A 1.8 million year old skull was discovered in Georgia (the country not the state) which has opened up some new theories for the hominid journey out of Africa. This skull completed a set of 5 skulls which allowed researchers to look at variety amongst hominids from the same region and time period. They then compared these results to hominids found in Africa during that same time which revealed they most likely all belong to one species. Previous theories for the journey out of Africa were that multiple hominid species left Africa to populate the other continents. These skulls indicate a single species left Africa spreading across the other continents.
(To read more on their analysis you can read the article – click on it to make it big – or read their publication in Science.)
When I took World Prehistory as an undergrad I actually asked my professor why there is only considered to be one species of human, Homo sapien, when there were so many hominid species in which we may have derived from (I didn’t know anything about the genetics of it all at that time). I vaguely remember her giving me an answer that sounded more political then scientific and I let it go. In later, more advanced courses, where we were tested on differences in skull morphology I could see more definitively the evolution over time, but still wasn’t convinced of the argument. Although the human race has a very wide range of physical differences, genetically, we are all one species; there are more differences within races than there are between races. So, the theory produced by this discovery, to me, makes more sense than multiple hominid species populating the earth to become one species of Homo sapien. And they figured it out by reversing how they would normally look at things; by looking at their similarities as opposed to their differences.
The newspaper, almost as much of an endangered species as the cheetah. But, as great as it is having all the news you could ever ask for at your fingertips with the advent of the internet, there is definitely something nostalgic and gratifying about reading a newspaper. I don’t get a newspaper, but I did get a S’Mores Maker (right) in the mail today in a box stuffed with pages from the October 18, 2013 Wall Street Journal. And, amongst those pages, I found this very interesting article (below).
I am a biologist and my life is crap!