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Sample records for homo erectus fossils

  1. Homo erectus in Salkhit, Mongolia?

    PubMed

    Lee, Sang-Hee

    2015-08-01

    In 2006, a skullcap was discovered in Salkhit, Mongolia. The Salkhit skullcap has a mostly complete frontal, two partially complete parietals, and nasals. No chronometric dating has been published yet, and suggested dates range from early Middle Pleistocene to terminal Late Pleistocene. While no chronometric date has been published, the presence of archaic features has led to a potential affiliation with archaic hominin species. If it is indeed Homo erectus or archaic Homo sapiens, Salkhit implies a much earlier spread of hominins farther north and inland Asia than previously thought. In this paper, the nature of the archaic features in Salkhit is investigated. The Salkhit skullcap morphology and metrics were compared with Middle and Late Pleistocene hominin fossils from northeast Asia: Zhoukoudian Locality 1, Dali, and Zhoukoudian Upper Cave. Results show an interesting pattern: on one hand, the archaic features that Salkhit shares with the Zhoukoudian Locality 1 sample also are shared with other later hominins; on the other hand, Salkhit is different from the Middle Pleistocene materials in the same way later hominins differ from the Middle Pleistocene sample, in having a broader frontal and thinner supraorbital region. This may reflect encephalization and gracilization, a modernization trend found in many places. It is concluded that the archaic features observed in Salkhit are regionally predominant features rather than diagnostic features of an archaic species. PMID:25813423

  2. New magnetostratigraphic dates of Lantian Homo erectus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhisheng, An; Kun, Ho Chuan

    1989-09-01

    Skeletal remains of Homo erectus found in Pleistocene loess at two sites near Lantian in central China are of greatly different geologic age. The cranium found in the fossil-bearing strata at Gongwangling is about 1.15 myr old whereas the remains found at the Chenjiawo locality in middle Pleistocene loess are about 0.65 myr old. The dating is based on new paleomagnetic polarity determinations and on the lithostratigraphic position of the fossils in the loess-paleosol sequence. Our results confirm that both localities are older than the first occupation of Zhoukoudian. New dates, palaeoenvironmental settings, and morphological features of the hominids from Lantian localities have significant bearing on the understanding of adaptive radiations of the middle and late hominids in Asia.

  3. The larger mammal fossil assemblage from JK2, Bed III, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania: implications for the feeding behavior of Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Pante, Michael C

    2013-01-01

    Little is known about the type and amount of animal proteins consumed by Homo erectus, a species distinguished from its predecessors by more human-like brain and body proportions and its association with more advanced stone tool technology. Here I present an interpretation of the feeding behavior of African H. erectus based upon the first taphonomic analysis of the larger mammal fossil assemblage from the JK2 site, Bed III, Olduvai Gorge. Results indicate that both hominins and carnivores consumed some flesh and bone marrow at the site. A low incidence of percussion marking suggests hominins did not break all long bones in the assemblage. Relatively high carnivore tooth mark frequencies and low cut mark frequencies independently suggest that both hominins and carnivores had access to flesh, while specimens that are both tooth- and butchery-marked demonstrate occasional hominin and carnivore feeding from the same carcass. Together, the bone surface modification data suggest a mixed and possibly time-averaged taphonomic history for the assemblage with at least some carcasses accessed by hominins early in the consumption sequence and others only by carnivores. The results for the JK2 assemblage contribute to a growing literature concerning the feeding behavior of African H. erectus, a species that appears to have relied on carcass foods to meet some of the nutritional demands of its larger brain and body size. PMID:23273772

  4. The role of neurocranial shape in defining the boundaries of an expanded Homo erectus hypodigm.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L

    2016-03-01

    The main goals of this study were to evaluate the distinctiveness of Homo erectus neurocranial shape relative to other closely related species, and assess the likelihood that particular fossils were correctly attributed to H. erectus given how shape variation related to geography, time and brain size. This was accomplished through analyses of several sets of landmarks designed to maximize the fossil sample, including 24 putative H. erectus fossils. The question of taxonomic differentiation was initially assessed for the type specimen (Trinil II) and morphologically similar Sangiran fossils and subsequently for increasingly inclusive definitions of H. erectus. Results indicated that H. erectus fossils from China, Indonesia, Georgia and East Africa shared a neurocranial shape that was distinct from that of other Plio-Pleistocene Homo taxa, a pattern only partially accounted for by brain size. Early Indonesian H. erectus formed a morphological "bridge" between earlier and later populations assigned to H. erectus from Africa and Asia, respectively. These results were combined with discrete characters to create a more complete species definition for H. erectus. There were two notable exceptions to the general pattern of H. erectus uniqueness. The 0.8-1.0 Ma (millions of years ago) Daka calvaria from Ethiopia consistently grouped with mid-Pleistocene Homo, including Bodo and Kabwe, rather than African or Asian H. erectus. In addition, Daka also exhibited several traits derived for mid-Pleistocene Homo, and its scaling pattern mirrored mid-Pleistocene Homo rather than H. erectus. Daka may have belonged to an "advanced" H. erectus population close to the root of Homo heidelbergensis sensu lato (s.l.), or to an early population of H. heidelbergensis s.l.. The 1.5 Ma KNM-ER 42700 specimen from Kenya exhibited a unique calvarial shape distinct from H. erectus despite the exclusion of problematic landmarks from the frontal bone. These unique aspects of shape were not present

  5. The taxonomic implications of cranial shape variation in Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L

    2008-06-01

    The taxonomic status of Homo erectus sensu lato has been a source of debate since the early 1980s, when a series of publications suggested that the early African fossils may represent a separate species, H. ergaster. To gain further resolution regarding this debate, 3D geometric morphometric data were used to quantify overall shape variation in the cranial vault within H. erectus using a new metric, the sum of squared pairwise Procrustes distances (SSD). Bootstrapping methods were used to compare the H. erectus SSD to a broad range of human and nonhuman primate samples in order to ascertain whether variation in H. erectus most clearly resembles that seen in one or more species. The reference taxa included relevant phylogenetic, ecological, and temporal analogs including humans, apes, and both extant and extinct papionin monkeys. The mean cranial shapes of different temporogeographic subsets of H. erectus fossils were then tested for significance using exact randomization tests and compared to the distances between regional groups of modern humans and subspecies/species of the ape and papionin monkey taxa. To gauge the influence of sexual dimorphism on levels of variation, comparisons were also made between the mean cranial shapes of single-sex samples for the reference taxa. Results indicate that variation in H. erectus is most comparable to single species of papionin monkeys and the genus Pan, which included two species. However, H. erectus encompasses a limited range of variation given its extensive geographic and temporal range, leading to the conclusion that only one species should be recognized. In addition, there are significant differences between the African/Georgian and Asian H. erectus samples, but not between H. ergaster (Georgia+Africa, excluding OH 9 and Daka) and H. erectus sensu stricto. This finding is in line with expectations for intraspecific variation in a long-lived species with a wide, but probably discontinuous, geographic distribution. PMID

  6. Remains of Homo erectus from Bouri, Middle Awash, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Asfaw, Berhane; Gilbert, W Henry; Beyene, Yonas; Hart, William K; Renne, Paul R; WoldeGabriel, Giday; Vrba, Elisabeth S; White, Tim D

    2002-03-21

    The genesis, evolution and fate of Homo erectus have been explored palaeontologically since the taxon's recognition in the late nineteenth century. Current debate is focused on whether early representatives from Kenya and Georgia should be classified as a separate ancestral species ('H. ergaster'), and whether H. erectus was an exclusively Asian species lineage that went extinct. Lack of resolution of these issues has obscured the place of H. erectus in human evolution. A hominid calvaria and postcranial remains recently recovered from the Dakanihylo Member of the Bouri Formation, Middle Awash, Ethiopia, bear directly on these issues. These approximately 1.0-million-year (Myr)-old Pleistocene sediments contain abundant early Acheulean stone tools and a diverse vertebrate fauna that indicates a predominantly savannah environment. Here we report that the 'Daka' calvaria's metric and morphological attributes centre it firmly within H. erectus. Daka's resemblance to Asian counterparts indicates that the early African and Eurasian fossil hominids represent demes of a widespread palaeospecies. Daka's anatomical intermediacy between earlier and later African fossils provides evidence of evolutionary change. Its temporal and geographic position indicates that African H. erectus was the ancestor of Homo sapiens. PMID:11907576

  7. Latest Homo erectus of Java: potential contemporaneity with Homo sapiens in southeast Asia.

    PubMed

    Swisher, C C; Rink, W J; Antón, S C; Schwarcz, H P; Curtis, G H; Suprijo, A; Widiasmoro

    1996-12-13

    Hominid fossils from Ngandong and Sambungmacan, Central Java, are considered the most morphologically advanced representatives of Homo erectus. Electron spin resonance (ESR) and mass spectrometric U-series dating of fossil bovid teeth collected from the hominid-bearing levels at these sites gave mean ages of 27 +/- 2 to 53.3 +/- 4 thousand years ago; the range in ages reflects uncertainties in uranium migration histories. These ages are 20,000 to 400,000 years younger than previous age estimates for these hominids and indicate that H. erectus may have survived on Java at least 250,000 years longer than on the Asian mainland, and perhaps 1 million years longer than in Africa. The new ages raise the possibility that H. erectus overlapped in time with anatomically modern humans (H. sapiens) in Southeast Asia. PMID:8943192

  8. Femoral/humeral strength in early African Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Ruff, Christopher

    2008-03-01

    Lower-to-upper limb-bone proportions give valuable clues to locomotor behavior in fossil taxa. However, to date only external linear dimensions have been included in such analyses of early hominins. In this study, cross-sectional measures of femoral and humeral diaphyseal strength are determined for the two most complete early Homo erectus (or ergaster) associated skeletons--the juvenile KNM-WT 15000 and the adult KNM-ER 1808. Modern comparative samples include an adult human skeletal sample representative of diverse body shapes, a human longitudinal growth series, and an adult chimpanzee sample. When compared to appropriately age-matched samples, both H. erectus specimens fall very close to modern human mean proportions and far from chimpanzee proportions (which do not overlap with those of humans). This implies very similar mechanical load-sharing between the lower and upper limbs, and by implication, similar locomotor behavior in early H. erectus and modern humans. Thus, by the earliest Pleistocene (1.7 Ma), completely modern patterns of bipedal behavior were fully established in at least one early hominin taxon. PMID:17977577

  9. Energetic consequences of being a Homo erectus female.

    PubMed

    Aiello, Leslie C; Key, Cathy

    2002-01-01

    Body size is one of the most important characteristics of any animal because it affects a range of behavioral, ecological, and physiological traits including energy requirements, choice of food, reproductive strategies, predation risk, range size, and locomotor style. This article focuses on the implications of being large bodied for Homo erectus females, estimated to have been over 50% heavier than average australopithecine females. The energy requirements of these hominins are modeled using data on activity patterns, body mass, and life history from living primates. Particular attention is given to the inferred energetic costs of reproduction for Homo erectus females based on chimpanzee and human reproductive scheduling. Daily energy requirements during gestation and lactation would have been significantly higher for Homo erectus females, as would total energetic cost per offspring if the australopithecines and Homo erectus had similar reproductive schedules (gestation and lactation lengths and interbirth intervals). Shortening the interbirth interval could considerably reduce the costs per offspring to Homo erectus and have the added advantage of increasing reproductive output. The mother would, however, incur additional daily costs of caring for the dependent offspring. If Homo erectus females adopted this reproductive strategy, it would necessarily imply a revolution in the way in which females obtained and utilized energy to support their increased energetic requirements. This transformation is likely to have occurred on several levels involving cooperative economic division of labor, locomotor energetics, menopause, organ size, and other physiological mechanisms for reducing the energetic load on females. PMID:12203811

  10. Thickened cranial vault and parasagittal keeling: correlated traits and autapomorphies of Homo erectus?

    PubMed

    Balzeau, Antoine

    2013-06-01

    Homo erectus sensu lato (s.l.) is a key species in the hominin fossil record for the study of human evolution, being one of the first species discovered and perhaps the most documented, but also because of its long temporal range and having dispersed out of Africa earlier than any other human species. Here I test two proposed autapomorphic traits of H. erectus, namely the increased thickness of the upper cranial vault and parasagittal keeling. The definition of these two anatomical features and their expression and variation among hominids are discussed. The results of this study indicate that the upper vault in Asian H. erectus is not absolutely thicker compared with fossil anatomically modern Homo sapiens, whereas Broken Hill and Petralona have values above the range of variation of H. erectus. Moreover, this anatomical region in Asian H. erectus is not significantly thicker compared with Pan paniscus. In addition, these results demonstrate that cranial vault thickness should not be used to make hypotheses regarding sexual attribution of fossil hominin specimens. I also show that the relation between relief on the external surface of the upper vault, parasagittal keeling and bregmatic eminence, and bone thickness is complex. In this context, the autapomorphic status of the two analysed traits in H. erectus may be rejected. Nevertheless, different patterns in the distribution of bone thickness on the upper vault were identified. Some individual variations are visible, but specificities are observable in samples of different species. The pattern of bone thickness distribution observed in Asian H. erectus, P. paniscus, possibly australopiths, and early Homo or Homo ergaster/erectus appears to be shared by these different species and would be a plesiomorphic trait among hominids. In contrast, two apomorphic states for this feature were identified for Neandertals and H. sapiens. PMID:23541383

  11. New 1.5 million-year-old Homo erectus maxilla from Sangiran (Central Java, Indonesia).

    PubMed

    Zaim, Yahdi; Ciochon, Russell L; Polanski, Joshua M; Grine, Frederick E; Bettis, E Arthur; Rizal, Yan; Franciscus, Robert G; Larick, Roy R; Heizler, Matthew; Aswan; Eaves, K Lindsay; Marsh, Hannah E

    2011-10-01

    Sangiran (Solo Basin, Central Java, Indonesia) is the singular Homo erectus fossil locale for Early Pleistocene Southeast Asia. Sangiran is the source for more than 80 specimens in deposits with (40)Ar/(39)Ar ages of 1.51-0.9 Ma. In April 2001, we recovered a H. erectus left maxilla fragment (preserving P(3)- M(2)) from the Sangiran site of Bapang. The find spot lies at the base of the Bapang Formation type section in cemented gravelly sands traditionally called the Grenzbank Zone. Two meters above the find spot, pumice hornblende has produced an (40)Ar/(39)Ar age of 1.51 ± 0.08 Ma. With the addition of Bpg 2001.04, Sangiran now has five H. erectus maxillae. We compare the new maxilla with homologs representing Sangiran H. erectus, Zhoukoudian H. erectus, Western H. erectus (pooled African and Georgian specimens), and Homo habilis. Greatest contrast is with the Zhoukoudian maxillae, which appear to exhibit a derived pattern of premolar-molar relationships compared to Western and Sangiran H. erectus. The dental patterns suggest distinct demic origins for the earlier H. erectus populations represented at Sangiran and the later population represented at Zhoukoudian. These two east Asian populations, separated by 5000 km and nearly 800 k.yr., may have had separate origins from different African/west Eurasian populations. PMID:21783226

  12. Morphological variation in Homo erectus and the origins of developmental plasticity.

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C; Taboada, Hannah G; Middleton, Emily R; Rainwater, Christopher W; Taylor, Andrea B; Turner, Trudy R; Turnquist, Jean E; Weinstein, Karen J; Williams, Scott A

    2016-07-01

    Homo erectus was the first hominin to exhibit extensive range expansion. This extraordinary departure from Africa, especially into more temperate climates of Eurasia, has been variously related to technological, energetic and foraging shifts. The temporal and regional anatomical variation in H. erectus suggests that a high level of developmental plasticity, a key factor in the ability of H. sapiens to occupy a variety of habitats, may also have been present in H. erectus. Developmental plasticity, the ability to modify development in response to environmental conditions, results in differences in size, shape and dimorphism across populations that relate in part to levels of resource sufficiency and extrinsic mortality. These differences predict not only regional variations but also overall smaller adult sizes and lower levels of dimorphism in instances of resource scarcity and high predator load. We consider the metric variation in 35 human and non-human primate 'populations' from known environmental contexts and 14 time- and space-restricted paleodemes of H. erectus and other fossil Homo Human and non-human primates exhibit more similar patterns of variation than expected, with plasticity evident, but in differing patterns by sex across populations. The fossil samples show less evidence of variation than expected, although H. erectus varies more than Neandertals.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298467

  13. Variation and diversity in Homo erectus: a 3D geometric morphometric analysis of the temporal bone.

    PubMed

    Terhune, Claire E; Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A

    2007-07-01

    Although the level of taxonomic diversity within the fossil hominin species Homo erectus (sensu lato) is continually debated, there have been relatively few studies aiming to quantify the morphology of this species. Instead, most researchers have relied on qualitative descriptions or the evaluation of nonmetric characters, which in many cases display continuous variation. Also, only a few studies have used quantitative data to formally test hypotheses regarding the taxonomic composition of the "erectus" hypodigm. Despite these previous analyses, however, and perhaps in part due to these varied approaches for assessing variation within specimens typically referred to H. erectus (sensu lato) and the general lack of rigorous statistical testing of how variation within this taxon is partitioned, there is currently little consensus regarding whether this group is a single species, or whether it should instead be split into separate temporal or geographically delimited taxa. In order to evaluate possible explanations for variation within H. erectus, we tested the general hypothesis that variation within the temporal bone morphology of H. erectus is consistent with that of a single species, using great apes and humans as comparative taxa. Eighteen three-dimensional (3D) landmarks of the temporal bone were digitized on a total of 520 extant and fossil hominid crania. Landmarks were registered by Generalized Procrustes Analysis, and Procrustes distances were calculated for comparisons of individuals within and between the extant taxa. Distances between fossil specimens and between a priori groupings of fossils were then compared to the distances calculated within the extant taxa to assess the variation within the H. erectus sample relative to that of known species, subspecies, and populations. Results of these analyses indicate that shape variation within the entire H. erectus sample is generally higher than extant hominid intraspecific variation, and putative H. ergaster

  14. Mapping and taphonomic analysis of the Homo erectus loci at Locality 1 Zhoukoudian, China.

    PubMed

    Boaz, Noel T; Ciochon, Russell L; Xu, Qinqi; Liu, Jinyi

    2004-05-01

    From a detailed analysis of published and unpublished sources, we constructed a digitized three-dimensional, stratigraphically-controlled excavation grid of Zhoukoudian Locality 1 in order to assess the spatial relationships of the excavated materials. All 15 fossil Homo erectus loci were mapped on the grid. Meter cubes were used in excavation starting in 1934, and Loci H through O, established between 1934 and 1937, were mapped to within 1 m(3)vertical and horizontal provenience. Loci A through G, established between 1921 and 1933, were excavated in the northernmost part of Locality 1 by unmapped quarrying, but their stratigraphic levels were recorded. We could localize Loci A through G on the grid system by utilizing locations of remaining walls, stratigraphic sections, excavation reports, excavation maps, and photographs. Loci contained skeletal elements of Homo erectus individuals scattered over areas of the cave floor of up to 9 m in diameter. Scoring of taphonomic damage on the Homo erectus sample, as observed on casts and originals, demonstrates that 67% of the hominid sample shows bite marks or other modifications ascribed to large mammalian carnivores, particularly the large Pleistocene cave hyena, Pachycrocuta brevirostris. Virtually all of the remaining Homo erectus skeletal assemblage shows breakage consistent with this taphonomic pattern of fragmentation. Bioturbation by digging carnivores is the most likely explanation for a fragment of Homo erectus Skull XI discovered 1 m below its other conjoined portions in Locus L. Carbon on all the Homo erectus fossils from Locus G, a circumscribed area of 1-meter diameter, earlier taken to indicate burning, cooking, and cannibalism, is here interpreted as detrital carbon deposited under water, perhaps the result of hyaenid caching behavior. Locus G records the close stratigraphic and horizontal association of stone artifacts with Homo erectus and other vertebrate skeletal elements, an association that is seen at

  15. Taxonomic differences in deciduous upper second molar crown outlines of Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Shara E; Benazzi, Stefano; Souday, Caroline; Astorino, Claudia; Paul, Kathleen; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2014-07-01

    A significant number of Middle to Late Pleistocene sites contain primarily (and sometimes only) deciduous teeth (e.g., Grotta del Cavallo, Mezmaiskaya, Blombos). Not surprisingly, there has been a recent renewed interest in deciduous dental variation, especially in the context of distinguishing Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. Most studies of the deciduous dentition of fossil hominins have focused on standard metrical variation but morphological (non-metric and morphometric) variation also promises to shed light on long standing taxonomic questions. This study examines the taxonomic significance of the crown outline of the deciduous upper second molar through principal components analysis and linear discriminant analysis. We examine whether or not the crown shape of the upper deciduous second molar separates H. neanderthalensis from H. sapiens and explore whether it can be used to correctly assign individuals to taxa. It builds on previous studies by focusing on crown rather than cervical outline and by including a large sample of geographically diverse recent human populations. Our samples include 17 H. neanderthalensis, five early H. sapiens, and 12 Upper Paleolithic H. sapiens. In addition, we include two Homo erectus specimens in order to evaluate the polarity of crown shape differences observed between H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. Our results show that crown outline shape discriminates H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis quite well, but does not do well at distinguishing H. erectus from H. sapiens. We conclude that the crown outline shape observed in H. sapiens is a primitive retention and that the skewed shape observed in H. neanderthalensis is a derived condition. Finally, we explore the phylogenetic implications of the results for the H. erectus molars. PMID:24703186

  16. Cranial vault thickness in primates: Homo erectus does not have uniquely thick vault bones.

    PubMed

    Copes, Lynn E; Kimbel, William H

    2016-01-01

    Extremely thick cranial vaults have been noted as a diagnostic characteristic of Homo erectus since the first fossil of the species was identified, but relatively little work has been done on elucidating its etiology or variation across fossils, living humans, or extant non-human primates. Cranial vault thickness (CVT) is not a monolithic trait, and the responsiveness of its layers to environmental stimuli is unknown. We obtained measurements of cranial vault thickness in fossil hominins from the literature and supplemented those data with additional measurements taken on African fossil specimens. Total CVT and the thickness of the cortical and diploë layers individually were compared to measures of CVT in extant species measured from more than 500 CT scans of human and non-human primates. Frontal and parietal CVT in fossil primates was compared to a regression of CVT on cranial capacity calculated for extant species. Even after controlling for cranial capacity, African and Asian H. erectus do not have uniquely high frontal or parietal thickness residuals, either among hominins or extant primates. Extant primates with residual CVT thickness similar to or exceeding H. erectus (depending on the sex and bone analyzed) include Nycticebus coucang, Perodicticus potto, Alouatta caraya, Lophocebus albigena, Galago alleni, Mandrillus sphinx, and Propithecus diadema. However, the especially thick vaults of extant non-human primates that overlap with H. erectus values are composed primarily of cortical bone, while H. erectus and other hominins have diploë-dominated vault bones. Thus, the combination of thick vaults comprised of a thickened diploë layer may be a reliable autapomorphy for members of the genus Homo. PMID:26767964

  17. A neonatal perspective on Homo erectus brain growth.

    PubMed

    Cofran, Zachary; DeSilva, Jeremy M

    2015-04-01

    The Mojokerto calvaria has been central to assessment of brain growth in Homo erectus, but different analytical approaches and uncertainty in the specimen's age at death have hindered consensus on the nature of H. erectus brain growth. We simulate average annual rates (AR) of absolute endocranial volume (ECV) growth and proportional size change (PSC) in H. erectus, utilizing estimates of H. erectus neonatal ECV and a range of ages for Mojokerto. These values are compared with resampled ARs and PSCs from ontogenetic series of humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas from birth to six years. Results are consistent with other studies of ECV growth in extant taxa. There is extensive overlap in PSC between all living species through the first postnatal year, with continued but lesser overlap between humans and chimpanzees to age six. Human ARs are elevated above those of apes, although there is modest overlap up to 0.50 years. Ape ARs overlap throughout the sequence, with gorillas slightly elevated over chimpanzees up to 0.50 years. Simulated H. erectus PSCs can be found in all living species by 0.50 years, and the median falls below the human and chimpanzee ranges after 2.5 years. H. erectus ARs are elevated above those of all extant taxa prior to 0.50 years, and after two years they fall out of the human range but are still above ape ranges. A review of evidence for the age at death of Mojokerto supports an estimate of around one year, indicating absolute brain growth rates in the lower half of the human range. These results point to secondary altriciality in H. erectus, implying that key human adaptations for increasing the energy budget of females may have been established by at least 1 Ma. PMID:25771994

  18. Human taxonomic diversity in the pleistocene: does Homo erectus represent multiple hominid species?

    PubMed

    Kramer, A

    1993-06-01

    Recently, nomina such as "Homo heidelbergensis" and "H. ergaster" have been resurrected to refer to fossil hominids that are perceived to be specifically distinct from Homo sapiens and Homo erectus. This results in a later human fossil record that is nearly as speciose as that documenting the earlier history of the family Hominidae. However, it is agreed that there remains only one extant hominid species: H. sapiens. Has human taxonomic diversity been significantly pruned over the last few hundred millennia, or have the number of taxa been seriously overestimated? To answer this question, the following null hypothesis is tested: polytypism was established relatively early and the species H. erectus can accommodate all spatio-temporal variation from ca. 1.7 to 0.5 Ma. A disproof of this hypothesis would suggest that modern human polytypism is a very recent phenomenon and that speciation throughout the course of human evolution was the norm and not the exception. Cranial variation in a taxonomically mixed sample of fossil hominids, and in a modern human sample, is analyzed with regard to the variation present in the fossils attributed to H. erectus. The data are examined using both univariate (coefficient of variation) and multivariate (determinant) analyses. Employing randomization methodology to offset the small size and non-normal distribution of the fossil samples, the CV and determinant results reveal a pattern and degree of variation in H. erectus that most closely approximates that of the single species H. sapiens. It is therefore concluded that the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. PMID:8317558

  19. Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Hatala, Kevin G; Roach, Neil T; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Wunderlich, Roshna E; Dingwall, Heather L; Villmoare, Brian A; Green, David J; Harris, John W K; Braun, David R; Richmond, Brian G

    2016-01-01

    Bipedalism is a defining feature of the human lineage. Despite evidence that walking on two feet dates back 6-7 Ma, reconstructing hominin gait evolution is complicated by a sparse fossil record and challenges in inferring biomechanical patterns from isolated and fragmentary bones. Similarly, patterns of social behavior that distinguish modern humans from other living primates likely played significant roles in our evolution, but it is exceedingly difficult to understand the social behaviors of fossil hominins directly from fossil data. Footprints preserve direct records of gait biomechanics and behavior but they have been rare in the early human fossil record. Here we present analyses of an unprecedented discovery of 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages, produced by 20+ Homo erectus individuals. These footprints provide the oldest direct evidence for modern human-like weight transfer and confirm the presence of an energy-saving longitudinally arched foot in H. erectus. Further, print size analyses suggest that these H. erectus individuals lived and moved in cooperative multi-male groups, offering direct evidence consistent with human-like social behaviors in H. erectus. PMID:27403790

  20. Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus

    PubMed Central

    Hatala, Kevin G.; Roach, Neil T.; Ostrofsky, Kelly R.; Wunderlich, Roshna E.; Dingwall, Heather L.; Villmoare, Brian A.; Green, David J.; Harris, John W. K.; Braun, David R.; Richmond, Brian G.

    2016-01-01

    Bipedalism is a defining feature of the human lineage. Despite evidence that walking on two feet dates back 6–7 Ma, reconstructing hominin gait evolution is complicated by a sparse fossil record and challenges in inferring biomechanical patterns from isolated and fragmentary bones. Similarly, patterns of social behavior that distinguish modern humans from other living primates likely played significant roles in our evolution, but it is exceedingly difficult to understand the social behaviors of fossil hominins directly from fossil data. Footprints preserve direct records of gait biomechanics and behavior but they have been rare in the early human fossil record. Here we present analyses of an unprecedented discovery of 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages, produced by 20+ Homo erectus individuals. These footprints provide the oldest direct evidence for modern human-like weight transfer and confirm the presence of an energy-saving longitudinally arched foot in H. erectus. Further, print size analyses suggest that these H. erectus individuals lived and moved in cooperative multi-male groups, offering direct evidence consistent with human-like social behaviors in H. erectus. PMID:27403790

  1. Clavicle length, throwing performance and the reconstruction of the Homo erectus shoulder.

    PubMed

    Roach, Neil T; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-03-01

    Powerful, accurate throwing may have been an important mode of early hunting and defense. Previous work has shown that throwing performance is functionally linked to several anatomical shifts in the upper body that occurred during human evolution. The final shift to occur is the inferior reorientation of the shoulder. Fossil scapulae show the earliest evidence of a more inferior glenoid in Homo erectus. However, where the scapula rests on the thorax is uncertain. The relative length of the clavicle, the only skeletal attachment of the scapula to the torso, is quite variable. Depending on which fossils or skeletal measures are used to reconstruct the H. erectus shoulder, either a novel, anteriorly facing shoulder configuration or a modern human-like lateral orientation is possible. These competing hypotheses have led to very different conclusions regarding the throwing ability and hunting behavior of early Homo. Here, we evaluate competing models of H. erectus shoulder morphology and examine how these models relate to throwing performance. To address these questions, we collected skeletal measures from fossil and extant taxa, as well as anthropometric (N = 36) and kinematic (N = 27) data from Daasanach throwers from northwestern Kenya. Our data show that all H. erectus fossil clavicles fall within the normal range of modern human variation. We find that a commonly used metric for normalizing clavicle length, the claviculohumeral ratio, poorly predicts shoulder position on the torso. Furthermore, no significant relationship between clavicle length and any measure of throwing performance was found. These data support reconstructing the H. erectus shoulder as modern human-like, with a laterally facing glenoid, and suggest that the capacity for high speed throwing dates back nearly two million years. PMID:25439706

  2. African Homo erectus: Old radiometric ages and young Oldowan assemblages in the middle Awash Valley, Ethiopia

    SciTech Connect

    Clark, J.D.; White, T.D.; Selassie, Y.H. ); Heinzelin, J. de ); Schick, K.D. ); Hart, W.K. ); WoldeGabriel, G. ); Walter, R.C. ); Suwa, G. ); Asfaw, B. )

    1994-06-24

    Fossils and artifacts recovered from the middle Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar depression sample the Middle Pleistocene transition from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens. Ar/Ar ages, biostratigraphy, and tephrachronology from this area indicate that the Pleistocene Bodo hominid cranium and newer specimens are approximately 0.6 million years old. Only Oldowan chopper and flake assemblages are present in the lower stratigraphic units but Acheulean bifacial artifacts are consistently prevalent and widespread in directly overlying deposits. This technological transition is related to a shift in sedimentary regime, supporting the hypothesis that Middle Pleistocene Oldowan assemblages represent a behavioral facies of the Acheulean industrial complex.

  3. Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving.

    PubMed

    Joordens, Josephine C A; d'Errico, Francesco; Wesselingh, Frank P; Munro, Stephen; de Vos, John; Wallinga, Jakob; Ankjærgaard, Christina; Reimann, Tony; Wijbrans, Jan R; Kuiper, Klaudia F; Mücher, Herman J; Coqueugniot, Hélène; Prié, Vincent; Joosten, Ineke; van Os, Bertil; Schulp, Anne S; Panuel, Michel; van der Haas, Victoria; Lustenhouwer, Wim; Reijmer, John J G; Roebroeks, Wil

    2015-02-12

    The manufacture of geometric engravings is generally interpreted as indicative of modern cognition and behaviour. Key questions in the debate on the origin of such behaviour are whether this innovation is restricted to Homo sapiens, and whether it has a uniquely African origin. Here we report on a fossil freshwater shell assemblage from the Hauptknochenschicht ('main bone layer') of Trinil (Java, Indonesia), the type locality of Homo erectus discovered by Eugène Dubois in 1891 (refs 2 and 3). In the Dubois collection (in the Naturalis museum, Leiden, The Netherlands) we found evidence for freshwater shellfish consumption by hominins, one unambiguous shell tool, and a shell with a geometric engraving. We dated sediment contained in the shells with (40)Ar/(39)Ar and luminescence dating methods, obtaining a maximum age of 0.54 ± 0.10 million years and a minimum age of 0.43 ± 0.05 million years. This implies that the Trinil Hauptknochenschicht is younger than previously estimated. Together, our data indicate that the engraving was made by Homo erectus, and that it is considerably older than the oldest geometric engravings described so far. Although it is at present not possible to assess the function or meaning of the engraved shell, this discovery suggests that engraving abstract patterns was in the realm of Asian Homo erectus cognition and neuromotor control. PMID:25470048

  4. Molar crown inner structural organization in Javanese Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Zanolli, Clément

    2015-01-01

    This contribution investigates the inner organizational pattern (tooth tissue proportions and enamel-dentine junction morphology) of seven Homo erectus permanent molar crowns from the late Lower-early Middle Pleistocene Kabuh Formation of the Sangiran Dome (Central Java, Indonesia). The previous study of their external characteristics confirmed the degree of time-related structural reduction occurred in Javanese H. erectus, and also revealed a combination of nonmetric features which are rare in the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene dental record, but more frequently found in recent humans. In accordance with their outer occlusal morphology, the specimens exhibit a set of derived internal features, such as thick to hyperthick enamel, an incomplete expression of the crest patterns at the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) level, a sharp EDJ topography. As a whole, these features differ from those expressed in some penecontemporaneous specimens/samples representing African H. erectus/ergaster and H. heidelbergensis, as well as in Neanderthals, but occur in recent human populations. Further research in virtual dental paleoanthropology to be developed at macroregional scale would clarify the polarity and intensity of the intermittent exchanges between continental and insular Southeast Asia around the Lower to Middle Pleistocene boundary, as well as should shed light on the still poorly understood longitudinal evolutionary dynamics across continental Asia. PMID:25209431

  5. Paleoanthropology: Homo erectus and the limits of a paleontological species.

    PubMed

    Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2014-01-20

    The bushy nature of the human evolutionary tree in the past 3 million years is widely accepted. Yet, a spectacular new fossil of early Homo has prompted some paleoanthropologists to prune our family tree. PMID:24456983

  6. The Sambungmacan 3 Homo erectus calvaria: a comparative morphometric and morphological analysis.

    PubMed

    Delson, E; Harvati, K; Reddy, D; Marcus, L F; Mowbray, K; Sawyer, G J; Jacob, T; Márquez, S

    2001-04-01

    The Sambungmacan (Sm) 3 calvaria, discovered on Java in 1977, was illegally removed from Indonesia in 1998 and appeared in New York City in early 1999 at the Maxilla & Mandible, Ltd. natural history shop. Here we undertake an analysis of its phylogenetic and systematic position using geometric morphometrics and comparative morphology. The coordinates of points in the sagittal plane from glabella to opisthion were resampled to yield "lines" of 50 semi-landmarks. Coordinates of glabella, bregma, lambda, inion, and opisthion were also collected and analyzed separately. Casts of Homo erectus fossils from Indonesia, China, and Kenya and of "archaic H. sapiens" from Kabwe and Petralona, as well as 10 modern human crania, were used as the primary comparative sample. The modern humans were well separated from the fossils in a graphical superimposition of Procrustes-aligned semi-landmarks as well as in principal component and canonical discriminant analyses. In all of these, Sm 3 falls intermediate between the fossil and modern groups. Morphological comparisons of Sm 3 with a selection of Homo erectus fossils revealed its greatest similarity to specimens from Ngandong and the Sm 1 calvaria. Compared to all other H. erectus, Sm 3 was distinctive in its more vertical supratoral plane, less anteriorly projecting glabella and less sharply angled occiput. In these features it was somewhat similar to modern humans. It is not yet possible to determine if this similarity implies an evolutionary relationship or (more likely) individual or local populational variation. Several features of Sm 3 (small size, gracile supraorbital torus and lack of angular torus, and position in principal component analysis) suggest that it was a female. The use of geometric morphometrics provides a means to statistically test the shapes of such fossils in a manner not easily duplicated by other methods. The intermediate position of Sm 3 between fossil and modern samples in several different subanalyses

  7. Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups.

    PubMed

    Roach, Neil T; Hatala, Kevin G; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Villmoare, Brian; Reeves, Jonathan S; Du, Andrew; Braun, David R; Harris, John W K; Behrensmeyer, Anna K; Richmond, Brian G

    2016-01-01

    Reconstructing hominin paleoecology is critical for understanding our ancestors' diets, social organizations and interactions with other animals. Most paleoecological models lack fine-scale resolution due to fossil hominin scarcity and the time-averaged accumulation of faunal assemblages. Here we present data from 481 fossil tracks from northwestern Kenya, including 97 hominin footprints attributed to Homo erectus. These tracks are found in multiple sedimentary layers spanning approximately 20 thousand years. Taphonomic experiments show that each of these trackways represents minutes to no more than a few days in the lives of the individuals moving across these paleolandscapes. The geology and associated vertebrate fauna place these tracks in a deltaic setting, near a lakeshore bordered by open grasslands. Hominin footprints are disproportionately abundant in this lake margin environment, relative to hominin skeletal fossil frequency in the same deposits. Accounting for preservation bias, this abundance of hominin footprints indicates repeated use of lakeshore habitats by Homo erectus. Clusters of very large prints moving in the same direction further suggest these hominins traversed this lakeshore in multi-male groups. Such reliance on near water environments, and possibly aquatic-linked foods, may have influenced hominin foraging behavior and migratory routes across and out of Africa. PMID:27199261

  8. Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups

    PubMed Central

    Roach, Neil T.; Hatala, Kevin G.; Ostrofsky, Kelly R.; Villmoare, Brian; Reeves, Jonathan S.; Du, Andrew; Braun, David R.; Harris, John W. K.; Behrensmeyer, Anna K.; Richmond, Brian G.

    2016-01-01

    Reconstructing hominin paleoecology is critical for understanding our ancestors’ diets, social organizations and interactions with other animals. Most paleoecological models lack fine-scale resolution due to fossil hominin scarcity and the time-averaged accumulation of faunal assemblages. Here we present data from 481 fossil tracks from northwestern Kenya, including 97 hominin footprints attributed to Homo erectus. These tracks are found in multiple sedimentary layers spanning approximately 20 thousand years. Taphonomic experiments show that each of these trackways represents minutes to no more than a few days in the lives of the individuals moving across these paleolandscapes. The geology and associated vertebrate fauna place these tracks in a deltaic setting, near a lakeshore bordered by open grasslands. Hominin footprints are disproportionately abundant in this lake margin environment, relative to hominin skeletal fossil frequency in the same deposits. Accounting for preservation bias, this abundance of hominin footprints indicates repeated use of lakeshore habitats by Homo erectus. Clusters of very large prints moving in the same direction further suggest these hominins traversed this lakeshore in multi-male groups. Such reliance on near water environments, and possibly aquatic-linked foods, may have influenced hominin foraging behavior and migratory routes across and out of Africa. PMID:27199261

  9. Ecospaces occupied by Homo erectus and Homo sapiens in insular Southeast Asia in the Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertler, Christine; Haupt, Susanne; Volmer, Rebekka; Bruch, Angela

    2014-05-01

    Hominins migrated to the islands of the Sunda Shelf multiple times. At least two immigration events are evident, an early immigration of Homo erectus in the late Early Pleistocene and a second immigration of Homo sapiens during the Late Pleistocene. Regional environments changed considerably in the Pleistocene. Expansion patterns among hominins are at least co-determined by their ecologies and environmental change. We examine these expansion patterns on the basis of habitat reconstructions. Mammalian communities provide a geographically extensive record and permit to assess hominin ecospaces. Although chronological resolution is low, they represent the most complete record of habitat changes associated with hominin expansion patterns. In order to reconstruct and compare hominin ecospaces on a quantitative scale, we set up a reference sample consisting of mammalian communities of 117 national parks in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The diversity of such communities is assessed by ecological profiling of specialized herbivore taxa. Moreover, datasets on climate and vegetation correlate with the diversity structure of such specialized herbivore communities. Reconstructing the diversity structure of communities at key sites in Pleistocene Southeast Asia permits to infer features of the climatic and vegetation framework associated with different hominin taxa. Our results show that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens did not occupy similar ecospaces. The ecospace of Homo erectus is characterized by comparatively low diversity among frugivorous and folivorous taxa, while obligate grazers are part of the assemblages. Specialized herbivore communities with such a diversity structure occur at present in East Africa, while they are absent in Southeast Asia. In the reference sample, this type of ecospace corresponds to seasonal wetlands. Although Homo sapiens still inhabits this type of environment in Southeast Asia, his ecospace is wider. Homo sapiens is associated with

  10. Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam.

    PubMed

    Ciochon, R; Long, V T; Larick, R; González, L; Grün, R; de Vos, J; Yonge, C; Taylor, L; Yoshida, H; Reagan, M

    1996-04-01

    Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates in east Asia. During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age. We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites. Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst. Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy. Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago. Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki. Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements. The dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene. PMID:8610161

  11. Dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus from Tham Khuyen Cave, Vietnam.

    PubMed Central

    Ciochon, R; Long, V T; Larick, R; González, L; Grün, R; de Vos, J; Yonge, C; Taylor, L; Yoshida, H; Reagan, M

    1996-01-01

    Tham Khuyen Cave (Lang Son Province, northern Vietnam) is one of the more significant sites to yield fossil vertebrates in east Asia. During the mid-1960s, excavation in a suite of deposits produced important hominoid dental remains of middle Pleistocene age. We undertake more rigorous analyses of these sediments to understand the fluvial dynamics of Pleistocene cave infilling as they determine how skeletal elements accumulate within Tham Khuyen and other east Asian sites. Uranium/thorium series analysis of speleothems brackets the Pleistocene chronology for breaching, infilling, and exhuming the regional paleokarst. Clast analysis indicates sedimentary constituents, including hominoid teeth and cranial fragments accumulated from very short distances and under low fluvial energy. Electron spin resonance analysis of vertebrate tooth enamel and sediments shows that the main fossil-bearing suite (S1-S3) was deposited about 475 thousand years ago. Among the hominoid teeth excavated from S1-S3, some represent Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki. Criteria are defined to differentiate these teeth from more numerous Pongo pygmaeus elements. The dated co-occurrence of Homo erectus and Gigantopithecus blacki at Tham Khuyen helps to establish the long co-existence of these two species throughout east Asia during the Early and Middle Pleistocene. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 PMID:8610161

  12. ESR dating of tooth enamel from yunxian homo erectus site, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Tie-Mei; Yang, Quan; Hu, Yan-Qiu; Bao, Wen-Bo; Li, Tian-Yuan

    Two almost complete fossil hominid crania (EV9001 and EV9002) were found in 1989 and 1990 in Middle Pleistocene terrace deposit of Han River, Yunxian county, Hubei province, China. They are classified as Homo erectus. Nine fossil animal teeth stratigraphically associated with the skulls were selected for electron spin resonance (ESR) dating. The simple exponential function was used for determination of the accumulated dose De and its appropriateness was discussed on the base of the experimental study. The closed system assumption was checked and the early uranium uptake model was applied to age determination. A mean age value was yielded to be 581±93 ka. It deviates from the palaeomagnetic dating result of 830-870 ka. Micro-regional complete saturation of ESR signal in enamel of very high U-content may account for the underestimation of ESR ages. Nevertheless both ESR and palaeomagnetic dating results place Yunxian crania in between the Homo erectus of Lantian and Zhoukoudian, which means that Yunxian crania constitute an important link in the human evolutionary lineage of China.

  13. Dating the Homo erectus bearing travertine from Kocabaş (Denizli, Turkey) at at least 1.1 Ma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebatard, Anne-Elisabeth; Alçiçek, M. Cihat; Rochette, Pierre; Khatib, Samir; Vialet, Amélie; Boulbes, Nicolas; Bourlès, Didier L.; Demory, François; Guipert, Gaspard; Mayda, Serdar; Titov, Vadim V.; Vidal, Laurence; de Lumley, Henry

    2014-03-01

    Since its discovery within a travertine quarry, the fragmentary cranium of the only known Turkish Homo erectus, the Kocabaş hominid, has led to conflicting biochronological estimations. First estimated to be ˜500 ka old, the partial skull presents a combination of archaic and evolved features that puts it as an intermediate specimen between the Dmanisi fossils (Homo georgicus) and the Chinese Zhoukoudian skulls (Homo erectus) respectively dated to 1.8 to ˜0.8 Ma. Here we present a multidisciplinary study combining sedimentological, paleontological and paleoanthropological observations together with cosmogenic nuclide concentration and paleomagnetic measurements to provide an absolute chronological framework for the Upper fossiliferous Travertine unit where the Kocabaş hominid and fauna were discovered. The 26Al/10Be burial ages determined on pebbles from conglomeratic levels framing the Upper fossiliferous Travertine unit, which exhibits an inverse polarity, constrains its deposition to before the Cobb Mountain sub-chron, that is between 1.22 and ˜1.5 Ma. The alternative match of the normal polarity recorded above the travertine with the Jaramillo subchron (lower limit 1.07 Ma) may also be marginally compatible with cosmogenic nuclides interpretation, thus the proposed minimum age of 1.1 Ma for the end of massive travertine deposition. The actual age of the fossils is likely to be in the 1.1-1.3 Ma range. This absolute date is in close agreement with the paleoanthropological conclusions based on morphometric comparisons implying that Kocabaş hominid belongs to the Homo erectus s.l. group that includes Chinese and African fossils, and is different from Middle and Upper Pleistocene specimens. Furthermore, this date is confirmed by the large mammal assemblage, typical of the late Villafranchian. Because it attests to the antiquity of human occupation of the Anatolian Peninsula and one of the waves of settlements out of Africa, this work challenges the current

  14. Dental size reduction in Indonesian Homo erectus: Implications for the PU-198 premolar and the appearance of Homo sapiens on Java.

    PubMed

    Polanski, Joshua M; Marsh, Hannah E; Maddux, Scott D

    2016-01-01

    The recent recovery of a hominin maxillary third premolar, PU-198, within the faunal collections from Punung Cave (East Java) has led to assertions that Homo sapiens appeared on Java between 143,000 and 115,000 years ago. The taxonomic assignment of PU-198 to H. sapiens was based predominantly on the small size of the specimen, following an analysis which found little to no overlap in premolar size between Homo erectus and terminal Pleistocene/Holocene H. sapiens. Here, we re-evaluate the use of size in the taxonomic assignment of PU-198 in light of 1) new buccolingual and mesiodistal measurements taken on the fossil, 2) comparisons to a larger sample of H. erectus and H. sapiens maxillary third premolars, and 3) evidence of a diachronic trend in post-canine dental size reduction among Javan H. erectus. Our results demonstrate PU-198 to be slightly larger than previously suggested, reveal substantial overlap in premolar size between H. erectus and H. sapiens, and indicate a statistically significant reduction in premolar size between early and late Javan H. erectus. Our findings cast doubt on the assignment of PU-198 to H. sapiens, and accordingly, question the appearance of H. sapiens on Java between 143,000 and 115,000 years ago. PMID:26767959

  15. Revisiting scoliosis in the KNM-WT 15000 Homo erectus skeleton.

    PubMed

    Schiess, Regula; Boeni, Thomas; Rühli, Frank; Haeusler, Martin

    2014-02-01

    Owing to its completeness, the 1.5 million year old Nariokotome boy skeleton KNM-WT 15000 is central for understanding the skeletal biology of Homo erectus. Nevertheless, since the reported asymmetries and distortions of Nariokotome boy's axial skeleton suggest adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, possibly associated with congenital skeletal dysplasia, it is questionable whether it still can be used as a reference for H. erectus. Recently, however, the presence of skeletal dysplasia has been refuted. Here, we present a morphological and morphometric reanalysis of the assertion of idiopathic scoliosis. We demonstrate that unarticulated vertebral columns of non-scoliotic and scoliotic individuals can be distinguished based on the lateral deviation of the spinous process, lateral and sagittal wedging, vertebral body torsion, pedicle thickness asymmetry, and asymmetry of superior and inferior articular facet areas. A principal component analysis of the overall asymmetry of all seven vertebral shape variables groups KNM-WT 15000 within non-scoliotic modern humans. There is, however, an anomaly of vertebrae T1-T2 that is compatible with a short left convex curve at the uppermost thoracic region, possibly due to injury or local growth dysbalance. Asymmetries of the facet joints L3-L5 suggest a local right convex curve in the lower lumbar region that probably resulted from juvenile traumatic disc herniation. This pattern is incompatible with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or other types of scoliosis, including congenital, neuromuscular or syndromic scoliosis. It is, however, consistent with a recent reanalysis of the rib cage that did not reveal any asymmetry. Except for these possibly trauma-related anomalies, the Nariokotome boy fossil therefore seems to belong to a normal H. erectus youth without evidence for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or other severe pathologies of the axial skeleton. PMID:24491377

  16. New dating of the Homo erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling), China.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Zhao-Yu; Dennell, Robin; Huang, Wei-Wen; Wu, Yi; Rao, Zhi-Guo; Qiu, Shi-Fan; Xie, Jiu-Bing; Liu, Wu; Fu, Shu-Qing; Han, Jiang-Wei; Zhou, Hou-Yun; Ou Yang, Ting-Ping; Li, Hua-Mei

    2015-01-01

    The Homo erectus cranium from Gongwangling, Lantian County, Shaanxi Province is the oldest fossil hominin specimen from North China. It was found in 1964 in a layer below the Jaramillo subchron and was attributed to loess (L) L15 in the Chinese loess-palaeosol sequence, with an estimated age of ca. 1.15 Ma (millions of years ago). Here, we demonstrate that there is a stratigraphical hiatus in the Gongwangling section immediately below loess 15, and the cranium in fact lies in palaeosol (S) S22 or S23, the age of which is ca. 1.54-1.65 Ma. Closely spaced palaeomagnetic sampling at two sections at Gongwangling and one at Jiacun, 10 km to the north, indicate that the fossil layer at Gongwangling and a similar fossil horizon at Jiacun were deposited shortly before a short period of normal polarity above the Olduvai subchron. This is attributed to the Gilsa Event that has been dated elsewhere to ca. 1.62 Ma. Our investigations thus demonstrate that the Gongwangling cranium is slightly older than ca. 1.62 Ma, probably ca. 1.63 Ma, and significantly older than previously supposed. This re-dating now makes Gongwangling the second oldest site outside Africa (after Dmanisi) with cranial remains, and causes substantial re-adjustment in the early fossil hominin record in Eurasia. PMID:25456822

  17. Mojokerto revisited: evidence for an intermediate pattern of brain growth in Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    O'Connell, Caitlin A; DeSilva, Jeremy M

    2013-08-01

    Brain development in Homo erectus is a subject of great interest, and the infant calvaria from Mojokerto, Indonesia, has featured prominently in these debates. Some researchers have suggested that the pattern of brain development in H. erectus resembled that of non-human apes, while others argue for a more human-like growth pattern. In this study, we retested hypotheses regarding brain ontogeny in H. erectus using new methods (resampling), and data from additional H. erectus crania. Our results reveal that humans achieve 62% (±10%) and chimpanzees 80% (±9%) of their adult endocranial volume by 0.5-1.5 years of age. Using brain mass data, humans achieve on average 65% and chimpanzees 81% of adult size by 0.5-1.5 years. When compared with adult H. erectus crania (n = 9) from Indonesian sites greater than 1.2 million years old, Mojokerto had reached ∼70% of its adult cranial capacity. Mojokerto thus falls almost directly between the average growth in humans and chimpanzees, and well within the range of both. We therefore suggest that brain development in H. erectus cannot be dichotomized as either ape-like or human-like; it was H. erectus-like. These data indicate that H. erectus may have had a unique developmental pattern that should be considered as an important step along the continuum of brain ontogeny between apes and humans. PMID:23815827

  18. An explorative multiproxy approach to characterize the ecospace of Homo erectus at Sangiran (Java, Indonesia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertler, Christine; Haupt, Susanne; Lüdecke, Tina; Wirkner, Mathias; Bruch, Angela

    2015-04-01

    Homo erectus inhabited the islands of the Sunda Shelf in the late Early Pleistocene. This is illustrated by an extensive record of hominid specimens stemming from a variety of sites in Java. The hominid locality Sangiran plays a crucial role in studying related environments, because the geological record at the Sangiran dome covers a stratigraphic sequence, unlike any other hominid site in Java. Although the detailed chronology of the localities in Java is still under dispute, it covers the period between the late Early and early Middle Pleistocene. Fossil evidence includes the hominin specimens proper, diverse and evolving vertebrate faunas as well as pollen profiles. We applied a multiproxy approach to analyse and reconstruct features of the Homo erectus ecospace. Preliminary results of our explorative study are introduced in this paper. Based on the pollen record, we reconstructed temperature and precipitation for the major stratigraphic units. Although resulting values are averaging over wide chronological intervals, they illustrate general climatic trends in the late Early and early Middle Pleistocene in accordance with previous studies and the MIS record. The mammalian specimens we selected for this preliminary study possess a more restricted stratigraphic provenience. Our analyses are based on a dental sample of Duboisia santeng from the Koenigswald collection (n=14). The occurrence of the taxon is restricted to 3 layers in the stratigraphy. We reconstructed body mass and inferred diet from mesowear and isotope studies. There is no significant shift in body masses of Duboisia santeng. This result is in accordance with studies from other localities in Java. However, slight shifts in the mesowear signals (mixed feeder with increasingly browsing signal) are confirmed by studies of carbon isotopes. The analysis of oxygen isotopes provides evidence for seasonality which is compared with the signals from the vegetation.

  19. First Homo erectus from Turkey and implications for migrations into temperate Eurasia.

    PubMed

    Kappelman, John; Alçiçek, Mehmet Cihat; Kazanci, Nizamettin; Schultz, Michael; Ozkul, Mehmet; Sen, Sevket

    2008-01-01

    Remains of fossil hominins from temperate regions of the Old World are rare across both time and space, but such specimens are necessary for understanding basic issues in human evolution including linkages between their adaptations and early migration patterns. We report here the remarkable circumstances surrounding the discovery of the first fossil hominin calvaria from Turkey. The specimen was found in the Denizli province of western Turkey and recovered from within a solid block of travertine stone as it was being sawed into tile-sized slabs for the commercial natural stone building market. The new specimen fills an important geographical and temporal gap and displays several anatomical features that are shared with other Middle Pleistocene hominins from both Africa and Asia attributed to Homo erectus. It also preserves an unusual pathology on the endocranial surface of the frontal bone that is consistent with a diagnosis of Leptomeningitis tuberculosa (TB), and this evidence represents the most ancient example of this disease known for a fossil human. TB is exacerbated in dark-skinned peoples living in northern latitudes by a vitamin D deficiency because of reduced levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Evidence for TB in the new specimen supports the thesis that reduced UVR was one of the many climatic variables presenting an adaptive challenge to ancient hominins during their migration into the temperate regions of Europe and Asia. PMID:18067194

  20. Venturing out safely: The biogeography of Homo erectus dispersal out of Africa.

    PubMed

    Carotenuto, F; Tsikaridze, N; Rook, L; Lordkipanidze, D; Longo, Laura; Condemi, Silvana; Raia, P

    2016-06-01

    The dispersal of Homo erectus out of Africa at some 1.9 million years ago is one of the most important, crucial, and yet controversial events in human evolution. Current opinions about this episode expose the contrast between those who see H. erectus as a highly social, cooperative species seeking out new ecological opportunities to exploit, and those preferring a passive, climate driven explanation for such an event. By using geostatistics techniques and probabilistic models, we characterised the ecological context of H. erectus dispersal, from its East African origin to the colonization of Eurasia, taking into account both the presence of other large mammals and the physical characteristics of the landscape as potential factors. Our model indicated that H. erectus followed almost passively the large herbivore fauna during its dispersal. In Africa, the dispersal was statistically associated with the presence of large freshwater bodies (Rift Valley Lakes). In Eurasia, the presence of H. erectus was associated with the occurrence of geological outcrops likely yielding unconsolidated flint. During the early phase of dispersal, our model indicated that H. erectus actively avoided areas densely populated by large carnivores. This pattern weakened as H. erectus dispersed over Europe, possibly because of the decreasing presence of carnivores there plus the later acquisition of Acheulean technology. During this later phase, H. erectus was associated with limestone and shaley marl, and seems to have been selecting for high-elevation sites. While our results do not directly contradict the idea that H. erectus may have been an active hunter, they clearly point to the fact that predator avoidance may have conditioned its long-distance diffusion as it moved outside Africa. The modelled dispersal route suggests that H. erectus remained preferentially associated with low/middle latitude (i.e., comparatively warm) sites throughout its colonization history. PMID:27260171

  1. Evidence from facial morphology for similarity of Asian and African representatives of Homo erectus.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G P

    1998-05-01

    It has been argued that Homo erectus is a species confined to Asia. Specialized characters displayed by the Indonesian and Chinese skulls are said to be absent in material from eastern Africa, and individuals from Koobi Fora and Nariokotome are now referred by some workers to H. ergaster. This second species is held to be the ancestor from which later human populations are derived. The claim for two taxa is evaluated here with special reference to the facial skeleton. Asian fossils examined include Sangiran 4 and Sangiran 17, several of the Ngandong crania, Gongwangling, and of course the material from Zhoukoudian described by Weidenreich ([1943] Palaeontol. Sin. [New Ser. D] 10:1-484). African specimens compared are KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-ER 3883 from Koobi Fora and KNM-WT 15000 from Nariokotome. Hominid 9 from Olduvai is useful only insofar as the brows and interorbital pillar are preserved. Neither detailed anatomical comparisons nor measurements bring to light any consistent patterns in facial morphology which set the African hominids apart from Asian H. erectus. Faces of the African individuals do tend to be high and less broad across the orbits. Both of the Koobi Fora crania but not KNM-WT 15000 have nasal bones that are narrow superiorly, while the piriform aperture is relatively wide. In many other characters, including contour of the supraorbital torus, glabellar prominence, nasal bridge dimensions, internasal keeling, anatomy of the nasal sill and floor, development of the canine jugum, orientation of the zygomaticoalveolar pillar, rounding of the anterolateral surface of the cheek, formation of a malar tubercle, and palatal rugosity, there is variation among individuals from localities within the major geographic provinces. Here it is not possible to identify features that are unique to either the Asian or African assemblages. Additional traits such as a forward sloping "crista nasalis," presence of a "sulcus maxillaris," a high (and massive) cheek coupled

  2. No skeletal dysplasia in the Nariokotome boy KNM-WT 15000 (Homo erectus)--a reassessment of congenital pathologies of the vertebral column.

    PubMed

    Schiess, Regula; Haeusler, Martin

    2013-03-01

    The Nariokotome boy skeleton KNM-WT 15000 is the most complete Homo erectus fossil and therefore is key for understanding human evolution. Nevertheless, since Latimer and Ohman (2001) reported on severe congenital pathology in KNM-WT 15000, it is questionable whether this skeleton can still be used as reference for Homo erectus skeletal biology. The asserted pathologies include platyspondylic and diminutive vertebrae implying a disproportionately short stature; spina bifida; condylus tertius; spinal stenosis; and scoliosis. Based on this symptom complex, the differential diagnosis of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda, an extremely rare form of skeletal dysplasia, has been proposed. Yet, our reanalysis of these pathologies shows that the shape of the KNM-WT 15000 vertebrae matches that of normal modern human adolescents. The vertebrae are not abnormally flat, show no endplate irregularities, and thus are not platyspondylic. As this is the hallmark of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda and related forms of skeletal dysplasia, the absence of platyspondyly refutes axial dysplasia and disproportionate dwarfism. Furthermore, we neither found evidence for spina bifida occulta nor manifesta, whereas the condylus tertius, a developmental anomaly of the cranial base, is not related to skeletal dysplasias. Other fossils indicate that the relatively small size of the vertebrae and the narrow spinal canal are characteristics of early hominins rather than congenital pathologies. Except for the recently described signs of traumatic lumbar disc herniation, the Nariokotome boy fossil therefore seems to belong to a normal Homo erectus youth without pathologies of the axial skeleton. PMID:23283736

  3. Homo erectus and Middle Pleistocene hominins: brain size, skull form, and species recognition.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2013-09-01

    Hominins that differ from Homo erectus, the Neanderthals, and recent humans are known from Middle Pleistocene localities across the Old World. The taxonomic status of these populations has been clouded by controversy. Perhaps the most critical problem has been an incomplete understanding of variation in skull form. Here, both H. erectus and later mid-Pleistocene hominins are the focus of an investigation aimed at clarifying the relationships among brain volume, basicranial dimensions, neurocranial shape, and certain facial characters. Brain size in H. erectus averages about 950 cm(3), while in a series of Middle Pleistocene crania from Africa and Europe, volume is about 1230 cm(3). If encephalization is the primary mechanism operating in the mid-Pleistocene, then diverse aspects of cranial form cannot all be treated as independent variables. Correlation is utilized to examine the associations among measurements for more than 30 H. erectus crania that are reasonably well preserved. A similar approach is used with the Middle Pleistocene sample. Patterns of covariation are compared in order to assess integration. Next, factor analysis is applied to the H. erectus specimens in an attempt to identify modules, tightly integrated traits that can evolve independently. Studies of the variation within H. erectus are followed by direct comparisons with the Middle Pleistocene population. Discriminant functions facilitate the description of intergroup differences. Traits that vary independently from brain volume include anterior frontal broadening, lateral expansion of the parietal vault, elevation of the lambda-inion chord, and rounding of the sagittal contour of the occipital. This finding helps to resolve the problem of species recognition. Neurocranial proportions as well as characters from the cranial base and face can be incorporated into a differential diagnosis for the mid-Pleistocene sample. Evidence presented here supports arguments for speciation in the Middle

  4. Hominid mandibular corpus shape variation and its utility for recognizing species diversity within fossil Homo.

    PubMed

    Lague, Michael R; Collard, Nicole J; Richmond, Brian G; Wood, Bernard A

    2008-12-01

    Mandibular corpora are well represented in the hominin fossil record, yet few studies have rigorously assessed the utility of mandibular corpus morphology for species recognition, particularly with respect to the linear dimensions that are most commonly available. In this study, we explored the extent to which commonly preserved mandibular corpus morphology can be used to: (i) discriminate among extant hominid taxa and (ii) support species designations among fossil specimens assigned to the genus Homo. In the first part of the study, discriminant analysis was used to test for significant differences in mandibular corpus shape at different taxonomic levels (genus, species and subspecies) among extant hominid taxa (i.e. Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo). In the second part of the study, we examined shape variation among fossil mandibles assigned to Homo (including H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, early African H. erectus/H. ergaster, late African H. erectus, Asian H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). A novel randomization procedure designed for small samples (and using group 'distinctness values') was used to determine whether shape variation among the fossils is consistent with conventional taxonomy (or alternatively, whether a priori taxonomic groupings are completely random with respect to mandibular morphology). The randomization of 'distinctness values' was also used on the extant samples to assess the ability of the test to recognize known taxa. The discriminant analysis results demonstrated that, even for a relatively modest set of traditional mandibular corpus measurements, we can detect significant differences among extant hominids at the genus and species levels, and, in some cases, also at the subspecies level. Although the randomization of 'distinctness values' test is more conservative than discriminant analysis (based on comparisons with extant specimens), we were able to detect at least four distinct groups among the

  5. Hominid mandibular corpus shape variation and its utility for recognizing species diversity within fossil Homo

    PubMed Central

    Lague, Michael R; Collard, Nicole J; Richmond, Brian G; Wood, Bernard A

    2008-01-01

    Mandibular corpora are well represented in the hominin fossil record, yet few studies have rigorously assessed the utility of mandibular corpus morphology for species recognition, particularly with respect to the linear dimensions that are most commonly available. In this study, we explored the extent to which commonly preserved mandibular corpus morphology can be used to: (i) discriminate among extant hominid taxa and (ii) support species designations among fossil specimens assigned to the genus Homo. In the first part of the study, discriminant analysis was used to test for significant differences in mandibular corpus shape at different taxonomic levels (genus, species and subspecies) among extant hominid taxa (i.e. Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Pongo). In the second part of the study, we examined shape variation among fossil mandibles assigned to Homo(including H. habilis sensu stricto, H. rudolfensis, early African H. erectus/H. ergaster, late African H. erectus, Asian H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens). A novel randomization procedure designed for small samples (and using group ‘distinctness values’) was used to determine whether shape variation among the fossils is consistent with conventional taxonomy (or alternatively, whether a priori taxonomic groupings are completely random with respect to mandibular morphology). The randomization of ‘distinctness values’ was also used on the extant samples to assess the ability of the test to recognize known taxa. The discriminant analysis results demonstrated that, even for a relatively modest set of traditional mandibular corpus measurements, we can detect significant differences among extant hominids at the genus and species levels, and, in some cases, also at the subspecies level. Although the randomization of ‘distinctness values’ test is more conservative than discriminant analysis (based on comparisons with extant specimens), we were able to detect at least four distinct groups

  6. Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Spoor, F; Leakey, M G; Gathogo, P N; Brown, F H; Antón, S C; McDougall, I; Kiarie, C; Manthi, F K; Leakey, L N

    2007-08-01

    Sites in eastern Africa have shed light on the emergence and early evolution of the genus Homo. The best known early hominin species, H. habilis and H. erectus, have often been interpreted as time-successive segments of a single anagenetic evolutionary lineage. The case for this was strengthened by the discovery of small early Pleistocene hominin crania from Dmanisi in Georgia that apparently provide evidence of morphological continuity between the two taxa. Here we describe two new cranial fossils from the Koobi Fora Formation, east of Lake Turkana in Kenya, that have bearing on the relationship between species of early Homo. A partial maxilla assigned to H. habilis reliably demonstrates that this species survived until later than previously recognized, making an anagenetic relationship with H. erectus unlikely. The discovery of a particularly small calvaria of H. erectus indicates that this taxon overlapped in size with H. habilis, and may have shown marked sexual dimorphism. The new fossils confirm the distinctiveness of H. habilis and H. erectus, independently of overall cranial size, and suggest that these two early taxa were living broadly sympatrically in the same lake basin for almost half a million years. PMID:17687323

  7. Homo floresiensis Contextualized: A Geometric Morphometric Comparative Analysis of Fossil and Pathological Human Samples

    PubMed Central

    Baab, Karen L.; McNulty, Kieran P.; Harvati, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious. These specimens may represent a new hominin species, Homo floresiensis, descended from a local population of Homo erectus or from an earlier (pre-H. erectus) migration of a small-bodied and small-brained hominin out of Africa. Alternatively, some workers suggest that some or all of the specimens recovered from Liang Bua are pathological members of a small-bodied modern human population. Pathological conditions proposed to explain their documented anatomical features include microcephaly, myxoedematous endemic hypothyroidism (“cretinism”) and Laron syndrome (primary growth hormone insensitivity). This study evaluates evolutionary and pathological hypotheses through comparative analysis of cranial morphology. Geometric morphometric analyses of landmark data show that the sole Flores cranium (LB1) is clearly distinct from healthy modern humans and from those exhibiting hypothyroidism and Laron syndrome. Modern human microcephalic specimens converge, to some extent, on crania of extinct species of Homo. However in the features that distinguish these two groups, LB1 consistently groups with fossil hominins and is most similar to H. erectus. Our study provides further support for recognizing the Flores hominins as a distinct species, H. floresiensis, whose affinities lie with archaic Homo. PMID:23874886

  8. Homo floresiensis contextualized: a geometric morphometric comparative analysis of fossil and pathological human samples.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L; McNulty, Kieran P; Harvati, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    The origin of hominins found on the remote Indonesian island of Flores remains highly contentious. These specimens may represent a new hominin species, Homo floresiensis, descended from a local population of Homo erectus or from an earlier (pre-H. erectus) migration of a small-bodied and small-brained hominin out of Africa. Alternatively, some workers suggest that some or all of the specimens recovered from Liang Bua are pathological members of a small-bodied modern human population. Pathological conditions proposed to explain their documented anatomical features include microcephaly, myxoedematous endemic hypothyroidism ("cretinism") and Laron syndrome (primary growth hormone insensitivity). This study evaluates evolutionary and pathological hypotheses through comparative analysis of cranial morphology. Geometric morphometric analyses of landmark data show that the sole Flores cranium (LB1) is clearly distinct from healthy modern humans and from those exhibiting hypothyroidism and Laron syndrome. Modern human microcephalic specimens converge, to some extent, on crania of extinct species of Homo. However in the features that distinguish these two groups, LB1 consistently groups with fossil hominins and is most similar to H. erectus. Our study provides further support for recognizing the Flores hominins as a distinct species, H. floresiensis, whose affinities lie with archaic Homo. PMID:23874886

  9. Homo floresiensis-like fossils from the early Middle Pleistocene of Flores.

    PubMed

    van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Kaifu, Yousuke; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kono, Reiko T; Brumm, Adam; Setiyabudi, Erick; Aziz, Fachroel; Morwood, Michael J

    2016-06-01

    The evolutionary origin of Homo floresiensis, a diminutive hominin species previously known only by skeletal remains from Liang Bua in western Flores, Indonesia, has been intensively debated. It is a matter of controversy whether this primitive form, dated to the Late Pleistocene, evolved from early Asian Homo erectus and represents a unique and striking case of evolutionary reversal in hominin body and brain size within an insular environment. The alternative hypothesis is that H. floresiensis derived from an older, smaller-brained member of our genus, such as Homo habilis, or perhaps even late Australopithecus, signalling a hitherto undocumented dispersal of hominins from Africa into eastern Asia by two million years ago (2 Ma). Here we describe hominin fossils excavated in 2014 from an early Middle Pleistocene site (Mata Menge) in the So'a Basin of central Flores. These specimens comprise a mandible fragment and six isolated teeth belonging to at least three small-jawed and small-toothed individuals. Dating to ~0.7 Ma, these fossils now constitute the oldest hominin remains from Flores. The Mata Menge mandible and teeth are similar in dimensions and morphological characteristics to those of H. floresiensis from Liang Bua. The exception is the mandibular first molar, which retains a more primitive condition. Notably, the Mata Menge mandible and molar are even smaller in size than those of the two existing H. floresiensis individuals from Liang Bua. The Mata Menge fossils are derived compared with Australopithecus and H. habilis, and so tend to support the view that H. floresiensis is a dwarfed descendent of early Asian H. erectus. Our findings suggest that hominins on Flores had acquired extremely small body size and other morphological traits specific to H. floresiensis at an unexpectedly early time. PMID:27279221

  10. The Age of the 20 Meter Solo River Terrace, Java, Indonesia and the Survival of Homo erectus in Asia

    PubMed Central

    Indriati, Etty; Swisher, Carl C.; Lepre, Christopher; Quinn, Rhonda L.; Suriyanto, Rusyad A.; Hascaryo, Agus T.; Grün, Rainer; Feibel, Craig S.; Pobiner, Briana L.; Aubert, Maxime; Lees, Wendy; Antón, Susan C.

    2011-01-01

    Homo erectus was the first human lineage to disperse widely throughout the Old World, the only hominin in Asia through much of the Pleistocene, and was likely ancestral to H. sapiens. The demise of this taxon remains obscure because of uncertainties regarding the geological age of its youngest populations. In 1996, some of us co-published electron spin resonance (ESR) and uranium series (U-series) results indicating an age as young as 35–50 ka for the late H. erectus sites of Ngandong and Sambungmacan and the faunal site of Jigar (Indonesia). If correct, these ages favor an African origin for recent humans who would overlap with H. erectus in time and space. Here, we report 40Ar/39Ar incremental heating analyses and new ESR/U-series age estimates from the “20 m terrace" at Ngandong and Jigar. Both data sets are internally consistent and provide no evidence for reworking, yet they are inconsistent with one another. The 40Ar/39Ar analyses give an average age of 546±12 ka (sd±5 se) for both sites, the first reliable radiometric indications of a middle Pleistocene component for the terrace. Given the technical accuracy and consistency of the analyses, the argon ages represent either the actual age or the maximum age for the terrace and are significantly older than previous estimates. Most of the ESR/U-series results are older as well, but the oldest that meets all modeling criteria is 143 ka+20/−17. Most samples indicated leaching of uranium and likely represent either the actual or the minimum age of the terrace. Given known sources of error, the U-series results could be consistent with a middle Pleistocene age. However, the ESR and 40Ar/39Ar ages preclude one another. Regardless, the age of the sites and hominins is at least bracketed between these estimates and is older than currently accepted. PMID:21738710

  11. High-resolution record of the Matuyama–Brunhes transition constrains the age of Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran dome, Indonesia

    PubMed Central

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kamishima, Yuko; Kondo, Megumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Kitaba, Ikuko; Danhara, Tohru; Aziz, Fachroel; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kumai, Hisao

    2011-01-01

    A detailed paleomagnetic study conducted in the Sangiran area, Java, has provided a reliable age constraint on hominid fossil-bearing formations. A reverse-to-normal polarity transition marks a 7-m thick section across the Upper Tuff in the Bapang Formation. The transition has three short reversal episodes and is overlain by a thick normal polarity magnetozone that was fission-track dated to the Brunhes chron. This pattern closely resembles another high-resolution Matuyama–Brunhes (MB) transition record in an Osaka Bay marine core. In the Sangiran sediments, four successive transitional polarity fields lie just below the presumed main MB boundary. Their virtual geomagnetic poles cluster in the western South Pacific, partly overlapping the transitional virtual geomagnetic poles from Hawaiian and Canary Islands’ lavas, which have a mean 40Ar/39Ar age of 776 ± 2 ka. Thus, the polarity transition is unambiguously the MB boundary. A revised correlation of tuff layers in the Bapang Formation reveals that the hominid last occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran area are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff, which underlies the MB transition. The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka. The MB boundary currently defines the uppermost horizon yielding Homo erectus fossils in the Sangiran area. PMID:22106291

  12. High-resolution record of the Matuyama-Brunhes transition constrains the age of Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran dome, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kamishima, Yuko; Kondo, Megumi; Takeshita, Yoshihiro; Kitaba, Ikuko; Danhara, Tohru; Aziz, Fachroel; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kumai, Hisao

    2011-12-01

    A detailed paleomagnetic study conducted in the Sangiran area, Java, has provided a reliable age constraint on hominid fossil-bearing formations. A reverse-to-normal polarity transition marks a 7-m thick section across the Upper Tuff in the Bapang Formation. The transition has three short reversal episodes and is overlain by a thick normal polarity magnetozone that was fission-track dated to the Brunhes chron. This pattern closely resembles another high-resolution Matuyama-Brunhes (MB) transition record in an Osaka Bay marine core. In the Sangiran sediments, four successive transitional polarity fields lie just below the presumed main MB boundary. Their virtual geomagnetic poles cluster in the western South Pacific, partly overlapping the transitional virtual geomagnetic poles from Hawaiian and Canary Islands' lavas, which have a mean (40)Ar/(39)Ar age of 776 ± 2 ka. Thus, the polarity transition is unambiguously the MB boundary. A revised correlation of tuff layers in the Bapang Formation reveals that the hominid last occurrence and the tektite level in the Sangiran area are nearly coincident, just below the Upper Middle Tuff, which underlies the MB transition. The stratigraphic relationship of the tektite level to the MB transition in the Sangiran area is consistent with deep-sea core data that show that the meteorite impact preceded the MB reversal by about 12 ka. The MB boundary currently defines the uppermost horizon yielding Homo erectus fossils in the Sangiran area. PMID:22106291

  13. New fossils from Koobi Fora in northern Kenya confirm taxonomic diversity in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Leakey, Meave G; Spoor, Fred; Dean, M Christopher; Feibel, Craig S; Antón, Susan C; Kiarie, Christopher; Leakey, Louise N

    2012-08-01

    Since its discovery in 1972 (ref. 1), the cranium KNM-ER 1470 has been at the centre of the debate over the number of species of early Homo present in the early Pleistocene epoch of eastern Africa. KNM-ER 1470 stands out among other specimens attributed to early Homo because of its larger size, and its flat and subnasally orthognathic face with anteriorly placed maxillary zygomatic roots. This singular morphology and the incomplete preservation of the fossil have led to different views as to whether KNM-ER 1470 can be accommodated within a single species of early Homo that is highly variable because of sexual, geographical and temporal factors, or whether it provides evidence of species diversity marked by differences in cranial size and facial or masticatory adaptation. Here we report on three newly discovered fossils, aged between 1.78 and 1.95 million years (Myr) old, that clarify the anatomy and taxonomic status of KNM-ER 1470. KNM-ER 62000, a well-preserved face of a late juvenile hominin, closely resembles KNM-ER 1470 but is notably smaller. It preserves previously unknown morphology, including moderately sized, mesiodistally long postcanine teeth. The nearly complete mandible KNM-ER 60000 and mandibular fragment KNM-ER 62003 have a dental arcade that is short anteroposteriorly and flat across the front, with small incisors; these features are consistent with the arcade morphology of KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 62000. The new fossils confirm the presence of two contemporary species of early Homo, in addition to Homo erectus, in the early Pleistocene of eastern Africa. PMID:22874966

  14. Fossil Homo femur from Berg Aukas, northern Namibia.

    PubMed

    Grine, F E; Jungers, W L; Tobias, P V; Pearson, O M

    1995-06-01

    The proximal half of a hominid femur was recovered from deep within a paleokarst feature at the Berg Aukas mine, northern Namibia. The femur is fully mineralized, but it is not possible to place it in geochronological context. It has a very large head, an exceptionally thick diaphyseal cortex, and a very low collodiaphyseal angle, which serve to differentiate it from Holocene homologues. The femur is not attributable to Australopithecus, Paranthropus, or early Homo (i.e., H. habilis sensu lato). Homo erectus femora have a relatively longer and AP flatter neck, and a shaft that exhibits less pilaster than the Berg Aukas specimen. Berg Aukas also differs from early modern femora in several features, including diaphyseal cortical thickness and the degree of subtrochanteric AP flattening. The massive diaphyseal cortex of Berg Aukas finds its closest similarity within archaic H. sapiens (e.g., Castel di Guido) and H. erectus (e.g., KNM-ER 736) samples. It has more cortical bone at midshaft than any other specimen, although relative cortical thickness and the asymmetry of its cross-sectional disposition at this level are comparable with those of other Pleistocene femora. The closest morphological comparisons with Berg Aukas are in archaic (i.e., Middle Pleistocene) H. sapiens and Neandertal samples. PMID:7653506

  15. Evolution of the Genus Homo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tattersall, Ian; Schwartz, Jeffrey H.

    2009-05-01

    Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5-1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis. We also point to heterogeneity among “early African Homo erectus,” and the lack of apomorphies linking these fossils to the Asian Homo erectus group, a cohesive regional clade that shows some internal variation, including brain size increase over time. The first truly cosmopolitan Homo species is Homo heidelbergensis, known from Africa, Europe, and China following 600 kyr ago. One species sympatric with it included the >500-kyr-old Sima de los Huesos fossils from Spain, clearly distinct from Homo heidelbergensis and the oldest hominids assignable to the clade additionally containing Homo neanderthalensis. This clade also shows evidence of brain size expansion with time; but although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique. Homo sapiens clearly originated in Africa, where it existed as a physical entity before it began (also in that continent) to show the first stirrings of symbolism. Most likely, the biological underpinnings of symbolic consciousness were exaptively acquired in the radical developmental reorganization that gave rise to the highly characteristic osteological structure of Homo sapiens, but lay fallow for tens of thousands of years before being “discovered” by a cultural stimulus, plausibly the invention of language.

  16. Origin and evolution of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1992-02-27

    It is remarkable that the taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of the earliest known representatives of our own genus, Homo, remain obscure. Advances in techniques for absolute dating and reassessments of the fossils themselves have rendered untenable a simple unilineal model of human evolution, in which Homo habilis succeeded the australopithecines and then evolved via H. erectus into H. sapiens-but no clear alternative consensus has yet emerged. PMID:1538759

  17. Découverte d'un Homo sapiens archaïque à Oranjemund, NamibieDiscovery of an archaic Homo sapiens in Oranjemund, Namibia.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Senut, Brigitte; Pickford, Martin; Braga, José; Marais, Daan; Coppens, Yves

    2000-06-01

    The transition between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens in Africa is still a matter of debate due to the paucity of fossils and to the difficulty of estimating their chronologic age. The discovery of a well preserved skull-cap of archaic Homo sapiens (OMD 1'98) in Namibia on the banks of the Orange River enlarges the distribution of these archaic populations to southwestern Africa.

  18. Reconstructed Homo habilis type OH 7 suggests deep-rooted species diversity in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Spoor, Fred; Gunz, Philipp; Neubauer, Simon; Stelzer, Stefanie; Scott, Nadia; Kwekason, Amandus; Dean, M Christopher

    2015-03-01

    Besides Homo erectus (sensu lato), the eastern African fossil record of early Homo has been interpreted as representing either a single variable species, Homo habilis, or two species. In the latter case, however, there is no consensus over the respective groupings, and which of the two includes OH 7, the 1.8-million-year-old H. habilis holotype. This partial skull and hand from Olduvai Gorge remains pivotal to evaluating the early evolution of the Homo lineage, and by priority names one or other of the two taxa. However, the distorted preservation of the diagnostically important OH 7 mandible has hindered attempts to compare this specimen with other fossils. Here we present a virtual reconstruction of the OH 7 mandible, and compare it to other early Homo fossils. The reconstructed mandible is remarkably primitive, with a long and narrow dental arcade more similar to Australopithecus afarensis than to the derived parabolic arcades of Homo sapiens or H. erectus. We find that this shape variability is not consistent with a single species of early Homo. Importantly, the jaw morphology of OH 7 is incompatible with fossils assigned to Homo rudolfensis and with the A.L. 666-1 Homo maxilla. The latter is morphologically more derived than OH 7 but 500,000 years older, suggesting that the H. habilis lineage originated before 2.3 million years ago, thus marking deep-rooted species diversity in the genus Homo. We also reconstructed the parietal bones of OH 7 and estimated its endocranial volume. At between 729 and 824 ml it is larger than any previously published value, and emphasizes the near-complete overlap in brain size among species of early Homo. Our results clarify the H. habilis hypodigm, but raise questions about its phylogenetic relationships. Differences between species of early Homo appear to be characterized more by gnathic diversity than by differences in brain size, which was highly variable within all taxa. PMID:25739632

  19. Man the Fat Hunter: The Demise of Homo erectus and the Emergence of a New Hominin Lineage in the Middle Pleistocene (ca. 400 kyr) Levant

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Dor, Miki; Gopher, Avi; Hershkovitz, Israel; Barkai, Ran

    2011-01-01

    The worldwide association of H. erectus with elephants is well documented and so is the preference of humans for fat as a source of energy. We show that rather than a matter of preference, H. erectus in the Levant was dependent on both elephants and fat for his survival. The disappearance of elephants from the Levant some 400 kyr ago coincides with the appearance of a new and innovative local cultural complex – the Levantine Acheulo-Yabrudian and, as is evident from teeth recently found in the Acheulo-Yabrudian 400-200 kyr site of Qesem Cave, the replacement of H. erectus by a new hominin. We employ a bio-energetic model to present a hypothesis that the disappearance of the elephants, which created a need to hunt an increased number of smaller and faster animals while maintaining an adequate fat content in the diet, was the evolutionary drive behind the emergence of the lighter, more agile, and cognitively capable hominins. Qesem Cave thus provides a rare opportunity to study the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of our post-erectus ancestors, the fat hunters. PMID:22174868

  20. Bone strength and athletic ability in hominids: Ardipithecus ramidus to Homo sapiens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, S. A.

    2013-03-01

    The ability of the femur to resist bending stresses is determined by its midlength cross-sectional geometry, its length and the elastic properties of the mineral part of the bone. The animal's athletic ability, determined by a ``bone strength index,'' is limited by this femoral bending strength in relation to the loads on the femur. This analysis is applied to the fossil record for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus. Evidence that the femoral bone strength index of modern Homo sapiens has weakened over the last 50,000 years is found.

  1. A single lineage in early Pleistocene Homo: size variation continuity in early Pleistocene Homo crania from East Africa and Georgia.

    PubMed

    Van Arsdale, Adam P; Wolpoff, Milford H

    2013-03-01

    The relationship between Homo habilis and early African Homo erectus has been contentious because H. habilis was hypothesized to be an evolutionary stage between Australopithecus and H. erectus, more than a half-century ago. Recent work re-dating key African early Homo localities and the discovery of new fossils in East Africa and Georgia provide the opportunity for a productive re-evaluation of this topic. Here, we test the hypothesis that the cranial sample from East Africa and Georgia represents a single evolutionary lineage of Homo spanning the approximately 1.9-1.5 Mya time period, consisting of specimens attributed to H. habilis and H. erectus. To address issues of small sample sizes in each time period, and uneven representation of cranial data, we developed a novel nonparametric randomization technique based on the variance in an index of pairwise difference from a broad set of fossil comparisons. We fail to reject the hypothesis of a single lineage this period by identifying a strong, time-dependent pattern of variation throughout the sequence. These results suggest the need for a reappraisal of fossil evidence from other regions within this time period and highlight the critical nature of the Plio-Pleistocene boundary for understanding the early evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:23461332

  2. The first archaic Homo from Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Chang, Chun-Hsiang; Kaifu, Yousuke; Takai, Masanaru; Kono, Reiko T; Grün, Rainer; Matsu'ura, Shuji; Kinsley, Les; Lin, Liang-Kong

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies of an increasing number of hominin fossils highlight regional and chronological diversities of archaic Homo in the Pleistocene of eastern Asia. However, such a realization is still based on limited geographical occurrences mainly from Indonesia, China and Russian Altai. Here we describe a newly discovered archaic Homo mandible from Taiwan (Penghu 1), which further increases the diversity of Pleistocene Asian hominins. Penghu 1 revealed an unexpectedly late survival (younger than 450 but most likely 190-10 thousand years ago) of robust, apparently primitive dentognathic morphology in the periphery of the continent, which is unknown among the penecontemporaneous fossil records from other regions of Asia except for the mid-Middle Pleistocene Homo from Hexian, Eastern China. Such patterns of geographic trait distribution cannot be simply explained by clinal geographic variation of Homo erectus between northern China and Java, and suggests survival of multiple evolutionary lineages among archaic hominins before the arrival of modern humans in the region. PMID:25625212

  3. The first archaic Homo from Taiwan

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Chun-Hsiang; Kaifu, Yousuke; Takai, Masanaru; Kono, Reiko T.; Grün, Rainer; Matsu’ura, Shuji; Kinsley, Les; Lin, Liang-Kong

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies of an increasing number of hominin fossils highlight regional and chronological diversities of archaic Homo in the Pleistocene of eastern Asia. However, such a realization is still based on limited geographical occurrences mainly from Indonesia, China and Russian Altai. Here we describe a newly discovered archaic Homo mandible from Taiwan (Penghu 1), which further increases the diversity of Pleistocene Asian hominins. Penghu 1 revealed an unexpectedly late survival (younger than 450 but most likely 190–10 thousand years ago) of robust, apparently primitive dentognathic morphology in the periphery of the continent, which is unknown among the penecontemporaneous fossil records from other regions of Asia except for the mid-Middle Pleistocene Homo from Hexian, Eastern China. Such patterns of geographic trait distribution cannot be simply explained by clinal geographic variation of Homo erectus between northern China and Java, and suggests survival of multiple evolutionary lineages among archaic hominins before the arrival of modern humans in the region. PMID:25625212

  4. Improved age control on early Homo fossils from the upper Burgi Member at Koobi Fora, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Joordens, Josephine C A; Dupont-Nivet, Guillaume; Feibel, Craig S; Spoor, Fred; Sier, Mark J; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H J L; Nielsen, Trine Kellberg; Knul, Monika V; Davies, Gareth R; Vonhof, Hubert B

    2013-12-01

    To address questions regarding the evolutionary origin, radiation and dispersal of the genus Homo, it is crucial to be able to place the occurrence of hominin fossils in a high-resolution chronological framework. The period around 2 Ma (millions of years ago) in eastern Africa is of particular interest as it is at this time that a more substantial fossil record of the genus Homo is first found. Here we combine magnetostratigraphy and strontium (Sr) isotope stratigraphy to improve age control on hominin-bearing upper Burgi (UBU) deposits in Areas 105 and 131 on the Karari Ridge in the eastern Turkana Basin (Kenya). We identify the base of the Olduvai subchron (bC2n) plus a short isolated interval of consistently normal polarity that we interpret to be the Pre-Olduvai event. Combined with precession-forced (~20 kyr [thousands of years]) wet-dry climate cycles resolved by Sr isotope ratios, the magnetostratigraphic data allow us to construct an age model for the UBU deposits. We provide detailed age constraints for 15 hominin fossils from Area 131, showing that key specimens such as cranium KNM-ER 1470, partial face KNM-ER 62000 and mandibles KNM-ER 1482, KNM-ER 1801, and KNM-ER 1802 can be constrained between 1.945 ± 0.004 and 2.058 ± 0.034 Ma, and thus older than previously estimated. The new ages are consistent with a temporal overlap of two species of early Homo that can be distinguished by their facial morphology. Further, our results show that in this time interval, hominins occurred throughout the wet-dry climate cycles, supporting the hypothesis that the lacustrine Turkana Basin was a refugium during regionally dry periods. By establishing the observed first appearance datum of a marine-derived stingray in UBU deposits at 2.058 ± 0.034 Ma, we show that at this time the Turkana Basin was hydrographically connected to the Indian Ocean, facilitating dispersal of fauna between these areas. From a biogeographical perspective, we propose that the Indian Ocean

  5. A new skull of early Homo from Dmanisi, Georgia.

    PubMed

    Vekua, Abesalom; Lordkipanidze, David; Rightmire, G Philip; Agusti, Jordi; Ferring, Reid; Maisuradze, Givi; Mouskhelishvili, Alexander; Nioradze, Medea; De Leon, Marcia Ponce; Tappen, Martha; Tvalchrelidze, Merab; Zollikofer, Christoph

    2002-07-01

    Another hominid skull has been recovered at Dmanisi (Republic of Georgia) from the same strata in which hominid remains have been reported previously. The Dmanisi site dated to approximately 1.75 million years ago has now produced craniofacial portions of several hominid individuals, along with many well-preserved animal fossils and quantities of stone artifacts. Although there are certain anatomical differences among the Dmanisi specimens, the hominids do not clearly represent more than one taxon. We assign the new skull provisionally to Homo erectus (=ergaster). The Dmanisi specimens are the most primitive and small-brained fossils to be grouped with this species or any taxon linked unequivocally with genus Homo and also the ones most similar to the presumed habilis-like stem. We suggest that the ancestors of the Dmanisi population dispersed from Africa before the emergence of humans identified broadly with the H. erectus grade. PMID:12098694

  6. Climatic influences on the evolution of early Homo?

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C

    2007-01-01

    The nature of the human fossil record is less than ideal for the generation of precise correlations between environmental variables and patterns of evolution in specific lineages. Nonetheless, a critical look at what can and cannot be said from individual fossil morphology and the correlation of specific environmental proxies with specific hominin fossils may lead to a greater understanding of the degree of certainty with which we should embrace environmental hypotheses for the evolution of Homo. Climate shifts have been implicated in both the origin of the genus and its dispersal from Africa. Here, I consider three areas in which a climatic influence has been posited to explain evolutionary shifts in the genus Homo: the origin and dispersal of the genus from Africa; geography, climate and body size in early Homo, and the influence of climate-induced sea level rise on morphological isolation in H. erectus. Each of the data sets is far from ideal, and interpretations of each of the data sets are fraught with issues of equifinality. Of the three hypotheses discussed, the clearest link is seen between latitudinal variation (and presumably temperature) and body size in H. erectus. Similarly, climate-induced sea level change seems a reasonable isolating mechanism to explain the pattern of cranial variation in later Asian H. erectus, but the distribution could also reflect incompletely sampled clinal variation. Alternatively, only equivocal support is found for the influence of climate on the differentiation of H. erectus from H. habilis (as proxied by body/brain size scaling), and therefore the dispersal of the genus Homo cannot be as clearly linked to changes in body size and shape as it has been in the past. These preliminary data suggest that an emphasis on understanding local adaptation before looking at global (and specific) level change is critical to elucidating the importance of climatic factors on the evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:17855788

  7. Spinal cord evolution in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Marc R; Haeusler, Martin

    2015-11-01

    The discovery at Nariokotome of the Homo erectus skeleton KNM-WT 15000, with a narrow spinal canal, seemed to show that this relatively large-brained hominin retained the primitive spinal cord size of African apes and that brain size expansion preceded postcranial neurological evolution. Here we compare the size and shape of the KNM-WT 15000 spinal canal with modern and fossil taxa including H. erectus from Dmanisi, Homo antecessor, the European middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos, and Pan troglodytes. In terms of shape and absolute and relative size of the spinal canal, we find all of the Dmanisi and most of the vertebrae of KNM-WT 15000 are within the human range of variation except for the C7, T2, and T3 of KNM-WT 15000, which are constricted, suggesting spinal stenosis. While additional fossils might definitively indicate whether H. erectus had evolved a human-like enlarged spinal canal, the evidence from the Dmanisi spinal canal and the unaffected levels of KNM-WT 15000 show that unlike Australopithecus, H. erectus had a spinal canal size and shape equivalent to that of modern humans. Subadult status is unlikely to affect our results, as spinal canal growth is complete in both individuals. We contest the notion that vertebrae yield information about respiratory control or language evolution, but suggest that, like H. antecessor and European middle Pleistocene hominins from Sima de los Huesos, early Homo possessed a postcranial neurological endowment roughly commensurate to modern humans, with implications for neurological, structural, and vascular improvements over Pan and Australopithecus. PMID:26553817

  8. Dental microwear and diets of African early Homo.

    PubMed

    Ungar, Peter S; Grine, Frederick E; Teaford, Mark F; El Zaatari, Sireen

    2006-01-01

    Conventional wisdom ties the origin and early evolution of the genus Homo to environmental changes that occurred near the end of the Pliocene. The basic idea is that changing habitats led to new diets emphasizing savanna resources, such as herd mammals or underground storage organs. Fossil teeth provide the most direct evidence available for evaluating this theory. In this paper, we present a comprehensive study of dental microwear in Plio-Pleistocene Homo from Africa. We examined all available cheek teeth from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and South Africa and found 18 that preserved antemortem microwear. Microwear features were measured and compared for these specimens and a baseline series of five extant primate species (Cebus apella, Gorilla gorilla, Lophocebus albigena, Pan troglodytes, and Papio ursinus) and two protohistoric human foraging groups (Aleut and Arikara) with documented differences in diet and subsistence strategies. Results confirmed that dental microwear reflects diet, such that hard-object specialists tend to have more large microwear pits, whereas tough food eaters usually have more striations and smaller microwear features. Early Homo specimens clustered with baseline groups that do not prefer fracture resistant foods. Still, Homo erectus and individuals from Swartkrans Member 1 had more small pits than Homo habilis and specimens from Sterkfontein Member 5C. These results suggest that none of the early Homo groups specialized on very hard or tough foods, but that H. erectus and Swartkrans Member 1 individuals ate, at least occasionally, more brittle or tough items than other fossil hominins studied. PMID:16226788

  9. Aquatic ape theory and fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Verhaegen, M J

    1991-06-01

    While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the light of the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) of Hardy and Morgan, and to compare the skeletal parts of our fossil relatives with those of (semi)aquatic animals. Possible convergences are observed with proboscis monkeys, beavers, sea-otters, hippopotamuses, seals, sea-lions, walruses, sea-cows, whales, dolphins, porpoises, penguins and crocodiles. PMID:1909768

  10. Brain size and encephalization in early to Mid-Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G Philip

    2004-06-01

    Important changes in the brain have occurred during the course of human evolution. Both absolute and relative size increases can be documented for species of Homo, culminating in the appearance of modern humans. One species that is particularly well-represented by fossil crania is Homo erectus. The mean capacity for 30 individuals is 973 cm(3). Within this group there is substantial variation, but brain size increases slightly in specimens from later time periods. Other Middle Pleistocene crania differ from those of Homo erectus. Characters of the facial skeleton, vault, and cranial base suggest that fossils from sites such as Arago Cave in France, the Sima de los Huesos in Spain, Bodo in Ethiopia, Broken Hill in Zambia, and perhaps Dali in China belong to the taxon Homo heidelbergensis. Ten of these mid-Quaternary hominins have brains averaging 1,206 cm(3) in volume, and many fall beyond the limits of size predicted for Homo erectus of equivalent age. When orbit height is used to construct an index of relative brain size, it is apparent that the (significant) increase in volume documented for the Middle Pleistocene individuals is not simply a consequence of larger body mass. Encephalization quotient values confirm this finding. These changes in absolute and relative brain size can be taken as further corroborative evidence for a speciation event, in which Homo erectus produced a daughter lineage. It is probable that Homo heidelbergensis originated in Africa or western Eurasia and then ranged widely across the Old World. Archaeological traces indicate that these populations differed in their technology and behavior from earlier hominins. PMID:15160365

  11. New hominid fossils from the Swartkrans formation (1979-1986 excavations): postcranial specimens.

    PubMed

    Susman, R L

    1989-08-01

    New postcranial fossils of Paranthropus robustus and Homo cf. erectus were recovered from Swartkrans from 1979 through 1986. These fossils are from Members 1, 2, and 3. The new fossils are described here along with their morphological affinities. Fossils that are assigned to Paranthropus indicate that the South African "robust" australopithecines engaged in tool behavior and were essentially terrestrial bipeds at around 1.8 Myr BP. The manual dexterity and bipedal locomotion of Paranthropus may have equaled that of Homo habilis in East Africa at approximately the same time. PMID:2672829

  12. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  13. Taxonomic identification of Lower Pleistocene fossil hominins based on distal humeral diaphyseal cross-sectional shape

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The coexistence of multiple hominin species during the Lower Pleistocene has long presented a challenge for taxonomic attribution of isolated postcrania. Although fossil humeri are well-suited for studies of hominin postcranial variation due to their relative abundance, humeral articular morphology has thus far been of limited value for differentiating Paranthropus from Homo. On the other hand, distal humeral diaphyseal shape has been used to justify such generic distinctions at Swartkrans. The potential utility of humeral diaphyseal shape merits larger-scale quantitative analysis, particularly as it permits the inclusion of fragmentary specimens lacking articular morphology. This study analyzes shape variation of the distal humeral diaphysis among fossil hominins (c. 2-1 Ma) to test the hypothesis that specimens can be divided into distinct morphotypes. Coordinate landmarks were placed on 3D laser scans to quantify cross-sectional shape at a standardized location of the humeral diaphysis (proximal to the olecranon fossa) for a variety of fossil hominins and extant hominids. The fossil sample includes specimens attributed to species based on associated craniodental remains. Mantel tests of matrix correlation were used to assess hypotheses about morphometric relationships among the fossils by comparing empirically-derived Procrustes distance matrices to hypothetical model matrices. Diaphyseal shape variation is consistent with the hypothesis of three distinct morphotypes (Paranthropus, Homo erectus, non-erectus early Homo) in both eastern and southern Africa during the observed time period. Specimens attributed to non-erectus early Homo are unique among hominids with respect to the degree of relative anteroposterior flattening, while H. erectus humeri exhibit morphology more similar to that of modern humans. In both geographic regions, Paranthropus is characterized by a morphology that is intermediate with respect to those morphological features that differentiate

  14. Taxonomic identification of Lower Pleistocene fossil hominins based on distal humeral diaphyseal cross-sectional shape.

    PubMed

    Lague, Michael R

    2015-01-01

    The coexistence of multiple hominin species during the Lower Pleistocene has long presented a challenge for taxonomic attribution of isolated postcrania. Although fossil humeri are well-suited for studies of hominin postcranial variation due to their relative abundance, humeral articular morphology has thus far been of limited value for differentiating Paranthropus from Homo. On the other hand, distal humeral diaphyseal shape has been used to justify such generic distinctions at Swartkrans. The potential utility of humeral diaphyseal shape merits larger-scale quantitative analysis, particularly as it permits the inclusion of fragmentary specimens lacking articular morphology. This study analyzes shape variation of the distal humeral diaphysis among fossil hominins (c. 2-1 Ma) to test the hypothesis that specimens can be divided into distinct morphotypes. Coordinate landmarks were placed on 3D laser scans to quantify cross-sectional shape at a standardized location of the humeral diaphysis (proximal to the olecranon fossa) for a variety of fossil hominins and extant hominids. The fossil sample includes specimens attributed to species based on associated craniodental remains. Mantel tests of matrix correlation were used to assess hypotheses about morphometric relationships among the fossils by comparing empirically-derived Procrustes distance matrices to hypothetical model matrices. Diaphyseal shape variation is consistent with the hypothesis of three distinct morphotypes (Paranthropus, Homo erectus, non-erectus early Homo) in both eastern and southern Africa during the observed time period. Specimens attributed to non-erectus early Homo are unique among hominids with respect to the degree of relative anteroposterior flattening, while H. erectus humeri exhibit morphology more similar to that of modern humans. In both geographic regions, Paranthropus is characterized by a morphology that is intermediate with respect to those morphological features that differentiate

  15. Associated ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, and postcranial diversity in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Ward, Carol V; Feibel, Craig S; Hammond, Ashley S; Leakey, Louise N; Moffett, Elizabeth A; Plavcan, J Michael; Skinner, Matthew M; Spoor, Fred; Leakey, Meave G

    2015-04-01

    During the evolution of hominins, it is generally accepted that there was a shift in postcranial morphology between Australopithecus and the genus Homo. Given the scarcity of associated remains of early Homo, however, relatively little is known about early Homo postcranial morphology. There are hints of postcranial diversity among species, but our knowledge of the nature and extent of potential differences is limited. Here we present a new associated partial ilium and femur from Koobi Fora, Kenya, dating to 1.9 Ma (millions of years ago) that is clearly attributable to the genus Homo but documents a pattern of morphology not seen in eastern African early Homo erectus. The ilium and proximal femur share distinctive anatomy found only in Homo. However, the geometry of the femoral midshaft and contour of the pelvic inlet do not resemble that of any specimens attributed to H. erectus from eastern Africa. This new fossil confirms the presence of at least two postcranial morphotypes within early Homo, and documents diversity in postcranial morphology among early Homo species that may reflect underlying body form and/or adaptive differences. PMID:25747316

  16. From Australopithecus to Homo: the transition that wasn't.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, William H; Villmoare, Brian

    2016-07-01

    Although the transition from Australopithecus to Homo is usually thought of as a momentous transformation, the fossil record bearing on the origin and earliest evolution of Homo is virtually undocumented. As a result, the poles of the transition are frequently attached to taxa (e.g. A. afarensis, at ca 3.0 Ma versus H. habilis or H. erectus, at ca 2.0-1.7 Ma) in which substantial adaptive differences have accumulated over significant spans of independent evolution. Such comparisons, in which temporally remote and adaptively divergent species are used to identify a 'transition', lend credence to the idea that genera should be conceived at once as monophyletic clades and adaptively unified grades. However, when the problem is recast in terms of lineages, rather than taxa per se, the adaptive criterion becomes a problem of subjectively privileging 'key' characteristics from what is typically a stepwise pattern of acquisition of novel characters beginning in the basal representatives of a clade. This is the pattern inferred for species usually included in early Homo, including H. erectus, which has often been cast in the role as earliest humanlike hominin. A fresh look at brain size, hand morphology and earliest technology suggests that a number of key Homo attributes may already be present in generalized species of Australopithecus, and that adaptive distinctions in Homo are simply amplifications or extensions of ancient hominin trends.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298460

  17. Bone strength and athletic ability in hominids: Ardipithecus ramidus to Homo sapiens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Scott

    2012-10-01

    A methodology for the evaluation of the athletic ability of animals based on the strength of their femur and their body mass is developed. The ability of the femur to resist bending stresses is determined by its midlength cross-sectional geometry, its length and the elastic properties of the mineral part of the bone. The animal's athletic ability, determined by a ``bone strength index,'' is limited by this femoral bending strength in relation to the loads on the femur. This analysis is applied to the fossil record for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis and Ardipithecus ramidus. Evidence that the femoral bone strength index of modern Homo sapiens has weakened over the last 50,000 years is found.

  18. Measures of maturation in early fossil hominins: events at the first transition from australopiths to early Homo.

    PubMed

    Dean, M Christopher

    2016-07-01

    An important question in palaeoanthropology is whether, among the australopiths and the first fossil hominins attributed to early Homo, there was a shift towards a more prolonged period of growth that can be distinguished from that of the living great apes and whether between the end of weaning and the beginning of puberty there was a slow period of growth as there is in modern humans. Evidence for the pace of growth in early fossil hominins comes from preserved tooth microstructure. A record of incremental growth in enamel and dentine persists, which allows us to reconstruct tooth growth and compare key measures of dental maturation with modern humans and living great apes. Despite their diverse diets and way of life, it is currently difficult to identify any clear differences in the timing of dental development among living great apes, australopiths and the earliest hominins attributed to the genus Homo There is, however, limited evidence that some early hominins may have attained a greater proportion of their body mass and stature relatively earlier in the growth period than is typical of modern humans today.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298465

  19. Brief Communication: Shape analysis of the MT 1 proximal articular surface in fossil hominins and shod and unshod Homo.

    PubMed

    Proctor, Daniel J

    2010-12-01

    As a follow-up study to Proctor et al. (Am J Phys Anthropol 135 (2008) 216-224), this study quantifies the first metatarsal proximal articular surface using three-dimensional morphometrics to test for differences in articular surface shape between habitually shod and habitually unshod humans. In addition, differences in shape between Homo, Pan, Gorilla, and Hylobates are compared to the fossil hominin specimens A. L. 333-54, Stw 562, Stw 573 ("Little Foot"), OH 8, SKX 5017, and SK 1813. No difference in surface shape was found between habitually shod and habitually unshod humans. There is a clear quantitative division in articular surface shape between humans and apes that is more pronounced than a previous study by Proctor et al. (Am J Phys Anthropol 135 (2008) 216-224), due to additional landmarks present in this study. The specimen OH 8 is indistinguishable from modern Homo. The fossils A. L. 333-54, Stw 562, and Stw 573 are intermediate in shape between humans and apes. The specimens SKX 5017 and SK 1813 have a more apelike articular surface. When combined with other characteristics, this trait suggests that Paranthropus used a degree of abduction during locomotion that was much less than that in extant apes, but greater than that in Australopithecus, allowing for some small degree of grasping ability. PMID:20925078

  20. The evolutionary relationships and age of Homo naledi: An assessment using dated Bayesian phylogenetic methods.

    PubMed

    Dembo, Mana; Radovčić, Davorka; Garvin, Heather M; Laird, Myra F; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Brophy, Juliet; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Musiba, Chares M; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Mooers, Arne Ø; Collard, Mark

    2016-08-01

    Homo naledi is a recently discovered species of fossil hominin from South Africa. A considerable amount is already known about H. naledi but some important questions remain unanswered. Here we report a study that addressed two of them: "Where does H. naledi fit in the hominin evolutionary tree?" and "How old is it?" We used a large supermatrix of craniodental characters for both early and late hominin species and Bayesian phylogenetic techniques to carry out three analyses. First, we performed a dated Bayesian analysis to generate estimates of the evolutionary relationships of fossil hominins including H. naledi. Then we employed Bayes factor tests to compare the strength of support for hypotheses about the relationships of H. naledi suggested by the best-estimate trees. Lastly, we carried out a resampling analysis to assess the accuracy of the age estimate for H. naledi yielded by the dated Bayesian analysis. The analyses strongly supported the hypothesis that H. naledi forms a clade with the other Homo species and Australopithecus sediba. The analyses were more ambiguous regarding the position of H. naledi within the (Homo, Au. sediba) clade. A number of hypotheses were rejected, but several others were not. Based on the available craniodental data, Homo antecessor, Asian Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Homo floresiensis, Homo sapiens, and Au. sediba could all be the sister taxon of H. naledi. According to the dated Bayesian analysis, the most likely age for H. naledi is 912 ka. This age estimate was supported by the resampling analysis. Our findings have a number of implications. Most notably, they support the assignment of the new specimens to Homo, cast doubt on the claim that H. naledi is simply a variant of H. erectus, and suggest H. naledi is younger than has been previously proposed. PMID:27457542

  1. Human species and mating systems: Neandertal-Homo sapiens reproductive isolation and the archaeological and fossil records.

    PubMed

    Overmann, Karenleigh; Coolidge, Frederick

    2013-01-01

    The present paper examined the assumption of strong reproductive isolation (RI) between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens, as well as the question of what form it might have taken, using insights from the parallel case of chimpanzee–bonobo hybridization. RI from hybrid sterility or inviability was thought unlikely based on the short separation-to-introgression timeline. The forms of RI that typically develop in primates have relatively short timelines (especially for partial implementation); they generally preclude mating or influence hybrid survival and reproduction in certain contexts, and they have the potential to skew introgression directionality. These RI barriers are also consistent with some interpretations of the archaeological and fossil records, especially when behavioral, cognitive, morphological, and genetic differences between the two human species are taken into consideration. Differences potentially influencing patterns of survival and reproduction include interspecies violence, Neandertal xenophobia, provisioning behavior, and ontogenetic, morphological, and behavioral differences affecting matters such as kin and mate recognition, infanticide, and sexual selection. These factors may have skewed the occurrence of interbreeding or the survival and reproduction of hybrids in a way that might at least partially explain the pattern of introgression. PMID:24344097

  2. The brain of LB1, Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Falk, Dean; Hildebolt, Charles; Smith, Kirk; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, Thomas; Brown, Peter; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wayhu; Brunsden, Barry; Prior, Fred

    2005-04-01

    The brain of Homo floresiensis was assessed by comparing a virtual endocast from the type specimen (LB1) with endocasts from great apes, Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, a human pygmy, a human microcephalic, specimen number Sts 5 (Australopithecus africanus), and specimen number WT 17000 (Paranthropus aethiopicus). Morphometric, allometric, and shape data indicate that LB1 is not a microcephalic or pygmy. LB1's brain/body size ratio scales like that of an australopithecine, but its endocast shape resembles that of Homo erectus. LB1 has derived frontal and temporal lobes and a lunate sulcus in a derived position, which are consistent with capabilities for higher cognitive processing. PMID:15749690

  3. A Homo habilis maxilla and other newly-discovered hominid fossils from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Clarke, R J

    2012-08-01

    In 1995, a 1.8 million year old hominid maxilla with complete dentition (OH 65) was excavated from Bed I in the western part of Olduvai Gorge. The molar crowns are small relative to the long flaring roots, and the root of the canine is very long and straight. The broad maxilla with wide U-shaped palate and the form of the tooth roots closely match those of KNM-ER 1470 which, in its parietal size and morphology, matches the type specimen of Homo habilis, OH 7. Thus, OH 65 and KNM-ER 1470 group with OH 7 as representatives of H. habilis while some other Olduvai specimens, such as OH 13 and OH 24, have more in common in terms of morphology and brain size with Australopithecus africanus. Between 1995 and 2007, the OLAPP team has recovered teeth of eight other hominid individuals from various parts of Olduvai Gorge. These have been identified as belonging to H. habilis, Paranthropus boisei, and Australopithecus cf. africanus. PMID:22561056

  4. What constitutes Homo sapiens? Morphology versus received wisdom.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Jeffrey

    2016-06-20

    Although Linnaeus coined Homo sapiens in 1735, it was Blumenbach forty years later who provided the first morphological definition of the species. Since humans were not then allowed to be ante-Diluvian, his effort applied to the genus, as well. After the Feldhofer Grotto Neanderthal disproved this creationist notion, and human-fossil hunting became legitimate, new specimens were allocated either to sapiens or new species within Homo, or even to new species within new genera. Yet as these taxonomic acts reflected the morphological differences between specimens, they failed to address the question: What constitutes H. sapiens? When in 1950 Mayr collapsed all human fossils into Homo, he not only denied humans a diverse evolutionary past, he also shifted the key to identifying its species from morphology to geological age - a practice most paleoanthropologists still follow. Thus, for example, H. erectus is the species that preceded H. sapiens, and H. sapiens is the species into which H. erectus morphed. In order to deal with a growing morass of morphologically dissimilar specimens, the non-taxonomic terms "archaic" (AS) and "anatomically modern" (AMS) were introduced to distinguish between the earlier and later versions of H. sapiens, thereby making the species impossible to define. In attempting to disentangle fact from scenario, I begin from the beginning, trying to delineate features that may be distinctive of extant humans (ES), and then turning to the fossils that have been included in the species. With the exception of Upper Paleolithic humans - e.g. from Cro-Magnon, Dolni Vestonice, Mladeč - I argue that many specimens regarded as AMS, and all those deemed AS, are not H. sapiens. The features these AMS do share with ES suggest the existence of a sapiens clade. Further, restudy of near-recent fossils, especially from southwestern China (∼11-14.5 ka), reinforces what discoveries such as H. floresiensis indicate: "If it's recent, it's not necessarily H. sapiens

  5. Electron probe energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDXA) in the investigation of fossil bone: the case of Java man.

    PubMed

    Bartsiokas, A; Day, M H

    1993-05-22

    Doubts about the attribution of the Trinil femur to Homo erectus on anatomical grounds have a long history. Here, for the first time, published stratigraphic information and chemical evidence based on the Ca/P ratios confirm that the anatomical doubts are justified. The Trinil femur apparently belongs to a more recent stratum above the 'fossil layer' (Hauptknochenschicht, HK) in which the Trinil calotte was found. It is concluded that the Trinil Femur I belongs to Homo sapiens, whereas the Trinil Femora II-V and the calotte belong to H. erectus. The chemical evidence derives from the use of electron probe energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDXA), a technique that can be virtually non-destructive and therefore may be used on scarce fossil evidence. PMID:8391701

  6. Un nouveau crâne humain fossile dans le dôme de Sangiran (Java, Indonésie)A recently discovered fossil human skull from the Sangiran dome (Java, Indonesia).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Widianto, Harry; Grimaud-Hervé, Dominique

    2000-06-01

    The study of new human remains discovered at the Grogol Wetan hamlet, in the Kabuh layers of the Sangiran stratigraphy dated between 0.8 and 0.25 million years, allows us to show morphological characters very similar to those observed on the other hominids of the same stratigraphical layers of this site. So, we can attribute this human fossil to this very homogeneous population of asiatic Homo erectus.

  7. Taxonomic affinity of the early Homo cranium from Swartkrans, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Grine, F E; Demes, B; Jungers, W L; Cole, T M

    1993-12-01

    A quantitative analysis that employs randomization methods and distance statistics has been undertaken in an attempt to clarify the taxonomic affinities of the partial Homo cranium (SK 847) from Member 1 of the Swartkrans Formation. Although SK 847 has been argued to represent early H. erectus, exact randomization tests reveal that the magnitude of differences between it and two crania that have been attributed to that taxon (KNM-ER 3733 and KNM-WT 15000) is highly unlikely to be encountered in a modern human sample drawn from eastern and southern Africa. Some of the variables that differentiate SK 847 from the two early H. erectus crania (e.g., nasal breadth, frontal breadth, mastoid process size) have been considered to be relevant characters in the definition of that taxon. Just as the significant differences between SK 847 and the two early H. erectus crania make attribution of the Swartkrans specimen to that taxon unlikely, the linkage of SK 847 to KNM-ER 1813, and especially Stw 53, suggests that the Swartkrans cranium may have its closest affinity with H. habilis sensu lato. Differences from KNM-ER 1813, however, hint that the South African fossils may represent a species of early Homo that has not been sampled in the Plio-Pleistocene of eastern Africa. The similarity of SK 847 and Stw 53 may support faunal evidence which suggests that Sterkfontein Member 5 and Swartkrans Member 1 are of similar geochronological age. PMID:8296872

  8. Unique Dental Morphology of Homo floresiensis and Its Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Kono, Reiko T.; Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu; Jatmiko

    2015-01-01

    Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis’ unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins. PMID:26624612

  9. Unique Dental Morphology of Homo floresiensis and Its Evolutionary Implications.

    PubMed

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Kono, Reiko T; Sutikna, Thomas; Saptomo, Emanuel Wahyu; Jatmiko; Due Awe, Rokus

    2015-01-01

    Homo floresiensis is an extinct, diminutive hominin species discovered in the Late Pleistocene deposits of Liang Bua cave, Flores, eastern Indonesia. The nature and evolutionary origins of H. floresiensis' unique physical characters have been intensively debated. Based on extensive comparisons using linear metric analyses, crown contour analyses, and other trait-by-trait morphological comparisons, we report here that the dental remains from multiple individuals indicate that H. floresiensis had primitive canine-premolar and advanced molar morphologies, a combination of dental traits unknown in any other hominin species. The primitive aspects are comparable to H. erectus from the Early Pleistocene, whereas some of the molar morphologies are more progressive even compared to those of modern humans. This evidence contradicts the earlier claim of an entirely modern human-like dental morphology of H. floresiensis, while at the same time does not support the hypothesis that H. floresiensis originated from a much older H. habilis or Australopithecus-like small-brained hominin species currently unknown in the Asian fossil record. These results are however consistent with the alternative hypothesis that H. floresiensis derived from an earlier Asian Homo erectus population and experienced substantial body and brain size dwarfism in an isolated insular setting. The dentition of H. floresiensis is not a simple, scaled-down version of earlier hominins. PMID:26624612

  10. Early evidence of the genus Homo in East Asia.

    PubMed

    Zhu, R X; Potts, R; Pan, Y X; Yao, H T; Lü, L Q; Zhao, X; Gao, X; Chen, L W; Gao, F; Deng, C L

    2008-12-01

    The timing and route of the earliest dispersal from Africa to Eastern Asia are contentious topics in the study of early human evolution because Asian hominin fossil sites with precise age constraints are very limited. Here we report new high-resolution magnetostratigraphic results that place stringent age controls on excavated hominin incisors and stone tools from the Yuanmou Basin, southwest China. The hominin-bearing layer resides in a reverse polarity magnetozone just above the upper boundary of the Olduvai subchron, yielding an estimated age of 1.7Ma. The finding represents the age of the earliest documented presence of Homo, with affinities to Homo erectus, in mainland East Asia. This age estimate is roughly the same as for H. erectus in island Southeast Asia and immediately prior to the oldest archaeological evidence in northeast Asia. Mammalian fauna and pollen obtained directly from the hominin site indicate that the Yuanmou hominins lived in a varied habitat of open vegetation with patches of bushland and forest on an alluvial fan close to a lake or swamp. The age and location are consistent with a rapid southern migration route of initial hominin populations into Eastern Asia. PMID:18842287

  11. The Watinglo mandible: a second terminal Pleistocene Homo sapiens fossil from tropical Sahul with a test on existing models for the human settlement of the region.

    PubMed

    Bulbeck, D; O'Connor, S

    2011-02-01

    This paper analyses a fossil human mandible, dated to circa 10ka, from Watinglo rockshelter on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. The fossil is metrically and morphologically similar to male mandibles of recent Melanesians and Australian Aborigines. It is distinguished from Kow Swamp and Coobool Creek male mandibles (Murray Valley, terminal Pleistocene) by being smaller and having different shape characteristics, as well as smaller teeth and a slower rate of tooth wear. It pairs with the Liang Lemdubu female (Late Glacial Maximum, Aru Islands) in suggesting that the morphology of the terminal Pleistocene inhabitants of tropical Sahul was gracile compared to their contemporaries within the southern Murray drainage. An explanatory scenario for this morphological contrast is developed in the context of the Homo sapiens early fossil record, Australasian mtDNA evidence, terminal Pleistocene climatic variation, and the possibility of multiple entry points into Sahul. PMID:21216399

  12. Tooth enamel stable isotopes of Holocene and Pleistocene fossil fauna reveal glacial and interglacial paleoenvironments of hominins in Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Janssen, Renée; Joordens, Josephine C. A.; Koutamanis, Dafne S.; Puspaningrum, Mika R.; de Vos, John; van der Lubbe, Jeroen H. J. L.; Reijmer, John J. G.; Hampe, Oliver; Vonhof, Hubert B.

    2016-07-01

    The carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotope compositions of fossilized animal tissues have become important proxies of paleodiet and paleoenvironment, but such stable isotope studies have not yet been extensively applied to the fossil assemblages of Sundaland (the biogeographical region comprising most of the Indonesian Archipelago). Here, we use the isotope composition of tooth enamel to investigate the diet and habitat of bovids, cervids, and suids from several Holocene and Pleistocene sites on Java and Sumatra. Our carbon isotope results indicate that individual sites are strongly dominated by either C3-browsers or C4-grazers. Herbivores from the Padang Highlands (Sumatra) and Hoekgrot (Java) cave faunas were mainly C3-browsers, while herbivores from Homo erectus-bearing sites Trinil and Sangiran (Java) utilized an almost exclusive C4 diet. The suids from all sites show a wide range of δ13C values, corroborating their omnivorous diet. For the dataset as a whole, oxygen and carbon isotope values are positively correlated. This suggests that isotopic enrichment of rainwater and vegetation δ18O values coincides with an increase of C4-grasslands. We interpret this pattern to mainly reflect the environmental contrast between glacial (drier, more C4) and interglacial (wetter, more C3) conditions. Intermediate herbivore δ13C values indicating mixed C3/C4 feeding is relatively rare, which we believe to reflect the abruptness of the transition between glacial and interglacial precipitation regimes in Sundaland. For seven Homo erectus bone samples we were not able distinguish between diagenetic overprint and original isotope values, underlining the need to apply this isotopic approach to Homo erectus tooth enamel instead of bone. Importantly, our present results on herbivore and omnivore faunas provide the isotopic framework that will allow interpretation of such Homo erectus enamel isotope data.

  13. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes' Hearing Evolution.

    PubMed

    Braga, J; Loubes, J-M; Descouens, D; Dumoncel, J; Thackeray, J F; Kahn, J-L; de Beer, F; Riberon, A; Hoffman, K; Balaresque, P; Gilissen, E

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species' sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the "hypertrophied" cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  14. Disproportionate Cochlear Length in Genus Homo Shows a High Phylogenetic Signal during Apes’ Hearing Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Braga, J.; Loubes, J-M.; Descouens, D.; Dumoncel, J.; Thackeray, J. F.; Kahn, J-L.; de Beer, F.; Riberon, A.; Hoffman, K.; Balaresque, P.; Gilissen, E.

    2015-01-01

    Changes in lifestyles and body weight affected mammal life-history evolution but little is known about how they shaped species’ sensory systems. Since auditory sensitivity impacts communication tasks and environmental acoustic awareness, it may have represented a deciding factor during mammal evolution, including apes. Here, we statistically measure the influence of phylogeny and allometry on the variation of five cochlear morphological features associated with hearing capacities across 22 living and 5 fossil catarrhine species. We find high phylogenetic signals for absolute and relative cochlear length only. Comparisons between fossil cochleae and reconstructed ape ancestral morphotypes show that Australopithecus absolute and relative cochlear lengths are explicable by phylogeny and concordant with the hypothetized ((Pan,Homo),Gorilla) and (Pan,Homo) most recent common ancestors. Conversely, deviations of the Paranthropus oval window area from these most recent common ancestors are not explicable by phylogeny and body weight alone, but suggest instead rapid evolutionary changes (directional selection) of its hearing organ. Premodern (Homo erectus) and modern human cochleae set apart from living non-human catarrhines and australopiths. They show cochlear relative lengths and oval window areas larger than expected for their body mass, two features corresponding to increased low-frequency sensitivity more recent than 2 million years ago. The uniqueness of the “hypertrophied” cochlea in the genus Homo (as opposed to the australopiths) and the significantly high phylogenetic signal of this organ among apes indicate its usefulness to identify homologies and monophyletic groups in the hominid fossil record. PMID:26083484

  15. Before the Emergence of Homo sapiens: Overview on the Early-to-Middle Pleistocene Fossil Record (with a Proposal about Homo heidelbergensis at the subspecific level)

    PubMed Central

    Manzi, Giorgio

    2011-01-01

    The origin of H. sapiens has deep roots, which include two crucial nodes: (1) the emergence and diffusion of the last common ancestor of later Homo (in the Early Pleistocene) and (2) the tempo and mode of the appearance of distinct evolutionary lineages (in the Middle Pleistocene). The window between 1,000 and 500 thousand years before present appears of crucial importance, including the generation of a new and more encephalised kind of humanity, referred to by many authors as H. heidelbergensis. This species greatly diversified during the Middle Pleistocene up to the formation of new variants (i.e., incipient species) that, eventually, led to the allopatric speciation of H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. The special case furnished by the calvarium found near Ceprano (Italy), dated to 430–385 ka, offers the opportunity to investigate this matter from an original perspective. It is proposed to separate the hypodigm of a single, widespread, and polymorphic human taxon of the Middle Pleistocene into distinct subspecies (i.e., incipient species). The ancestral one should be H. heidelbergensis, including specimens such as Ceprano and the mandible from Mauer. PMID:21716742

  16. Subnasal morphological variation in fossil hominids: a reassessment based on new observations and recent developmental findings.

    PubMed

    McCollum, M A

    2000-06-01

    Quantitative and qualitative assessments of subnasal morphology in fossil hominids yield distinct patterns which have been used both to sort robust from nonrobust australopithecine taxa and to distinguish individual species. Recently, new developmental models have been applied to hominoid subnasal morphological variation. These studies require that certain features of the fossil hominid subnasal region, in particular the topography of the nasal cavity entrance and details of vomeral morphology, be reevaluated. This study does so for the robust and nonrobust australopithecines, early Homo (H. habilis/H. rudolfensis), and African H. erectus. Results reaffirm an overall similarity of the nonrobust Australopithecus subnasal morphological pattern with that of the chimpanzee. They further indicate that a vomeral insertion above the nasal surface of the premaxilla should be added to the list of traits characteristic of the robust australopithecine subnasal morphological pattern. Finally, reassessment of subnasal morphology in the early Homo and H. erectus samples from Africa suggest that these two taxa share a similar subnasal morphological pattern. This pattern consists of a smooth nasal cavity entrance, a horizontal nasal sill whose anterior edge is demarcated by a strong nasal crest, and a well-developed horizontal spine at the posterior edge of the nasal sill. Although none of the African fossil Homo specimens preserve a vomer, indirect evidence suggests that it would have inserted above the nasal sill. PMID:10813707

  17. Evolution of M1 crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo

    PubMed Central

    Quam, Rolf; Bailey, Shara; Wood, Bernard

    2009-01-01

    Previous research into tooth crown dimensions and cusp proportions has proved to be a useful way to identify taxonomic differences in Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. The present study has identified changes in both M1 crown size and cusp proportions within the genus Homo, with M1 overall crown size reduction apparently occurring in two main stages. The first stage (a reduction of ca. 17%) is associated with the emergence of Homo ergaster and Homo erectus sensu stricto. The second stage (a reduction of ca. 10%) occurs in Homo sapiens, but the reduced modern human M1 tooth crown size was only attained in Upper Paleolithic times. The absolute sizes of the individual cusps are highly positively correlated with overall crown size and dental reduction produces a reduction in the absolute size of each of the cusps. Most of the individual cusps scale isometrically with crown size, but the paracone shows a negative allometric relationship, indicating that the reduction in paracone size is less than in the other M1 cusps. Thus, the phylogenetically oldest cusp in the upper molars also seems to be the most stable cusp (at least in the M1). The most striking change in M1 cusp proportions is a change in the relative size of the areas of the paracone and metacone. The combination of a small relative paracone and a large relative metacone generally characterizes specimens attributed to early Homo, and the presence of this character state in Australopithecus andParanthropus suggests it may represent the primitive condition for the later part of the hominin clade. In contrast, nearly all later Homo taxa, with the exception of Homo antecessor, show the opposite condition (i.e. a relatively large paracone and a relatively small metacone). This change in the relationship between the relative sizes of the paracone and metacone is related to an isometric reduction of the absolute size of the metacone. This metacone reduction occurs in the context of relative stability in the

  18. Evolution of M1 crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Quam, Rolf; Bailey, Shara; Wood, Bernard

    2009-05-01

    Previous research into tooth crown dimensions and cusp proportions has proved to be a useful way to identify taxonomic differences in Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil hominins. The present study has identified changes in both M(1) crown size and cusp proportions within the genus Homo, with M(1) overall crown size reduction apparently occurring in two main stages. The first stage (a reduction of ca. 17%) is associated with the emergence of Homo ergaster and Homo erectus sensu stricto. The second stage (a reduction of ca. 10%) occurs in Homo sapiens, but the reduced modern human M(1) tooth crown size was only attained in Upper Paleolithic times. The absolute sizes of the individual cusps are highly positively correlated with overall crown size and dental reduction produces a reduction in the absolute size of each of the cusps. Most of the individual cusps scale isometrically with crown size, but the paracone shows a negative allometric relationship, indicating that the reduction in paracone size is less than in the other M(1) cusps. Thus, the phylogenetically oldest cusp in the upper molars also seems to be the most stable cusp (at least in the M(1)). The most striking change in M(1) cusp proportions is a change in the relative size of the areas of the paracone and metacone. The combination of a small relative paracone and a large relative metacone generally characterizes specimens attributed to early Homo, and the presence of this character state in Australopithecus and Paranthropus suggests it may represent the primitive condition for the later part of the hominin clade. In contrast, nearly all later Homo taxa, with the exception of Homo antecessor, show the opposite condition (i.e. a relatively large paracone and a relatively small metacone). This change in the relationship between the relative sizes of the paracone and metacone is related to an isometric reduction of the absolute size of the metacone. This metacone reduction occurs in the context of relative

  19. Affinities of the Swartkrans early Homo mandibles.

    PubMed

    Curnoe, Darren

    2008-01-01

    The southern African early Homo assemblage continues to make important contributions to understanding the systematics, adaptations and evolutionary history of the human genus. However, the taxonomy of this sample is in a state of flux. This study examines the size and shape of the mandibular bodies of Swartkrans SK 15 and SK 45 comparing them with variation in two early Homo taxa (H. habilis sensu lato and H. sapiens erectus). The research aims to clarify their phenetic affinities and systematics through univariate statistics, inferential testing and multivariate analysis employing size (Log-transformed) and shape (Mosimann variables). Neither of them strongly resembles H. habilis sensu lato or H. sapiens erectus, rather, they probably sample a novel species of Homo not seen in East Africa. Moreover, there is considerable morphological variability within the Swartkrans sample and the possibility of more than one novel species being sampled at this site cannot be excluded. PMID:18402959

  20. Age and biostratigraphic significance of the Punung Rainforest Fauna, East Java, Indonesia, and implications for Pongo and Homo.

    PubMed

    Westaway, K E; Morwood, M J; Roberts, R G; Rokus, A D; Zhao, J-x; Storm, P; Aziz, F; van den Bergh, G; Hadi, P; Jatmiko; de Vos, J

    2007-12-01

    The Punung Fauna is a key component in the biostratigraphic sequence of Java. It represents the most significant faunal turnover on the island in the last 1.5 million years, when Stegodon and other archaic mammal species characteristic of earlier Faunal stages were replaced by a fully modern fauna that included rainforest-dependent species such as Pongo pygmaeus (orangutan). Here, we report the first numerical ages for the Punung Fauna obtained by luminescence and uranium-series dating of the fossil-bearing deposits and associated flowstones. The Punung Fauna contained in the dated breccia is of early Last Interglacial age (between 128+/-15 and 118+/-3 ka). This result has implications for the age of the preceding Ngandong Fauna, including Homo erectus remains found in the Ngandong Terrace, and for the timing of Homo sapiens arrival in Southeast Asia, in view of claims for a modern human tooth associated with the Punung breccia. PMID:17706269

  1. Patterns of dental development in Homo, Australopithecus, Pan, and Gorilla.

    PubMed

    Smith, B H

    1994-07-01

    Smith ([1986] Nature 323:327-330) distinguished patterns of development of teeth of juvenile fossil hominids as being "more like humans" or "more like apes" based on statistical similarity to group standards. Here, this central tendency discrimination (CTD) is tested for its ability to recognize ape and human patterns of dental development in 789 subadult hominoids. Tooth development of a modern human sample (665 black southern Africans) was scored entirely by an outside investigator; pongid and fossil hominid samples (59 Pan, 50 Gorilla, and 14 fossil hominids) were scored by the author. The claim of Lampl et al. ([1993] Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 90:113-127) that Smith's 1986 method succeeds in only 8% of human cases was not sustained. Figures for overall success of classification (87% humans, 68% apes) mask important effects of teeth sampled and age class. For humans, the power of CTD varied between 53% and 92% depending on the number and kind of teeth available--nearly that of a coin toss when data described only two nearby teeth, but quite successful with more teeth or distant teeth. For apes, only age class affected accuracy: "Infant" apes (M1 development < or = root cleft complete, unemerged) were usually classed as humans, probably because the present developmental standard for great apes is in substantial error under 3 years of age. "Juvenile" apes (M1 > or = root 1/4), however, were correctly discriminated in 87% of cases. Overall, CTD can be considered reliable (accuracy of 92% for humans and 88% for apes) when data contrast development of distant dental fields and subjects are juveniles (not infants). Restricting analysis of fossils to specimens satisfying these criteria, patterns of dental development of gracile australopithecines and Homo habilis remain classified with African apes. Those of Homo erectus and Neanderthals are classified with humans, suggesting that patterns of growth evolved substantially in the Hominidae. To standardize future research

  2. Body mass estimates of hominin fossils and the evolution of human body size.

    PubMed

    Grabowski, Mark; Hatala, Kevin G; Jungers, William L; Richmond, Brian G

    2015-08-01

    Body size directly influences an animal's place in the natural world, including its energy requirements, home range size, relative brain size, locomotion, diet, life history, and behavior. Thus, an understanding of the biology of extinct organisms, including species in our own lineage, requires accurate estimates of body size. Since the last major review of hominin body size based on postcranial morphology over 20 years ago, new fossils have been discovered, species attributions have been clarified, and methods improved. Here, we present the most comprehensive and thoroughly vetted set of individual fossil hominin body mass predictions to date, and estimation equations based on a large (n = 220) sample of modern humans of known body masses. We also present species averages based exclusively on fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions, estimates of species averages by sex, and a metric for levels of sexual dimorphism. Finally, we identify individual traits that appear to be the most reliable for mass estimation for each fossil species, for use when only one measurement is available for a fossil. Our results show that many early hominins were generally smaller-bodied than previously thought, an outcome likely due to larger estimates in previous studies resulting from the use of large-bodied modern human reference samples. Current evidence indicates that modern human-like large size first appeared by at least 3-3.5 Ma in some Australopithecus afarensis individuals. Our results challenge an evolutionary model arguing that body size increased from Australopithecus to early Homo. Instead, we show that there is no reliable evidence that the body size of non-erectus early Homo differed from that of australopiths, and confirm that Homo erectus evolved larger average body size than earlier hominins. PMID:26094042

  3. Systematic assessment of a maxilla of Homo from Hadar, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, W H; Johanson, D C; Rak, Y

    1997-06-01

    The Hadar site in Ethiopia is a prolific source of hominid fossils attributed to the species Australopithecus afarensis, which spans the period 3.4-3.0 million years (myr) in the Sidi Hakoma, Denen Dora and lower Kada Hadar Members of the Hadar Formation. Since 1992 a major focus of field work conducted at Hadar has centered on sediments younger than 3.0 myr, comprising the bulk of the Kada Hadar Member. Witnessing the rise of the "robust" Australopithecus clade(s), the origin of Homo, and the first record of lithic artifacts, the period between 3.0 and 2.0 myr is strategically vital for paleoanthropology. However, in eastern Africa it is a particularly poorly sampled temporal interval. This paper provides a detailed comparative description of a hominid maxilla with partial dentition found at Hadar in 1994. The specimen, A.L. 666-1, derives from a lithic artifact-bearing horizon high in the Kada Hadar Member, 0.8 m below the BKT-3 tephra, dated by the 40Ar/39Ar method to 2.33 +/- 0.07 myr. Our preliminary investigation of the hominid specimen showed unambiguous affinities with early representatives of the Homo clade (Kimbel et al. [1996] J. Hum. Evol. 31:549-561). Further studies on maxillary and dental morphology lead us to attribute A.L. 666-1 to Homo aff. H. habilis. The new Hadar jaw is the first paleontological evidence for the projection of the H. habilis maxillofacial morphotype well back into the Pliocene. It may represent a male of this species, whose maxillary hypodigm consists chiefly of females. A subsidiary finding of our study is that of the three earliest recorded species of Homo (H. habilis, H. rudolfensis, H. erectus), it is H. habilis that exhibits facial morphology closest to that expected in their last common ancestor. PMID:9209580

  4. The place of Homo floresiensis in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen

    2016-06-20

    Two main evolutionary scenarios have been proposed to explain the presence of the small-bodied and small-brained Homo floresiensis species on the remote Indonesian island of Flores in the Late Pleistocene. According to these two scenarios, H. floresiensis was a dwarfed descendent of H. erectus or a late-surviving remnant of a older lineage, perhaps descended from H. habilis. Each scenario has interesting and important implications for hominin biogeography, body size evolution, brain evolution and morphological convergences. Careful evaluation reveals that only a small number of characters support each of these scenarios uniquely. H. floresiensis exhibits a cranial shape and many cranial characters that appear to be shared derived traits with H. erectus, but postcranial traits are more primitive and resemble those of early Homo or even australopiths. Mandibular and dental traits show a mix of derived and primitive features. Unfortunately, many traits cannot be used to assess these two hypotheses because their distribution in H. erectus, early Homo (e.g., H. habilis), or both is unknown. H. erectus ancestry implies evolutionary convergence on a postcranial configuration similar to australopiths and early Homo, which could be explained by a return to more climbing behaviors. Body size reduction as well as brain size reduction on a scale only rarely documented in mammals would also accompany the origin of H. floresiensis from a H. erectus ancestor. H. habilis ancestry implies parallel evolution of numerous cranial characters, as well as a few dentognathic traits. A pre-H. erectus ancestry also suggests an early migration to Southeast Asia that is as yet undocumented in mainland Asia, but minimal body and brain size reduction. PMID:26829572

  5. Homo floresiensis: a cladistic analysis.

    PubMed

    Argue, D; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, T; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E W

    2009-11-01

    The announcement of a new species, Homo floresiensis, a primitive hominin that survived until relatively recent times is an enormous challenge to paradigms of human evolution. Until this announcement, the dominant paradigm stipulated that: 1) only more derived hominins had emerged from Africa, and 2) H. sapiens was the only hominin since the demise of Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. Resistance to H. floresiensis has been intense, and debate centers on two sets of competing hypotheses: 1) that it is a primitive hominin, and 2) that it is a modern human, either a pygmoid form or a pathological individual. Despite a range of analytical techniques having been applied to the question, no resolution has been reached. Here, we use cladistic analysis, a tool that has not, until now, been applied to the problem, to establish the phylogenetic position of the species. Our results produce two equally parsimonious phylogenetic trees. The first suggests that H. floresiensis is an early hominin that emerged after Homo rudolfensis (1.86Ma) but before H. habilis (1.66Ma, or after 1.9Ma if the earlier chronology for H. habilis is retained). The second tree indicates H. floresiensis branched after Homo habilis. PMID:19628252

  6. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee R; Hawks, John; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Delezene, Lucas K; Kivell, Tracy L; Garvin, Heather M; Williams, Scott A; DeSilva, Jeremy M; Skinner, Matthew M; Musiba, Charles M; Cameron, Noel; Holliday, Trenton W; Harcourt-Smith, William; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Bastir, Markus; Bogin, Barry; Bolter, Debra; Brophy, Juliet; Cofran, Zachary D; Congdon, Kimberly A; Deane, Andrew S; Dembo, Mana; Drapeau, Michelle; Elliott, Marina C; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Garcia-Martinez, Daniel; Green, David J; Gurtov, Alia; Irish, Joel D; Kruger, Ashley; Laird, Myra F; Marchi, Damiano; Meyer, Marc R; Nalla, Shahed; Negash, Enquye W; Orr, Caley M; Radovcic, Davorka; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Throckmorton, Zachary; Tocheri, Matthew W; VanSickle, Caroline; Walker, Christopher S; Wei, Pianpian; Zipfel, Bernhard

    2015-01-01

    Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct hominin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. This species is characterized by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Cranial morphology of H. naledi is unique, but most similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis. While primitive, the dentition is generally small and simple in occlusal morphology. H. naledi has humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist. It also exhibits a humanlike foot and lower limb. These humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur. Representing at least 15 individuals with most skeletal elements repeated multiple times, this is the largest assemblage of a single species of hominins yet discovered in Africa. PMID:26354291

  7. Relative limb strength and locomotion in Homo habilis.

    PubMed

    Ruff, Christopher

    2009-01-01

    The Homo habilis OH 62 partial skeleton has played an important, although controversial role in interpretations of early Homo locomotor behavior. Past interpretive problems stemmed from uncertain bone length estimates and comparisons using external bone breadth proportions, which do not clearly distinguish between modern humans and apes. Here, true cross-sectional bone strength measurements of the OH 62 femur and humerus are compared with those of modern humans and chimpanzees, as well as two early H. erectus specimens-KNM-WT 15000 and KNM-ER 1808. The comparative sections include two locations in the femur and two in the humerus in order to encompass the range of possible section positions in the OH 62 specimens. For each combination of section locations, femoral to humeral strength proportions of OH 62 fall below the 95% confidence interval of modern humans, and for most comparisons, within the 95% confidence interval of chimpanzees. In contrast, the two H. erectus specimens both fall within or even above the modern human distributions. This indicates that load distribution between the limbs, and by implication, locomotor behavior, was significantly different in H. habilis from that of H. erectus and modern humans. When considered with other postcranial evidence, the most likely interpretation is that H. habilis, although bipedal when terrestrial, still engaged in frequent arboreal behavior, while H. erectus was a completely committed terrestrial biped. This adds to the evidence that H. habilis (sensu stricto) and H. erectus represent ecologically distinct, parallel lineages during the early Pleistocene. PMID:18711733

  8. Mandibular shape analysis in fossil hominins: Fourier descriptors in norma lateralis.

    PubMed

    Lestrel, P E; Wolfe, C A; Bodt, A

    2013-08-01

    Biological shape can be defined as the boundary of a form in 2-space (R(2)). An earlier study (Lestrel et al., 2010, HOMO-J. Comp. Hum. Biol.) of the cranial vault found that there were statistically significant differences between each of the three groups: H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, and H. neanderthalensis compared with H. sapiens. In contrast, there was no statistically significant difference among the first three groups. These results suggest that these three groups may have formed single evolving lineage while H. sapiens represents a separate evolutionary development. The purpose of the current research was to discern if the mandible reflected a similar pattern as the cranial vault data. This study used lateral jpeg images of the mandible. Five fossil samples were used: A. robustus (n=7), H. erectus (n=12), H. heidelbergensis (n=4), H. neanderthalensis (n=22) and H. sapiens (n=61). Each mandible image was pre-processed with Photoshop Elements. Each image was then submitted to a specially written routine that digitized the 84 points along the mandible boundary. Each mandible was fitted with elliptical Fourier functions (EFFs). Procrustes superimposition was imposed to insure minimum shape differences. The mandible results largely mirrored the earlier cranial vault study with one exception. Statistically significant results were obtained for the mandible between the H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis samples in contrast to the earlier cranial vault data. F-tests disclosed that the statistical significance was limited to the anterior symphysis of the mandible. This mosaic pattern may be explained by the reduction in prognathism with the concomitant if rudimentary development of the chin as seen in H. neanderthalensis compared to H. erectus. PMID:23769600

  9. Extension rates and growth in tooth height of modern human and fossil hominin canines and molars.

    PubMed

    Dean, M Christopher

    2009-01-01

    The aim of this study was to describe similarities and differences in the way modern and fossil hominin teeth grow in height. Measurements from longitudinal ground sections of 7 modern human canines and 19 first permanent molars were used to calculate extension rates in the crowns and roots and to plot distance curves for growth in tooth height. These were compared with identical data for 3 fossil hominin teeth attributed respectively to Paranthropus robustus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. Enamel extension rates in each of the three fossil taxa fell within the range of modern humans. Root extension rates in the fossil taxa also fell within modern human ranges but differed in their pattern with either an early or late marked increase in root length. Extension rates in the canine crowns were higher in cuspal enamel than in lateral enamel. Combinations of high or low cuspal enamel extension rates, with either longer or shorter times taken to form lateral enamel, explain how crown formation times may vary independently of completed crown heights. PMID:19828973

  10. What do cranial bones of LB1 tell us about Homo floresiensis?

    PubMed

    Balzeau, Antoine; Charlier, Philippe

    2016-04-01

    Cranial vault thickness (CVT) of Liang Bua 1, the specimen that is proposed to be the holotype of Homo floresiensis, has not yet been described in detail and compared with samples of fossil hominins, anatomically modern humans or microcephalic skulls. In addition, a complete description from a forensic and pathological point of view has not yet been carried out. It is important to evaluate scientifically if features related to CVT bring new information concerning the possible pathological status of LB1, and if it helps to recognize affinities with any hominin species and particularly if the specimen could belong to the species Homo sapiens. Medical examination of the skull based on a micro-CT examination clearly brings to light the presence of a sincipital T (a non-metrical variant of normal anatomy), a scar from an old frontal trauma without any evident functional consequence, and a severe bilateral hyperostosis frontalis interna that may have modified the anterior morphology of the endocranium of LB1. We also show that LB1 displays characteristics, related to the distribution of bone thickness and arrangements of cranial structures, that are plesiomorphic traits for hominins, at least for Homo erectus s.l. relative to Homo neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. All the microcephalic skulls analyzed here share the derived condition of anatomically modern H. sapiens. Cranial vault thickness does not help to clarify the definition of the species H. floresiensis but it also does not support an attribution of LB1 to H. sapiens. We conclude that there is no support for the attribution of LB1 to H. sapiens as there is no evidence of systemic pathology and because it does not have any of the apomorphic traits of our species. PMID:27086053

  11. Variation among early Homo crania from Olduvai Gorge and the Koobi Fora region.

    PubMed

    Rightmire, G P

    1993-01-01

    Fossils recognized as early Homo were discovered first at Olduvai Gorge in 1959 and 1960. Teeth, skull parts and hand bones representing three individuals were found in Bed I, and more material followed from Bed I and lower Bed II. By 1964, L.S.B. Leakey, P.V. Tobias, and J.R. Napier were ready to name Homo habilis. But almost as soon as they had, there was confusion over the hypodigm of the new species. Tobias himself suggested that OH 13 resembles Homo erectus from Java, and he noted that OH 16 has teeth as large as those of Australopithecus. By the early 1970s, however, Tobias had put these thoughts behind him and returned to the opinion that all of the Olduvai remains are Homo habilis. At about this time, important discoveries began to flow from the Koobi Fora region in Kenya. To most observers, crania such as KNM-ER 1470 confirmed the presence of Homo in East Africa at an early date. Some of the other specimens were problematical. A.C. Walker and R.E. Leakey raised the possibility that larger skulls including KNM-ER 1470 differ significantly from smaller-brained, small-toothed individuals such as KNM-ER 1813. Other workers emphasized that there are differences of shape as well as size among the hominids from Koobi Fora. There is now substantial support for the view that in the Turkana and perhaps also in the Olduvai assemblages, there is more variation than would be expected among male and female conspecifics. One way to approach this question of sorting would be to compare all of the new fossils against the original material from Olduvai which was used to characterize Homo habilis in 1964. A problem is that the Olduvai remains are fragmentary, and none of them provides much information about vault form or facial structure. An alternative is to work first with the better crania, even if these are from other sites. I have elected to treat KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 as key individuals. Comparisons are based on discrete anatomy and measurements. Metric results

  12. The many mysteries of Homo naledi

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    More than 1500 fossils from the Rising Star cave system in South Africa have been assigned to a new human species, Homo naledi, which displays a unique combination of primitive and derived traits throughout the skeleton. PMID:26354290

  13. The many mysteries of Homo naledi.

    PubMed

    Stringer, Chris

    2015-01-01

    More than 1500 fossils from the Rising Star cave system in South Africa have been assigned to a new human species, Homo naledi, which displays a unique combination of primitive and derived traits throughout the skeleton. PMID:26354290

  14. Five years of Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Aiello, Leslie C

    2010-06-01

    Since Homo floresiensis was first described in October 2004 there has been a lively debate over its status. Is it a late surviving species of early Homo or merely a modern individual afflicted with disordered growth and one of the many syndromes resulting in microchephaly? Recently the discovery team has published a series of articles providing detailed descriptions of the hominin material, its geomorphological context, and the associated archaeology and faunal material (Morwood and Jungers: J Hum Evol 57 (2009) 437-648). In addition, other researchers have put forward new hypotheses for possible pathologies including Laron's Syndrome and Myxoedematous Endemic (ME) Cretinism. Here I review this new information and conclude that the evidence supports the hypothesis that Homo floresiensis is a late-surviving species of early Homo with its closest morphological affinities to early African pre-erectus/ergaster hominins. Although this hypothesis requires fundamental paradigm changes in our understanding of human evolution, it provides a more economical explanation for H. floresiensis than do the alternatives. None of the current explanations for microcephaly and disordered growth account for the range of features observed in H. floresiensis. Neither do they provide explanations for why a pathological condition in modern humans would mimic so closely the morphology observed in earlier hominins. This conclusion is based on the current evidence for H. floresiensis and on the particular pathological explanations that have appeared in the literature. There is no doubt that controversy over H. floresiensis will continue until new and conclusive evidence is available to settle the debate one way or another. PMID:20229502

  15. Comment on "A complete skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the evolutionary biology of early Homo".

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Jeffrey H; Tattersall, Ian; Chi, Zhang

    2014-04-25

    Lordkipanidze et al. (Research Article, 18 October 2013, p. 326) conclude, from gross morphological comparisons and geometric-morphometric analysis of general shape, that the five hominid crania from Dmanisi in Georgia represent a single regional variant of Homo erectus. However, dental, mandibular, and cranial morphologies all suggest taxic diversity and, in particular, validate the previously named H. georgicus. PMID:24763572

  16. Biomechanics of the hip and birth in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Ruff, C B

    1995-12-01

    A complex of traits in the femur and pelvis of Homo erectus and early "erectus-like" specimens has been described, but never satisfactorily explained. Here the functional relationships between pelvic and femoral structure in humans are explored using both theoretical biomechanical models and empirical tests within modern samples of diverse body form (Pecos Amerindians, East Africans). Results indicate that a long femoral neck increases mediolateral bending of the femoral diaphysis and decreases gluteal abductor and hip joint reaction forces. Increasing biacetabular breadth along with femoral neck length further increases M-L bending of the femoral shaft and maintains abductor and joint reaction forces at near "normal" levels. When compared to modern humans, Homo erectus and early "erectus-like" specimens are characterized by a long femoral neck and greatly increased M-L relative to A-P bending strength of the femoral shaft, coupled with no decrease in hip joint size and a probable increase in abductor force relative to body size. All of this strongly suggests that biacetabular breadth as well as femoral neck length was relatively large in early Homo. Several features preserved in early Homo partial hip bones also indicate that the true (lower) pelvis was very M-L broad, as well as A-P narrow. This is similar to the lower pelvic shape of australopithecines and suggests that nonrotational birth, in which the newborn's head is oriented transversely through the pelvic outlet, characterized early Homo as well as Australopithecus. Because M-L breadth of the pelvis is constrained by other factors, this may have limited increases in cranial capacity within Homo until rotational birth was established during the late Middle Pleistocene. During or after the transition to rotational birth biacetabular breadth decreased, reducing the body weight moment arm about the hip and allowing femoral neck length (abductor moment arm) to also decrease, both of which reduced M-L bending of

  17. Hominin cognitive evolution: identifying patterns and processes in the fossil and archaeological record

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Nelson, Emma; Dunbar, Robin I. M.

    2012-01-01

    As only limited insight into behaviour is available from the archaeological record, much of our understanding of historical changes in human cognition is restricted to identifying changes in brain size and architecture. Using both absolute and residual brain size estimates, we show that hominin brain evolution was likely to be the result of a mix of processes; punctuated changes at approximately 100 kya, 1 Mya and 1.8 Mya are supplemented by gradual within-lineage changes in Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sensu lato. While brain size increase in Homo in Africa is a gradual process, migration of hominins into Eurasia is associated with step changes at approximately 400 kya and approximately 100 kya. We then demonstrate that periods of rapid change in hominin brain size are not temporally associated with changes in environmental unpredictability or with long-term palaeoclimate trends. Thus, we argue that commonly used global sea level or Indian Ocean dust palaeoclimate records provide little evidence for either the variability selection or aridity hypotheses explaining changes in hominin brain size. Brain size change at approximately 100 kya is coincident with demographic change and the appearance of fully modern language. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the external pressures driving encephalization, which will only be filled by novel applications of the fossil, palaeoclimatic and archaeological records. PMID:22734056

  18. New magnetostratigraphy for the Olduvai Subchron in the Koobi Fora Formation, northwest Kenya, with implications for early Homo

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lepre, Christopher J.; Kent, Dennis V.

    2010-02-01

    A problematic magnetostratigraphy for the Koobi Fora Formation has contributed to debates on the evolutionary implications for early hominin fossils. To address this, 50 independent samples distributed over a nearly 63-m-thick interval were collected from the lower-middle KBS Member type section in fossil collection Area 102, northeast Turkana Basin. Characteristic directions obtained by thermal demagnetization define a coherent magnetostratigraphy that is supported by alternating-field studies on 28 sister specimens and the prior tephrochronological framework. Two long polarity intervals were recognized, each 30-40 m in thickness, and interpreted as the upper part of the normal polarity Olduvai Subchron and the overlying reverse polarity Matuyama Chron. The end Olduvai consists of a normal-reverse-normal polarity sequence occurring over a thickness of at least 1 m but perhaps up to 5 m, suggesting that this subchron has a short reverse interval in its uppermost part. Such a fine-scale structure also has been reported from several other sites, like the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary and point stratotype section at Vrica, Italy, which serves as a basis for formally delimiting three temporally discrete polarity subintervals for the Olduvai Subchron. These paleomagnetic results that place the upper boundary of the Olduvai at ˜ 48 m above the base of the KBS Member, coupled with published radioisotopic dates, firmly secure the age of partial cranium KNM-ER 3733 in the interval 1.78-1.48 Ma, with an interpolated age of ˜ 1.7 Ma, giving this fossil the most unambiguous numerical-age constraints, as compared to the oldest Homo cranial remains from Europe and Asia. Nonetheless, assured placement of the top of the Olduvai Subchron in the KBS Member is not sufficient in the face of other uncertainties to influence conventional interpretations of the timing and direction for the global dispersal of early Homo erectus.

  19. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Berger, Lee R; Hawks, John; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Delezene, Lucas K; Kivell, Tracy L; Garvin, Heather M; Williams, Scott A; DeSilva, Jeremy M; Skinner, Matthew M; Musiba, Charles M; Cameron, Noel; Holliday, Trenton W; Harcourt-Smith, William; Ackermann, Rebecca R; Bastir, Markus; Bogin, Barry; Bolter, Debra; Brophy, Juliet; Cofran, Zachary D; Congdon, Kimberly A; Deane, Andrew S; Dembo, Mana; Drapeau, Michelle; Elliott, Marina C; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Garcia-Martinez, Daniel; Green, David J; Gurtov, Alia; Irish, Joel D; Kruger, Ashley; Laird, Myra F; Marchi, Damiano; Meyer, Marc R; Nalla, Shahed; Negash, Enquye W; Orr, Caley M; Radovcic, Davorka; Schroeder, Lauren; Scott, Jill E; Throckmorton, Zachary; Tocheri, Matthew W; VanSickle, Caroline; Walker, Christopher S; Wei, Pianpian; Zipfel, Bernhard

    2015-01-01

    Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct hominin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. This species is characterized by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths. Cranial morphology of H. naledi is unique, but most similar to early Homo species including Homo erectus, Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis. While primitive, the dentition is generally small and simple in occlusal morphology. H. naledi has humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist. It also exhibits a humanlike foot and lower limb. These humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur. Representing at least 15 individuals with most skeletal elements repeated multiple times, this is the largest assemblage of a single species of hominins yet discovered in Africa. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09560.001 PMID:26354291

  20. Landmark-based shape analysis of the archaic Homo calvarium from Ceprano (Italy).

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; Manzi, Giorgio

    2007-03-01

    The Ceprano calvarium represents one of the most important sources of information about both the dynamics of the earliest hominid dispersal toward Europe and the evolution of the genus Homo in the early-to-middle Pleistocene. In this paper, the midsagittal vault profile and the 3D frontal bone morphology of Ceprano are investigated comparatively, using landmark coordinates and Procrustes superimposition. In fact, despite the fact that the skull appears partially distorted by diagenetic pressures (thus precluding a comprehensive landmark-based analysis), some aspects of the overall morphology are suitable for consideration in terms of geometric morphometrics. The midsagittal profile shows an archaic shape, comparable with the H. ergaster/erectus range of variation because of the fronto-parietal flattening, the development of the supraorbital and nuchal structures, and the occurrence of a slightly larger occipital bone. By contrast, the frontal bone displays a derived 3D shape that, mostly because of the widening of the frontal squama, appears comparable with the Afro-European variation of the Middle Pleistocene (i.e., H. heidelbergensis/rhodesiensis). Taking into account the unique morphological pattern displayed by Ceprano, its role as a link between early Homo and the Middle Pleistocene populations of Europe and Africa is not falsified. Thus, when aspects of the Ceprano's morphology are described within the analytical framework provided by geometric morphometrics, the relationships between Ceprano and the subsequent Afro-European fossil record are emphasized, suggesting the occurrence of an ancestral stock of H. heidelbergensis/rhodesiensis that is properly represented by the Italian specimen. PMID:17177181

  1. Early Homo and associated artefacts from Asia.

    PubMed

    Huang, W; Ciochon, R; Gu, Y; Larick, R; Qiren, F; Schwarcz, H; Yonge, C; de Vos, J; Rink, W

    1995-11-16

    The site of Longgupo Cave was discovered in 1984 and excavated in 1985-1988 by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (Beijing) and the Chongqing National Museum (Sichuan Province). Important finds include very archaic hominid dental fragments, Gigantopithecus teeth and primitive stone tools. Palaeomagnetic analysis and the presence of Ailuropoda microta (pygmy giant panda) suggested that the hominid-bearing levels dated to the earliest Pleistocene. In 1992, joint Chinese-American-Canadian geochronological research corroborated the age using electron spin resonance (ESR) analysis. We report here that the hominid dentition and stone tools from Longgupo Cave are comparable in age and morphology with early representives of the genus Homo (H. habilis and H. ergaster) and the Oldowan technology in East Africa. The Longgupo dentition is demonstrably more primitive than that seen in Asian Homo erectus. Longgupo's diverse and well preserved Plio-Pleistocene fauna of 116 species provide a sensitive contextual base for interpreting the early arrival of the genus Homo in Asia. PMID:7477345

  2. The Homo floresiensis cranium (LB1): Size, scaling, and early Homo affinities

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Adam D.; Nevell, Lisa; Wood, Bernard

    2008-01-01

    The skeletal remains of a diminutive small-brained hominin found in Late Pleistocene cave deposits on the island of Flores, Indonesia were assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis [Brown P, et al. (2004) A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431: 1055–1061]. A dramatically different interpretation is that this material belongs not to a novel hominin taxon but to a population of small-bodied modern humans affected, or unaffected, by microcephaly. The debate has primarily focused on the size and shape of the endocranial cavity of the type specimen, LB1, with less attention being paid to the morphological evidence provided by the rest of the LB1 cranium and postcranium, and no study thus far has addressed the problem of how scaling would affect shape comparisons between a diminutive cranium like LB1 and the much larger crania of modern humans. We show that whether or not the effects of its small cranial size are accounted for, the external cranial morphology of the LB1 cranium cannot be accommodated within a large global sample of normal modern human crania. Instead, the shape of LB1, which is shown by multivariate analysis to differ significantly from that of modern humans, is similar to that of Homo erectus sensu lato, and, to a lesser extent, Homo habilis. Our results are consistent with hypotheses that suggest the Liang Bua specimens represent a diminutive population closely related to either early H. erectus s. l. from East Africa and/or Dmanisi or to H. habilis. PMID:18356300

  3. The Homo floresiensis cranium (LB1): size, scaling, and early Homo affinities.

    PubMed

    Gordon, Adam D; Nevell, Lisa; Wood, Bernard

    2008-03-25

    The skeletal remains of a diminutive small-brained hominin found in Late Pleistocene cave deposits on the island of Flores, Indonesia were assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis [Brown P, et al. (2004) A new small-bodied hominin from the Late Pleistocene of Flores, Indonesia. Nature 431: 1055-1061]. A dramatically different interpretation is that this material belongs not to a novel hominin taxon but to a population of small-bodied modern humans affected, or unaffected, by microcephaly. The debate has primarily focused on the size and shape of the endocranial cavity of the type specimen, LB1, with less attention being paid to the morphological evidence provided by the rest of the LB1 cranium and postcranium, and no study thus far has addressed the problem of how scaling would affect shape comparisons between a diminutive cranium like LB1 and the much larger crania of modern humans. We show that whether or not the effects of its small cranial size are accounted for, the external cranial morphology of the LB1 cranium cannot be accommodated within a large global sample of normal modern human crania. Instead, the shape of LB1, which is shown by multivariate analysis to differ significantly from that of modern humans, is similar to that of Homo erectus sensu lato, and, to a lesser extent, Homo habilis. Our results are consistent with hypotheses that suggest the Liang Bua specimens represent a diminutive population closely related to either early H. erectus s. l. from East Africa and/or Dmanisi or to H. habilis. PMID:18356300

  4. Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo

    PubMed Central

    Organ, Chris; Nunn, Charles L.; Machanda, Zarin; Wrangham, Richard W.

    2011-01-01

    Unique among animals, humans eat a diet rich in cooked and nonthermally processed food. The ancestors of modern humans who invented food processing (including cooking) gained critical advantages in survival and fitness through increased caloric intake. However, the time and manner in which food processing became biologically significant are uncertain. Here, we assess the inferred evolutionary consequences of food processing in the human lineage by applying a Bayesian phylogenetic outlier test to a comparative dataset of feeding time in humans and nonhuman primates. We find that modern humans spend an order of magnitude less time feeding than predicted by phylogeny and body mass (4.7% vs. predicted 48% of daily activity). This result suggests that a substantial evolutionary rate change in feeding time occurred along the human branch after the human–chimpanzee split. Along this same branch, Homo erectus shows a marked reduction in molar size that is followed by a gradual, although erratic, decline in H. sapiens. We show that reduction in molar size in early Homo (H. habilis and H. rudolfensis) is explicable by phylogeny and body size alone. By contrast, the change in molar size to H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens cannot be explained by the rate of craniodental and body size evolution. Together, our results indicate that the behaviorally driven adaptations of food processing (reduced feeding time and molar size) originated after the evolution of Homo but before or concurrent with the evolution of H. erectus, which was around 1.9 Mya. PMID:21873223

  5. Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris; Nunn, Charles L; Machanda, Zarin; Wrangham, Richard W

    2011-08-30

    Unique among animals, humans eat a diet rich in cooked and nonthermally processed food. The ancestors of modern humans who invented food processing (including cooking) gained critical advantages in survival and fitness through increased caloric intake. However, the time and manner in which food processing became biologically significant are uncertain. Here, we assess the inferred evolutionary consequences of food processing in the human lineage by applying a Bayesian phylogenetic outlier test to a comparative dataset of feeding time in humans and nonhuman primates. We find that modern humans spend an order of magnitude less time feeding than predicted by phylogeny and body mass (4.7% vs. predicted 48% of daily activity). This result suggests that a substantial evolutionary rate change in feeding time occurred along the human branch after the human-chimpanzee split. Along this same branch, Homo erectus shows a marked reduction in molar size that is followed by a gradual, although erratic, decline in H. sapiens. We show that reduction in molar size in early Homo (H. habilis and H. rudolfensis) is explicable by phylogeny and body size alone. By contrast, the change in molar size to H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens cannot be explained by the rate of craniodental and body size evolution. Together, our results indicate that the behaviorally driven adaptations of food processing (reduced feeding time and molar size) originated after the evolution of Homo but before or concurrent with the evolution of H. erectus, which was around 1.9 Mya. PMID:21873223

  6. Cladistic analysis of early Homo crania from Swartkrans and Sterkfontein, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Smith, Heather F; Grine, Frederick E

    2008-05-01

    The phylogenetic relationships of early Pleistocene Homo crania from the South African sites of Swartkrans and Sterkfontein were investigated through cladistic analyses of 99 morphological characters. The Swartkrans Member 1 specimen SK 847 and the Stw 53 cranium from Sterkfontein Member 5A were treated as separate operational taxonomic units (OTUs), distinct from the three species of early Homo-H. erectus, H. habilis, and H. rudolfensis-that are recognized from the Plio-Pleistocene deposits of East Africa. The cladistic analyses differed in the treatment of the South African OTUs (separate Swartkrans and Sterkfontein OTUs vs. a single Swartkrans+Sterkfontein OTU). PAUP 4.0 was used to construct cladograms and address hypotheses about relationships. In the analysis that treated the South African specimens as a single OTU, the position of that OTU was stable as a separate branch on the Homo clade between H. rudolfensis and [H. habilis+(H. erectus+H. sapiens)]. When SK 847 and Stw 53 were treated as separate OTUs, the majority of most parsimonious trees indicated that they were positioned in similar positions as the combined South African Homo OTU; that is, as separate branches between H. rudolfensis and [H. habilis+(H. erectus+H. sapiens)], with the Swartkrans OTU generally occupying a more derived position. The position of the Sterkfontein OTU was more stable than that of the Swartkrans OTU, which was found in several other positions among the minimum length trees. Running the analyses with only those characters preserved by SK 847 and Stw 53 resulted in similar topologies for minimum length trees, although the positions of Stw 53, SK 847, and H. habilis exchanged places in some trees. In no case was an exclusive sister relationship between either South African OTU and a particular species of Homo supported statistically. Both South African OTUs differ from H. habilis in the fewest number of cladistic characters. PMID:18289640

  7. A comparative study of frontal bone morphology among Pleistocene hominin fossil groups.

    PubMed

    Athreya, Sheela

    2009-12-01

    Features of the frontal bone that are conventionally used to distinguish among fossil hominin groups were quantitatively examined. Fifty-five fossil crania dating from the early to the late Pleistocene were analyzed. Using a modified pantograph, outlines of the frontal bone were collected along the midsagittal and two parasagittal planes. The profile from nasion to bregma, as well as two profiles above the medial and lateral sections of the orbit, respectively, extending from the orbital margin to the coronal suture were traced. The outlines were measured using Elliptical Fourier Function Analysis (EFFA), which enabled a quantification of aspects of the frontal bone that have historically been described primarily in nonmetric or linear terms. Four measurements were obtained: 1) overall morphology as expressed in the Fourier harmonic amplitudes; 2) maximum projection of the supraorbital torus at three points along the browridge (glabella and the medial and lateral aspects of the torus above the orbit); 3) maximum distance of the frontal squama from the frontal chord, capturing forehead curvature; and 4) nasion-bregma chord length. The results indicate that the midsagittal profile is significantly different among all Pleistocene groups in analyses that include both size and shape, as well as size-adjusted data. Homo erectus is significantly different from the late Pleistocene groups (Neandertals and early modern H. sapiens) in glabellar projection. Anatomically modern humans are significantly different from all other groups in both raw and size-standardized analyses of all three outlines that captured overall morphology, as well as forehead curvature and lateral supraorbital torus prominence, and middle Pleistocene Homo are significantly different in both medial and lateral overall parasagittal form. However, for the majority of analyses there were no significant differences among the Pleistocene archaic groups in supraorbital torus projection, frontal squama

  8. Craniometric ratios of microcephaly and LB1, Homo floresiensis, using MRI and endocasts

    PubMed Central

    Vannucci, Robert C.; Barron, Todd F.; Holloway, Ralph L.

    2011-01-01

    The designation of Homo floresiensis as a new species derived from an ancient population is controversial, because the type specimen, LB1, might represent a pathological microcephalic modern Homo sapiens. Accordingly, two specific craniometric ratios (relative frontal breadth and cerebellar protrusion) were ascertained in 21 microcephalic infants and children by using MRI. Data on 118 age-equivalent control (normocephalic) subjects were collected for comparative purposes. In addition, the same craniometric ratios were determined on the endocasts of 10 microcephalic individuals, 79 normal controls (anatomically modern humans), and 17 Homo erectus specimens. These ratios were then compared with those of two LB1 endocasts. The findings showed that the calculated cerebral/cerebellar ratios of the LB1 endocast [Falk D, et al. (2007) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:2513–2518] fall outside the range of living normocephalic individuals. The ratios derived from two LB1 endocasts also fall largely outside the range of modern normal human and H. erectus endocasts and within the range of microcephalic endocasts. The findings support but do not prove the contention that LB1 represents a pathological microcephalic Homo sapiens rather than a new species, (i.e., H. floresiensis). PMID:21825126

  9. Variation in enamel thickness within the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M; Olejniczak, Anthony J; Zermeno, John P; Tafforeau, Paul; Skinner, Matthew M; Hoffmann, Almut; Radovčić, Jakov; Toussaint, Michel; Kruszynski, Robert; Menter, Colin; Moggi-Cecchi, Jacopo; Glasmacher, Ulrich A; Kullmer, Ottmar; Schrenk, Friedemann; Stringer, Chris; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2012-03-01

    Recent humans and their fossil relatives are classified as having thick molar enamel, one of very few dental traits that distinguish hominins from living African apes. However, little is known about enamel thickness in the earliest members of the genus Homo, and recent studies of later Homo report considerable intra- and inter-specific variation. In order to assess taxonomic, geographic, and temporal trends in enamel thickness, we applied micro-computed tomographic imaging to 150 fossil Homo teeth spanning two million years. Early Homo postcanine teeth from Africa and Asia show highly variable average and relative enamel thickness (AET and RET) values. Three molars from South Africa exceed Homo AET and RET ranges, resembling the hyper thick Paranthropus condition. Most later Homo groups (archaic European and north African Homo, and fossil and recent Homo sapiens) possess absolutely and relatively thick enamel across the entire dentition. In contrast, Neanderthals show relatively thin enamel in their incisors, canines, premolars, and molars, although incisor AET values are similar to H. sapiens. Comparisons of recent and fossil H. sapiens reveal that dental size reduction has led to a disproportionate decrease in coronal dentine compared with enamel (although both are reduced), leading to relatively thicker enamel in recent humans. General characterizations of hominins as having 'thick enamel' thus oversimplify a surprisingly variable craniodental trait with limited taxonomic utility within a genus. Moreover, estimates of dental attrition rates employed in paleodemographic reconstruction may be biased when this variation is not considered. Additional research is necessary to reconstruct hominin dietary ecology since thick enamel is not a prerequisite for hard-object feeding, and it is present in most later Homo species despite advances in technology and food processing. PMID:22361504

  10. Spatial and temporal variation of body size among early Homo.

    PubMed

    Will, Manuel; Stock, Jay T

    2015-05-01

    The estimation of body size among the earliest members of the genus Homo (2.4-1.5Myr [millions of years ago]) is central to interpretations of their biology. It is widely accepted that Homo ergaster possessed increased body size compared with Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, and that this may have been a factor involved with the dispersal of Homo out of Africa. The study of taxonomic differences in body size, however, is problematic. Postcranial remains are rarely associated with craniodental fossils, and taxonomic attributions frequently rest upon the size of skeletal elements. Previous body size estimates have been based upon well-preserved specimens with a more reliable species assessment. Since these samples are small (n < 5) and disparate in space and time, little is known about geographical and chronological variation in body size within early Homo. We investigate temporal and spatial variation in body size among fossils of early Homo using a 'taxon-free' approach, considering evidence for size variation from isolated and fragmentary postcranial remains (n = 39). To render the size of disparate fossil elements comparable, we derived new regression equations for common parameters of body size from a globally representative sample of hunter-gatherers and applied them to available postcranial measurements from the fossils. The results demonstrate chronological and spatial variation but no simple temporal or geographical trends for the evolution of body size among early Homo. Pronounced body size increases within Africa take place only after hominin populations were established at Dmanisi, suggesting that migrations into Eurasia were not contingent on larger body sizes. The primary evidence for these marked changes among early Homo is based upon material from Koobi Fora after 1.7Myr, indicating regional size variation. The significant body size differences between specimens from Koobi Fora and Olduvai support the cranial evidence for at least two co

  11. Megadontia, striae periodicity and patterns of enamel secretion in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Dean, M Christopher; Ramirez-Rozzi, Fernando; Bromage, Timothy G

    2008-01-01

    Early hominins formed large and thick-enamelled cheek-teeth within relatively short growth periods as compared with modern humans. To understand better the developmental basis of this process, we measured daily enamel increments, or cross striations, in 17 molars of Plio-Pleistocene hominins representing seven different species, including specimens attributed to early Homo. Our results show considerable variation across species, although all specimens conformed to the known pattern characterised by greater values in outer than inner enamel, and greater cuspal than cervical values. We then compared our results with the megadontia index, which represents tooth size in relation to body mass, for each species to assess the effect of daily growth rates on tooth size. Our results indicate that larger toothed (megadont) taxa display higher rates or faster forming enamel than smaller toothed hominins. By forming enamel quickly, large tooth crowns were able to develop within the constraints of shorter growth periods. Besides daily increments, many animals express long-period markings (striae of Retzius) in their enamel. We report periodicity values (number of cross striations between adjacent striae) in 14 new specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, and show that long-period striae express a strong association with male and average male–female body mass. Our results for Plio-Pleistocene hominins show that the biological rhythms that give rise to long-period striae are encompassed within the range of variation known for modern humans, but show a lower mean and modal value of 7 days in australopithecines. In our sample of early Homo, mean and modal periodicity values were 8 days, and therefore similar to modern humans. These new data on daily rates of enamel formation and periodicity provide a better framework to interpret surface manifestations of internal growth markings on

  12. Megadontia, striae periodicity and patterns of enamel secretion in Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Lacruz, Rodrigo S; Dean, M Christopher; Ramirez-Rozzi, Fernando; Bromage, Timothy G

    2008-08-01

    Early hominins formed large and thick-enamelled cheek-teeth within relatively short growth periods as compared with modern humans. To understand better the developmental basis of this process, we measured daily enamel increments, or cross striations, in 17 molars of Plio-Pleistocene hominins representing seven different species, including specimens attributed to early Homo. Our results show considerable variation across species, although all specimens conformed to the known pattern characterised by greater values in outer than inner enamel, and greater cuspal than cervical values. We then compared our results with the megadontia index, which represents tooth size in relation to body mass, for each species to assess the effect of daily growth rates on tooth size. Our results indicate that larger toothed (megadont) taxa display higher rates or faster forming enamel than smaller toothed hominins. By forming enamel quickly, large tooth crowns were able to develop within the constraints of shorter growth periods. Besides daily increments, many animals express long-period markings (striae of Retzius) in their enamel. We report periodicity values (number of cross striations between adjacent striae) in 14 new specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Paranthropus boisei, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, and show that long-period striae express a strong association with male and average male-female body mass. Our results for Plio-Pleistocene hominins show that the biological rhythms that give rise to long-period striae are encompassed within the range of variation known for modern humans, but show a lower mean and modal value of 7 days in australopithecines. In our sample of early Homo, mean and modal periodicity values were 8 days, and therefore similar to modern humans. These new data on daily rates of enamel formation and periodicity provide a better framework to interpret surface manifestations of internal growth markings on

  13. Craniofacial morphology of Homo floresiensis: description, taxonomic affinities, and evolutionary implication.

    PubMed

    Kaifu, Yousuke; Baba, Hisao; Sutikna, Thomas; Morwood, Michael J; Kubo, Daisuke; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Jatmiko; Awe, Rokhus Due; Djubiantono, Tony

    2011-12-01

    This paper describes in detail the external morphology of LB1/1, the nearly complete and only known cranium of Homo floresiensis. Comparisons were made with a large sample of early groups of the genus Homo to assess primitive, derived, and unique craniofacial traits of LB1 and discuss its evolution. Principal cranial shape differences between H. floresiensis and Homo sapiens are also explored metrically. The LB1 specimen exhibits a marked reductive trend in its facial skeleton, which is comparable to the H. sapiens condition and is probably associated with reduced masticatory stresses. However, LB1 is craniometrically different from H. sapiens showing an extremely small overall cranial size, and the combination of a primitive low and anteriorly narrow vault shape, a relatively prognathic face, a rounded oval foramen that is greatly separated anteriorly from the carotid canal/jugular foramen, and a unique, tall orbital shape. Whereas the neurocranium of LB1 is as small as that of some Homo habilis specimens, it exhibits laterally expanded parietals, a weak suprameatal crest, a moderately flexed occipital, a marked facial reduction, and many other derived features that characterize post-habilis Homo. Other craniofacial characteristics of LB1 include, for example, a relatively narrow frontal squama with flattened right and left sides, a marked frontal keel, posteriorly divergent temporal lines, a posteriorly flexed anteromedial corner of the mandibular fossa, a bulbous lateral end of the supraorbital torus, and a forward protruding maxillary body with a distinct infraorbital sulcus. LB1 is most similar to early Javanese Homo erectus from Sangiran and Trinil in these and other aspects. We conclude that the craniofacial morphology of LB1 is consistent with the hypothesis that H. floresiensis evolved from early Javanese H. erectus with dramatic island dwarfism. However, further field discoveries of early hominin skeletal remains from Flores and detailed analyses of the

  14. The evolution of early Homo: a reply to Scott.

    PubMed

    Van Arsdale, A P; Wolpoff, M H

    2014-03-01

    Scott presents a welcome reply to our article, "A single lineage in early Pleistocene Homo" (Van Arsdale and Wolpoff ). However, Scott's reply mischaracterizes and fails to directly address the hypothesis of a single lineage that we test. Additionally, the approach taken by Scott fails to replicate the methods used in our analysis. As Scott himself suggests, our null hypothesis of a single evolving lineage in early Homo remains without refutation. Although many evolutionary scenarios might explain the complex pattern of variation present in the early Homo fossil record, the most parsimonious remains that of a single lineage displaying evolutionary change over time. PMID:24372272

  15. Homo floresiensis and the evolution of the hominin shoulder.

    PubMed

    Larson, Susan G; Jungers, William L; Morwood, Michael J; Sutikna, Thomas; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Due, Rokus Awe; Djubiantono, Tony

    2007-12-01

    The holotype of Homo floresiensis, diminutive hominins with tiny brains living until 12,000 years ago on the island of Flores, is a partial skeleton (LB1) that includes a partial clavicle (LB1/5) and a nearly complete right humerus (LB1/50). Although the humerus appears fairly modern in most regards, it is remarkable in displaying only 110 degrees of humeral torsion, well below modern human average values. Assuming a modern human shoulder configuration, such a low degree of humeral torsion would result in a lateral set to the elbow. Such an elbow joint would function more nearly in a frontal than in a sagittal plane, and this is certainly not what anyone would have predicted for a tool-making Pleistocene hominin. We argue that Homo floresiensis probably did not have a modern human shoulder configuration: the clavicle was relatively short, and we suggest that the scapula was more protracted, resulting in a glenoid fossa that faced anteriorly rather than laterally. A posteriorly directed humeral head was therefore appropriate for maintaining a normally functioning elbow joint. Similar morphology in the Homo erectus Nariokotome boy (KNM-WT 15000) suggests that this shoulder configuration may represent a transitional stage in pectoral girdle evolution in the human lineage. PMID:17692894

  16. Brain size of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Kubo, Daisuke; Kono, Reiko T.; Kaifu, Yousuke

    2013-01-01

    The extremely small endocranial volume (ECV) of LB1, the type specimen of Homo floresiensis, poses a challenge in our understanding of human brain evolution. Some researchers hypothesize dramatic dwarfing of relative brain size from Homo erectus presumably without significant decrease in intellectual function, whereas others expect a lesser degree of brain diminution from a more primitive, small-brained form of hominin currently undocumented in eastern Asia. However, inconsistency in the published ECVs for LB1 (380–430 cc), unclear human intraspecific brain–body size scaling and other uncertainties have hampered elaborative modelling of its brain size reduction. In this study, we accurately determine the ECV of LB1 using high-resolution micro-CT scan. The ECV of LB1 thus measured, 426 cc, is larger than the commonly cited figure in previous studies (400 cc). Coupled with brain–body size correlation in Homo sapiens calculated based on a sample from 20 worldwide modern human populations, we construct new models of the brain size reduction in the evolution of H. floresiensis. The results show a more significant contribution of scaling effect than previously claimed. PMID:23595271

  17. Brain size of Homo floresiensis and its evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Kubo, Daisuke; Kono, Reiko T; Kaifu, Yousuke

    2013-06-01

    The extremely small endocranial volume (ECV) of LB1, the type specimen of Homo floresiensis, poses a challenge in our understanding of human brain evolution. Some researchers hypothesize dramatic dwarfing of relative brain size from Homo erectus presumably without significant decrease in intellectual function, whereas others expect a lesser degree of brain diminution from a more primitive, small-brained form of hominin currently undocumented in eastern Asia. However, inconsistency in the published ECVs for LB1 (380-430 cc), unclear human intraspecific brain-body size scaling and other uncertainties have hampered elaborative modelling of its brain size reduction. In this study, we accurately determine the ECV of LB1 using high-resolution micro-CT scan. The ECV of LB1 thus measured, 426 cc, is larger than the commonly cited figure in previous studies (400 cc). Coupled with brain-body size correlation in Homo sapiens calculated based on a sample from 20 worldwide modern human populations, we construct new models of the brain size reduction in the evolution of H. floresiensis. The results show a more significant contribution of scaling effect than previously claimed. PMID:23595271

  18. Development of the palatal size in Pan troglodytes, Hominids and Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Arnold, W H; Zoellner, A; Sebastian, T

    2004-12-01

    As the hard palate plays an important role in speech production it was the aim of this study whether similarities or dissimilarities in palatal size may allow conclusions about the ability to produce speech in the extant investigated species. The palatal size of Pan troglodytes, Homo sapiens, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus robustus, Australopithecus boisei, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and Cro-Magnon has been investigated using euclidian distance matrix analysis (EDMA) and thin-plate-spline analysis. The results show that the palatal size of all australopithecine specimens and H. erectus is very similar to that of P toglodytes, whereas the palatal size of H. neanderthalensis more closely resembles that of H. sapiens. Postnatal development of palatal size in P troglodytes is different from that of H. sapiens. In P troglodytes not only the size of the palate changes but also the form. In H. sapiens there is little change in form, but a continuos uniform growth from infantile to adult specimens. From the results we conclude that in all australopithecine samples which have been investigated, the palatal size is similar to that of P troglodytes. Therefore, it is unlikely that austraopithecine individuals were capable of producing vowels and consonants. The palatal size of H. neandethalensis and Cro-Magnon is similar to that of H. sapiens which may indicate the possibility that they were capable of speech production. PMID:15646285

  19. The origin and evolution of Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Stringer, Chris

    2016-07-01

    If we restrict the use of Homo sapiens in the fossil record to specimens which share a significant number of derived features in the skeleton with extant H. sapiens, the origin of our species would be placed in the African late middle Pleistocene, based on fossils such as Omo Kibish 1, Herto 1 and 2, and the Levantine material from Skhul and Qafzeh. However, genetic data suggest that we and our sister species Homo neanderthalensis shared a last common ancestor in the middle Pleistocene approximately 400-700 ka, which is at least 200 000 years earlier than the species origin indicated from the fossils already mentioned. Thus, it is likely that the African fossil record will document early members of the sapiens lineage showing only some of the derived features of late members of the lineage. On that basis, I argue that human fossils such as those from Jebel Irhoud, Florisbad, Eliye Springs and Omo Kibish 2 do represent early members of the species, but variation across the African later middle Pleistocene/early Middle Stone Age fossils shows that there was not a simple linear progression towards later sapiens morphology, and there was chronological overlap between different 'archaic' and 'modern' morphs. Even in the late Pleistocene within and outside Africa, we find H. sapiens specimens which are clearly outside the range of Holocene members of the species, showing the complexity of recent human evolution. The impact on species recognition of late Pleistocene gene flow between the lineages of modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans is also discussed, and finally, I reconsider the nature of the middle Pleistocene ancestor of these lineages, based on recent morphological and genetic data.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298468

  20. Rethinking the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa.

    PubMed

    Groucutt, Huw S; Petraglia, Michael D; Bailey, Geoff; Scerri, Eleanor M L; Parton, Ash; Clark-Balzan, Laine; Jennings, Richard P; Lewis, Laura; Blinkhorn, James; Drake, Nick A; Breeze, Paul S; Inglis, Robyn H; Devès, Maud H; Meredith-Williams, Matthew; Boivin, Nicole; Thomas, Mark G; Scally, Aylwyn

    2015-01-01

    Current fossil, genetic, and archeological data indicate that Homo sapiens originated in Africa in the late Middle Pleistocene. By the end of the Late Pleistocene, our species was distributed across every continent except Antarctica, setting the foundations for the subsequent demographic and cultural changes of the Holocene. The intervening processes remain intensely debated and a key theme in hominin evolutionary studies. We review archeological, fossil, environmental, and genetic data to evaluate the current state of knowledge on the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa. The emerging picture of the dispersal process suggests dynamic behavioral variability, complex interactions between populations, and an intricate genetic and cultural legacy. This evolutionary and historical complexity challenges simple narratives and suggests that hybrid models and the testing of explicit hypotheses are required to understand the expansion of Homo sapiens into Eurasia. PMID:26267436

  1. Homo habilis's humanness: Phillip Tobias as a philosopher.

    PubMed

    Corbey, Raymond

    2012-01-01

    A detailed, interdisciplinary reading of Phillip Tobias's publications on Homo habilis shows how a philosophical notion of "humanness" has structured his interpretation of the fossils attributed to this species. The role of this notion in his research and its backgrounds in philosophy, disciplinary history, and a widespread mid-20th-century climate of opinion are analyzed and discussed. PMID:23272596

  2. Homo economicus belief inhibits trust.

    PubMed

    Xin, Ziqiang; Liu, Guofang

    2013-01-01

    As a foundational concept in economics, the homo economicus assumption regards humans as rational and self-interested actors. In contrast, trust requires individuals to believe partners' benevolence and unselfishness. Thus, the homo economicus belief may inhibit trust. The present three experiments demonstrated that the direct exposure to homo economicus belief can weaken trust. And economic situations like profit calculation can also activate individuals' homo economicus belief and inhibit their trust. It seems that people's increasing homo economicus belief may serve as one cause of the worldwide decline of trust. PMID:24146907

  3. Homo Economicus Belief Inhibits Trust

    PubMed Central

    Xin, Ziqiang; Liu, Guofang

    2013-01-01

    As a foundational concept in economics, the homo economicus assumption regards humans as rational and self-interested actors. In contrast, trust requires individuals to believe partners’ benevolence and unselfishness. Thus, the homo economicus belief may inhibit trust. The present three experiments demonstrated that the direct exposure to homo economicus belief can weaken trust. And economic situations like profit calculation can also activate individuals’ homo economicus belief and inhibit their trust. It seems that people’s increasing homo economicus belief may serve as one cause of the worldwide decline of trust. PMID:24146907

  4. The evolution and development of cranial form in Homo sapiens

    PubMed Central

    Lieberman, Daniel E.; McBratney, Brandeis M.; Krovitz, Gail

    2002-01-01

    Despite much data, there is no unanimity over how to define Homo sapiens in the fossil record. Here, we examine cranial variation among Pleistocene and recent human fossils by using a model of cranial growth to identify unique derived features (autapomorphies) that reliably distinguish fossils attributed to “anatomically modern” H. sapiens (AMHS) from those attributed to various taxa of “archaic” Homo spp. (AH) and to test hypotheses about the changes in cranial development that underlie the origin of modern human cranial form. In terms of pattern, AMHS crania are uniquely characterized by two general structural autapomorphies: facial retraction and neurocranial globularity. Morphometric analysis of the ontogeny of these autapomorphies indicates that the developmental changes that led to modern human cranial form derive from a combination of shifts in cranial base angle, cranial fossae length and width, and facial length. These morphological changes, some of which may have occurred because of relative size increases in the temporal and possibly the frontal lobes, occur early in ontogeny, and their effects on facial retraction and neurocranial globularity discriminate AMHS from AH crania. The existence of these autapomorphies supports the hypothesis that AMHS is a distinct species from taxa of “archaic” Homo (e.g., Homo neanderthalensis). PMID:11805284

  5. Cranial size variation and lineage diversity in early Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Scott, Jeremiah E

    2014-03-01

    A recent article in this journal concluded that a sample of early Pleistocene hominin crania assigned to genus Homo exhibits a pattern of size variation that is time dependent, with specimens from different time periods being more different from each other, on average, than are specimens from the same time period. The authors of this study argued that such a pattern is not consistent with the presence of multiple lineages within the sample, but rather supports the hypothesis that the fossils represent an anagenetically evolving lineage (i.e., an evolutionary species). However, the multiple-lineage models considered in that study do not reflect the multiple-species alternatives that have been proposed for early Pleistocene Homo. Using simulated data sets, I show that fossil assemblages that contain multiple lineages can exhibit the time-dependent pattern of variation specified for the single-lineage model under certain conditions, particularly when temporal overlap among fossil specimens attributed to the lineages is limited. These results do not reject the single-lineage hypothesis, but they do indicate that rejection of multiple lineages in the early Pleistocene Homo fossil record is premature, and that other sources of variation, such as differences in cranial shape, should be considered. PMID:24588348

  6. Hominin stature, body mass, and walking speed estimates based on 1.5 million-year-old fossil footprints at Ileret, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Dingwall, Heather L; Hatala, Kevin G; Wunderlich, Roshna E; Richmond, Brian G

    2013-06-01

    The early Pleistocene marks a period of major transition in hominin body form, including increases in body mass and stature relative to earlier hominins. However, because complete postcranial fossils with reliable taxonomic attributions are rare, efforts to estimate hominin mass and stature are complicated by the frequent albeit necessary use of isolated, and often fragmentary, skeletal elements. The recent discovery of 1.52 million year old hominin footprints from multiple horizons in Ileret, Kenya, provides new data on the complete foot size of early Pleistocene hominins as well as stride lengths and other characteristics of their gaits. This study reports the results of controlled experiments with habitually unshod Daasanach adults from Ileret to examine the relationships between stride length and speed, and also those between footprint size, body mass, and stature. Based on significant relationships among these variables, we estimate travel speeds ranging between 0.45 m/s and 2.2 m/s from the fossil hominin footprint trails at Ileret. The fossil footprints of seven individuals show evidence of heavy (mean = 50.0 kg; range: 41.5-60.3 kg) and tall individuals (mean = 169.5 cm; range: 152.6-185.8 cm), suggesting that these prints were most likely made by Homo erectus and/or male Paranthropus boisei. The large sizes of these footprints provide strong evidence that hominin body size increased during the early Pleistocene. PMID:23522822

  7. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  8. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  9. Human evolution. Evolution of early Homo: an integrated biological perspective.

    PubMed

    Antón, Susan C; Potts, Richard; Aiello, Leslie C

    2014-07-01

    Integration of evidence over the past decade has revised understandings about the major adaptations underlying the origin and early evolution of the genus Homo. Many features associated with Homo sapiens, including our large linear bodies, elongated hind limbs, large energy-expensive brains, reduced sexual dimorphism, increased carnivory, and unique life history traits, were once thought to have evolved near the origin of the genus in response to heightened aridity and open habitats in Africa. However, recent analyses of fossil, archaeological, and environmental data indicate that such traits did not arise as a single package. Instead, some arose substantially earlier and some later than previously thought. From ~2.5 to 1.5 million years ago, three lineages of early Homo evolved in a context of habitat instability and fragmentation on seasonal, intergenerational, and evolutionary time scales. These contexts gave a selective advantage to traits, such as dietary flexibility and larger body size, that facilitated survival in shifting environments. PMID:24994657

  10. Ten new microsatellite markers for the buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus L., Combretaceae).

    PubMed

    Nettel, Alejandro; Dodd, Richard S; Cid-Becerra, Jorge A; DE LA Rosa-Velez, Jorge

    2008-07-01

    We present 10 microsatellite markers for the buttonwood mangrove, Conocarpus erectus, a wide-range mangrove associate species. Polymorphism was assessed among individuals from six different populations along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and Costa Rica, as well as in two individuals from the Yucatan Peninsula in the Atlantic. The number of alleles detected in the Pacific ranged from two to five. All loci amplified in the Yucatan samples and seven loci revealed a unique Atlantic allele. These markers will be useful for studies in the conservation of the species and to study the basic biology of C. erectus. PMID:21585910

  11. Geometric properties and comparative biomechanics of Homo floresiensis mandibles.

    PubMed

    Daegling, David J; Patel, Biren A; Jungers, William L

    2014-03-01

    The hypodigm of Homo floresiensis from the cave of Liang Bua on Flores Island in the archipelago of Indonesia includes two mandibles (LB1/2 and LB6/1). The morphology of their symphyses and corpora has been described as sharing similarities with both australopiths and early Homo despite their Late Pleistocene age. Although detailed morphological comparisons of these mandibles with those of modern and fossil hominin taxa have been made, a functional analysis in the context of masticatory biomechanics has yet to be performed. Utilizing data on cortical bone geometry from computed tomography scans, we compare the mechanical attributes of the LB1 and LB6 mandibles with samples of modern Homo, Pan, Pongo, and Gorilla, as well as fossil samples of Paranthropus robustus, Australopithecus africanus and South African early Homo. Structural stiffness measures were derived from the geometric data to provide relative measures of mandibular corpus strength under hypothesized masticatory loading regimes. These mechanical variables were evaluated relative to bone area, mandibular length and estimates of body size to assess their functional affinities and to test the hypothesis that the Liang Bua mandibles can be described as scaled-down variants of either early hominins or modern humans. Relative to modern hominoids, the H. floresiensis material appears to be relatively strong in terms of rigidity in torsion and transverse bending, but is relatively weak under parasagittal bending. Thus, they are 'robust' relative to modern humans (and comparable with australopiths) under some loads but not others. Neither LB1 nor LB6 can be described simply as 'miniaturized' versions of modern human jaws since mandible length is more or less equivalent in Homo sapiens and H. floresiensis. The mechanical attributes of the Liang Bua mandibles are consistent with previous inferences that masticatory loads were reduced relative to australopiths but remained elevated relative to modern Homo. PMID

  12. Allometric scaling of infraorbital surface topography in Homo.

    PubMed

    Maddux, Scott D; Franciscus, Robert G

    2009-02-01

    Infraorbital morphology is often included in phylogenetic and functional analyses of Homo. The inclusion of distinct infraorbital configurations, such as the "canine fossa" in Homo sapiens or the "inflated" maxilla in Neandertals, is generally based on either descriptive or qualitative assessments of this morphology, or simple linear chord and subtense measurements. However, the complex curvilinear surface of the infraorbital region has proven difficult to quantify through these traditional methods. In this study, we assess infraorbital shape and its potential allometric scaling in fossil Homo (n=18) and recent humans (n=110) with a geometric morphometric method well-suited for quantifying complex surface topographies. Our results indicate that important aspects of infraorbital shape are correlated with overall infraorbital size across Homo. Specifically, individuals with larger infraorbital areas tend to exhibit relatively flatter infraorbital surface topographies, taller and narrower infraorbital areas, sloped inferior orbital rims, anteroinferiorly oriented maxillary body facies, posteroinferiorly oriented maxillary processes of the zygomatic, and non-everted lateral nasal margins. In contrast, individuals with smaller infraorbital regions generally exhibit relatively depressed surface topographies, shorter and wider infraorbital areas, projecting inferior orbital rims, posteroinferiorly oriented maxillary body facies, anteroinferiorly oriented maxillary processes, and everted lateral nasal margins. These contrasts form a continuum and only appear dichotomized at the ends of the infraorbital size spectrum. In light of these results, we question the utility of incorporating traditionally polarized infraorbital morphologies in phylogenetic and functional analyses without due consideration of continuous infraorbital and facial size variation in Homo. We conclude that the essentially flat infraorbital surface topography of Neandertals is not unique and can be

  13. Endurance running and the evolution of Homo.

    PubMed

    Bramble, Dennis M; Lieberman, Daniel E

    2004-11-18

    Striding bipedalism is a key derived behaviour of hominids that possibly originated soon after the divergence of the chimpanzee and human lineages. Although bipedal gaits include walking and running, running is generally considered to have played no major role in human evolution because humans, like apes, are poor sprinters compared to most quadrupeds. Here we assess how well humans perform at sustained long-distance running, and review the physiological and anatomical bases of endurance running capabilities in humans and other mammals. Judged by several criteria, humans perform remarkably well at endurance running, thanks to a diverse array of features, many of which leave traces in the skeleton. The fossil evidence of these features suggests that endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human body form. PMID:15549097

  14. Allometric patterns of cranial bone thickness in fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Gauld, S C

    1996-07-01

    The interspecific allometry of five measures of total cranial bone thickness is examined in 10 extant catarrhine genera and two fossil hominid samples representing A. africanus and Asian H. erectus. Analysis of the modern sample shows that most interspecific variation in vault thickness can be accounted for by variation in body size. Correlation values are moderate to high (r = 0.75-0.98), and all variables exhibit positive allometry. The bone thickness: body mass relationship of modern humans broadly conforms with that of other primates. However, in the distribution of relative thickness throughout the skull, H. sapiens is distinguished by relative thickening of the parietal and extreme relative thinning of the temporal squama. The bone thickness: body mass relationship in the two early hominid species is examined using published mean body weight estimates generated from post-cranial predictor variables. A. africanus exhibits great similarity to modern humans in its relation to the catarrhine regression data and in the distribution of relative thickness throughout the skull. H. erectus also shows a modern human-like pattern in the distribution of its relative thickness; however, its bone thickness: body mass relationship is dissimilar to that displayed by all other taxa, including the other hominid species. On the basis of these results, it is suggested that the published body weight estimate assigned to H. erectus greatly underestimates actual mean body size for Asian members of this species. PMID:8798997

  15. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  16. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  17. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

    Over the last three decades, the fossil record of spiders has increased from being previously biased towards Tertiary ambers and a few dubious earlier records, to one which reveals a much greater diversity in the Mesozoic, with many of the modern families present in that era, and with clearer evidence of the evolutionary history of the group. We here record the history of palaeoarachnology and the major breakthroughs which form the basis of studies on fossil spiders. Understanding the preservation and taphonomic history of spider fossils is crucial to interpretation of fossil spider morphology. We also review the more recent descriptions of fossil spiders and the effect these discoveries have had on the phylogenetic tree of spiders. We discuss some features of the evolutionary history of spiders and present ideas for future work. PMID:19961468

  18. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    2003-01-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  19. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    1999-10-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  20. In search of Homo economicus.

    PubMed

    Yamagishi, Toshio; Li, Yang; Takagishi, Haruto; Matsumoto, Yoshie; Kiyonari, Toko

    2014-09-01

    Homo economicus, a model for humans in neoclassical economics, is a rational maximizer of self-interest. However, many social scientists regard such a person as a mere imaginary creature. We found that 31 of 446 residents of relatively wealthy Tokyo suburbs met the behavioral definition of Homo economicus. In several rounds of economic games, participants whose behavior was consistent with this model always apportioned the money endowed by the experimenter to themselves, leaving no share for their partners. These participants had high IQs and a deliberative decision style. An additional 39 participants showed a similar disregard for other people's welfare, although they were slightly more altruistic than those in the Homo economicus group. The psychological composition of these quasi-Homo economicus participants was distinct from that of participants in the Homo economicus group. Although participants in the latter group behaved selfishly on the basis of rational calculations, those in the former group made selfish choices impulsively. The implications of these findings concerning the two types of extreme noncooperators are discussed. PMID:25037961

  1. Australopithecus sediba and the earliest origins of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee

    2012-01-01

    Discovered in 2008, the site of Malapa has yielded a remarkable assemblage of early hominin remains attributed to the species Australopithecus sediba. The species shows unexpected and unpredicted mosaicism in its anatomy. Several commentators have questioned the specific status of Au. sediba arguing that it does not exceed the variation of Au. africanus. This opinion however, does not take into account that Au. sediba differs from Au. africanus in both craniodental and postcranial characters to a greater degree than Au.africanus differs from Au. afarensis in these same characters. Au. sediba has also been questioned as a potential ancestor of the genus Homo due to the perception that earlier specimens of the genus have been found than the c198 Ma date of the Malapa sample. This opinion however, does not take into account either the poor condition of these fossils, as well as the numerous problems with both the criteria used to associate them with the genus Homo, nor the questionable provenance of each of these specimens. This argument also does not acknowledge that Malapa is almost certainly not the first chronological appearance of Au. sediba, it is only the first known fossil occurrence. Au. sediba should therefore be considered a strong potential candidate ancestor of the genus Homo until better preserved specimens are discovered that would refute such a hypothesis. PMID:23011933

  2. Additional Evidence for Morpho-Dimensional Tooth Crown Variation in a New Indonesian H. erectus Sample from the Sangiran Dome (Central Java)

    PubMed Central

    Zanolli, Clément

    2013-01-01

    This contribution reports fifteen human fossil dental remains found during the last two decades in the Sangiran Dome area, in Central Java, Indonesia. Among this sample, only one of the specimens had already been briefly described, with the other fourteen remaining unreported. Seven of the fifteen isolated teeth were found in a secured stratigraphic context in the late Lower-early Middle Pleistocene Kabuh Formation. The remaining elements were surface finds which, based on coincidental sources of information, were inferred as coming from the Kabuh Formation. Mainly constituted of permanent molars, but also including one upper incisor and one upper premolar, this dental sample brings additional evidence for a marked degree of size variation and time-related structural reduction in Javanese H. erectus. This is notably expressed by a significant decrease of the mesiodistal diameter, frequently associated to the reduction or even loss of the lower molar distal cusp (hypoconulid) and to a more square occlusal outline. In addition to the hypoconulid reduction or loss, this new sample also exhibits a low frequency of the occlusal Y-groove pattern, with a dominance of the X and, to a lesser extent, of the+patterns. This combination is rare in the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene paleoanthropological record, including in the early Javanese dental assemblage from the Sangiran Dome. On the other hand, similar dental features are found in Chinese H. erectus and in H. heidelbergensis. As a whole, this new record confirms the complex nature of the intermittent exchanges that occurred between continental and insular Southeast Asia through the Pleistocene. PMID:23843996

  3. Additional evidence for morpho-dimensional tooth crown variation in a New Indonesian H. erectus sample from the Sangiran Dome (Central Java).

    PubMed

    Zanolli, Clément

    2013-01-01

    This contribution reports fifteen human fossil dental remains found during the last two decades in the Sangiran Dome area, in Central Java, Indonesia. Among this sample, only one of the specimens had already been briefly described, with the other fourteen remaining unreported. Seven of the fifteen isolated teeth were found in a secured stratigraphic context in the late Lower-early Middle Pleistocene Kabuh Formation. The remaining elements were surface finds which, based on coincidental sources of information, were inferred as coming from the Kabuh Formation. Mainly constituted of permanent molars, but also including one upper incisor and one upper premolar, this dental sample brings additional evidence for a marked degree of size variation and time-related structural reduction in Javanese H. erectus. This is notably expressed by a significant decrease of the mesiodistal diameter, frequently associated to the reduction or even loss of the lower molar distal cusp (hypoconulid) and to a more square occlusal outline. In addition to the hypoconulid reduction or loss, this new sample also exhibits a low frequency of the occlusal Y-groove pattern, with a dominance of the X and, to a lesser extent, of the+patterns. This combination is rare in the Lower and early Middle Pleistocene paleoanthropological record, including in the early Javanese dental assemblage from the Sangiran Dome. On the other hand, similar dental features are found in Chinese H. erectus and in H. heidelbergensis. As a whole, this new record confirms the complex nature of the intermittent exchanges that occurred between continental and insular Southeast Asia through the Pleistocene. PMID:23843996

  4. Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and implications for the origins of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Robyn; Dirks, Paul H G M; Jinnah, Zubair; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchil, Steven E; Herries, Andy I R; Woodhead, Jon D; Hellstrom, John C; Berger, Lee R

    2011-09-01

    Newly exposed cave sediments at the Malapa site include a flowstone layer capping the sedimentary unit containing the Australopithecus sediba fossils. Uranium-lead dating of the flowstone, combined with paleomagnetic and stratigraphic analysis of the flowstone and underlying sediments, provides a tightly constrained date of 1.977 ± 0.002 million years ago (Ma) for these fossils. This refined dating suggests that Au. sediba from Malapa predates the earliest uncontested evidence for Homo in Africa. PMID:21903808

  5. Variability in first Homo: Analysis of the ratio between the skulls KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813 based on sexual dimorphism of Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Guimarães, S W Ferreira; Lorenzo, C

    2015-10-01

    The study of the skulls KNM-ER 1470 and KNM-ER 1813, considered the first members of the genus Homo, has raised some debates. While some of researchers maintain that there is only one species, another group argues that there are two species. On one hand these two fossils are still taxonomically undetermined, on the other hand they bring up another problem related to the existence of a genus with multiple species since its beginning, according to the last discoveries. In this paper, we have compared the size ratio between these fossils with ratios established in populations of Homo sapiens, in order to know if they fit into the human standard, considering intra-sexual and inter-sexual variation. Results help to establish whether these fossils correspond to different species or their differences could be related to sexual dimorphism within a single species. PMID:26092693

  6. The Emergence of Homo sapiens.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rensberger, Boyce

    1980-01-01

    Describes chronologically the evolution of the human race on earth so as to refute Darwin's theory of descent from animals. Skull fragments from sites around the world suggest at least two possible routes toward the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens. (Author/SK)

  7. A bivariate approach to the widening of the frontal lobes in the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; Holloway, Ralph L

    2010-02-01

    Within the genus Homo, the most encephalized taxa (Neandertals and modern humans) show relatively wider frontal lobes than either Homo erectus or australopithecines. The present analysis considers whether these changes are associated with a single size-based or allometric pattern (positive allometry of the width of the anterior endocranial fossa) or with a more specific and non-allometric pattern. The relationship between hemispheric length, maximum endocranial width, and frontal width at Broca's area was investigated in extant and extinct humans. Our results do not support positive allometry for the frontal lobe's width in relation to the main endocranial diameters within modern humans (Homo sapiens). Also, the correlation between frontal width and hemispheric length is lower than the correlation between frontal width and parieto-temporal width. When compared with the australopithecines, the genus Homo could have experienced a non-allometric widening of the brain at the temporo-parietal areas, which is most evident in Neandertals. Modern humans and Neandertals also display a non-allometric widening of the anterior endocranial fossa at the Broca's cap when compared with early hominids, again more prominent in the latter group. Taking into account the contrast between the intra-specific patterns and the between-species differences, the relative widening of the anterior fossa can be interpreted as a definite evolutionary character instead of a passive consequence of brain size increase. This expansion is most likely associated with correspondent increments of the underlying neural mass, or at least with a geometrical reallocation of the frontal cortical volumes. Although different structural changes of the cranial architecture can be related to such variations, the widening of the frontal areas is nonetheless particularly interesting when some neural functions (like language or working memory, decision processing, etc.) and related fronto-parietal cortico

  8. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  9. The dispersal of Homo sapiens across southern Asia: how early, how often, how complex?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dennell, Robin; Petraglia, Michael D.

    2012-07-01

    The timing and the paths of colonization of southern Asia by Homo sapiens are poorly known, though many population geneticists, paleoanthropologists, and archaeologists have contended that this process began with dispersal from East Africa, and occurred between 60,000 and 40,000 years ago. However, the evidence for this scenario is very weak, particularly the lack of human skeletal evidence between the Levant and Borneo before 40 ka, and other explanations are possible. Here we argue that environmental and archaeological information is increasingly indicating the likelihood that H. sapiens exited Africa much earlier than commonly thought, and may have colonized much of southern Asia well before 60,000 years ago. Additionally, we cannot exclude the possibility that several dispersal events occurred, from both North and East Africa, nor the likelihood that early populations of H. sapiens in southern Asia interbred with indigenous populations of Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo erectus. The population history of southern Asia during the Upper Pleistocene is likely far more complex than currently envisaged.

  10. Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in Homo.

    PubMed

    Roach, Neil T; Venkadesan, Madhusudhan; Rainbow, Michael J; Lieberman, Daniel E

    2013-06-27

    Some primates, including chimpanzees, throw objects occasionally, but only humans regularly throw projectiles with high speed and accuracy. Darwin noted that the unique throwing abilities of humans, which were made possible when bipedalism emancipated the arms, enabled foragers to hunt effectively using projectiles. However, there has been little consideration of the evolution of throwing in the years since Darwin made his observations, in part because of a lack of evidence of when, how and why hominins evolved the ability to generate high-speed throws. Here we use experimental studies of humans throwing projectiles to show that our throwing capabilities largely result from several derived anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder. These features first appear together approximately 2 million years ago in the species Homo erectus. Taking into consideration archaeological evidence suggesting that hunting activity intensified around this time, we conclude that selection for throwing as a means to hunt probably had an important role in the evolution of the genus Homo. PMID:23803849

  11. The foot of Homo naledi

    PubMed Central

    Harcourt-Smith, W. E. H.; Throckmorton, Z.; Congdon, K. A.; Zipfel, B.; Deane, A. S.; Drapeau, M. S. M.; Churchill, S. E.; Berger, L. R.; DeSilva, J. M.

    2015-01-01

    Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains. Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism. However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo. PMID:26439101

  12. The foot of Homo naledi.

    PubMed

    Harcourt-Smith, W E H; Throckmorton, Z; Congdon, K A; Zipfel, B; Deane, A S; Drapeau, M S M; Churchill, S E; Berger, L R; DeSilva, J M

    2015-01-01

    Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains. Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism. However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo. PMID:26439101

  13. Antioxidant and antiacetylcholine esterase potential of aerial parts of Conocarpus erectus, Ficus variegata and Ficus maclellandii.

    PubMed

    Raza, Muhammad Asam; Anwar, Farwa; Shahwar, Durre; Majeed, Abdul; Mumtaz, Muhammad Waseem; Danish, Muhammad; Nazar, Muhammad Faizan; Perveen, Irum; Khan, Salah Ud-Din

    2016-03-01

    The current study was designed to check the antioxidant and enzyme inhibition potential of various extracts/ fractions of three selected plants. The aerial parts of Conocarpus erectus (Combretaceae), Ficus variegata (Moraceae) and Ficus maclellandii (Moraceae) were extracted with ethanol (95%) and the resulting crude extracts were partitioned with n-hexane, chloroform and n-butanol successively. Folin-Ciocalteu reagent was used to calculate the total phenolic contents, flavonoids contents were calculated with aluminum chloride while antioxidant and enzyme studies were carried out through standard protocols. All extracts/fractions contained reasonable amount of phenolic compounds ranging from 0.58-58.23 mg CE/g of DW and 0.43-30.56 mg GAE/g of DW. Total flavonoids were determined using rutin and quercetin standards, ranging from 2.65-18.2 mg rutin equivalent/g of dry weight and 0.92-5.41 mg quercetin equivalent/g of dry weight. Antioxidant studies such as DPPH inhibition FRAP and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was checked. The crude ethanolic extract of C. erectus showed maximum antiradical scavenging power (90.43%; IC50=7 μg) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (16.5 μM eq.FeSO4.7H2O), respectively while leave extract of F. variegata (chloroform) was the most active (0.6577) in TAC among other extracts of the selected medicinal plants. Butanolic leave extract of C. erectus exhibited maximum enzyme inhibition activity (91.62% with IC50 40 μg/ml) while other extracts showed significant activity. It was observed from results that all extracts/fractions of under consideration plants, exhibited significant bioactivities especially ethanolic and butanolic fractions, which may be the richest source of such type of activities. PMID:27087094

  14. An integrated study of the Homo-bearing Aalat stratigraphic section (Eritrea): An expanded continental record at the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghinassi, Massimiliano; Oms, Oriol; Papini, Mauro; Scarciglia, Fabio; Carnevale, Giorgio; Sani, Federico; Rook, Lorenzo; Delfino, Massimo; Pavia, Marco; Libsekal, Yosief; Bondioli, Luca; Coppa, Alfredo; Frayer, David W.; Macchiarelli, Roberto

    2015-12-01

    to Middle Pleistocene East African mammalian assemblage for this age and is dominated by taxa characterized by strong water dependence. The ichthyofauna, with its abundant Clariidae, is also consistent with the shallow water, fluvio-lacustrine paleobiotopes. The cranial, dental and postcranial human remains from the lower part of the Aalat succession add valuable evidence about the patterns of variation and evolutionary dynamics in African Homo erectus/ergaster near the end of the Early Pleistocene.

  15. A new species of myxosporean (Sphaeromyxidae), a parasite of lined seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, from the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sears, B F; Anderson, P; Greiner, E C

    2011-08-01

    Sphaeromyxa cannolii sp. n. is described from the bile ducts of aquaria-maintained lined seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) from the Gulf of Mexico. Spores of the new species are linear, 17-18 µm long and 5-6 µm wide, with flattened tips; polar capsules measure 4 × 3 µm. Routine necropsies of H. erectus following planned death revealed liver inflammation, bile duct obstruction, bile accumulation, and myxozoan parasites in the bile ducts of 11 of 40 animals sampled (27.5%). The presence of S. cannolii in an aquaculture setting should prompt keepers to carefully quarantine new animals and exclude annelid fauna, a potential intermediate host of myxozoans. PMID:21506813

  16. The status of Homo heidelbergensis (Schoetensack 1908).

    PubMed

    Stringer, Chris

    2012-05-01

    The species Homo heidelbergensis is central to many discussions about recent human evolution. For some workers, it was the last common ancestor for the subsequent species Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis; others regard it as only a European form, giving rise to the Neanderthals. Following the impact of recent genomic studies indicating hybridization between modern humans and both Neanderthals and "Denisovans", the status of these as separate taxa is now under discussion. Accordingly, clarifying the status of Homo heidelbergensis is fundamental to the debate about modern human origins. PMID:22718477

  17. Dermatitis and systemic mycosis in lined seahorses Hippocampus erectus associated with a marine-adapted Fusarium solani species complex pathogen

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    During a 4 month epizootic, 100% of 152 lined seahorses Hippocampus erectus in three separate groups died while in quarantine following shipment to a public aquarium. Twelve animals with skin depigmentation and ulceration were received by the Aquatic Pathology Service, University of Georgia, College...

  18. A geometric morphometric study of a Middle Pleistocene cranium from Hexian, China.

    PubMed

    Cui, Yaming; Wu, Xinzhi

    2015-11-01

    The Hexian calvarium is one of the most complete and well-preserved Homo erectus fossils ever found in east Asia, apart from the Zhoukoudian specimens. Various methods bracket the age of the Hexian fossil to between 150 and 412 ka (thousands of years ago). The Hexian calvarium has been considered to be H. erectus given its morphological similarities to Zhoukoudian and Javan H. erectus. However, discussion continues regarding the affinities of the Hexian specimen with other H. erectus fossils. The arguments mainly focus on its relationships to other Asian H. erectus fossils, including those from both China and Java. To better determine the affinities of the Hexian cranium, our study used 3D landmark and semilandmark geometric morphometric techniques and multivariate statistical analyses to quantify the shape of the neurocranium and to compare the Hexian cranium to other H. erectus specimens. The results of this study confirmed the morphological similarities between Hexian and Chinese H. erectus in overall morphology, and particularly in the structure of the frontal bone and the posterior part of the neurocranium. Although the Hexian specimen shows the strongest connection to Chinese H. erectus, the morphology of the lateral neurocranium resembles early Indonesian H. erectus specimens, possibly suggesting shared common ancestry or gene flow from early Indonesian populations. Overall cranial and frontal bone morphology are strongly influenced by geography. Although geographically intermediate between Zhoukoudian and Indonesian H. erectus, the Hexian specimen does not form part of an obvious morphological gradient with regard to overall cranial shape. PMID:26553818

  19. The hand of Homo naledi

    PubMed Central

    Kivell, Tracy L.; Deane, Andrew S.; Tocheri, Matthew W.; Orr, Caley M.; Schmid, Peter; Hawks, John; Berger, Lee R.; Churchill, Steven E.

    2015-01-01

    A nearly complete right hand of an adult hominin was recovered from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. Based on associated hominin material, the bones of this hand are attributed to Homo naledi. This hand reveals a long, robust thumb and derived wrist morphology that is shared with Neandertals and modern humans, and considered adaptive for intensified manual manipulation. However, the finger bones are longer and more curved than in most australopiths, indicating frequent use of the hand during life for strong grasping during locomotor climbing and suspension. These markedly curved digits in combination with an otherwise human-like wrist and palm indicate a significant degree of climbing, despite the derived nature of many aspects of the hand and other regions of the postcranial skeleton in H. naledi. PMID:26441219

  20. The hand of Homo naledi.

    PubMed

    Kivell, Tracy L; Deane, Andrew S; Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Schmid, Peter; Hawks, John; Berger, Lee R; Churchill, Steven E

    2015-01-01

    A nearly complete right hand of an adult hominin was recovered from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. Based on associated hominin material, the bones of this hand are attributed to Homo naledi. This hand reveals a long, robust thumb and derived wrist morphology that is shared with Neandertals and modern humans, and considered adaptive for intensified manual manipulation. However, the finger bones are longer and more curved than in most australopiths, indicating frequent use of the hand during life for strong grasping during locomotor climbing and suspension. These markedly curved digits in combination with an otherwise human-like wrist and palm indicate a significant degree of climbing, despite the derived nature of many aspects of the hand and other regions of the postcranial skeleton in H. naledi. PMID:26441219

  1. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  2. Antiproliferative Scalarane-Based Metabolites from the Red Sea Sponge Hyrtios erectus.

    PubMed

    Elhady, Sameh S; Al-Abd, Ahmed M; El-Halawany, Ali M; Alahdal, Abdulrahman M; Hassanean, Hashim A; Ahmed, Safwat A

    2016-01-01

    Two new sesterterpenes analogs, namely, 12-acetoxy,16-epi-hyrtiolide (1) and 12β-acetoxy,16β-methoxy,20α-hydroxy-17-scalaren-19,20-olide (2), containing a scalarane-based framework along with seven previously reported scalarane-type sesterterpenes (3-9) have been isolated from the sponge Hyrtios erectus (order Dictyoceratida) collected from the Red Sea, Egypt. The structures of the isolated compounds were elucidated on the basis of their spectroscopic data and comparison with reported NMR data. Compounds 1-9 exhibited considerable antiproliferative activity against breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116) and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2). Compounds 3, 5 and 9 were selected for subsequent investigations regarding their mechanism of cell death induction (differential apoptosis/necrosis assessment) and their influence on cell cycle distribution. PMID:27399730

  3. Antiproliferative Scalarane-Based Metabolites from the Red Sea Sponge Hyrtios erectus

    PubMed Central

    Elhady, Sameh S.; Al-Abd, Ahmed M.; El-Halawany, Ali M.; Alahdal, Abdulrahman M.; Hassanean, Hashim A.; Ahmed, Safwat A.

    2016-01-01

    Two new sesterterpenes analogs, namely, 12-acetoxy,16-epi-hyrtiolide (1) and 12β-acetoxy,16β-methoxy,20α-hydroxy-17-scalaren-19,20-olide (2), containing a scalarane-based framework along with seven previously reported scalarane-type sesterterpenes (3–9) have been isolated from the sponge Hyrtios erectus (order Dictyoceratida) collected from the Red Sea, Egypt. The structures of the isolated compounds were elucidated on the basis of their spectroscopic data and comparison with reported NMR data. Compounds 1–9 exhibited considerable antiproliferative activity against breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116) and hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2). Compounds 3, 5 and 9 were selected for subsequent investigations regarding their mechanism of cell death induction (differential apoptosis/necrosis assessment) and their influence on cell cycle distribution. PMID:27399730

  4. Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like australopith from South Africa.

    PubMed

    Berger, Lee R; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Carlson, Kristian J; Dirks, Paul H G M; Kibii, Job M

    2010-04-01

    Despite a rich African Plio-Pleistocene hominin fossil record, the ancestry of Homo and its relation to earlier australopithecines remain unresolved. Here we report on two partial skeletons with an age of 1.95 to 1.78 million years. The fossils were encased in cave deposits at the Malapa site in South Africa. The skeletons were found close together and are directly associated with craniodental remains. Together they represent a new species of Australopithecus that is probably descended from Australopithecus africanus. Combined craniodental and postcranial evidence demonstrates that this new species shares more derived features with early Homo than any other australopith species and thus might help reveal the ancestor of that genus. PMID:20378811

  5. The human genus.

    PubMed

    Wood, B; Collard, M

    1999-04-01

    A general problem in biology is how to incorporate information about evolutionary history and adaptation into taxonomy. The problem is exemplified in attempts to define our own genus, Homo. Here conventional criteria for allocating fossil species to Homo are reviewed and are found to be either inappropriate or inoperable. We present a revised definition, based on verifiable criteria, for Homo and conclude that two species, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, do not belong in the genus. The earliest taxon to satisfy the criteria is Homo ergaster, or early African Homo erectus, which currently appears in the fossil record at about 1.9 million years ago. PMID:10102822

  6. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  7. Pleistocene soil development and paleoenvironmental dynamics in East Africa: a multidisciplinary study of the Homo-bearing Aalat succession, Dandiero Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scarciglia, Fabio; Mercatante, Giuseppe; Donato, Paola; Ghinassi, Massimiliano; Carnevale, Giorgio; Delfino, Massimo; Oms, Oriol; Papini, Mauro; Pavia, Marco; Sani, Federico; Rook, Lorenzo

    2015-04-01

    Pleistocene environmental changes in East Africa, largely documented by deep marine or lacustrine records correlated with inland high-resolution, Homo-bearing stratigraphic successions, have been so far interpreted as a major cause of faunal dispersal and human evolution. However, only few studies focused on reconstruction of paleoenvironmental dynamics from continental successions, given the usually poor continuity and extension of stratigraphic records. In this work we report on a multidisciplinary study of the Early to Middle Pleistocene sedimentary fill of the Dandiero Basin (Eritrean Danakil), a morpho-tectonic depression in the East African Rift System, which represents the only continental stratigraphy including human remains of Homo erectus/ergaster and abundant fossil vertebrates in the northernmost sector of this region. Sedimentological, pedological, volcanological and paleontological investigations were performed on the Aalat section, located in the northern part of the Dandiero Basin, as tools for an integrated reconstruction of the Early-Middle Pleistocene transition in East Africa. This section is almost 300 m thick and records repeated shifts from fluvial to deltaic and lacustrine depositional environments, as a response to local tectonic activity and climate changes. Sedimentary facies distribution and paleocurrent data show that sedimentation was controlled by a NS-trending axial drainage. Some tephra layers were identified both at the bottom and the top of the section, whereas two main fossiliferous layers were detected in its lower part. Terrestrial vertebrate faunas include a typical Early to Middle Pleistocene East African mammalian assemblage, where taxa characterized by strong water dependence prevail. Also the ichthyofauna is consistent with the shallow water fluvio-lacustrine paleobiotopes. High-quality paleomagnetic analyses, integrated with radiometric dating and vertebrate paleontology, allowed to substantiate the chronological

  8. Early hominin diversity and the emergence of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Harcourt-Smith, William

    2016-06-20

    Bipedalism is a defining trait of hominins, as all members of the clade are argued to possess at least some characters indicative of this unusual form of locomotion. Traditionally the evolution of bipedalism has been treated in a somewhat linear way. This has been challenged in the last decade or so, and in this paper I consider this view in light of the considerable new fossil hominin discoveries of the last few years. It is now apparent that there was even more locomotor diversity and experimentation across hominins than previously thought, and with the discovery of taxa such as H. floresiensis and H. naledi, that diversity continues well into the genus Homo. Based on these findings,we need to reevaluate how we define members of the genus Homo, at least when considering postcranial morphology, and accept that the evolution of hominin bipedalism was a complex and messy affair. It is within that context that the modern human form of bipedal locomotion emerged. PMID:27124766

  9. The Homo Energeticus: maturity, inheritance, identity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mason, Arthur

    2013-03-01

    In this letter, modern society’s intimate bond to the convenience and reliability of delivered energy services results in a form of identification I call the Homo Energeticus. The Homo Energeticus relies upon a mature system of services for achieving an equivalency of status and prestige that is historically similar to the morality of a noble class. I describe the uniqueness of this identity by its imperative for acquiring experience through an invisibility of energy expenditures. In this way, the Homo Energeticus cultivates a highly individualized life whose ambience of perfection, while created personally, is only successful insofar as it conceals energy expenditures in labor and supply.

  10. Geometric morphometric analysis of the crown morphology of the lower first premolar of hominins, with special attention to Pleistocene Homo.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Martinón-Torres, María; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Prado, Leyre; Sarmiento, Susana; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2008-10-01

    This article is the third of a series that explores hominin dental crown morphology by means of geometric morphometrics. After the analysis of the lower second premolar and the upper first molar crown shapes, we apply the same technique to lower first premolar morphology. Our results show a clear distinction between the morphology seen in earlier hominin taxa such as Australopithecus and African early Homo, as well as Asian H. erectus, and more recent groups such as European H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens. The morphology of the earlier hominins includes an asymmetrical outline, a conspicuous talonid, and an occlusal polygon that tends to be large. The morphology of the recent hominins includes a symmetrical outline and a reduced or absent talonid. Within this later group, premolars belonging to H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis tend to possess a small and mesiolingually-displaced occlusal polygon, whereas H. sapiens specimens usually present expanded and centered occlusal polygons in an almost circular outline. The morphological differences among Paranthropus, Australopithecus, and African early Homo as studied here are small and evolutionarily less significant compared to the differences between the earlier and later homin taxa. In contrast to the lower second premolar and the upper first molar crown, the inclusion of a larger hominin sample of lower first premolars reveals a large allometric component. PMID:18639917

  11. Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in Homo

    PubMed Central

    Roach, Neil T.; Venkadesan, Madhusudhan; Rainbow, Michael J.; Lieberman, Daniel E.

    2013-01-01

    Although some primates, including chimpanzees, throw objects occasionally1,2, only humans regularly throw projectiles with high speed and great accuracy. Darwin noted that humans’ unique throwing abilities, made possible when bipedalism emancipated the arms, enabled foragers to effectively hunt using projectiles3. However, there has been little consideration of the evolution of throwing in the years since Darwin made his observations, in part because of a lack of evidence on when, how, and why hominins evolved the ability to generate high-speed throws4-8. Here, we show using experimental studies of throwers that human throwing capabilities largely result from several derived anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder. These features first appear together approximately two million years ago in the species Homo erectus. Given archaeological evidence that suggests hunting activity intensified around this time9, we conclude that selection for throwing in order to hunt likely played an important role in the evolution of the human genus. PMID:23803849

  12. Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Dirks, Paul H G M; Berger, Lee R; Roberts, Eric M; Kramers, Jan D; Hawks, John; Randolph-Quinney, Patrick S; Elliott, Marina; Musiba, Charles M; Churchill, Steven E; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Schmid, Peter; Backwell, Lucinda R; Belyanin, Georgy A; Boshoff, Pedro; Hunter, K Lindsay; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Gurtov, Alia; Harrison, James du G; Hunter, Rick; Kruger, Ashley; Morris, Hannah; Makhubela, Tebogo V; Peixotto, Becca; Tucker, Steven

    2015-01-01

    We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date. PMID:26354289

  13. Crown size and cusp proportions in Homo antecessor upper first molars. A comment on Quam et al. 2009.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado-Simón, Leyre

    2011-02-01

    A recent evaluation of upper first molar (M¹) crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo (Quam et al. 2009) describes Homo antecessor as maintaining a primitive pattern of cusp proportions, similar to that identified in australopithecines and the earliest members of the genus Homo. These results contrast with those of Gómez-Robles et al. (2007), who described the crown shape in these molars as derived and similar to Neanderthals and European Homo heidelbergensis. The reassessment of these measurements following the same methodology described by Quam et al. (2009) in all the M(1) s that are currently part of the hypodigm of H. antecessor demonstrates that the fossils from TD6 not only have the same cusp proportions identified in later Homo species, but also a strongly reduced metacone and a large hypocone shared with Middle and Upper Pleistocene members of the Neanderthal lineage. The evolutionary significance of these features should be evaluated in light of the results provided by recently discovered dental, cranial, mandibular, and postcranial H. antecessor fossils. PMID:21208207

  14. Crown size and cusp proportions in Homo antecessor upper first molars. A comment on Quam et al. 2009

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; de Castro, José María Bermúdez; Martinón-Torres, María; Prado-Simón, Leyre

    2011-01-01

    A recent evaluation of upper first molar (M1) crown size and cusp proportions in the genus Homo (Quam et al. 2009) describes Homo antecessor as maintaining a primitive pattern of cusp proportions, similar to that identified in australopithecines and the earliest members of the genus Homo. These results contrast with those of Gómez-Robles et al. (2007), who described the crown shape in these molars as derived and similar to Neanderthals and European Homo heidelbergensis. The reassessment of these measurements following the same methodology described by Quam et al. (2009) in all the M1s that are currently part of the hypodigm of H. antecessor demonstrates that the fossils from TD6 not only have the same cusp proportions identified in later Homo species, but also a strongly reduced metacone and a large hypocone shared with Middle and Upper Pleistocene members of the Neanderthal lineage. The evolutionary significance of these features should be evaluated in light of the results provided by recently discovered dental, cranial, mandibular, and postcranial H. antecessor fossils. PMID:21208207

  15. The evolutionary history of the hominin hand since the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo

    PubMed Central

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Jacofsky, Marc C; Marzke, Mary W

    2008-01-01

    Molecular evidence indicates that the last common ancestor of the genus Pan and the hominin clade existed between 8 and 4 million years ago (Ma). The current fossil record indicates the Pan-Homo last common ancestor existed at least 5 Ma and most likely between 6 and 7 Ma. Together, the molecular and fossil evidence has important consequences for interpreting the evolutionary history of the hand within the tribe Hominini (hominins). Firstly, parsimony supports the hypothesis that the hand of the last common ancestor most likely resembled that of an extant great ape overall (Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo), and that of an African ape in particular. Second, it provides a context for interpreting the derived changes to the hand that have evolved in various hominins. For example, the Australopithecus afarensis hand is likely derived in comparison with that of the Pan–Homo last common ancestor in having shorter fingers relative to thumb length and more proximo-distally oriented joints between its capitate, second metacarpal, and trapezium. This evidence suggests that these derived features evolved prior to the intensification of stone tool-related hominin behaviors beginning around 2.5 Ma. However, a majority of primitive features most likely present in the Pan-Homo last common ancestor are retained in the hands of Australopithecus, Paranthropus/early Homo, and Homo floresiensis. This evidence suggests that further derived changes to the hands of other hominins such as modern humans and Neandertals did not evolve until after 2.5 Ma and possibly even later than 1.5 Ma, which is currently the earliest evidence of Acheulian technology. The derived hands of modern humans and Neandertals may indicate a morphological commitment to tool-related manipulative behaviors beyond that observed in other hominins, including those (e.g. H. floresiensis) which may be descended from earlier tool-making species. PMID:18380869

  16. The evolutionary history of the hominin hand since the last common ancestor of Pan and Homo.

    PubMed

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Jacofsky, Marc C; Marzke, Mary W

    2008-04-01

    Molecular evidence indicates that the last common ancestor of the genus Pan and the hominin clade existed between 8 and 4 million years ago (Ma). The current fossil record indicates the Pan-Homo last common ancestor existed at least 5 Ma and most likely between 6 and 7 Ma. Together, the molecular and fossil evidence has important consequences for interpreting the evolutionary history of the hand within the tribe Hominini (hominins). Firstly, parsimony supports the hypothesis that the hand of the last common ancestor most likely resembled that of an extant great ape overall (Pan, Gorilla, and Pongo), and that of an African ape in particular. Second, it provides a context for interpreting the derived changes to the hand that have evolved in various hominins. For example, the Australopithecus afarensis hand is likely derived in comparison with that of the Pan-Homo last common ancestor in having shorter fingers relative to thumb length and more proximo-distally oriented joints between its capitate, second metacarpal, and trapezium. This evidence suggests that these derived features evolved prior to the intensification of stone tool-related hominin behaviors beginning around 2.5 Ma. However, a majority of primitive features most likely present in the Pan-Homo last common ancestor are retained in the hands of Australopithecus, Paranthropus/early Homo, and Homo floresiensis. This evidence suggests that further derived changes to the hands of other hominins such as modern humans and Neandertals did not evolve until after 2.5 Ma and possibly even later than 1.5 Ma, which is currently the earliest evidence of Acheulian technology. The derived hands of modern humans and Neandertals may indicate a morphological commitment to tool-related manipulative behaviors beyond that observed in other hominins, including those (e.g. H. floresiensis) which may be descended from earlier tool-making species. PMID:18380869

  17. Adult Neandertal clavicles from the El Sidrón site (Asturias, Spain) in the context of Homo pectoral girdle evolution.

    PubMed

    Rosas, Antonio; Rodriguez-Perez, Francisco Javier; Bastir, Markus; Estalrrich, Almudena; Huguet, Rosa; García-Tabernero, Antonio; Pastor, Juan Francisco; de la Rasilla, Marco

    2016-06-01

    We undertook a three-dimensional geometric morphometric (3DGM) analysis on 12 new Neandertal clavicle specimens from the El Sidrón site (Spain), dated to 49,000 years ago. The 3DGM methods were applied in a comparative framework in order to improve our understanding of trait polarity in features related to Homo pectoral girdle evolution, using other Neandertals, Homo sapiens, Pan, ATD6-50 (Homo antecessor), and KNM-WT 15000 (Homo ergaster/erectus) in the reference collection. Twenty-nine homologous landmarks were measured for each clavicle. Variation and morphological similarities were assessed through principal component analysis, conducted separately for the complete clavicle and the diaphysis. On average, Neandertal clavicles had significantly larger muscular entheses, double dorsal curvature, clavicle torsion, and cranial orientation of the acromial end than non-Neandertal clavicles; the El Sidrón clavicles fit this pattern. Variation within the samples was large, with extensive overlap between Homo species; only chimpanzee specimens clearly differed from the other specimens in morphometric terms. Taken together, our morphometric analyses are consistent with the following phylogenetic sequence. The primitive condition of the clavicle is manifest in the cranial orientation of both the acromial and sternal ends. The derived condition expressed in the H. sapiens + Neandertal clade is defined by caudal rotation of both the sternal and acromial ends, but with variation in the number of acromia remaining in a certain cranial orientation. Finally, the autapomorphic Neandertal condition is defined by secondarily acquired primitive cranial re-orientation of the acromial end, which varies from individual to individual. These results suggest that the pace of phylogenetic change in the pectoral girdle does not seem to follow that of other postcranial skeletal features. PMID:27260174

  18. Technical note: virtual reconstruction of KNM-ER 1813 Homo habilis cranium.

    PubMed

    Benazzi, Stefano; Gruppioni, Giorgio; Strait, David S; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2014-01-01

    A very limiting factor for paleoanthropological studies is the poor state of preservation of the human fossil record, where fragmentation and deformation are considered normal. Although anatomical information can still be gathered from a distorted fossil, such specimens must typically be excluded from advanced morphological and morphometric analyses, thus reducing the fossil sample size and, ultimately, our knowledge of human evolution. In this contribution we provide the first digital reconstruction of the KNM-ER 1813 Homo habilis cranium. Based on state of-the-art three-dimensional digital modeling and geometric morphometric (GM) methods, the facial portion was aligned to the neurocranium, the overall distortion was removed, and the missing regions were restored. The reconstructed KNM-ER 1813 allows for an adjustment of the anthropometric measurements gathered on the original fossil. It is suitable for further quantitative studies, such as GM analyses focused on skull morphology or for finite element analysis to explore the mechanics of early Homo feeding behavior and diet. PMID:24318950

  19. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M

    2016-05-01

    Numerous studies have investigated molar development in extant and fossil hominoids, yet relatively little is known about orangutans, the only great ape with an extensive fossil record. This study characterizes aspects of dental development, including cuspal enamel daily secretion rate, long-period line periodicities, cusp-specific molar crown formation times and extension rates, and initiation and completion ages in living and fossil orangutan postcanine teeth. Daily secretion rate and periodicities in living orangutans are similar to previous reports, while crown formation times often exceed published values, although direct comparisons are limited. One wild Bornean individual died at 4.5 years of age with fully erupted first molars (M1s), while a captive individual and a wild Sumatran individual likely erupted their M1s around five or six years of age. These data underscore the need for additional samples of orangutans of known sex, species, and developmental environment to explore potential sources of variation in molar emergence and their relationship to life history variables. Fossil orangutans possess larger crowns than living orangutans, show similarities in periodicities, and have faster daily secretion rate, longer crown formation times, and slower extension rates. Molar crown formation times exceed reported values for other fossil apes, including Gigantopithecus blacki. When compared to African apes, both living and fossil orangutans show greater cuspal enamel thickness values and periodicities, resulting in longer crown formation times and slower extension rates. Several of these variables are similar to modern humans, representing examples of convergent evolution. Molar crown formation does not appear to be equivalent among extant great apes or consistent within living and fossil members of Pongo or Homo. PMID:27178461

  20. Cytotoxic scalarane-type sesterterpenes from the Saudi Red Sea sponge Hyrtios erectus.

    PubMed

    Alarif, Walied M; Al-Lihaibi, Sultan S; Ghandourah, Mohamed A; Orif, Mohamed I; Basaif, Salim A; Ayyad, Seif-Eldin N

    2016-06-01

    The CHCl3/MeOH extract of the marine sponge Hyrtios erectus showed cytotoxicity against three cancer cell lines HepG2, A549, and PC-3 with IC50 0.055, 0.044, and 0.023 μg/ml, respectively. The CH2Cl2 soluble fraction afforded three scalarane sesterterpenes (1-3) along with a cholestane derivative (4) and an indole alkaloid (5). Chemical structures were established by spectroscopic techniques and comparison with data reported in the literature. Scalarinol (1) was found as a new metabolite, while heteronemin (2) and 12-O-deacetyl-19-deoxyscalarin (3) are known compounds. 1-3 exhibited cytotoxic activity against the cancer cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 14 to 230 μM. The molecular affinity to the DNA was employed as marker to examine the proposed mechanism of cytotoxic activities. Compound 2, with IC50 28 μg/ml, displayed the highest affinity to the DNA. PMID:26630474

  1. Radiometric dating of the type-site for Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer, Germany.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Günther A; Krbetschek, Matthias; Degering, Detlev; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Shao, Qingfeng; Falguères, Christophe; Voinchet, Pierre; Dolo, Jean-Michel; Garcia, Tristan; Rightmire, G Philip

    2010-11-16

    The Mauer mandible, holotype of Homo heidelbergensis, was found in 1907 in fluvial sands deposited by the Neckar River 10 km southeast of Heidelberg, Germany. The fossil is an important key to understanding early human occupation of Europe north of the Alps. Given the associated mammal fauna and the geological context, the find layer has been placed in the early Middle Pleistocene, but confirmatory chronometric evidence has hitherto been missing. Here we show that two independent techniques, the combined electron spin resonance/U-series method used with mammal teeth and infrared radiofluorescence applied to sand grains, date the type-site of Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer to 609 ± 40 ka. This result demonstrates that the mandible is the oldest hominin fossil reported to date from central and northern Europe and raises questions concerning the phyletic relationship of Homo heidelbergensis to more ancient populations documented from southern Europe and in Africa. We address the paleoanthropological significance of the Mauer jaw in light of this dating evidence. PMID:21041630

  2. Radiometric dating of the type-site for Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer, Germany

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Günther A.; Krbetschek, Matthias; Degering, Detlev; Bahain, Jean-Jacques; Shao, Qingfeng; Falguères, Christophe; Voinchet, Pierre; Dolo, Jean-Michel; Garcia, Tristan; Rightmire, G. Philip

    2010-01-01

    The Mauer mandible, holotype of Homo heidelbergensis, was found in 1907 in fluvial sands deposited by the Neckar River 10 km southeast of Heidelberg, Germany. The fossil is an important key to understanding early human occupation of Europe north of the Alps. Given the associated mammal fauna and the geological context, the find layer has been placed in the early Middle Pleistocene, but confirmatory chronometric evidence has hitherto been missing. Here we show that two independent techniques, the combined electron spin resonance/U-series method used with mammal teeth and infrared radiofluorescence applied to sand grains, date the type-site of Homo heidelbergensis at Mauer to 609 ± 40 ka. This result demonstrates that the mandible is the oldest hominin fossil reported to date from central and northern Europe and raises questions concerning the phyletic relationship of Homo heidelbergensis to more ancient populations documented from southern Europe and in Africa. We address the paleoanthropological significance of the Mauer jaw in light of this dating evidence. PMID:21041630

  3. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade. PMID:18380861

  4. Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Zihlman, Adrienne L; Bolter, Debra R

    2015-06-16

    The human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4-5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition. PMID:26034269

  5. Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zihlman, Adrienne L.; Bolter, Debra R.

    2015-01-01

    The human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4–5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition. PMID:26034269

  6. Filling the gap. Human cranial remains from Gombore II (Melka Kunture, Ethiopia; ca. 850 ka) and the origin of Homo heidelbergensis.

    PubMed

    Profico, Antonio; Di Vincenzo, Fabio; Gagliardi, Lorenza; Piperno, Marcello; Manzi, Giorgio

    2016-06-20

    African archaic humans dated to around 1,0 Ma share morphological affinities with Homo ergaster and appear distinct in cranio-dental morphology from those of the Middle Pleistocene that are referred to Homo heidelbergensis. This observation suggests a taxonomic and phylogenetic discontinuity in Africa that ranges across the Matuyama/Brunhes reversal (780 ka). Yet, the fossil record between roughly 900 and 600 ka is notoriously poor. In this context, the Early Stone Age site of Gombore II, in the Melka Kunture formation (Upper Awash, Ethiopia), provides a privileged case-study. In the Acheulean layer of Gombore II, somewhat more recent than 875 ±10 ka, two large cranial fragments were discovered in 1973 and 1975 respectively: a partial left parietal (Melka Kunture 1) and a right portion of the frontal bone (Melka Kunture 2), which probably belonged to the same cranium. We present here the first detailed description and computer-assisted reconstruction of the morphology of the cranial vault pertaining to these fossil fragments. Our analysis suggest that the human fossil specimen from Gombore II fills a phenetic gap between Homo ergaster and Homo heidelbergensis. This appears in agreement with the chronology of such a partial cranial vault, which therefore represents at present one of the best available candidates (if any) for the origin of Homo heidelbergensis in Africa. PMID:26583275

  7. Dental metric assessment of the omo fossils: implications for the phylogenetic position of Australopithecus africanus.

    PubMed

    Hunt, K; Vitzthum, V J

    1986-10-01

    The discovery of Australopithecus afarensis has led to new interpretations of hominid phylogeny, some of which reject A. africanus as an ancestor of Homo. Analysis of buccolingual tooth crown dimensions in australopithecines and Homo species by Johanson and White (Science 202:321-330, 1979) revealed that the South African gracile australopithecines are intermediate in size between Laetoli/hadar hominids and South African robust hominids. Homo, on the other hand, displays dimensions similar to those of A. afarensis and smaller than those of other australopithecines. These authors conclude, therefore, that A. africanus is derived in the direction of A. robustus and is not an ancestor of the Homo clade. However, there is a considerable time gap (ca. 800,000 years) between the Laetoli/Hadar specimens and the earliest Homo specimens; "gracile" hominids from Omo fit into this chronological gap and are from the same geographic area. Because the early specimens at Omo have been designated A. afarensis and the later specimens classified as Homo habilis, Omo offers a unique opportunity to test hypotheses concerning hominid evolution, especially regarding the phylogenetic status of A. africanus. Comparisons of mean cheek teeth breadths disclosed the significant (P less than or equal to 0.05) differences between the Omo sample and the Laetoli/Hadar fossils (P4, M2, and M3), the Homo fossils (P3, P4, M1, M2, and M1), and A. africanus (M3). Of the several possible interpretations of these data, it appears that the high degree of similarity between the Omo sample and the South African gracile australopithecine material warrants considering the two as geographical variants of A. africanus. The geographic, chronologic, and metric attributes of the Omo sample argue for its lineal affinity with A. afarensis and Homo. In conclusion, a consideration of hominid postcanine dental metrics provides no basis for removing A. africanus from the ancestry of the Homo lineage. PMID:3099582

  8. A review of early Homo in southern Africa focusing on cranial, mandibular and dental remains, with the description of a new species (Homo gautengensis sp. nov.).

    PubMed

    Curnoe, D

    2010-06-01

    The southern African sample of early Homo is playing an increasingly important role in understanding the origins, diversity and adaptations of the human genus. Yet, the affinities and classification of these remains continue to be in a state of flux. The southern African sample derives from five karstic palaeocave localities and represents more than one-third of the total African sample for this group; sampling an even wider range of anatomical regions than the eastern African collection. Morphological and phenetic comparisons of southern African specimens covering dental, mandibular and cranial remains demonstrate this sample to contain a species distinct from known early Homo taxa. The new species Homo gautengensis sp. nov. is described herein: type specimen Stw 53; Paratypes SE 255, SE 1508, Stw 19b/33, Stw 75-79, Stw 80, Stw 84, Stw 151, SK 15, SK 27, SK 45, SK 847, SKX 257/258, SKX 267/268, SKX 339, SKX 610, SKW 3114 and DNH 70. H. gautengensis is identified from fossils recovered at three palaeocave localities with current best ages spanning approximately 2.0 to 1.26-0.82 million years BP. Thus, H. gautengensis is probably the earliest recognised species in the human genus and its longevity is apparently well in excess of H. habilis. PMID:20466364

  9. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-04-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  10. De Novo Transcriptome Analysis of Two Seahorse Species (Hippocampus erectus and H. mohnikei) and the Development of Molecular Markers for Population Genetics

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Qiang; Luo, Wei; Wan, Shiming; Gao, Zexia

    2016-01-01

    Seahorse conservation has been performed utilizing various strategies for many decades, and the deeper understanding of genomic information is necessary to more efficiently protect the germplasm resources of seahorse species. However, little genetic information about seahorses currently exists in the public databases. In this study, high-throughput RNA sequencing for two seahorse species, Hippocampus erectus and H. mohnikei, was carried out, and de novo assembly generated 37,506 unigenes for H. erectus and 36,113 unigenes for H. mohnikei. Among them, 17,338 (46.23%) unigenes for H. erectus and 17,900 (49.57%) for H. mohnikei were successfully annotated based on the information available from the public databases. Through comparing the unigenes of two seahorse species, 7,802 candidate orthologous genes were identified and 5,268 genes among them could be annotated. In addition, gene ontology analysis of two species was similarly performed on biological processes, cellular components, and molecular functions. Twenty-four and twenty-one unigenes in H. erectus and H. mohnikei were annotated in the biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids pathways, and both seahorses lacked the Δ12 and Δ15 desaturases. Total of 8,992 and 9,116 SSR loci were obtained from H. erectus and H. mohnikei unigenes, respectively. Dozens of SSR were developed and then applied to assess the population genetic diversity, as well as cross-amplified in a related species, H. trimaculatus. The HO and HE values of the tested populations for H. erectus, H. mohnikei, and H. trimaculatus were medium. These resources would facilitate the conservation of the species through a better understanding of the genomics and comparative genome analysis within the Hippocampus genus. PMID:27128031

  11. Influences of limb proportions and body size on locomotor kinematics in terrestrial primates and fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Polk, J D

    2004-10-01

    During locomotion, mammalian limb postures are influenced by many factors including the animal's limb length and body mass. Polk (2002) compared the gait of similar-sized cercopithecine monkeys that differed limb proportions and found that longer-limbed monkeys usually adopt more extended joint postures than shorter-limbed monkeys in order to moderate their joint moments. Studies of primates as well as non-primate mammals that vary in body mass have demonstrated that larger animals use more extended limb postures than smaller animals. Such extended postures in larger animals increase the extensor muscle mechanical advantage and allow postures to be maintained with relatively less muscular effort (Polk, 2002; Biewener 1989). The results of these previous studies are used here to address two anthropological questions. The first concerns the postural effects of body mass and limb proportion differences between australopithecines and members of the genus Homo. That is, H. erectus and later hominins all have larger body mass and longer legs than australopithecines, and these anatomical differences suggest that Homo probably used more extended postures and probably required relatively less muscular force to resist gravity than the smaller and shorter-limbed australopithecines. The second question investigates how animals with similar size but different limb proportions differ in locomotor performance. The effects of limb proportions on gait are relevant to inferring postural and locomotor differences between Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens which differ in their crural indices and relative limb length. This study demonstrates that primates with relatively long limbs achieve higher walking speeds while using lower stride frequencies and lower angular excursions than shorter-limbed monkeys, and these kinematic differences may allow longer-limbed taxa to locomote more efficiently than shorter-limbed species of similar mass. Such differences may also have characterized

  12. The dynamics of reproductive rate, offspring survivorship and growth in the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Qiang; Li, Gang; Qin, Geng; Lin, Junda; Huang, Liangmin; Sun, Hushan; Feng, Peiyong

    2012-01-01

    Summary Seahorses are the vertebrate group with the embryonic development occurring within a special pouch in males. To understand the reproductive efficiency of the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus Perry, 1810 under controlled breeding experiments, we investigated the dynamics of reproductive rate, offspring survivorship and growth over births by the same male seahorses. The mean brood size of the 1-year old pairs in the 1st birth was 85.4±56.9 per brood, which was significantly smaller than that in the 6th birth (465.9±136.4 per brood) (P<0.001). The offspring survivorship and growth rate increased with the births. The fecundity was positively correlated with the length of brood pouches of males and trunk of females. The fecundity of 1-year old male and 2-year old female pairs was significantly higher than that from 1-year old couples (P<0.001). The brood size (552.7±150.4) of the males who mated with females that were isolated for the gamete-preparation, was larger than those (467.8±141.2) from the long-term pairs (P<0.05). Moreover, the offspring from the isolated females had higher survival and growth rates. Our results showed that the potential reproductive rate of seahorses H. erectus increased with the brood pouch development. PMID:23213429

  13. Age of the earliest known hominids in Java, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Swisher, C C; Curtis, G H; Jacob, T; Getty, A G; Suprijo, A; Widiasmoro

    1994-02-25

    40Ar/39Ar laser-incremental heating of hornblende separated from pumice recovered at two hominid sites in Java, Indonesia, has yielded well-defined plateaus with weighted mean ages of 1.81 +/- 0.04 and 1.66 +/- 0.04 million years ago (Ma). The hominid fossils, a juvenile calvaria of Pithecanthropus and a partial face and cranial fragments of Meganthropus, commonly considered part of the Asian Homo erectus hypodigm, are at least 0.6 million years older than fossils referred to as Homo erectus (OH-9) from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and comparable in age with the oldest Koobi Fora Homo cf. erectus (Homo ergaster) in Kenya. These ages lend further credence to the view that Homo erectus may have evolved outside of Africa. If the ancestor of Homo erectus ventured out of Africa before 1.8 Ma, the dispersal would have predated the advent of the Acheulean culture at 1.4 Ma, possibly explaining the absence of these characteristic stone cleavers and hand axes in East Asia. PMID:8108729

  14. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  15. Total π-electron and HOMO energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutman, Ivan; Radenković, Slavko; Ðorđević, Slađana; Milovanović, Igor Ž.; Milovanović, Emina I.

    2016-04-01

    A relation is obtained between the total π-electron energy Eπ and the HOMO energy EHOMO, valid within the HMO approximation. This seems to be the very first relation between Eπ and EHOMO ever established. It enables a much more accurate assessment of Eπ of alternant conjugated hydrocarbons than that based on McClelland's formula and on other (n, m)-type approximate expressions.

  16. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  17. Encephalization and allometric trajectories in the genus Homo: Evidence from the Neandertal and modern lineages

    PubMed Central

    Bruner, Emiliano; Manzi, Giorgio; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2003-01-01

    The term “encephalization” is commonly used to describe an enlargement in brain size, considered as either absolute endocranial volumes or relative values in relation to body size. It is widely recognized that a considerable endocranial expansion occurred throughout the evolution of the genus Homo. This article aims to evaluate whether this phenomenon was the outcome of distinct evolutionary lineages, reaching similar brain expansions but through different trajectories. Endocranial morphology was studied in a sample of fossil hominines by multivariate approaches using both traditional metrics and geometric morphometrics. The analysis was focused on the transition from a generalized archaic pattern within the genus Homo to the modern morphology and compared with changes that occurred along the Neandertal lineage. The main result was the identification of two different evolutionary trajectories, in which a similar expansion in endocranial size has been reached by different changes in shape. Along the Neandertal lineage we observed maintenance of an “archaic” endocranial model, in which a large amount of variability is based on a single allometric trend. By contrast, when modern endocasts were compared with nonmodern ones, we found important differences apparently led by a parietal expansion. In this light, the origin of our species may have represented the opportunity to surpass the constraints imposed on encephalization by the ontogenetic pattern shared by nonmodern Homo representatives. PMID:14673084

  18. An earlier origin for stone tool making: implications for cognitive evolution and the transition to Homo.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Jason E; Harmand, Sonia

    2016-07-01

    The discovery of the earliest known stone tools at Lomekwi 3 (LOM3) from West Turkana, Kenya, dated to 3.3 Ma, raises new questions about the mode and tempo of key adaptations in the hominin lineage. The LOM3 tools date to before the earliest known fossils attributed to Homo at 2.8 Ma. They were made and deposited in a more C3 environment than were the earliest Oldowan tools at 2.6 Ma. Their discovery leads to renewed investigation on the timing of the emergence of human-like manipulative capabilities in early hominins and implications for reconstructing cognition. The LOM3 artefacts form part of an emerging paradigm shift in palaeoanthropology, in which: tool-use and tool-making behaviours are not limited to the genus Homo; cranial, post-cranial and behavioural diversity in early Homo is much wider than previously thought; and these evolutionary changes may not have been direct adaptations to living in savannah grassland environments.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298464

  19. Fossil evidence for early hominid tool use.

    PubMed

    Susman, R L

    1994-09-01

    Although several Plio-Pleistocene hominids are found in association with stone and bone tools, it has been generally assumed that at any one time the hominid with the largest brain was the toolmaker. Fossils recovered over the last decade suggest that early hominids subsequent to 2.5 million years ago all might have used tools and occupied "cultural" niches. A test for humanlike precision grasping (the enhanced ability to manipulate tools) is proposed and applied to australopithecines and early Homo. The results indicate that tools were likely to have been used by all early hominids at around 2.0 million years ago. The earliest australopithecines, which predate the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record, do not show signs of advanced precision grasping. PMID:8079169

  20. Craniofacial variation in Homo habilis: an analysis of the evidence for multiple species.

    PubMed

    Miller, J M

    2000-05-01

    The question of heterogeneity in the Homo habilis sample continues to be controversial. Various lines of evidence have been used to reject the null hypothesis of intraspecific variation. This evidence derives from analyses of endocranial volume variation, probability estimates of sexual dimorphism, facial variation, cranial angles, CV analysis of craniofacial variation, the multivariate pattern of sexual dimorphism, the pattern of variability (CV) profiles, distance data using exact randomization methods, and various kinds of quantitative ordinations of fossils. Although consensus is lacking as to how the H. habilis sample is to be split, there is a growing perception that the degree of variation among the fossils is too great and the pattern of variation is too different to be explained by intraspecific variation. This has resulted in the recognition of new species such as "Homo rudolfensis." The present study critically examines the evidence commonly cited as the basis for recognizing multiple species in the extended H. habilis hypodigm. Reanalysis and reinterpretation of these data indicates that: (1) the degree of variation in the H. habilis sample is typical of modern hominoids, and (2) the pattern of variation among specimens of the H. habilis sample is consistent with intraspecific variation. Thus, at present, there is no sound basis to reject the null hypothesis of intraspecific variation as an adequate explanation of the morphological variation seen among specimens of the extended H. habilis sample. If multiple species are indeed represented, then their presence has not yet been satisfactorily demonstrated. PMID:10766947

  1. Genome Digging: Insight into the Mitochondrial Genome of Homo

    PubMed Central

    Ovchinnikov, Igor V.; Kholina, Olga I.

    2010-01-01

    Background A fraction of the Neanderthal mitochondrial genome sequence has a similarity with a 5,839-bp nuclear DNA sequence of mitochondrial origin (numt) on the human chromosome 1. This fact has never been interpreted. Although this phenomenon may be attributed to contamination and mosaic assembly of Neanderthal mtDNA from short sequencing reads, we explain the mysterious similarity by integration of this numt (mtAncestor-1) into the nuclear genome of the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans not long before their reproductive split. Principal Findings Exploiting bioinformatics, we uncovered an additional numt (mtAncestor-2) with a high similarity to the Neanderthal mtDNA and indicated that both numts represent almost identical replicas of the mtDNA sequences ancestral to the mitochondrial genomes of Neanderthals and modern humans. In the proteins, encoded by mtDNA, the majority of amino acids distinguishing chimpanzees from humans and Neanderthals were acquired by the ancestral hominins. The overall rate of nonsynonymous evolution in Neanderthal mitochondrial protein-coding genes is not higher than in other lineages. The model incorporating the ancestral hominin mtDNA sequences estimates the average divergence age of the mtDNAs of Neanderthals and modern humans to be 450,000–485,000 years. The mtAncestor-1 and mtAncestor-2 sequences were incorporated into the nuclear genome approximately 620,000 years and 2,885,000 years ago, respectively. Conclusions This study provides the first insight into the evolution of the mitochondrial DNA in hominins ancestral to Neanderthals and humans. We hypothesize that mtAncestor-1 and mtAncestor-2 are likely to be molecular fossils of the mtDNAs of Homo heidelbergensis and a stem Homo lineage. The dN/dS dynamics suggests that the effective population size of extinct hominins was low. However, the hominin lineage ancestral to humans, Neanderthals and H. heidelbergensis, had a larger effective population size and

  2. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  3. Leukotriene signaling in the extinct human subspecies Homo denisovan and Homo neanderthalensis. Structural and functional comparison with Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Adel, Susan; Kakularam, Kumar Reddy; Horn, Thomas; Reddanna, Pallu; Kuhn, Hartmut; Heydeck, Dagmar

    2015-01-01

    Mammalian lipoxygenases (LOXs) have been implicated in cell differentiation and in the biosynthesis of pro- and anti-inflammatory lipid mediators. The initial draft sequence of the Homo neanderthalensis genome (coverage of 1.3-fold) suggested defective leukotriene signaling in this archaic human subspecies since expression of essential proteins appeared to be corrupted. Meanwhile high quality genomic sequence data became available for two extinct human subspecies (H. neanderthalensis, Homo denisovan) and completion of the human 1000 genome project provided a comprehensive database characterizing the genetic variability of the human genome. For this study we extracted the nucleotide sequences of selected eicosanoid relevant genes (ALOX5, ALOX15, ALOX12, ALOX15B, ALOX12B, ALOXE3, COX1, COX2, LTA4H, LTC4S, ALOX5AP, CYSLTR1, CYSLTR2, BLTR1, BLTR2) from the corresponding databases. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences in connection with site-directed mutagenesis studies and structural modeling suggested that the major enzymes and receptors of leukotriene signaling as well as the two cyclooxygenase isoforms were fully functional in these two extinct human subspecies. PMID:25447821

  4. Body proportions of Australopithecus afarensis and A. africanus and the origin of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    McHenry, H M; Berger, L R

    1998-07-01

    New discoveries of A. africanus fossils from Member 4 Sterkfontein reveal a body form quite unlike earlier Australopithecus species. The new adult material consists of over 48 fore- and hindlimb specimens and includes an associated partial skeleton, Stw 431. The forelimbs and relatively large: the average size of their joints corresponds to a modern human with body mass of 53 kg. The hindlimbs are much smaller with an average size matching a modern human of only 33 kg. Analyses of the Stw 431 partial skeleton confirm these results. In contrast, A. afarensis and anamensis more closely approximate a human pattern of forelimb joint size. This is an unanticipated complication in our understanding of early human evolution. In general, craniodental morphology tracks time in species of Australopithecus: A. anamensis (3.5-4.1 Ma) is the the most primitive with a strongly sloping symphysis, large canine roots, etc., A. afarensis (3.0-3.6 Ma) is less primitive, and A. africanus (2.6-3.0 Ma) shares many derived characteristics with early Homo (e.g., expanded brain, reduced canine, bicuspid lower third premolar, reduced prognathism, greater flexion of the cranial base, deeper TMJ). the new postcranial material, however, reveals an apparently primitive morphology of relatively large forelimb and small hindlimb joints resembling more the pongid than the human pattern. More pongid-like proportions are also present in the two known associated partial skeletons of H. habilis (OH 62 KNM-ER 3735). This may imply either (1) that A. africanus and H. habilis evolved craniodental characters in parallel with the lineage leading to later Homo, or (2) that fore- to hindlimb proportions of A. afarensis (and perhaps A. anamensis) evolved independent of the lineage leading to Homo and does not imply a close phylogenetic link with Homo. Both of these explanations or any other phylogeny imply homoplasy. PMID:9680464

  5. Human evolution.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1996-12-01

    The common ancestor of modern humans and the great apes is estimated to have lived between 5 and 8 Myrs ago, but the earliest evidence in the human, or hominid, fossil record is Ardipithecus ramidus, from a 4.5 Myr Ethiopian site. This genus was succeeded by Australopithecus, within which four species are presently recognised. All combine a relatively primitive postcranial skeleton, a dentition with expanded chewing teeth and a small brain. The most primitive species in our own genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, are little advanced over the australopithecines and with hindsight their inclusion in Homo may not be appropriate. The first species to share a substantial number of features with later Homo is Homo ergaster, or 'early African Homo erectus', which appears in the fossil record around 2.0 Myr. Outside Africa, fossil hominids appear as Homo erectus-like hominids, in mainland Asia and in Indonesia close to 2 Myr ago; the earliest good evidence of 'archaic Homo' in Europe is dated at between 600-700 Kyr before the present. Anatomically modern human, or Homo sapiens, fossils are seen first in the fossil record in Africa around 150 Kyr ago. Taken together with molecular evidence on the extent of DNA variation, this suggests that the transition from 'archaic' to 'modern' Homo may have taken place in Africa. PMID:8976151

  6. Descriptions of the lower limb skeleton of Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Jungers, W L; Larson, S G; Harcourt-Smith, W; Morwood, M J; Sutikna, T; Due Awe, Rokhus; Djubiantono, T

    2009-11-01

    Bones of the lower extremity have been recovered for up to nine different individuals of Homo floresiensis - LB1, LB4, LB6, LB8, LB9, LB10, LB11, LB13, and LB14. LB1 is represented by a bony pelvis (damaged but now repaired), femora, tibiae, fibulae, patellae, and numerous foot bones. LB4/2 is an immature right tibia lacking epiphyses. LB6 includes a fragmentary metatarsal and two pedal phalanges. LB8 is a nearly complete right tibia (shorter than that of LB1). LB9 is a fragment of a hominin femoral diaphysis. LB10 is a proximal hallucal phalanx. LB11 includes pelvic fragments and a fragmentary metatarsal. LB13 is a patellar fragment, and LB14 is a fragment of an acetabulum. All skeletal remains recovered from Liang Bua were extremely fragile, and some were badly damaged when they were removed temporarily from Jakarta. At present, virtually all fossil materials have been returned, stabilized, and hardened. These skeletal remains are described and illustrated photographically. The lower limb skeleton exhibits a uniquely mosaic pattern, with many primitive-like morphologies; we have been unable to find this combination of ancient and derived (more human-like) features in either healthy or pathological modern humans, regardless of body size. Bilateral asymmetries are slight in the postcranium, and muscle markings are clearly delineated on all bones. The long bones are robust, and the thickness of their cortices is well within the ranges seen in healthy modern humans. LB1 is most probably a female based on the shape of her greater sciatic notch, and the marked degree of lateral iliac flaring recalls that seen in australopithecines such as "Lucy" (AL 288-1). The metatarsus has a human-like robusticity formula, but the proximal pedal phalanges are relatively long and robust (and slightly curved). The hallux is fully adducted, but we suspect that a medial longitudinal arch was absent. PMID:19062072

  7. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  8. A description of the geological context, discrete traits, and linear morphometrics of the Middle Pleistocene hominin from Dali, Shaanxi Province, China.

    PubMed

    Wu, Xinzhi; Athreya, Sheela

    2013-01-01

    In 1978, a nearly complete hominin fossil cranium was recovered from loess deposits at the site of Dali in Shaanxi Province, northwestern China. It was subsequently briefly described in both English and Chinese publications. Here we present a comprehensive univariate and nonmetric description of the specimen and provide comparisons with key Middle Pleistocene Homo erectus and non-erectus hominins from Eurasia and Africa. In both respects we find affinities with Chinese H. erectus as well as African and European Middle Pleistocene hominins typically referred to as Homo heidelbergensis. Specifically, the Dali specimen possesses a low cranial height, relatively short and arched parietal bones, an angled occipital bone, and a nonprominent articular tubercle relative to the preglenoid surface all of which distinguish it from Afro/European Middle Pleistocene Homo and align it with Asian H. erectus. At the same time, it displays a more derived morphology of the supraorbital torus and supratoral sulcus and a thinner tympanic plate than H. erectus, a relatively long upper (lambda-inion) occipital plane with a clear separation of inion and opisthocranion, and an absolute and relative increase in brain size, all of which align it with African and European Middle Pleistocene Homo. Finally, traits such as the form of the frontal keel and the relatively short, broad midface align Dali specifically with other Chinese specimens from the Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene, including H. erectus, and differentiate these from the Afro/European specimens of this time period. PMID:23283667

  9. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Paul G.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    1995-09-01

    Scanning electron microscopy of feathers has revealed evidence that a bacterial glycocalyx (a network of exocellular polysaccharide fibers) played a role in promoting their fossilization in some cases. This mode of preservation has not been reported in other soft tissues. The majority of fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces. More rarely, bacteria on the surface are replicated by authigenic minerals (bacterial autolithification). The feathers of Archaeopteryx are preserved mainly by imprintation following early lithification of the substrate and decay of the feather. Lacustrine settings provide the most important taphonomic window for feather preservation. Preservation in terrestrial and normal-marine settings involves very different processes (in amber and in authigenically mineralized coprolites, respectively). Therefore, there may be a significant bias in the avian fossil record in favor of inland water habitats.

  10. Body proportions of Homo habilis reviewed.

    PubMed

    Haeusler, Martin; McHenry, Henry M

    2004-04-01

    The ratio of fore- to hindlimb size plays an important role in our understanding of human evolution. Although Homo habilis was relatively modern craniodentally, its body proportions are commonly believed to have been more apelike than in the earlier Australopithecus afarensis. The evidence for this, however, rests, on two fragmentary skeletons, OH 62 and KNM-ER 3735. The upper limb of the better-preserved OH 62 from Olduvai Gorge is long and slender, but its hindlimb is represented mainly by the proximal portion of a thin femur of uncertain length. The present analysis shows that upper-to-lower limb shaft proportions of both OH 62 and AL 288-1 (A. afarensis) fall in the modern human range of variation, although OH 62 also falls inside that of chimpanzees due to their overlap in small individuals. Despite being more fragmentary, the larger-bodied KNM-ER 3735 lies outside the chimpanzee range and close to the human mean. Because the differences between any of the three individuals are compatible with the range of variation seen in extant hominoid groups, it is not legitimate to infer more primitive upper-to-lower limb shaft proportions for either H. habilis or A. afarensis. Femur length of OH 62 can only be estimated by comparison. Its closest match in size and morphology is with the gracile OH 34 specimen, which therefore provides a better analogue for the reconstruction of OH 62 than the stocky AL 288-1 femur that is traditionally used. OH 34's slender proportions are hardly due to abrasion, but match those of a modern human of that body-size, suggesting that the relative length of OH 62's leg may have been human-like. Brachial proportions, however, remained primitive. Long legs may imply long distance terrestrial travel. Perhaps this adaptation evolved early in the genus Homo, with H. habilis providing an early representative of this important change. PMID:15066379

  11. Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Dirks, Paul HGM; Berger, Lee R; Roberts, Eric M; Kramers, Jan D; Hawks, John; Randolph-Quinney, Patrick S; Elliott, Marina; Musiba, Charles M; Churchill, Steven E; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Schmid, Peter; Backwell, Lucinda R; Belyanin, Georgy A; Boshoff, Pedro; Hunter, K Lindsay; Feuerriegel, Elen M; Gurtov, Alia; Harrison, James du G; Hunter, Rick; Kruger, Ashley; Morris, Hannah; Makhubela, Tebogo V; Peixotto, Becca; Tucker, Steven

    2015-01-01

    We describe the physical context of the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave, South Africa, which contains the fossils of Homo naledi. Approximately 1550 specimens of hominin remains have been recovered from at least 15 individuals, representing a small portion of the total fossil content. Macro-vertebrate fossils are exclusively H. naledi, and occur within clay-rich sediments derived from in situ weathering, and exogenous clay and silt, which entered the chamber through fractures that prevented passage of coarser-grained material. The chamber was always in the dark zone, and not accessible to non-hominins. Bone taphonomy indicates that hominin individuals reached the chamber complete, with disarticulation occurring during/after deposition. Hominins accumulated over time as older laminated mudstone units and sediment along the cave floor were eroded. Preliminary evidence is consistent with deliberate body disposal in a single location, by a hominin species other than Homo sapiens, at an as-yet unknown date. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09561.001 PMID:26354289

  12. Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Brain size is a key adaptive trait. It is often assumed that increasing brain size was a general evolutionary trend in primates, yet recent fossil discoveries have documented brain size decreases in some lineages, raising the question of how general a trend there was for brains to increase in mass over evolutionary time. We present the first systematic phylogenetic analysis designed to answer this question. Results We performed ancestral state reconstructions of three traits (absolute brain mass, absolute body mass, relative brain mass) using 37 extant and 23 extinct primate species and three approaches to ancestral state reconstruction: parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo. Both absolute and relative brain mass generally increased over evolutionary time, but body mass did not. Nevertheless both absolute and relative brain mass decreased along several branches. Applying these results to the contentious case of Homo floresiensis, we find a number of scenarios under which the proposed evolution of Homo floresiensis' small brain appears to be consistent with patterns observed along other lineages, dependent on body mass and phylogenetic position. Conclusions Our results confirm that brain expansion began early in primate evolution and show that increases occurred in all major clades. Only in terms of an increase in absolute mass does the human lineage appear particularly striking, with both the rate of proportional change in mass and relative brain size having episodes of greater expansion elsewhere on the primate phylogeny. However, decreases in brain mass also occurred along branches in all major clades, and we conclude that, while selection has acted to enlarge primate brains, in some lineages this trend has been reversed. Further analyses of the phylogenetic position of Homo floresiensis and better body mass estimates are required to confirm the plausibility of the evolution of its small brain mass. We find that for our

  13. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

    Today, the study of trace fossils—ichnology—is an important subdiscipline of geology at the interface of paleontology and sedimentology, mostly because of the efforts of Adolf Seilacher. His ability to synthesize various aspects of ichnology and produce a hierarchy of marine ichna and sedimentary facies has made ichnology useful worldwide in interpreting paleodiversity, rates of sedimentation, oxygenation of bottom water and sediment pore water, and depositional energy. Seilacher's book Trace Fossil Analysis provides a glimpse into the mind, methodology, and insights of the father of modern ichnology, generated from his course notes as a professor and a guest lecturer. The title sounds misleading—readers looking for up-to-date principles and approaches to trace fossil analysis in marine and continental strata will be disappointed. In his preface, however, Seilacher clearly gives direction for the use of his text: “This is a course book—meaning that it is intended to confer not knowledge, but skill.” Thus, it is not meant as a total compilation of all trace fossils, ichnotaxonomy, ichnological interpretations, applications, or the most relevant and up-to-date references. Rather, it takes the reader on a personal journey, explaining how trace fossils are understood in the context of their three-dimensional (3-D) morphology and sedimentary facies.

  14. Fossil-Fired Boilers

    Energy Science and Technology Software Center (ESTSC)

    1993-09-23

    Boiler Performance Model (BPM 3.0S) is a set of computer programs developed to analyze the performance of fossil-fired utility boilers. The programs can model a wide variety of boiler designs, and can model coal, oil, or natural gas firing. The programs are intended for use by engineers performing analyses of alternative fuels, alternative operating modes, or boiler modifications.

  15. Fossil-energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1981-08-01

    Progress in the following areas of fossil energy is reported: physiochemical cleaning and recovery of fine coal; a systematic investigation of the organosulfur components in coal; microstructures of coal; rapid analysis of mineral content in coal; coal blending experiments; performance characteristics of heavy media cyclones using fly ash derived heavy media; briquetting solvent treated coal; and coal preparation and testing.

  16. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  17. Giant trees from the Middle Pleistocene of Northern Thailand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philippe, Marc; Boonchai, Nareerat; Ferguson, David K.; Jia, Hui; Songtham, Wickanet

    2013-04-01

    Giant fossil trees from the Middle Pleistocene of Thailand are described. The longest log is measured at 72.2 m. Morphological analysis suggests that the original trees towered to more than 100 m, in a wet tropical forest. As contemporaneous archaic pebble tools were reported in the same area, the subtropical rainforest was no impenetrable ecological barrier to a population of Homo erectus.

  18. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  19. Evolutionary reversals of limb proportions in early hominids? Evidence from KNM-ER 3735 (Homo habilis).

    PubMed

    Haeusler, Martin; McHenry, Henry M

    2007-10-01

    Upper-to-lower limb proportions of Homo habilis are often said to be more ape-like than those of its reputed ancestor, Australopithecus afarensis. Such proportions would either imply multiple evolutionary reversals or parallel development of a relatively short upper limb in A. afarensis and later Homo. However, assessments of limb proportions are complicated by the fragmentary nature of the two known H. habilis skeletons, OH 62 and KNM-ER 3735. Initially, KNM-ER 3735 was compared to A.L. 288-1 (A. afarensis) using a single modern human and chimpanzee as reference. Here, based on a larger comparative sample, we find that the relative size of the distal humerus, radial head, and shaft of both KNM-ER 3735 and A.L. 288-1 lie within the range of variation of modern humans, whereas their sacra are small as is the case for all early hominids. In addition, their manual phalanges are similar in having a gracile base but robust midshaft. Contrary to earlier studies, the fossils are not differentiable from each other statistically with respect to all features listed above. On the other hand, they differ in robusticity of the scapular spine and relative length of the radial neck. An exact randomization test suggests only a very low probability of finding a similar degree of difference within a single species of extant hominoids. In contrast to the consensus view, we conclude that A.L. 288-1 had a short, human-like forearm, whereas KNM-ER 3735 possessed a distinctly longer forearm and more powerful shoulder girdle. This interpretation fits with earlier conclusions that suggested human-like humerofemoral proportions but chimpanzee-like brachial proportions for Homo habilis. Thus, the scenario of a unidirectional, progressive change in limb proportions within the hominid lineage is not supported by our work. PMID:17688910

  20. The primitive wrist of Homo floresiensis and its implications for hominin evolution.

    PubMed

    Tocheri, Matthew W; Orr, Caley M; Larson, Susan G; Sutikna, Thomas; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wahyu; Due, Rokus Awe; Djubiantono, Tony; Morwood, Michael J; Jungers, William L

    2007-09-21

    Whether the Late Pleistocene hominin fossils from Flores, Indonesia, represent a new species, Homo floresiensis, or pathological modern humans has been debated. Analysis of three wrist bones from the holotype specimen (LB1) shows that it retains wrist morphology that is primitive for the African ape-human clade. In contrast, Neandertals and modern humans share derived wrist morphology that forms during embryogenesis, which diminishes the probability that pathology could result in the normal primitive state. This evidence indicates that LB1 is not a modern human with an undiagnosed pathology or growth defect; rather, it represents a species descended from a hominin ancestor that branched off before the origin of the clade that includes modern humans, Neandertals, and their last common ancestor. PMID:17885135

  1. Early stone technology on Flores and its implications for Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; Aziz, Fachroel; van den Bergh, Gert D; Morwood, Michael J; Moore, Mark W; Kurniawan, Iwan; Hobbs, Douglas R; Fullagar, Richard

    2006-06-01

    In the Soa Basin of central Flores, eastern Indonesia, stratified archaeological sites, including Mata Menge, Boa Lesa and Kobatuwa (Fig. 1), contain stone artefacts associated with the fossilized remains of Stegodon florensis, Komodo dragon, rat and various other taxa. These sites have been dated to 840-700 kyr bp (thousand years before present). The authenticity of the Soa Basin artefacts and their provenance have been demonstrated by previous work, but to quell lingering doubts, here we describe the context, attributes and production modes of 507 artefacts excavated at Mata Menge. We also note specific similarities, and apparent technological continuity, between the Mata Menge stone artefacts and those excavated from Late Pleistocene levels at Liang Bua cave, 50 km to the west. The latter artefacts, dated to between 95-74 and 12 kyr ago, are associated with the remains of a dwarfed descendent of S. florensis, Komodo dragon, rat and a small-bodied hominin species, Homo floresiensis, which had a brain size of about 400 cubic centimetres. The Mata Menge evidence negates claims that stone artefacts associated with H. floresiensis are so complex that they must have been made by modern humans (Homo sapiens). PMID:16738657

  2. PELDOR in rotationally symmetric homo-oligomers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giannoulis, Angeliki; Ward, Richard; Branigan, Emma; Naismith, James H.; Bode, Bela E.

    2013-10-01

    Nanometre distance measurements by pulsed electron-electron double resonance (PELDOR) spectroscopy have become an increasingly important tool in structural biology. The theoretical underpinning of the experiment is well defined for systems containing two nitroxide spin-labels (spin pairs); however, recently experiments have been reported on homo-oligomeric membrane proteins consisting of up to eight spin-labelled monomers. We have explored the theory behind these systems by examining model systems based on multiple spins arranged in rotationally symmetric polygons. The results demonstrate that with a rising number of spins within the test molecule, increasingly strong distortions appear in distance distributions obtained from an analysis based on the simple spin pair approach. These distortions are significant over a range of system sizes and remain so even when random errors are introduced into the symmetry of the model. We present an alternative approach to the extraction of distances on such systems based on a minimisation that properly treats multi-spin correlations. We demonstrate the utility of this approach on a spin-labelled mutant of the heptameric Mechanosensitive Channel of Small Conductance of E. coli.

  3. Crystal Structure of Homo Sapiens Kynureninase†

    PubMed Central

    Lima, Santiago; Kristoforov, Roman; Momany, Cory; Phillips, Robert S.

    2008-01-01

    Kynureninase is a member of a large family of catalytically diverse but structurally homologous pyridoxal-5′-phosphate dependent enzymes known as the aspartate aminotransferase superfamily or α-family. The Homo sapiens and other eukaryotic constitutive kynureninases preferentially catalyze the hydrolytic cleavage of 3-hydroxy-L-kynurenine to produce 3-hydroxyanthranilate and L-alanine, while L-kynurenine is the substrate of many prokaryotic inducible kynureninases. The human enzyme was cloned with an N-terminal hexahistidine tag, expressed, and purified from a bacterial expression system using Ni-metal ion affinity chromatography. Kinetic characterization of the recombinant enzyme reveals classic Michaelis-Menten behavior, with a Km= 28.3 ± 1.9 μM, and a specific activity of 1.75 μmol min-1 mg-1 for 3-hydroxy-DL-kynurenine. Crystals of recombinant kynureninase were obtained that diffracted to 2.0 Å, and the atomic structure of the PLP-bound holoenzyme was solved by molecular replacement using the Pseudomonas fluorescens kynureninase structure (PDB accession 1qz9) as the phasing model. A structural superposition with the P. fluorescens kynureninase revealed that these two structures resemble the “open” and “closed” conformations of aspartate aminotransferase. The comparison illustrates the dynamic nature of these proteins’ small domains and reveals a role for Arg-434 similar to that in other AAT α-family members. Docking of 3-hydroxy-L-kynurenine into the human kynureninase active site suggests that Asn-333 and His-102 are involved in substrate binding and molecular discrimination between inducible and constitutive kynureninase substrates. PMID:17300176

  4. Internal nasal floor configuration in Homo with special reference to the evolution of Neandertal facial form.

    PubMed

    Franciscus, Robert G

    2003-06-01

    The presence of a steeply sloping or depressed nasal floor within the nasal cavity of Neandertals is frequently mentioned as a likely specialization or autapomorphy. The depressed nasal floor has also been seen as contributing to a relatively more capacious nasal cavity in Neandertals, which is tied to cold-climate respiratory adaptation and energetics. These observations have been limited largely to a relatively few intact crania, and the character states associated with this trait have not been as precisely codified or analyzed as those published for Plio-Pleistocene hominins (McCollum et al., 1993, J. Hum. Evol. 24, 87; McCollum, 2000, Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. 112, 275). This study examines the internal nasal floor topography in complete crania and isolated maxillae in European, west Asian, and African fossil Homo (n=158) including 25 Neandertals, and a wide range of recent humans from Europe, the Near East, and Africa (n=522). The configuration of the internal nasal floor relative to the nasal cavity entrance is codified as: 1) level, forming a smooth continuous plane; 2) sloped or mildly stepped; or 3) bilevel with a pronounced vertical depression. The frequency of these nasal floor configurations, and their relationship to both nasal margin cresting patterning and a comprehensive set of nasofacial metrics is examined. Neandertals show a high frequency of the bilevel (depressed) configuration in both adults and subadults (80%), but this configuration is also present in lower frequencies in Middle Pleistocene African, Late Pleistocene non-Neandertal (Skhul, Qafzeh), and European Later Upper Paleolithic samples (15%-50%). The bilevel configuration is also present in lower frequencies (ca. 10%) in all recent human samples, but attains nearly 20% in some sub-Saharan African samples. Across extinct and extant Homo (excluding Neandertals), internal nasal floor configuration is not associated with piriform aperture nasal margin patterning, but the two are strongly

  5. Characterizing the Evolutionary Path(s) to Early Homo

    PubMed Central

    Schroeder, Lauren; Roseman, Charles C.; Cheverud, James M.; Ackermann, Rebecca R.

    2014-01-01

    Numerous studies suggest that the transition from Australopithecus to Homo was characterized by evolutionary innovation, resulting in the emergence and coexistence of a diversity of forms. However, the evolutionary processes necessary to drive such a transition have not been examined. Here, we apply statistical tests developed from quantitative evolutionary theory to assess whether morphological differences among late australopith and early Homo species in Africa have been shaped by natural selection. Where selection is demonstrated, we identify aspects of morphology that were most likely under selective pressure, and determine the nature (type, rate) of that selection. Results demonstrate that selection must be invoked to explain an Au. africanus—Au. sediba—Homo transition, while transitions from late australopiths to various early Homo species that exclude Au. sediba can be achieved through drift alone. Rate tests indicate that selection is largely directional, acting to rapidly differentiate these taxa. Reconstructions of patterns of directional selection needed to drive the Au. africanus—Au. sediba—Homo transition suggest that selection would have affected all regions of the skull. These results may indicate that an evolutionary path to Homo without Au. sediba is the simpler path and/or provide evidence that this pathway involved more reliance on cultural adaptations to cope with environmental change. PMID:25470780

  6. Population Genomics Reveals Seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) of the Western Mid-Atlantic Coast to Be Residents Rather than Vagrants

    PubMed Central

    Boehm, J. T.; Waldman, John; Robinson, John D.; Hickerson, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding population structure and areas of demographic persistence and transients is critical for effective species management. However, direct observational evidence to address the geographic scale and delineation of ephemeral or persistent populations for many marine fishes is limited. The Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) can be commonly found in three western Atlantic zoogeographic provinces, though inhabitants of the temperate northern Virginia Province are often considered tropical vagrants that only arrive during warm seasons from the southern provinces and perish as temperatures decline. Although genetics can locate regions of historical population persistence and isolation, previous evidence of Virginia Province persistence is only provisional due to limited genetic sampling (i.e., mitochondrial DNA and five nuclear loci). To test alternative hypotheses of historical persistence versus the ephemerality of a northern Virginia Province population we used a RADseq generated dataset consisting of 11,708 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) sampled from individuals collected from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to Long Island, NY. Concordant results from genomic analyses all infer three genetically divergent subpopulations, and strongly support Virginia Province inhabitants as a genetically diverged and a historically persistent ancestral gene pool. These results suggest that individuals that emerge in coastal areas during the warm season can be considered “local” and supports offshore migration during the colder months. This research demonstrates how a large number of genes sampled across a geographical range can capture the diversity of coalescent histories (across loci) while inferring population history. Moreover, these results clearly demonstrate the utility of population genomic data to infer peripheral subpopulation persistence in difficult-to-observe species. PMID:25629166

  7. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

    It is well-known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 Ma). Using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36380 marine genera, we report a strong 62 {+-} 3 Myr cycle, which is particularly strong in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance, we also consider contributing environmental factors and possible causes.

  8. The Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain): palaeoenvironment and habitats of Homo heidelbergensis during the Middle Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García, Nuria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis

    2011-06-01

    Interpreting how environmental dynamics respond to global climate change and how this has affected human evolution and dispersal is an on-going topic of debate. During the early Middle Pleistocene (˜0.6-0.4 Ma), as compared to earlier, environmental conditions were relatively more stable, with longer climatic cycles alternating between open and forested landscapes. During this interval, humans spread successfully providing an important number of fossil sites where fossils or tools are reported. The Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos (Burgos, northern Spain) site (Atapuerca-SH) is one of the earliest localities with hominin evidence in the European Middle Pleistocene, with the most important accumulation of Homo heidelbergensis so far. We have analyzed the abundant faunal record from Sima de los Huesos, which is mainly comprised of carnivores, in order to approach an interpretation of the palaeoenvironmental circumstances where these hominids inhabited within the Sierra. Other sites from Sierra de Atapuerca referred to the same Faunal Unit (FU 6), are roughly contemporaneous, and include important ungulates, which are here analyzed with Atapuerca-SH. Additional information provided by isotopic analysis helps elucidate the ancient ecology of taxa present in Sima de los Huesos allowing for an accurate portrayal of the setting in which humans lived. The timing of the spread of Homo heidelbergensis is dominated by a relative climatic and environmental stability and points to a landscape dominated by savannah-like open woodland.

  9. Fossil Microorganisms in Archaean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Astafleva, Marina; Hoover, Richard; Rozanov, Alexei; Vrevskiy, A.

    2006-01-01

    Ancient Archean and Proterozoic rocks are the model objects for investigation of rocks comprising astromaterials. The first of Archean fossil microorganisms from Baltic shield have been reported at the last SPIE Conference in 2005. Since this confeence biomorphic structures have been revealed in Archean rocks of Karelia. It was determined that there are 3 types of such bion structures: 1. structures found in situ, in other words microorganisms even-aged with rock matrix, that is real Archean fossils biomorphic structures, that is to say forms inhabited early formed rocks, and 3. younger than Archean-Protherozoic minerali microorganisms, that is later contamination. We made attempt to differentiate these 3 types of findings and tried to understand of burial of microorganisms. The structures belongs (from our point of view) to the first type, or real Archean, forms were under examination. Practical investigation of ancient microorganisms from Green-Stone-Belt of Northern Karelia turns to be very perspective. It shows that even in such ancient time as Archean ancient diverse world existed. Moreover probably such relatively highly organized cyanobacteria and perhaps eukaryotic formes existed in Archean world.

  10. Brain size and thermoregulation during the evolution of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Naya, Daniel E; Naya, Hugo; Lessa, Enrique P

    2016-01-01

    Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of an energetically costly brain in the genus Homo. Some of these hypotheses are based on the correlation between climatic factors and brain size recorded for this genus during the last millions of years. In this study, we propose a complementary climatic hypothesis that is based on the mechanistic connection between temperature, thermoregulation, and size of internal organs in endothermic species. We hypothesized that global cooling during the last 3.2 my may have imposed an increased energy expenditure for thermoregulation, which in the case of hominids could represent a driver for the evolution of an expanded brain, or at least, it could imply the relaxation of a negative selection pressure acting upon this costly organ. To test this idea, here we (1) assess variation in the energetic costs of thermoregulation and brain maintenance for the last 3.2 my, and (2) evaluate the relationship between Earth temperature and brain maintenance cost for the same period, taking into account the effects of body mass and fossil age. We found that: (1) the energetic cost associated with brain enlargement represents an important fraction (between 47.5% and 82.5%) of the increase in energy needed for thermoregulation; (2) fossil age is a better predictor of brain maintenance cost than Earth temperature, suggesting that (at least) another factor correlated with time was more relevant than ambient temperature in brain size evolution; and (3) there is a significant negative correlation between the energetic cost of brain and Earth temperature, even after accounting for the effect of body mass and fossil age. Thus, our results expand the current energetic framework for the study of brain size evolution in our lineage by suggesting that a fall in Earth temperature during the last millions of years may have facilitated brain enlargement. PMID:26435349

  11. Radioactivity in fossils at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

    PubMed

    Farmer, C Neal; Kathren, Ronald L; Christensen, Craig

    2008-08-01

    Since 1996, higher than background levels of naturally occurring radioactivity have been documented in both fossil and mineral deposits at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in south-central Idaho. Radioactive fossil sites occur primarily within an elevation zone of 900-1000 m above sea level and are most commonly found associated with ancient river channels filled with sand. Fossils found in clay rich deposits do not exhibit discernable levels of radioactivity. Out of 300 randomly selected fossils, approximately three-fourths exhibit detectable levels of natural radioactivity ranging from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude above ambient background levels when surveyed with a portable hand held Geiger-Muller survey instrument. Mineral deposits in geologic strata also show above ambient background levels of radioactivity. Radiochemical lab analysis has documented the presence of numerous natural radioactive isotopes. It is postulated that ancient groundwater transported radioactive elements through sand bodies containing fossils which precipitated out of solution during the fossilization process. The elevated levels of natural radioactivity in fossils may require special precautions to ensure that exposures to personnel from stored or displayed items are kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). PMID:18442873

  12. Is Homo heidelbergensis a distinct species? New insight on the Mauer mandible.

    PubMed

    Mounier, Aurélien; Marchal, François; Condemi, Silvana

    2009-03-01

    The discovery of new fossils in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and the recognition of a greater diversity in the middle Pleistocene fossil record, has led to a reconsideration of the species Homo heidelbergensis. This nomen, formulated by Schoetensack in 1908 to describe the Mauer jaw (Germany), was almost forgotten during most of the past century. Numerous fossils have been attributed to it but no consensus has arisen concerning their classification. The holotype anatomical traits are still poorly understood, and numerous fossils with no mandibular remains have been placed in the taxon. Some researchers propose H. heidelbergensis as an Afro-European taxon that is ancestral to both modern humans and Neandertals whereas others think it is a strictly European species that is part of the Neandertal lineage. We focus on the validity of H. heidelbergensis, using the traditional basis of species recognition: anatomical description. We provide a comparative morphological analysis using 47 anatomical traits of 36 Pleistocene fossils from Africa, Asia, and Europe and 35 extant human mandibles. We re-examine the mandibular features of Mauer and discuss the specimen's inclusion in H. heidelbergensis, as well as alternative evolutionary theories. To lend objectivity to specimen grouping, we use multiple correspondence analysis associated with hierarchical classification that creates clusters corresponding to phenetic similarities between jaws. Our phenetic and comparative morphological analyses support the validity of H. heidelbergensis as a taxon. A set of morphological features can be statistically identified for the definition of the species. Some traits can be used to delimit H. heidelbergensis in an evolutionary framework (e.g., foramina mentale posteriorly positioned, horizontal retromolar surface). Those traits are also present on African (e.g., Tighenif) and European (e.g., Sima de los Huesos) specimens that show a close relationship with the Mauer mandible. Therefore, the

  13. Description, new reconstruction, comparative anatomy, and classification of the Sterkfontein Stw 53 cranium, with discussions about the taxonomy of other southern African early Homo remains.

    PubMed

    Curnoe, Darren; Tobias, Phillip V

    2006-01-01

    Specimen Stw 53 was recovered in 1976 from Member 5 of the Sterkfontein Formation. Since its incomplete initial description and comparison, the partial cranium has figured prominently in discussions about the systematics of early Homo. Despite publication of a preliminary reconstruction in 1985, Stw 53 has yet to be compared comprehensively to other Plio-Pleistocene fossils or assessed systematically. In this paper, we report on a new reconstruction of this specimen and provide a detailed description and comparison of its morphology. Our reconstruction differs in important respects from the earlier one, especially in terms of neurocranial length, breadth, and height. However, given that Stw 53 exhibits extensive damage, these dimensions are most likely prone to much error in reconstruction. In areas of well-preserved bone, Stw 53 shares many cranial features with Homo habilis, and we propose retaining it within this species. We also consider the affinities of dental remains from Sterkfontein Member 5, along with those from Swartkrans and Drimolen previously assigned to Homo. We find evidence for sympatry of H. habilis and Australopithecus robustus and possibly Plio-Pleistocene Homo sapiens sensu lato in Sterkfontein Member 5. At Swartkrans and Drimolen, we find evidence of H. habilis. We also compare the morphologies of Stw 53 and SK 847 and find compelling evidence to assign the latter specimen to H. habilis, as has been proposed. PMID:16243378

  14. New hominid fossils from Member 1 of the Swartkrans formation, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Travis Rayne; Heaton, Jason L; Clarke, Ronald J; Sutton, Morris B; Brain, C K; Kuman, Kathleen

    2012-05-01

    Member 1 of the Swartkrans Formation is comprised of two sedimentary infills, the Lower Bank (LB) and the Hanging Remnant (HR). Together, the LB and HR preserve fossils of early Homo and Paranthropus robustus, Earlier Stone Age lithic artifacts, purported bone digging tools and butchered animal bones. Collectively, this evidence was the first to establish the co-existence of two early Pleistocene hominid species and also led to inferences of plant root harvesting and meat-eating by one or both of those species. P. robustus is the more abundant of the two hominids at Swartrkrans, represented in Member 1 by hundreds of fossils that derive from at least 99 individuals. Thus, Swartkrans Member 1 stands as the world's single largest repository of that extinct species. Here we add to the Member 1 sample of hominid fossils with descriptions of 14 newly discovered specimens. PMID:22440747

  15. Fossil energy materials needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, R. T.; Judkins, R. R.

    1980-07-01

    An assessment of needs for materials of construction for fossil energy systems was prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratories staff members who conducted a literature search and interviewed various individuals and organizations that are active in the area of fossil energy technology. Critical materials problems associated with fossil energy systems are identified. Background information relative to the various technologies is given and materials research needed to enhance the viability and improve the economics of fossil energy processes is discussed. The assessment is presented on the basis of materials-related disciplines that impact fossil energy material development. These disciplines include the design-materials interface, materials fabrication technology, corrosion and materials compatibility, wear phenomena, ceramic materials, and nondestructive testing.

  16. Fossils, feet and the evolution of human bipedal locomotion.

    PubMed

    Harcourt-Smith, W E H; Aiello, L C

    2004-05-01

    We review the evolution of human bipedal locomotion with a particular emphasis on the evolution of the foot. We begin in the early twentieth century and focus particularly on hypotheses of an ape-like ancestor for humans and human bipedal locomotion put forward by a succession of Gregory, Keith, Morton and Schultz. We give consideration to Morton's (1935) synthesis of foot evolution, in which he argues that the foot of the common ancestor of modern humans and the African apes would be intermediate between the foot of Pan and Hylobates whereas the foot of a hypothetical early hominin would be intermediate between that of a gorilla and a modern human. From this base rooted in comparative anatomy of living primates we trace changing ideas about the evolution of human bipedalism as increasing amounts of postcranial fossil material were discovered. Attention is given to the work of John Napier and John Robinson who were pioneers in the interpretation of Plio-Pleistocene hominin skeletons in the 1960s. This is the period when the wealth of evidence from the southern African australopithecine sites was beginning to be appreciated and Olduvai Gorge was revealing its first evidence for Homo habilis. In more recent years, the discovery of the Laetoli footprint trail, the AL 288-1 (A. afarensis) skeleton, the wealth of postcranial material from Koobi Fora, the Nariokotome Homo ergaster skeleton, Little Foot (Stw 573) from Sterkfontein in South Africa, and more recently tantalizing material assigned to the new and very early taxa Orrorin tugenensis, Ardipithecus ramidus and Sahelanthropus tchadensis has fuelled debate and speculation. The varying interpretations based on this material, together with changing theoretical insights and analytical approaches, is discussed and assessed in the context of new three-dimensional morphometric analyses of australopithecine and Homo foot bones, suggesting that there may have been greater diversity in human bipedalism in the earlier phases

  17. Fossils, feet and the evolution of human bipedal locomotion

    PubMed Central

    Harcourt-Smith, W E H; Aiello, L C

    2004-01-01

    We review the evolution of human bipedal locomotion with a particular emphasis on the evolution of the foot. We begin in the early twentieth century and focus particularly on hypotheses of an ape-like ancestor for humans and human bipedal locomotion put forward by a succession of Gregory, Keith, Morton and Schultz. We give consideration to Morton's (1935) synthesis of foot evolution, in which he argues that the foot of the common ancestor of modern humans and the African apes would be intermediate between the foot of Pan and Hylobates whereas the foot of a hypothetical early hominin would be intermediate between that of a gorilla and a modern human. From this base rooted in comparative anatomy of living primates we trace changing ideas about the evolution of human bipedalism as increasing amounts of postcranial fossil material were discovered. Attention is given to the work of John Napier and John Robinson who were pioneers in the interpretation of Plio-Pleistocene hominin skeletons in the 1960s. This is the period when the wealth of evidence from the southern African australopithecine sites was beginning to be appreciated and Olduvai Gorge was revealing its first evidence for Homo habilis. In more recent years, the discovery of the Laetoli footprint trail, the AL 288-1 (A. afarensis) skeleton, the wealth of postcranial material from Koobi Fora, the Nariokotome Homo ergaster skeleton, Little Foot (Stw 573) from Sterkfontein in South Africa, and more recently tantalizing material assigned to the new and very early taxa Orrorin tugenensis, Ardipithecus ramidus and Sahelanthropus tchadensis has fuelled debate and speculation. The varying interpretations based on this material, together with changing theoretical insights and analytical approaches, is discussed and assessed in the context of new three-dimensional morphometric analyses of australopithecine and Homo foot bones, suggesting that there may have been greater diversity in human bipedalism in the earlier phases

  18. Limb length and locomotor biomechanics in the genus Homo: an experimental study.

    PubMed

    Gruss, Laura Tobias

    2007-09-01

    The striking variation in limb proportions within the genus Homo during the Pleistocene has important implications for understanding biomechanics in the later evolution of human bipedalism, because longer limbs and limb segments may increase bending moments about bones and joints. This research tested the hypothesis that long lower limbs and tibiae bring about increases in A-P bending forces on the lower limb during the stance phase of human walking. High-speed 3-D video data, force plates, and motion analysis software were used to analyze the walking gait of 27 modern human subjects. Limb length, as well as absolute and relative tibia length, were tested for associations with a number of kinetic and kinematic variables. Results show that individuals with longer limbs do incur greater bending moments along the lower limb during the first half of stance phase. During the second half of stance, individuals moderate bending moments through a complex of compensatory mechanisms, including keeping the knee in a more extended position. Neither absolute nor relative tibia length had any effect on the kinetic or kinematic variables tested. If these patterns apply to fossil Homo, groups with relatively long limbs (e.g. H. ergaster or early H. sapiens) may have experienced elevated bending forces along the lower limb during walking compared to those with relatively shorter limbs (e.g. the Neandertals). These increased forces could have led to greater reinforcement of joints and diaphyses. These results must be considered when formulating explanations for variation in limb morphology among Pleistocene hominins. PMID:17568443

  19. Organic molecules as chemical fossils - The molecular fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eglinton, G.

    1983-01-01

    The study of biochemical clues to the early earth and the origin of life is discussed. The methods used in such investigation are described, including the extraction, fractionation, and analysis of geolipids and the analysis of kerogen. The occurrence of molecular fossils in the geological record is examined, discussing proposed precursor-product relationships and the molecular assessment of deep sea sediments, ancient sediments, and crude petroleums. Alterations in the molecular record due to diagenesis and catagenesis are considered, and the use of microbial lipids as molecular fossils is discussed. The results of searches for molecular fossils in Precambrian sediments are assessed.

  20. Odontometric systematic assessment of the Swartkrans SK 15 mandible.

    PubMed

    Curnoe, D

    2006-01-01

    This study reports a comparison of molar crown and cusp size and shape in the Swartkrans early Homo mandible SK 15 with relevant Plio-Pleistocene taxa. Univariate and multivariate methods are employed to consider the morphological affinities of this specimen and to assess its taxonomy. The case exists for classifying SK 15 in Homo habilis with 11 features aligning it with this species. The results of multivariate studies are consistent with this hypothesis. Moreover, SK 15 lacks a number of important features that characterise the mandibular molars of Homo sapiens erectus. Considerable evidence for parallelism in the dental morphology of SK 15 and H. habilis with A. robustus is discussed. Fossil evidence for the presence of H. sapiens erectus during the Plio-Pleistocene of South Africa presently seems to be lacking. Archaeological interpretations should take greater account of this gap in the fossil record. PMID:16889778

  1. Fossil fuel furnace reactor

    DOEpatents

    Parkinson, William J.

    1987-01-01

    A fossil fuel furnace reactor is provided for simulating a continuous processing plant with a batch reactor. An internal reaction vessel contains a batch of shale oil, with the vessel having a relatively thin wall thickness for a heat transfer rate effective to simulate a process temperature history in the selected continuous processing plant. A heater jacket is disposed about the reactor vessel and defines a number of independent controllable temperature zones axially spaced along the reaction vessel. Each temperature zone can be energized to simulate a time-temperature history of process material through the continuous plant. A pressure vessel contains both the heater jacket and the reaction vessel at an operating pressure functionally selected to simulate the continuous processing plant. The process yield from the oil shale may be used as feedback information to software simulating operation of the continuous plant to provide operating parameters, i.e., temperature profiles, ambient atmosphere, operating pressure, material feed rates, etc., for simulation in the batch reactor.

  2. The Homo Zappiens and its Consequences for Learning in Universities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veen, Wim; van Staalduinen, Jan-Paul

    Homo Zappiens is the new generation that is growing up with modern communication technologies shaping their views on the world around them. Prominent characteristics of Homo Zappiens include their preference for images and symbols as an enrichment of plain text, their seemingly effortless adoption of technology, and their cooperation and sharing in networks. They use technology in a functional manner, not touching what they cannot use, and increasingly this generation seems to take exploration and learning and discovering the world, into their own hands. Homo Zappiens shows us that we can increasingly rely on technology to connect us and allow us to organize and preserve our society as a group. In a networked society, the individual has more room for contributing his/her unique value, and innovation and knowledge reside in a network, rather than in each separate individual. Higher education institutions will evolve towards institutions that will function as hubs in knowledge networks, serving students working in fluid communities of research or learning on subjects of their interest. Realizing that we need a flexible structure for organizing ourselves and the world around us, we can look at Homo Zappiens for a clue.

  3. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume III lists the model equations and a one line definition for equations, in a short, readable format.

  4. The functions of sound production in the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus, and effects of loud ambient noise on its behavior and physiology in captive environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Paul August

    Loud noise in aquaria represents a cacophonous environment for captive fishes. I tested the effects of loud noise on acoustic communication, feeding behavior, courtship behavior, and the stress response of the lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus. Total Root Mean Square (RMS) power of ambient noise to which seahorses are exposed in captivity varies widely but averages 126.1 +/- 0.8 deciBels with reference to one micropascal (dB re: 1 muPa) at the middle of the water column and 133.7 +/- 1.1 dB at the tank bottom, whereas ambient noise in the wild averages 119.6 +/- 3.5 dB. Hearing sensitivity of H. erectus, measured from auditory evoked potentials, demonstrated maximum spectrum-level sensitivities of 105.0 +/- 1.5 dB and 3.5 x 10-3 + 7.6 x 10-4 m/s2 at 200 Hz; which is characteristic of hearing generalists. H. erectus produces acoustic clicks with mean peak spectrum-level amplitudes of 94.3 +/- 0.9 dB at 232 +/- 16 Hz and 1.5 x 10 -3 +/- 1.9 x 10-4 m/s2 at 265 +/- 22 Hz. Frequency matching of clicks to best hearing sensitivity, and estimates of audition of broadband signals suggest that seahorses may hear conspecific clicks, especially in terms of particle motion. Behavioral investigations revealed that clicking did not improve prey capture proficiency. However, animals clicked more often as time progressed in a courtship sequence, and mates performed more courtship behaviors with control animals than with muted animals, lending additional evidence to the role of clicking as an acoustic signal during courtship. Despite loud noise and the role of clicking in communication, masking of the acoustic signal was not demonstrated. Seahorses exposed to loud noise in aquaria for one month demonstrated physiological, chronic stress responses: reduced weight and body condition, and increased heterophil to lymphocyte ratio. Behavioral alterations were characterized by greater mean and variance of activity among animals housed in loud tanks in the first week, followed by

  5. Fossilized bioelectric wire – the trace fossil Trichichnus

    PubMed Central

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-01-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic–anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized “electric wire”. PMID:26290671

  6. Dating Fossil Pollen: A Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Philip

    1992-01-01

    Describes a hands-on simulation in which students determine the age of "fossil" pollen samples based on the pollen types present when examined microscopically. Provides instructions for the preparation of pollen slides. (MDH)

  7. An Introduction to Fossil Plants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, B. A.

    1976-01-01

    Introduces methods of studying fossil plants and of teaching palaeobotany. Brief accounts are given of different types of preservation and where to find specimens. An annotated bibliography is provided. (Author/SL)

  8. Genotype-specific responses of Bromus erectus to elevated CO{sub 2} at different levels of biodiversity and endophyte infection - a field experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Steinger, T.; Groppe, K.; Schmid, B. |

    1995-06-01

    In 1994 we initiated a long-term field experiment in a calcareous grassland to study the effects of elevated CO{sub 2} on individuals, populations, and communities. Clonal replicates of 54 genotypes of the dominant grass Bromus erectus were grown in communities planted at three levels of biodiversity (5-, 12-, 31-species plots) and exposed to ambient and elevated CO{sub 2}. The same genotypes were also individually grown in tubes within the field plots. Some genotypes were infected by the endophytic fungus Epichloee typhina. Elevated CO{sub 2} had no significant effects on plant growth, however, there was large variation among genotypes in all measured characters. A significant CO{sub 2}-by-genotype interaction was found for leaf length in the competition-free tubes. Infection by the endophyte led to the abortion of all inflorescences but increased vegetative growth, especially under competitive conditions.

  9. Earliest human occupations at Dmanisi (Georgian Caucasus) dated to 1.85-1.78 Ma.

    PubMed

    Ferring, Reid; Oms, Oriol; Agustí, Jordi; Berna, Francesco; Nioradze, Medea; Shelia, Teona; Tappen, Martha; Vekua, Abesalom; Zhvania, David; Lordkipanidze, David

    2011-06-28

    The early Pleistocene colonization of temperate Eurasia by Homo erectus was not only a significant biogeographic event but also a major evolutionary threshold. Dmanisi's rich collection of hominin fossils, revealing a population that was small-brained with both primitive and derived skeletal traits, has been dated to the earliest Upper Matuyama chron (ca. 1.77 Ma). Here we present archaeological and geologic evidence that push back Dmanisi's first occupations to shortly after 1.85 Ma and document repeated use of the site over the last half of the Olduvai subchron, 1.85-1.78 Ma. These discoveries show that the southern Caucasus was occupied repeatedly before Dmanisi's hominin fossil assemblage accumulated, strengthening the probability that this was part of a core area for the colonization of Eurasia. The secure age for Dmanisi's first occupations reveals that Eurasia was probably occupied before Homo erectus appears in the East African fossil record. PMID:21646521

  10. Earliest human occupations at Dmanisi (Georgian Caucasus) dated to 1.85–1.78 Ma

    PubMed Central

    Ferring, Reid; Oms, Oriol; Agustí, Jordi; Berna, Francesco; Nioradze, Medea; Shelia, Teona; Tappen, Martha; Vekua, Abesalom; Zhvania, David; Lordkipanidze, David

    2011-01-01

    The early Pleistocene colonization of temperate Eurasia by Homo erectus was not only a significant biogeographic event but also a major evolutionary threshold. Dmanisi's rich collection of hominin fossils, revealing a population that was small-brained with both primitive and derived skeletal traits, has been dated to the earliest Upper Matuyama chron (ca. 1.77 Ma). Here we present archaeological and geologic evidence that push back Dmanisi's first occupations to shortly after 1.85 Ma and document repeated use of the site over the last half of the Olduvai subchron, 1.85–1.78 Ma. These discoveries show that the southern Caucasus was occupied repeatedly before Dmanisi's hominin fossil assemblage accumulated, strengthening the probability that this was part of a core area for the colonization of Eurasia. The secure age for Dmanisi's first occupations reveals that Eurasia was probably occupied before Homo erectus appears in the East African fossil record. PMID:21646521

  11. Quantitative three-dimensional shape analysis of the proximal hallucial metatarsal articular surface in Homo, Pan, Gorilla, and Hylobates.

    PubMed

    Proctor, Daniel J; Broadfield, Douglas; Proctor, Kristopher

    2008-02-01

    Multidimensional morphometrics is used to compare the proximal articular surface of the first metatarsal between Homo, Pan, Gorilla, Hylobates, and the hominin fossils A.L. 333-54 (A. afarensis), SKX 5017 (P. robustus), and OH 8 (H. habilis). Statistically significant differences in articular surface morphology exist between H. sapiens and the apes, and between ape groups. Ape groups are characterized by greater surface depth, an obliquely curved articular surface through the dorso-lateral and medio-plantar regions, and a wider medio-lateral surface relative to the dorso-plantar height. The OH 8 articular surface is indistinguishable from H. sapiens, while A.L. 333-54 and SKX 5017 more closely resemble the apes. P. robustus and A. afarensis exhibit ape-like oblique curvature of the articular surface. PMID:18046775

  12. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans.

    PubMed

    Weaver, Anne H

    2005-03-01

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment. PMID:15731345

  13. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans

    PubMed Central

    Weaver, Anne H.

    2005-01-01

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment. PMID:15731345

  14. Visuospatial integration and human evolution: the fossil evidence.

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; Lozano, Marina; Lorenzo, Carlos

    2016-06-20

    Visuospatial integration concerns the ability to coordinate the inner and outer environments, namely the central nervous system and the outer spatial elements, through the interface of the body. This integration is essential for every basic human activity, from locomotion and grasping to speech or tooling. Visuospatial integration is even more fundamental when dealing with theories on extended mind, embodiment, and material engagement. According to the hypotheses on extended cognition, the nervous system, the body and the external objects work as a single integrated unit, and what we call "mind" is the process resulting from such interaction. Because of the relevance of culture and material culture in humans, important changes in such processes were probably crucial for the evolution of Homo sapiens. Much information in this sense can be supplied by considering issues in neuroarchaeology and cognitive sciences. Nonetheless, fossils and their anatomy can also provide evidence according to changes involving physical and body aspects. In this article, we review three sources of morphological information concerning visuospatial management and fossils: evolutionary neuroanatomy, manipulative behaviors, and hand evolution. PMID:26829574

  15. The frontal bone in the genus Homo: a survey of functional and phylogenetic sources of variation.

    PubMed

    Athreya, Sheela

    2012-01-01

    The frontal bone is a useful aspect of the craniofacial skeleton to study in physical anthropology because it contains several characters considered to be important for both population- and species-level distinctions. These include forehead (frontal squama) inclination and supraorbital morphology. Because it lies at the interface between the anterior neurocranium and the upper face, it is also informative about the evolution of both of these regions of the skull. Previous research on frontal bone morphology can be grouped into two broad categories. One set of studies explored the relationship between craniofacial structure and function in an attempt to explain biological sources of variation in the torus development of various extant primate species, including modern humans. The second group of studies examined geographical and temporal patterns of variation in frontal morphology to make inferences about the phylogenetic relationship relationships among fossil hominin populations in the Pleistocene. This paper offers a review of both phylogenetic and functional studies of variation in frontal bone morphology, and synthesizes them to offer a comprehensive understanding of what the frontal bone can tell us about bio-behavioral and evolutionary differences both among extant and extinct members of the genus Homo. PMID:22781585

  16. Cladistic analysis of continuous modularized traits provides phylogenetic signals in Homo evolution.

    PubMed

    González-José, Rolando; Escapa, Ignacio; Neves, Walter A; Cúneo, Rubén; Pucciarelli, Héctor M

    2008-06-01

    Evolutionary novelties in the skeleton are usually expressed as changes in the timing of growth of features intrinsically integrated at different hierarchical levels of development. As a consequence, most of the shape-traits observed across species do vary quantitatively rather than qualitatively, in a multivariate space and in a modularized way. Because most phylogenetic analyses normally use discrete, hypothetically independent characters, previous attempts have disregarded the phylogenetic signals potentially enclosed in the shape of morphological structures. When analysing low taxonomic levels, where most variation is quantitative in nature, solving basic requirements like the choice of characters and the capacity of using continuous, integrated traits is of crucial importance in recovering wider phylogenetic information. This is particularly relevant when analysing extinct lineages, where available data are limited to fossilized structures. Here we show that when continuous, multivariant and modularized characters are treated as such, cladistic analysis successfully solves relationships among main Homo taxa. Our attempt is based on a combination of cladistics, evolutionary-development-derived selection of characters, and geometric morphometrics methods. In contrast with previous cladistic analyses of hominid phylogeny, our method accounts for the quantitative nature of the traits, and respects their morphological integration patterns. Because complex phenotypes are observable across different taxonomic groups and are potentially informative about phylogenetic relationships, future analyses should point strongly to the incorporation of these types of trait. PMID:18454137

  17. Conductance through a single molecule: transport via HOMO or LUMO?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lagerqvist, Johan; di Ventra, Massimiliano

    2003-03-01

    Many theoretical studies have appeared where the transport properties of single phenyldithiolate molecules have been compared to available experimental results.[1] While many of these studies agree on the shape and magnitude of the current-voltage characteristics, there is still disagreement on which state, HOMO or LUMO, is mainly responsible for the transport across the molecules. Experiments using a molecule adsorbed on a gold surface and probed by an STM tip [2] seem to indicate that transport occurs via the HOMO. In this configuration the sulfur atom that faces the STM tip is bonded to a hydrogen atom, unlike in break-junction experiments.[1] We report first-principles calculations [3] of the transport properties of a phenyldithiolate molecule adsorbed on a metal surface with the opposite contact simulated by a metal surface at various distances from the molecule, mimicking an STM tip. We show that the presence of the hydrogen atom bonded to sulfur pushes the HOMO level of the molecule very close to the Fermi level and the current flows mainly via the HOMO. This study shows that even a single-atom change in the molecule configuration can dramatically affect its transport properties. Work supported in part by NSF, Carilion Biomedical Institute and ACS-Petroleum Research Fund. [1] See, e.g., M. Di Ventra, S.T. Pantelides and N.D. Lang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 979 (2000). [2] W. Tian et. al., J. Chem. Phys. 109, 2874 (1998) [3] N.D. Lang, Phys. Rev. B 52, 5335 (1995); M. Di Ventra and N.D. Lang, Phys. Rev. B 65, 045402 (2002); Z. Yang, A. Tackett and M. Di Ventra, Phys. Rev. B 66, 041405 (2002).

  18. Evolution and dispersal of the genus Homo: A landscape approach.

    PubMed

    Winder, Isabelle C; Devès, Maud H; King, Geoffrey C P; Bailey, Geoffrey N; Inglis, Robyn H; Meredith-Williams, Matthew

    2015-10-01

    The notion of the physical landscape as an arena of ecological interaction and human evolution is a powerful one, but its implementation at larger geographical and temporal scales is hampered by the challenges of reconstructing physical landscape settings in the geologically active regions where the earliest evidence is concentrated. We argue that the inherently dynamic nature of these unstable landscapes has made them important agents of biological change, creating complex topographies capable of selecting for, stimulating, obstructing or accelerating the latent and emerging properties of the human evolutionary trajectory. We use this approach, drawing on the concepts and methods of active tectonics, to develop a new perspective on the origins and dispersal of the Homo genus. We show how complex topography provides an easy evolutionary pathway to full terrestrialisation in the African context, and would have further equipped members of the genus Homo with a suite of adaptive characteristics that facilitated wide-ranging dispersal across ecological and climatic boundaries into Europe and Asia by following pathways of complex topography. We compare this hypothesis with alternative explanations for hominin dispersal, and evaluate it by mapping the distribution of topographic features at varying scales, and comparing the distribution of early Homo sites with the resulting maps and with other environmental variables. PMID:26235482

  19. Travels with the Fossil Hunters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whybrow, Peter J.

    2000-04-01

    Whether dodging bullets in West Africa, or rabid dogs in Pakistan, surviving yak-butter tea in Tibet, or eating raw fish in China, the life of a globe-trotting fossil hunter is often hazardous and always filled with surprises. Travels with the Fossil Hunters lets readers share the wonder, joys of discovery, and excitement of these intrepid scientists. Packed with more than 100 beautiful, full-color photographs, the volume takes readers on twelve expeditions to remote parts of the world in search of diverse fossil remains, from those of dinosaurs to human ancestors. Each expedition by paleontologists from London's Natural History Museum reveals the problems and challenges of working in extreme conditions, from the deserts of the Sahara and Yemen to the frozen wastes of Antarctica, from the mountains of India to the forests of Latvia. Along the way they also describe the paleontology and geology of the countries they visit and the scientific reasons for their expeditions. With a foreword from Sir David Attenborough and an introduction from Richard Fortey, this fascinating book will appeal to amateur and professional fossil hunters alike and to readers interested in accounts of exotic locales. Peter Whybrow is a research scientist at the Natural History Museum, London. His research interests include Arabian Miocene vertebrates, paleoclimates, paleogeography, and biotic diversity. He is senior editor with A. Hill of Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

  20. The massive fossil humerus from the Oldowan horizon of Gombore I, Melka Kunture (Ethiopia, >1.39 Ma)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di Vincenzo, Fabio; Rodriguez, Laura; Carretero, José Miguel; Collina, Carmine; Geraads, Denis; Piperno, Marcello; Manzi, Giorgio

    2015-08-01

    A well-preserved distal portion of a left humerus was discovered in 1976 during excavations directed by J. Chavaillon at the Gombore I site, in the Melka Kunture area (Ethiopia). The specimen, labelled Gombore IB-7594 (formally Melka Kunture 3, or MK3), was found in situ within unit 2 of level B, which is dated to >1.39 Ma and includes a rich Oldowan Paleolithic assemblage. Although MK3 has never been described in detail, it appeared in the literature several times and, from a taxonomic point of view, has been alternatively regarded as Homo, Australopithecus or Paranthropus. According to our analysis, MK3 exhibits a suite of features that fit the variability of the genus Homo and does not display any clear Australopithecus/Paranthropus affinity. Nevertheless, MK3 adds a great deal of variability to the genus Homo, at least as far as the Early Pleistocene fossil record is concerned. In particular, our quantitative approach, which combines traditional morphometric analyses and geometric morphometrics, highlights traits that are uncommon among the Plio-Pleistocene fossil record, while affinities with Mid-to-Late Pleistocene representatives of Homo are observed. In addition, the large size of MK3 suggests that this humerus belonged to an individual whose body weight approached 90 kg, far from the range of body size known for Homo representatives in the Early Pleistocene and as big as those of extant humans or even gorillas. We suggest that such peculiar features are of interest when regarded from an ecological perspective; thus, dimension and morphology of MK3 may be considered as an exaptation that became useful when early humans dispersed to high altitudes such as those of the upper Awash basin on the Ethiopian plateau, at heights above 2000 m.

  1. A Galactic Fossil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-05-01

    How old are the oldest stars? Using ESO's VLT, astronomers recently measured the age of a star located in our Galaxy. The star, a real fossil, is found to be 13.2 billion years old, not very far from the 13.7 billion years age of the Universe. The star, HE 1523-0901, was clearly born at the dawn of time. "Surprisingly, it is very hard to pin down the age of a star", the lead author of the paper reporting the results, Anna Frebel, explains. "This requires measuring very precisely the abundance of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium, a feat only the largest telescopes such as ESO's VLT can achieve." ESO PR Photo 23a/07 ESO PR Photo 23a/07 The 'Cosmic Clock' This technique is analogous to the carbon-14 dating method that has been so successful in archaeology over time spans of up to a few tens of thousands of years. In astronomy, however, this technique must obviously be applied to vastly longer timescales. For the method to work well, the right choice of radioactive isotope is critical. Unlike other, stable elements that formed at the same time, the abundance of a radioactive (unstable) isotope decreases all the time. The faster the decay, the less there will be left of the radioactive isotope after a certain time, so the greater will be the abundance difference when compared to a stable isotope, and the more accurate is the resulting age. Yet, for the clock to remain useful, the radioactive element must not decay too fast - there must still be enough left of it to allow an accurate measurement, even after several billion years. "Actual age measurements are restricted to the very rare objects that display huge amounts of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium," says Norbert Christlieb, co-author of the report. ESO PR Photo 23b/07 ESO PR Photo 23b/07 Uranium Line in the Spectrum of an Old Star Large amounts of these elements have been found in the star HE 1523-0901, an old, relatively bright star that was discovered within the Hamburg/ESO survey [1]. The

  2. The evolution of Homo sapiens denisova and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis miRNA targeting genes in the prenatal and postnatal brain

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Background As the evolution of miRNA genes has been found to be one of the important factors in formation of the modern type of man, we performed a comparative analysis of the evolution of miRNA genes in two archaic hominines, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens denisova, and elucidated the expression of their target mRNAs in bain. Results A comparative analysis of the genomes of primates, including species in the genus Homo, identified a group of miRNA genes having fixed substitutions with important implications for the evolution of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens denisova. The mRNAs targeted by miRNAs with mutations specific for Homo sapiens denisova exhibited enhanced expression during postnatal brain development in modern humans. By contrast, the expression of mRNAs targeted by miRNAs bearing variations specific for Homo sapiens neanderthalensis was shown to be enhanced in prenatal brain development. Conclusions Our results highlight the importance of changes in miRNA gene sequences in the course of Homo sapiens denisova and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis evolution. The genetic alterations of miRNAs regulating the spatiotemporal expression of multiple genes in the prenatal and postnatal brain may contribute to the progressive evolution of brain function, which is consistent with the observations of fine technical and typological properties of tools and decorative items reported from archaeological Denisovan sites. The data also suggest that differential spatial-temporal regulation of gene products promoted by the subspecies-specific mutations in the miRNA genes might have occurred in the brains of Homo sapiens denisova and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, potentially contributing to the cultural differences between these two archaic hominines. PMID:26693966

  3. La position taxinomique du crâne de Zuttiyeh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeitoun, Valéry

    2001-04-01

    Discoveries of new 'one-million-year-old' archaic Homo sapiens or Homo erectus in Europe (Atapuerca, Ceprano) and Africa (Danakil), Homo ergaster in Georgia (Dmanisi) and a more 'elastic' frame for chronological data (1.8 Ma to 46 000 years) in Indonesia lead to build a new paradigm in Palaeoanthropology. In this context, I focus attention on Middle East as a good way for migration in Pleistocene between Africa, Europa and Asia. The research of the taxinomical position of the oldest Middle Eastern human fossil - Zuttiyeh - is put forward as a potential key to clarify the evolutionary scenario for human origin.

  4. Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis and the Denisova specimen: New insights on their evolutionary histories using whole-genome comparisons

    PubMed Central

    Paixão-Côrtes, Vanessa Rodrigues; Viscardi, Lucas Henrique; Salzano, Francisco Mauro; Hünemeier, Tábita; Bortolini, Maria Cátira

    2012-01-01

    After a brief review of the most recent findings in the study of human evolution, an extensive comparison of the complete genomes of our nearest relative, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), of extant Homo sapiens, archaic Homo neanderthalensis and the Denisova specimen were made. The focus was on non-synonymous mutations, which consequently had an impact on protein levels and these changes were classified according to degree of effect. A total of 10,447 non-synonymous substitutions were found in which the derived allele is fixed or nearly fixed in humans as compared to chimpanzee. Their most frequent location was on chromosome 21. Their presence was then searched in the two archaic genomes. Mutations in 381 genes would imply radical amino acid changes, with a fraction of these related to olfaction and other important physiological processes. Eight new alleles were identified in the Neanderthal and/or Denisova genetic pools. Four others, possibly affecting cognition, occured both in the sapiens and two other archaic genomes. The selective sweep that gave rise to Homo sapiens could, therefore, have initiated before the modern/archaic human divergence. PMID:23413113

  5. Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis and the Denisova specimen: New insights on their evolutionary histories using whole-genome comparisons.

    PubMed

    Paixão-Côrtes, Vanessa Rodrigues; Viscardi, Lucas Henrique; Salzano, Francisco Mauro; Hünemeier, Tábita; Bortolini, Maria Cátira

    2012-12-01

    After a brief review of the most recent findings in the study of human evolution, an extensive comparison of the complete genomes of our nearest relative, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), of extant Homo sapiens, archaic Homo neanderthalensis and the Denisova specimen were made. The focus was on non-synonymous mutations, which consequently had an impact on protein levels and these changes were classified according to degree of effect. A total of 10,447 non-synonymous substitutions were found in which the derived allele is fixed or nearly fixed in humans as compared to chimpanzee. Their most frequent location was on chromosome 21. Their presence was then searched in the two archaic genomes. Mutations in 381 genes would imply radical amino acid changes, with a fraction of these related to olfaction and other important physiological processes. Eight new alleles were identified in the Neanderthal and/or Denisova genetic pools. Four others, possibly affecting cognition, occured both in the sapiens and two other archaic genomes. The selective sweep that gave rise to Homo sapiens could, therefore, have initiated before the modern/archaic human divergence. PMID:23413113

  6. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume II provides the model equations with each of their variables defined, while Volume III lists the equations, and a one line definition for equations, in a shorter, more readable format.

  7. Fossil power plant systems description

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This single-volume, looseleaf text presents the functions and relationships between each major component and its auxiliaries within a system. The text also describes the relationships between systems. All major components are addressed, and system boundaries are defined for a generic fossil power plant.

  8. Progress of fossil fuel science

    SciTech Connect

    Demirbas, M.F.

    2007-07-01

    Coal is the most abundant and widely distributed fossil fuel. More than 45% of the world's electricity is generated from coal, and it is the major fuel for generating electricity worldwide. The known coal reserves in the world are enough for more than 215 years of consumption, while the known oil reserves are only about 39 times of the world's consumption and the known natural gas reserves are about 63 times of the world's consumption level in 1998. In recent years, there have been effective scientific investigations on Turkish fossil fuels, which are considerable focused on coal resources. Coal is a major fossil fuel source for Turkey. Turkish coal consumption has been stable over the past decade and currently accounts for about 24% of the country's total energy consumption. Lignite coal has had the biggest share in total fossil fuel production, at 43%, in Turkey. Turkish researchers may investigate ten broad pathways of coal species upgrading, such as desulfurization and oxydesulfurization, pyrolysis and hydropyrolysis, liquefaction and hydroliquefaction, extraction and supercritical fluid extraction, gasification, oxidation, briquetting, flotation, and structure identification.

  9. Fossils of big bang turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, C. H.

    2004-12-01

    A model is proposed connecting turbulence, fossil turbulence, and the big bang origin of the universe. While details are incomplete, the model is consistent with our knowledge of these processes and is supported by observations. Turbulence arises in a hot-big-bang quantum-gravitational-dynamics scenario at Planck scales. Chaotic, eddy-like-motions produce an exothermic Planck particle cascade from 10-35 m at 1032 K to 108 larger, 104 cooler, quark-gluon scales. A Planck-Kerr instability gives high-Reynolds-number (Re 106) turbulent combustion, space-time-energy-entropy and turbulent mixing. Batchelor-Obukhov-Corrsin turbulent-temperature fluctuations are preserved as the first fossil-turbulence by inflation stretching the patterns beyond the horizon ct of causal connection faster than light speed c in time t 10-33 seconds. Fossil-big-bang-temperature-turbulence re-enters the horizon and imprints nucleosynthesis of H-He densities that seed fragmentation by gravity at 1012 s in the low Reynolds number plasma before its transition to gas at t 1013 s and T 3000 K. Multi-scaling coefficients of the cosmic-microwave-background (CMB) temperature anisotropies closely match those for high Reynolds number turbulence, Bershadskii and Sreenivasan 2002, 2003. CMB spectra support the interpretation that big-bang-turbulence-fossils triggered fragmentation of the viscous plasma at supercluster to galaxy mass scales from 1046 to 1042 kg, Gibson 1996, 2000, 2004ab.

  10. An Enlarged Parietal Foramen in the Late Archaic Xujiayao 11 Neurocranium from Northern China, and Rare Anomalies among Pleistocene Homo

    PubMed Central

    Xing, Song

    2013-01-01

    We report here a neurocranial abnormality previously undescribed in Pleistocene human fossils, an enlarged parietal foramen (EPF) in the early Late Pleistocene Xujiayao 11 parietal bones from the Xujiayao (Houjiayao) site, northern China. Xujiayao 11 is a pair of partial posteromedial parietal bones from an adult. It exhibits thick cranial vault bones, arachnoid granulations, a deviated posterior sagittal suture, and a unilateral (right) parietal lacuna with a posteriorly-directed and enlarged endocranial vascular sulcus. Differential diagnosis indicates that the perforation is a congenital defect, an enlarged parietal foramen, commonly associated with cerebral venous and cranial vault anomalies. It was not lethal given the individual’s age-at-death, but it may have been associated with secondary neurological deficiencies. The fossil constitutes the oldest evidence in human evolution of this very rare condition (a single enlarged parietal foramen). In combination with developmental and degenerative abnormalities in other Pleistocene human remains, it suggests demographic and survival patterns among Pleistocene Homo that led to an elevated frequency of conditions unknown or rare among recent humans. PMID:23527224

  11. Fossil Energy: Drivers and Challenges.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedmann, Julio

    2007-04-01

    Concerns about rapid economic growth, energy security, and global climate change have created a new landscape for fossil energy exploration, production, and utilization. Since 85% of primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels, and 85% of greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuel consumption, new and difficult technical and political challenges confront commercial, governmental, and public stakeholders. As such, concerns over climate change are explicitly weighed against security of international and domestic energy supplies, with economic premiums paid for either or both. Efficiency improvements, fuel conservation, and deployment of nuclear and renewable supplies will help both concerns, but are unlikely to offset growth in the coming decades. As such, new technologies and undertakings must both provide high quality fossil energy with minimal environmental impacts. The largest and most difficult of these undertakings is carbon management, wherein CO2 emissions are sequestered indefinitely at substantial incremental cost. Geological formations provide both high confidence and high capacity for CO2 storage, but present scientific and technical challenges. Oil and gas supply can be partially sustained and replaced through exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels such as tar-sands, methane hydrates, coal-to-liquids, and oil shales. These fuels provide enormous reserves that can be exploited at current costs, but generally require substantial energy to process. In most cases, the energy return on investment (EROI) is dropping, and unconventional fuels are generally more carbon intensive than conventional, presenting additional carbon management challenges. Ultimately, a large and sustained science and technology program akin to the Apollo project will be needed to address these concerns. Unfortunately, real funding in energy research has dropped dramatically (75%) in the past three decades, and novel designs in fission and fusion are not likely to provide any

  12. Effects of size and locomotor adaptations on the hominid pelvis: evaluation of australopithecine bipedality with a new multivariate method.

    PubMed

    Berge, C; Kazmierczak, J B

    1986-01-01

    Three pelves and eight innominate bones belonging to the fossil species, Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus robustus, Homo erectus, and Homo sapiens, have been studied biometrically and compared with those of recent humans and apes. A new method of logarithmic factorial analysis suppresses both the size effects and the size reference on pelvic proportions. In combination with principal component analysis it allows specializations to be dissociated from allometrical variations. Some morphological differences on the hominid pelvis prove to be mainly allometric. However, the pelvic morphology of australopithecines is clearly differentiated from that of the genus Homo (including H. erectus, OH 28, KNMER 3227). A. africanus (Sts 14, MLD 7, AL 288) is nearer the humans than is A. robustus (SK 50, SK 3155), which appears to be more specialized in the australopithecine lineage. The pelvic morphology of A. africanus, as integrated with the articular pelvic-femoral link, appears to be biometrically equivalent to that of humans. PMID:3104176

  13. Fossil group origins. VII. Galaxy substructures in fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Boschin, W.; Barrena, R.; del Burgo, C.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Corsini, E. M.; D'Onghia, E.; Kundert, A.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.

    2016-02-01

    Context. Fossil groups (FG) are expected to be the final product of galaxy merging within galaxy groups. In simulations, they are predicted to assemble their mass at high redshift. This early formation allows for the innermost M∗ galaxies to merge into a massive central galaxy. Then, they are expected to maintain their fossil status because of the few interactions with the large-scale structure. In this context, the magnitude gap between the two brightest galaxies of the system is considered a good indicator of its dynamical status. As a consequence, the systems with the largest gaps should be dynamically relaxed. Aims: In order to examine the dynamical status of these systems, we systematically analyze, for the first time, the presence of galaxy substructures in a sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems with redshift z ≤ 0.25. Methods: We apply a number of tests to investigate the substructure in fossil systems in the two-dimensional space of projected positions out to R200. Moreover, for a subsample of five systems with at least 30 spectroscopically-confirmed members we also analyze the substructure in the velocity and in the three-dimensional velocity-position spaces. Additionally, we look for signs of recent mergers in the regions around the central galaxies. Results: We find that an important fraction of fossil systems show substructure. The fraction depends critically on the adopted test, since each test is more sensitive to a particular type of substructure. Conclusions: Our interpretation of the results is that fossil systems are not, in general, as relaxed as expected from simulations. Our sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems need to be extended to compute an accurate fraction, but our conclusion is that this fraction is similar to the fraction of substructure detected in nonfossil clusters. This result points out that the magnitude gap alone is not a good indicator of the dynamical status of a system. However, the

  14. A comparison of tooth structure in Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens sapiens: a radiographic study.

    PubMed Central

    Zilberman, U; Smith, P

    1992-01-01

    Tooth components of 1st and 2nd erupted permanent molars were measured from standardised radiographs of Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Enamel height was greater in Homo sapiens sapiens but pulp height and width and the height of the enamel to floor of the pulp chamber were greater in Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Dentine height, crown width and enamel width showed similar results in the two groups. Unerupted first molars were measured to analyse the influence of function on tooth components and the results obtained were always within the range measured for the erupted teeth. Discriminant analysis between groups, using tooth components, showed accuracy of 93% for identification of Homo sapiens sapiens and 94% for identification of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. The results support the hypothesis of a distinct evolutionary line for the Neanderthals. PMID:1487432

  15. Bayesian analysis of a morphological supermatrix sheds light on controversial fossil hominin relationships

    PubMed Central

    Dembo, Mana; Matzke, Nicholas J.; Mooers, Arne Ø.; Collard, Mark

    2015-01-01

    The phylogenetic relationships of several hominin species remain controversial. Two methodological issues contribute to the uncertainty—use of partial, inconsistent datasets and reliance on phylogenetic methods that are ill-suited to testing competing hypotheses. Here, we report a study designed to overcome these issues. We first compiled a supermatrix of craniodental characters for all widely accepted hominin species. We then took advantage of recently developed Bayesian methods for building trees of serially sampled tips to test among hypotheses that have been put forward in three of the most important current debates in hominin phylogenetics—the relationship between Australopithecus sediba and Homo, the taxonomic status of the Dmanisi hominins, and the place of the so-called hobbit fossils from Flores, Indonesia, in the hominin tree. Based on our results, several published hypotheses can be statistically rejected. For example, the data do not support the claim that Dmanisi hominins and all other early Homo specimens represent a single species, nor that the hobbit fossils are the remains of small-bodied modern humans, one of whom had Down syndrome. More broadly, our study provides a new baseline dataset for future work on hominin phylogeny and illustrates the promise of Bayesian approaches for understanding hominin phylogenetic relationships. PMID:26202999

  16. Bayesian analysis of a morphological supermatrix sheds light on controversial fossil hominin relationships.

    PubMed

    Dembo, Mana; Matzke, Nicholas J; Mooers, Arne Ø; Collard, Mark

    2015-08-01

    The phylogenetic relationships of several hominin species remain controversial. Two methodological issues contribute to the uncertainty-use of partial, inconsistent datasets and reliance on phylogenetic methods that are ill-suited to testing competing hypotheses. Here, we report a study designed to overcome these issues. We first compiled a supermatrix of craniodental characters for all widely accepted hominin species. We then took advantage of recently developed Bayesian methods for building trees of serially sampled tips to test among hypotheses that have been put forward in three of the most important current debates in hominin phylogenetics--the relationship between Australopithecus sediba and Homo, the taxonomic status of the Dmanisi hominins, and the place of the so-called hobbit fossils from Flores, Indonesia, in the hominin tree. Based on our results, several published hypotheses can be statistically rejected. For example, the data do not support the claim that Dmanisi hominins and all other early Homo specimens represent a single species, nor that the hobbit fossils are the remains of small-bodied modern humans, one of whom had Down syndrome. More broadly, our study provides a new baseline dataset for future work on hominin phylogeny and illustrates the promise of Bayesian approaches for understanding hominin phylogenetic relationships. PMID:26202999

  17. Fossil hominin shoulders support an African ape-like last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees.

    PubMed

    Young, Nathan M; Capellini, Terence D; Roach, Neil T; Alemseged, Zeresenay

    2015-09-22

    Reconstructing the behavioral shifts that drove hominin evolution requires knowledge of the timing, magnitude, and direction of anatomical changes over the past ∼6-7 million years. These reconstructions depend on assumptions regarding the morphotype of the Homo-Pan last common ancestor (LCA). However, there is little consensus for the LCA, with proposed models ranging from African ape to orangutan or generalized Miocene ape-like. The ancestral state of the shoulder is of particular interest because it is functionally associated with important behavioral shifts in hominins, such as reduced arboreality, high-speed throwing, and tool use. However, previous morphometric analyses of both living and fossil taxa have yielded contradictory results. Here, we generated a 3D morphospace of ape and human scapular shape to plot evolutionary trajectories, predict ancestral morphologies, and directly test alternative evolutionary hypotheses using the hominin fossil evidence. We show that the most parsimonious model for the evolution of hominin shoulder shape starts with an African ape-like ancestral state. We propose that the shoulder evolved gradually along a single morphocline, achieving modern human-like configuration and function within the genus Homo. These data are consistent with a slow, progressive loss of arboreality and increased tool use throughout human evolution. PMID:26351685

  18. Age and context of the oldest known hominin fossils from Flores.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Storey, Michael; Kurniawan, Iwan; Alloway, Brent V; Setiawan, Ruly; Setiyabudi, Erick; Grün, Rainer; Moore, Mark W; Yurnaldi, Dida; Puspaningrum, Mika R; Wibowo, Unggul P; Insani, Halmi; Sutisna, Indra; Westgate, John A; Pearce, Nick J G; Duval, Mathieu; Meijer, Hanneke J M; Aziz, Fachroel; Sutikna, Thomas; van der Kaars, Sander; Flude, Stephanie; Morwood, Michael J

    2016-06-01

    Recent excavations at the early Middle Pleistocene site of Mata Menge in the So'a Basin of central Flores, Indonesia, have yielded hominin fossils attributed to a population ancestral to Late Pleistocene Homo floresiensis. Here we describe the age and context of the Mata Menge hominin specimens and associated archaeological findings. The fluvial sandstone layer from which the in situ fossils were excavated in 2014 was deposited in a small valley stream around 700 thousand years ago, as indicated by (40)Ar/(39)Ar and fission track dates on stratigraphically bracketing volcanic ash and pyroclastic density current deposits, in combination with coupled uranium-series and electron spin resonance dating of fossil teeth. Palaeoenvironmental data indicate a relatively dry climate in the So'a Basin during the early Middle Pleistocene, while various lines of evidence suggest the hominins inhabited a savannah-like open grassland habitat with a wetland component. The hominin fossils occur alongside the remains of an insular fauna and a simple stone technology that is markedly similar to that associated with Late Pleistocene H. floresiensis. PMID:27279222

  19. Fossil groups of galaxies: Are they groups? Are they fossils?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dupke, Renato de Alencar; Miller, Eric; de Oliveira, Claudia Mendes; Sodre, Laerte; Rykoff, Eli; de Oliveira, Raimundo Lopes; Proctor, Rob

    2010-11-01

    Fossil groups present a puzzle to current theories of structure formation. Despite the low number of bright galaxies, their high velocity dispersions and high TX indicate cluster-like potential wells. Measured concentration parameters seem very high indicating early formation epochs in contradiction with the observed lack of large and well defined cooling cores. There are very few fossil groups with good quality X-ray data and their idiosyncrasies may enhance these apparent contradictions. The standard explanation for their formation suggests that bright galaxies within half the virial radii of these systems were wiped out by cannibalism forming the central galaxy. Since dry mergers, typically invoked to explain the formation of the central galaxies, are not expected to change the IGM energetics significantly, thus not preventing the formation of cooling cores, we investigate the scenario where recent gaseous (wet) mergers formed the central galaxy injecting energy and changing the chemistry of the IGM in fossil groups. We show a test for this scenario using fossil groups with enough X-ray flux in the Chandra X-ray Observatory archive by looking at individual metal abundance ratio distributions near the core. Secondary SN II powered winds would tend to erase the dominance of SN IA ejecta in the core of these systems and would help to erase previously existing cold cores. Strong SN II-powered galactic winds resulting from galaxy merging would be trapped by their deep potential wells reducing the central enhancement of SN Ia/SN II iron mass fraction ratio. The results indicate that there is a decrement in the ratio of SN Ia to SN II iron mass fraction in the central regions of the systems analyzed, varying from 99±1% in the outer regions to 85±2% within the cooling radius (Figure 1) and would inject enough energy into the IGM preventing central gas cooling. The results are consistent with a scenario of later formation epoch for fossil groups, as they are defined

  20. Synthesis and properties of coumaric acid derivative homo-polymers.

    PubMed

    Thi, Tran Hang; Matsusaki, Michiya; Shi, Dongjian; Kaneko, Tatsuo; Akashi, Mitsuru

    2008-01-01

    Poly(4-hydroxycinnamic acid) (P4HCA), poly(3-hydroxycinnamic acid) (P3HCA), poly(3-methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamic acid) (PMHCA) and poly(3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid) (PDHCA) were synthesized by the thermal poly-condensation of the corresponding monomers, which are lignin precursors, coumaric acid derivatives consisting of cinnamoyl groups and different position and number of OH groups. The solubility of the homo-polymers in organic solvents decreased in the order of P3HCA > PDHCA > P4HCA > PMHCA. The wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) results indicated that P4HCA or PMHCA with p-OH group had higher crystallinity, in contrast to P3HCA or PDHCA with m-OH group which had lower crystallinity. Crossed-polarizing microscopy suggested that P4HCA had the nematic liquid crystal properties at 220 degrees C and PDHCA showed birefringence properties at 200 degrees C. In cell-adhesion tests, PDHCA showed the highest cell adhesion (ca. 70%), whereas P3HCA, P4HCA and PMHCA had 50, 18 and 10% cell adhesion, respectively. The coumaric acid derivative homo-polymers can be useful as cell adhesion controllable thermotropic polymers for biomedical and environmental fields. PMID:18177555

  1. Shared Pattern of Endocranial Shape Asymmetries among Great Apes, Anatomically Modern Humans, and Fossil Hominins

    PubMed Central

    Balzeau, Antoine; Gilissen, Emmanuel; Grimaud-Hervé, Dominique

    2012-01-01

    Anatomical asymmetries of the human brain are a topic of major interest because of their link with handedness and cognitive functions. Their emergence and occurrence have been extensively explored in human fossil records to document the evolution of brain capacities and behaviour. We quantified for the first time antero-posterior endocranial shape asymmetries in large samples of great apes, modern humans and fossil hominins through analysis of “virtual” 3D models of skull and endocranial cavity and we statistically test for departures from symmetry. Once based on continuous variables, we show that the analysis of these brain asymmetries gives original results that build upon previous analysis based on discrete traits. In particular, it emerges that the degree of petalial asymmetries differs between great apes and hominins without modification of their pattern. We indeed demonstrate the presence of shape asymmetries in great apes, with a pattern similar to modern humans but with a lower variation and a lower degree of fluctuating asymmetry. More importantly, variations in the position of the frontal and occipital poles on the right and left hemispheres would be expected to show some degree of antisymmetry when population distribution is considered, but the observed pattern of variation among the samples is related to fluctuating asymmetry for most of the components of the petalias. Moreover, the presence of a common pattern of significant directional asymmetry for two components of the petalias in hominids implicates that the observed traits were probably inherited from the last common ancestor of extant African great apes and Homo sapiens. These results also have important implications for the possible relationships between endocranial shape asymmetries and functional capacities in hominins. It emphasizes the uncoupling between lateralized activities, some of them well probably distinctive to Homo, and large-scale cerebral lateralization itself, which is not

  2. Comparative 3D quantitative analyses of trapeziometacarpal joint surface curvatures among living catarrhines and fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Marzke, M W; Tocheri, M W; Steinberg, B; Femiani, J D; Reece, S P; Linscheid, R L; Orr, C M; Marzke, R F

    2010-01-01

    Comparisons of joint surface curvature at the base of the thumb have long been made to discern differences among living and fossil primates in functional capabilities of the hand. However, the complex shape of this joint makes it difficult to quantify differences among taxa. The purpose of this study is to determine whether significant differences in curvature exist among selected catarrhine genera and to compare these genera with hominin fossils in trapeziometacarpal curvature. Two 3D approaches are used to quantify curvatures of the trapezial and metacarpal joint surfaces: (1) stereophotogrammetry with nonuniform rational B-spline (NURBS) calculation of joint curvature to compare modern humans with captive chimpanzees and (2) laser scanning with a quadric-based calculation of curvature to compare modern humans and wild-caught Pan, Gorilla, Pongo, and Papio. Both approaches show that Homo has significantly lower curvature of the joint surfaces than does Pan. The second approach shows that Gorilla has significantly more curvature than modern humans, while Pongo overlaps with humans and African apes. The surfaces in Papio are more cylindrical and flatter than in Homo. Australopithecus afarensis resembles African apes more than modern humans in curvatures, whereas the Homo habilis trapezial metacarpal surface is flatter than in all genera except Papio. Neandertals fall at one end of the modern human range of variation, with smaller dorsovolar curvature. Modern human topography appears to be derived relative to great apes and Australopithecus and contributes to the distinctive human morphology that facilitates forceful precision and power gripping, fundamental to human manipulative activities. PMID:19544574

  3. FOSSIL SPRINGS ROADLESS AREA, ARIZONA.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beard, L.S.; Ellis, C.E.

    1984-01-01

    Based on field studies, the Fossil Springs Roadless Area in central Arizona is concluded to have little promise for the occurrence of mineral or energy resources. Rocks in the Supai Formation (Pennsylvanian-Permian) near the central part of the roadless area contain widespread but spotty copper mineralization and trace amounts of uranium. Analyses obtained during the study define geochemical anomalies in two portions of the area that remain unexplained. The suites of anomalous metals suggest the possibility of hydrothermal veins and the presence of ultramafic rocks; neither were found in the field. Although there is little promise for the occurrence of mineral resources in the Fossil Springs Roadless Area, studies to identify the source of the geochemical anomalies could have valuable implications for regional studies and mineral exploration in the surrounding area.

  4. Revised stratigraphy of Area 123, Koobi Fora, Kenya, and new age estimates of its fossil mammals, including hominins.

    PubMed

    Gathogo, Patrick N; Brown, Francis H

    2006-11-01

    Recent geologic study shows that all hominins and nearly all other published mammalian fossils from Paleontological Collection Area 123, Koobi Fora, Kenya, derive from levels between the KBS Tuff (1.87+/-0.02 Ma) and the Lower Ileret Tuff (1.53+/-0.01 Ma). More specifically, the fossils derive from 53 m of section below the Lower Ileret Tuff, an interval in which beds vary markedly laterally, especially those units containing molluscs and algal stromatolites. The upper Burgi Member (approximately 2.00-1.87 Ma) crops out only in the southwestern part of Area 123. Adjacent Area 110 contains larger exposures of the member, and there the KBS Tuff is preserved as an airfall ash in lacustrine deposits and also as a fluvially redeposited ash. We observed no mammalian fossils in situ in this member in Area 123, but surface specimens have been documented in some monographic treatments. Fossil hominins from Area 123 were attributed to strata above the KBS Tuff in the 1970s, but later they were assigned to strata below the KBS Tuff (now called the upper Burgi Member). This study definitively places the Area 123 hominins in the KBS Member. Most of these hominins are between 1.60 and 1.65 myr in age, but the youngest may date to only 1.53 Ma, and the oldest, to 1.75 Ma. All are 0.15-0.30 myr younger than previously estimated. The new age estimates, in conjunction with published taxonomic attributions of fossils, suggest that at least two species of Homo coexisted in the region along with A. boisei until at least 1.65 Ma. Comparison of crania KNM-ER 1813 and KNM-ER 1470, which were believed to be of comparable age, is at the focus of the debate over whether Homo habilis sensu lato is in fact composed of two species: Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis. These two crania are separated in time by approximately 0.25 myr, and therefore, arguments for their conspecificity no longer need to confront the issue of unusually high contemporaneous variation within a single species. PMID

  5. Looking at Fossils in New Ways

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    2005-01-01

    Existing fossils could be studied from a different prospective with the use of new methods of analysis for gathering more information. The new techniques of studying fossils binds the new and the old techniques and information and provides another way to look at fossils.

  6. Cycads: Fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mamay, S.H.

    1969-01-01

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  7. Liquid fossil-fuel technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1982-07-01

    Highlights of research activities at Bartlesville Energy Technology Center for the quarter ending March 1982 are summarized. Major research areas are: liquid fossil fuel cycle; extraction (resource assessment and enhanced production); processing (characterization, thermodynamics, processing technology); utilization; and product integration and technology transfer. Special reports include: EOR data base, major new industry tool; properties of crude oils available via telephone hookup; alternative fuels data bank stresses transportation.

  8. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  9. Evaluating the transitional mosaic: frameworks of change from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens in eastern Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, William; White, Dustin; Lewis, Mark; Stringer, Chris

    2015-06-01

    Defining varying spatial and temporal analytical scales is essential before evaluating the responses of late Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens to Abrupt Environmental Transitions (AETs) and environmental disasters for the period 130-25 ka. Recent advances in addressing the population histories and interactions (using both genetic and archaeological evidence) of Neanderthals and H. sapiens have encouraged consideration of more subtle dynamics of archaeological change. Descriptions of change based on methodologies pioneered some 160 years ago are no longer adequate to explain the patterning we now see in the record. New chronological results, using multiple dating methods, allow us to begin to unpick the spatial and temporal scales of change. Isochronic markers (such as specific volcanic eruptions) can be used to create temporal frameworks (lattices), and results from other dating techniques compared against them. A combination of chronological lattices and direct dating of diagnostic artefacts and human fossils permits us, for the first time, to have greater confidence in connecting human (recent hominin) species and their behavioural responses to environmental conditions, and in quantifying scales of change over time and space (time-transgression). The timing of innovations, particularly those in bone, antler and ivory, can be directly quantified and tested, and used to re-evaluate longstanding models of cultural change. This paper also uses these new chronologies to explore the ecologies of late Neanderthals and early H. sapiens: their population densities, mobilities, resources exploited and possible interactions. Environmental productivity estimates are used to generate new questions of potential population densities and mobilities, and thus the sensitivity of these groups to environmental perturbations. Scales and intensities of effect on environments from natural disasters and AETs (notably Heinrich Events and the Campanian Ignimbrite eruption) are defined

  10. The human cranial remains from Gran Dolina Lower Pleistocene site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain).

    PubMed

    Arsuaga, J L; Martínez, I; Lorenzo, C; Gracia, A; Muñoz, A; Alonso, O; Gallego, J

    1999-01-01

    In this article we study the cranial remains of the late Lower Pleistocene human fossils from Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain), assigned to the new species Homo antecessor. The cranial remains belong to at least five individuals, both juveniles and adults. The most outstanding feature is the totally modern human morphology of the very complete face ATD6-69, representing the earliest occurrence of the modern face in the fossil record. The Gran Dolina fossils show in the face a suite of modern human apomorphies not found in earlier hominids nor in contemporary or earlier Homo erectus fossils. There are also traits in the Gran Dolina fossils shared with both Neandertals and modern humans, which reinforce the hypothesis that Neandertals and modern humans form a clade, and that the Gran Dolina fossils are a common ancestor to both lineages. PMID:10496996

  11. THE NATURE OF FOSSIL GALAXY GROUPS: ARE THEY REALLY FOSSILS?

    SciTech Connect

    La Barbera, F.; Sorrentino, G.; De Carvalho, R. R.; De la Rosa, I. G.; Gal, R. R.; Kohl-Moreira, J. L.

    2009-04-15

    We use SDSS-DR4 photometric and spectroscopic data out to redshift z {approx} 0.1 combined with ROSAT All Sky Survey X-ray data to produce a sample of 25 fossil groups (FGs), defined as bound systems dominated by a single, luminous elliptical galaxy with extended X-ray emission. We examine possible biases introduced by varying the parameters used to define the sample, and the main pitfalls are also discussed. The spatial density of FGs, estimated via the V/V {sub MAX} test, is 2.83 x 10{sup -6} h {sup 3} {sub 75} Mpc{sup -3} for L{sub X} > 0.89 x 10{sup 42} h {sup -2} {sub 75} erg s{sup -1} consistent with Vikhlinin et al., who examined an X-ray overluminous elliptical galaxy sample (OLEG). We compare the general properties of FGs identified here with a sample of bright field ellipticals generated from the same data set. These two samples show no differences in the distribution of neighboring faint galaxy density excess, distance from the red sequence in the color-magnitude diagram, and structural parameters such as a {sub 4} and internal color gradients. Furthermore, examination of stellar populations shows that our 25 FGs have similar ages, metallicities, and {alpha}-enhancement as the bright field ellipticals, undermining the idea that these systems represent fossils of a physical mechanism that occurred at high redshift. Our study reveals no difference between FGs and field ellipticals, suggesting that FGs might not be a distinct family of true fossils, but rather the final stage of mass assembly in the universe.

  12. Crystal structure of Homo sapiens protein LOC79017

    SciTech Connect

    Bae, Euiyoung; Bingman, Craig A.; Aceti, David J.; Phillips, Jr., George N.

    2010-02-08

    LOC79017 (MW 21.0 kDa, residues 1-188) was annotated as a hypothetical protein encoded by Homo sapiens chromosome 7 open reading frame 24. It was selected as a target by the Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics (CESG) because it did not share more than 30% sequence identity with any protein for which the three-dimensional structure is known. The biological function of the protein has not been established yet. Parts of LOC79017 were identified as members of uncharacterized Pfam families (residues 1-95 as PB006073 and residues 104-180 as PB031696). BLAST searches revealed homologues of LOC79017 in many eukaryotes, but none of them have been functionally characterized. Here, we report the crystal structure of H. sapiens protein LOC79017 (UniGene code Hs.530024, UniProt code O75223, CESG target number go.35223).

  13. Homo Heuristicus: Less-is-More Effects in Adaptive Cognition

    PubMed Central

    Brighton, Henry; Gigerenzer, Gerd

    2012-01-01

    Heuristics are efficient cognitive processes that ignore information. In contrast to the widely held view that less processing reduces accuracy, the study of heuristics shows that less information, computation, and time can in fact improve accuracy. We discuss some of the major progress made so far, focusing on the discovery of less-is-more effects and the study of the ecological rationality of heuristics which examines in which environments a given strategy succeeds or fails, and why. Homo heuristicus has a biased mind and ignores part of the available information, yet a biased mind can handle uncertainty more efficiently and robustly than an unbiased mind relying on more resource-intensive and general-purpose processing strategies. PMID:23613644

  14. Atavisms in homo sapiens: a Bolkian heterodoxy revisited.

    PubMed

    Verhulst, J

    1996-03-01

    An atavism is the "..reappearance of a lost character (morphology or behaviour) typical of remote ancestors and not seen in the parents or recent ancestors of the organisms displaying the atavistic character" (Hall, 1984). In humans, hypertrichosis (extensive body hair), the presence of a tail and supernumerary nipples are often quoted as examples (Hall, 1995). However, Louis Bolk (1866-1930) explained these phenomena in another way. He considered human morphology as an unspecialized expression of the mammalian developmental pattern. The latter also encompasses potentialities for unilateral or propulsive development pathways (specializations) that usually remain latent in humans, but can become expressed in other species. According to Bolk, the appearance of so-called atavisms in human results from the occasional expression of these latencies in Homo sapiens; they do not recapitulate ancestral conditions. PMID:8693850

  15. Cognitive inferences in fossil apes (Primates, Hominoidea): does encephalization reflect intelligence?

    PubMed

    Alba, David M

    2010-01-01

    Paleobiological inferences on general cognitive abilities (intelligence) in fossil hominoids strongly rely on relative brain size or encephalization, computed by means of allometric residuals, quotients or constants. Th is has been criticized on the basis that it presumably fails to reflect the higher intelligence of great apes, and absolute brain size has been favored instead. Many problems of encephalization metrics stem from the decrease of allometric slopes towards lower taxonomic level, thus making it difficult to determine at what level encephalization metrics have biological meaning. Here, the hypothesis that encephalization can be used as a good neuroanatomical proxy for intelligence is tested at two different taxonomic levels. A significant correlation is found between intelligence and encephalization only at a lower taxonomic level, i.e. on the basis of a low allometric slope, irrespective of whether species data or independent contrasts are employed. This indicates that higher-level slopes, resulting from encephalization grade shifts between subgroups (including hylobatids vs. great apes), do not reflect functional equivalence, whereas lower-level metrics can be employed as a paleobiological proxy for intelligence. Thus, in accordance to intelligence rankings, lower-level metrics indicate that great apes are more encephalized than both monkeys and hylobatids. Regarding fossil taxa, encephalization increased during hominin evolution (particularly in Homo), but during the Miocene a significant shift towards higher encephalization (and inferred enhanced cognitive abilities) must have been also involved in the emergence of the great-ape-and-human clade (Hominidae). This is confirmed by the modern great-ape-like degree of encephalization displayed by the fossil great ape Hispanopithecus, which contrasts with the rather hylobatid-like degree of the stem hominoid Proconsul. The similarly low encephalization of Oreopithecus might result from secondary reduction

  16. Virtual reconstruction of modern and fossil hominoid crania: consequences of reference sample choice.

    PubMed

    Senck, Sascha; Bookstein, Fred L; Benazzi, Stefano; Kastner, Johann; Weber, Gerhard W

    2015-05-01

    Most hominin cranial fossils are incomplete and require reconstruction prior to subsequent analyses. Missing data can be estimated by geometric morphometrics using information from complete specimens, for example, by using thin-plate splines. In this study, we estimate missing data in several virtually fragmented models of hominoid crania (Homo, Pan, Pongo) and fossil hominins (e.g., Australopithecus africanus, Homo heidelbergensis). The aim is to investigate in which way different references influence estimations of cranial shape and how this information can be employed in the reconstruction of fossils. We used a sample of 64 three-dimensional digital models of complete human, chimpanzee, and orangutan crania and a set of 758 landmarks and semilandmarks. The virtually knocked out neurocranial and facial areas that were reconstructed corresponded to those of a real case found in A.L. 444-2 (A. afarensis) cranium. Accuracy of multiple intraspecies and interspecies reconstructions was computed as the maximum square root of the mean squared difference between the original and the reconstruction (root mean square). The results show that the uncertainty in reconstructions is a function of both the geometry of the knockout area and the dissimilarity between the reference sample and the specimen(s) undergoing reconstruction. We suggest that it is possible to estimate large missing cranial areas if the shape of the reference is similar enough to the shape of the specimen reconstructed, though caution must be exercised when employing these reconstructions in subsequent analyses. We provide a potential guide for the choice of the reference by means of bending energy. PMID:25689596

  17. A Critical Discourse Analysis of "No Promo Homo" Policies in US Schools

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barrett, Brian; Bound, Arron M.

    2015-01-01

    This article presents a critical discourse analysis of "no promo homo" policies and their effects in US schools. "No promo homo"--short for "no promotion of homosexuality" (Eskridge, 2000, p. 1329)--polices have been adopted across nine states and several local school districts in the United States. They direct…

  18. Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Andrew P; Charnov, Eric L

    2006-01-01

    Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 °C at 12 kg to approximately 41 °C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy. PMID:16817695

  19. Fossil energy program. Summary document

    SciTech Connect

    1980-05-01

    This program summary document presents a comprehensive overview of the research, development, and demonstration (RD and D) activities that will be performed in FY 1981 by the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE), US Department of Energy (DOE). The ASFE technology programs for the fossil resources of coal, petroleum (including oil shale) and gas have been established with the goal of making substantive contributions to the nation's future supply and efficienty use of energy. On April 29, 1977, the Administration submitted to Congress the National Energy Plan (NEP) and accompanying legislative proposals designed to establish a coherent energy policy structure for the United States. Congress passed the National Energy Act (NEA) on October 15, 1978, which allows implementation of the vital parts of the NEP. The NEP was supplemented by additional energy policy statements culminating in the President's address on July 15, 1979, presenting a program to further reduce dependence on imported petroleum. The passage of the NEA-related energy programs represent specific steps by the Administration and Congress to reorganize, redirect, and clarify the role of the Federal Government in the formulation and execution of national energy policy and programs. The energy technology RD and D prog4rams carried out by ASFE are an important part of the Federal Government's effort to provide the combination and amounts of energy resources needed to ensure national security and continued economic growth.

  20. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Devendorf, D.; Kulczycky, T.G. )

    1991-05-01

    A necessity for many utilities today is the cycling of their fossil units. Fossil plants with their higher fuel costs are being converted to cycling operation to accommodate daily load swings and to decrease the overall system fuel costs. For a large oil-fired unit, such as Oswego Steam Station Unit 5, millions of dollars can be saved annually in fuel costs if the unit operates in a two-shift mode. However, there are also penalties attributable to cycling operation which are associated with availability and thermal performance. The objectives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation were to minimize the losses in availability and performance, and the degradation in the life of the equipment by incorporating certain cycling modifications into the unit. The objective of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of three of these cycling modifications: (1) the superheater and turbine bypass (Hot Restart System), (2) the use of variable pressure operation, and (3) the full-flow condensate polishing system. To meet this objective, Unit 5 was tested using the cycling modifications, and a dynamic mathematical model of this unit was developed using the Modular Modeling System (MMS) Code from EPRI. This model was used to evaluate various operating modes and to assist in the assessment of operating procedures. 15 refs., 41 figs., 22 tabs.

  1. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1993-11-01

    The Office of Program Analysis of the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned this study to evaluate and prioritize research needs in fossil energy biotechnology. The objectives were to identify research initiatives in biotechnology that offer timely and strategic options for the more efficient and effective uses of the Nation's fossil resource base, particularly the early identification of new and novel applications of biotechnology for the use or conversion of domestic fossil fuels. Fossil energy biotechnology consists of a number of diverse and distinct technologies, all related by the common denominator -- biocatalysis. The expert panel organized 14 technical subjects into three interrelated biotechnology programs: (1) upgrading the fuel value of fossil fuels; (2) bioconversion of fossil feedstocks and refined products to added value chemicals; and (3) the development of environmental management strategies to minimize and mitigate the release of toxic and hazardous petrochemical wastes.

  2. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Cady, Sherry; Desmarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    To create a comparative framework for the study of ancient examples, we have been carrying out parallel studies of the microbial biosedimentology, taphonomy and geochemistry of modem and sub-Recent thermal spring deposits. One goal of the research is the development of integrated litho- and taphofacies models for siliceous and travertline sinters. Thermal springs are regarded as important environments for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and we seek to utilize information from the fossil record to reconstruct the evolution of high temperature ecosystems. Microbial contributions to the fabric of thermal spring sinters occur when population growth rates keep pace with, or exceed rates of inorganic precipitation, allowing for the development of continuous biofilms or mats. In siliceous thermal springs, microorganisms are typically entombed while viable. Modes of preservation reflect the balance between rates of organic matter degradation, silica precipitation and secondary infilling. Subaerial sinters are initially quite porous and permeable and at temperatures higher than about 20 C, organic materials are usually degraded prior to secondary infilling of sinter frameworks. Thus, organically-preserved microfossils are rare and fossil information consists of characteristic biofabrics formed by the encrustation and underplating of microbial mat surfaces. This probably accounts for the typically low total organic carbon values observed in thermal spring deposits. In mid-temperature, (approx. 35 - 59 C) ponds and outflows, the surface morphology of tufted Phormidium mats is preserved through mat underplating by thin siliceous: crusts. Microbial taxes lead to clumping of ceils and/or preferred filament orientations that together define higher order composite fabrics in thermal spring stromatolites (e.g. network, coniform, and palisade). At lower temperatures (less than 35 C), Calothrix mats cover shallow terracette pools forming flat carpets or pustular

  3. Non-random distribution of homo-repeats: links with biological functions and human diseases.

    PubMed

    Lobanov, Michail Yu; Klus, Petr; Sokolovsky, Igor V; Tartaglia, Gian Gaetano; Galzitskaya, Oxana V

    2016-01-01

    The biological function of multiple repetitions of single amino acids, or homo-repeats, is largely unknown, but their occurrence in proteins has been associated with more than 20 hereditary diseases. Analysing 122 bacterial and eukaryotic genomes, we observed that the number of proteins containing homo-repeats is significantly larger than expected from theoretical estimates. Analysis of statistical significance indicates that the minimal size of homo-repeats varies with amino acid type and proteome. In an attempt to characterize proteins harbouring long homo-repeats, we found that those containing polar or small amino acids S, P, H, E, D, K, Q and N are enriched in structural disorder as well as protein- and RNA-interactions. We observed that E, S, Q, G, L, P, D, A and H homo-repeats are strongly linked with occurrence in human diseases. Moreover, S, E, P, A, Q, D and T homo-repeats are significantly enriched in neuronal proteins associated with autism and other disorders. We release a webserver for further exploration of homo-repeats occurrence in human pathology at http://bioinfo.protres.ru/hradis/. PMID:27256590

  4. Non-random distribution of homo-repeats: links with biological functions and human diseases

    PubMed Central

    Lobanov, Michail Yu.; Klus, Petr; Sokolovsky, Igor V.; Tartaglia, Gian Gaetano; Galzitskaya, Oxana V.

    2016-01-01

    The biological function of multiple repetitions of single amino acids, or homo-repeats, is largely unknown, but their occurrence in proteins has been associated with more than 20 hereditary diseases. Analysing 122 bacterial and eukaryotic genomes, we observed that the number of proteins containing homo-repeats is significantly larger than expected from theoretical estimates. Analysis of statistical significance indicates that the minimal size of homo-repeats varies with amino acid type and proteome. In an attempt to characterize proteins harbouring long homo-repeats, we found that those containing polar or small amino acids S, P, H, E, D, K, Q and N are enriched in structural disorder as well as protein- and RNA-interactions. We observed that E, S, Q, G, L, P, D, A and H homo-repeats are strongly linked with occurrence in human diseases. Moreover, S, E, P, A, Q, D and T homo-repeats are significantly enriched in neuronal proteins associated with autism and other disorders. We release a webserver for further exploration of homo-repeats occurrence in human pathology at http://bioinfo.protres.ru/hradis/. PMID:27256590

  5. Deoxygenation in cycling fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Pearl, W.L.; Hobart, R.L.; Hook, T.A.; McNea, D.A. )

    1992-04-01

    In a previous EPRI study (Phase 1 of RP1184-9) at the Port Everglades plant of Florida Power and Light, it was demonstrated that minimizing shutdown oxygen levels at a cycling plant could reduce corrosion product transport to the boilers. A continuation of the program was performed to demonstrate the use of two forms of activated carbon to catalyze the hydrazine/oxygen reaction as a method to minimize the oxygen levels of cycling fossil plants. An activated carbon impregnated fiber overlay on a powdered resin precoat was tested at TU Electric's Tradinghouse Creek Unit 1 and a carbon bed followed by a deep bed demineralizer was tested at Duquesne's Elrama Unit 4. The improvement in attainable oxygen control was demonstrated and the effect on corrosion product transport during cyclic operation was evaluated. The study also demonstrated the application of a data acquisition system for prompt data assessment, control of chemical additions, identification of problems, and development of responsive corrective actions.

  6. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

    Diatoms have played an important role in the development of Neogene continental biostratigraphy and paleolimnology since the mid-19th Century. The history of progress in Quaternary diatom biostratigraphy has developed as a result of improved coring techniques that enable sampling sediments beneath existing lakes coupled with improved chronological control (including radiometric dating and varve enumeration), improved statistical treatment of fossil diatom assemblages (from qualitative description to influx calculations of diatom numbers or volumes), and improved ecological information about analogous living diatom associations. The last factor, diatom ecology, is the most critical in many ways, but progresses slowly. Fortunately, statistical comparison of modern diatom assemblages and insightful studies of the nutrient requirements of some common freshwater species are enabling diatom paleolimnologists to make more detailed interpretations of the Quaternary record than had been possible earlier, and progress in the field of diatom biology and ecology will continue to refine paleolimnological studies. The greater age and geologic setting of Tertiary diatomaceous deposits has prompted their study in the contexts of geologic history, biochronology and evolution. The distribution of diatoms of marine affinities in continental deposits has given geologists insights about tectonism and sea-level change, and the distribution of distinctive (extinct?) diatoms has found utilization both in making stratigraphic correlations between outcrops of diatomaceous deposits and in various types of biochronological studies that involve dating deposits in different areas. A continental diatom biochronologic scheme will rely upon evolution, such as the appearance of new genera within a family, in combination with regional environmental changes that are responsible for the wide distribution of distinctive diatom species. The increased use of the scanning electron microscope for the

  7. Spectroscopic properties, NLO, HOMO-LUMO and NBO of maltol.

    PubMed

    Krishnakumar, V; Barathi, D; Mathammal, R; Balamani, J; Jayamani, N

    2014-01-01

    Maltol (3-hydroxy-2-methyl-4pyrone) is widely known as metal ions chelator with many practical applications in catalysis, medicine and food chemistry. The FTIR and FT-Raman spectra of maltol have been recorded in the region 4000-400 and 4000-50 cm(-1), respectively. The conformational analysis, optimized geometry, frequency and intensity of the vibrational bands of maltol were obtained by the density functional theory (DFT) with complete relaxation in the potential energy surface using 6-31G* basis set. The observed and the calculated frequencies are found to be in good agreement. The (1)H and (13)C NMR spectra have been recorded and (1)H and (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance chemical shifts of the molecule were also calculated using the gauge independent atomic orbital (GIAO) method and their respective linear correlations were obtained. The electronic properties HOMO and LUMO energies were measured. Thermodynamic properties (heat capacity, entropy and enthalpy) of the title compound were calculated. The Mulliken charges, the values of electric dipole moment (μ) of the molecule were computed using DFT calculations. The first order hyperpolarizability (βo) and related properties (β, αo and Δα) of both are calculated using B3LYP/6-31G* method on the finite-field approach. The calculated first hyperpolarizability shows that the molecules are an attractive molecule for future applications in non-linear optics. The intramolecular contacts have been interpreted using Natural Bond Orbital (NBO). PMID:24247097

  8. Spectroscopic properties, NLO, HOMO-LUMO and NBO of maltol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    KrishnaKumar, V.; Barathi, D.; Mathammal, R.; Balamani, J.; Jayamani, N.

    2014-03-01

    Maltol (3-hydroxy-2-methyl-4pyrone) is widely known as metal ions chelator with many practical applications in catalysis, medicine and food chemistry. The FTIR and FT-Raman spectra of maltol have been recorded in the region 4000-400 and 4000-50 cm-1, respectively. The conformational analysis, optimized geometry, frequency and intensity of the vibrational bands of maltol were obtained by the density functional theory (DFT) with complete relaxation in the potential energy surface using 6-31G* basis set. The observed and the calculated frequencies are found to be in good agreement. The 1H and 13C NMR spectra have been recorded and 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance chemical shifts of the molecule were also calculated using the gauge independent atomic orbital (GIAO) method and their respective linear correlations were obtained. The electronic properties HOMO and LUMO energies were measured. Thermodynamic properties (heat capacity, entropy and enthalpy) of the title compound were calculated. The Mulliken charges, the values of electric dipole moment (μ) of the molecule were computed using DFT calculations. The first order hyperpolarizability (βo) and related properties (β, αo and Δα) of both are calculated using B3LYP/6-31G* method on the finite-field approach. The calculated first hyperpolarizability shows that the molecules are an attractive molecule for future applications in non-linear optics. The intramolecular contacts have been interpreted using Natural Bond Orbital (NBO).

  9. Postnatal temporal bone ontogeny in Pan, Gorilla, and Homo, and the implications for temporal bone ontogeny in Australopithecus afarensis.

    PubMed

    Terhune, Claire E; Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A

    2013-08-01

    Assessments of temporal bone morphology have played an important role in taxonomic and phylogenetic evaluations of fossil taxa, and recent three-dimensional analyses of this region have supported the utility of the temporal bone for testing taxonomic and phylogenetic hypotheses. But while clinical analyses have examined aspects of temporal bone ontogeny in humans, the ontogeny of the temporal bone in non-human taxa is less well documented. This study examines ontogenetic allometry of the temporal bone in order to address several research questions related to the pattern and trajectory of temporal bone shape change during ontogeny in the African apes and humans. We further apply these data to a preliminary analysis of temporal bone ontogeny in Australopithecus afarensis. Three-dimensional landmarks were digitized on an ontogenetic series of specimens of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, and Gorilla gorilla. Data were analyzed using geometric morphometric methods, and shape changes throughout ontogeny in relation to size were compared. Results of these analyses indicate that, despite broadly similar patterns, African apes and humans show marked differences in development of the mandibular fossa and tympanic portions of the temporal bone. These findings indicate divergent, rather than parallel, postnatal ontogenetic allometric trajectories for temporal bone shape in these taxa. The pattern of temporal bone shape change with size exhibited by A. afarensis showed some affinities to that of humans, but was most similar to extant African apes, particularly Gorilla. PMID:23868175

  10. Forty Years Later: Updating the Fossilization Hypothesis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Han, ZhaoHong

    2013-01-01

    A founding concept in second language acquisition (SLA) research, fossilization has been fundamental to understanding second language (L2) development. The Fossilization Hypothesis, introduced in Selinker's seminal text (1972), has thus been one of the most influential theories, guiding a significant bulk of SLA research for four decades; 2012…

  11. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'. PMID:27325828

  12. The original colours of fossil beetles

    PubMed Central

    McNamara, Maria E.; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Orr, Patrick J.; Noh, Heeso; Cao, Hui

    2012-01-01

    Structural colours, the most intense, reflective and pure colours in nature, are generated when light is scattered by complex nanostructures. Metallic structural colours are widespread among modern insects and can be preserved in their fossil counterparts, but it is unclear whether the colours have been altered during fossilization, and whether the absence of colours is always real. To resolve these issues, we investigated fossil beetles from five Cenozoic biotas. Metallic colours in these specimens are generated by an epicuticular multi-layer reflector; the fidelity of its preservation correlates with that of other key cuticular ultrastructures. Where these other ultrastructures are well preserved in non-metallic fossil specimens, we can infer that the original cuticle lacked a multi-layer reflector; its absence in the fossil is not a preservational artefact. Reconstructions of the original colours of the fossils based on the structure of the multi-layer reflector show that the preserved colours are offset systematically to longer wavelengths; this probably reflects alteration of the refractive index of the epicuticle during fossilization. These findings will allow the former presence, and original hue, of metallic structural colours to be identified in diverse fossil insects, thus providing critical evidence of the evolution of structural colour in this group. PMID:21957131

  13. Basicranial anatomy of Plio-Pleistocene hominids from East and South Africa.

    PubMed

    Dean, M C; Wood, B A

    1982-10-01

    The results of a metrical analysis of the basicranium of 19 Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominid crania are presented. The sample includes crania attributed to Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus boisei, and robustus, and Homo erectus as well as crania whose attribution is still under discussion. These results confirm significant differences between the cranial base patterns of the "gracile" and "robust" australopithecines and the three crania attributed to Homo erectus have a pattern which resembles that of modern humans. None of the crania examined from East Africa sites have base patterns which resemble that of the "gracile" australopithecines. The crania KNM-ER 407 and 732 have patterns which are compatible with them being smaller-bodied females of Australopithecus boisei; KNM-ER 1470 and 1813 have base patterns which most closely resemble that of Homo erectus. The cranial base pattern of KNM-ER 1805 is compatible with its inclusion in either Australopithecus boisei or Homo. When account is taken of the immaturity of Taung, the evidence of its cranial base pattern suggests that if it had reached adulthood it would have resembled the "gracile" australopithecine crania from Sterkfontein and Makapansgat. PMID:6816071

  14. Sky Luminaries in the Space Orienting Activity of Homo Sapiens in the Middle Palaeolithic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaurov, E. N.

    Data describing the beginnings of the space orienting activity of Homo sapiens is analysed and systematized: observation of the Pole and the recognition of Ursa Major were used as the basis of the determination of the points of the compass. Data and results from astronomy, history of astronomy, archaeology and palaeoanthropology were used for the reconstruction of the evolution of the space orienting activity of Homo sapiens.

  15. PALEOANTHROPOLOGY. Comment on "Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia".

    PubMed

    Hawks, John; de Ruiter, Darryl J; Berger, Lee R

    2015-06-19

    Villmoare et al. (Reports, 20 March 2015, p. 1352) report on a hominin mandible from the Ledi-Geraru research area, Ethiopia, which they claim to be the earliest known representative of the genus Homo. However, certain measurements and observations for Australopithecus sediba mandibles presented are incorrect or are not included in critical aspects of the study. When correctly used, these data demonstrate that specimen LD 350-1 cannot be unequivocally assigned to the genus Homo. PMID:26089505

  16. Ontogenetic study of allometric variation in Homo and Pan mandibles.

    PubMed

    Singh, Nandini

    2014-02-01

    Investigating ontogenetic variation and allometry in the mandible can provide valuable insight and aid in addressing questions related to the ontogeny of the skull. Here, patterns of ontogenetic shape change and allometric trajectories were examined in the mandible of 187 sub-adult and adult humans, bonobos, and chimpanzees. Procrustes-based geometric morphometrics was employed to quantify and analyze mandibular form. Thirty three-dimensional landmarks were used to capture the overall morphology of the mandible, and the landmarks were analyzed as a whole and subdivided into separate anterior and posterior units. Principal component analyses in Procrustes shape-space and form-space, and multivariate regressions were used to examine patterns of ontogenetic and allometric shape change. Results suggest that humans are distinct from Pan both in their mandibular morphology, particularly in the anterior-alveolar region, and direction of allometric trajectory. Chimpanzees and bonobos have parallel ontogenetic trajectories, but also show differences in mandibular shape. Species-specific features and adult mandibular shape are established before or by the eruption of the deciduous dentition. This suggests that developmental processes prior to deciduous teeth eruption have a stronger effect establishing taxa-specific phenotypes than later postnatal effects. This additionally implies that divergent trajectories between Pan and Homo do not contribute much to the adult mandibular shape after deciduous teeth eruption. Separate analyses of the anterior-alveolar region and ascending ramus show that these regions are semi-independent in their developmental pattern of shape change and allometry. This implies that allometric variation and ontogenetic shape change in the hominoid mandible is decoupled. PMID:24347386

  17. Homo-psychologicus: Reactionary behavioural aspects of epidemics.

    PubMed

    Cherif, Alhaji; Barley, Kamal; Hurtado, Marcel

    2016-03-01

    We formulate an in silico model of pathogen avoidance mechanism and investigate its impact on defensive behavioural measures (e.g., spontaneous social exclusions and distancing, crowd avoidance and voluntary vaccination adaptation). In particular, we use SIR(B)S (e.g., susceptible-infected-recovered with additional behavioural component) model to investigate the impact of homo-psychologicus aspects of epidemics. We focus on reactionary behavioural changes, which apply to both social distancing and voluntary vaccination participations. Our analyses reveal complex relationships between spontaneous and uncoordinated behavioural changes, the emergence of its contagion properties, and mitigation of infectious diseases. We find that the presence of effective behavioural changes can impede the persistence of disease. Furthermore, it was found that under perfect effective behavioural change, there are three regions in the response factor (e.g., imitation and/or reactionary) and behavioural scale factor (e.g., global/local) factors ρ-α behavioural space. Mainly, (1) disease is always endemic even in the presence of behavioural change, (2) behavioural-prevalence plasticity is observed and disease can sometimes be eradication, and (3) elimination of endemic disease under permanence of permanent behavioural change is achieved. These results suggest that preventive behavioural changes (e.g., non-pharmaceutical prophylactic measures, social distancing and exclusion, crowd avoidance) are influenced by individual differences in perception of risks and are a salient feature of epidemics. Additionally, these findings indicates that care needs to be taken when considering the effect of adaptive behavioural change in predicting the course of epidemics, and as well as the interpretation and development of the public health measures that account for spontaneous behavioural changes. PMID:26972513

  18. The future of fossil fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, Klaus

    2007-03-01

    With today's energy technology, the world faces a stark choice between economic growth and a healthy environment. The accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere must stop, while energy services to a growing world population striving for a high standard of living must improve. New technologies must eliminate CO2 emissions. Only carbon capture and storage can maintain access to fossil carbon reserves that by themselves could satisfy energy demand for centuries. Technologies for CO2 capture at power plants and other large sources already exist. A new generation of efficient, clean power plants could capture its CO2 and deliver it for underground injection or mineral sequestration. However, the remaining CO2 emissions from distributed sources are too large to be ignored. Either hydrogen or electricity need to substitute for carbonaceous energy carriers, or CO2 emissions must be balanced out by capturing an equivalent amount of carbon from the environment. Biomass growth offers one such option; direct capture of CO2 from the air provides another. Carbon capture and storage technologies can close the anthropogenic carbon cycle and, thus, provide one possible avenue to a world that is not limited by energy constraints.

  19. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Bhatnagar, U.S.; Weiss, M.D.; White, W.H. ); Buchanan, T.L.; Harvey, L.E.; Shewchuk, P.K.; Weinstein, R.E. )

    1991-05-01

    This report presents a methodology for examining the economic feasibility of converting fossil power plants from baseload to cycling service. It employs this approach to examine a proposed change of Pepco's Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5 from baseload operation of two-shift cycling. The project team first reviewed all components and listed potential cycling effects involved in the conversion of Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5. They developed general cycling plant screening criteria including the number of hot, warm, or cold restart per year and desired load ramp rates. In addition, they evaluated specific limitations on the boiler, turbine, and the balance of plant. They estimated the remaining life of the facility through component evaluation and boiler testing and also identified and prioritized potential component deficiencies by their impact on key operational factors: safety, heat rate, turn down, startup/shutdown time, and plant availability. They developed solutions to these problems; and, since many solutions mitigate more than one problem, they combined and reprioritized these synergistic solutions. Economic assessments were performed on all solutions. 13 figs., 20 tabs.

  20. Molecular characterization of the homo-phytochelatin synthase of soybean Glycine max: relation to phytochelatin synthase.

    PubMed

    Oven, Matjaz; Page, Jonathan E; Zenk, Meinhart H; Kutchan, Toni M

    2002-02-15

    The phytochelatin homologs homo-phytochelatins are heavy metal-binding peptides present in many legumes. To study the biosynthesis of these compounds, we have isolated and functionally expressed a cDNA GmhPCS1 encoding homo-phytochelatin synthase from Glycine max, a plant known to accumulate homo-phytochelatins rather than phytochelatins upon the exposure to heavy metals. The catalytic properties of GmhPCS1 were compared with the phytochelatin synthase AtPCS1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. When assayed only in the presence of glutathione, both enzymes catalyzed phytochelatin formation. GmhPCS1 accepted homoglutathione as the sole substrate for the synthesis of homo-phytochelatins whereas AtPCS1 did not. Homo-phytochelatin synthesis activity of both recombinant enzymes was significantly higher when glutathione was included in the reaction mixture. The incorporation of both glutathione and homoglutathione into homo-phytochelatin, n = 2, was demonstrated using GmhPCS1 and AtPCS1. In addition to bis(glutathionato)-metal complexes, various other metal-thiolates were shown to contribute to the activation of phytochelatin synthase. These complexes were not accepted as substrates by the enzyme, thereby suggesting that a recently proposed model of activation cannot fully explain the catalytic mechanism of phytochelatin synthase (Vatamaniuk, O. K., Mari, S., Lu, Y. P., and Rea, P. A. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 31451-31459). PMID:11706029

  1. The Omo-Turkana Basin fossil hominins and their contribution to our understanding of human evolution in Africa.

    PubMed

    Wood, Bernard; Leakey, Meave

    2011-01-01

    The Omo-Turkana Basin, including the hominin fossil sites around Lake Turkana and the sites along the lower reaches of the Omo River, has made and continues to make an important contribution to improving our murky understanding of human evolution. This review highlights the various ways the Omo-Turkana Basin fossil record has contributed to, and continues to challenge, interpretations of human evolution. Despite many diagrams that look suspiciously like comprehensive hypotheses about human evolutionary history, any sensible paleoanthropologist knows that the early hominin fossil record is too meager to do anything other than offer very provisional statements about hominin taxonomy and phylogeny. If history tells us anything, it is that we still have much to learn about the hominin clade. Thus, we summarize the current state of knowledge of the hominin species represented at the Omo-Turkana Basin sites. We then focus on three specific topics for which the fossil evidence is especially relevant: the origin and nature of Paranthropus; the origin and nature of early Homo; and the ongoing debate about whether the pattern of human evolution is more consistent with speciation by cladogenesis, with greater taxonomic diversity or with speciation by anagenetic transformation, resulting in less taxonomic diversity and a more linear interpretation of human evolutionary history. PMID:22170695

  2. Selective Preservation of Fossil Ghost Fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meacham, Amanda

    2016-04-01

    A unique type of fossil fish preservation has been discovered in the Angelo Member (Fossil Lake) of the Green River Formation. The Angelo Member is a predominately evaporative deposit dominated by dolomite, but contains facies of fossiliferous laminated calcimicrite. Fossil fish occurring in two beds conspicuously lack bones. Fish in the lower bed are only preserved as organic material, including skin, pigments, and eyes. Fish in the upper bed have three-dimensional etching where bones once existed but also contain skin, pigments, and eyes. The top third of the upper bed often contains calcite crystals that are pseudomorphs after trona and possibly halite. Preliminary mineralogical analysis and mapping of evaporate facies suggests that this unique preservation may be related to lake geochemical conditions, such as high pH and alkalinity. To our knowledge, this is the first time this type of preservation has been observed and studied. Fossils and sediments within these beds are being studied both vertically and laterally through the one-meter thick sequence containing the fossil fish using XRD, isotopic, SEM, thin section, and total organic carbon analysis. Nine quarries, 0.5-1 meter square, were excavated for both fossils and rock samples along with 17 additional rock sample locations across an approximately 25-kilometer square region. This investigation has the capability of reconstructing the paleoenvironment and lake chemistry of Fossil Lake during the deposition of the "ghost-fish" beds and solving the mystery of the "missing bones" and the unusual process of preservation.

  3. Fossil oak galls preserve ancient multitrophic interactions

    PubMed Central

    Stone, Graham N; van der Ham, Raymond W.J.M; Brewer, Jan G

    2008-01-01

    Trace fossils of insect feeding have contributed substantially to our understanding of the evolution of insect–plant interactions. The most complex phenotypes of herbivory are galls, whose diagnostic morphologies often allow the identification of the gall inducer. Although fossil insect-induced galls over 300 Myr old are known, most are two-dimensional impressions lacking adequate morphological detail either for the precise identification of the causer or for detection of the communities of specialist parasitoids and inquilines inhabiting modern plant galls. Here, we describe the first evidence for such multitrophic associations in Pleistocene fossil galls from the Eemian interglacial (130 000–115 000 years ago) of The Netherlands. The exceptionally well-preserved fossils can be attributed to extant species of Andricus gallwasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) galling oaks (Quercus), and provide the first fossil evidence of gall attack by herbivorous inquiline gallwasps. Furthermore, phylogenetic placement of one fossil in a lineage showing obligate host plant alternation implies the presence of a second oak species, Quercus cerris, currently unknown from Eemian fossils in northwestern Europe. This contrasts with the southern European native range of Q. cerris in the current interglacial and suggests that gallwasp invasions following human planting of Q. cerris in northern Europe may represent a return to preglacial distribution limits. PMID:18559323

  4. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages.

    PubMed

    Drummond, Alexei J; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-07-19

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth-death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the 'morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using

  5. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages

    PubMed Central

    Drummond, Alexei J.; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-01-01

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth–death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the ‘morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Dating species divergences

  6. Quaternary fossil fish from the Kibish Formation, Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Trapani, Josh

    2008-09-01

    The late Quaternary Kibish Formation of the Omo Valley, southwestern Ethiopia, preserves environments reflecting a history of fluctuations in the level of nearby Lake Turkana over the past 200,000 years. The Kibish Formation has yielded a diverse mammalian fauna (as well as birds and crocodiles), stone tools, and the oldest anatomically modern Homo sapiens. Fish, the most common vertebrate fossils in this unit, are reported in this study. Catfish (especially clariids and Synodontis) and Nile perch (Lates niloticus) predominate, but the gymnarchid Gymnarchus, a cyprinid (Barbus), tigerfish (Hydrocynus), pufferfish (Tetraodon), and other catfish are also present. In total, nine teleost genera are found in the Kibish Formation, representing a subset of the 37 genera that constitute the modern Omo-Turkana ichthyofauna. Several taxa present in the modern fauna, including Polypterus and members of the family Cichlidae, are not found in the Kibish deposits. Most specimens are preserved as disarticulated or broken skeletal elements, but some preservation of articulated elements (e.g., sets of vertebrae, crania with lower jaws or cleithra) also occurs. Many of the catfish and Nile perch specimens are larger than the largest reported from the modern river or lake. Faunas of Kibish Members I and III closely resemble one another; the fauna from Member IV contains only the three most common taxa (Clarias, Synodontis, Lates), though this may result from insufficient sampling. Barbed bone points have been collected from the upper part of the formation, indicating a long association between the human inhabitants and the fish fauna of the Omo Valley. PMID:18691738

  7. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 2

    This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic 'fossils' as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way.

    Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky.

    The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight.

    Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila.

    Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered.

    This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red).

    Galactic Fossil Found Behind Curtain of Dust In Figure 2, the image mosaic shows the same patch of sky in various wavelengths of light. While the

  8. A Fossil Group in Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Eric D.; Rappaport, Saul A.; McDonald, Michael; Bautz, Mark W.; Grant, Catherine E.; Veilleux, Sylvain

    2016-04-01

    In the current picture of hierarchical structure formation, galaxy groups play a vital role as the seeds from which large assemblies of matter form. Compact groups are also important environments in which to watch the fueling of star formation and AGN activity, as the conditions are ideal for galaxy-galaxy interactions. We have identified a galaxy system that may represent an intermediate or transition stage in group evolution. Shakhbazyan 1 (or SHK 1) is a remarkably compact collection of about ten massive, red-sequence galaxies within a region 100 kpc across. Several of these galaxies show signs of AGN activity, and new, deep optical observations with the Discovery Channel Telescope reveal an extended stellar envelope surrounding the galaxies. This envelope is much more extended than what would be expected from a superposition of normal galaxy envelopes, and it indicates a large amount of intra-group starlight, evidence that the galaxies in SHK 1 are dynamically interacting.We here present new Chandra spectral imaging observations of this unusual system that confirm the presence of an X-ray-emitting diffuse intra-group medium (IGM), with a temperature of 1.5 keV and X-ray luminosity of 1043 erg/s. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the system is about 1/3 as massive as expected from the optical richness. In addition, three of the ten central galaxies exhibit signatures of X-ray AGN. The under-luminous IGM, high density of bright galaxies, and evidence for galaxy-galaxy interaction indicate that this system may be in a transition stage of galaxy merging, similar to that expected in the formation of a fossil group. Alternatively, SHK 1 may consist of multiple poor groups in the final stages of merging along our line of sight. We explore these scenarios and outline paths of future study for this enigmatic system.

  9. Further morphological evidence on South African earliest Homo lower postcanine dentition: Enamel thickness and enamel dentine junction.

    PubMed

    Pan, Lei; Dumoncel, Jean; de Beer, Frikkie; Hoffman, Jakobus; Thackeray, John Francis; Duployer, Benjamin; Tenailleau, Christophe; Braga, José

    2016-07-01

    The appearance of the earliest members of the genus Homo in South Africa represents a key event in human evolution. Although enamel thickness and enamel dentine junction (EDJ) morphology preserve important information about hominin systematics and dietary adaptation, these features have not been sufficiently studied with regard to early Homo. We used micro-CT to compare enamel thickness and EDJ morphology among the mandibular postcanine dentitions of South African early hominins (N = 30) and extant Homo sapiens (N = 26), with special reference to early members of the genus Homo. We found that South African early Homo shows a similar enamel thickness distribution pattern to modern humans, although three-dimensional average and relative enamel thicknesses do not distinguish australopiths, early Homo, and modern humans particularly well. Based on enamel thickness distributions, our study suggests that a dietary shift occurred between australopiths and the origin of the Homo lineage. We also observed that South African early Homo postcanine EDJ combined primitive traits seen in australopith molars with derived features observed in modern human premolars. Our results confirm that some dental morphological patterns in later Homo actually occurred early in the Homo lineage, and highlight the taxonomic value of premolar EDJ morphology in hominin species. PMID:27343773

  10. Development incentives for fossil fuel subsidy reform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakob, Michael; Chen, Claudine; Fuss, Sabine; Marxen, Annika; Edenhofer, Ottmar

    2015-08-01

    Reforming fossil fuel subsidies could free up enough funds to finance universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity in many countries, as well as helping to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions.

  11. Proceedings: 1990 fossil plant cycling conference

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-12-01

    Fossil plant cycling continues to be a key issue for many electric utilities. EPRI's previous cycling workshops, held in 1983, 1985, and 1987, allowed utilities to benefit from collective industry experience in the conversion of baseload fossil units to cyclic operation. Continued improvements in equipment, retrofits, diagnostics, and controls were highlighted at the 1990 conference. The objective is to provide a forum for utility discussions of the cycling operation of fossil fuel power plants. Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) hosted the 1990 EPRI Fossil Fuel Cycling Conference in Washington, DC, on December 4--6, 1990. More than 130 representatives from utilities, vendors, government agencies, universities, and industry associations attended the conference. Following the general session, technical sessions covered such topics as plant modifications, utility retrofit experience, cycling economics, life assessment, controls, environmental controls, and energy storage. Attendees also toured PEPCO's Potomac River generating station, the site of an earlier EPRI cycling conversion study.

  12. Expected anomalies in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Mareike; Steel, Mike

    2008-01-01

    The problem of intermediates in the fossil record has been frequently discussed ever since Darwin. The extent of 'gaps' (missing transitional stages) has been used to argue against gradual evolution from a common ancestor. Traditionally, gaps have often been explained by the improbability of fossilization and the discontinuous selection of found fossils. Here we take an analytical approach and demonstrate why, under certain sampling conditions, we may not expect intermediates to be found. Using a simple null model, we show mathematically that the question of whether a taxon sampled from some time in the past is likely to be morphologically intermediate to other samples (dated earlier and later) depends on the shape and dimensions of the underlying phylogenetic tree that connects the taxa, and the times from which the fossils are sampled. PMID:19204808

  13. Fossil Finds Expand Early Hominid Anatomy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bower, B.

    1991-01-01

    Hominid fossils found in late 1990 in Ethiopia are reported. A controversy surrounding these remains and those of earlier expeditions, including Lucy, over whether more than one species of hominid are represented is discussed. (CW)

  14. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-03-01

    Desert varnish, a mixture of clays, Mn-oxides, and Fe-oxides, is a potential terrestrial analogue to Martian hematite. A scanning electron microscopic examination of samples from Pilbara, Australia revealed evidence of microbial fossilization.

  15. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record. PMID:26932459

  16. Fossil energy program. Progress report, July 1980

    SciTech Connect

    McNeese, L. E.

    1980-10-01

    This report - the seventy-second of a series - is a compendium of monthly progress reports for the ORNL research and development programs that are in support of the increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuel alternatives to oil and gas as sources of clean energy. The projects reported this month include those for coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, component development and process evaluation, technical support to major liquefaction projects, process and program analysis, fossil energy environmental analysis, coal preparation and waste utilization, coal preparation plant automation, atmospheric fluidized bed coal combustor for cogeneration, technical support to the TVA fluidized bed combustion demonstration plant program, fossil energy applications assessments, performance assurance system support for fossil energy projects, international assessment of atmospheric fluidized bed combustion technology, and PFBC systems analysis.

  17. Comparative analyses of quaternary arrangements in homo-oligomeric proteins in superfamilies: Functional implications.

    PubMed

    Sudha, Govindarajan; Srinivasan, Narayanaswamy

    2016-09-01

    A comprehensive analysis of the quaternary features of distantly related homo-oligomeric proteins is the focus of the current study. This study has been performed at the levels of quaternary state, symmetry, and quaternary structure. Quaternary state and quaternary structure refers to the number of subunits and spatial arrangements of subunits, respectively. Using a large dataset of available 3D structures of biologically relevant assemblies, we show that only 53% of the distantly related homo-oligomeric proteins have the same quaternary state. Considering these homologous homo-oligomers with the same quaternary state, conservation of quaternary structures is observed only in 38% of the pairs. In 36% of the pairs of distantly related homo-oligomers with different quaternary states the larger assembly in a pair shows high structural similarity with the entire quaternary structure of the related protein with lower quaternary state and it is referred as "Russian doll effect." The differences in quaternary state and structure have been suggested to contribute to the functional diversity. Detailed investigations show that even though the gross functions of many distantly related homo-oligomers are the same, finer level differences in molecular functions are manifested by differences in quaternary states and structures. Comparison of structures of biological assemblies in distantly and closely related homo-oligomeric proteins throughout the study differentiates the effects of sequence divergence on the quaternary structures and function. Knowledge inferred from this study can provide insights for improved protein structure classification and function prediction of homo-oligomers. Proteins 2016; 84:1190-1202. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27177429

  18. Fossil facies of the Greater Caspian region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svitoch, A. A.

    2015-05-01

    The Pliocene-Pleistocene marine sediments of the Great Caspian region host various lithological fossil facies, which reflect specific sedimentation conditions caused by different structural-geomorphologic settings, tectonic regimes, climates, and hydrologies. The facies of shelf, epicontinental basins, ingression gulfs and estuaries, intermontane and mountainous basins, and deep-sea depressions form a hierarchy of geological bodies from types to subtypes. Paragenetic associations of fossil facies, which form various series in space and along the section, are typical of marine sediments.

  19. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2011-09-27

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ~10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  20. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L.; Plotkin, Joshua B.

    2011-01-01

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ∼10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  1. Fossil group origins. IV. Characterization of the sample and observational properties of fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Barrena, R.; Girardi, M.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Boschin, W.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Catalán-Torrecilla, C.; Corsini, E. M.; del Burgo, C.; D'Onghia, E.; Herrera-Ruiz, N.; Iglesias-Páramo, J.; Jimenez Bailon, E.; Lozada Muoz, M.; Napolitano, N.; Vilchez, J. M.

    2014-05-01

    Context. Virialized halos grow by the accretion of smaller ones in the cold dark matter scenario. The rate of accretion depends on the different properties of the host halo. Those halos for which this accretion rate was very fast and efficient resulted in systems dominated by a central galaxy surrounded by smaller galaxies that were at least two magnitudes fainter. These galaxy systems are called fossil systems, and they can be the fossil relics of ancient galaxy structures. Aims: We started an extensive observational program to characterize a sample of 34 fossil group candidates spanning a broad range of physical properties. Methods: Deep r-band images were obtained with the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope and Nordic Optic Telescope. Optical spectroscopic observations were performed at the 3.5-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo for ~1200 galaxies. This new dataset was completed with Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 archival data to obtain robust cluster membership and global properties of each fossil group candidate. For each system, we recomputed the magnitude gaps between the two brightest galaxies (Δm12) and the first and fourth ranked galaxies (Δm14) within 0.5 R200. We consider fossil systems to be those with Δm12 ≥ 2 mag or Δm14 ≥ 2.5 mag within the errors. Results: We find that 15 candidates turned out to be fossil systems. Their observational properties agree with those of non-fossil systems. Both follow the same correlations, but the fossil systems are always extreme cases. In particular, they host the brightest central galaxies, and the fraction of total galaxy light enclosed in the brightest group galaxy is larger in fossil than in non-fossil systems. Finally, we confirm the existence of genuine fossil clusters. Conclusions: Combining our results with others in the literature, we favor the merging scenario in which fossil systems formed from mergers of L∗ galaxies. The large magnitude gap is a consequence of the extreme merger ratio within

  2. Fossil group origins - VI. Global X-ray scaling relations of fossil galaxy clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kundert, A.; Gastaldello, F.; D'Onghia, E.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Barrena, R.; Corsini, E. M.; De Grandi, S.; Jiménez-Bailón, E.; Lozada-Muñoz, M.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Wilcots, E.; Zarattini, S.

    2015-11-01

    We present the first pointed X-ray observations of 10 candidate fossil galaxy groups and clusters. With these Suzaku observations, we determine global temperatures and bolometric X-ray luminosities of the intracluster medium (ICM) out to r500 for six systems in our sample. The remaining four systems show signs of significant contamination from non-ICM sources. For the six objects with successfully determined r500 properties, we measure global temperatures in the range 2.8 ≤ TX ≤ 5.3 keV, bolometric X-ray luminosities of 0.8 × 1044 ≤ LX, bol ≤ 7.7 × 1044 erg s-1, and estimate masses, as derived from TX, of M500 ≳ 1014 M⊙. Fossil cluster scaling relations are constructed for a sample that combines our Suzaku observed fossils with fossils in the literature. Using measurements of global X-ray luminosity, temperature, optical luminosity, and velocity dispersion, scaling relations for the fossil sample are then compared with a control sample of non-fossil systems. We find the fits of our fossil cluster scaling relations are consistent with the relations for normal groups and clusters, indicating fossil clusters have global ICM X-ray properties similar to those of comparable mass non-fossil systems.

  3. Thermal ionization mass spectrometry U-series dating of a hominid site near Nanjing, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Jian-Xin; Hu, Kai; Collerson, Kenneth D.; Xu, Han-Kui

    2001-01-01

    Mass spectrometric U-series dating of speleothems from Tangshan Cave, combined with ecological and paleoclimatic evidence, indicates that Nanjing Man, a typical Homo erectus morphologically correlated with Peking Man at Zhoukoudian, should be at least 580 k.y. old, or more likely lived during the glacial oxygen isotope stage 16 (˜620 ka). Such an age estimate, which is ˜270 ka older than previous electron spin resonance and alpha-counting U-series dates, has significant implications for the evolution of Asian H. erectus. Dentine and enamel samples from the coexisting fossil layer yield significantly younger apparent ages, that of the enamel sample being only less than one-fourth of the minimum age of Nanjing Man. This suggests that U uptake history is far more complex than existing models can handle. As a result, great care must be taken in the interpretation of electron spin resonance and U-series dates of fossil teeth.

  4. RBM45 homo-oligomerization mediates association with ALS-linked proteins and stress granules

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yang; Collins, Mahlon; Geiser, Rachel; Bakkar, Nadine; Riascos, David; Bowser, Robert

    2015-01-01

    The aggregation of RNA-binding proteins is a pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). RBM45 is an RNA-binding protein that forms cytoplasmic inclusions in neurons and glia in ALS and FTLD. To explore the role of RBM45 in ALS and FTLD, we examined the contribution of the protein’s domains to its function, subcellular localization, and interaction with itself and ALS-linked proteins. We find that RBM45 forms homo-oligomers and physically associates with the ALS-linked proteins TDP-43 and FUS in the nucleus. Nuclear localization of RBM45 is mediated by a bipartite nuclear-localization sequence (NLS) located at the C-terminus. RBM45 mutants that lack a functional NLS accumulate in the cytoplasm and form TDP-43 positive stress granules. Moreover, we identify a novel structural element, termed the homo-oligomer assembly (HOA) domain, that is highly conserved across species and promote homo-oligomerization of RBM45. RBM45 mutants that fail to form homo-oligomers exhibit significantly reduced association with ALS-linked proteins and inclusion into stress granules. These results show that RMB45 may function as a homo-oligomer and that its oligomerization contributes to ALS/FTLD RNA-binding protein aggregation. PMID:26391765

  5. Physiological and life history strategies of a fossil large mammal in a resource-limited environment

    PubMed Central

    Köhler, Meike; Moyà-Solà, Salvador

    2009-01-01

    Because of their physiological and life history characteristics, mammals exploit adaptive zones unavailable to ectothermic reptiles. Yet, they perform best in energy-rich environments because their high and constant growth rates and their sustained levels of resting metabolism require continuous resource supply. In resource-limited ecosystems such as islands, therefore, reptiles frequently displace mammals because their slow and flexible growth rates and low metabolic rates permit them to operate effectively with low energy flow. An apparent contradiction of this general principle is the long-term persistence of certain fossil large mammals on energy-poor Mediterranean islands. The purpose of the present study is to uncover the developmental and physiological strategies that allowed fossil large mammals to cope with the low levels of resource supply that characterize insular ecosystems. Long-bone histology of Myotragus, a Plio-Pleistocene bovid from the Balearic Islands, reveals lamellar-zonal tissue throughout the cortex, a trait exclusive to ectothermic reptiles. The bone microstructure indicates that Myotragus grew unlike any other mammal but similar to crocodiles at slow and flexible rates, ceased growth periodically, and attained somatic maturity extremely late by ≈12 years. This developmental pattern denotes that Myotragus, much like extant reptiles, synchronized its metabolic requirements with fluctuating resource levels. Our results suggest that developmental and physiological plasticity was crucial to the survival of this and, perhaps, other large mammals on resource-limited Mediterranean Islands, yet it eventually led to their extinction through a major predator, Homo sapiens. PMID:19918076

  6. Fossil hominin shoulders support an African ape-like last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees

    PubMed Central

    Young, Nathan M.; Capellini, Terence D.; Roach, Neil T.; Alemseged, Zeresenay

    2015-01-01

    Reconstructing the behavioral shifts that drove hominin evolution requires knowledge of the timing, magnitude, and direction of anatomical changes over the past ∼6–7 million years. These reconstructions depend on assumptions regarding the morphotype of the Homo–Pan last common ancestor (LCA). However, there is little consensus for the LCA, with proposed models ranging from African ape to orangutan or generalized Miocene ape-like. The ancestral state of the shoulder is of particular interest because it is functionally associated with important behavioral shifts in hominins, such as reduced arboreality, high-speed throwing, and tool use. However, previous morphometric analyses of both living and fossil taxa have yielded contradictory results. Here, we generated a 3D morphospace of ape and human scapular shape to plot evolutionary trajectories, predict ancestral morphologies, and directly test alternative evolutionary hypotheses using the hominin fossil evidence. We show that the most parsimonious model for the evolution of hominin shoulder shape starts with an African ape-like ancestral state. We propose that the shoulder evolved gradually along a single morphocline, achieving modern human-like configuration and function within the genus Homo. These data are consistent with a slow, progressive loss of arboreality and increased tool use throughout human evolution. PMID:26351685

  7. The properties of fossil groups of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigenthaler, P.; Zeilinger, W. W.

    2009-12-01

    Numerical simulations as well as optical and X-ray observations over the last few years have shown that poor groups of galaxies can evolve to what is called a fossil group. Dynamical friction as the driving process leads to the coalescence of individual galaxies in ordinary poor groups leaving behind nothing more than a central, massive elliptical galaxy supposed to contain the merger history of the whole group. Due to merging timescales for less-massive galaxies and gas cooling timescales of the X-ray intragroup medium exceeding a Hubble time, a surrounding faint-galaxy population having survived this galactic cannibalism as well as an extended X-ray halo similar to that found in ordinary groups, is expected. Recent studies suggest that fossil groups are very abundant and could be the progenitors of brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) in the centers of rich galaxy clusters. However, only a few objects are known to the literature. This article aims to summarize the results of observational fossil group research over the last few years and presents ongoing work by the authors. Complementary to previous research, the SDSS and RASS surveys have been cross-correlated to identify new fossil structures yielding 34 newly detected fossil group candidates. Observations with ISIS at the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma have been carried out to study the stellar populations of the central ellipticals of 6 fossil groups. In addition multi-object spectroscopy with VLTs VIMOS has been performed to study the shape of the OLF of one fossil system.

  8. African fossil tali: further multivariate morphometric studies.

    PubMed

    Lisowski, F P; Albrecht, G H

    1976-07-01

    Analysis of measurements from the tali of 21 individual fossil primates from Africa shows that the specimens fall into five clearly defined groups. Accordingly, these specimens have been included as groups along with extant species in a subsequent canonical analysis thus allowing the fossils to play their part in the determination of the canonical separations. The results of this procedure show that the five fossil groups lie in a part of the canonical space not occupied by any extant African primate. Their positions are between the envelope of Asiatic apes (Hylobates and Pongo) and the envelope of African forms near the edge which contains Pan and Papio. One fossil group is so similar to Hylobates that its talus may have functioned in locomotion in a parallel manner. Others lie near to Pongo in directions proceeding towards Pan and Papio and it is possible that this similarity may indicate remnants of morphological adaptation for climbing in these fossils. At the same time, however, individual specimens are closer to one or another of the extant groups and this considerable spread suggests that the locomotor adaptations as evidenced by talar morphology, of the primate fauna in Africa, may have been very different from those of the present day. This would not the inconsistent with the different habitats, floras and non-primate faunas that may have characterized the East African scene at these earlier times. Particular fossils from Olduvai and Kromdraai that are supposed to be australopithecine and therefore bipeds, are confirmed (Oxnard, '72; Lisowski et al., '74) as being totally different from man in their talar morphology and essentially rather similar to the majority of the other fossil tali examined. PMID:961834

  9. Paleomagnetic dates of hominid remains from Yuanmou, China, and other Asian sites.

    PubMed

    Hyodo, Masayuki; Nakaya, Hideo; Urabe, Atsushi; Saegusa, Haruo; Shunrong, Xue; Jiyun, Yin; Xuepin, Ji

    2002-07-01

    Two hominid upper central incisors found in the Yuanmou Basin in southwest China in 1965 have affinities with Homo erectus fossils from Zhoukoudian, but exhibit primitive features. The Yuanmou hominid remains are alleged to be coeval with or older than African specimens dated at about 1.8 m.y.a. Recent age refinements of geomagnetic short reversal events and excursions permit assigning the Yuanmou hominid-bearing bed to the early Brunhes chron (about 0.7 m.y.a.). Magnetochronological assessments confirm that the Lantian calotte which has been dated to about 1.2 m.y.a., is the oldest reliable evidence for the emergence of Homo in eastern Asia as well as China, and that hominid fossils from Sangiran and Mojokerto, Java, do not exceed 1.1 Ma in age. These results refute the view that the genus Homo migrated into eastern Asia in the late Pliocene or the earliest Pleistocene. PMID:12098208

  10. Significance of some previously unrecognized apomorphies in the nasal region of Homo neanderthalensis.

    PubMed Central

    Schwartz, J H; Tattersall, I

    1996-01-01

    For many years, the Neanderthals have been recognized as a distinctive extinct hominid group that occupied Europe and western Asia between about 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. It is still debated, however, whether these hominids belong in their own species, Homo neanderthalensis, or represent an extinct variant of Homo sapiens. Our ongoing studies indicate that the Neanderthals differ from modern humans in their skeletal anatomy in more ways than have been recognized up to now. The purpose of this contribution is to describe specializations of the Neanderthal internal nasal region that make them unique not only among hominids but possibly among terrestrial mammals in general as well. These features lend additional weight to the suggestion that Neanderthals are specifically distinct from Homo sapiens. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 PMID:8855270

  11. Quantification de révolution morphologique du crâne des Hominidés et hétérochronies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaline, Jean; David, Bruno; Magniez-Jannin, Françoise; Malassé, Anne Dambricourt; Marchand, Didier; Courant, Frédéric; Millet, Jean-Jacques

    1998-02-01

    Comparisons of adult skulls of various species of great apes, fossil hominids and modern humans in the sagittal, Francfort and ortho-sagittal planes reveal a series of three separate organisation plans: 'Great Ape', 'Australopithecine' and 'Homo', the latter including primitive men ( Homo ergaster-erectus-neandertalensis) and modern humans ( Homo sapiens). Morphological changes between these plans are quantified for the first time here by vector fields. This study confirms the existence of cranio-facial contraction, which occurs as a series of leaps. The juvenile morphology of the great ape skull is broadly preserved in adult Homo sapiens, suggesting that numerous heterochronies have occurred in mosaic during ontogeny (hypermorphosis, hypomorphosis, post-displacements).

  12. Fossil fuels in a trillion tonne world

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, Vivian; Haszeldine, R. Stuart; Tett, Simon F. B.; Oschlies, Andreas

    2015-05-01

    The useful energy services and energy density value of fossil carbon fuels could be retained for longer timescales into the future if their combustion is balanced by CO2 recapture and storage. We assess the global balance between fossil carbon supply and the sufficiency (size) and capability (technology, security) of candidate carbon stores. A hierarchy of value for extraction-to-storage pairings is proposed, which is augmented by classification of CO2 containment as temporary (<1,000 yr) or permanent (>100,000 yr). Using temporary stores is inefficient and defers an intergenerational problem. Permanent storage capacity is adequate to technically match current fossil fuel reserves. However, rates of storage creation cannot balance current and expected rates of fossil fuel extraction and CO2 consequences. Extraction of conventional natural gas is uniquely holistic because it creates the capacity to re-inject an equivalent tonnage of carbon for storage into the same reservoir and can re-use gas-extraction infrastructure for storage. By contrast, balancing the extraction of coal, oil, biomass and unconventional fossil fuels requires the engineering and validation of additional carbon storage. Such storage is, so far, unproven in sufficiency.

  13. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization. PMID:26250386

  14. Late Pliocene Homo and hominid land use from Western Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Blumenschine, Robert J; Peters, Charles R; Masao, Fidelis T; Clarke, Ronald J; Deino, Alan L; Hay, Richard L; Swisher, Carl C; Stanistreet, Ian G; Ashley, Gail M; McHenry, Lindsay J; Sikes, Nancy E; Van Der Merwe, Nikolaas J; Tactikos, Joanne C; Cushing, Amy E; Deocampo, Daniel M; Njau, Jackson K; Ebert, James I

    2003-02-21

    Excavation in the previously little-explored western portion of Olduvai Gorge indicates that hominid land use of the eastern paleobasin extended at least episodically to the west. Finds included a dentally complete Homo maxilla (OH 65) with lower face, Oldowan stone artifacts, and butchery-marked bones dated to be between 1.84 and 1.79 million years old. The hominid shows strong affinities to the KNM ER 1470 cranium from Kenya (Homo rudolfensis), a morphotype previously unrecognized at Olduvai. ER 1470 and OH 65 can be accommodated in the H. habilis holotype, casting doubt on H. rudolfensis as a biologically valid taxon. PMID:12595689

  15. An ecomorphological model of the initial hominid dispersal from Africa.

    PubMed

    Antón, S C; Leonard, W R; Robertson, M L

    2002-12-01

    We use new data on the timing and extent of the early Pleistocene dispersal of Homo erectus to estimate diffusion coefficients of early Homo from Africa. These diffusion coefficients indicate more rapid and efficient dispersals than those calculated for fossil Macaca sp., Theropithecus darti, and Mesopithecus pentelicus. Increases in home range size associated with changes in ecology, hominid body size, and possibly foraging strategy may underlay these differences in dispersal efficiency. Ecological data for extant primates and human foragers indicate a close relationship between body size, home range size, and diet quality. These data predict that evolutionary changes in body size and foraging behavior would have produced a 10-fold increase in the home range size of H. erectus compared with that of the australopithecines. These two independent datasets provide a means of quantifying aspects of the dispersal of early Homo and suggest that rapid rates of dispersal appear to have been promoted by changes in foraging strategy and body size in H. erectus facilitated by changes in ecosystem structure during the Plio-Pleistocene. PMID:12473483

  16. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi.

    PubMed

    Krings, M; Taylor, T N; Dotzler, N

    2013-06-01

    Molecular clock data indicate that the first zygomycetous fungi occurred on Earth during the Precambrian, however, fossil evidence of these organisms has been slow to accumulate. In this paper, the fossil record of the zygomycetous fungi is compiled, with a focus on structurally preserved Carboniferous and Triassic fossils interpreted as zygosporangium-gametangia complexes and resembling those of modern Endogonales. Enigmatic microfossils from the Precambrian to Cenozoic that have variously been interpreted as, or compared to, zygomycetous fungi are also discussed. Among these, the spherical structures collectively termed 'sporocarps' are especially interesting because of their complex investments and abundance in certain Carboniferous and Triassic rocks. Circumstantial evidence suggests that at least some 'sporocarp' types represent mantled zygosporangia. Zygomycetous fungi probably were an important element in terrestrial paleoecosystems at least by the Carboniferous. PMID:24027344

  17. Application of biochemical interactions in fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    Lin, M.S.; Premuzic, E.T.

    1994-12-31

    Certain extreme environments tolerant microorganisms interact with heavy crude oils by means of multiple biochemical reactions, asphaltenes, and bituminous materials. These reactions proceed via pathways which involve characteristic components of oils and coals such as asphaltenes, and in the chemically related constituents found in bituminous coals. These chemical components serve as markers of the interactions between microorganisms and fossil fuels. Studies in which temperature, pressure, and salinity tolerant microorganisms have been allowed to interact with different crude oils and bituminous coals, have shown that biochemically induced changes occur in the distribution of hydrocarbons and in the chemical nature of organometallic and heterocyclic compounds. Such structural chemical rearrangements have direct applications in monitoring the efficiency, the extent, and the chemical nature of the fossil fuels bioconversion. Recent developments of chemical marker applications in the monitoring of fossil fuels bioconversion will be discussed.

  18. Cerium anomaly at microscale in fossils.

    PubMed

    Gueriau, Pierre; Mocuta, Cristian; Bertrand, Loïc

    2015-09-01

    Patterns in rare earth element (REE) concentrations are essential instruments to assess geochemical processes in Earth and environmental sciences. Excursions in the "cerium anomaly" are widely used to inform on past redox conditions in sediments. This proxy resources to the specificity of cerium to adopt both the +III and +IV oxidation states, while most rare earths are purely trivalent and share very similar reactivity and transport properties. In practical terms, the level of cerium anomaly is established through elemental point quantification and profiling. All these models rely on a supposed homogeneity of the cerium oxidation state within the samples. However, this has never been demonstrated, whereas the cerium concentration can significantly vary within a sample, as shown for fossils, which would vastly complicate interpretation of REE patterns. Here, we report direct micrometric mapping of Ce speciation through synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and production of local rare earth patterns in paleontological fossil tissues through X-ray fluorescence mapping. The sensitivity of the approach is demonstrated on well-preserved fishes and crustaceans from the Late Cretaceous (ca. 95 million years (Myr) old). The presence of Ce under the +IV form within the fossil tissues is attributed to slightly oxidative local conditions of burial and agrees well with the limited negative cerium anomaly observed in REE patterns. The [Ce(IV)]/[Ce(tot)] ratio appears remarkably stable at the microscale within each fossil and is similar between fossils from the locality. Speciation maps were obtained from an original combination of synchrotron microbeam X-ray fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, and diffraction, together with light and electron microscopy. This work also highlights the need for more systematic studies of cerium geochemistry at the microscale in paleontological contexts, in particular across fossil histologies. PMID:26239283

  19. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Labandeira, C. C.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  20. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-01-01

    Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer data indicate regions with significant levels of hematite (_Fe2O3). Fe-oxides, like hematite, can form as aqueous mineral precipitates and as such may preserve microscopic fossils or other biosignatures. Several potential terrestrial analogues to martian hematite like hydrothermal vents have preserved microfossils. Microbial fossilization in Fe-oxides is often a function of biomineralization. For example, goethite (FeO2H) encrustation of fungal mycelia from the mid-Tertiary preserved fungal morphologies such that their genera could be determined.

  1. Fossil generation restructuring in the Ukraine

    SciTech Connect

    Galambas, J.W.

    1996-12-31

    This paper describes the Ukrainian electrical system as it was in 1991, defines the need for restructuring, outlines the restructuring process, identifies a number of major obstacles that are hindering the implementation of the fossil generation, restructuring process, and points out major problems in the coal procurement system. It describes the visits to several Ukrainian power plants, defines restructuring success to date, makes suggestions for improved restructuring progress, highlights lessons learned, and enlightens the audience on the opportunities of investing in the Ukrainian power generation industry. The primary focus is on the Fossil Generator Advisor task, which was carried out under the direction of Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc. (Hagler Bailly).

  2. Fossils, Genes and The Origin of Organs

    SciTech Connect

    Shubin, Neil

    2011-04-20

    A toolkit of experimental and comparative biology can be applied to understand the great transformations in the history of life. Expeditionary paleontology can be used to target key nodes of the tree of life for which new fossils can provide insights into major morphological transformations. These fossils often have intermediate conditions that allow extant creatures to be compared in new ways. The tools of developmental genetics can then be used to explore these new comparisons to understand the genetic basis for macroevolutionary change. These different approaches can be used to predict new discoveries and this is only possible because of the empirical content of the tree of life.

  3. Fossils as candidate material for orthopedic applications.

    PubMed

    Pesenti, Hector; Leoni, Matteo; Motta, Antonella; Scardi, Paolo

    2011-01-01

    Ceramic powders from fossil deposits were thoroughly characterized from the material point of view and sintered to produce massive components. The raw material, a mixture of apatite minerals, feldspars, and quartz, seems ideally suitable to obtain a biologically compatible glass ceramic. Preliminary in vitro tests of proliferation and adhesion of MG63 human osteoblast-like cell line on a selected sample are encouraging. Results are correlated with sintering conditions and phase composition: the fossil can be sintered to almost full density at temperatures as low as 900 °C and seems to quickly promote cell activation with respect to hydroxylapatite. PMID:20089607

  4. Grain-size and grain-shape analyses using digital imaging technology: Application to the fluvial formation of the Ngandong paleoanthropological site in Central Java, Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sipola, Maija

    2013-04-01

    This study implements grain-size and grain-shape analyses to better understand the fluvial processes responsible for forming the Ngandong paleoanthropological site along the Solo River in Central Java. The site was first discovered and excavated by the Dutch Geological Survey in the early 1930's, during which fourteen Homo erectus fossils and thousands of other macrofaunal remains were uncovered. The Homo erectus fossils discovered at Ngandong are particularly interesting to paleoanthropologists because the morphology of the excavated crania suggests they are from a recently-living variety of the species. The primary scientific focus for many years has been to determine the absolute age of the Ngandong fossils, while the question of exactly how the Ngandong site itself formed has been frequently overlooked. In this study I use Retsch CAMSIZER digital imaging technology to conduct grain-size and grain-shape analyses of sediments from the terrace stratigraphy at the Ngandong site to understand if there are significant differences between sedimentary layers in grain-size and/or grain-shape, and what these differences mean in terms of local paleoflow dynamics over time. Preliminary analyses indicate there are four distinct sedimentary layers present at Ngandong with regard to size sorting, with the fossil-bearing layers proving to be the most poorly-sorted and most similar to debris-flow deposits. These results support hypotheses by geoarchaeologists that the fossil-bearing layers present at Ngandong were deposited during special flow events rather than under normal stream flow conditions.

  5. Brief communication: evidence bearing on the status of Homo habilis at Olduvai Gorge.

    PubMed

    Susman, Randall L

    2008-11-01

    Students of the early hominin career have debated the status of Homo habilis since its discovery in 1960. Today discussion centers on which specimens should be included in the species and what constitutes the holotype. Recent reviews of early Homo suggest that the Olduvai Hominid 8 foot may sample Paranthropus while the OH 7 skull bones, mandible, and hand sample H. habilis. Moreover, some suggest that while H. habilis in Middle Bed I at Olduvai is craniodentally Homo-like, the postcranial skeleton of H. habilis is more like that of Australopithecus. Evidence presented here indicates not only that OH 7 and OH 8 represent H. habilis but also that they come from a single individual. The association of OH 35 with OH 7 and OH 8 is less certain. Morphological, pathological, and taphonomic evidence favors the inclusion of OH 35 in the holotype. However, stratigraphic evidence suggests that OH 35 and OH 8 are not coterminous. With or without OH 35, the holotype of H. habilis ranks as one of the most complete early hominin skeletons and the most complete and functionally informative specimen of early Homo. PMID:18661473

  6. Molecular beacons with a homo-DNA stem: improving target selectivity

    PubMed Central

    Crey-Desbiolles, Caroline; Ahn, Dae-Ro; Leumann, Christian J.

    2005-01-01

    Molecular beacons (MBs) are stem–loop DNA probes used for identifying and reporting the presence and localization of nucleic acid targets in vitro and in vivo via target-dependent dequenching of fluorescence. A drawback of conventional MB design is present in the stem sequence that is necessary to keep the MBs in a closed conformation in the absence of a target, but that can participate in target binding in the open (target-on) conformation, giving rise to the possibility of false-positive results. In order to circumvent these problems, we designed MBs in which the stem was replaced by an orthogonal DNA analog that does not cross-pair with natural nucleic acids. Homo-DNA seemed to be specially suited, as it forms stable adenine-adenine base pairs of the reversed Hoogsteen type, potentially reducing the number of necessary building blocks for stem design to one. We found that MBs in which the stem part was replaced by homo-adenylate residues can easily be synthesized using conventional automated DNA synthesis. As conventional MBs, such hybrid MBs show cooperative hairpin to coil transitions in the absence of a DNA target, indicating stable homo-DNA base pair formation in the closed conformation. Furthermore, our results show that the homo-adenylate stem is excluded from DNA target binding, which leads to a significant increase in target binding selectivity. PMID:15879349

  7. The evolution of the anatomically modern or advanced Homo sapiens: time, place, process, affinities and variations.

    PubMed

    Raghavan, P; Pathmanathan, G; Talwar, I

    2009-06-01

    This paper surveys the opinions expressed in the recent literature on the origins of the anatomically- modern Homo sapiens, and reviews the evidence from cranial and dental morphology argued by proponents of opposing views to support their case. It also critically analyses problems facing the interpretation of the evidence in arriving at a definitive conclusion to the debate. PMID:19551306

  8. Spatial Construction Skills of Chimpanzees ("Pan Troglodytes") and Young Human Children ("Homo Sapiens Sapiens")

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Poti, Patrizia; Hayashi, Misato; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2009-01-01

    Spatial construction tasks are basic tests of visual-spatial processing. Two studies have assessed spatial construction skills in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and young children (Homo sapiens sapiens) with a block modelling task. Study 1a subjects were three young chimpanzees and five adult chimpanzees. Study 1b subjects were 30 human children…

  9. Homo- and heterofermentative lactobacilli differently affect sugarcane-based fuel ethanol fermentation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The antagonism between by yeast and lactobacilli is largely dependent on the initial population of each organism. While homo-fermentative lactobacillus present higher inhibitory effect upon yeast when in equal cell number, in industrial fuel ethanol conditions where high yeast cell densities prevail...

  10. Assembly of an antiparallel homo-adenine DNA duplex by small-molecule binding.

    PubMed

    Persil, Ozgül; Santai, Catherine T; Jain, Swapan S; Hud, Nicholas V

    2004-07-21

    Molecules that reversibly bind DNA and trigger the formation of non-Watson-Crick secondary structures would be useful in the design of dynamic DNA nanostructures and as potential leads for new therapeutic agents. We demonstrate that coralyne, a small crescent-shaped molecule, promotes the formation of a duplex secondary structure from homo-adenine oligonucleotides. AFM studies reveal that the staggered alignment of homo-adenine oligonucleotides upon coralyne binding produces polymers of micrometers in length, but only 2 nm in height. A DNA duplex was also studied that contained eight A.A mismatches between two flanking 7-bp Watson-Crick helices. CD spectra confirm that the multiple A.A mismatches of this duplex bind coralyne in manner similar to that of homo-adenine oligonucleotides. Furthermore, the melting temperature of this hybrid duplex increases by 13 degrees C upon coralyne binding. These observations illustrate that the helical structure of the homo-adenine-coralyne duplex is compatible with the B-form DNA helix. PMID:15250704

  11. Solid modeling of fossil small mammal teeth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marschallinger, Robert; Hofmann, Peter; Daxner-Höck, Gudrun; Ketcham, Richard A.

    2011-09-01

    This paper presents an approach to create solid models of fossil small mammal teeth using a combination of microcomputed tomography, object based image analysis and voxel modeling. Small mammal teeth, because of their durability, are widely found in Cenozioc sediments the world over and play a key role in stratigraphy as well as in researching the rapid evolution and the paleogeographic spreading of small mammals. Recent advances in microcomputed tomography make this non-destructive analysis method an ideal data source for high-resolution 3D models of fossil small animal teeth. To derive internally consistent solid models of such fossils from micro-CT imagery, we propose a combination of 3D object based image analysis and solid modeling. Incorporating paleontological expert knowledge in the image processing cycle, object based image analysis yields topologically consistent image stacks classified by the main tooth components—enamel, dentine and pulp. Forwarding these data to a voxel modeling system, they can be quantitatively analyzed in an unprecedented manner: going beyond the possibilities of the state-of-art surface models, solid models are capable of unambiguously portraying the entire object volume—teeth can be peeled by material properties, subvolumes can be extracted and automatically analyzed by Boolean operations. The proposed method, which can be flexibly extended to handle a range of paleontological and geological micro-objects, is demonstrated with two typical fossil small mammal teeth.

  12. Fundamentals of fossil simulator instructor training

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This single-volume, looseleaf text introduces the beginning instructor to fundamental instructor training principles, and then shows how to apply those principles to fossil simulator training. Topics include the fundamentals of classroom instruction, the learning process, course development, and the specifics of simulator training program development.

  13. Fossil Cores In The Kepler Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Brian

    Most gas giant exoplanets with orbital periods < few days are unstable against tidal decay and may be tidally disrupted before their host stars leave the main sequence. These gas giants probably contain rocky/icy cores, and so their cores will be stranded near their progenitor's Roche limit (few hours orbital period). These fossil cores will evade the Kepler mission's transit search because it is focused on periods > 0.5 days, but finding these fossil cores would provide unprecedented insights into planetary interiors and formation ? e.g., they would be a smoking gun favoring formation of gas giants via core accretion. We propose to search for and characterize fossil cores in the Kepler dataset. We will vet candidates using the Kepler photometry and auxiliary data, collect ground-based spectra of the host stars and radial-velocity (RV) and adaptive optics (AO) data to corroborate candidates. We will also constrain stellar tidal dissipation efficiencies (parameterized by Q) by determining our survey's completeness, elucidating dynamical origins and evolution of exoplanets even if we find no fossil cores. Our preliminary search has already found several dozen candidates, so the proposed survey has a high likelihood of success.

  14. Learning about Fossil Formation by Classroom Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schlenker, Richard M.; Yoshida, Sarah J.

    1991-01-01

    Activities in which students build their own simulations of fossils, using seashells, chicken bones, toy dinosaurs, or leaves as models and plaster of paris, sand, mud, clay, or a mixture of gravel and clay as a matrix are presented. Curriculum extensions are included. (KR)

  15. Evolution: Fossil Ears and Underwater Sonar.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier

    2016-08-22

    A key innovation in the history of whales was the evolution of a sonar system together with high-frequency hearing. Fossils of an archaic toothed whale's inner ear bones provide clues for a stepwise emergence of underwater echolocation ability. PMID:27554653

  16. Fossil fuels supplies modeling and research

    SciTech Connect

    Leiby, P.N.

    1996-06-01

    The fossil fuel supplies modeling and research effort focuses on models for US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) planning and management. Topics covered included new SPR oil valuation models, updating models for SPR risk analysis, and fill-draw planning. Another task in this program area is the development of advanced computational tools for three-dimensional seismic analysis.

  17. Fossil Energy Materials Program conference proceedings

    SciTech Connect

    Judkins, R.R.

    1987-08-01

    The US Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy has recognized the need for materials research and development to assure the adequacy of materials of construction for advanced fossil energy systems. The principal responsibility for identifying needed materials research and for establishing a program to address these needs resides within the Office of Technical Coordination. That office has established the Advanced Research and Technology Development (AR and TD) Fossil Energy Materials Program to fulfill that responsibility. In addition to the AR and TD Materials Program, which is designed to address in a generic way the materials needs of fossil energy systems, specific materials support activities are also sponsored by the various line organizations such as the Office of Coal Gasification. A conference was held at Oak Ridge, Tennessee on May 19-21, 1987, to present and discuss the results of program activities during the past year. The conference program was organized in accordance with the research thrust areas we have established. These research thrust areas include structural ceramics (particularly fiber-reinforced ceramic composites), corrosion and erosion, and alloy development and mechanical properties. Eighty-six people attended the conference. Papers have been entered individually into EDB and ERA. (LTN)

  18. Fossils of reionization in the local group

    SciTech Connect

    Gnedin, Nickolay Y.; Kravtsov, Andrey V.; /KICP, Chicago /Chicago U., EFI /Chicago U., Astron. Astrophys. Ctr.

    2006-01-01

    We use a combination of high-resolution gas dynamics simulations of high-redshift dwarf galaxies and dissipationless simulations of a Milky Way sized halo to estimate the expected abundance and spatial distribution of the dwarf satellite galaxies that formed most of their stars around z {approx} 8 and evolved only little since then. Such galaxies can be considered as fossils of the reionization era, and studying their properties could provide a direct window into the early, pre-reionization stages of galaxy formation. We show that 5-15% of the objects existing at z {approx} 8 do indeed survive until the present in the MW like environment without significant evolution. This implies that it is plausible that the fossil dwarf galaxies do exist in the Local Group. Because such galaxies form their stellar systems early during the period of active merging and accretion, they should have spheroidal morphology regardless of their current distance from the host galaxy. We show that both the expected luminosity function and spatial distribution of dark matter halos which are likely to host fossil galaxies agree reasonably well with the observed distributions of the luminous (L{sub V} > 10{sup 6} Lsun) Local Group fossil candidates near the host galaxy (d<200 kpc). However, the predicted abundance is substantially larger (by a factor of 2-3) for fainter galaxies (L{sub V} < 10{sup 6} Lsun) at larger distances (d>300 kpc). We discuss several possible explanations for this discrepancy.

  19. The Fascinating Story of Fossil Fuels

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Asimov, Isaac

    1973-01-01

    How this energy source was created, its meaning to mankind, our drastically reduced supply, and why we cannot wait for nature to make more are considered. Today fossil fuels supply 96 percent of the energy used but we must find alternate energy options if we are to combat the energy crisis. (BL)

  20. Thermal dissolution of solid fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    E.G. Gorlov

    2007-10-15

    The use of oil shales and coals in the processes of thermal dissolution is considered. It is shown that thermal dissolution is a mode of liquefaction of solid fossil fuels and can be used both independently and in combination with liquefaction of coals and processing of heavy petroleum residues.

  1. The natural history of the helicoidal occlusal plane and its evolution in early Homo.

    PubMed

    Tobias, P V

    1980-08-01

    In modern man the pitch of the occlusal plane may vary along the tooth-row. When anterior cheek-teeth show a plane sloping upward palatally, whilst that on posterior cheek-teeth slopes upward buccally, there results a twisted or helicoidal occlusal plane (Ackermann). Several hypotheses have been proposed for the structural basis of the helicoidal occlusal plane. Campbell's proposal ('25) has gained widest acceptance, namely that the helicoid results from anteroposterior differences in upper and lower alveolar arch width. In the early 1960s, while studying the Olduvai hominids assigned to Homo habilis, the author noted changing occlusal slopes along the tooth-row and a slight helicoid, although these featues had not been noted in other early hominids. Subsequently, Wallace showed a total absence of the helicoid from South African australopithecines, and its presence in Swartkrans Homo, SK 45 and SK 80. Recent studies confirm the presence of the helicoid in all available specimens of H. habilis, including Stw 53 found at Sterkfontein in 1976. Hence, this trait may distinguish between Australopithecus and early Homo. Measurements of the maxillary arch widths have shown that, whereas in Australopithecus arch widths increase to a maximum at M3, in early Homo maxillary arch widths are greatest at M2. The decline in posterior maxillary arch width is part of a general reduction of that region. Thus despite striking elongation of premolars and M1 in early Homo, M2 and M3 are mesiodistally abbreviated. It is hypothesized that the onset of posterior arch reduction, with the appearance of a helicoid, was a structural and functional concomitant of the transition from the presumed australopithecine ancestor to H. habilis. PMID:6774617

  2. Functional capabilities of modern and fossil hominid hands: three-dimensional analysis of trapezia.

    PubMed

    Tocheri, M W; Marzke, M W; Liu, D; Bae, M; Jones, G P; Williams, R C; Razdan, A

    2003-10-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) trapezium models from Homo sapiens, Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, Australopithecus afarensis (A.L.333-80), and Homo habilis (O.H.7-NNQ) were acquired through laser digitizing. Least-square planes were generated for each articular surface, and the angles between the planes were compared. Each extant species displays an overall pattern that distinguishes it from the others. The observed angles in G. gorilla and P. troglodytes are more similar to one other than either is to H. sapiens. Our results, obtained from using new 3D modeling and analytical tools, raise interesting questions about the functional capabilities of the fossil trapezia. Multivariate statistical analyses indicate that A.L.333-80 is morphologically more similar to that of modern humans, whereas the O.H.7 trapezium is more similar to that of the gorilla. Significant differences between A.L.333-80 and the extant species occur, but some similarities to humans suggest the ability to form the distinctively human forceful pad-to-side and three-jaw chuck grips. Some key morphological differences from humans highlighted and quantified by our research suggest limitations in the functional capabilities of the O.H.7 trapezium, particularly in those that facilitate pronation at the base of the second metacarpal. If the O.H.7 trapezium represents part of the hand responsible for manufacturing and using the stone tools found at Olduvai, our results suggest that the hand manipulated the stones in a way for which we have no modern analog. Alternative considerations are that the O.H.7 trapezium is not representative of other trapezia from its species (i.e., N=1), or that it represents another primate or hominid species. PMID:12949830

  3. Body weight prediction in early fossil hominids: towards a taxon-"independent" approach.

    PubMed

    Hartwig-Scherer, S

    1993-09-01

    The choice of a model taxon is crucial when investigating fossil hominids that clearly do not resemble any extant species (such as Australopithecus) or show significant differences from modern human proportions (such as Homo habilis OH 62). An "interhominoid" combination is not adequate either, as scaling with body weight is strongly divergent in African apes and humans for most skeletal predictors investigated here. Therefore, in relation to a study of seven long bone dimensions, a new taxon-"independent" approach is suggested. For a given predictor, its taxonomic "independence" is restricted to the size range over which the body weight-predictor relationship for African apes and humans converges. Different predictors produce converging body weight estimates (BWEs) for different size ranges: taxon-"independent" estimates can be calculated for small- and medium-sized hominids (e.g., for weights below 50 kg) using femoral and tibial dimensions, whereas upper limb bones provide converging results for large hominids (above 50 kg). If the remains of Australopithecus afarensis really belong to one species, the relationship of male (above 60 kg) to female body weight (approximately 30 kg) does not fall within the observed range of modern hominoids. Considering Sts 14 (22 kg) to represent a small-sized Australopithecus africanus, the level of encephalization lies well above that of extant apes. If OH 62 (approximately 25 kg), with limb proportions less human-like than those of australopithecines, indeed represents Homo habilis (which has been questioned previously), an increase in relative brain size would have occurred well before full bipedality, an assumption running counter to current assumptions concerning early human evolution. PMID:8238289

  4. Using Isotopes to Reconstruct Mammalian Diet, Migration and Paleoenvironment for Hominin Sites in Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wershow, H.; Janssen, R.; Vonhof, H.; Lubbe, J. V. D.; Joordens, J. J.; Koutamanis, D. S.; Puspaningrum, M. R.; de Vos, J.; Reijmer, J.

    2015-12-01

    Climate plays a prominent role in ecosystem development in the biodiversity hotspot Sundaland (Malaysia and western Indonesia) throughout the Quaternary. Recurrent isolation and connection of the islands to mainland Asia due to sea level fluctuations has enabled repeated biotic migrations and encouraged genetic speciation. These migration waves also brought Homo erectus to Java. Together with extensive and well-documented collections of other terrestrial species, these hominin fossils form faunal assemblages of which the paleoenvironmental and paleogeographical background is poorly known. Using carbon, oxygen and strontium isotopes, we have reconstructed the paleoenvironmental and paleoecological conditions of several Holocene and Pleistocene fossil sites on Sumatra and Java, Indonesia. Carbon (∂13C) and oxygen (∂18O) isotope analysis of well-preserved herbivore teeth enamel reveals a marked contrast between C3-dominated diets in warmer periods, and C4-dominated diets in cooler periods, reflecting the distinct changes in Sundaland vegetation cover between glacials and interglacials. These isotope patterns allow us to assign the appropriate climatic background to some of the older fossil assemblages from Java, for which dating uncertainty does not allow direct assignment to glacial or interglacial conditions. The stable isotope signatures of herbivores from Trinil and Sangiran, sites well-known for the fossil occurrence of Homo erectus, indicate glacial conditions. The isotope data of several H. erectus fossils from these sites seem to be in line with such an interpretation. Furthermore, we applied strontium (87Sr/86Sr) isotope analyses to a sample subset. The preliminary data show distinct Sr-isotope ratios for different sites, providing clues for the applicability of this isotope technique in detecting climate-related mobility of Sundaland fossil faunas.

  5. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils".

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-01

    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage. PMID:26766238

  6. Probable Carbonate Fossilization Processes Within Dead Sea Microbial Remains

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, P. A.; Wentworth, S. J.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Allen, C. C.; McKay, D. S.

    2001-01-01

    Microbial fossilization processes in the Dead Sea is primarily associated with the calcium cation. The putative fossilized microbes do not represent the reported living microbial population. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  7. The living fossil of human judgment.

    PubMed

    Schwarz, Michael

    2014-06-01

    Although the biases and anomalies characterizing psychometric data should serve as conclusive evidence of systematic flaws in scientific methodology, these problems are usually ignored, which reduces empirical psychology to the closed system of its error theory. However, psychometric scores are ambiguous, and response-shifts and fluctuating validities point to fundamental differences in what the measuring-apparatus questionnaire records and how the measuring-apparatus person judges. Therefore, empirical methods fail when psychology requires evidence-based knowledge about cognitive processes and phenomena. Correcting these flaws requires a reassessment of basic scientific premises and careful consideration of Homo sapiens' biosemiotic heuristics. Based on comprehensive biopsychosocial, data, the author reconstructs the evolutionary axioms of self-referenced cognitions and reveals what is usually obscured by the axioms of normal science. He substantiates the need for a paradigm shift toward basic bio-cultural principles and an evolutionary understanding of human thinking and behavior. PMID:24615167

  8. Carabelli's trait revisited: an examination of mesiolingual features at the enamel-dentine junction and enamel surface of Pan and Homo sapiens upper molars.

    PubMed

    Ortiz, Alejandra; Skinner, Matthew M; Bailey, Shara E; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2012-10-01

    Carabelli's trait is a morphological feature that frequently occurs on the mesiolingual aspect of Homo sapiens upper molars. Similar structures also referred to as Carabelli's trait have been reported in apes and fossil hominins. However, the morphological development and homology of these mesiolingual structures among hominoids are poorly understood. In this study, we employ micro-computed tomography to image the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) and outer enamel surface (OES) of Pan (n = 48) and H. sapiens (n = 52) upper molars. We investigate the developmental origin of mesiolingual features in these taxa and establish the relative contribution of the EDJ and enamel cap to feature expression. Results demonstrate that mesiolingual features of H. sapiens molars develop at the EDJ and are similarly expressed at the OES. Morphological variation at both surfaces in this taxon can satisfactorily be assessed using standards for Carabelli's trait developed by the Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS). Relative to H. sapiens, Pan has an even greater degree of correspondence in feature expression between the EDJ and OES. Morphological manifestations in Pan molars are not necessarily limited to the protocone and are best characterized by a lingual cingulum that cannot be captured by the ASUDAS. Cusp-like structures, similar to those seen in marked Carabelli's trait expressions in H. sapiens, were not found in Pan. This study provides a foundation for further analyses on the evolutionary history of mesiolingual dental traits within the hominoid lineage. It also highlights the wealth of morphological data that can be obtained at the EDJ for understanding tooth development and for characterizing tooth crown variation in worn fossil teeth. PMID:22889682

  9. Fossil energy waste management. Technology status report

    SciTech Connect

    Bossart, S.J.; Newman, D.A.

    1995-02-01

    This report describes the current status and recent accomplishments of the Fossil Energy Waste Management (FE WM) projects sponsored by the Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). The primary goal of the Waste Management Program is to identify and develop optimal strategies to manage solid by-products from advanced coal technologies for the purpose of ensuring the competitiveness of advanced coal technologies as a future energy source. The projects in the Fossil Energy Waste Management Program are divided into three types of activities: Waste Characterization, Disposal Technologies, and Utilization Technologies. This technology status report includes a discussion on barriers to increased use of coal by-products. Also, the major technical and nontechnical challenges currently being addressed by the FE WM program are discussed. A bibliography of 96 citations and a list of project contacts is included if the reader is interested in obtaining additional information about the FE WM program.

  10. Diatoms: a fossil fuel of the future.

    PubMed

    Levitan, Orly; Dinamarca, Jorge; Hochman, Gal; Falkowski, Paul G

    2014-03-01

    Long-term global climate change, caused by burning petroleum and other fossil fuels, has motivated an urgent need to develop renewable, carbon-neutral, economically viable alternatives to displace petroleum using existing infrastructure. Algal feedstocks are promising candidate replacements as a 'drop-in' fuel. Here, we focus on a specific algal taxon, diatoms, to become the fossil fuel of the future. We summarize past attempts to obtain suitable diatom strains, propose future directions for their genetic manipulation, and offer biotechnological pathways to improve yield. We calculate that the yields obtained by using diatoms as a production platform are theoretically sufficient to satisfy the total oil consumption of the US, using between 3 and 5% of its land area. PMID:24529448

  11. FOSSIL RIDGE WILDERNESS STUDY AREA, COLORADO.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeWitt, Ed; Kluender, Steven E.

    1984-01-01

    The Fossil Ridge Wilderness Study Area, approximately 20 mi northeast of Gunnison in central Colorado, was studied and its mineral-resource potential assessed. Portions of the study area have substantiated resource potential for gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, uranium, thorium, rare-earth elements, and high-calcium limestone. Much of the area has a probable resource potential for the preceeding commodities as well as for tin. Various other elements are found in anomalous concentrations within the study area, but there is likelihood for their occurrence in amounts sufficient to constitute resources. Exploration, especially for molybdenum, gold, and uranium, has been active in the past and is expected to continue in the future. No potential for fossil fuel resources was identified in this study.

  12. Problematic microscopic trace (?) fossils, Oligocene, Slovakia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mikuláš, R.; Boorová, D.; Holcová, K.

    2013-05-01

    Meioscopic to microscopic capsules found in reddish, probably marine or brackish shales (Oligocene, Pannonian Basin; South Slovakia) are interpreted as possible trace fossils. They may represent burrows of meioscopic in-fauna. Ferruginous walls of the capsules appeared very probably as late as during diagenesis; however, the (possibly organic) matrix had to exist before the diagenetic processes. Other discussed explanations (inorganic "ironstones"; coprolites) are not plausible.

  13. Identifying Fossil Bacteria in Martian Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Westall, F.; McKay, D. S.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Within the next decade, robotic missions are going to Mars with the search for evidence for extant and extinct life as at least one of the mission objectives. Moreover, the first Martian samples will be returned to Earth in 2008. It is therefore imperative that we can be certain that we can identify life in Martian rocks. In this paper we will not be discussing extant life but will concentrate on fossil life.

  14. Precambrian ``fossil'' Vermiforma is a tectograph

    SciTech Connect

    Seilacher, A.; Meschede, M.; Bolton, E.W.; Luginsland, H.

    2000-03-01

    Vermiforma antiqua Cloud 1976, once celebrated as the earliest animal fossil of the US, is actually a tectonic artifact. The main argument is that the congruence and equal orientation of multiple patterns on the same bedding plane are incompatible with swaying worm bodies of worm burrows. As shown by analog and numerical simulations, these structures can be explained as tracks of particles that broke out from the base of an overlying turbidite and became rolled between beds during bed-to-bed shearing.

  15. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Niklas, K. J.

    1987-01-01

    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  16. Fossil dust shells around luminous supergiants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, R.

    1975-01-01

    The observed frequency with which infrared excesses appear in F, G, and K supergiants of luminosity class Ia supports the idea that these excesses arise in a 'fossil' circumstellar dust shell that was formed during a prior M-super-giant phase of evolution. The required leftward evolution of the star on the H-R diagram would then imply that the Ledoux, rather than the Schwarzschild, criterion for convective mixing is the correct criterion to use in stellar evolution calculations.

  17. Are Solar Wind Reconnection Events Fossil Sites?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vu, H. X.; Karimabadi, H.; Scudder, J. D.; Roytershteyn, V.; Daughton, W. S.; Gosling, J. T.; Egedal, J.

    2010-12-01

    Studies of reconnection in the solar wind led by Gosling and collaborators have revealed surprising results that are posing serious challenges to current theoretical understanding of the reconnection process. This include observations of prolonged quasi-steady reconnection, low magnetic shear angles, and no real bulk heating (i.e., full thermalization rather than appearance of heating due to two beams) or substantial particle acceleration. In contrast, the theoretical expectations have been that reconnection leads to significant bulk heating and particle acceleration. Similarly, recent full particle simulations indicate that reconnection is generally time dependent. We have recently re-examined this apparent discrepancy between observations and theory and propose a resolution to these puzzling observations based on the concept of fossil reconnection site. We have performed large scale 2D fully kinetic simulations of reconnection to very long times to gain an understanding of reconnection structure as they would be seen in the observations. We find that reconnection weakens in time and approaches an asymptotic state which we refer to as fossil state. The properties of the fossil reconnection state explain several of the puzzling aspects of the observations. The implications of these findings for studies of solar wind reconnection are discussed.

  18. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data.

    PubMed

    Benton, Michael J

    2015-07-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns. PMID:26063844

  19. Fossil avian eggshell preserves ancient DNA

    PubMed Central

    Oskam, Charlotte L.; Haile, James; McLay, Emma; Rigby, Paul; Allentoft, Morten E.; Olsen, Maia E.; Bengtsson, Camilla; Miller, Gifford H.; Schwenninger, Jean-Luc; Jacomb, Chris; Walter, Richard; Baynes, Alexander; Dortch, Joe; Parker-Pearson, Michael; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.; Holdaway, Richard N.; Willerslev, Eske; Bunce, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Owing to exceptional biomolecule preservation, fossil avian eggshell has been used extensively in geochronology and palaeodietary studies. Here, we show, to our knowledge, for the first time that fossil eggshell is a previously unrecognized source of ancient DNA (aDNA). We describe the successful isolation and amplification of DNA from fossil eggshell up to 19 ka old. aDNA was successfully characterized from eggshell obtained from New Zealand (extinct moa and ducks), Madagascar (extinct elephant birds) and Australia (emu and owl). Our data demonstrate excellent preservation of the nucleic acids, evidenced by retrieval of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from many of the samples. Using confocal microscopy and quantitative PCR, this study critically evaluates approaches to maximize DNA recovery from powdered eggshell. Our quantitative PCR experiments also demonstrate that moa eggshell has approximately 125 times lower bacterial load than bone, making it a highly suitable substrate for high-throughput sequencing approaches. Importantly, the preservation of DNA in Pleistocene eggshell from Australia and Holocene deposits from Madagascar indicates that eggshell is an excellent substrate for the long-term preservation of DNA in warmer climates. The successful recovery of DNA from this substrate has implications in a number of scientific disciplines; most notably archaeology and palaeontology, where genotypes and/or DNA-based species identifications can add significantly to our understanding of diets, environments, past biodiversity and evolutionary processes. PMID:20219731

  20. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data

    PubMed Central

    Benton, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns. PMID:26063844

  1. Tool making, hand morphology and fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Marzke, Mary W.

    2013-01-01

    Was stone tool making a factor in the evolution of human hand morphology? Is it possible to find evidence in fossil hominin hands for this capability? These questions are being addressed with increasingly sophisticated studies that are testing two hypotheses; (i) that humans have unique patterns of grip and hand movement capabilities compatible with effective stone tool making and use of the tools and, if this is the case, (ii) that there exist unique patterns of morphology in human hands that are consistent with these capabilities. Comparative analyses of human stone tool behaviours and chimpanzee feeding behaviours have revealed a distinctive set of forceful pinch grips by humans that are effective in the control of stones by one hand during manufacture and use of the tools. Comparative dissections, kinematic analyses and biomechanical studies indicate that humans do have a unique pattern of muscle architecture and joint surface form and functions consistent with the derived capabilities. A major remaining challenge is to identify skeletal features that reflect the full morphological pattern, and therefore may serve as clues to fossil hominin manipulative capabilities. Hominin fossils are evaluated for evidence of patterns of derived human grip and stress-accommodation features. PMID:24101624

  2. Tool making, hand morphology and fossil hominins.

    PubMed

    Marzke, Mary W

    2013-11-19

    Was stone tool making a factor in the evolution of human hand morphology? Is it possible to find evidence in fossil hominin hands for this capability? These questions are being addressed with increasingly sophisticated studies that are testing two hypotheses; (i) that humans have unique patterns of grip and hand movement capabilities compatible with effective stone tool making and use of the tools and, if this is the case, (ii) that there exist unique patterns of morphology in human hands that are consistent with these capabilities. Comparative analyses of human stone tool behaviours and chimpanzee feeding behaviours have revealed a distinctive set of forceful pinch grips by humans that are effective in the control of stones by one hand during manufacture and use of the tools. Comparative dissections, kinematic analyses and biomechanical studies indicate that humans do have a unique pattern of muscle architecture and joint surface form and functions consistent with the derived capabilities. A major remaining challenge is to identify skeletal features that reflect the full morphological pattern, and therefore may serve as clues to fossil hominin manipulative capabilities. Hominin fossils are evaluated for evidence of patterns of derived human grip and stress-accommodation features. PMID:24101624

  3. Combining metabolic engineering and biocompatible chemistry for high-yield production of homo-diacetyl and homo-(S,S)-2,3-butanediol.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jianming; Chan, Siu Hung Joshua; Brock-Nannestad, Theis; Chen, Jun; Lee, Sang Yup; Solem, Christian; Jensen, Peter Ruhdal

    2016-07-01

    Biocompatible chemistry is gaining increasing attention because of its potential within biotechnology for expanding the repertoire of biological transformations carried out by enzymes. Here we demonstrate how biocompatible chemistry can be used for synthesizing valuable compounds as well as for linking metabolic pathways to achieve redox balance and rescued growth. By comprehensive rerouting of metabolism, activation of respiration, and finally metal ion catalysis, we successfully managed to convert the homolactic bacterium Lactococcus lactis into a homo-diacetyl producer with high titer (95mM or 8.2g/L) and high yield (87% of the theoretical maximum). Subsequently, the pathway was extended to (S,S)-2,3-butanediol (S-BDO) through efficiently linking two metabolic pathways via chemical catalysis. This resulted in efficient homo-S-BDO production with a titer of 74mM (6.7g/L) S-BDO and a yield of 82%. The diacetyl and S-BDO production rates and yields obtained are the highest ever reported, demonstrating the promising combination of metabolic engineering and biocompatible chemistry as well as the great potential of L. lactis as a new production platform. PMID:26969254

  4. Biased versus unbiased randomness in homo-polymers and copolymers of amino acids in the prebiotic world.

    PubMed

    Mosqueira, Fernando G; Negron, Alicia; Ramos, Sergio; Polanco, Carlos

    2012-01-01

    The polymerization of amino acids under anhydrous prebiotic conditions was first studied several decades ago. Here we use a stochastic model stressing the relevant role of the polarity of amino acids in the formation of oligopeptides in a prebiotic milieu. Our goal is to outline the predominance of co-polypeptides over homo-polypeptides, resulting not only from the randomness, but also from polarity properties of amino acids. Our results conclude that there was a higher probability of the formation of co-polypeptides than of homo-polymers. Besides, we may hypothesize that the former would have a more ample spectrum of possible chemical functions than homo-polypeptides. PMID:23128064

  5. Electrostatic considerations affecting the calculated HOMO-LUMO gap in protein molecules.

    PubMed

    Lever, Greg; Cole, Daniel J; Hine, Nicholas D M; Haynes, Peter D; Payne, Mike C

    2013-04-17

    A detailed study of energy differences between the highest occupied and lowest unoccupied molecular orbitals (HOMO-LUMO gaps) in protein systems and water clusters is presented. Recent work questioning the applicability of Kohn-Sham density-functional theory to proteins and large water clusters (Rudberg 2012 J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 24 072202) has demonstrated vanishing HOMO-LUMO gaps for these systems, which is generally attributed to the treatment of exchange in the functional used. The present work shows that the vanishing gap is, in fact, an electrostatic artefact of the method used to prepare the system. Practical solutions for ensuring the gap is maintained when the system size is increased are demonstrated. This work has important implications for the use of large-scale density-functional theory in biomolecular systems, particularly in the simulation of photoemission, optical absorption and electronic transport, all of which depend critically on differences between energies of molecular orbitals. PMID:23470878

  6. The HOMO Nodal Arrangement in Polychromophoric Molecules and Assemblies Controls the Interchromophoric Electronic Coupling.

    PubMed

    Talipov, Marat R; Navale, Tushar S; Rathore, Rajendra

    2015-11-23

    Triptycenes spontaneously assemble into two-dimensional networks in which long-range charge transport is facilitated by the extensive electronic coupling through the triptycene framework (intramolecularly) and by cofacial π-stacking (intermolecularly). While designing and synthesizing next-generation triptycenes containing polyaromatic chromophores, the electronic coupling amongst the chromophores was observed to be highly dependent on the nature and position of the substituents. Herein, we demonstrate using hexaalkoxytriptycenes that the electronic coupling amongst the chromophores is switched on and off by a simple repositioning of the substituents, which alters the nodal arrangement of the HOMOs of the individual chromophores. A visual inspection of the HOMOs can thus provide a ready evaluation of the electronic coupling in polychromophoric molecules/assemblies, and will serve as an important tool for the rational design of modern charge-transport materials. PMID:26425818

  7. Age and metallicity gradients in fossil ellipticals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigenthaler, P.; Zeilinger, W. W.

    2013-05-01

    Context. Fossil galaxy groups are speculated to be old and highly evolved systems of galaxies that formed early in the universe and had enough time to deplete their L∗ galaxies through successive mergers of member galaxies, building up one massive central elliptical, but retaining the group X-ray halo. Aims: Considering that fossils are the remnants of mergers in ordinary groups, the merger history of the progenitor group is expected to be imprinted in the fossil central galaxy (FCG). We present for the first time radial gradients of single-stellar population (SSP) ages and metallicites in a sample of FCGs to constrain their formation scenario. We also measure line-strength gradients for the strongest absorption features in these galaxies. Methods: We took deep spectra with the long-slit spectrograph ISIS at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) for six FCGs. The obtained spectra are fit with Pegase HR SSP models within the full-spectrum fitting package ULySS yielding SSP ages and metallicities of the stellar populations. We measure radial gradients of SSP ages and metallicities along the major axes. Lick indices are measured for the strongest absorption features to determine line-strength gradients and compare with the full-spectrum fitting results. Results: Our sample comprises some of the most massive galaxies in the universe exhibiting an average central velocity dispersion of σ0 = 271 ± 28 km s-1. Metallicity gradients are throughout negative with comparatively flat slopes of ∇[Fe/H] = -0.19 ± 0.08 while age gradients are found to be insignificant (∇age = 0.00 ± 0.05). All FCGs lie on the fundamental plane, suggesting that they are virialised systems. We find that gradient strengths and central metallicities are similar to those found in cluster ellipticals of similar mass. Conclusions: The comparatively flat metallicity gradients with respect to those predicted by monolithic collapse (∇Z = -0.5) suggest that fossils are indeed the result of

  8. "Small size" in the Philippine human fossil record: is it meaningful for a better understanding of the evolutionary history of the negritos?

    PubMed

    Détroit, Florent; Corny, Julien; Dizon, Eusebio Z; Mijares, Armand S

    2013-01-01

    "Pygmy populations" are recognized in several places over the world, especially in Western Africa and in Southeast Asia (Philippine "negritos," for instance). Broadly defined as "small-bodied Homo sapiens" (compared with neighboring populations), their origins and the nature of the processes involved in the maintenance of their phenotype over time are highly debated. Major results have been recently obtained from population genetics on present-day negrito populations, but their evolutionary history remains largely unresolved. We present and discuss the Upper Pleistocene human remains recovered from Tabon Cave and Callao Cave in the Philippines, which are potentially highly relevant to these research questions. Human fossils have been recovered in large numbers from Tabon Cave (Palawan Island) but mainly from reworked and mixed sediments from several archaeological layers. We review and synthesize the long and meticulous collaborative work done on the archives left from the 1960s excavations and on the field. The results demonstrate the long history of human occupations in the cave, since at least ~30,000 BP. The examination of the Tabon human remains shows a large variability: large and robust for one part of the sample, and small and gracile for the other part. The latter would fit quite comfortably within the range of variation of Philippine negritos. Farther north, on Luzon Island, the human third metatarsal recently recovered from Callao Cave and dated to ~66,000 BP is now the oldest direct evidence of human presence in the Philippines. Previous data show that, compared with H. sapiens (including Philippine negritos), this bone presents a very small size and several unusual morphological characteristics. We present a new analytical approach using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics for comparing the Callao fossil to a wide array of extant Asian mammals, including nonhuman primates and H. sapiens. The results demonstrate that the shape of the Callao

  9. Chronostratigraphy of KNM-ER 3733 and other Area 104 hominins from Koobi Fora.

    PubMed

    Lepre, Christopher J; Kent, Dennis V

    2015-09-01

    A magnetostratigraphy for ∼ 60 m of Koobi Fora Formation sediment in Area 104 was derived from 46 oriented samples that produced well-resolved characteristic magnetizations from progressive thermal demagnetization. Approximately 59 m below the Morte Tuff, previously dated to ∼ 1.51 Ma (millions of years ago), the Olduvai-Matuyama boundary (∼ 1.78 Ma) was found to be at the level of marker bed A2--inconsistent with the Area 102 type section and thus contrary to fossil dating schemes that utilize temporal equivalence between A2 [104] and A2 [102]. The magnetostratigraphic data, coupled with the Morte Tuff, provide a means to interpolate new ages for marker beds A2 [104] and the White Tuff, as well as multiple Area 104 hominin fossils. Noteworthy is the new date of ∼ 1.63 Ma for KNM-ER 3733, which now implicates KNM-ER 2598 as the sole early African Homo erectus fossil demonstrably older than Dmanisi and Java Homo specimens. Re-dating KNM-ER 3733 creates a ∼ 300-kyr gap at 1.9 to 1.6 Ma in the African fossil record of H. erectus, which might be partially spanned by hand axes recently dated at ∼ 1.76 Ma, if the Acheulian is indeed proprietary to this species. PMID:26190282

  10. HomoSAR: bridging comparative protein modeling with quantitative structural activity relationship to design new peptides.

    PubMed

    Borkar, Mahesh R; Pissurlenkar, Raghuvir R S; Coutinho, Evans C

    2013-11-15

    Peptides play significant roles in the biological world. To optimize activity for a specific therapeutic target, peptide library synthesis is inevitable; which is a time consuming and expensive. Computational approaches provide a promising way to simply elucidate the structural basis in the design of new peptides. Earlier, we proposed a novel methodology termed HomoSAR to gain insight into the structure activity relationships underlying peptides. Based on an integrated approach, HomoSAR uses the principles of homology modeling in conjunction with the quantitative structural activity relationship formalism to predict and design new peptide sequences with the optimum activity. In the present study, we establish that the HomoSAR methodology can be universally applied to all classes of peptides irrespective of sequence length by studying HomoSAR on three peptide datasets viz., angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitory peptides, CAMEL-s antibiotic peptides, and hAmphiphysin-1 SH3 domain binding peptides, using a set of descriptors related to the hydrophobic, steric, and electronic properties of the 20 natural amino acids. Models generated for all three datasets have statistically significant correlation coefficients (r(2)) and predictive r2 (r(pred)2) and cross validated coefficient ( q(LOO)2). The daintiness of this technique lies in its simplicity and ability to extract all the information contained in the peptides to elucidate the underlying structure activity relationships. The difficulties of correlating both sequence diversity and variation in length of the peptides with their biological activity can be addressed. The study has been able to identify the preferred or detrimental nature of amino acids at specific positions in the peptide sequences. PMID:24105965

  11. Impaired Air Conditioning within the Nasal Cavity in Flat-Faced Homo.

    PubMed

    Nishimura, Takeshi; Mori, Futoshi; Hanida, Sho; Kumahata, Kiyoshi; Ishikawa, Shigeru; Samarat, Kaouthar; Miyabe-Nishiwaki, Takako; Hayashi, Misato; Tomonaga, Masaki; Suzuki, Juri; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro; Matsuzawa, Teruo

    2016-03-01

    We are flat-faced hominins with an external nose that protrudes from the face. This feature was derived in the genus Homo, along with facial flattening and reorientation to form a high nasal cavity. The nasal passage conditions the inhaled air in terms of temperature and humidity to match the conditions required in the lung, and its anatomical variation is believed to be evolutionarily sensitive to the ambient atmospheric conditions of a given habitat. In this study, we used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with three-dimensional topology models of the nasal passage under the same simulation conditions, to investigate air-conditioning performance in humans, chimpanzees, and macaques. The CFD simulation showed a horizontal straight flow of inhaled air in chimpanzees and macaques, contrasting with the upward and curved flow in humans. The inhaled air is conditioned poorly in humans compared with nonhuman primates. Virtual modifications to the human external nose topology, in which the nasal vestibule and valve are modified to resemble those of chimpanzees, change the airflow to be horizontal, but have little influence on the air-conditioning performance in humans. These findings suggest that morphological variation of the nasal passage topology was only weakly sensitive to the ambient atmosphere conditions; rather, the high nasal cavity in humans was formed simply by evolutionary facial reorganization in the divergence of Homo from the other hominin lineages, impairing the air-conditioning performance. Even though the inhaled air is not adjusted well within the nasal cavity in humans, it can be fully conditioned subsequently in the pharyngeal cavity, which is lengthened in the flat-faced Homo. Thus, the air-conditioning faculty in the nasal passages was probably impaired in early Homo members, although they have survived successfully under the fluctuating climate of the Plio-Pleistocene, and then they moved "Out of Africa" to explore the more severe climates of

  12. Synthesis and biological evaluation of C-13' substituted 7'-homo-anhydrovinblastine derivatives.

    PubMed

    Gherbovet, Olga; La Spisa, Fabio; Thoret, Sylviane; Alvarez, Maria Concepcion Garcia; Levaique, Hélène; Bignon, Jérôme; Roussi, Fanny

    2015-04-15

    Recent publications highlighted that vinca derivatives either functionalized on C-12' or enlarged on cycle C' could be more cytotoxic than vinblastine or vinorelbine, both used in anti-cancer therapy. By combining these two results, nine new 7'-homo-anhydrovinblastine derivatives functionalized on C-13' were elaborated. The synthesis of key intermediates, their one-step transformation into final products in mild conditions and their biological activities are presented. PMID:25804719

  13. Impaired Air Conditioning within the Nasal Cavity in Flat-Faced Homo

    PubMed Central

    Nishimura, Takeshi; Mori, Futoshi; Hanida, Sho; Kumahata, Kiyoshi; Ishikawa, Shigeru; Samarat, Kaouthar; Miyabe-Nishiwaki, Takako; Hayashi, Misato; Tomonaga, Masaki; Suzuki, Juri; Matsuzawa, Tetsuro; Matsuzawa, Teruo

    2016-01-01

    We are flat-faced hominins with an external nose that protrudes from the face. This feature was derived in the genus Homo, along with facial flattening and reorientation to form a high nasal cavity. The nasal passage conditions the inhaled air in terms of temperature and humidity to match the conditions required in the lung, and its anatomical variation is believed to be evolutionarily sensitive to the ambient atmospheric conditions of a given habitat. In this study, we used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with three-dimensional topology models of the nasal passage under the same simulation conditions, to investigate air-conditioning performance in humans, chimpanzees, and macaques. The CFD simulation showed a horizontal straight flow of inhaled air in chimpanzees and macaques, contrasting with the upward and curved flow in humans. The inhaled air is conditioned poorly in humans compared with nonhuman primates. Virtual modifications to the human external nose topology, in which the nasal vestibule and valve are modified to resemble those of chimpanzees, change the airflow to be horizontal, but have little influence on the air-conditioning performance in humans. These findings suggest that morphological variation of the nasal passage topology was only weakly sensitive to the ambient atmosphere conditions; rather, the high nasal cavity in humans was formed simply by evolutionary facial reorganization in the divergence of Homo from the other hominin lineages, impairing the air-conditioning performance. Even though the inhaled air is not adjusted well within the nasal cavity in humans, it can be fully conditioned subsequently in the pharyngeal cavity, which is lengthened in the flat-faced Homo. Thus, the air-conditioning faculty in the nasal passages was probably impaired in early Homo members, although they have survived successfully under the fluctuating climate of the Plio-Pleistocene, and then they moved “Out of Africa” to explore the more severe climates of

  14. Post-cranial skeletons of hypothyroid cretins show a similar anatomical mosaic as Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Oxnard, Charles; Obendorf, Peter J; Kefford, Ben J

    2010-01-01

    Human remains, some as recent as 15 thousand years, from Liang Bua (LB) on the Indonesian island of Flores have been attributed to a new species, Homo floresiensis. The definition includes a mosaic of features, some like modern humans (hence derived: genus Homo), some like modern apes and australopithecines (hence primitive: not species sapiens), and some unique (hence new species: floresiensis). Conversely, because only modern humans (H. sapiens) are known in this region in the last 40 thousand years, these individuals have also been suggested to be genetic human dwarfs. Such dwarfs resemble small humans and do not show the mosaic combination of the most complete individuals, LB1 and LB6, so this idea has been largely dismissed. We have previously shown that some features of the cranium of hypothyroid cretins are like those of LB1. Here we examine cretin postcrania to see if they show anatomical mosaics like H. floresiensis. We find that hypothyroid cretins share at least 10 postcranial features with Homo floresiensis and unaffected humans not found in apes (or australopithecines when materials permit). They share with H. floresiensis, modern apes and australopithecines at least 11 postcranial features not found in unaffected humans. They share with H. floresiensis, at least 8 features not found in apes, australopithecines or unaffected humans. Sixteen features can be rendered metrically and multivariate analyses demonstrate that H. floresiensis co-locates with cretins, both being markedly separate from humans and chimpanzees (P<0.001: from analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) over all variables, ANOSIM, global R>0.999). We therefore conclude that LB1 and LB6, at least, are, most likely, endemic cretins from a population of unaffected Homo sapiens. This is consistent with recent hypothyroid endemic cretinism throughout Indonesia, including the nearby island of Bali. PMID:20885948

  15. Post-Cranial Skeletons of Hypothyroid Cretins Show a Similar Anatomical Mosaic as Homo floresiensis

    PubMed Central

    Oxnard, Charles; Obendorf, Peter J.; Kefford, Ben J.

    2010-01-01

    Human remains, some as recent as 15 thousand years, from Liang Bua (LB) on the Indonesian island of Flores have been attributed to a new species, Homo floresiensis. The definition includes a mosaic of features, some like modern humans (hence derived: genus Homo), some like modern apes and australopithecines (hence primitive: not species sapiens), and some unique (hence new species: floresiensis). Conversely, because only modern humans (H. sapiens) are known in this region in the last 40 thousand years, these individuals have also been suggested to be genetic human dwarfs. Such dwarfs resemble small humans and do not show the mosaic combination of the most complete individuals, LB1 and LB6, so this idea has been largely dismissed. We have previously shown that some features of the cranium of hypothyroid cretins are like those of LB1. Here we examine cretin postcrania to see if they show anatomical mosaics like H. floresiensis. We find that hypothyroid cretins share at least 10 postcranial features with Homo floresiensis and unaffected humans not found in apes (or australopithecines when materials permit). They share with H. floresiensis, modern apes and australopithecines at least 11 postcranial features not found in unaffected humans. They share with H. floresiensis, at least 8 features not found in apes, australopithecines or unaffected humans. Sixteen features can be rendered metrically and multivariate analyses demonstrate that H. floresiensis co-locates with cretins, both being markedly separate from humans and chimpanzees (P<0.001: from analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) over all variables, ANOSIM, global R>0.999). We therefore conclude that LB1 and LB6, at least, are, most likely, endemic cretins from a population of unaffected Homo sapiens. This is consistent with recent hypothyroid endemic cretinism throughout Indonesia, including the nearby island of Bali. PMID:20885948

  16. Linking the HOMO-LUMO gap to torsional disorder in P3HT/PCBM blends

    SciTech Connect

    McLeod, John A.; Pitman, Amy L.; Moewes, Alexander; Kurmaev, Ernst Z.; Finkelstein, Larisa D.; Zhidkov, Ivan S.; Savva, Achilleas

    2015-12-14

    The electronic structure of [6,6]-phenyl C{sub 61} butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), and P3HT/PCBM blends is studied using soft X-ray emission and absorption spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations. We find that annealing reduces the HOMO-LUMO gap of P3HT and P3HT/PCBM blends, whereas annealing has little effect on the HOMO-LUMO gap of PCBM. We propose a model connecting torsional disorder in a P3HT polymer to the HOMO-LUMO gap, which suggests that annealing helps to decrease the torsional disorder in the P3HT polymers. Our model is used to predict the characteristic length scales of the flat P3TH polymer segments in P3HT and P3HT/PCBM blends before and after annealing. Our approach may prove useful in characterizing organic photovoltaic devices in situ or even in operando.

  17. Linking the HOMO-LUMO gap to torsional disorder in P3HT/PCBM blends.

    PubMed

    McLeod, John A; Pitman, Amy L; Kurmaev, Ernst Z; Finkelstein, Larisa D; Zhidkov, Ivan S; Savva, Achilleas; Moewes, Alexander

    2015-12-14

    The electronic structure of [6,6]-phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM), poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), and P3HT/PCBM blends is studied using soft X-ray emission and absorption spectroscopy and density functional theory calculations. We find that annealing reduces the HOMO-LUMO gap of P3HT and P3HT/PCBM blends, whereas annealing has little effect on the HOMO-LUMO gap of PCBM. We propose a model connecting torsional disorder in a P3HT polymer to the HOMO-LUMO gap, which suggests that annealing helps to decrease the torsional disorder in the P3HT polymers. Our model is used to predict the characteristic length scales of the flat P3TH polymer segments in P3HT and P3HT/PCBM blends before and after annealing. Our approach may prove useful in characterizing organic photovoltaic devices in situ or even in operando. PMID:26671393

  18. Enhanced mobility electrons at the monolayer / multilayer MoS2 homo-interface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jia, Y.; Lenferink, E. J.; Stanev, T.; Stern, N. P.

    2015-03-01

    Energy band alignment at interface of heterostructures can give rise to non-trivial local electronic structure and charge states with low dimensionality. In transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), the optical band gap depends on the number of 2D crystal layers, transitioning from 1.29 eV in bulk to 1.88 eV for a monolayer of MoS2, for example, and providing the possibility to create unusual charge state at the monolayer/multilayer homo-interface. Here, we examine the boundaries between MoS2 monolayers and multilayers using scanning photocurrent microscopy and gate-dependent transport. Enhanced photocurrent and conductance were observed at the 1D homo-interface, which can be explained as accumulated carriers in the bent-band region of the junction. Our heterojunction modeling suggests a high local carrier density and enhanced mobility at the homo-interface. Our work presents an opportunity to achieve a 1D electron state in a homojunction and a pathway to break the mobility limit of TMDC monolayer transistors. This work was supported by the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern and the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-SC0012130). N.P.S. acknowledges support as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

  19. Traversing the mountaintop: world fossil fuel production to 2050

    PubMed Central

    Nehring, Richard

    2009-01-01

    During the past century, fossil fuels—petroleum liquids, natural gas and coal—were the dominant source of world energy production. From 1950 to 2005, fossil fuels provided 85–93% of all energy production. All fossil fuels grew substantially during this period, their combined growth exceeding the increase in world population. This growth, however, was irregular, providing for rapidly growing per capita production from 1950 to 1980, stable per capita production from 1980 to 2000 and rising per capita production again after 2000. During the past half century, growth in fossil fuel production was essentially limited by energy demand. During the next half century, fossil fuel production will be limited primarily by the amount and characteristics of remaining fossil fuel resources. Three possible scenarios—low, medium and high—are developed for the production of each of the fossil fuels to 2050. These scenarios differ primarily by the amount of ultimate resources estimated for each fossil fuel. Total fossil fuel production will continue to grow, but only slowly for the next 15–30 years. The subsequent peak plateau will last for 10–15 years. These production peaks are robust; none of the fossil fuels, even with highly optimistic resource estimates, is projected to keep growing beyond 2050. World fossil fuel production per capita will thus begin an irreversible decline between 2020 and 2030. PMID:19770156

  20. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging for the study of fossils.

    PubMed

    Giovannetti, Giulio; Guerrini, Andrea; Salvadori, Piero A

    2016-07-01

    Computed tomography (CT) has long been used for investigating palaeontological specimens, as it is a nondestructive technique which avoids the need to dissolve or ionize the fossil sample. However, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have recently gained ground as analytical tools for examination of palaeontological samples, by nondestructively providing information about the structure and composition of fossils. While MRI techniques are able to reveal the three-dimensional geometry of the trace fossil, MRS can provide information on the chemical composition of the samples. The multidimensional nature of MR (magnetic resonance) signals has potential to provide rich three-dimensional data on the palaeontological specimens and also to help in elucidating paleopathological and paleoecological questions. In this work the verified applications and the emerging uses of MRI and MRS in paleontology are reviewed, with particular attention to fossil spores, fossil plants, ambers, fossil invertebrates, and fossil vertebrate studies. PMID:26979538

  1. Fossil Energy Program semiannual progress report, October 1990--March 1991

    SciTech Connect

    Judkins, R.R.

    1992-07-01

    This report covers progress made during the period October 1, 1990, through March 31, 1991, for research and development projects that contribute to the advancement of various fossil energy technologies. Projects on the Fossil Energy Program are supported by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, the DOE Morgantown Energy Technology Center, the DOE Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center, the DOE Fossil Energy Clean Coal Technology Program, the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the DOE Fossil Energy Office of Petroleum Reserves, the DOE Fossil Energy Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves, and the US Agency for International Development. The Fossil, Energy Program organization chart is shown in the appendix. Topics include: alloys, ceramics and composite research and development; corrosion and erosion research; environmental analysis and information systems; coal conversion development; mild gasification product characterization; coal combustion research; strategic petroleum reserve planning and modeling; and coal structure and chemistry.

  2. Palaeomagnetic analysis of the Sterkfontein palaeocave deposits: implications for the age of the hominin fossils and stone tool industries.

    PubMed

    Herries, Andy I R; Shaw, John

    2011-05-01

    Palaeomagnetic analysis was conducted on speleothems from Members 1-5 at Sterkfontein Cave, South Africa. Palaeomagnetic analysis of siltstone and speleothem from the bulk of Member 4 indicate a reversed magnetic polarity that dates the deposits and its Australopithecus africanus fossils to between 2.58 and ~2.16 Ma. Further confirmation of this age comes in the form of two short normal polarity events correlated to the Rèunion (~2.16 Ma) and Huckleberry Ridge (~2.05 Ma) events in speleothem capping the bulk of Member 4 and coeval with deposition of the final phase of Member 4, including A. africanus fossil Sts 5. At ~2.16-2.05 Ma, Sts 5 is the youngest representative of A. africanus yet discovered. Palaeomagnetic analysis of the Silberberg Grotto deposits identifies a single short geomagnetic field event in flowstone overlying the StW 573 Australopithecus fossil, which is suggested to represent the Rèunion event at ~2.16 Ma. This further supports the uranium lead age estimates of 2.3-2.2 Ma for the StW 573 fossil. Based on a reversed polarity for the deposits below the skeleton it cannot be older than 2.58 Ma. If StW 573 is considered to be a second species of Australopithecus then this indicates that two species of Australopithecus are present at Sterkfontein between 2.6 and 2.0 Ma. All of the Member 5 deposits date to less than 1.8 Ma based on a comparison of palaeomagnetic, faunal, and electron spin resonance age estimates. The StW 53 fossil bearing infill (M5A) is intermediate in age between Member 4 and the rest of Member 5 (B-C) at around 1.78-1.49 Ma. The rest of Member 5 (B-C) containing Oldowan and Acheulian stone tools and Homo and Paranthropus fossils was deposited gradually between 1.40 and 1.07 Ma, much younger than previously suggested. PMID:21392817

  3. Hawaii energy strategy project 2: Fossil energy review. Task 1: World and regional fossil energy dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Breazeale, K.; Isaak, D.T.; Yamaguchi, N.; Fridley, D.; Johnson, C.; Long, S.

    1993-12-01

    This report in the Hawaii Energy Strategy Project examines world and regional fossil energy dynamics. The topics of the report include fossil energy characteristics, the world oil industry including reserves, production, consumption, exporters, importers, refining, products and their uses, history and trends in the global oil market and the Asia-Pacific market; world gas industry including reserves, production, consumption, exporters, importers, processing, gas-based products, international gas market and the emerging Asia-Pacific gas market; the world coal industry including reserves, classification and quality, utilization, transportation, pricing, world coal market, Asia-Pacific coal outlook, trends in Europe and the Americas; and environmental trends affecting fossil fuels. 132 figs., 46 tabs.

  4. Homo-Tandem Polymer Solar Cells with VOC >1.8 V for Efficient PV-Driven Water Splitting.

    PubMed

    Gao, Yangqin; Le Corre, Vincent M; Gaïtis, Alexandre; Neophytou, Marios; Hamid, Mahmoud Abdul; Takanabe, Kazuhiro; Beaujuge, Pierre M

    2016-05-01

    Efficient homo-tandem and triple-junction polymer solar cells are constructed by stacking identical subcells composed of the wide-bandgap polymer PBDTTPD, achieving power conversion efficiencies >8% paralleled by open-circuit voltages >1.8 V. The high-voltage homo-tandem is used to demonstrate PV-driven electrochemical water splitting with an estimated solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of ≈6%. PMID:26946165

  5. Comparative evaluation of solar, fission, fusion, and fossil energy resources. Part 4: Energy from fossil fuels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, J. R.

    1974-01-01

    The conversion of fossil-fired power plants now burning oil or gas to burn coal is discussed along with the relaxation of air quality standards and the development of coal gasification processes to insure a continued supply of gas from coal. The location of oil fields, refining areas, natural gas fields, and pipelines in the U.S. is shown. The technologies of modern fossil-fired boilers and gas turbines are defined along with the new technologies of fluid-bed boilers and MHD generators.

  6. Abstracts: Eighth Annual Conference on Fossil Energy Materials. Fossil Energy Program

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1994-07-01

    Abstracts are presented for about 40 papers. The Fossil Energy Advanced Research and Technology Development Materials program is an integrated materials research activity of the fossil energy coal program, whose objective is to conduct R and D for all advanced coal conversion and utilization technologies. The program is aimed at understanding materials behavior in coal system environments and the development of new materials for improving plant operations and reliability. A generic approach is used for addressing multiple coal technologies; for example, the hot-gas particulate filter development is applicable to pressurized fluidized bed combustion, integrated coal gasification combined-cycle, coal combustion, and indirectly fired combined-cycle systems.

  7. Comparing amber fossil assemblages across the Cenozoic

    PubMed Central

    Penney, David; Langan, A. Mark

    2006-01-01

    To justify faunistic comparisons of ambers that differ botanically, geographically and by age, we need to determine that resins sampled uniformly. Our pluralistic approach, analysing size distributions of 671 fossilized spider species from different behavioural guilds, demonstrates that ecological information about the communities of two well-studied ambers is retained. Several lines of evidence show that greater structural complexity of Baltic compared to Dominican amber trees explains the presence of larger web-spinners. No size differences occur in active hunters. Consequently, we demonstrate for the first time that resins were trapping organisms uniformly and that comparisons of amber palaeoecosystem structure across deep time are possible. PMID:17148379

  8. Modeling of advanced fossil fuel power plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zabihian, Farshid

    The first part of this thesis deals with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel-fired power stations. The GHG emission estimation from fossil fuel power generation industry signifies that emissions from this industry can be significantly reduced by fuel switching and adaption of advanced power generation technologies. In the second part of the thesis, steady-state models of some of the advanced fossil fuel power generation technologies are presented. The impacts of various parameters on the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) overpotentials and outputs are investigated. The detail analyses of operation of the hybrid SOFC-gas turbine (GT) cycle when fuelled with methane and syngas demonstrate that the efficiencies of the cycles with and without anode exhaust recirculation are close, but the specific power of the former is much higher. The parametric analysis of the performance of the hybrid SOFC-GT cycle indicates that increasing the system operating pressure and SOFC operating temperature and fuel utilization factor improves cycle efficiency, but the effects of the increasing SOFC current density and turbine inlet temperature are not favourable. The analysis of the operation of the system when fuelled with a wide range of fuel types demonstrates that the hybrid SOFC-GT cycle efficiency can be between 59% and 75%, depending on the inlet fuel type. Then, the system performance is investigated when methane as a reference fuel is replaced with various species that can be found in the fuel, i.e., H2, CO2, CO, and N 2. The results point out that influence of various species can be significant and different for each case. The experimental and numerical analyses of a biodiesel fuelled micro gas turbine indicate that fuel switching from petrodiesel to biodiesel can influence operational parameters of the system. The modeling results of gas turbine-based power plants signify that relatively simple models can predict plant performance with acceptable accuracy. The unique

  9. Biomarkers and Microbial Fossils In Antarctic Rocks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wierzchos, J.; Ascaso, C.

    Lithobiontic microbial communities living within Antarctic rocks are an example of survival in an extremely cold and dry environment. Any unfavourable change in ex- ternal conditions can result in the death and disappearance of microscopic organisms, and this may be followed by the appearance of trace biomarkers and microbial fossils. The extinction of these microorganisms in some zones of the Ross Desert, probably provoked by the hostile environment, might be considered a good terrestrial analogue of the first stage of the disappearance of possible life on early Mars. Granite samples from maritime Antarctica (Granite Harbour) and sandstone rocks from the continental Ross Desert were collected with the aim of searching for biomarkers and microbial fossils at the microscopic level of observation. To this end, a novel in situ applica- tion of scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging was com- bined with the simultaneous use of X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy techniques. Our findings confirm the existence of inorganic biomarkers in the form of physico- chemically bioweathered minerals within the granitic rocks. The presence of Fe-rich diagenetic minerals, such as iron hydroxide nanocrystals and biogenic clays around chasmoendolithic hyphae and bacterial cells was also observed. Others biomarkers, including inorganic deposits such as calcium oxalates and silica accumulations, are clear signs of endolithic microorganism activity. The interior of the sandstone rocks (Ross Desert, Mt. Fleming) reveal the presence of microbial fossils of algae and other endolithic microorganisms. These microbial fossils, detected for the first time within Antarctic rocks, contain well preserved and morphologically distinguishable relics of ultrastructural cytoplasm elements, such as cell walls, chloroplast membranes, and oc- casionally, pyrenoids and traces of organic matter. These structures are similar to those observed in live cells also found in Antarctic

  10. Molecules, fossils, and the origin of tetrapods.

    PubMed

    Meyer, A; Dolven, S I

    1992-08-01

    Since the discovery of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, more than 50 years ago, paleontologists and comparative morphologists have debated whether coelacanths or lungfishes, two groups of lobe-finned fishes, are the closest living relatives of land vertebrates (Tetrapoda). Previously, Meyer and Wilson (1990) determined partial DNA sequences from two conservative mitochondrial genes and found support for a close relationship of lungfishes to tetrapods. We present additional DNA sequences from the 12S rRNA mitochondrial gene for three species of the two lineages of lungfishes that were not represented in the first study: Protopterus annectens and Protopterus aethiopicus from Africa and Neoceratodus forsteri (kindly provided by B. Hedges and L. Maxson) from Australia. This extended data set tends to group the two lepidosirenid lungfish lineages (Lepidosiren and Protopterus) with Neoceratodus as their sister group. All lungfishes seem to be more closely related to tetrapods than the coelacanth is. This result appears to rule out the possibility that the coelacanth lineage gave rise to land vertebrates. The common ancestor of lungfishes and tetrapods might have possessed multiple morphological traits that are shared by lungfishes and tetrapods [Meyer and Wilson (1990) listed 14 such traits]. Those traits that seem to link Latimeria and tetrapods are arguably due to convergent evolution or reversals and not to common descent. In this way, the molecular tree facilitates an evolutionary interpretation of the morphological differences among the living forms. We recommended that the extinct groups of lobe-finned fishes be placed onto the molecular tree that has lungfishes and not the coelacanth more closely related to tetrapods. The placement of fossils would help to further interpret the sequence of morphological events and innovations associated with the origin of tetrapods but appears to be problematic because the quality of fossils is not always high enough, and

  11. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciTech Connect

    Grimm, E.C. . Research and Collections Center)

    1993-03-01

    Fossil pollen provide one of the most valuable records of vegetation and climate change during the recent geological past. Advantages of the fossil-pollen record are that deposits containing fossil pollen are widespread, especially in areas having natural lakes, that fossil pollen occurs in continuous stratigraphic sequences spanning millennia, and that fossil pollen occurs in quantitative assemblages permitting a multivariate approach for reconstructing past vegetation and climates. Because of stratigraphic continuity, fossil pollen records climate cycles on a wide range of scales, from annual to the 100 ka Milankovitch cycles. Receiving particular emphasis recently are decadal to century scale changes, possible from the sediments of varved lakes, and late Pleistocene events on a 5--10 ka scale possibly correlating with the Heinrich events in the North Atlantic marine record or the Dansgaard-Oeschger events in the Greenland ice-core record. Researchers have long reconstructed vegetation and climate by qualitative interpretation of the fossil-pollen record. Recently quantitative interpretation has developed with the aid of large fossil-pollen databases and sophisticated numerical models. In addition, fossil pollen are important climate proxy data for validating General Circulation Models, which are used for predicting the possible magnitude future climate change. Fossil-pollen data also contribute to an understanding of ecological issues associated with global climate change, including questions of how and how rapidly ecosystems might respond to abrupt climate change.

  12. "Homo High"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kilman, Carrie

    2010-01-01

    In Chicago's public school system, LGBT students were three times more likely than straight peers to miss school because of threats to their safety, according to 2003 districtwide survey; and students who face regular harassment were more like to drop out. In this article, the author shares her thoughts on the move of Chicago school officials to…

  13. Derivatives of Black Knight Technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, N.; Wright, D.

    This paper traces the line of descent from Black Knight to Black Arrow, and at the same time looks at various proposed projects, both civil and military, which were to be Black Knight derivatives, but which for one reason or another never saw the light of day. Research in this area is rather akin to anthropological work, tracing fossils from Homo erectus (Black Knight) to Homo sapiens (Black Arrow), knowing that a lot of the fossils found will not be on the direct line of descent, but represent branches that became extinct. This article attempts to cover designs, which, although they never made it to hardware, are none the less interesting technically, or shine light on the evolution of design philosophy.

  14. Earth's early fossil record: Why not look for similar fossils on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, Stanley M.

    1989-01-01

    The oldest evidence of life on Earth is discussed with attention being given to the structure and formation of stromatolites and microfossils. Fossilization of microbes in calcium carbonate or chert media is discussed. In searching for fossil remains on Mars, some lessons learned from the study of Earth's earliest fossil record can be applied. Certain sedimentary rock types and sedimentary rock configurations should be targeted for investigation and returned by the Martian rover and ultimately by human explorers. Domical, columnar to wavy laminated stratiform sedimentary rocks that resemble stromatolites should be actively sought. Limestone, other carbonates, and chert are the favored lithology. Being macroscopic, stromatolites might be recognized by an intelligent unmanned rover. In addition, black, waxy chert with conchoidal fracture should be sought. Chert is by far the preferred lithology for the preservation of microbes and chemical fossils. Even under optimal geological conditions (little or no metamorphism or tectonic alteration, excellent outcrops, and good black chert) and using experienced field biogeologists, the chances of finding well preserved microbial remains in chert are very low.

  15. The Role of Extrinsic Feedback in Interlanguage Fossilization: A Discussion of "Rule Fossilization: A Tentative Model."

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lamendella, John T.; Selinker, Larry

    1979-01-01

    Six tentative conclusions about the role of extrinsic feedback in interlanguage fossilization are presented and discussed in light of hypotheses made by Virgil and Oller regarding this phenomenon. Extrinsic factors are those characteristics of the learner which are oriented toward the environment and which act as the interface between the learner…

  16. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: generic structures of the FOSSIL2 model

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. In Volume I, an overview of the basic structures, assumptions, and behavior of the FOSSIL2 model is presented so that the reader can understand the results of various policy tests. The discussion covers the three major building blocks, or generic structures, used to construct the model: supply/demand balance; finance and capital formation; and energy production. These structures reflect the components and interactions of the major processes within each energy industry that directly affect the dynamics of fuel supply, demand, and price within the energy system as a whole.

  17. Taxonomy and fossils: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed Central

    Forey, Peter L; Fortey, Richard A; Kenrick, Paul; Smith, Andrew B

    2004-01-01

    Many compendia at the species, genus and family levels document the fossil record, but these are not standardized, nor usually critical in content, and few are available on the World Wide Web. The sampling of the available record is good for organisms with fossilizable parts, but preservational constraints on the entire morphology, life history and geographical distribution lead to difficulties in recognizing and naming species. We recommend abandoning some of the palaeontological species concepts such as chronospecies and stratospecies, and we advocate species recognition based on unique combinations of characters. The compilation of species lists is extremely time consuming, and given the inherent problems we suggest that compilation of generic lists is a more achievable goal because genera are recognized by definitive morphological characters. In calculating taxon duration, care must be taken to distinguish between mono-, para- and polyphyletic groups, the first being the only reliable unit for use in calculating diversity curves. We support the inclusion of fossils into classifications based on Recent organisms, but we recognize some of the problems this may pose for standard Linnaean classifications. Web-based taxonomy is the way forward, having the advantages of speed and currency of information dissemination, universal access with links to primary literature and increasingly sophisticated imagery. These advantages over conventional outlets will only be realized with careful Web design and a commitment to maintenance. PMID:15253350

  18. Shotgun microbial profiling of fossil remains.

    PubMed

    Der Sarkissian, C; Ermini, L; Jónsson, H; Alekseev, A N; Crubezy, E; Shapiro, B; Orlando, L

    2014-04-01

    Millions to billions of DNA sequences can now be generated from ancient skeletal remains thanks to the massive throughput of next-generation sequencing platforms. Except in cases of exceptional endogenous DNA preservation, most of the sequences isolated from fossil material do not originate from the specimen of interest, but instead reflect environmental organisms that colonized the specimen after death. Here, we characterize the microbial diversity recovered from seven c. 200- to 13 000-year-old horse bones collected from northern Siberia. We use a robust, taxonomy-based assignment approach to identify the microorganisms present in ancient DNA extracts and quantify their relative abundance. Our results suggest that molecular preservation niches exist within ancient samples that can potentially be used to characterize the environments from which the remains are recovered. In addition, microbial community profiling of the seven specimens revealed site-specific environmental signatures. These microbial communities appear to comprise mainly organisms that colonized the fossils recently. Our approach significantly extends the amount of useful data that can be recovered from ancient specimens using a shotgun sequencing approach. In future, it may be possible to correlate, for example, the accumulation of postmortem DNA damage with the presence and/or abundance of particular microbes. PMID:24612293

  19. The genetic secrets some fossils hold.

    PubMed

    Poinar, Hendrik N

    2002-08-01

    Most animals that once lived have gone extinct. The remains of a few of these can be found in museum collections worldwide. As modern evolutionary biology is limited to the use of extant taxa, retrieving DNA from extinct or subfossil organisms can add significant insight into past population history and resolve phylogenies that can be tentative by morphology alone. DNA is a relatively weak molecule, comparatively speaking, yet under certain conditions it persists in the fossil record, despite what in vitro chemistry predicts. While most fossil remains do not contain DNA, museum specimens can be screened for the presence of conditions that would be conducive for nucleic acid preservation by measuring the extent of amino acid racemization and by looking at the extent of protein hydrolysis by pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Results from these types of analyses suggest that the preservation of DNA is linked to the temperature and its constancy at a site rather than its age. Chemical analyses of coprolites from extinct herbivores from the late Pleistocene, as well as Archaic Native Americans, show the presence of compounds from the Maillard reaction. Upon the cleaving of these products, the defecator can be identified and his diet analyzed. PMID:12186573

  20. Species longevity in North American fossil mammals.

    PubMed

    Prothero, Donald R

    2014-08-01

    Species longevity in the fossil record is related to many paleoecological variables and is important to macroevolutionary studies, yet there are very few reliable data on average species durations in Cenozoic fossil mammals. Many of the online databases (such as the Paleobiology Database) use only genera of North American Cenozoic mammals and there are severe problems because key groups (e.g. camels, oreodonts, pronghorns and proboscideans) have no reliable updated taxonomy, with many invalid genera and species and/or many undescribed genera and species. Most of the published datasets yield species duration estimates of approximately 2.3-4.3 Myr for larger mammals, with small mammals tending to have shorter species durations. My own compilation of all the valid species durations in families with updated taxonomy (39 families, containing 431 genera and 998 species, averaging 2.3 species per genus) yields a mean duration of 3.21 Myr for larger mammals. This breaks down to 4.10-4.39 Myr for artiodactyls, 3.14-3.31 Myr for perissodactyls and 2.63-2.95 Myr for carnivorous mammals (carnivorans plus creodonts). These averages are based on a much larger, more robust dataset than most previous estimates, so they should be more reliable for any studies that need species longevity to be accurately estimated. PMID:25236413

  1. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-11-01

    The Office of Program Analysis of the US Department of Energy commissioned this study to evaluate and prioritize research needs in fossil energy biotechnology. The objectives were to identify research initiatives in biotechnology that offer timely and strategic options for the more efficient and effective uses of the Nation`s fossil resource base, particularly the early identification of new and novel applications of biotechnology for the use or conversion of domestic fossil fuels. Fossil energy biotechnology consists of a number of diverse and distinct technologies, all related by the common denominator -- biocatalysis. The expert panel organized 14 technical subjects into three interrelated biotechnology programs: (1) upgrading the fuel value of fossil fuels; (2) bioconversion of fossil feedstocks and refined products to added value chemicals; and, (3) the development of environmental management strategies to minimize and mitigate the release of toxic and hazardous petrochemical wastes.

  2. A Critical Evaluation of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis for LB1, Type Specimen of Homo floresiensis.

    PubMed

    Baab, Karen L; Brown, Peter; Falk, Dean; Richtsmeier, Joan T; Hildebolt, Charles F; Smith, Kirk; Jungers, William

    2016-01-01

    The Liang Bua hominins from Flores, Indonesia, have been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate since their initial description and classification in 2004. These remains have been assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis, with the partial skeleton LB1 as the type specimen. The Liang Bua hominins are notable for their short stature, small endocranial volume, and many features that appear phylogenetically primitive relative to modern humans, despite their late Pleistocene age. Recently, some workers suggested that the remains represent members of a small-bodied island population of modern Austro-Melanesian humans, with LB1 exhibiting clinical signs of Down syndrome. Many classic Down syndrome signs are soft tissue features that could not be assessed in skeletal remains. Moreover, a definitive diagnosis of Down syndrome can only be made by genetic analysis as the phenotypes associated with Down syndrome are variable. Most features that contribute to the Down syndrome phenotype are not restricted to Down syndrome but are seen in other chromosomal disorders and in the general population. Nevertheless, we re-evaluated the presence of those phenotypic features used to support this classification by comparing LB1 to samples of modern humans diagnosed with Down syndrome and euploid modern humans using comparative morphometric analyses. We present new data regarding neurocranial, brain, and symphyseal shape in Down syndrome, additional estimates of stature for LB1, and analyses of inter- and intralimb proportions. The presence of cranial sinuses is addressed using CT images of LB1. We found minimal congruence between the LB1 phenotype and clinical descriptions of Down syndrome. We present important differences between the phenotypes of LB1 and individuals with Down syndrome, and quantitative data that characterize LB1 as an outlier compared with Down syndrome and non-Down syndrome groups. Homo floresiensis remains a phenotypically unique, valid species with its roots

  3. Viral and vector zoonotic exploitation of a homo-sociome memetic complex.

    PubMed

    Rupprecht, C E; Burgess, G W

    2015-05-01

    As most newly characterized emerging infectious diseases are considered to be zoonotic, a modern pre-eminence ascribed within this classification lies clearly within the viral taxonomic realm. In particular, RNA viruses deserve special concern given their documented impact on conservation biology, veterinary medicine and public health, with an unprecedented ability to promote an evolutionary host-pathogen arms race from the ultimate infection and immunity perspective. However, besides the requisite molecular/gross anatomical and physiological bases for infectious diseases to transmit from one host to another, both viral pathogens and their reservoirs/vectors exploit a complex anthropological, cultural, historical, psychological and social suite that specifically defines the phylodynamics within Homo sapiens, unlike any other species. Some of these variables include the ecological benefits of living in groups, decisions on hunting and foraging behaviours and dietary preferences, myths and religious doctrines, health economics, travel destinations, population planning, political decisions on agricultural product bans and many others, in a homo-sociome memetic complex. Taken to an extreme, such complexities elucidate the underpinnings of explanations as to why certain viral zoonoses reside in neglected people, places and things, whereas others are chosen selectively and prioritized for active mitigation. Canine-transmitted rabies serves as one prime example of how a neglected viral zoonosis may transition to greater attention on the basis of renewed advocacy, social media, local champions and vested international community engagement. In contrast, certain bat-associated and arboviral diseases suffer from basic ignorance and perpetuated misunderstanding of fundamental reservoir and vector ecology tenets, translated into failed control policies that only exacerbate the underlying environmental conditions of concern. Beyond applied biomedical knowledge, epidemiological

  4. Molecular determinants of arenavirus Z protein homo-oligomerization and L polymerase binding.

    PubMed

    Loureiro, Maria Eugenia; Wilda, Maximiliano; Levingston Macleod, Jesica M; D'Antuono, Alejandra; Foscaldi, Sabrina; Marino Buslje, Cristina; Lopez, Nora

    2011-12-01

    The arenavirus Z is a zinc-binding RING protein that has been implicated in multiple functions during the viral life cycle. These roles of Z involve interactions with viral and cellular proteins that remain incompletely understood. In this regard, Z inhibits viral RNA transcription and replication through direct interaction with the viral L polymerase. Here, we defined the L-binding domain of Tacaribe virus (TCRV) Z protein and the structural requirements mediating Z homo-oligomerization. By using site-directed mutagenesis, coimmunoprecipitation, and functional assays, we showed that residues R37, N39, W44, L50, and Y57, located around the zinc coordination site I, play a critical role in the Z-L interaction. We also found that Z protein from either TCRV or the pathogenic Junin virus (JUNV) self-associates into oligomeric forms in mammalian cells. Importantly, mutation of the myristoylation site, the strictly conserved residue G at position 2, severely impaired the ability of both TCRV Z and JUNV Z to self-interact as well as their capacity to accumulate at the plasma membrane, strongly suggesting that Z homo-oligomerization is associated with its myristoylation and cell membrane targeting. In contrast, disruption of the RING structure or substitution of W44 or N39, which are critical for L protein recognition, did not affect Z self-binding. Overall, the data presented here indicate that homo-oligomerization is not a requirement for Z-L interaction or Z-mediated polymerase activity inhibition. PMID:21957305

  5. Molecular Determinants of Arenavirus Z Protein Homo-Oligomerization and L Polymerase Binding▿

    PubMed Central

    Loureiro, Maria Eugenia; Wilda, Maximiliano; Levingston Macleod, Jesica M.; D'Antuono, Alejandra; Foscaldi, Sabrina; Buslje, Cristina Marino; Lopez, Nora

    2011-01-01

    The arenavirus Z is a zinc-binding RING protein that has been implicated in multiple functions during the viral life cycle. These roles of Z involve interactions with viral and cellular proteins that remain incompletely understood. In this regard, Z inhibits viral RNA transcription and replication through direct interaction with the viral L polymerase. Here, we defined the L-binding domain of Tacaribe virus (TCRV) Z protein and the structural requirements mediating Z homo-oligomerization. By using site-directed mutagenesis, coimmunoprecipitation, and functional assays, we showed that residues R37, N39, W44, L50, and Y57, located around the zinc coordination site I, play a critical role in the Z-L interaction. We also found that Z protein from either TCRV or the pathogenic Junin virus (JUNV) self-associates into oligomeric forms in mammalian cells. Importantly, mutation of the myristoylation site, the strictly conserved residue G at position 2, severely impaired the ability of both TCRV Z and JUNV Z to self-interact as well as their capacity to accumulate at the plasma membrane, strongly suggesting that Z homo-oligomerization is associated with its myristoylation and cell membrane targeting. In contrast, disruption of the RING structure or substitution of W44 or N39, which are critical for L protein recognition, did not affect Z self-binding. Overall, the data presented here indicate that homo-oligomerization is not a requirement for Z-L interaction or Z-mediated polymerase activity inhibition. PMID:21957305

  6. Formal homo-Nazarov and other cyclization reactions of activated cyclopropanes.

    PubMed

    De Simone, Filippo; Saget, Tanguy; Benfatti, Fides; Almeida, Sofia; Waser, Jérôme

    2011-12-16

    The Nazarov cyclization of divinyl ketones gives access to cyclopentenones. Replacing one of the vinyl groups by a cyclopropane leads to a formal homo-Nazarov process for the synthesis of cyclohexenones. In contrast to the Nazarov reaction, the cyclization of vinyl-cyclopropyl ketones is a stepwise process, often requiring harsh conditions. Herein, we describe two different approaches for further polarization of the three-membered ring of vinyl-cyclopropyl ketones to allow the formal homo-Nazarov reaction under mild catalytic conditions. In the first approach, the introduction of an ester group α to the carbonyl on the cyclopropane gave a more than tenfold increase in reaction rate, allowing us to extend the scope of the reaction to non-electron-rich aryl donor substituents in the β position to the carbonyl on the cyclopropane. In this case, a proof of principle for asymmetric induction could be achieved using chiral Lewis acid catalysts. In the second approach, heteroatoms, especially nitrogen, were introduced β to the carbonyl on the cyclopropane. In this case, the reaction was especially successful when the vinyl group was replaced by an indole heterocycle. With a free indole, the formal homo-Nazarov cyclization on the C3 position of indole was observed using a copper catalyst. In contrast, a new cyclization reaction on the N1 position was observed with Brønsted acid catalysts. Both reactions were applied to the synthesis of natural alkaloids. Preliminary investigations on the rationalization of the observed regioselectivity are also reported. PMID:22113928

  7. A Critical Evaluation of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis for LB1, Type Specimen of Homo floresiensis

    PubMed Central

    Baab, Karen L.; Brown, Peter; Falk, Dean; Richtsmeier, Joan T.; Hildebolt, Charles F.; Smith, Kirk; Jungers, William

    2016-01-01

    The Liang Bua hominins from Flores, Indonesia, have been the subject of intense scrutiny and debate since their initial description and classification in 2004. These remains have been assigned to a new species, Homo floresiensis, with the partial skeleton LB1 as the type specimen. The Liang Bua hominins are notable for their short stature, small endocranial volume, and many features that appear phylogenetically primitive relative to modern humans, despite their late Pleistocene age. Recently, some workers suggested that the remains represent members of a small-bodied island population of modern Austro-Melanesian humans, with LB1 exhibiting clinical signs of Down syndrome. Many classic Down syndrome signs are soft tissue features that could not be assessed in skeletal remains. Moreover, a definitive diagnosis of Down syndrome can only be made by genetic analysis as the phenotypes associated with Down syndrome are variable. Most features that contribute to the Down syndrome phenotype are not restricted to Down syndrome but are seen in other chromosomal disorders and in the general population. Nevertheless, we re-evaluated the presence of those phenotypic features used to support this classification by comparing LB1 to samples of modern humans diagnosed with Down syndrome and euploid modern humans using comparative morphometric analyses. We present new data regarding neurocranial, brain, and symphyseal shape in Down syndrome, additional estimates of stature for LB1, and analyses of inter- and intralimb proportions. The presence of cranial sinuses is addressed using CT images of LB1. We found minimal congruence between the LB1 phenotype and clinical descriptions of Down syndrome. We present important differences between the phenotypes of LB1 and individuals with Down syndrome, and quantitative data that characterize LB1 as an outlier compared with Down syndrome and non-Down syndrome groups. Homo floresiensis remains a phenotypically unique, valid species with its roots

  8. Kinin B1 receptor homo-oligomerization is required for receptor trafficking to the cell surface.

    PubMed

    Sandén, Caroline; Leeb-Lundberg, L M Fredrik

    2013-01-01

    The kinin B1 receptor (B1R) is a G protein-coupled receptor with pro-inflammatory activity that is latent in healthy tissues but induced by tissue insult. Here, we investigated if B1R homo-oligomerization is a possible mechanism regulating the presentation of this receptor at the level of maturation and trafficking to the cell surface. To this end, we used HEK293 cells stably expressing N-terminal FLAG and HA epitope-tagged wild-type human B1R and an N-terminal receptor fragment, B1stop135, which terminates at the C-terminal end of the third transmembrane domain and has previously been shown to oligomerize with B1R. Receptors were monitored by immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation, receptor function by agonist binding and agonist-promoted phosphoinositide hydrolysis, and receptor trafficking by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy. When expressed alone, B1R is core N-glycosylated and forms oligomers localized intracellularly and on the cell surface. B1stop135 also exists as core N-glycosylated oligomers but is localized exclusively intracellularly. When co-expressed, B1stop135 prevents specifically B1R homo-oligomerization by forming nonfunctional B1R-B1stop135 hetero-oligomers, retains B1R intracellularly at least in part in the endoplasmatic reticulum (ER), increases calnexin binding to the receptor, and increases receptor degradation. We conclude that B1R homo-oligomerization is necessary for B1R maturation and trafficking to the cell surface. Modulating this mechanism may be a novel therapeutic avenue in inflammatory disease. PMID:23201435

  9. Shape of the piriform aperture in Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, and modern Homo sapiens: characterization and polymorphism analysis.

    PubMed

    Schmittbuhl, M; Le Minor, J M; Allenbach, B; Schaaf, A

    1998-07-01

    By using new methodologies based on automatic image analysis, the shape of the piriform aperture was analyzed in Gorilla gorilla (33 males, 13 females), Pan troglodytes (35 males, 22 females), and modern Homo sapiens (30 males, 12 females). The determination of the piriform aperture index (breadth/height) allowed the authors to demonstrate a marked elongation of the aperture in Homo compared with Gorilla and Pan. Individual characterization of the shape was possible with great precision and without ambiguity by using Fourier analysis. An absolute, interspecific partition between Gorilla, Pan, and Homo resulted from the canonical discriminant analysis of the Fourier descriptors. However, a closeness of shape between some individuals in Pan and some in Gorilla and Homo was observed, demonstrating a morphological continuum of the shape of the piriform aperture in hominoids: Pan was in intermediate position between Gorilla and Homo. Interspecific differences between Homo and the group Pan-Gorilla were explained principally by the differences in elongation (amplitude of the second harmonic) and pentagonality (amplitude of the fifth harmonic) and by differences in orientation of quadrangularity (phase of the fourth harmonic). Differences in the shape of the piriform aperture between Pan and Gorilla were explained by differences in orientation of elongation (phase of the second harmonic) and by differences in the component of triangularity (amplitude of the third harmonic). In Gorilla and Pan, the little, elongated, and relatively trapezoidal piriform aperture seems to be a shared primitive feature (plesiomorphic), whereas an elongated piriform aperture seems to be a characteristic and derived feature (apomorphic) of modern Homo sapiens. PMID:9696146

  10. Looking for Fossil Bacteria in Martian Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Westall, F.; Walsh, M. M.; Mckay, D. D.; Wentworth, S.; Gibson, E. K.; Steele, A.; Toporski, J.; Lindstrom, D.; Martinez, R.; Allen, C. C.

    1999-01-01

    The rationale for looking for prokaryote fossils in Martian materials is based on our present understanding of the environmental evolution of that planet in comparison to the history of the terrestrial environments and the development and evolution of life on Earth. On Earth we have clear, albeit indirect, evidence of life in 3.8 b.y.-old rocks from Greenland and the first morphological fossils in 3.3-3.5 b.y.-old cherts from South Africa and Australia. In comparison, Mars, being smaller, probably cooled down after initial aggregation faster than the Earth. Consequently, there could have been liquid water on its surface earlier than on Earth. With a similar exogenous and endogenous input of organics and life-sustaining nutrients as is proposed for the Earth, life could have arisen on that planet, possibly slightly earlier dm it did on Earth. Whereas on Earth liquid water has remained at the surface of the planet since about 4.4 b.y. (with some possible interregnums caused by planet-sterilising impacts before 3.8. b.y. and perhaps a number of periods of a totally frozen Earth, this was not the case with Mars. Although it is not known exactly when surficial water disappeared from the surface, there would have been sufficient time for life to have developed into something similar to the terrestrial prokaryote stage. However, given the earlier environmental deterioration, it is unlikely that it evolved into the eukaryote stage and even evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis may not have been reached. Thus, the impetus of research is on single celled life simnilar to prokaryotes. We are investigating a number of methods of trace element analysis with respect to the Early Archaean microbial fossils. Preliminary neutron activation analysis of carbonaceous layers in the Early Archaean cherts from South Africa and Australia shows some partitioning of elements such as As, Sb, Cr with an especial enrichment of lanthanides in a carbonaceous-rich banded iron sediment . More

  11. Energy properties of solid fossil fuels and solid biofuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holubcik, Michal; Kolkova, Zuzana; Jandacka, Jozef

    2016-06-01

    The paper deals about the problematic of energy properties of solid biofuels in comparison with solid fossil fuels. Biofuels are alternative to fossil fuels and their properties are very similar. During the experiments were done in detail experiments to obtain various properties of spruce wood pellets and wheat straw pellets like biofuels in comparison with brown coal and black coal like fossil fuels. There were tested moisture content, volatile content, fixed carbon content, ash content, elementary analysis (C, H, N, S content) and ash fusion temperatures. The results show that biofuels have some advantages and also disadvantages in comparison with solid fossil fuels.

  12. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique

    2016-04-25

    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates. PMID:27040775

  13. Continuous flow room temperature reductive aqueous homo-coupling of aryl halides using supported Pd catalysts

    PubMed Central

    Feiz, Afsaneh; Bazgir, Ayoob; Balu, Alina M.; Luque, Rafael

    2016-01-01

    A convenient and environmentally friendly protocol for the preparation of biaryls at room temperature under continuous flow conditions is reported. A simple reductive homo-coupling Ullmann-type reaction was performed in an H-Cube mini using commercially available supported Pd catalysts under mild reaction conditions, with quantitative conversion to target products. Commercial Pd catalysts were found to be highly stable under the investigated reaction conditions, with a minimum Pd leaching into solution after several reaction runs (ca. 20 h on stream). PMID:27600989

  14. Molecular structure, First-order hyperpolarizability and HOMO-LUMO studies of L- Histidinium Dinitrate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arulmozhi, S.; Madhavan, J.

    2015-02-01

    The geometric parameters and hyperpolarizabilities of a nonlinear optical material L- Histidinium Dinitrate (LHDN) was investigated by density functional theory and presented. The compound crystallizes in the noncentro symmetric space group P212121 of orthorhombic system. The first order hyperpolarizability (β) of this molecular system is calculated using B3LYP/6-31G (d,p) method on the finite-field approach. The calculation results also show that the LHDN molecule might have microscopic nonlinear optical behavior with non zero values. The Optical absorption spectrum and second harmonic generation were investigated. The calculated HOMO and LUMO energies showed that charge transfer occurs within the molecule.

  15. Radical-initiated controlled synthesis of homo- and copolymers based on acrylonitrile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grishin, D. F.; Grishin, I. D.

    2015-07-01

    Data on the controlled synthesis of polyacrylonitrile and acrylonitrile copolymers with other (meth)acrylic and vinyl monomers upon radical initiation and metal complex catalysis are analyzed. Primary attention is given to the use of metal complexes for the synthesis of acrylonitrile-based (co)polymers with defined molecular weight and polydispersity in living mode by atom transfer radical polymerization. The prospects for using known methods of controlled synthesis of macromolecules for the preparation of acrylonitrile homo- and copolymers as carbon fibre precursors are estimated. The major array of published data analyzed in the review refers to the last decade. The bibliography includes 175 references.

  16. Continuous flow room temperature reductive aqueous homo-coupling of aryl halides using supported Pd catalysts.

    PubMed

    Feiz, Afsaneh; Bazgir, Ayoob; Balu, Alina M; Luque, Rafael

    2016-01-01

    A convenient and environmentally friendly protocol for the preparation of biaryls at room temperature under continuous flow conditions is reported. A simple reductive homo-coupling Ullmann-type reaction was performed in an H-Cube mini using commercially available supported Pd catalysts under mild reaction conditions, with quantitative conversion to target products. Commercial Pd catalysts were found to be highly stable under the investigated reaction conditions, with a minimum Pd leaching into solution after several reaction runs (ca. 20 h on stream). PMID:27600989

  17. Assessing trace element diffusion models in fossil and sub-fossil bone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, C. A.; Kohn, M. J.

    2012-12-01

    Three different diffusion models have been proposed to explain trace element uptake during fossilization of bone: diffusion-adsorption (DA), diffusion-recrystallization (DR), and double-medium diffusion (DMD). Theoretically, differences in trace element profiles, particularly the rare earth elements (REE) and U, can discriminate among these possibilities. In this study, we tested which model best explains natural samples by analyzing trace element profiles in natural bone using laser-ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Fossil bones ranging in age from a few ka to over 100 Ma were analyzed along traverses from the outer cortical edge to the inner marrow cavity margin. Forty major, minor and trace elements were analyzed, notably Ca, P, transition metals, Sr, Ba, REE, U, Th and Pb. Spatial and analytical resolutions were ~10 μm and ~100 ppb respectively. Many specimens show commonly observed exponential decreases in REE from the outer edge and marrow cavity, with relatively homogeneous U distributions. Yet, most significantly, specimens from American Falls (last interglacial) and Duck Point (last glacial maximum) show distinctive U plateaus adjacent to the outer and inner cortical bone margins. Whereas exponential profiles can be produced by different uptake processes, such plateaus are diagnostic of a DR mechanism. Our work is consistent with recent investigation of trace element diffusivities in modern fresh and deproteinated bone. These studies show similar diffusion rates for REE and U, so the profound disparity in U vs. REE profiles in most fossils cannot result solely from differences in volume diffusion within the context of DA and DMD. Rather, as a recrystallization front propagates into bone, the bone appears to encode changing soil water compositions with earlier vs. later compositions reflected in the bone margin vs. interior. Soil water U concentrations apparently remain nearly fixed during fossilization, whereas REE are

  18. A cranium for the earliest Europeans: phylogenetic position of the hominid from Ceprano, Italy.

    PubMed

    Manzi, G; Mallegni, F; Ascenzi, A

    2001-08-14

    The human fossil evidence unequivocally pertaining to the first inhabitants of Europe at present includes the sample from Atapuerca-TD6 (Spain) and the incomplete adult calvaria discovered near Ceprano, in Southern Latium (Italy). On the basis of regional correlations and a series of absolute dates, the age of the Ceprano hominid is estimated to range between 800 and 900 kilo-annum (ka). In addition, the association with archaic (Mode 1) Paleolithic findings from the same area is suggested. After the completed reconstruction of the calvaria, we present here a new study dealing with the general and more detailed aspects of the morphology displayed by Ceprano, in comparison to fossil samples ranging between Early and Middle Pleistocene. According to our results, cranial features indicate that Ceprano represents a unique morphological bridge between the clade Homo ergaster/erectus and later Middle Pleistocene specimens commonly referred to Homo heidelbergensis (and/or to Homo rhodesiensis), particularly those belonging to the African fossil record that ultimately relates to the origin of modern humans. In conclusion, given its geographical, chronological, and phylogenetic position, an attribution to the species Homo antecessor is considered, although the sample from Atapuerca-TD6 is not directly comparable to Ceprano. Alternatively, a new species-ancestral to later European and African hominines-should be named to accommodate such a unique fossil specimen. PMID:11504953

  19. Rates of speciation in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges.

  20. Of Martian atmospheres, oceans, and fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helfer, H. L.

    1990-09-01

    A scenario is presently developed in which a substantial resemblance between Martian conditions up to 1.5 Gyr ago and those of the ancient earth led to the development of rudimentary life in Mars, in stages and on timescales that may be broadly comparable to terrestrial ones. The warm Martian oceans would give rise to both aerobic and anaerobic photosynthesizing prokaryotes, as well as such structures as stromatolites, which could in due course have transformed the Martian atmosphere as profoundly as those on earth. It is anticipated that the fossil remains of these rudimentary organisms can be found along the fringes of the ancient Martian oceans, which currently take the form of northern lowland plains.

  1. The future of oil: unconventional fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Chew, Kenneth J

    2014-01-13

    Unconventional fossil hydrocarbons fall into two categories: resource plays and conversion-sourced hydrocarbons. Resource plays involve the production of accumulations of solid, liquid or gaseous hydro-carbons that have been generated over geological time from organic matter in source rocks. The character of these hydrocarbons may have been modified subsequently, especially in the case of solids and extra-heavy liquids. These unconventional hydrocarbons therefore comprise accumulations of hydrocarbons that are trapped in an unconventional manner and/or whose economic exploitation requires complex and technically advanced production methods. This review focuses primarily on unconventional liquid hydro-carbons. The future potential of unconventional gas, especially shale gas, is also discussed, as it is revolutionizing the energy outlook in North America and elsewhere. PMID:24298078

  2. Paleophysiology: From Fossils to the Future.

    PubMed

    Vermeij, Geerat J

    2015-10-01

    Future environments may resemble conditions that have not existed for millions of years. To assess the adaptive options available to organisms evolving under such circumstances, it is instructive to probe paleophysiology, the ways in which ancient life coped with its physical and chemical surroundings. To do this, we need reliable proxies that are based on fundamental principles, quantitatively verified in living species, and observable in fossil remains. Insights have already come from vertebrates and plants, and others will likely emerge for marine animals if promising proxies are validated. Many questions remain about the circumstances for the evolution of environmental tolerances, metabolic rates, biomineralization, and physiological responses to interacting species, and about how living organisms will perform under exceptional conditions. PMID:26411617

  3. FAST FOSSIL ROTATION OF NEUTRON STAR CORES

    SciTech Connect

    Melatos, A.

    2012-12-10

    It is argued that the superfluid core of a neutron star super-rotates relative to the crust, because stratification prevents the core from responding to the electromagnetic braking torque, until the relevant dissipative (viscous or Eddington-Sweet) timescale, which can exceed {approx}10{sup 3} yr and is much longer than the Ekman timescale, has elapsed. Hence, in some young pulsars, the rotation of the core today is a fossil record of its rotation at birth, provided that magnetic crust-core coupling is inhibited, e.g., by buoyancy, field-line topology, or the presence of uncondensed neutral components in the superfluid. Persistent core super-rotation alters our picture of neutron stars in several ways, allowing for magnetic field generation by ongoing dynamo action and enhanced gravitational wave emission from hydrodynamic instabilities.

  4. Fossil birds of the Kibish Formation.

    PubMed

    Louchart, Antoine; Haile-Selassie, Y; Vignaud, P; Likius, A; Brunet, M

    2008-09-01

    The Kibish Formation has yielded a small collection of bird fossils, which are identified here as belonging to five species in four different families: Pelecanidae (pelicans), Anhingidae (darters), Ardeidae (herons) and Phasianidae (gamefowl). Two species of pelicans are identified: Pelecanus cf. P. onocrotalus, and P. aff. P. rufescens. The darter is referrable to Anhinga melanogaster. The heron is identifiable as Ardea sp., and the gamefowl as Numidinae indet. (guineafowl). Pelecanus cf. P. onocrotalus is represented by, among other remains, a well-preserved partial skull. Four of the birds are thus referrable to extant taxa that provide some paleoenvironmental clues for Member I of the Kibish Formation. The two species of pelican, the darter, and the heron indicate the presence of local freshwater bodies, a lake or a slow river, supporting resources of fish. The guineafowl is poorly informative ecologically, but probably excludes the notion that the local terrestrial landscape was treeless. PMID:18656245

  5. Fast Fossil Rotation of Neutron Star Cores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melatos, A.

    2012-12-01

    It is argued that the superfluid core of a neutron star super-rotates relative to the crust, because stratification prevents the core from responding to the electromagnetic braking torque, until the relevant dissipative (viscous or Eddington-Sweet) timescale, which can exceed ~103 yr and is much longer than the Ekman timescale, has elapsed. Hence, in some young pulsars, the rotation of the core today is a fossil record of its rotation at birth, provided that magnetic crust-core coupling is inhibited, e.g., by buoyancy, field-line topology, or the presence of uncondensed neutral components in the superfluid. Persistent core super-rotation alters our picture of neutron stars in several ways, allowing for magnetic field generation by ongoing dynamo action and enhanced gravitational wave emission from hydrodynamic instabilities.

  6. Microbial biocatalyst developments to upgrade fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Kilbane, John J

    2006-06-01

    Steady increases in the average sulfur content of petroleum and stricter environmental regulations concerning the sulfur content have promoted studies of bioprocessing to upgrade fossil fuels. Bioprocesses can potentially provide a solution to the need for improved and expanded fuel upgrading worldwide, because bioprocesses for fuel upgrading do not require hydrogen and produce far less carbon dioxide than thermochemical processes. Recent advances have demonstrated that biodesulfurization is capable of removing sulfur from hydrotreated diesel to yield a product with an ultra-low sulfur concentration that meets current environmental regulations. However, the technology has not yet progressed beyond laboratory-scale testing, as more efficient biocatalysts are needed. Genetic studies to obtain improved biocatalysts for the selective removal of sulfur and nitrogen from petroleum provide the focus of current research efforts. PMID:16678400

  7. SO sub 2 compliance Cumberland Fossil Plant

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-08-01

    The Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) of 1990 require a national reduction in SO{sub 2} emissions to control acid rain. This environmental assessment (EA) describes alternative considered (and the associated environmental consequences) for complying with SO{sub 2} reduction requirements of the amendments at Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Cumberland Fossil Plant (CUF). TVA proposes to reduce SO{sub 2} emissions at CUF to 1.2 lb/10{sub 6} Btu or less as part of its compliance with the CAAA requirements. The two most viable options to achieve this reduction are a switch to western low- sulfur coal and the installation of flue gas desulfurization (FGD), also called scrubbers.

  8. Paleoarchean trace fossils in altered volcanic glass

    PubMed Central

    Staudigel, Hubert; Furnes, Harald; DeWit, Maarten

    2015-01-01

    Microbial corrosion textures in volcanic glass from Cenozoic seafloor basalts and the corresponding titanite replacement microtextures in metamorphosed Paleoarchean pillow lavas have been interpreted as evidence for a deep biosphere dating back in time through the earliest periods of preserved life on earth. This interpretation has been recently challenged for Paleoarchean titanite replacement textures based on textural and geochronological data from pillow lavas in the Hooggenoeg Complex of the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa. We use this controversy to explore the strengths and weaknesses of arguments made in support or rejection of the biogenicity interpretation of bioalteration trace fossils in Cenozoic basalt glasses and their putative equivalents in Paleoarchean greenstones. Our analysis suggests that biogenicity cannot be taken for granted for all titanite-based textures in metamorphosed basalt glass, but a cautious and critical evaluation of evidence suggests that biogenicity remains the most likely interpretation for previously described titanite microtextures in Paleoarchean pillow lavas. PMID:26038543

  9. Paleoarchean trace fossils in altered volcanic glass.

    PubMed

    Staudigel, Hubert; Furnes, Harald; DeWit, Maarten

    2015-06-01

    Microbial corrosion textures in volcanic glass from Cenozoic seafloor basalts and the corresponding titanite replacement microtextures in metamorphosed Paleoarchean pillow lavas have been interpreted as evidence for a deep biosphere dating back in time through the earliest periods of preserved life on earth. This interpretation has been recently challenged for Paleoarchean titanite replacement textures based on textural and geochronological data from pillow lavas in the Hooggenoeg Complex of the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa. We use this controversy to explore the strengths and weaknesses of arguments made in support or rejection of the biogenicity interpretation of bioalteration trace fossils in Cenozoic basalt glasses and their putative equivalents in Paleoarchean greenstones. Our analysis suggests that biogenicity cannot be taken for granted for all titanite-based textures in metamorphosed basalt glass, but a cautious and critical evaluation of evidence suggests that biogenicity remains the most likely interpretation for previously described titanite microtextures in Paleoarchean pillow lavas. PMID:26038543

  10. Fossil Groups in the Local Universe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    OSullivan, Ewan

    2005-01-01

    The two galaxies observed as part of this project were originally selected as fossil group candidates because of their isolation from other galaxies and their apparent high X-ray luminosity and extended X-ray emission. However, the X-ray data available was minimal, being drawn from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey. We have performed an initial analysis of the XMM data from both galaxies and found that their gaseous halos are smaller, cooler, and less luminous than expected. In the case of NGC 57, the RASS estimate of extent and luminosity was biased because of a previously unidentified background group which is visible in the XMM data to one side of the galaxy. In the case of IC 153 1, the contribution from background point sources near the galaxy appears to be to blame. This suggests that both galaxies should be reclassified as isolated ellipticals. Such systems are very rare, and currently poorly understood; for comparison, there are now 6-10 known fossil groups, but only one isolated elliptical with useful X-ray data. We are currently re-analyzing the data for the two galaxies to take advantage of the calibration improvements of SAS 6.1, and to include calculations of the mass profiles of the two systems. A paper is currently in preparation dealing with the X-ray properties and environment of the galaxies, and we expect to submit this to the Astrophysical Journal within the next two months. Multi-band optical imaging of the field surrounding NGC 57 has been acquired to confirm its isolated status and provide more information on the background group. IC 1531 was accepted as a target in Chandra cycle 6 as part of a related proposal, and we intend to add this new observation to our XMM data when it becomes available. A second paper is planned to include the results of this combined analysis.

  11. The eukaryotic fossil record in deep time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butterfield, N.

    2011-12-01

    Eukaryotic organisms are defining constituents of the Phanerozoic biosphere, but they also extend well back into the Proterozoic record, primarily in the form of microscopic body fossils. Criteria for identifying pre-Ediacaran eukaryotes include large cell size, morphologically complex cell walls and/or the recognition of diagnostically eukaryotic cell division patterns. The oldest unambiguous eukaryote currently on record is an acanthomorphic acritarch (Tappania) from the Palaeoproterozoic Semri Group of central India. Older candidate eukaryotes are difficult to distinguish from giant bacteria, prokaryotic colonies or diagenetic artefacts. In younger Meso- and Neoproterozoic strata, the challenge is to recognize particular grades and clades of eukaryotes, and to document their macro-evolutionary expression. Distinctive unicellular forms include mid-Neoproterozoic testate amoebae and phosphate biomineralizing 'scale-microfossils' comparable to an extant green alga. There is also a significant record of seaweeds, possible fungi and problematica from this interval, documenting multiple independent experiments in eukaryotic multicellularity. Taxonomically resolved forms include a bangiacean red alga and probable vaucheriacean chromalveolate algae from the late Mesoproterozoic, and populations of hydrodictyacean and siphonocladalean green algae of mid Neoproterozoic age. Despite this phylogenetic breadth, however, or arguments from molecular clocks, there is no convincing evidence for pre-Ediacaran metazoans or metaphytes. The conspicuously incomplete nature of the Proterozoic record makes it difficult to resolve larger-scale ecological and evolutionary patterns. Even so, both body fossils and biomarker data point to a pre-Ediacaran biosphere dominated overwhelming by prokaryotes. Contemporaneous eukaryotes appear to be limited to conspicuously shallow water environments, and exhibit fundamentally lower levels of morphological diversity and evolutionary turnover than

  12. Viroids: "living fossils" of primordial RNAs?

    PubMed

    Diener, Theodor O

    2016-01-01

    The discovery of the viroid in 1971, which initiated the third major expansion of the biosphere towards smaller living entities-after discovery of the "subvisual" microorganisms in 1675 and that of the "submicroscopic" viruses in 1892-has been officially endorsed by the International Committee on Virus Taxonomy as a new order called subviral agents.In 1989, I proposed that, based on their respective molecular properties, viroids are more plausible "living fossils" of the hypothetical RNA World (widely assumed to have existed prior to the evolution of DNA or proteins) than are intron-derived RNAs, which were, at that time, suggested as putative survivors. There were few citations of my proposal-and virtually none of viroids-beyond plant virology unil 1994, when Cheles-Flores critically examined the hypothesis and pointed out a serious difficulty, as well as a process by which this difficulty could be overcome. In 2013, when investigations by Koonin and Dolja revealed that of extant RNAs, viroids "strikingly" display some of the molecular properties posited for the earliest evolving, selfish RNAs (primordial RNAs), but, because extant organisms, aside from higher plants, appear not to harbor viroids, they cannot be regarded as primordial fossils, but appear to have evolved post LUCA (the Last Universal Common Ancestor). Here, I review whether some evidence nevertheless is compatible with the original postulate of the 1989 hypothesis. My analysis reveals no unequivocal evidence for an ancient origin of viroids, but suggests, alternatively, that viroids may have evolved de novo more recently, probably by novel processes similar to those suggested by each reviewer.These results are important, because they help illuminate a little understood period of abiogenesis--after the abiotic synthesis of life's chemical building blocks, which is, in principle, understood, and before the evolution of DNA and proteins in the late RNA World. PMID:27016066

  13. Fossil Leaves and Fossil Leaf n-Alkanes: Reconstructing the First Closed Canopied Rainforests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, H. V.; Freeman, K. H.

    2013-12-01

    Although the age and location is disputed, the rise of the first closed-canopy forest is likely linked with the expansion of angiosperms in the late Cretacous or early Cenozoic. The carbon isotope 'canopy effect' reflects the extent of canopy closure, and is well documented in δ13C values of the leaves and leaf lipids in modern forests. To test the extent of canopy closure among the oldest documented angiosperm tropical forests, we analyzed isotopic characteristics of leaf fossils and leaf waxes from the Guaduas and Cerrejón Formations. The Guaduas Fm. (Maastrichtian) contains some of the earliest angiosperm fossils in the Neotropics, and both leaf morphology and pollen records at this site suggest an open-canopy structure. The Cerrejón Fm. (Paleocene) contains what are believed to be the first recorded fossil leaves from a closed-canopy forest. We analyzed the bulk carbon isotope content (δ13Cleaf) of 199 fossil leaves, as well as the n-alkane concentration and chain-length distribution, and δ13C of alkanes (δ13Clipid) of 73 fossil leaves and adjacent sediment samples. Fossil leaves are dominated by eudicots and include ten modern plant families (Apocynaceae, Bombaceae, Euphorbaceae, Fabaceae, Lauraceae, Malvaceae, Meliaceae, Menispermaceae, Moraceae, Sapotaceae). We interpreted extent of canopy coverage based on the range of δ13Cleaf values. The narrow range of δ13C values in leaves from the Guaduas Fm (2.7‰) is consistent with an open canopy. A significantly wider range in values (6.3‰) suggests a closed-canopy signature for site 0315 of the Cerrejón Fm,. In contrast, at Site 0318, a lacustrine deposit, leaves had a narrow range (3.3‰) in δ13C values, and this is not consistent with a closed-canopy, but is consistent with leaf assemblages from a forest edge. Leaves that accumulate in lake sediments tend to be biased toward plants living at the lake edge, which do not experience closed-canopy conditions, and do not express the isotopic

  14. Fusion to a homo-oligomeric scaffold allows cryo-EM analysis of a small protein.

    PubMed

    Coscia, Francesca; Estrozi, Leandro F; Hans, Fabienne; Malet, Hélène; Noirclerc-Savoye, Marjolaine; Schoehn, Guy; Petosa, Carlo

    2016-01-01

    Recent technical advances have revolutionized the field of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). However, most monomeric proteins remain too small (<100 kDa) for cryo-EM analysis. To overcome this limitation, we explored a strategy whereby a monomeric target protein is genetically fused to a homo-oligomeric scaffold protein and the junction optimized to allow the target to adopt the scaffold symmetry, thereby generating a chimeric particle suitable for cryo-EM. To demonstrate the concept, we fused maltose-binding protein (MBP), a 40 kDa monomer, to glutamine synthetase, a dodecamer formed by two hexameric rings. Chimeric constructs with different junction lengths were screened by biophysical analysis and negative-stain EM. The optimal construct yielded a cryo-EM reconstruction that revealed the MBP structure at sub-nanometre resolution. These findings illustrate the feasibility of using homo-oligomeric scaffolds to enable cryo-EM analysis of monomeric proteins, paving the way for applying this strategy to challenging structures resistant to crystallographic and NMR analysis. PMID:27485862

  15. Induction and Consolidation of Calcium-Based Homo- and Heterosynaptic Potentiation and Depression

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yinyun; Kulvicius, Tomas; Tetzlaff, Christian

    2016-01-01

    The adaptive mechanisms of homo- and heterosynaptic plasticity play an important role in learning and memory. In order to maintain plasticity-induced changes for longer time scales (up to several days), they have to be consolidated by transferring them from a short-lasting early-phase to a long-lasting late-phase state. The underlying processes of this synaptic consolidation are already well-known for homosynaptic plasticity, however, it is not clear whether the same processes also enable the induction and consolidation of heterosynaptic plasticity. In this study, by extending a generic calcium-based plasticity model with the processes of synaptic consolidation, we show in simulations that indeed heterosynaptic plasticity can be induced and, furthermore, consolidated by the same underlying processes as for homosynaptic plasticity. Furthermore, we show that by local diffusion processes the heterosynaptic effect can be restricted to a few synapses neighboring the homosynaptically changed ones. Taken together, this generic model reproduces many experimental results of synaptic tagging and consolidation, provides several predictions for heterosynaptic induction and consolidation, and yields insights into the complex interactions between homo- and heterosynaptic plasticity over a broad variety of time (minutes to days) and spatial scales (several micrometers). PMID:27560350

  16. Characterization of ZnSe homo-interface grown by MBE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakanishi, F.; Doi, H.; Yamada, T.; Matsuoka, T.; Nishine, S.; Matsumoto, K.; Shirakawa, T.

    1997-06-01

    A ZnSe homo-interface, which was formed by MBE, was characterized. First, when the unetched ZnSe substrates were used, 3D-nucleation occurred, which suggested the remnant of the heterogeneous nuclei. Consequently, the interface layer was clearly visible and as high as 10 8 cm -2 crystal defects, such as dislocations and stacking faults, were observed by cross sectional TEM. The EPD was uncountable at this high defect density. Second, when the substrates were chemically etched, 2D-nucleation was confirmed by RHEED, and interface layer and defects were not observed by cross sectional TEM. However plan-view TEM and EPD revealed that about 10 6-10 7 cm -2 crystal defects were observed. To clarify the origin of the crystal defects at the homo-interface, SIMS analysis was performed and the results showed the pile up of oxygen at the interface, and the EPD was proportional to the intensity of the O signal. Finally, the reduction of the oxide layer after the chemical etching was tried using various reagents. The reconstruction pattern of the RHEED was observed at lower temperatures using HCl solution and the EPD was lowered near the level of the ZnSe substrates, 10 4-10 5 cm -2

  17. Fusion to a homo-oligomeric scaffold allows cryo-EM analysis of a small protein

    PubMed Central

    Coscia, Francesca; Estrozi, Leandro F.; Hans, Fabienne; Malet, Hélène; Noirclerc-Savoye, Marjolaine; Schoehn, Guy; Petosa, Carlo

    2016-01-01

    Recent technical advances have revolutionized the field of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). However, most monomeric proteins remain too small (<100 kDa) for cryo-EM analysis. To overcome this limitation, we explored a strategy whereby a monomeric target protein is genetically fused to a homo-oligomeric scaffold protein and the junction optimized to allow the target to adopt the scaffold symmetry, thereby generating a chimeric particle suitable for cryo-EM. To demonstrate the concept, we fused maltose-binding protein (MBP), a 40 kDa monomer, to glutamine synthetase, a dodecamer formed by two hexameric rings. Chimeric constructs with different junction lengths were screened by biophysical analysis and negative-stain EM. The optimal construct yielded a cryo-EM reconstruction that revealed the MBP structure at sub-nanometre resolution. These findings illustrate the feasibility of using homo-oligomeric scaffolds to enable cryo-EM analysis of monomeric proteins, paving the way for applying this strategy to challenging structures resistant to crystallographic and NMR analysis. PMID:27485862

  18. The TCP1γ subunit of Leishmania donovani forms a biologically active homo-oligomeric complex.

    PubMed

    Bhaskar; Mitra, Kalyan; Kuldeep, Jitendra; Siddiqi, Mohammad Imran; Goyal, Neena

    2015-12-01

    Chaperonins are a class of molecular chaperons that encapsulate nascent or stress-denatured proteins and assist their intracellular assembly and folding in an ATP-dependent manner. The ubiquitous eukaryotic chaperonin, TCP1 ring complex is a hetero-oligomeric complex comprising two rings, each formed of eight subunits that may have distinct substrate recognition and ATP hydrolysis properties. In Leishmania, only the TCP1γ subunit has been cloned and characterized. It exhibited differential expression at various growth stages of promastigotes. In the present study, we expressed the TCP1γ subunit in Escherichia coli to investigate whether it forms chaperonin-like complexes and plays a role in protein folding. LdTCP1γ formed high-molecular-weight complexes within E. coli cells as well as in Leishmania cell lysates. The recombinant protein is arranged into two back-to-back rings of seven subunits each, as predicted by homology modelling and observed by negative staining electron microscopy. This morphology is consistent with that of the oligomeric double-ring group I chaperonins found in mitochondria. The LdTCP1γ homo-oligomeric complex hydrolysed ATP, and was active as assayed by luciferase refolding. Thus, the homo-oligomer performs chaperonin reactions without partner subunit(s). Further, co-immunoprecipitation studies revealed that LdTCP1γ interacts with actin and tubulin proteins, suggesting that the complex may have a role in maintaining the structural dynamics of the cytoskeleton of parasites. PMID:26395202

  19. Induction and Consolidation of Calcium-Based Homo- and Heterosynaptic Potentiation and Depression.

    PubMed

    Li, Yinyun; Kulvicius, Tomas; Tetzlaff, Christian

    2016-01-01

    The adaptive mechanisms of homo- and heterosynaptic plasticity play an important role in learning and memory. In order to maintain plasticity-induced changes for longer time scales (up to several days), they have to be consolidated by transferring them from a short-lasting early-phase to a long-lasting late-phase state. The underlying processes of this synaptic consolidation are already well-known for homosynaptic plasticity, however, it is not clear whether the same processes also enable the induction and consolidation of heterosynaptic plasticity. In this study, by extending a generic calcium-based plasticity model with the processes of synaptic consolidation, we show in simulations that indeed heterosynaptic plasticity can be induced and, furthermore, consolidated by the same underlying processes as for homosynaptic plasticity. Furthermore, we show that by local diffusion processes the heterosynaptic effect can be restricted to a few synapses neighboring the homosynaptically changed ones. Taken together, this generic model reproduces many experimental results of synaptic tagging and consolidation, provides several predictions for heterosynaptic induction and consolidation, and yields insights into the complex interactions between homo- and heterosynaptic plasticity over a broad variety of time (minutes to days) and spatial scales (several micrometers). PMID:27560350

  20. Divesting from Fossil Fuels Makes Sense Morally… and Financially

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cleveland, Cutler J.; Reibstein, Richard

    2015-01-01

    Should university endowments divest from fossil fuels? A public discussion of this question has seen some university presidents issuing statements that they would not divest--that investments should not be used for "political action." Many universities hold large endowments that have significant positions in fossil fuel companies or…