Of Printouts and PDFs

I blame Greg Laden. Seriously, it’s all his fault. Let me start at the being and when I am finished with my tale, you will understand those statements.
Greg wrote this really interesting post on hominoid diversity in the Miocene, which reminded me of a paper I had read while in college. I think is was by Andrews, or Kay, or maybe even Rasmussen. I couldn’t really remember but I was sure I still had the article. It was a very interesting article about primate ecology in the Miocene and had some interesting things to say about the competition between catarrhines and hominoids. So I thought I would reread it a do a post on it.


I spent a lot of time in the library and accumulated a large number of articles. My fellow students and my professors kept their articles in neatly labeled manila folders as did I, for awhile. After filling up two three drawer file cabinets I switched to binders (the cardboard kind with the metal prongs) which meant I could shelve them on my bookshelves. Then someone invented PDFs and I have accumulated a bunch of those as well. Saves on storage space, but I usually end up printing them out when I am researching a post. Long story short, I had a lot a paper to go through to find the article I was looking for and during the course of that search I noticed that they had gotten incredibly out of order, pages were separated or, possibly, missing (for example my copy of Australopithecus, Homo erectus, and the Single Species Hypothesis by Leakey and Walker is missing the last two pages). Some had become illegible (my copy of A Systematic Assessment of Early African Hominids by Johanson and White is unreadable). I spent the entire weekend bring order to this chaos and to add insult to injury, I never found the article I was looking for. Clearly, if Greg had not written that article none of this would have happened – talk about butterfly effects!
It is not all bad, though, while sorting all the articles out I realized there were some that I would like to reread. Then I thought, if I’m going to reread them, I should blog about them as well. Since I have quite a few, that should, along with “Know Your Primate” (I know, I need to actually do a few posts on that), keep me blogging well into the future. If this deosn’t sound interesting to you, remember, it’s all Greg’s fault!

5 Responses

  1. You might be thinking of Andrews and Kaye. Or Kaye and Andrewes.
    There was also a paper in Evolutionary Anthropology by by …. damn, can’t remember. About underrepresentation in the fossil record of species. The one with the graphic of all the hypothetical species deleted by taphonomic process (and deleted on the graph).

  2. ‘Primatology, Paleoecology, and a New Method for Assessing Taphonomic Bias in Fossil Assemblages’ by Soligo? It’s the only one in my bibtex that fits the description.

  3. I have a huge number of human evolution-related pdfs on my hard drive. I’ve printed out some of them, and I haven’t gotten around to reading others. The ones I’ve printed, go in files in case I need to look them up somewhere. It works reasonably well for me, because I can share any pdfs I come across, with other interested parties, since everything I find is on my hard drive in a special section devoted to pdfs.
    Anne G

  4. I encountered the same problem with lots of papers and PDFs. I decided to use file cabinets instead of binders and organized them by topic, such as Peopling of the Americas, species, and dental pathologies. I also cataloged them using Endnote, a wonderful program, so I could easily search for articles to see if I had them or look for a certain topic.

  5. Note: I am currently having DSL diffculties. My provider says they can’t send an repair person until Saturday.

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