29 posts · 32,065 views
We’ve already covered Ardi’s hands here, so let’s move on to what is possibly the most interesting aspect of her skeleton: The feet.
As humans, we have pretty special feet. They’re good at dissipating all of the force that comes with walking on only two feet. They’re also good at propelling us forward, since [...]... Read more »
Lovejoy, C., Latimer, B., Suwa, G., Asfaw, B., & White, T. (2009) Combining Prehension and Propulsion: The Foot of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science, 326(5949), 72-72. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175832
As everyone has already heard by now, the long-awaited Ardipithecus ramidus has finally been published, and boy is she a beauty! So many “anatomical surprises”! There are so many strange and new things about this skeleton that it took an entire issue of Science to describe them. Clearly then, it will take a few blog [...]... Read more »
Lovejoy, CO., Simpson, S., White, T., Asfaw, B., & Suwa, G. (2009) Careful Climbing in the Miocene: The Forelimbs of Ardipithecus ramidus and Humans Are Primitive. Science, 326(5949), 70-70. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175827
Microcephaly is a disease in which the brain is smaller than normal. A small brain can result from several different developmental conditions. Babies can be born with normal-sized crania and brains which then fail to develop with the rest of the head, in which case it’s indicative of a neurodegenerative disorder that may be caused [...]... Read more »
WOODS, C., BOND, J., & ENARD, W. (2005) Autosomal Recessive Primary Microcephaly (MCPH): A Review of Clinical, Molecular, and Evolutionary Findings. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 76(5), 717-728. DOI: 10.1086/429930
Sherwood, C., Subiaul, F., & Zawidzki, T. (2008) A natural history of the human mind: tracing evolutionary changes in brain and cognition. Journal of Anatomy, 212(4), 426-454. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00868.x
HOLLOWAY, R. (2004) Posterior lunate sulcus in Australopithecus africanus: was Dart right?*1. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 3(4), 287-293. DOI: 10.1016/j.crpv.2003.09.030
Knuckle-walking is a pretty special mode of locomotion. Amongst primates, only the African apes do it habitually, and anteaters are the only other mammal who does it. It would seem, then, that the most parsimonious explanation for such a specialized form of locomotion would be that the African apes all share a common [...]... Read more »
Kivell, T., & Schmitt, D. (2009) Independent evolution of knuckle-walking in African apes shows that humans did not evolve from a knuckle-walking ancestor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0901280106
RENDALL, D., & DIFIORE, A. (2007) Homoplasy, homology, and the perceived special status of behavior in evolution. Journal of Human Evolution, 52(5), 504-521. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2006.11.014
Alternative mating strategies!
When we learn about sexual selection theory, we usually learn about it as a binary system: Females choose males, and males try to be chosen. Female peahens choose male peacocks with the most and prettiest eyespots because it’s an indicator of their health, and she wants healthy offspring. Female deer choose bucks [...]... Read more »
Mark D. Norman, Julian Finn, & Tom Tregenza. (1999) Female impersonation as an alternative reproductive strategy in giant cuttlefish. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 1347-1349.
HARRISON, M., & CHIVERS, D. (2007) The orang-utan mating system and the unflanged male: A product of increased food stress during the late Miocene and Pliocene?. Journal of Human Evolution, 52(3), 275-293. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2006.09.005
Hunt, J., & Simmons, L. (2001) Status-dependent selection in the dimorphic beetle Onthophagus taurus. Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 268(1484), 2409-2414. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2001.1758
Last night, I was sleeping soundly. I don’t have AC, so the windows were open and my ceiling fan was on. I woke up rather suddenly, and it took me a minute to realize that there was something else in my room… something really flappy and kind of loud. A bat!
I’m doing some work with [...]... Read more »
Ryan, M. (1998) Sexual Selection, Receiver Biases, and the Evolution of Sex Differences. Science, 281(5385), 1999-2003. DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.1999
Rodd, F., Hughes, K., Grether, G., & Baril, C. (2002) A possible non-sexual origin of mate preference: are male guppies mimicking fruit?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 269(1490), 475-481. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2001.1891
Meet the White-faced Saki, Pithecia pithecia. P. pithecia lives in South America, where it scampers about the low canopy eating the seeds of fruit with tough outer shells. To get through those tough outer shells, it has robust, stout canines that are able to pierce the skins and dig out the soft fruit and seeds [...]... Read more »
Beard, K., Marivaux, L., Chaimanee, Y., Jaeger, J., Marandat, B., Tafforeau, P., Soe, A., Tun, S., & Kyaw, A. (2009) A new primate from the Eocene Pondaung Formation of Myanmar and the monophyly of Burmese amphipithecids. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0836
I’ve been working on a post about Grehan and Schwartz’s new orangutan paper, but I’ve been getting sidetracked by teaching and doing my own research along the way. To make matters worse, a friend was telling me about an anteater that he saw at the zoo and mentioned that it was a knuckle-walker! I wondered [...]... Read more »
Orr, C. (2005) Knuckle-walking anteater: A convergence test of adaptation for purported knuckle-walking features of african Hominidae. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 128(3), 639-658. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.20192
Salvador Moyà-Solà and his colleagues describe a new Miocene Hominoid in this week’s PNAS. They’ve dubbed it Anoiapithecus brevirostris, and it hails from what is now Spain. Like many other Miocene apes, it’s a mix of the primitive and the derived, the unique and the shared. It’s commonly said that apes were as diverse in [...]... Read more »
Moya-Sola, S., Alba, D., Almecija, S., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Kohler, M., De Esteban-Trivigno, S., Robles, J., Galindo, J., & Fortuny, J. (2009) A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811730106
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