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In brief, Science has published three news pieces that you maybe interested. They are all reports of what was presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting a couple weeks ago. The first, “Snapshots From the Meeting,” is a summary of the conference, where Ann Gibbons and Elizabeth Colutta discuss, ‘the evolution of gliding, the divergence of Homo habilis and H. erectus, and Neandertal speech.’ The last topic is something I covered, so you may wanna read a more professional overview.

On that note, you may also wanna check out, “Australopithecus Not Much of a Nutcracker,” which is directly related to research on Paranthropus boisei‘s diet I reported on a couple days ago. The piece is a bit more thorough though, providing a summary of the,

“different analytical methods suggest that robust australopithecines didn’t eat hard nuts and seeds routinely as had been thought, and that robust and gracile hominids actually ate similar fare.”

Last but definitely not least is an interesting news piece on the paleohistory of tuberculosis. In the news report, Ann Gibbons discusses how DNA, coming from early humans were infected with strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, prior to the emergence of pastoralism. This suggests that humans were the primary vector that transmitted the disease to bovids and other animals and not vice versa. This kinda shakes up the hypothesis that Razib has been thinking about — that importance of vitamin D was selected as an important immune system component after the Neolithic revolution, when humans began to be pastoralists and agriculturalists.

All three news pieces are short and sweet, a total of three pages long. Check’em out.

    Gibbons, A. (2008). AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS MEETING: Tuberculosis Jumped From Humans to Cows, Not Vice Versa. Science, 320(5876), 608a-608a. DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5876.608a
    Gibbons, A. (2008). AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS MEETING: Australopithecus Not Much of a Nutcracker. Science, 320(5876), 608b-609b. DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5876.608b
    Gibbons, A., Culotta, E. (2008). AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS MEETING: Snapshots From the Meeting. Science, 320(5876), 609-609. DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5876.609