valkyrieza: (alien)
The governor, currently running for the Vice-President believes that people and dinosaurs co-existed.

Palin article )
Source for this article here.

I like Matt Damon's response to this far better:

In a widely-circulated interview, Matt Damon said of Palin, "I need to know if she really think that dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes."
valkyrieza: (Firefly - Walsh ship rant)
From a Science-themed group on Facebook conviniently named "Am I the only one to understand how evolution works?"

"Darwin didn't invent evolution, it has been happening for millions of years. Blaming Darwin for eugenics is like blaming Newton for guillotines and gallows."
valkyrieza: (Firefly - kaylee shiny)
This is actually vey exciting.

'Tip of the Iceberg'

A new study of a skeleton of a member of a race of three-foot-tall ‘hobbits’ who lived 12,000 years ago in Indonesia shows that they were a species of human—and that the evolutionary path to Homo Sapiens has been tortuous indeed.

They're Only Human After All: The casts of a Homo floresiensis skull (left) and a modern Homo Sapiens

By Jessica Bennett
Sept. 20, 2007 - It was an astonishing discovery: the skeletal remains of a new human species that lived for eons on a remote island while man colonized the rest of the planet. Back when it was first discovered in 2003, on the tiny Indonesian island of Flores, the three-foot-tall adult female skeleton was dubbed "the hobbit," because she—and the 11 other skeletal remains that were found like her—bore more of a resemblance to the Tolkien fantasy characters than to modern humans. The hobbit's discovery presented evidence that as recently as 12,000 years ago another species of human may have roamed the earth and, more startling, that our evolutionary history was a lot more complex than previously thought.
The rest of the article can be found here.Copyrighted to Newsweek.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.

valkyrieza: (Firefly - Walsh this land)

Hobbit hominids lived the island life

Wed Apr 18, 6:43 AM ET

A tantalising piece of evidence has been added to the puzzle over so-called "hobbit" hominids found in a cave in a remote Indonesian island, whose discovery has ignited one of the fiercest rows in anthropology.

Explorers of the human odyssey have been squabbling bitterly since the fossilised skeletons of tiny hominids, dubbed after the diminutive hobbits in J.R.R. Tolkien's tale, were found on the island of Flores in 2003.

Measuring just a metre (3.25 feet) tall and with a skull the size of a grapefruit, the diminutive folk lived around 20,000 and 80,000 years ago and appear to have been skillful toolmakers, hunters and butchers.

They have been honoured with the monicker Homo floresiensis by their discoverers, who contend the cave-dwellers were a separate species of human that descended from Homo erectus, which is also presumed to be the ancestor of modern man.

That claim has huge implications and has been widely contested.

If true, it would mean that H. sapiens, who has been around for around 150,000-200,000 years, would have shared the planet with rival humans far more recently than thought.

And it implies that H. sapiens and H. floresiensis lived side by side on Flores for a while -- and, who knows, may even have interbred, which could have left "hobbit" genes in our DNA heritage.

In a study that appears on Wednesday in the British journal Biology Letters, evolutionary zoologists at Imperial College London believe the hobbits may well have achieved their tininess naturally, through evolutionary pressure.

The principle under scrutiny here is called the "island rule."

It stipulates that because food on a small island is limited, smaller species do well and get bigger over time, sometimes becoming relatively gargantuan.

But larger species, facing fierce competition for a small amount of food, become smaller, because those members that eat less have an advantage.

Lindell Bromham and Marcel Cardillo trawled through published journals and online databases to see how primates performed when subjected to the "island rule."

True enough, small primate species (ones weighing less than five kilos, 11 pounds) all pumped up compared to their mainland relatives -- but all the larger primates became smaller, in a range of between 52 and 80 percent.

That fits in well with H. floresiensis, who was around 55 percent of the mass of a modern Indonesian and probably 52 percent of an H. erectus.

So the evidence backs the idea that the hobbits were an insular dwarf race -- humans who became smaller, possibly after the island separated from the mainland and left them marooned with diminished food resources.

The authors refuse, though, to wade into the debate as to whether the hobbits were H. erectus or H. sapiens.

Also unclear is why the hominids had a relatively undersized brain compared to their diminutive body. A modern human child of the same size has a much larger brain, as do pygmies.

A conflicting explanation for the small brains has been offered by primatologists led by Robert Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago.

He contends that the Flores hominids were not a separate species but quite simply a tribe of H. sapiens who suffered from a pathological condition called microcephaly, which results in a small brain and body.

Martin also disputes the idea that these pint-sized creatures could have wielded the sophisticated stone tools, found in the Flores cave, which were used to butcher animals.

The hobbits tucked into a now-extinct miniature elephant, Stegadon, that also dwarfed-down under the "island rule".

Taken from Yahoo news. Article can be found here.

Got milk?

Feb. 27th, 2007 03:31 pm
valkyrieza: (malcolm)
Early man 'couldn't stomach milk'
A drink of milk was off the menu for Europeans until only a few thousand years ago, say researchers from London.

Analysis of Neolithic remains, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests no European adults could digest the drink at that time.

University College London scientists say that the rapid spread of a gene which lets us reap the benefits of milk shows evolution in action.


Story from BBC NEWS:

Even after all that, I am not a fan of milk


valkyrieza: (Default)

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