The Last Homo erectus

Last week, in Nature, University of Iowa anthropologist Russell Ciochon and colleagues published new dates on fossils and sediment layers from a site called Ngandong that originally yielded a dozen or so Homo erectus skulls in the 1930's. Using uranium-series dating on some newly excavated mammalian remains from the same sediment layer as the Homo erectus skulls,... Continue Reading →

A Modern Human Genetic Adaptation for Diving

The Bajau people of Indonesia are known as "Sea Nomads," because we've known that for thousands of years they live in houseboats, sustaining their diets after spending hours each day hunting fish or other sea creatures underwater. Bajau divers can spend up to 13 minutes free diving to 70 m depths underwater all with only... Continue Reading →

A Revision On The Age Of The Hobbit

Discovered in 2003 in Liang Bua cave, Homo floresiensis stood about three and a half feet tall and weighed around 75 lbs. Because of their stature, they were nicknamed for the diminutive heroes in J.R.R. Tolkien's famous novels. The discovery team originally estimated that these 'halflings' lived as recently as 12,000 years ago, which would... Continue Reading →

Teuku Jacob, in memoriam

I've just read that Teuku Jacob has died a little over a month ago. Both John Hawks and Tim Jones have covered the news in their blogs. I find some conflicting reports on how old he was, Hawks says he was 76 and Jones says he was 77. When I do the math he was... Continue Reading →

On the Evolution of Language

Both Nature and PNAS have put out two fascinating papers on the evolution of language. Nature's "Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language," studies how grammatical rules change over time, a term the authors call regularization. The authors specifically studied the regularization of English verbs over the past 1,200 years. Here's a summary of what they... Continue Reading →

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