Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Neanderthal genome breaking news!

Well, I'll be damned!

The entire genome of a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal has been sequenced by a team of scientists in Germany. The group is already extracting DNA from other ancient Neanderthal bones and hopes that the genomes will allow an unprecedented comparison between modern humans and their closest evolutionary relative.

The three-year project, which cost about €5 million (US$6.4 million), was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. Project leader Svante Pääbo will announce the results of the preliminary genomic analysis at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, which starts on 12 February.

Find out more right here!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quote of the day

A noteworthy passage from R.L. Kelly's The Foraging Spectrum: Diversity in Hunter-gatherer Lifeways (1995, pp. 261-262):

Though stereotyped images of hunter-gatherer social organization, especially relations between men and women (equality or inequality), are sometimes take to be ancient behavior rooted in Pleistocene adaptations, we repeat that this is not necessarily true. Modern hunter-gatherers do not live out the presumed legacy of their (and our) Plio-Pleistocene ancestors any more than we do. Instead, diversity or similarities in behavior are the result of diversity or similarities in selective pressures and enculturative environments.