National Geographic has an interesting article about recent fossil finds that shed light on the ecological interaction between pandas and Gigantopithecus:
Huang said he believes the ape lost out in a three-way struggle with giant pandas and early humans over food and habitat.
Ancient panda fossils have been found before near Giganto ape remnants, and early human fossils in China have been found in the vicinity of ancient pandas.
If early humans–armed with primitive weapons like stone axes and fire–migrated like the panda through what is now southern China, they likely had contact with the giant apes, Huang said.
Prof. Steve Steve, how could you?
The article also sheds some light on the evolutionary history of pandas:
Huang said that the Hainan panda fossil provided a new piece in the puzzle of the panda’s eight-million-year-long evolution from a meat-eater into a reclusive bamboo-eater.
The earliest pandas were fierce carnivores, scientists say. While technically classified as omnivores, today’s pandas primarily depend on bamboo, which they spend an average of 12 hours a day eating.
The new fossils suggest the panda of 400,000 years ago, which was slightly larger than the modern giant panda, had by that time already become completely dependent on bamboo for survival, Huang said.
Science Daily reports on Where And Why Humans Made Skates Out Of Animal Bones:
Formenti and Minetti did their experiments on an ice rink by the Alps, where they measured the energy consumption of people skating on bones. Through mathematical models and computer simulations of 240 ten-kilometre journeys, their research study shows that in winter the use of bone skates would have limited the energy requirements of Finnish people by 10%. On the other hand, the advantage given by the use of skates in other North European countries would be only about 1%.
Subsequent studies performed by Formenti and Minetti have shown how fast and how far people could skate in past epochs, from 3000BC to date.
At the seminar, Dr. McAnany suggested that the very idea of societal collapse might be in the eye of the beholder. She was thinking of the Maya, whose stone ruins have become the Yucatan’s roadside attractions. But the descendants of the Maya live on. She recalled a field trip by local children to a site she was excavating in Belize: “This little girl looks up at me, and she has this beautiful little Maya face, and asks, ‘What happened to all the Maya? Why did they all die out?’”
No one visits Stonehenge, she noted, and asks whatever happened to the English.