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A colleague of mine has developed a new online human fossil record, in the likes of my own database of fossils. The project is and although it is in beta, it has some remarkable features already. I am particularly impressed with the phylogeny plot view, which offers a chronological color coded map of many important... Continue Reading →

Episode 1: A ScreenCast Tutorial On How-To Do A Multiple Sequence Alignment & Draw A Phylogenetic Tree Using Swami

The last time I did a little tutorial on how to use bioinformatic tools in anthropological research was last October. I've had some ideas since then and have decided to restart this project. The biggest change is the screencast format, rather than a set of static instructions. Today, I'd like to introduce you to the... Continue Reading →

A cladistic analysis of 17 hominid skulls

So, I got my hands on that mouth watering Nature paper I mentioned a couple days ago. It is titled, "Cladistic analysis of continuous modularized traits provides phylogenetic signals in Homo evolution," and it is probably the biggest anthropology news of this week. I've read it and it is dense. It really shouldn't be so... Continue Reading →

Punctuated Equilibrium drives Language Evolution

Fellow blogger, Simon Greenhill of HENRY, and co-authors published a cool paper evaluating language evolution that just came out in today's issue of Science. The premise behind the paper, "Languages Evolve in Punctuational Bursts," is simple to follow. By comparing related versions, or homologs, of common words between the following language families: Indo-European, Bantu, and... Continue Reading →

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