Human Evolution

Stranger Fruit

Category archives for Human Evolution

Remembering Charlie Lockwood

My colleague and friend Kaye Reed has a nice remembrance of Charlie Lockwood in the current issue of Evolutionary Anthropology. I had reason to mention Charlie during my “Last Lecture” and will admit to getting a little choked-up. The article is unfortunately behind a paywall, but any good university library should have access.

(This review appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in 2005) As human beings, we like to tell stories–we are story-telling apes. As scientists, however, we tend not to see ourselves as telling stories for, we are led to believe, stories are mere fiction. Yet when faced with answering the question of why or…

Very sad news for those of us who do physical anthropology. Charles (“Charlie”) Lockwood (University College London) was killed today in a motorcycle accident in London. He is survived by his parents and sisters. Charlie was a talented morphologist both in the sense of being a descriptive anatomist and quantitative biologist. I met him in…

Seed has been running an interview with the British author Will Self whom I first encountered by reading his wonderful Great Apes, the cover of which – a mash-up of a human and ape – is above. Every time I see this picture, I can only think of one person …

A new date for chimp/human divergence

According to this paper, a hidden Markov model of the divergence between humans and chimps finds “a very recent speciation time of human-chimp (4.1 ± 0.4 million years)”. This would put the last common ancestor with Pan after a previously reported date of between 4.98 and 7.02 million years. (TimeTree reports the weighted average for…

Killing our faith

This is Turkana boy (Homo ergaster), soon to go on display in Kenya’s national museum. Bishop Boniface Adoyo, of Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC) and Christ is the Answer Ministries, claims: “I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it. These sorts of silly views are killing our faith.” Someone should explain to Adoyo…

A day or so back, I posted on an AP article which declared that “skull found in a cave in Romania includes features of both modern humans and Neanderthals, possibly suggesting that the two may have interbred thousands of years ago.” The original research article is now online. Let’s look at the abstract, shall we?…

AP is reporting that a “skull found in a cave in Romania includes features of both modern humans and Neanderthals, possibly suggesting that the two may have interbred thousands of years ago.” A paper to appear in Tuesday’s PNAS (and not online yet) will argue that the ~40,000 year old skull raises “important questions about…

Out of Africa

A fossil skull discovered in 1952 offers support for the hypothesis that Upper Paleolithic Eurasians descended from a population that emigrated from sub-Saharan Africa in the Late Pleistocene. In tomorrow’s Science, Fred Grine and co-workers describe a South African skull dated to 36.2 ± 3.3 thousand years, and note that while the skull is morphologically…

Little Lucy

A number of my SciBlings has already covered the discover of the three-year old Australopithecus afarensis skeleton that has been dubbed “Little Lucy” (see, for example, PZ’s post). I’m just going to point out the the specimen was discovered and described by individuals associated with Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins, in particular Bill…