Interesting Anthropology and Paleontology Stories

The BBC has an interesting, but sad, story called Botswana Bushmen refused borehole:

The government of Botswana is refusing to allow Kalahari Bushmen access to a water borehole.
In 2006, the Bushmen won a landmark legal victory against the government allowing them to return to land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The court found they had been illegally driven off the land by the authorities.


Science Daily has a story on research the rules out infant carrying as a cause of bipedalism:

The team monitored the oxygen consumption of seven women, all healthy individuals under the age of 30, carrying either a symmetric load, in the form of a weighted vest or a 5kg dumbell in each hand, or an asymmetric load, which was a single 10kg weight carried in one hand or a mannequin infant on one hip.
“Carrying an awkward asymmetric load, such as the infant on one side of the body, is the most energetically expensive way of transporting the weight,” said Dr Watson, whose research is published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
“Unless infant carrying resulted in significant benefits elsewhere, the high cost of carrying an asymmetrical weight suggests that infant carrying was unlikely to have been the evolutionary driving force behind bipedalism.”

National Geographic has a fascinating story on the archaeology tells us about the cultural significance of dog burials in the Southwest:

Fugate has conducted an ongoing survey of known dog burials in the area, and the findings suggest that the animals figured more prominently in their owners’ lives than simply as pets, she said.
“I’m suggesting that the dogs in the New World in the Southwest were used to escort people into the next world, and sometimes they were used in certain rituals in place of people,” Fugate said.
To conduct her research, Fugate collected data on known dog burials and urged her archaeologist colleagues to note when canine remains were found during excavations.
“I have a database now of almost 700 dog burials, and a large number of them are either buried in groups in places of ritual or they’re buried with individual human beings,” she said.

I can’t wait to see this written up. Looks absolutely fascinating.
Finally, Science News Daily mentions research that has some interesting implications for dinosaurs:

The ability to produce brown fat evolved in a common ancestor of birds and mammals, but the ability to generate heat was lost in the group that gave rise to birds and lizards after it separated from the mammalian lineage (the researchers found the lizard genome similarly lacks a UCP1 gene). This strongly implies that dinosaurs, which diverged from birds even later than lizards, also lacked brown fat.

The paper can be found here.

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