Human Evolution

Category archives for Human Evolution

Masters of the Planet

Yesterday I wrote about Chris Stringer’s modified version of human evolution. Today, let’s have a look at Ian Tattersall’s new book, Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (Macsci). Tatersall’s boo, like Sringer’s, is a good overview of the newer evidence in the constantly changing field, but he goes back earlier and…

The Evolution of Modern Humans

Chris Stringer’s new book, Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth, attempts to reconcile the age-old conflict between the “Multiregional” and “Out of Africa” hypotheses of Modern Human origins. Stringer has long been identified with the “Out of Africa” hypothesis, and his criticism of the Multiregional model pretty much still…

A large scale model of a human brain has been created by a team of scientists at the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, University of Waterloo, Ontario. This is a virtual model, inside a computer, that involves 2,5 million virtual neurons structures in a pattern resembling the overall human brain’s anatomy, including cortical regions, motor control…

A Book about Taung and “the Hobbit”

The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution is by a scientist Dean Falk, who has contributed significantly to the study of evolution of the human brain, and who has been directly involved in some of the more interesting controversies in human evolution. Back when I was a graduate student…

Lewis Black has a formula for addressing creationists. You carry around a fossil. Then, when someone starts talking about creationism, you pull it out and hold it up in plain view and say “Fossil!” Then, if they keep arguing, you throw it over their head. That makes me laugh. Despite the fact that I am…

What is Dunbar’s Number?

The term “Dunbar’s Number” refers to a particular hypothesis by primatologist Robin Dunbar. It is a very simple idea with rather complex implications, and it is one of those simple ideas that gets more complicated than ideal as we look into it more and more. Eventually, the idea is required by many who contemplate it…

Philip Tobias 1925-2012

Philip Tobias passed away this morning, according to a mutual friend. I’ve not heard any details. Tobias is the most important hominid anatomist to have lived in the 20th and early 21st century, having taken the chair originally established by Raymond Dart at Wits University. He literally defined several of the hominids, being the anatomist…

No new nose neurons?

Elizabeth Norton has an interesting write-up in Science Now. Some years ago, after a long period of suspicion, it was seemingly demonstrated that neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons) happened in the human nose. This research was based on the identification of proteins that would be associated with the early formation of baby neurons. Therefore,…

We had a great discussion with John Hawks on the radio today. The podcast of that conversation is available via any one of the routes indicated here. We discussed australopiths, Homo, Paleolithic sex, ancient DNA and fossil casting calls. And more. Check it out. Thanks, John, for your time!

Two Journeys Through the Human Past

Recently, I mentioned two new books on human evolution, and I told you I had a print review of them coming up. Well, it’s here, in American Scientist! Yes, I know, that’s an internet thing, but it is the internet version of the print thing. Please have a look, and leave a nice comment! Or…