Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

So, it has been about six years since I have done any blogging and I have decided it is time to start writing again. A lot has changed since I blogged on a regular basis. A lot of the blogs on my blogroll are defunct. Academia.edu and Research Gate have made finding papers much easier. Homo naledi was discovered, ancient DNA research has uncovered more ancient lineages of humans (sending the out of Africa vs. multiregional continuity debate in a completely different direction), ID seems dead, who knows what all has happened in other fields of anthropology, paleontology, and evolutionary biology.

I have already edited my blog roll and will be adding some new blogs in the next few days. I plan on continuing some of the series I had started previously such as: Know Your Primate, Know Your Hominin, Science Paper of the Week, among others. I will probably start slow with a couple of posts a week until I can get back in the swing of things.

Also, if you like fly fishing and fly tying check out my other blog Going Fly Fishing

Whale Watching

I am still busy researching the promised post on whales, in the meantime, this is pretty entertaining – and creepy

The Future Of This Blog

After being on hiatus for quite awhile I have been feeling the urge to write again. A large part of the reason for the hiatus was frustration at obtaining the science articles on the subjects I wanted to write about. Since I’m not in Academia I am dependent on an article being open access or on the kindness of readers. This created a lot of frustration and eventual burnout. This time around I plan on changing things a little. Rather than focus on the current breaking news in anthropology and science I will be focusing on what I have the resources to write about. That said, if I can come up with the science article behind the “new” story so much the better. I also don’t plan on blogging at the same pace as before. Look for 2-3 posts a week, more or less.

I have always loved to fish (even though I don’t eat fish – other than walleye) and this spring I decided to take up fly fishing and have learned how to tie flies as well, so I will be adding a page on my adventures with fly fishing. I’ll call the page Trout Madness in tribute to Robert Traver (pen name of John Voelker).

I am working on my first science post – on whales – which should be up sometime in the next day or two.

Update: I also have some administrative things to do, such as cleaning up the blog roll and writing a new “About” page…

In Memoriam: Ray Harryhausen

According to the LA Times Ray Harryhausen has passed away. He will be missed.

In Memoriam: Carl R. Woese

Woese was 84. More can be found here and here.

Hat Tip to Sparc

Writer’s Block Sucks

Just saying… Hopefully I’ll work through it soon and get back to my review of Science and Human Origins as well as posts on some other subjects that have caught my attention…

Begging For Articles

I recently received my copy of Science and Human Origins and I have decided to review the entire book. I am currently on Luskin’s chapter and I am in the process of checking the articles he has cited. For those unfamiliar with Luskin you should always check his quotes against the articles he cites – I once caught him joining parts of two sentences 17 pages apart into a single sentence. In Luskin’s chapter he has opted for a hyperactive version of the Gish Gallop. I have most of the articles he cites but am missing a few. With that in mind can someone send me the articles below:

Tattersall and Schwartz 2009 Evolution of the Genus Homo, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 37: 67-92 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100202

Tattersall 1992 The many faces of homo habilis, Evolutionary Anthropology, Volume 1, Issue 1, pages 33–37, DOI: 10.1002/evan.1360010110

Bromage and Dean 1985 Re-evaluation of the age at death of immature fossil hominids, Nature 317, 525 – 527, doi:10.1038/317525a0

Galik et al 2004 External and Internal Morphology of the BAR 1002’00 Orrorin tugenensis Femur, Science Vol. 305 no. 5689 pp. 1450-1453 DOI: 10.1126/science.1098807

Hartwig-Scherer and Martin 1991 Was “Lucy” more human than her “child”? Observations on early hominid postcranial skeletons, Journal of Human Evolution Volume 21, Issue 6, Pages 439–449 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0047-2484(91)90094-C

Oxnard 1975 The place of the australopithecines in human evolution: grounds for doubt?, Nature 258, 389 – 395, doi:10.1038/258389a0

Deacon 1990 Problems of ontogeny and phylogeny in brain-size evolution, International Journal of Primatology, Volume 11, Number 3 (1990), 237-282, DOI: 10.1007/BF02192870

Opps. I forgot one.

Arensburg et all 1989 A middle paleolithic human hyoid bone, Nature 338, 758 – 760, doi:10.1038/338758a0

I have them all now, a big thanks to all who sent articles!
My email address is on the “About” page. Thanks in advance!

An Open Letter To National Geographic: Where Is My Blog

Dear National Geographic,
You may remember me from this contribution to National Geographic News. First of all, kudos for your purchase of Science Blogs and congratulations on your successful migration of all the blogs. I noticed that you even included all the blogs of the bloggers who have departed Science Blogs. All except mine that is – which came as something of a shock since I was one of the original 14 bloggers recruited by Seed Media. Is there a reason why mine was left out?

Sincerely,
afarensis

The Demise Of The University Of Missouri Press: A Sign Of The Anti-Intellectual Times

I just found out, via NPR that the president of the University of Missouri has decided to kill off the University of Missouri Press, which sounds like a pretty idiotic thing to do if you ask me. Apparently, it will cost $400,000 to keep the press open, but the university needs that money to help defray the costs of the athletic departments transition to the SEC so the academic side of the university’s mission is getting screwed. Because, you know, college athletics is a multi-billion dollar industry that pays its employees (student-athletes) diddly squat for their revenue producing labor. Come to think of it I guess the student athletes are getting screwed too, but that is another issue…

At any rate, if you would like to help save the University of Missouri Press there is a Facebook page where you can learn more.

In Memoriam: Phillip Tobias – A Giant Passes

Phillip Tobias passed away today according to the University of the Witwatersrand. He was 86. Tobias was a giant in the field of paleoanthropology having studied both the East African fossil material- his monographs on Zinjanthropous and Homo habilis were masterpieces – and the South African fossil material – most notably at Sterkfontein. He was interested in the evolution of the human brain – The Brain in Hominid Evolution is a must read. According to wikipedia he also studied

…the Kalahari San, the Tonga people of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and numerous black tribes of Southern Africa.

I learned some interesting things about Tobias from here.

A South African colleague, archaeologist Lyn Wadley, said Tobias also should be remembered for speaking out against apartheid.

In 1986, during a period that saw clashes between anti-apartheid activists and the white racist government’s security forces that some historians have compared to civil war, Tobias spoke at a university meeting that drew thousands of students and staff members. He and others urged the government to free detainees and end a state of emergency that gave it broad powers to crack down on protests and dissent.

“Today, in the emergency, freedom is under siege as never before,” Tobias said.

Wadley said Thursday: “The thing that I really admired so much is that during the darkest ages of South Africa, when he could have got a job anywhere in the world, he chose to stay here, because this was his country, where he could make a difference.”

That takes courage.

Wadley said Tobias would ask his first-year students to send him their photographs before classes started. He would memorize names and faces, and greet scores of students by name during the first class, she said.

“That was sort of symptomatic of his love of people,” she said.

I don’t know many people that would do that.

And finally:

In a statement, South African President Jacob Zuma lauded Tobias for leading the nation’s efforts to reclaim the remains of Saartjie Bartmann, a South African slave who was taken to Europe and displayed in life and then in death as an ethnological curiosity — known as the “Hottentot Venus” — in the 19th century.

Bartmann’s fate has come to symbolize Europe’s arrogance and racism in its relationship with Africa. After becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994, Nelson Mandela asked that her remains be taken from a French museum and brought to South Africa. After years of negotiations led by Tobias, Bartmann was brought home in 2002 and buried in southeastern South Africa. Her grave has been declared a national heritage site.

More here.