Paleoanthropology

Paleoanthropology

  • Javier Martínez-Salanova added an answer:
    Do you think there are some fossilized tools that were judged mistakenly as lithic tools in historic archeology?

    My personal view, hominids could use bones, horns, sticks and so on as tools. Just as this one attached in the image.

    Javier Martínez-Salanova · Independent, Madrid

     I also agree with Jarmo Kankaapää and Shipman. Anyway the rocks photographed don't seem to be fossils, just stones, like quarzite or quartz, showing old natural fractures.

  • David Bryson added an answer:
    What could cause the eburnation on these toe bones?

    This is an old kingdom mummy these are the only bone of the foot I have, cannot understand the cause of this polishing. Sadly the photo does not do it justice.

    David Bryson · University of Derby

    There are two factors in play the very flat proximal joints where would normally expect facets and also on first photograph development of osteophytes distally. Both indicating as stated by others signs of osteoarthritis. I think that the flat planes and subsequent eburnation could be due to flat feet. A quick look at the literature following up that idea shows a link between OA and flat feet, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1063458409003057.

  • Laura González-Garrido added an answer:
    Are there any articles available on what causes this morphology in the roots of the teeth?
    This is a skeleton of an old kingdom mummy, my colleagues and I had noticed the roots of the teeth mainly in the maxilla have developed these mineral growths. It seems to have occurred primarily on the molars but there are also signs of it on the premolars. We believe this is due to the body reacting with the natron salt. Any advice would be helpful.
    Laura González-Garrido · Universidad de León

    Hello Catherine,

    and .... Calculus and Hypercementosis (tooth disorder where excess cementum (bony covering of tooth root) is deposited on the roots of teeth) mixture.

    All the best,

    Laura

  • Chun Liu added an answer:
    Are there any fossilized tools in any museums in the world?
    I'm looking for information on prehistoric hominid tools. If you happen to have any photographs to compare with my collections, I would really appreciate it!
    Chun Liu · Prehistoric Archaeology

    At the same site, another one is the chopped bean cake.

    + 1 more attachment

  • Jan Gunneweg added an answer:
    Evidence for functional usage of Manganese dioxyde (MnO2)?
    Within the Mousterian record of western Europe, we have evidence for usage of black pigment made from MnO2 by Neandertals (50 000 years old at Pech-de-l'Azé I for instance). I've been using the analogy with the ethnographic record as well as some preliminary experiments to argue that they might have been used as dye stuff/stain (see Soressi et D'Errico, 2007 as well as Soressi et al 2008). Would anybody know of usage of MnO2 pigment for other purposes than body decoration/symbolic purposes?
    Jan Gunneweg · Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Hi Marie, I also think that Manganese was used in the cave-rock drawings. Much later it could have been used in producing the black color in Athienian Black- and Red-Figured pottery of the 4-3rd c. BC. A female Greek ceramist , I think, published this in the magazine archaeometry, if my memory is still OK.
  • Marc Verhaegen added an answer:
    There are quite a few hypotheses to explain early human evolution: Are there ANY that explain the evolution of H. neand. and H. sapience?
    Negative answers will also be appreciated. See Anton and Snodgrass 2012, Wrangham 1999, Ungar 2006, Bunn 2007, Stanford 2001
    Marc Verhaegen · Study Center Anthropology
    Danakil island?? Please inform, Frans: I said (Verhaegen 2013 Hum.Evol.28:237-266) that it's very unlikely that human ancestors evolved on some island: most island forms have strongly reduced brains.
  • Katalin Wolff added an answer:
    Is anyone aware of missing bone elements taken away for research from the collections of Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History?
    We are looking for missing bone parts removed from the parietal bones (25 mm/1 inch diameter) of several individuals skulls' (probably >100) from different populations from the NMNH Smithsonian Institution. They have been removed most likely in the 1950s by a researcher from Middle/Eastern Europe and the purpose of the study as far as we know, was to compare parietal bone thickness among different populations. If you are aware of the existence of these bone elements in your collection or any related articles please let us know! Many thanks!
    Katalin Wolff · Semmelweis University
    Dear Barbara, if you're missing these parts in the same size (mostly or always) from the right parietals approximately from the area of tuber parietale, it is highly likely that they have been collected for the same research! Unfortunately we don't know yet who and from where took away them and we are not aware of any publication related to the topic since probably it has been written on the language of the researcher that time. It would be really nice to find out whether these elements still exist somewhere?! We're working on it!
  • Brian Harms asked a question:
    Is chronic alcohol use recorded in the stable isotope composition of hair?
    In the past, I have heard that alcoholism can be identified via stable isotope analysis (C, N, O, S, H) of human hair. I vaguely recall this being applied to an Andean mummy. Does anyone know of any good papers on this subset of stable isotope ecology?
  • Rudenc Ruka added an answer:
    What other country/region specific fossil site catalogs have been digitised?
    The fossil site catalog for Italy is a searchable database on the web (http://web.uniba.it/progettiricerca/catalogorestifossili/database/database_en/search_en.html). Is anyone aware of any others? There is the catalog of fossil hominids text from the 70's and some country specific supplements were published in the early 90's, but finding any searchable online databases would be much quicker than using the books.
    Rudenc Ruka · Institut of Archaeology, Tirana, Albania
    Hi, As far as I am aware there is no one from Albania.
  • Peter J Richerson added an answer:
    What are your thoughts on the origin of science?
    I recently published my book "The Origin of Science" which can be downloaded at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Louis_Liebenberg/publications/ I am interested in alternative theories on the origin of science and how this debate can lead to a better understanding of how our ability for scientific reasoning evolved.
    Peter J Richerson · University of California, Davis
    I have long been a fan of Louis' idea that tracking requires most of the skills that later led to science. I think one reason why it is such a good example is that it is social and cumulative. Cognitive advances at the individual brain level were probably required for tracking and similar tasks, though proving that may be hard. Chimpanzees and some birds, such as corvids and parrots, seem awfully smart as individuals. What humans have in addition to cognitive "right stuff" is social learning. Neophyte trackers acquire a huge amount of natural history knowledge that has accumulated in expert hunting groups for many generations. Plus, any given tracking exercise is an exercise in social back and forth so that expert trackers collaborate on tough problems. If there is a neophyte with them, he learns from the expert interchanges. Occasionally, some given hunt may lead to a novel observation that is incorporated into the large body of extant natural history. I wonder if other tasks in hunter-gatherers make similar demands. What about tool-making, gathering and cooking? Perhaps tracking is just a particularly dramatic example because important decisions have to be made rapidly on the basis of enigmatic evidence and success or failure is evident pretty immediately. I imagine that other tasks use the same skills but in a temporally more drawn-out way. My coauthors and I recently wrote a couple of papers arguing for the importance of social learning and cumulative culture in humans: Boyd, R., Richerson, P. J., & Henrich, J. (2011). The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(Supplement 2), 10918-10925. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100290108 Smaldino, P. E., & Richerson, P. J. (in press). Human cumulative cultural evolution as a form of distributed computation. In P. Michelucci (Ed.), Handbook of Human Computation. http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Richerson/smaldino%20richersonhuman%20computation.pdf
  • Pavel Prudkov added an answer:
    Why was human evolution possible despite the remarkable phenotypic flexibility of humans?
    A basic idea underlying the evolutionary approach to cognition is that serious changes in behavior are consequences of alterations in the genome. However, this assumption is wrong for our species. Indeed, the children of hunter-gatherers and farmers may become stock brokers and coders simply because farming was a standard occupation for one generation and coding is a typical occupation for the following generation. If our species is so flexible then it is reasonable to assume our ancestors were very adaptive too and able to adjust phenotypically to any situations. Then why after the emergence of bipedalism human evolution took place? Such answers as because only our species has some unique characteristics (language, etc.) do not seem interesting.
    Pavel Prudkov · Independent Researcher
    To Adam Hartstone-Rose First, thank you for your efforts to understand my question and even other texts. I see you attempted to decipher it such as an archeologist tries to decipher an ancient manuscript :)) Of course, I do not think that evolution does not apply to us. I am an absolute proponent of evolution. Undoubtedly, the principles of evolution influence on how humans adapt to changes in the environment. The development of lactose tolerance after the domestication of cows and goat is a good example of the work of evolutionary mechanisms nowadays. However, except such “blind” mechanism of adaptation, humans have another, cognitive system of adaptation. This system is much more flexible and adaptive. My example with occupations is a presentation of its flexibility. In my opinion, before the emergence of bipedality the standard evolutionary mechanism was the main method of adaptation but after this the cognitive system became dominant. This conclusion is a reflection of the fact that since then our body has changed, in general, weakly, however, our ability to influence the world has changed enormously. A true model of human evolution must effectively explain the interaction between these methods of adaptation. In my opinion, no current models are able to do this.
  • Luc Bulot added an answer:
    Does anyone have any reference to findings/publications on non-belemnitella genus belemnites in the Maastrichtian of North America's East Coast?
    Recent findings in the area suggest the presence of at least different Genus, apparently closely related to other species of the North European range (same age). I am unable to find any reference in the literature.
    Luc Bulot · Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement
    You should try to contact Prof. Neil Landman at the American Museum of Natural History in New York... His web page is the following one : http://rggs.amnh.org/faculty/view/14 He has been working for many years on the cephalopods of the latest Cretaceous of the east Coast of the USA. If there is something to dig out from the literature he should know... Hope this helps...
  • Andreas Düring added an answer:
    Would anyone like to try out the Population & Cemetery Simulator based on the modelling4all project based at Oxford?
    The Population & Cemetery Simulator is a freely available toolkit based on the Oxford IT department's modellig4all project (www.modelling4all.org). It provides (osteo-)archaeologists interested in the demography of single populations with an agent-based model with which a dynamic living population and the accumulating dead in a cemetery can be simulated. It can be used to check demographic data of archaeological cemetery sites and try out probable virtual scenarios in the case of missing data. It can also be tailored towards answering other research questions, such as the impact of heterogeneity, artefact & disease frequencies, catastrophes, stochasticity and population growth. It is designed to be easy to use and inclusive. At this point the model is still a trial version and does not include all planned features. However, the simple and self-explaining Behaviour Composer of the modelling4all project makes it possible that users tailor it to their specific interests right away.
    Andreas Düring · University of Oxford
    Yes, that would just require a little change in the code. The 300 years limit just depends on the graph. The model runs on in the background if the population survives past the 300 years time step. Please tell me which limit you would like to use and I will implement it for you. I could also include an automated graph which works without a predefined limit.
  • Amrit Kumar Bhandari asked a question:
    Would anyone help me by providing some useful resources for teaching "Evidences of Human Evolution" in Masters Level?
    I actually want to know what additions or modifications we have to make in mostly talked and explained "Evidences of Evolution" in biological sciences in order to make it better suited to the issue of "Human Evolution".
  • Paul Vlachos added an answer:
    Can anyone help ID the ancient cobbles I have found, They have pictures on them and the museums baffled. Made of chert with lawyers of seashell.
    They dipict a launage of their own, the digging is incomplete at the site.
    Paul Vlachos · Mechanicville Art and Science Foundation
    Yes these were a poor choice of photos. Please review my discovery info page on linkedIn.com

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