Interesting Paranthropus robustus Study

National Geographic mentions an interesting study, appearing in Science, that looks at group composition among Paranthropus robustus . The study looks at sexual dimorphism, dental wear patterns, and taphonomy and concludes that groups in Paranthropus robustus society were structured much like those in gorillas and orangutans. Below the fold you will find a list of links to other coverage of the story. I’m still trying to obtain a copy of the Science article and will have more to say when I have read it.

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Fossil Velvet Worms

I can’t remember if this story has been blogged about elsewhere. Science Daily mentions some 425 MYA fossils.

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Luskin on Wikipedia

This is amusing. Based on a Seattle Times article, Luskin is warning people that Wikipedia shouldn’t be used as a primary or secondary source. Apparently, Wikipedia sometimes contains inaccurate or misleading information. Anyone who has read Explore Evolution, for example, will understand the meaning of misleading and inaccurate information. I digress, Luskin’s epiphany strikes one as a little hollow given that he used an obsolete edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica as a source for his article in PCID (an obsolete journal that was supposed to be the flagship peer reviewed journal for ID). The idea that it is not acceptable to use as a source in schoolwork has been around for quite a while (see NPR story from 1005, for example). I guess Casey is just mad because he has one less source to cite…

Some Musical Entertainment for You: Liar

I don’t know why this song keeps running through my head. Must be something I read today… Enjoy!

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Book Review: Evolution, What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters

One of the most frequent questions asked by creationists (of any stripe) is “Where are the transitional fossils?” They usually point, somewhat dismissively, at specimens such as Tiktaalik and ask for more. They claim that there should be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of intermediate forms and hence many more transitional fossils than what makes it into the newspaper. This betrays a fundamental lack of knowledge about evolutionary theory in general and paleontology in particular. Outside of a few spectacular examples, most fossils, whether they be transitional or otherwise, never make it into the news. Rather they get descibed and discussed in journals such as The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Paleobiology. and other specialized journals devoted to paleontology. How many of you have heard of Messelastur gratulator? Messelastur gratulator is a member of the sister taxon to owls and shows some morphological traits that link them to Falconiformes as well. Or Martinogale? Martinogale is one of the earliest New World skunks known and is close to the origins of all new world skunks. Of course, one could also find them in places such as Faunmap, Miomap, and The Paleobiology Database. You can also find them by searching the databases of many museums and universities. Although all of these methods can be time consuming and require more research skills than what creationists and intelligent design advocates seem to be able to muster.

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Know Your Primate: Xenothrix mcgregori

Order: Primates
Family: Pitheciidae
Subfamily: Callicebinae
Tribe: Xenotrichini
Genus: Xenothrix
Species: Xenothrix mcgregori
Xenothrix mcgregori is a subfossil species discovered in Jamaica in 1919, although the species description was not completed until 1952. The find, apparently, consisted of a small mandible, femur, pelvis and tibia.

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Don’t want to jink jinx anything but Mizzou is leading Kansas 28-7 with 1:11 left in the third quarter. Go Mizzou!
Update 1: Damn! I have jinked jinxed it. Kansas got a touchdown. Mizzou now leads 31-14 with a little under ten minutes in the fourth…
Update 2: Nooooooo! Kansas has scored another TD. Mizzou still leads 31-21.
Update 3: It’s getting tense, Mizzou is still leading 34-28
Update 4: 36-28 with 17 seconds…
Added bonus, Tennessee beat Kentucky and is playing the snitgobbers from LSU in the SEC Championship game…

Happy Birthday Origin of Species

Like others I would like to say Happy Birthday Origin of Species. I’ve been mulling over what I wanted to say about the book all day.

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Facebook is for Humans Only: A Call to Arms

I have been having some email exchanges with the people at Facebook. They disabled my account on Thanksgiving and I was trying to find out why. By way of background, I have the Facebook account set up to import posts from this blog and was basically using it as an extension of my blog. At the time I started blogging I was working for some extremely conservative Republicans and and since I am one of those liberal, atheist types I felt it would be better to blog under a pseudonym. When I opened the Facebook account I kept the pseudo-anonymity. Apparently, this is a no-no under Facebook rules. In the email telling me this was a no-no one remark caught my attention. Facebook is for humans only! That’s right. You heard me correctly, the person at Facebook actually told me that Facebook is for humans only! These nice, intelligent, archaeological minded octopi. Gone. Elephants? Gone. Killer Whales? Gone. Chimps? Gone. Space Aliens? Gone. Okay, I got a little carried away on that last link, but you get the point. Facebook is being blatantly Homocentric and is engaging in speciism.
It is time for all the intelligent species on this planet to rise up, and like these baboons take it to the man, er, Homo sapiens and overthrow the bourgeois corporate masters at Facebook. Power to the people, er, um, proletarian intelligent species community.

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Revising NAGPRA

Rex Dalton provides an update on the latest attempt to revise NAGPRA (the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act):

Under a new proposal, the bones at museums, universities and federal facilities across the nation could be given to Native American tribes now living in the area from which the remains were excavated, even if the skeletons are not culturally identifiable to the tribes.

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