Interesting Science Stories In The News

Some science stories I found interesting below the fold. Continue reading

The Metopic Suture of Taung

A recent article in PNAS looks at the metopic suture on the Taung endocast. Before discussing the article a few words are in order about the frontal bone. Continue reading

Mounds in Illinois Damaged

This sucks!

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Authorities in southern Illinois are asking for the public’s help in finding the people who are damaging and may be looting some prehistoric Native American burial mounds.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says someone last month dug several small holes in a portion of Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site. That’s a 1,000-year-old site in rural Massac and Pope counties.

The agency says the culprits likely were searching for items Native Americans buried with their dead. But it’s unclear if any artifacts or human remains were taken.

The agency says someone recently also drove an all-terrain vehicle or truck on one of the mounds, where ATVs are prohibited.

Anyone with information about the damage is being asked to call the Massac County Sheriff’s Department or the historic preservation agency.

Know Your Hominin: The Dederiyeh Neanderthal Infant

The Dederiyeh Neanderthal infant was found in Dederiyeh Cave, in Syria, in 1993. The skelton is that of a two year old and dates to 50,000-70,000 years ago.

Source: Akazawa et al 1995 Neanderthal infant burial from the Dederiyeh cave in Syria

Stupid Creationist Quote of the Week: Ben Carson on Evolution

This quote is rather shocking. It comes from Ben Carson and, as you can see from the wiki page, Carson is a top notch neurosurgeon. You would think that that would make him do a little research before talking about evolution in general and human evolution in particular. However:

Continue reading

Book Review: Carnivores Of The World

I have been meaning to review this book for quite some time now. Carnivores Of The World is a field guide that covers all 245 species of terrestrial carnivores (the Pinnipedia are not covered). It is publish by Princeton University Press as part of their field guide series. The book is written by Luke Hunter (president of Panthera – an organization devoted to the conservation of the world’s wild cats). The carnivora are the fifth largest mamalian order and contain, as mentioned above, 245 species. The book divides these up into thirteen families (Felidae, Hyaenidae, Herpestidae, Eupleridae, Prionodontidae, Viveridae, Nandiniidae, Canidae, Ursidae, Procyonidae, Ailuridae, Mephitidae, and Mustelidae). Each of these families is discussed as a whole in the introduction with the key features of each being identified. In the chapters following the the introduction, the individual species are discussed. For each species the following information is provided; common name(s),scientific name, length and weight, pelt color and variation, subspecies (if any), distribution and habitat, feeding ecology, social and spatial behavior, reproduction and demography, and status and threats. Continue reading

Vero Beach: An Update

Back in June of 2009 I wrote a post about a bone with a mammoth or mastodon etched on it (you can find a video on the find here). I don’t have anything new to report on that find, but there are some interesting developments concerning Vero Beach. Continue reading

Republican War On Workers Comes To Missouri

I have been meaning to write about this for some time now. A bill in the Missouri Senate would make it easier for employers to fire employees and make it harder for those employees to collect unemployment. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The bill by Republican Sen. Will Kraus, of Lee’s Summit, would include accidental violations — unless the employee could prove ignorance of the rule’s existence.

The legislation would also broaden the definition of “misconduct” to include violations of an employer’s rules outside the workplace and on an employee’s own time.

You can read the bill here

Bloody Archaeology!

There are a couple if interesting stories this week. Both concern blood and archaeology.The first concerns Otzi the Iceman – a 5300 year old mummy found in the Alps. Researcher used atomic force microscopy and Raman spectroscopy to identify red blood cells from samples taken from wounds on Otzi’s right hand and left shoulder. The study also identified degraded remnants of a blood clot. The paper, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface is open access and available here.

The second item is even cooler. Continue reading