Friday, May 9, 2008

Weekly Science Update - Breakthroughs in Evolution

I like how the New York Times, the LA Times and USA Today, and even Yahoo! News each has a science section and it includes stories about ecology, nature, health, medicine, even science-society intersections. Why haven’t Black Media outlets done the same? Well, until it happens, I’ll continue posting important and interesting information about science and research. Think of it as supplemental News. The weekly science update labels are a quick way to see what’s new in Science and Research. And if you don’t listen to NPR Science Friday -- you may be even further behind than I think -- here is your Crib Sheet for Cocktail party talk this weekend. Both are rather quick reads. So scan through them quickly impress everyone with your knowledge of evolutionary theory over drinks. This week’s theme – EVOLUTION.

Platypus Genome Decoded Yes, this is a big deal. Okay not the “how does this apply to me” kind of way. But it’s a big deal to evolutionary and conservation geneticists/biologists. Yes, the freaky looking platypus’ genome has been figured out. And yes, it confirms what every elementary kid thought when they first are introduced to this animal - Platypus DNA is a combination of reptiles, birds and mammals; but in the most evolutionarily delicious way. Check out the story.

Ancient "Nutcracker Man" Challenges Ideas on Evolution of Human Diet Short and sweet – Anthropologists examined the tooth wear and food residuals of early hominid teeth. Usually dental paleontologist use ancient teeth to hypothesize what animals could eat. Because of this hominid’s tooth, cheek, and skull structure, plus the tell-tale wear on the teeth, they surmised that these early humans were well-suited for eating nuts and fruits with hard shells. But thanks to better digital and electronic imaging technology that can take a closer look at the teeth and determine what they actually ate (or more likely to have actually eaten). Neat, huh?

Oh, and don’t forget my prior posting on Human origins in Africa are derived from 2 lines.

Knock ‘em out.

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