Facebook Sucks Used Kitty Litter, As Does Wesley Clark

See here for why Facebook sucks.
For why Clark sucks see this

Oh Fudge! Information Overload, Brain Melting

Yup, it’s been one of those weeks. I had planned on writing about quadrupedalism in primates. Then, I got word of a fascinating new zooarchaeological study on northern fur seals. Then the FOXP2 story about bat echolocation came out, then the Dmanisi paper, and now I hear that there is going to be an article in Science on Homo floresiensis. While I try to defrag my brain you might want to read the following:
Is a lack of fossils the problem with early Homo?
Dmanisi’s Paleoanthropological Importance
Flores Hobbits real deal with wrists
‘Hobbit’ May Be Extinct Species

FOXP2 and Echolocation

The FOXP2 gene has been been implicated in evolution of human language and now, according to Science Daily, the gene has a role in echolocation as well. The research is being published in PLOS One (I haven’t had a chance to read it yet so I am relying on Science Daily). According to Science Daily:

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The New York Times and Human Evolution

The New York Times has an interesting article about human evolution. The article, called Lost in a Million-Year Gap, Solid Clues to Human Origins, discusses some of the issues raised by the recent discoveries at Ileret and, unlike most of the other media coverage, actually manages to do a good job. One of the more interesting aspects of the article was the mention of a new paper on the Dmanisi material coming out in this week’s Nature.

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Zeresenay Alemseged on Ted.Com

Like a number of others I received a heads up on the Zeresenay Alemseged talk on Ted.Com. In the speech Zeresenay Alemseged gives a quick overview of the discovery of Dikika 1 – nicknamed Selam – covering much the points that he made in the Nature article. The big difference being this speech was written with the non-specialist in mind. I was impressed, Zeresenay reveals himself to be a good speaker and I can see him developing into a gifted spokesman for the paleoanthropological community. I was especially touched by his plea at the end. You can see that for yourself below.

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Some Music For You

I don’t know why, but I have a fondness for the Scorpions. I really can’t explain it…

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Know Your Primate: Theropithecus gelada

Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Family: Cercopithecidae
Subfamily: Cercopithecinae
Genus: Theropithecus
Species: Theropithecus gelada
Theropithecus was a widespread and diverse genus during the Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Various species occupied most of Africa and parts of southwestern Asia. Today only a single species occurs in the mountains of central Ethiopia. The gelada is a highly terrestrial primate that resides in a grassland environment (sleeping in cliffs at night).

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Science Video Goldmine: Evo-Devo, Fossils, Genes, Natural Selection, and Circadian Rhythms

Although I am supposed to be working on my “Know Your Primate” post, I have been procrastinating. Instead I have been tooling around the internet and have discovered a plethora of fascinating informative videos. Topics range from Evo-Devo (two videos by Sean Carroll), Natural Selection, Fossils, Genes and Embryos (both by David M. Kingsley – I’m watching the later know, it is quite fascinating), infectious diseases, body clocks, stem cells – you name it. You can find this amazing collection of videos here. Go and watch and by the time you are done with all of them I may have a primate post up (or not because I’ll be watching them too).

He Must Not Have Framed It Correctly

A large number of blogs have mentioned the case of Richard Colling. Richard Colling is the biology professor at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois who has been prohibited from teaching intro biology classes at Olivet Nazarene University because he taught something similar to theistic evolution rather than straightforward creationism. The best post on the subject, however, comes from Chris O’Brien at Northstate Science

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Whale Falls In the Fossil Record

Whales are fascinating creatures. We have a good fossil record for them ranging from their land living ancestors to early baleen species. One species of Delphinidae (cousins to the whales) are even considered to be culture bearing (I am referring, of course, to killer whales). They are equally interesting for what happens when they die and fall to the ocean floor. Whale falls are known for the unique range of biota that congregate to feed on the remains (See this post, for example).

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