Human Evolution

Gene Expression

Tag archives for Human Evolution

A few weeks ago I commented on the paper about the origin of the small dog phenotype in the Middle East. Now The New York Times has an article on a newer paper, New Finding Puts Origins Of Dogs in Middle East. Here’s the conclusion: Dog domestication and human settlement occurred at the same time,…

The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Cova Gran (Catalunya, Spain) and the extinction of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula: The excavations carried out in Cova Gran de Santa Linya (Southeastern PrePyrenees, Catalunya, Spain) have unearthed a new archaeological sequence attributable to the Middle Palaeoloithic/Upper Palaeolithic (MP/UP) transition. This article presents data on the stratigraphy, archaeology, and…

The tales that the X chromosome tells

Highly Punctuated Patterns of Population Structure on the X Chromosome and Implications for African Evolutionary History: It is well known that average levels of population structure are higher on the X chromosome compared to autosomes in humans. However, there have been surprisingly few analyses on the spatial distribution of population structure along the X chromosome.…

Hobbits small brains not so anomolous

Is the Hobbit’s Brain Unfeasibly Small?: Brain expansion began early in primate evolution and has occurred in all major groups, suggesting a strong selective advantage to increased brainpower in most primate lineages. Despite this overall trend, however, Mundy and his colleagues have identified several branches/lineages within each major group that have shown decreasing brain and…

People evolving to be shorter & stouter

One of the things about evolution you sometimes hear is that it has “stopped” for humans. Steve Jones, a British geneticist, is one of the more prominent public expositors of this viewpoint today. The key fact that most people latch on to is that infant and child mortality is very low, so the vast majority…

The fossil record is spotty

Spatial Organization of Hominin Activities at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel: The spatial designation of discrete areas for different activities reflects formalized conceptualization of a living space. The results of spatial analyses of a Middle Pleistocene Acheulian archaeological horizon (about 750,000 years ago) at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel, indicate that hominins differentiated their activities (stone knapping,…

Climate & the Out of Africa migration(s)

Wet phases in the Sahara/Sahel region and human migration patterns in North Africa: The carbon isotopic composition of individual plant leaf waxes (a proxy for C3 vs. C4 vegetation) in a marine sediment core collected from beneath the plume of Sahara-derived dust in northwest Africa reveals three periods during the past 192,000 years when the…

Neanderthals ‘had sex’ with modern man: Professor Svante Paabo, director of genetics at the renowned Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, will shortly publish his analysis of the entire Neanderthal genome, using DNA retrieved from fossils. He aims to compare it with the genomes of modern humans and chimpanzees to work out the…

Reading the papers on Ardipithecus ramidus which just came out in Science one of the take-home points that jumps out at me is that extant apes may be very misleading analogs to extinct hominins. Here is Owen Lovejoy: In retrospect, clues to this vast divide between the evolutionary trajectories of African apes and hominids have…

The chromosomal Origin of Man

The Evolutionary Origin of Man Can Be Traced in the Layers of Defunct Ancestral Alpha Satellites Flanking the Active Centromeres of Human Chromosomes. The authors are Russian, so I think the somewhat grand and archaic first portion of the title can be explained as a mater of translation. Here’s the author summary: The primate centromere…