinction, being restricted to a few isolated islands in eastern Indonesia, between Java and Australia, where it is the dominant terrestrial carnivore. Understanding how large-bodied varanids responded to past environmental change underpins long-term management of V. komodoensis populations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We reconstruct the palaeobiogeography of Neogene giant varanids and identify a new (unnamed species from the island of Timor. Our data reject the long-held perception that V. komodoensis became a giant because of insular evolution or as a specialist hunter of pygmy Stegodon. Phyletic giantism, coupled with a westward dispersal from mainland Australia, provides the most parsimonious explanation for the palaeodistribution of V. komodoensis and the newly identified species of giant varanid from Timor. Pliocene giant varanid fossils from Australia are morphologically referable to V. komodoensis suggesting an ultimate origin for V. komodoensis on mainland Australia (>3.8 million years ago. Varanus komodoensis body size has remained stable over the last 900,000 years (ka on Flores, a time marked by major faunal turnovers, extinction of the island's megafauna, the arrival of early hominids by 880 ka, co-existence with Homo floresiensis, and the arrival of modern humans by 10 ka. Within the last 2000 years their populations have contracted severely. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Giant varanids were once a ubiquitous part of Subcontinental Eurasian and Australasian faunas during the Neogene. Extinction played a pivotal role in the reduction of their ranges and diversity throughout the late Quaternary, leaving only V. komodoensis as an isolated long-term survivor. The events over the last two millennia now threaten its future survival.

  6. Middle Stone Age stratigraphy and excavations at Die Kelders Cave 1 (Western Cape Province, South Africa): the 1992, 1993, and 1995 field seasons. (United States)

    Marean, C W; Goldberg, P; Avery, G; Grine, F E; Klein, R G


    Die Kelders Cave 1, first excavated under the direction of Franz Schweitzer in 1969-1973, was re-excavated between 1992 and 1995 by a combined team from the South African Museum, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Stanford University. These renewed excavations enlarged the artefactual and faunal samples from the inadequately sampled and less intensively excavated lower Middle Stone Age (MSA) layers, increased our understanding of the complex site formation processes within the cave, enlarged the hominid sample from the MSA deposits, and generated ESR, TL, and OSL dates for the MSA layers. Importantly, these new excavations dramatically improved our comprehension of the vertical and lateral characteristics of the MSA stratigraphy. Surface plotting of the MSA layers has led to the identification of at least two major zones of subsidence that significantly warped the layers, draping some along the eroding surface contours of major blocks of fallen limestone roof rock. A third zone of subsidence is probably present in the older excavations. Dramatic roof falls of very large limestone blocks occurred at least twice-once in the middle of Layer 4/5 where the roof blocks were only slightly weathered after collapse, and at the top of Layer 6 where the blocks weathered heavily after collapse, producing a zone of decomposed rock around the blocks. Many of the sandy strata are cut by small and localized faults and slippages. All of the strata documented by Schweitzer's excavations are present throughout the exposed area to the west of his excavated area, where many of them thicken and become more complex. Layer 6, the thickest MSA layer, becomes less diagenetically altered and compressed to the west. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  7. Human-Specific Histone Methylation Signatures at Transcription Start Sites in Prefrontal Neurons (United States)

    Cheung, Iris; Bharadwaj, Rahul; Chou, Hsin-Jung; Houston, Isaac B.; Peter, Cyril J.; Mitchell, Amanda C.; Yao, Wei-Dong; Myers, Richard H.; Chen, Jiang-fan; Preuss, Todd M.; Rogaev, Evgeny I.; Jensen, Jeffrey D.; Weng, Zhiping; Akbarian, Schahram


    Cognitive abilities and disorders unique to humans are thought to result from adaptively driven changes in brain transcriptomes, but little is known about the role of cis-regulatory changes affecting transcription start sites (TSS). Here, we mapped in human, chimpanzee, and macaque prefrontal cortex the genome-wide distribution of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me3), an epigenetic mark sharply regulated at TSS, and identified 471 sequences with human-specific enrichment or depletion. Among these were 33 loci selectively methylated in neuronal but not non-neuronal chromatin from children and adults, including TSS at DPP10 (2q14.1), CNTN4 and CHL1 (3p26.3), and other neuropsychiatric susceptibility genes. Regulatory sequences at DPP10 and additional loci carried a strong footprint of hominid adaptation, including elevated nucleotide substitution rates and regulatory motifs absent in other primates (including archaic hominins), with evidence for selective pressures during more recent evolution and adaptive fixations in modern populations. Chromosome conformation capture at two neurodevelopmental disease loci, 2q14.1 and 16p11.2, revealed higher order chromatin structures resulting in physical contact of multiple human-specific H3K4me3 peaks spaced 0.5–1 Mb apart, in conjunction with a novel cis-bound antisense RNA linked to Polycomb repressor proteins and downregulated DPP10 expression. Therefore, coordinated epigenetic regulation via newly derived TSS chromatin could play an important role in the emergence of human-specific gene expression networks in brain that contribute to cognitive functions and neurological disease susceptibility in modern day humans. PMID:23185133

  8. Cannabimimetic phytochemicals in the diet - an evolutionary link to food selection and metabolic stress adaptation? (United States)

    Gertsch, Jürg


    The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a major lipid signalling network that plays important pro-homeostatic (allostatic) roles not only in the nervous system but also in peripheral organs. There is increasing evidence that there is a dietary component in the modulation of the ECS. Cannabinoid receptors in hominids co-evolved with diet, and the ECS constitutes a feedback loop for food selection and energy metabolism. Here, it is postulated that the mismatch of ancient lipid genes of hunter-gatherers and pastoralists with the high-carbohydrate diet introduced by agriculture could be compensated for via dietary modulation of the ECS. In addition to the fatty acid precursors of endocannabinoids, the potential role of dietary cannabimimetic phytochemicals in agriculturist nutrition is discussed. Dietary secondary metabolites from vegetables and spices able to enhance the activity of cannabinoid-type 2 (CB 2 ) receptors may provide adaptive metabolic advantages and counteract inflammation. In contrast, chronic CB 1 receptor activation in hedonic obese individuals may enhance pathophysiological processes related to hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, hepatorenal inflammation and cardiometabolic risk. Food able to modulate the CB 1 /CB 2 receptor activation ratio may thus play a role in the nutrition transition of Western high-calorie diets. In this review, the interplay between diet and the ECS is highlighted from an evolutionary perspective. The emerging potential of cannabimimetic food as a nutraceutical strategy is critically discussed. This article is part of a themed section on Principles of Pharmacological Research of Nutraceuticals. To view the other articles in this section visit © 2016 The British Pharmacological Society.

  9. IODP Site 1476: 7.5 Million Year Record of Southeast African Climate (United States)

    Cantu, K.; Norris, R. D.


    The primary focus of IODP Expedition 361 was Southeast African Climate. Site 1476 in the northern Mozambique Channel yielded a sediment record going back roughly 7.6 million years, a time frame particularly interesting due to its relevance to hominid evolution. Previous paleoclimate studies from the region have included lake sediments and soil carbonate isotopes, which have been interpreted as showing a long-term trend toward increasing aridity. Lake Malawi records from the last 1.3 million years show a change during the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT) from high frequency variability and generally lower lake levels to higher amplitude variability and higher lake levels punctuated by long, severe droughts resulting in extreme and long-lasting low-stands. Site 1476 cores were scanned using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), which gives semi-quantitative elemental abundances. Elemental abundance ratios are used as proxies for a variety of climate-related signals, such as changes in weathering rates, the nature of terrigenous material, and grain size. Looking at the site's Fe/Ca, K/Ca, and Rb/Zr ratios, the period of 4.5 to about 1.5 million years ago shows higher terrigenous flux, higher clay flux, and a smaller grain size respectively than most of the previous 3 million years, followed by a steep decline before the MPT, before transitioning to a pattern of high amplitude oscillations post-MPT. These higher amplitude oscillations seem to correspond to Lake Malawi low stands in the post-MPT period, suggesting that the higher flux of terrigenous material to site 1476 is due to higher aridity resulting in lower vegetative cover. This data also point to high climate variability in the last million years, likely contributing to the evolution and ecological adaptability of our species.

  10. Risk and the evolution of human exchange. (United States)

    Kaplan, Hillard S; Schniter, Eric; Smith, Vernon L; Wilson, Bart J


    Compared with other species, exchange among non-kin is a hallmark of human sociality in both the breadth of individuals and total resources involved. One hypothesis is that extensive exchange evolved to buffer the risks associated with hominid dietary specialization on calorie dense, large packages, especially from hunting. 'Lucky' individuals share food with 'unlucky' individuals with the expectation of reciprocity when roles are reversed. Cross-cultural data provide prima facie evidence of pair-wise reciprocity and an almost universal association of high-variance (HV) resources with greater exchange. However, such evidence is not definitive; an alternative hypothesis is that food sharing is really 'tolerated theft', in which individuals possessing more food allow others to steal from them, owing to the threat of violence from hungry individuals. Pair-wise correlations may reflect proximity providing greater opportunities for mutual theft of food. We report a laboratory experiment of foraging and food consumption in a virtual world, designed to test the risk-reduction hypothesis by determining whether people form reciprocal relationships in response to variance of resource acquisition, even when there is no external enforcement of any transfer agreements that might emerge. Individuals can forage in a high-mean, HV patch or a low-mean, low-variance (LV) patch. The key feature of the experimental design is that individuals can transfer resources to others. We find that sharing hardly occurs after LV foraging, but among HV foragers sharing increases dramatically over time. The results provide strong support for the hypothesis that people are pre-disposed to evaluate gains from exchange and respond to unsynchronized variance in resource availability through endogenous reciprocal trading relationships.

  11. Broca's arrow: evolution, prediction, and language in the brain. (United States)

    Cooper, David L


    Brodmann's areas 44 and 45 in the human brain, also known as Broca's area, have long been associated with language functions, especially in the left hemisphere. However, the precise role Broca's area plays in human language has not been established with certainty. Broca's area has homologs in the great apes and in area F5 in monkeys, which suggests that its original function was not linguistic at all. In fact, great ape and hominid brains show very similar left-over-right asymmetries in Broca's area homologs as well as in other areas, such as homologs to Wernicke's area, that are normally associated with language in modern humans. Moreover, the so-called mirror neurons are located in Broca's area in great apes and area F5 in monkeys, which seem to provide a representation of cause and effect in a primate's environment, particularly its social environment. Humans appear to have these mirror neurons in Broca's area as well. Similarly, genetic evidence related to the FOXP2 gene implicates Broca's area in linguistic function and dysfunction, but the gene itself is a highly conserved developmental gene in vertebrates and is shared with only two or three differences between humans and great apes, five between humans and mice, and eight between humans and songbirds. Taking neurons and portions of the brain as discrete computational segments in the sense of constituting specific Turing machines, this evidence points to a predictive motor and conceptual function for Broca's area in primates, especially for social concepts. In human language, this is consistent with evidence from typological and cognitive linguistics. (c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  12. Estudios pioneros en torno al origen del lenguaje natural

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    Martínez Contreras, Jorge


    Full Text Available It has being an ancient desire to ask apes what their natural lives are. De la Mettrie was the first to propose, in the 18th C., that the sign language of deaf adults could be used with them since they do not speak. We enhance here some of the pioneering projects of the two strategies for this endeavor: the use of ASL and the utilization of lexigrams and computers. Besides the ancient communicative quest with them, the evolutionist’s perspective has seen in these studies a way to find out how the natural language (NL emerged in hominids. If it is clear that apes do no possess totally the NL, the linguistic turn in primatology has left way, as in philosophy, to more complex field and laboratory cognitive studies of less anthropocentric nature.

    Tratar de hablar con los simios y preguntarles cosas sobre su vida natural es un viejo deseo. De la Mettrie propone, en el s. XVIII, que se les enseñe el lenguaje de los sordos en vista de que no pueden hablar. Resaltamos aquí algunos estudios pioneros en relación con las dos estrategias llevadas a cabo para tratar de hablar con los simios: el uso del lenguaje americano de sordos (ASL y el de los lexigramas y computadoras. Además del viejo interés interrogativo humano hacia ellos, la perspectiva evolucionista ha visto en estos estudios un medio de investigar cómo surgió el lenguaje natural (LN en homínidos. Si queda claro que los simios no poseen totalmente el LN, el giro lingüistico en primatología ha cedido, como en filosofía, el paso a estudios cognitivos más complejos, de campo y de laboratorio, de orientación menos antropomórfica.

  13. Insights into the Toba Super-Eruption using SEM Analysis of Ash Deposits (United States)

    Gatti, E.; Achyuthan, H.; Durant, A. J.; Gibbard, P.; Mokhtar, S.; Oppenheimer, C.; Raj, R.; Shridar, A.


    The ~74 ka Youngest Toba Tuff (YTT) super-eruption of Toba volcano, Northern Sumatra, was the largest eruption of the Quaternary (magnitude M= 8.8) and injected massive quantities of volcanic gases and ash into the stratosphere. YTT deposits covered at least 40,000,000 km2 of Southeast Asia and are preserved in river valleys across peninsular India and Malaysia, and in deep-sea tephra layers in the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and South China Sea. Initial studies hypothesized the eruption caused immediate and substantial global cooling during the ~ 1 kyr between Dansgaard-Oeschger events 19 and 20 which devastated ecosystems and hominid populations. A more recent review argues against severe post-YTT climatic deterioration and cannot find clear evidence for considerable impacts on ecosystems or bio-diversity. The determination of the eruptive parameters is crucial in this issue to document the eruption and understand the potential impacts from future super-volcanic eruptions. Volcanic ash deposits can offer dramatic insights into key eruptive parameters, including magnitude, duration and plume height. The composition and shape of volcanic ashes can be used to interpret physical properties of an erupting magma and tephra transport, while textural characteristics such as grain roughness and surface vescicularity can provide insights into degassing history, volatile content and explosive activity of the volcano. We present a stratigraphic and sedimentological analysis of YTT deposits in stratified contexts at three localities in India, at two sites in Peninsular Malaysia, and at several localities around Lake Toba and on Samosir Island, Sumatra. These sites offer excellent constraints on the spatial distribution of YTT deposits which can be used to infer dispersal directions of the cloud, and provide insights into environmental controls on preservation of tephra beds. The research aims at a systematic interpretation of the Toba tephra to understand the volcanic

  14. Primate-specific spliced PMCHL RNAs are non-protein coding in human and macaque tissues

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    Delerue-Audegond Audrey


    Full Text Available Abstract Background Brain-expressed genes that were created in primate lineage represent obvious candidates to investigate molecular mechanisms that contributed to neural reorganization and emergence of new behavioural functions in Homo sapiens. PMCHL1 arose from retroposition of a pro-melanin-concentrating hormone (PMCH antisense mRNA on the ancestral human chromosome 5p14 when platyrrhines and catarrhines diverged. Mutations before divergence of hylobatidae led to creation of new exons and finally PMCHL1 duplicated in an ancestor of hominids to generate PMCHL2 at the human chromosome 5q13. A complex pattern of spliced and unspliced PMCHL RNAs were found in human brain and testis. Results Several novel spliced PMCHL transcripts have been characterized in human testis and fetal brain, identifying an additional exon and novel splice sites. Sequencing of PMCHL genes in several non-human primates allowed to carry out phylogenetic analyses revealing that the initial retroposition event took place within an intron of the brain cadherin (CDH12 gene, soon after platyrrhine/catarrhine divergence, i.e. 30–35 Mya, and was concomitant with the insertion of an AluSg element. Sequence analysis of the spliced PMCHL transcripts identified only short ORFs of less than 300 bp, with low (VMCH-p8 and protein variants or no evolutionary conservation. Western blot analyses of human and macaque tissues expressing PMCHL RNA failed to reveal any protein corresponding to VMCH-p8 and protein variants encoded by spliced transcripts. Conclusion Our present results improve our knowledge of the gene structure and the evolutionary history of the primate-specific chimeric PMCHL genes. These genes produce multiple spliced transcripts, bearing short, non-conserved and apparently non-translated ORFs that may function as mRNA-like non-coding RNAs.

  15. Coevolution of Siglec-11 and Siglec-16 via gene conversion in primates. (United States)

    Hayakawa, Toshiyuki; Khedri, Zahra; Schwarz, Flavio; Landig, Corinna; Liang, Suh-Yuen; Yu, Hai; Chen, Xi; Fujito, Naoko T; Satta, Yoko; Varki, Ajit; Angata, Takashi


    Siglecs-11 and -16 are members of the sialic acid recognizing Ig-like lectin family, and expressed in same cells. Siglec-11 functions as an inhibitory receptor, whereas Siglec-16 exhibits activating properties. In humans, SIGLEC11 and SIGLEC16 gene sequences are extremely similar in the region encoding the extracellular domain due to gene conversions. Human SIGLEC11 was converted by the nonfunctional SIGLEC16P allele, and the converted SIGLEC11 allele became fixed in humans, possibly because it provides novel neuroprotective functions in brain microglia. However, the detailed evolutionary history of SIGLEC11 and SIGLEC16 in other primates remains unclear. We analyzed SIGLEC11 and SIGLEC16 gene sequences of multiple primate species, and examined glycan binding profiles of these Siglecs. The phylogenetic tree demonstrated that gene conversions between SIGLEC11 and SIGLEC16 occurred in the region including the exon encoding the sialic acid binding domain in every primate examined. Functional assays showed that glycan binding preference is similar between Siglec-11 and Siglec-16 in all analyzed hominid species. Taken together with the fact that Siglec-11 and Siglec-16 are expressed in the same cells, Siglec-11 and Siglec-16 are regarded as paired receptors that have maintained similar ligand binding preferences via gene conversions. Relaxed functional constraints were detected on the SIGLEC11 and SIGLEC16 exons that underwent gene conversions, possibly contributing to the evolutionary acceptance of repeated gene conversions. The frequency of nonfunctional SIGLEC16P alleles is much higher than that of SIGLEC16 alleles in every human population. Our findings indicate that Siglec-11 and Siglec-16 have been maintained as paired receptors by repeated gene conversions under relaxed functional constraints in the primate lineage. The high prevalence of the nonfunctional SIGLEC16P allele and the fixation of the converted SIGLEC11 imply that the loss of Siglec-16 and the gain of

  16. The origin of malarial parasites in orangutans.

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    M Andreína Pacheco

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Recent findings of Plasmodium in African apes have changed our perspectives on the evolution of malarial parasites in hominids. However, phylogenetic analyses of primate malarias are still missing information from Southeast Asian apes. In this study, we report molecular data for a malaria parasite lineage found in orangutans. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We screened twenty-four blood samples from Pongo pygmaeus (Kalimantan, Indonesia for Plasmodium parasites by PCR. For all the malaria positive orangutan samples, parasite mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA and two antigens: merozoite surface protein 1 42 kDa (MSP-1(42 and circumsporozoite protein gene (CSP were amplified, cloned, and sequenced. Fifteen orangutans tested positive and yielded 5 distinct mitochondrial haplotypes not previously found. The haplotypes detected exhibited low genetic divergence among them, indicating that they belong to one species. We report phylogenetic analyses using mitochondrial genomes, MSP-1(42 and CSP. We found that the orangutan malaria parasite lineage was part of a monophyletic group that includes all the known non-human primate malaria parasites found in Southeast Asia; specifically, it shares a recent common ancestor with P. inui (a macaque parasite and P. hylobati (a gibbon parasite suggesting that this lineage originated as a result of a host switch. The genetic diversity of MSP-1(42 in orangutans seems to be under negative selection. This result is similar to previous findings in non-human primate malarias closely related to P. vivax. As has been previously observed in the other Plasmodium species found in non-human primates, the CSP shows high polymorphism in the number of repeats. However, it has clearly distinctive motifs from those previously found in other malarial parasites. CONCLUSION: The evidence available from Asian apes indicates that these parasites originated independently from those found in Africa, likely as the result of host

  17. Evo-Devo insights from pathological networks: exploring craniosynostosis as a developmental mechanism for modularity and complexity in the human skull. (United States)

    Esteve-Altava, Borja; Rasskin-Gutman, Diego


    Bone fusion has occurred repeatedly during skull evolution in all tetrapod lineages, leading to a reduction in the number of bones and an increase in their morphological complexity. The ontogeny of the human skull includes also bone fusions as part of its normal developmental process. However, several disruptions might cause premature closure of cranial sutures (craniosynostosis), reducing the number of bones and producing new skull growth patterns that causes shape changes. Here, we compare skull network models of a normal newborn with different craniosynostosis conditions, the normal adult stage, and phylogenetically reconstructed forms of a primitive tetrapod, a synapsid, and a placental mammal. Changes in morphological complexity of newborn-to-synostosed skulls are two to three times less than in newborn-to-adult; and even smaller when we compare them to the increases among the reconstructed ancestors in the evolutionary transitions. In addition, normal, synostosed, and adult human skulls show the same connectivity modules: facial and cranial. Differences arise in the internal structure of these modules. In the adult skull the facial module has an internal hierarchical organization, whereas the cranial module has a regular network organization. However, all newborn forms, normal and synostosed, do not reach such kind of internal organization. We conclude that the subtle changes in skull complexity at the developmental scale can change the modular substructure of the newborn skull to more integrated modules in the adult skull, but is not enough to generate radical changes as it occurs at a macroevolutionary scale. The timing of closure of craniofacial sutures, together with the conserved patterns of morphological modularity, highlights a potential relation between the premature fusion of bones and the evolution of the shape of the skull in hominids.

  18. Structural determinants of a conserved enantiomer-selective carvone binding pocket in the human odorant receptor OR1A1. (United States)

    Geithe, Christiane; Protze, Jonas; Kreuchwig, Franziska; Krause, Gerd; Krautwurst, Dietmar


    Chirality is a common phenomenon within odorants. Most pairs of enantiomers show only moderate differences in odor quality. One example for enantiomers that are easily discriminated by their odor quality is the carvones: humans significantly distinguish between the spearmint-like (R)-(-)-carvone and caraway-like (S)-(+)-carvone enantiomers. Moreover, for the (R)-(-)-carvone, an anosmia is observed in about 8% of the population, suggesting enantioselective odorant receptors (ORs). With only about 15% de-orphaned human ORs, the lack of OR crystal structures, and few comprehensive studies combining in silico and experimental approaches to elucidate structure-function relations of ORs, knowledge on cognate odorant/OR interactions is still sparse. An adjusted homology modeling approach considering OR-specific proline-caused conformations, odorant docking studies, single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, and subsequent functional studies with recombinant ORs in a cell-based, real-time luminescence assay revealed 11 amino acid positions to constitute an enantioselective binding pocket necessary for a carvone function in human OR1A1 and murine Olfr43, respectively. Here, we identified enantioselective molecular determinants in both ORs that discriminate between minty and caraway odor. Comparison with orthologs from 36 mammalian species demonstrated a hominid-specific carvone binding pocket with about 100% conservation. Moreover, we identified loss-of-function SNPs associated with the carvone binding pocket of OR1A1. Given carvone enantiomer-specific receptor activation patterns including OR1A1, our data suggest OR1A1 as a candidate receptor for constituting a carvone enantioselective phenotype, which may help to explain mechanisms underlying a (R)-(-)-carvone-specific anosmia in humans.

  19. Evolution of the Genus Homo (United States)

    Tattersall, Ian; Schwartz, Jeffrey H.


    Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5-1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis. We also point to heterogeneity among “early African Homo erectus,” and the lack of apomorphies linking these fossils to the Asian Homo erectus group, a cohesive regional clade that shows some internal variation, including brain size increase over time. The first truly cosmopolitan Homo species is Homo heidelbergensis, known from Africa, Europe, and China following 600 kyr ago. One species sympatric with it included the >500-kyr-old Sima de los Huesos fossils from Spain, clearly distinct from Homo heidelbergensis and the oldest hominids assignable to the clade additionally containing Homo neanderthalensis. This clade also shows evidence of brain size expansion with time; but although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique. Homo sapiens clearly originated in Africa, where it existed as a physical entity before it began (also in that continent) to show the first stirrings of symbolism. Most likely, the biological underpinnings of symbolic consciousness were exaptively acquired in the radical developmental reorganization that gave rise to the highly characteristic osteological structure of Homo sapiens, but lay fallow for tens of thousands of years before being “discovered” by a cultural stimulus, plausibly the invention of language.

  20. Darwin’s legacy in South African evolutionary biology

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    S. D. Johnson


    Full Text Available In the two decades after publication of the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin facilitated the publication of numerous scientific papers by settler naturalists in South Africa. This helped to establish the strong tradition of natural history which has characterised evolutionary research in South African museums, herbaria and universities. Significant developments in the early 20th century included the hominid fossil discoveries of Raymond Dart, Robert Broom, and others, but there was otherwise very little South African involvement in the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s. Evolutionary biology developed into a distinct discipline in South Africa during the 1970s and 1980s when it was dominated by mammalian palaeontology and a vigorous debate around species concepts. In the post-apartheid era, the main focus of evolutionary biology has been the construction of phylogenies for African plants and animals using molecular data, and the use of these phylogenies to answer questions about taxonomic classification and trait evolution. South African biologists have also recently contributed important evidence for some of Darwin’s ideas about plant–animal coevolution, sexual selection, and the role of natural selection in speciation. A bibliographic analysis shows that South African authors produce 2–3% of the world’s publications in the field of evolutionary biology, which is much higher than the value of about 0.5% for publications in all sciences. With its extraordinary biodiversity and well-developed research infrastructure, South Africa is an ideal laboratory from which to advance evolutionary research.

  1. Les hominoïdes fossiles : une aide pour l’éducation en Afrique Fossil hominoids: an educational help in Africa

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    Brigitte Senut


    Full Text Available L’Afrique est un continent privilégié pour décrypter notre histoire partagée avec celle des grands singes et comprendre l’émergence de notre famille en rapport avec l’environnement. Aujourd’hui de nombreuses expéditions  internationales mènent des recherches sur le continent et plus spécialement dans les pays d’Afrique orientale. Le riche patrimoine fossile découvert dans des endroits souvent isolés est transféré dans les musées nationaux, (créés le plus souvent par des expatriés et situés dans les capitales où l’accès y est plus facile pour les chercheurs internationaux, mais souvent difficile voire impossible pour les gens qui habitent près des sites fossilifères. Que se passe-t-il au niveau local ? Le plus souvent, les populations ont été marginalisées, des sentiments de frustration sont apparus, notamment en raison de la grande médiatisation des découvertes de laquelle les locaux sont souvent exclus. Or, ce sont ces populations locales qui sont les gardiennes du patrimoine. Les choses changent progressivement et aujourd’hui, de plus en plus de chercheurs de terrain s’impliquent dans la vie locale et les besoins locaux. Notre engagement de scientifique en tant que citoyen est fondamental : l’éducation est un droit pour tous, comme cela est signalé dans la déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme. Dans le cadre des travaux entrepris en Afrique avec l’équipe, des grands singes et des hominidés fossiles ont été découverts dans trois pays africains sur lesquels cet article est focalisé : l’Ouganda, le Kenya et la Namibie ; ces données montrent que l’évolution des grands singes ne s’est pas déroulée exclusivement en Afrique orientale, mais bien sur l’ensemble du continent, comme cela a été confirmé plus récemment par des découvertes en Afrique centrale et occidentale. Ces découvertes ont été réalisées avec des citoyens de chacun de ces pays et ont donné lieu

  2. Delineation of separate brain regions used for scientific versus engineering modes of thinking (United States)

    Patterson, Clair C.


    Powerful, latent abilities for extreme sophistication in abstract rationalization as potential biological adaptive behavioral responses were installed entirely through accident and inadvertence by biological evolution in the Homo sapiens sapiens species of brain. These potentials were never used, either in precursor species as factors in evolutionary increase in hominid brain mass, nor in less sophisticated forms within social environments characterized by Hss tribal brain population densities. Those latent abilities for unnatural biological adaptive behavior were forced to become manifest in various ways by growths in sophistication of communication interactions engendered by large growths in brain population densities brought on by developments in agriculture at the onset of the Holocene. It is proposed that differences probably exist between regions of the Hss brain involved in utilitarian, engineering types of problem conceptualization-solving versus regions of the brain involved in nonutilitarian, artistic-scientific types of problem conceptualization-solving. Populations isolated on separate continents from diffusive contact and influence on cultural developments, and selected for comparison of developments during equivalent stages of technological and social sophistication in matching 4000 year periods, show, at the ends of those periods, marked differences in aesthetic attributes expressed in cosmogonies, music, and writing (nonutilitarian thinking related to science and art). On the other hand the two cultures show virtually identical developments in three major stages of metallurgical technologies (utilitarian thinking related to engineering). Such archaeological data suggest that utilitarian modes of thought may utilize combinations of neuronal circuits in brain regions that are conserved among tribal populations territorially separated from each other for tens of thousands of years. Such conservation may not be true for neuronal circuits involved in

  3. On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language (United States)

    Lieberman, Philip


    the brains of human beings and other species provides insight into the evolution of the brain bases of human language. The neural substrate that regulated motor control in the common ancestor of apes and humans most likely was modified to enhance cognitive and linguistic ability. Speech communication played a central role in this process. However, the process that ultimately resulted in the human brain may have started when our earliest hominid ancestors began to walk.

  4. Variation among early Homo crania from Olduvai Gorge and the Koobi Fora region. (United States)

    Rightmire, G P


    Fossils recognized as early Homo were discovered first at Olduvai Gorge in 1959 and 1960. Teeth, skull parts and hand bones representing three individuals were found in Bed I, and more material followed from Bed I and lower Bed II. By 1964, L.S.B. Leakey, P.V. Tobias, and J.R. Napier were ready to name Homo habilis. But almost as soon as they had, there was confusion over the hypodigm of the new species. Tobias himself suggested that OH 13 resembles Homo erectus from Java, and he noted that OH 16 has teeth as large as those of Australopithecus. By the early 1970s, however, Tobias had put these thoughts behind him and returned to the opinion that all of the Olduvai remains are Homo habilis. At about this time, important discoveries began to flow from the Koobi Fora region in Kenya. To most observers, crania such as KNM-ER 1470 confirmed the presence of Homo in East Africa at an early date. Some of the other specimens were problematical. A.C. Walker and R.E. Leakey raised the possibility that larger skulls including KNM-ER 1470 differ significantly from smaller-brained, small-toothed individuals such as KNM-ER 1813. Other workers emphasized that there are differences of shape as well as size among the hominids from Koobi Fora. There is now substantial support for the view that in the Turkana and perhaps also in the Olduvai assemblages, there is more variation than would be expected among male and female conspecifics. One way to approach this question of sorting would be to compare all of the new fossils against the original material from Olduvai which was used to characterize Homo habilis in 1964. A problem is that the Olduvai remains are fragmentary, and none of them provides much information about vault form or facial structure. An alternative is to work first with the better crania, even if these are from other sites. I have elected to treat KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 as key individuals. Comparisons are based on discrete anatomy and measurements. Metric results

  5. Macromammalian faunas, biochronology and palaeoecology of the early Pleistocene Main Quarry hominin-bearing deposits of the Drimolen Palaeocave System, South Africa. (United States)

    Adams, Justin W; Rovinsky, Douglass S; Herries, Andy I R; Menter, Colin G


    The Drimolen Palaeocave System Main Quarry deposits (DMQ) are some of the most prolific hominin and primate-bearing deposits in the Fossil Hominids of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 1990s, excavations into the DMQ have yielded a demographically diverse sample of Paranthropus robustus (including DNH 7, the most complete cranium of the species recovered to date), early Homo, Papio hamadryas robinsoni and Cercopithecoides williamsi. Alongside the hominin and primate sample is a diverse macromammalian assemblage, but prior publications have only provided a provisional species list and an analysis of the carnivores recovered prior to 2008. Here we present the first description and analysis of the non-primate macromammalian faunas from the DMQ, including all 826 taxonomically identifiable specimens catalogued from over two decades of excavation. We also provide a biochronological interpretation of the DMQ deposits and an initial discussion of local palaeoecology based on taxon representation.The current DMQ assemblage consists of the remains of minimally 147 individuals from 9 Orders and 14 Families of mammals. The carnivore assemblage described here is even more diverse than established in prior publications, including the identification of Megantereon whitei, Lycyaenops silberbergi, and first evidence for the occurrence of Dinofelis cf. barlowi and Dinofelis aff. piveteaui within a single South African site deposit. The cetartiodactyl assemblage is dominated by bovids, with the specimen composition unique in the high recovery of horn cores and dominance of Antidorcas recki remains. Other cetartiodactyl and perissodactyl taxa are represented by few specimens, as are Hystrix and Procavia; the latter somewhat surprisingly so given their common occurrence at penecontemporaneous deposits in the region. Equally unusual (particularly given the size of the sample) is the identification of single specimens of giraffoid, elephantid and aardvark

  6. The first hominin from the early Pleistocene paleocave of Haasgat, South Africa. (United States)

    Leece, A B; Kegley, Anthony D T; Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Herries, Andy I R; Hemingway, Jason; Kgasi, Lazarus; Potze, Stephany; Adams, Justin W


    Haasgat is a primate-rich fossil locality in the northeastern part of the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we report the first hominin identified from Haasgat, a partial maxillary molar (HGT 500), that was recovered from an ex situ calcified sediment block sampled from the locality. The in situ fossil bearing deposits of the Haasgat paleokarstic deposits are estimated to date to slightly older than 1.95 Ma based on magnetobiostratigraphy. This places the hominin specimen at a critical time period in South Africa that marks the last occurrence of Australopithecus around 1.98 Ma and the first evidence of Paranthropus and Homo in the region between ∼2.0 and 1.8 Ma. A comprehensive morphological evaluation of the Haasgat hominin molar was conducted against the current South African catalogue of hominin dental remains and imaging analyses using micro-CT, electron and confocal microscopy. The preserved occlusal morphology is most similar to Australopithecus africanus or early Homo specimens but different from Paranthropus. Occlusal linear enamel thickness measured from micro-CT scans provides an average of ∼2.0 mm consistent with Australopithecus and early Homo. Analysis of the enamel microstructure suggests an estimated periodicity of 7-9 days. Hunter-Schreger bands appear long and straight as in some Paranthropus, but contrast with this genus in the short shape of the striae of Retzius. Taken together, these data suggests that the maxillary fragment recovered from Haasgat best fits within the Australopithecus-early Homo hypodigms to the exclusion of the genus Paranthropus. At ∼1.95 Ma this specimen would either represent another example of late occurring Australopithecus or one of the earliest examples of Homo in the region. While the identification of this first hominin specimen from Haasgat is not unexpected given the composition of other South African penecontemporaneous site deposits, it represents one of the few hominin

  7. Macromammalian faunas, biochronology and palaeoecology of the early Pleistocene Main Quarry hominin-bearing deposits of the Drimolen Palaeocave System, South Africa

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    Justin W. Adams


    Full Text Available The Drimolen Palaeocave System Main Quarry deposits (DMQ are some of the most prolific hominin and primate-bearing deposits in the Fossil Hominids of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 1990s, excavations into the DMQ have yielded a demographically diverse sample of Paranthropus robustus (including DNH 7, the most complete cranium of the species recovered to date, early Homo, Papio hamadryas robinsoni and Cercopithecoides williamsi. Alongside the hominin and primate sample is a diverse macromammalian assemblage, but prior publications have only provided a provisional species list and an analysis of the carnivores recovered prior to 2008. Here we present the first description and analysis of the non-primate macromammalian faunas from the DMQ, including all 826 taxonomically identifiable specimens catalogued from over two decades of excavation. We also provide a biochronological interpretation of the DMQ deposits and an initial discussion of local palaeoecology based on taxon representation.The current DMQ assemblage consists of the remains of minimally 147 individuals from 9 Orders and 14 Families of mammals. The carnivore assemblage described here is even more diverse than established in prior publications, including the identification of Megantereon whitei, Lycyaenops silberbergi, and first evidence for the occurrence of Dinofelis cf. barlowi and Dinofelis aff. piveteaui within a single South African site deposit. The cetartiodactyl assemblage is dominated by bovids, with the specimen composition unique in the high recovery of horn cores and dominance of Antidorcas recki remains. Other cetartiodactyl and perissodactyl taxa are represented by few specimens, as are Hystrix and Procavia; the latter somewhat surprisingly so given their common occurrence at penecontemporaneous deposits in the region. Equally unusual (particularly given the size of the sample is the identification of single specimens of giraffoid, elephantid

  8. Virtual Exploration of Earth's Evolution (United States)

    Anbar, A. D.; Bruce, G.; Semken, S. C.; Summons, R. E.; Buxner, S.; Horodyskyj, L.; Kotrc, B.; Swann, J.; Klug Boonstra, S. L.; Oliver, C.


    Traditional introductory STEM courses often reinforce misconceptions because the large scale of many classes forces a structured, lecture-centric model of teaching that emphasizes delivery of facts rather than exploration, inquiry, and scientific reasoning. This problem is especially acute in teaching about the co-evolution of Earth and life, where classroom learning and textbook teaching are far removed from the immersive and affective aspects of field-based science, and where the challenges of taking large numbers of students into the field make it difficult to expose them to the complex context of the geologic record. We are exploring the potential of digital technologies and online delivery to address this challenge, using immersive and engaging virtual environments that are more like games than like lectures, grounded in active learning, and deliverable at scale via the internet. The goal is to invert the traditional lecture-centric paradigm by placing lectures at the periphery and inquiry-driven, integrative virtual investigations at the center, and to do so at scale. To this end, we are applying a technology platform we devised, supported by NASA and the NSF, that integrates a variety of digital media in a format that we call an immersive virtual field trip (iVFT). In iVFTs, students engage directly with virtual representations of real field sites, with which they interact non-linearly at a variety of scales via game-like exploration while guided by an adaptive tutoring system. This platform has already been used to develop pilot iVFTs useful in teaching anthropology, archeology, ecology, and geoscience. With support the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, we are now developing and evaluating a coherent suite of ~ 12 iVFTs that span the sweep of life's history on Earth, from the 3.8 Ga metasediments of West Greenland to ancient hominid sites in East Africa. These iVFTs will teach fundamental principles of geology and practices of scientific inquiry, and expose

  9. Chromosomal evolution of the PKD1 gene family in primates

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    Krawczak Michael


    Full Text Available Abstract Background The autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD is mostly caused by mutations in the PKD1 (polycystic kidney disease 1 gene located in 16p13.3. Moreover, there are six pseudogenes of PKD1 that are located proximal to the master gene in 16p13.1. In contrast, no pseudogene could be detected in the mouse genome, only a single copy gene on chromosome 17. The question arises how the human situation originated phylogenetically. To address this question we applied comparative FISH-mapping of a human PKD1-containing genomic BAC clone and a PKD1-cDNA clone to chromosomes of a variety of primate species and the dog as a non-primate outgroup species. Results Comparative FISH with the PKD1-cDNA clone clearly shows that in all primate species studied distinct single signals map in subtelomeric chromosomal positions orthologous to the short arm of human chromosome 16 harbouring the master PKD1 gene. Only in human and African great apes, but not in orangutan, FISH with both BAC and cDNA clones reveals additional signal clusters located proximal of and clearly separated from the PKD1 master genes indicating the chromosomal position of PKD1 pseudogenes in 16p of these species, respectively. Indeed, this is in accordance with sequencing data in human, chimpanzee and orangutan. Apart from the master PKD1 gene, six pseudogenes are identified in both, human and chimpanzee, while only a single-copy gene is present in the whole-genome sequence of orangutan. The phylogenetic reconstruction of the PKD1-tree reveals that all human pseudogenes are closely related to the human PKD1 gene, and all chimpanzee pseudogenes are closely related to the chimpanzee PKD1 gene. However, our statistical analyses provide strong indication that gene conversion events may have occurred within the PKD1 family members of human and chimpanzee, respectively. Conclusion PKD1 must have undergone amplification very recently in hominid evolution. Duplicative

  10. New dates reignite human evolution debate

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nolch, G.


    Australian research into the Asian fossil record is unearthing controversial evidence with implications for the evolution of humans. Dr Jian-xin Zhao and Prof Ken Collerson from the University of Queensland's Department of Earth Sciences have been studying the fossil record in East Asia for clues to the early migration of hominids out of Africa in collaboration with Chinese archaeologists Dr Kai Hu of Nanjing University and Hankui Xu of Nanjing Institute of Palaeontology, Academia Sinica. Together they have been studying the remains of Nanjing Man, the name given to two Homo erectus skulls and the tooth of a third individual discovered in Tangshan Cave 250 km north-west of Shanghai. Dr Zhao and Prof Collerson have now employed more accurate dating techniques and materials, using a mass spectrometer to analyse the amounts of thorium-230 and uranium-234 in a calcite flowstone above the Nanjing Man fossil bed. Unlike fossil teeth, uranium and thorium became locked into the flowstone's crystal lattice when the calcite became crystallised. Because of this, the U-series decay in the calcite reliably records when the calcite crystallised. Taking into account the half-lives of uranium-234 and thorium-230, Dr Zhao and Prof Collerson determined the age of the calcite flowstone to be 577,000 years old (+44,000/-34,000 years). As the flowstone overlies the fossil bed, this date only defines the minimum age of the Nanjing Man fossil bed. For comparison, the dentine and enamel components of one fossil deer tooth collected from the Nanjing Man fossil bed yielded discordant mass spectrometric U-series ages of 388,000 and 130,100 years, respectively. Dr Zhao says that this 'strongly demonstrates the unreliability of fossil teeth as a chronometer'. Other evidence in the sediments surrounding the fossils has been the presence of flora and fauna that are typical of a glacial period. Dr Zhao therefore believes that the skulls could have been deposited during a glacial period

  11. The environmental context of human evolutionary history in Eurasia and Africa. (United States)

    Elton, Sarah


    This review has three main aims: (1) to make specific predictions about the habitat of the hypothetical last common ancestor of the chimpanzee/bonobo-human clade; (2) to outline the major trends in environments between 8-6 Ma and the late Pleistocene; and (3) to pinpoint when, and in some cases where, human ancestors evolved to cope with the wide range of habitats they presently tolerate. Several lines of evidence indicate that arboreal environments, particularly woodlands, were important habitats for late Miocene hominids and hominins, and therefore possibly for the last common ancestor of the chimpanzee/bonobo-human clade. However, as there is no clear candidate for this last common ancestor, and because the sampling of fossils and past environments is inevitably patchy, this prediction remains a working hypothesis at best. Nonetheless, as a primate, it is expected that the last common ancestor was ecologically dependent on trees in some form. Understanding past environments is important, as palaeoenvironmental reconstructions provide the context for human morphological and behavioural evolution. Indeed, the impact of climate on the evolutionary history of our species has long been debated. Since the mid-Miocene, the Earth has been experiencing a general cooling trend accompanied by aridification, which intensified during the later Pliocene and Pleistocene. Numerous climatic fluctuations, as well as local, regional and continental geography that influenced weather patterns and vegetation, created hominin environments that were dynamic in space and time. Behavioural flexibility and cultural complexity were crucial aspects of hominin expansion into diverse environments during the Pleistocene, but the ability to exploit varied and varying habitats was established much earlier in human evolutionary history. The development of increasingly complex tool technology facilitated re-expansion into tropical forests. These environments are difficult for obligate bipeds to

  12. Organization of the lithic production and use-wear analysis from Middle Paleolithic site of Abric Romaní. Level Ja (Capellades, Barcelona, Spain

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    Martínez, Kenneth


    Full Text Available The fieldwork from layer Ja at Abric Romaní provides some interesting insights on the examination of patterns of late premodern hominid behavior The reconstruction of châine opératoire and use-wear analysis point out planning in the consumption of raw materials and in the design of stone tools for specific tasks. The archaeological record shows complexity in the settlement system and intrasite context, likewise, the land use depends mainly on the curation of tools through transport of cores, like reserve of tools, and retouched tools. The flakes were versatile tools; working wood, hide and participating in butchering activities and denticulates were used mainly on wood, probably to make points. So far, this work seeks to understand Middle Paleolithic way of life in its own right without comparing it with a hypothetical model of modern behavior.

    La intervención arqueológica del nivel Ja del Abric Romaní ha aportado una información muy valiosa para comprender los patrones conductuales de los últimos homínidos arcaicos. La reconstrucción de la organización de la producción lítica y los análisis funcionales indican una planificación a la hora de gestionar la materia prima y en el diseño de los útiles según tareas específicas. El registro arqueológico muestra una estructuración compleja de las ocupaciones en el interior del abrigo, así como una organización a escala regional de las ocupaciones. La explotación del entorno dependía principalmente de una gestión cuidada de la materia prima mediante el desplazamiento por el territorio de núcleos, como reserva de útiles, y de objetos retocados. Las lascas fueron útiles versátiles, trabajaron tanto madera como piel, y también participaron en actividades de carnicería. Por su parte, los denticulados fueron utilizados para trabajar madera, probablemente para elaborar puntas en este material. Por tanto, el presente artículo intenta comprender el modo de vida de

  13. Muscle-specific integrins in masseter muscle fibers of chimpanzees: an immunohistochemical study.

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    Gianluigi Vaccarino


    Full Text Available Most notably, recent comparative genomic analyses strongly indicate that the marked differences between modern human and chimpanzees are likely due more to changes in gene regulation than to modifications of the genes. The most peculiar aspect of hominoid karyotypes is that human have 46 chromosomes whereas gorillas and chimpanzees have 48. Interestingly, human and chimpanzees do share identical inversions on chromosome 7 and 9 that are not evident in the gorilla karyotype. Thus, the general phylogeny suggests that humans and chimpanzees are sister taxa; based on this, it seems that human-chimpanzee sequence similarity is an astonishing 99%. At this purpose, of particular interest is the inactivation of the myosin heavy chain 16 (MYH16 gene, most prominently expressed in the masticatory muscle of mammals. It has been showed that the loss of this gene in humans may have resulted in smaller masticatory muscle and consequential changes to cranio-facial morphology and expansion of the human brain case. Powerful masticatory muscles are found in most primates; contrarily, in both modern and fossil member Homo, these muscles are considerably smaller. The evolving hominid masticatory apparatus shifted towards a pattern of gracilization nearly simultaneously with accelerated encephalization in early Homo. To better comprehend the real role of the MYH16 gene, we studied the primary proteins present in the muscle fibers of humans and non-humans, in order to understand if they really can be influenced by MYH16 gene. At this aim we examined the muscle-specific integrins, alpha 7B and beta 1D-integrins, and their relative fetal isoforms, alpha 7A and beta 1A-integrins, analyzing, by immunohistochemistry, muscle biopsies of two components of a chimpanzee's group in captivity, an alpha male and a non-alpha male subjects; all these integrins participate in vital biological processes such as maintenance of tissue integrity, embryonic development, cell

  14. The Carbon Crisis: An Evolutionary Perspective (United States)

    Peacock, K.


    By the 'carbon crisis' I mean the coupled crises of the depletion of the highest-EROI sources of fossil fuels and the global warming caused by our use of those fossil fuels. (EROI means 'energy return on energy investment'; Hall 2011.) While global warming is arguably more urgent, either of these factors would sooner or later be sufficient by itself to call a halt to our global-scale, energy-intensive, high technology economy. In lethal combination, they threaten to drastically reduce the capacity of the planet to support 7+ billion talking hominids. I will pull the camera back for a very long view and characterize the carbon crisis and our possible responses to it from an evolutionary and ecological perspective. It remains unclear why sapiens emerged rather suddenly as the most successful member of the family Homo about 50 to 60 kya; some argue that this neurological explosion could be due to our ancestors having survived the rigors of the Toba population bottleneck, which presumably would have favoured high adaptability (Ambrose 1998). Whatever the cause, Paleolithic humans deployed an unprecedented combination of technological and social ingenuity (the capacity for adaptive social organization; Homer-Dixon 2001). Aided by the relatively benign climate of the Holocene and ultimately by our increasing ability to tap into the resources of the 'found' ecology, especially the vast stores of hydrocarbons bequeathed by the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, our population has grown exponentially to its present unsteady pinnacle of (possibly) temporary reproductive success. The question now is what happens next. It was human ingenuity that got us through the ice age, put footprints on the Moon, and brought us to this crisis point; now, only human ingenuity (both social and technical) can get us past it. Our species will finally achieve a sustainable mode of existence on this planet when (in E. Odum's words; 1973) 'the present-day concept of ';unlimited exploitation of

  15. Ecocultural range-expansion scenarios for the replacement or assimilation of Neanderthals by modern humans. (United States)

    Wakano, Joe Yuichiro; Gilpin, William; Kadowaki, Seiji; Feldman, Marcus W; Aoki, Kenichi


    Recent archaeological records no longer support a simple dichotomous characterization of the cultures/behaviors of Neanderthals and modern humans, but indicate much cultural/behavioral variability over time and space. Thus, in modeling the replacement or assimilation of Neanderthals by modern humans, it is of interest to consider cultural dynamics and their relation to demographic change. The ecocultural framework for the competition between hominid species allows their carrying capacities to depend on some measure of the levels of culture they possess. In the present study both population densities and the densities of skilled individuals in Neanderthals and modern humans are spatially distributed and subject to change by spatial diffusion, ecological competition, and cultural transmission within each species. We analyze the resulting range expansions in terms of the demographic, ecological and cultural parameters that determine how the carrying capacities relate to the local densities of skilled individuals in each species. Of special interest is the case of cognitive and intrinsic-demographic equivalence of the two species. The range expansion dynamics may consist of multiple wave fronts of different speeds, each of which originates from a traveling wave solution. Properties of these traveling wave solutions are mathematically derived. Depending on the parameters, these traveling waves can result in replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans, or assimilation of the former by the latter. In both the replacement and assimilation scenarios, the first wave of intrusive modern humans is characterized by a low population density and a low density of skilled individuals, with implications for archaeological visibility. The first invasion is due to weak interspecific competition. A second wave of invasion may be induced by cultural differences between moderns and Neanderthals. Spatially and temporally extended coexistence of the two species, which would have

  16. HOXD-AS1 is a novel lncRNA encoded in HOXD cluster and a marker of neuroblastoma progression revealed via integrative analysis of noncoding transcriptome (United States)


    Background Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) constitute a major, but poorly characterized part of human transcriptome. Recent evidence indicates that many lncRNAs are involved in cancer and can be used as predictive and prognostic biomarkers. Significant fraction of lncRNAs is represented on widely used microarray platforms, however they have usually been ignored in cancer studies. Results We developed a computational pipeline to annotate lncRNAs on popular Affymetrix U133 microarrays, creating a resource allowing measurement of expression of 1581 lncRNAs. This resource can be utilized to interrogate existing microarray datasets for various lncRNA studies. We found that these lncRNAs fall into three distinct classes according to their statistical distribution by length. Remarkably, these three classes of lncRNAs were co-localized with protein coding genes exhibiting distinct gene ontology groups. This annotation was applied to microarray analysis which identified a 159 lncRNA signature that discriminates between localized and metastatic stages of neuroblastoma. Analysis of an independent patient cohort revealed that this signature differentiates also relapsing from non-relapsing primary tumors. This is the first example of the signature developed via the analysis of expression of lncRNAs solely. One of these lncRNAs, termed HOXD-AS1, is encoded in HOXD cluster. HOXD-AS1 is evolutionary conserved among hominids and has all bona fide features of a gene. Studying retinoid acid (RA) response of SH-SY5Y cell line, a model of human metastatic neuroblastoma, we found that HOXD-AS1 is a subject to morphogenic regulation, is activated by PI3K/Akt pathway and itself is involved in control of RA-induced cell differentiation. Knock-down experiments revealed that HOXD-AS1 controls expression levels of clinically significant protein-coding genes involved in angiogenesis and inflammation, the hallmarks of metastatic cancer. Conclusions Our findings greatly extend the number of

  17. Greening of the Sahara - a paleo perspective on the history of water in the Middle East and North Africa (United States)

    Bar-Matthews, M.


    The Middle-East, mostly at its southern edge together with North Africa, the northern edge of the Sahara Desert, are located at the boundary between high- to-mid latitude and tropical-subtropical climate systems. The geographical duality of desert adjacent to Mediterranean-type climate regions played and still plays a major role on the water availability. Thanks to the number of important paleoclimate studies that been made on accurate dating of cave speleothems in Southern Arabia and Oman (Fleitmann et al., 2011) and in the northeast Sahara, the Negev Desert Israel (Vaks et al., 2010) and the study of sapropels in Eastern and central Mediterranean (Almogi-Labin et al., 2009; Osborne et al, 2008), it is clear that the region was graced with water during peak interglacials when the African monsoon and westerly storm/rainfall systems intensified. Northward penetration of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone over the Arabian and African continents resulted in increased discharge of the Nile River and rivers that emerged from central Sahara into the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Correspondingly, enhanced westerly wind activity led to an increase in rainfall from Atlantic-Mediterranean sources over the entire Mediterranean basin, which even penetrated south into the north-east corner of the Sahara Desert. The Saharo-Arabian Desert became narrower and climatic "windows" opened for the dispersal of hominids and animals out of the African continent at 250-239, 210-193, 138-120, 108-98, 87-84 and 10-6.5 ka BP, with severe dry conditions in between. Greening of the Sahara Desert at these intervals is supported also by various marine and terrestrial records, such as corals, lakes, tufa deposits and archeological findings. Dry conditions prevailed in the Sahara desert during glacials. This is in contrast to the climatic conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean coastal region and the Jordan Rift Valley (Bar-Matthews et al., 2003; Lisker et al., 2010), where water was available for

  18. Key cognitive preconditions for the evolution of language. (United States)

    Donald, Merlin


    Languages are socially constructed systems of expression, generated interactively in social networks, which can be assimilated by the individual brain as it develops. Languages co-evolved with culture, reflecting the changing complexity of human culture as it acquired the properties of a distributed cognitive system. Two key preconditions set the stage for the evolution of such cultures: a very general ability to rehearse and refine skills (evident early in hominin evolution in toolmaking), and the emergence of material culture as an external (to the brain) memory record that could retain and accumulate knowledge across generations. The ability to practice and rehearse skill provided immediate survival-related benefits in that it expanded the physical powers of early hominins, but the same adaptation also provided the imaginative substrate for a system of "mimetic" expression, such as found in ritual and pantomime, and in proto-words, which performed an expressive function somewhat like the home signs of deaf non-signers. The hominid brain continued to adapt to the increasing importance and complexity of culture as human interactions with material culture became more complex; above all, this entailed a gradual expansion in the integrative systems of the brain, especially those involved in the metacognitive supervision of self-performances. This supported a style of embodied mimetic imagination that improved the coordination of shared activities such as fire tending, but also in rituals and reciprocal mimetic games. The time-depth of this mimetic adaptation, and its role in both the construction and acquisition of languages, explains the importance of mimetic expression in the media, religion, and politics. Spoken language evolved out of voco-mimesis, and emerged long after the more basic abilities needed to refine skill and share intentions, probably coinciding with the common ancestor of sapient humans. Self-monitoring and self-supervised practice were necessary

  19. The first hominin from the early Pleistocene paleocave of Haasgat, South Africa

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    AB Leece


    Full Text Available Haasgat is a primate-rich fossil locality in the northeastern part of the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we report the first hominin identified from Haasgat, a partial maxillary molar (HGT 500, that was recovered from an ex situ calcified sediment block sampled from the locality. The in situ fossil bearing deposits of the Haasgat paleokarstic deposits are estimated to date to slightly older than 1.95 Ma based on magnetobiostratigraphy. This places the hominin specimen at a critical time period in South Africa that marks the last occurrence of Australopithecus around 1.98 Ma and the first evidence of Paranthropus and Homo in the region between ∼2.0 and 1.8 Ma. A comprehensive morphological evaluation of the Haasgat hominin molar was conducted against the current South African catalogue of hominin dental remains and imaging analyses using micro-CT, electron and confocal microscopy. The preserved occlusal morphology is most similar to Australopithecus africanus or early Homo specimens but different from Paranthropus. Occlusal linear enamel thickness measured from micro-CT scans provides an average of ∼2.0 mm consistent with Australopithecus and early Homo. Analysis of the enamel microstructure suggests an estimated periodicity of 7–9 days. Hunter–Schreger bands appear long and straight as in some Paranthropus, but contrast with this genus in the short shape of the striae of Retzius. Taken together, these data suggests that the maxillary fragment recovered from Haasgat best fits within the Australopithecus—early Homo hypodigms to the exclusion of the genus Paranthropus. At ∼1.95 Ma this specimen would either represent another example of late occurring Australopithecus or one of the earliest examples of Homo in the region. While the identification of this first hominin specimen from Haasgat is not unexpected given the composition of other South African penecontemporaneous site deposits, it represents

  20. Climate Proxy Signals in the Plio-Pleistocene Chemeron and Miocene Lukeino Formations, Baringo Basin, Kenya (United States)

    Deino, A. L.; Kingston, J.; Hill, A.; Wilson, K. E.; Edgar, R.; Goble, E.


    The Chemeron Formation is a hominin-bearing, highly fossiliferous sequence of dominantly alluvial fan and fluvial sedimentary rocks, with climatically significant lacustrine intercalations, exposed within the Tugen Hills of the central Kenya Rift. As we have previously documented (Deino et al., 2006; Kingston et al., 2007), the formation contains a sequence of five 3-7 m thick diatomites in the interval 2.7-2.5 Ma that record, at precessional intervals, the repeated occurrence of deep-lake conditions in the Baringo Basin. These lakes appear abruptly, persist for only about 8,000 years of the ~23,000 year precessional cycle, and recede quickly. The oscillations have been tied to marine core and Mediterranean sapropel sections based on high-precision 40Ar/39Ar dating of K-feldspar in tuffs interspersed through the sequence, and paleomagnetic reversal stratigraphy. Ongoing paleontological investigations in the Tugen Hills are addressing the dynamics of high-resolution faunal and ecological change directly related to the fluctuating climatic background, including its effect on hominin evolution. This specific interval in the Baringo Basin/Tugen Hills has been identified by the Hominid Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project Steering Committee as one of five target areas in East Africa for high-resolution coring studies. The drilling project is currently moving forward to the funding agency proposal development phase. Further exploration in the Tugen Hills has revealed a similar, older sequence of rhythmic alternating diatomites and non-lacustrine sediments in nearby drainages. These beds may represent a precessionally driven climate response possibly associated with the next older orbital eccentricity maximum from ~3.2-2.9 Ma. Characterization of the lithostratigraphy of this area is in progress, and samples of intercalated tuff beds suitable for high-precision single-crystal 40Ar/39Ar dating have been acquired. We have also extended our search for climate proxy records

  1. Estrategias de subsistencia en los momentos finales del Pleistoceno medio: el nivel XII de la Cova del Bolomor (La Valldigna, Valencia

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    Ruth BLASCO


    los homínidos de la Cova del Bolomor y contribuir al conocimiento de los modos de vida de los grupos humanos del Pleistoceno medio final.ABSTRACT: Bolomor Cave, located in Tavernes de la Valldigna (Valencia, offers one of the best faunal records in the second half of the Middle Pleistocene in the Iberian Peninsula. The cavity contains a sedimentary deposit composed of seventeen stratigraphical levels ranging from OIS 9 to OIS 5e. This wide chronological sequence allows to deal with different issues related to human groups this period and their relationship with the environment. Specifically, from zooarchaeological study of level XII (OIS 6, we have reconstructed the anthropic sequence of obtaining and processing of faunal resources. Thus, different subsistence strategies carried out by hominids to obtain the animals were identified. These practices range from scavenging to the hunting and include the supply of small prey such as birds (Cygnus olor or leporids (Oryctolagus cuniculus. This variability of strategies could be interpreted as the great adaptability that possesses these groups to take advantage of the opportunities the environment offers. It was also noted the existence of systematic patterns well both in the utilization of faunal external resources (skin, meat, tendons and the obtaining of internal resources (marrow. Many of the diagnostic elements that demonstrate the anthropic breakage at level XII show systematization both in areas and in specific anatomical parts. The existence of morphologies repeated in some skeletal elements indicates a high degree of standardization at the time of bone breakage. This reiteration could imply the existence of learning mechanisms or transmission of information within the group in this chronological period. Overall, this study aims to provide data about the subsistence strategies of hominids in Bolomor Cave and contribute to knowledge about the way of life of human groups in the Last Middle Pleistocene.

  2. Land - Ocean Climate Linkages and the Human Evolution - New ICDP and IODP Drilling Initiatives in the East African Rift Valley and SW Indian Ocean (United States)

    Zahn, R.; Feibel, C.; Co-Pis, Icdp/Iodp


    The past 5 Ma were marked by systematic shifts towards colder climates and concomitant reorganizations in ocean circulation and marine heat transports. Some of the changes involved plate-tectonic shifts such as the closure of the Panamanian Isthmus and restructuring of the Indonesian archipelago that affected inter-ocean communications and altered the world ocean circulation. These changes induced ocean-atmosphere feedbacks with consequences for climates globally and locally. Two new ICDP and IODP drilling initiatives target these developments from the perspectives of marine and terrestrial palaeoclimatology and the human evolution. The ICDP drilling initiative HSPDP ("Hominid Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project"; ICDP ref. no. 10/07) targets lacustrine depocentres in Ethiopia (Hadar) and Kenya (West Turkana, Olorgesailie, Magadi) to retrieve sedimentary sequences close to the places and times where various species of hominins lived over currently available outcrop records. The records will provide a spatially resolved record of the East African environmental history in conjunction with climate variability at orbital (Milankovitch) and sub-orbital (ENSO decadal) time scales. HSPDP specifically aims at (1) compiling master chronologies for outcrops around each of the depocentres; (2) assessing which aspects of the paleoenvironmental records are a function of local origin (hydrology, hydrogeology) and which are linked with regional or larger-scale signals; (3) correlating broad-scale patterns of hominin phylogeny with the global beat of climate variability and (4) correlating regional shifts in the hominin fossil and archaeological record with more local patterns of paleoenvironmental change. Ultimately the aim is to test hypotheses that link physical and cultural adaptations in the course of the hominin evolution to local environmental change and variability. The IODP initiative SAFARI ("Southern African Climates, Agulhas Warm Water Transports and Retroflection

  3. Book Reviews

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    Danker H. Schaareman


    . xvi + 329 pages. Maps, tables, plates, figures, index. - A. de Ruijter, S.F. Moore, Secular Ritual. Van Gorcum, Assen, 1977. 293 pp., B.G. Myerhoff (eds. - A. Ploeg, L.M. Serpenti, Cultivators in the swamps. Social structure and horticulture in a New Guinea society, Second edition. Van Gorcum, Assen, 1977, 308 pp., maps, tables, figures, glossary. - A. de Ruijter, R. Needham, Symbolic classifications. Goodyear Publishing Company Inc. Santa Monica, California. 1979. 78 pp. - Danker H. Schaareman, Urs Ramseyer, The art and culture of Bali. Oxford 1977: Oxford University Press. 265 pp., 405 pp., ill. - Anthony Shelton, E. Schwimmer, The Yearbook of Symbolic anthropology, London: C. Hurst and Co., 1978; pp. 230. - H. Steinhauer, M.A. Chlenov, Naselenie Molukkskix Ostrovov [The population of the Moluccas], Moscow 1976, 285 pp. - P. van de Velde, M.G. Leakey, The fossil hominids and an introduction to their context, 1968-1974, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978. Volume 1 of R.E. Leakey & G.Ll. Isaac (general editors: Koobi Fora - researches into geology, palaeontology, and human origins. 191 pages; 28 plates and numerous figures; tables; index., R.E. Leakey (eds. - Leontine E. Visser, P.A. Stott, Nature and man in South East Asia, 1978, S.O.A.S., London, 183 pp., fig., phot., subject index. - J.J. de Wolf, F. Bovenkerk, Toen en thans: De sociale wetenschappen in de jaren dertig en nu. Onder redactie van F. Bovenkerk, H.J.M. Claessen, B. van Heerikhuizen, A.J.F. Köbben, N. Wilterdink. 1978 Ambo, Baarn., H.J.M. Claessen, B. van Heerikhuizen (eds.

  4. Datación por ESR del yacimiento arqueológico del Pleistoceno inferior de Vallparadís (Terrassa, Cataluña, España

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    García, Joan


    Full Text Available Excavated between 2005 and 2007, the site of Vallparadís (Terrassa, Spain has given an abundant and diversified fauna associated with a rich Mode 1 industry. In order to complete the chronostratigraphic framework, we performed ESR and combined US-ESR dating applied to quartz grains extracted from sediments and fossil teeth, respectively. The results obtained are very significant, giving a weighted mean ESR age of 0.83 ± 0.13 Ma (2σ for the reference archaeological level of the site (level 10 and another of 0.79 ± 0.23 Ma (2σ for the archaeological level 12 of the Vallparadís sequence. These ESR results are in total agreement with the ones derived from biochronology and paleomagnetism. This whole dataset allows the elaboration of a reliable and consistent chronostratigraphic framework which chronologically places Vallparadís site in the late Early Pleistocene period, i.e. within a time range comprised between Jaramillo and Brunhes geomagnetic events. Consequently, as well as Gran Dolina-TD6 and Sima del Elefante- TE9 sites, in Atapuerca, Burgos, Vallparadís can be therefore considered as a key site for the study of early hominid settlements in Europe.Excavado entre 2005 y 2007, el yacimiento de Vallparadís (Terrassa, España ha aportado una fauna rica y diversa en asociación con un importante conjunto lítico de Modo 1. Con el objetivo de completar el marco cronoestratigráfico, se hicieron dataciones por los métodos de Resonancia Paramagnética Electrónica (Electron Spin Resonance, ESR y ESR combinada con uranio-torio sobre algunas muestras de granos de cuarzo extraídos de sedimentos y dientes fósiles, respectivamente. Los resultados obtenidos son muy significativos, ofreciendo edades ESR promedias de 0,83 ± 0,13 Ma (2σ para el nivel arqueológico de referencia del yacimiento (nivel 10 y de 0,79 ± 0,23 Ma (2σ para el nivel arqueológico 12 de la secuencia de Vallparadís. Dichos resultados por ESR concuerdan con los obtenidos a

  5. Highlights from Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa (United States)


    Although the extraction of mineral wealth has been the major influence in the history of Johannesburg and the surrounding Witwatersrand regions (with about 45% of all gold ever mined coming from there), the discovery of now-famous hominid fossils at the Sterkfontein Caves, and the convening of the world's largest-ever conference on environment and development, are setting a new stage for the future. The United Nations began the second Development and Environment Conference in Johannesburg on August 26, 2002. This meeting addresses the implementation of international goals to fight poverty and protect the global environment that were established at the first such conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Johannesburg summit involves about forty thousand participants, and perhaps 100 world leaders. One of several official opening ceremonies for the conference was held at the Sterkfontein Caves to recognize the outstanding universal value of the paleo-anthropological fossils found there.These views from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) highlight a number of the land use, vegetation, and geological features found within Gauteng Province (including the urban center of Johannesburg and the capital city Pretoria) and parts of the North West and Free State Provinces. The image on the right displays vegetation in red hues and is a false-color view utilizing data from MISR's near-infrared, red and blue bands. Both the natural-color view (left) and the false-color version were acquired by MISR's nadir camera on June 16, 2002. The urban areas appear as gray-colored pixels in the natural-color view, and exhibit colors corresponding with the relative abundance of vegetation found in the urban parts of this arid region.The mountains trending east-west near the center of the images extend from Pretoria in the east to Rustenberg in the west. These ranges, the Magaliesberg and Witwatersberg, separate the low-lying, hotter bushveld to the north from the cooler

  6. Messiniense: compleja y grave crisis ecologica

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    Aguirre, E.


    Full Text Available The «Messinian» is the last stratigraphic stage of the Miocene, lasting between 6.616.5 and 5.3 MaBP. Its redefinition and stratotype designation were problematic in the 1960s, in the frame of the IUGS International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS revision works and the Project 110.25 of the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP in the following decades. The interpretation of the regional Mediterranean stratigraphic sequence was debated. Many fossil mammal sites in Spain and other peri-Tethic regions, showing relevant events and intercontinental exchanges within that time span, add pressing questions to the essential need of correlating the continental bio,stratigraphic divisions to the marine based stratigraphic scale. Recent discovery of fossil hominids with early evidence of bipedal adaptation in East-and Central Africa with referred ages of nearly 6 MaBP, or more, makes the study of that age still more exciting. In the same time span, major palaeogeographic, geodynamic, palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental events have been dated, that started been investigated 40 years ago also in connection to the late Miocene Mediterranean «Salinity Crisis»: isolation from the Atlantic Ocean, global sea leve1 lowering, continental accretion and orogeny, glaciation and vegetal cover deterioration. Severa1 models of sequenced interactions have been proposed. A comprehensive scenario is here attempted of these major events in the History of Earth and History of Life, with a calibration of nearly hundred thousand years.La división final del Mioceno, piso «Messiniense» -entre 6,5/6,6 Ma y 5,3 Ma-, presentó problema para su redefinición y la interpretación de sus secuencias estratigráficas en la década de 1960. Fue objeto de estudios profundos y diversos en el marco de programas de la Comisión Internacional de Estratigrafía (ICS y del Programa Internacional de Correlación Geológica en las décadas siguientes. Numerosos

  7. Hacia una nueva conceptualización evolutiva de la comunicación «cultural» Communicating Culture: An Evolutionary Explanation

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    James James Lull


    together by communication links. Can the information-sharing behavior of our species ever be brought into broader perspective and eventually foster greater harmony for all humankind? The authors argue that the answer to this question is «yes». Culture provides the necessary space for social negotiation and change. Advanced communication ability is the means by which this necessary cultural work is perpetually accomplished. A non-deterministic understanding of culture must be acknowledged from the outset. Cultural life differs greatly from biological conditions. Even under repressive conditions, culture is not determined the same way viral infections ravage biological bodies or computers. Technological advances in communication do not simply reinforce and intensify top-down, dominant cultural messages as theories of imperialism, memetic transmission, or social contagion contend. The pace of cultural development over the past 10,000 years has been particularly fast compared to any other time since hominids split from our common ancestor with chimpanzees millions of years ago. Our species’ unique skill as communicators in the dynamic technological and cultural environment of today offers real hope for retrieving the primordial affinities that unite us all.

  8. Olduvai Gorge, Shaded Relief and Colored Height (United States)


    Three striking and important areas of Tanzania in eastern Africa are shown in this color-coded shaded relief image from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. The largest circular feature in the center right is the caldera, or central crater, of the extinct volcano Ngorongoro. It is surrounded by a number of smaller volcanoes, all associated with the Great Rift Valley, a geologic fault system that extends for about 4,830 kilometers (2,995 miles) from Syria to central Mozambique. Ngorongoro's caldera is 22.5 kilometers (14 miles) across at its widest point and is 610 meters (2,000 feet) deep. Its floor is very level, holding a lake fed by streams running down the caldera wall. It is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is home to over 75,000 animals. The lakes south of the crater are Lake Eyasi and Lake Manyara, also part of the conservation area. The relatively smooth region in the upper left of the image is the Serengeti National Park, the largest in Tanzania. The park encompasses the main part of the Serengeti ecosystem, supporting the greatest remaining concentration of plains game in Africa including more than 3,000,000 large mammals. The animals roam the park freely and in the spectacular migrations, huge herds of wild animals move to other areas of the park in search of greener grazing grounds (requiring over 4,000 tons of grass each day) and water. The faint, nearly horizontal line near the center of the image is Olduvai Gorge, made famous by the discovery of remains of the earliest humans to exist. Between 1.9 and 1.2 million years ago a salt lake occupied this area, followed by the appearance of fresh water streams and small ponds. Exposed deposits show rich fossil fauna, many hominid remains and items belonging to one of the oldest stone tool technologies, called Olduwan. The time span of the objects recovered dates from 2,100,000 to 15,000 years ago. Two visualization methods were combined to produce the image: shading and color coding of

  9. Morfología comparada de los dientes humanos fósiles de Ibeas (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos

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    Bermúdez de Castro, J. M.


    Full Text Available This paper contains a morphological and comparative study of 68 human fossil teeth recovered from the "Sima de los Huesos" site of the Cueva Mayor-Cueva del Silo karst system (Sierra de Atapuerca, Ibeas de Juarros, Burgos. The morphology of the Ibeas teeth conforms with a pattern of expansion of the anterior dentition characterizing all the Middle Pleistocene human populations, and with a pattern of structural reduction of the posterior teeth characterizing the European population of that period. The Ibeas teeth share several morphological traits with those of other European, North African and Asian Middle Pleistocene fossils. However, the tooth morphology of the European group, in which the Ibeas fossils are included, shows remarkable differences with that of the other groups. This fact permits to reinforce the thesis that a distinctive hominid lineage was established in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene. On the other hand, the Ibeas teeth bring forward new evidence to support the hypothesis of a close filogenetic relationship between the Middle Pleistocene European population and the Nearderthals and, accordingly, of a local evolution during that period and the Early Upper Pleistocene.Este trabajo contiene el estudio morfológico comparado de un total de 68 dientes humanos fósiles recuperados en la Sima de los Huesos, yacimiento situado en el sistema kárstico Cueva Mayor-Cueva del Silo (Sierra de Atapuerca, Ibeas de Juarros, Burgos. La morfología de los dientes de Ibeas se ajusta a un modelo de expansión de la dentición anterior que caracteriza a todas las poblaciones humanas del Pleistoceno medio, y a un modelo de reducción estructural de la dentición posterior que caracteriza a la población europea de dicho periodo. Los dientes de Ibeas comparten diversos rasgos morfológicos con los dientes de otros fósiles mesopleistocenos de Europa, norte de Africa y este de Asia. Sin embargo, el grupo europeo, en el que se incluyen los f

  10. Communicating Climate Change: An Evolutionary Perspective (United States)

    Peacock, K. A.; Byrne, J. M.; McDaniel, S.


    The most effective way to communicate the scientific "big picture" is to appeal to the intelligence and imagination of that large number of people who really want to know what science has to say, and who really would be likely to support enlightened policies if they were given an unflinching picture of the present human predicament. Staff writers at Life Magazine used to be told, "Never overestimate readers' information; never underestimate their intelligence." In the long run, whatever communications channels may be employed, the best hope of moving forward is to appeal to the intelligence of the public. (Media such as wikis, which invite participation, could be one of the best ways to do that.) There are two salient "big picture" facts to be communicated. The first is the ecological unsustainability of the present human condition. There is not the slightest possibility of a long-term future for a planetary-scale, technologically-intensive society of over 7 billion talking hominids that gets most of its free energy from the combustion of a one-time-only store of biotic waste products laid down in the strata hundreds of millions of years ago. Not only is this limited fuel supply running out, but its waste products are rapidly destabilizing the very climatic conditions that favoured the growth of our complex culture. As Homer-Dixon puts it, we are on the "cusp of a planetary-scale emergency"—obvious to earth scientists, but not obvious to all of even the best-intentioned members of the public. The second crucial fact is that our species' capacity to innovate (technologically, linguistically, socially), unique in the history of life on this planet, has up to now been our most effective survival tool and still remains our best chance for pulling through the present crisis. Herbert Spencer said that the most important adaptive trait is what he called "sagacity"—intelligent adaptability. But our sagacity now faces its toughest test, tougher than the harsh Ice Age in

  11. Language comprehension in ape and child. (United States)

    Savage-Rumbaugh, E S; Murphy, J; Sevcik, R A; Brakke, K E; Williams, S L; Rumbaugh, D M


    required the ability to reverse work order as they did on sentences that did not require this capacity. These results are discussed in light of a model of the evolution of language that suggests that the potential for language comprehension preceded the appearance of speech by several million years at minimum. The onset of speech is linked to the appearance of fully adapted bipedalism, which necessitated reorientation of the laryngeal tract and made closure of the soft palate possible. For the first time, such closure permitted mammals to easily produce sounds that could be interpreted by the mammalian auditory system in a categorical manner. When these sounds were paired with the previously extant capacity to produce vowels, it became possible to form "bounded vowels" or sound units that could readily be discriminated as units by the auditory system. It is suggested that this physical adaptation allowed the extant cognitive capacity of the hominids to embark on a speech-like mode of communication.

  12. The “Sima del Elefante” cave site at Atapuerca (Spain

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    Huguet, R.


    Full Text Available The “Sima del Elefante” (TE site (Atapuerca, Spain is a major cave infill with a stratigraphic succession 25 m thick and 15 m wide, wealthy in animal bones and evidences of human occupation at different Pleistocene ages. TE site is under systematic excavation since 1996, and the inferior and superior levels are being dug up independently. The exposed section has been divided into 21 lito-stratigraphic units defined by major unconformities. Concerning the cave history, at least three main infill phases have been identified. The lower phase (TE8-TE14 is dated to Early Pleistocene (between 1.1 and 1.4 million years ago on the basis of inverse paleomagnetics and belonging to the later Early Pleistocene on the basis of biochronology. The TE lower phase is providing a rich faunal assemblage, and shows evidence of human occupation. A set of stone tools of flint, and possibly, calcareous, is being found at these levels. Hence, the lower part of the TE section documents early presence of hominids in Europe and constituted an important element in the understanding of human dispersions out-of-Africa. The middle phase (TE15-TE19 dated to Middle Pleistocene and it is further sud-divided into a basal part (TE15-TE17, still largely unexplored, but no vertebrate fossil record is present at this levels. Units TE18, and mainly TE19 unit, date to late Middle Pleistocene, and contain an abundant record of large mammals as well as stone tools included in calcareous breccias. The TE19 G level contains abundant pieces of charcoal, though verification of its antropic character is pending. Finally, the third and last sedimentary phase (TE20 and TE21 date to Last Pleistocene and it defined the final infilling of the cavity and soil formation. The chronological intervals represented in the fertile levels of the Sima del Elefante enlarge the temporal and biostratigraphic local succession at the Atapuerca Hill complex. The lower phase was deposited in a time previous to

  13. Diet, evolution and aging--the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet. (United States)

    Frassetto, L; Morris, R C; Sellmeyer, D E; Todd, K; Sebastian, A


    Theoretically, we humans should be better adapted physiologically to the diet our ancestors were exposed to during millions of years of hominid evolution than to the diet we have been eating since the agricultural revolution a mere 10,000 years ago, and since industrialization only 200 years ago. Among the many health problems resulting from this mismatch between our genetically determined nutritional requirements and our current diet, some might be a consequence in part of the deficiency of potassium alkali salts (K-base), which are amply present in the plant foods that our ancestors ate in abundance, and the exchange of those salts for sodium chloride (NaCl), which has been incorporated copiously into the contemporary diet, which at the same time is meager in K-base-rich plant foods. Deficiency of K-base in the diet increases the net systemic acid load imposed by the diet. We know that clinically-recognized chronic metabolic acidosis has deleterious effects on the body, including growth retardation in children, decreased muscle and bone mass in adults, and kidney stone formation, and that correction of acidosis can ameliorate those conditions. Is it possible that a lifetime of eating diets that deliver evolutionarily superphysiologic loads of acid to the body contribute to the decrease in bone and muscle mass, and growth hormone secretion, which occur normally with age? That is, are contemporary humans suffering from the consequences of chronic, diet-induced low-grade systemic metabolic acidosis? Our group has shown that contemporary net acid-producing diets do indeed characteristically produce a low-grade systemic metabolic acidosis in otherwise healthy adult subjects, and that the degree of acidosis increases with age, in relation to the normally occurring age-related decline in renal functional capacity. We also found that neutralization of the diet net acid load with dietary supplements of potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) improved calcium and phosphorus balances

  14. Earth's glacial record and its tectonic setting (United States)

    Eyles, N.


    such as the Tibetan Plateau and plate tectonic reorganizations have been identified as first-order controls. Initiation of the East Antarctic ice sheet, at about 36 Ma, is the result of the progressive thermal isolation of the continent combined with uplift along the Transantarctic Mountains. In the Northern Hemisphere, the upwarping of extensive passive margin plateaux around the margins of the newly-rifted North Atlantic may have amplified global climatic changes and set the scene for the growth of continental ice sheets after 2.5 Ma. Ice sheet growth and decay was driven by complexly interrelated changes in ocean circulation, Milankovitch orbital forcing and global geochemical cycles. It is arguable whether continental glaciations of the Northern Hemisphere, and the evolution of hominids, would have occurred without the necessary precondition of tectonic uplift.

  15. Considérations ontogénétiques et phylogénétiques concernant l’origine de la parole Ontogenetic and phylogenetic considerations concerning the origin of speech

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jean Granat


    solved: If we suppose that our ancestors (and distant cousins controlled their larynx and vocal tract in the same way as present-day humans, did the geometry of their vocal tract allow them to produce the universal sound structures of the languages spoken today? We analyzed 31 skulls from now to 1.5 Ma (millions years BP (Before Present for fossil hominids available at the Muséedel’Homme in Paris or in the literature: (1 10-30 ka BP: modern humans: Paleolithic; (2 90-200 ka BP: anatomically modern humans; (3 45-90 ka BP: Neanderthals; (4 1.5 Ma BP: Homoergaster; These skulls are all well kept and possess a jaw in the majority of cases but the vertebral column has been reconstituted. We attempt to: (1 Localize hyoid bone and then glottis position; (2 Reconstitute a vocal tract model in a plausible way using an articulatory model; (3 Quantify the acoustic capabilities of this reconstituted vocal tract. For this purpose, we combine phylogenesis and ontogenesis. We are in a position to state that our ancestors and distant cousins were equipped with a vocal tract that could produce the same variety of vowel sounds as we can today: the vowels /i a u/. The vocal tract morphology has been favorable to the emergence and production of speech since several hundreds of thousands of years. But how to know to what extent they mastered the control skills needed to produce speech? New lines of research are proposed in which orofacial abilities necessary to the emergence of speech are linked to a precursor mechanism dedicated to feeding (masticating-swallowing movements.