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Descent of Man
In this lecture, beginners can familiarize themselves with basic information and terms used to describe the evolution of humanity beginning with the origin of primates through the comings and goings of Genus Homo.
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August 2000

Out of Africa
Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2000
(BBC) Fossil tracks found in Southern Italy suggest the Italian peninsular was connected to Northern Africa during the reign of the dinosaurs.

A hundred and thirty million years ago a group of dinosaurs walked across a muddy plain, leaving a trail of sixty massive footprints behind them.
The tracks solidified into rock - and have just been uncovered by a team of geologists from the University of Ferrara in Italy.

Some of the footprints have been identified as belonging to an Iguanadon, a nine metre long, five-tonne dinosaur. The herbivorous creature is similar to dinosaurs that lived in North Africa - and this suggests that Southern Italy was connected to Africa a hundred and thirty million years ago.

Geological evidence supports the idea that Italy and north Africa are made from the same rocks - but up to now it was thought that the Italy of today was just a group of islands off the African coast. But giant dinosaurs like the Iguanadon could not have survived on small islands - so the footprints are strong evidence that Italy was part of continental Africa.

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Federal Agency Says Mummy Is Not Tribal Ancestor
Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2000
(ABC NEWS) "After more than four years of consultation with the tribe, analyzing the information and reviewing policy, I feel it’s time to make this determination," state BLM Director Bob Abbey said in a written statement.

The partial, mummified remains were found by archaeologists 60 years ago in Spirit Cave, in the Grimes Point area about 13 miles east of Fallon. It has been housed at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City for much of the time since then.

Anthropologists and scientists say more study of the 10,000-year-old Spirit Cave Man would provide valuable insight into what the first inhabitants of North America were like.

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DNA clues to Neanderthals
Posted: Friday, August 11, 2000
(BBC) Scientists have analysed the DNA of a third Neanderthal in an attempt to shed light on the genetic history of early humans.
The results suggest that, like modern humans, Neanderthals expanded from a relatively small number of individuals.

And there is no evidence to indicate that Neanderthals interbred with modern humans, something that has always been a bone of contention among experts. The DNA was extracted from remains of a Neanderthal found in Vindija Cave, Croatia.

So far, only two other samples of DNA from Neanderthal bones have been analysed. One came from fossils found in Feldhofer Cave, western Germany, the other from a Neanderthal child found in Mezmaiskaya Cave in the northern Caucasus.

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Evidence Puts Hominid Migration 250,000 Years Earlier
Posted: Friday, August 11, 2000
(ABC NEWS) Craig S. Feibel, a Rutgers University geologist, said that the findings show that a hominid called Homo erectus migrated from Africa and settled at a site called Gesher Benot Ya’aqov some 250,000 years earlier than previous studies had suggested.
Gesher Benot Ya’aqov is located in the Dead Sea rift of northern Israel. The site is dry now, but once it was the center of a freshwater lake, surrounded by trees and lively with game, said Feibel, the co-author of a studying appearing today in the journal Science.

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A Question of Race
Posted: Sunday, August 6, 2000
Forensic Anthropologists Disagree About Racial Characteristics and Bone Structure

(ABC NEWS) The 9,000-year-old skeleton, now known as Kennewick Man, died when he was 45-50 years old, according to a government study. His pelvis had grown over a 2-inch-long stone point embedded in his hip, perhaps giving him a limp. He also had suffered injuries to his skull and left arm, as well as broken ribs many years before he died.
Scientists also took a close look at Kennewick Man’s face. Some said the bones looked Asian. Others said they were Caucasian, or even Neanderthal.
But just how much can the framework of the body tell about the person who lived inside of it?

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