The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack

and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution

Author: Ian Tattersall

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466879432

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 3091

DOWNLOAD NOW »

In his new book The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, human paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall argues that a long tradition of "human exceptionalism" in paleoanthropology has distorted the picture of human evolution. Drawing partly on his own career—from young scientist in awe of his elders to crotchety elder statesman—Tattersall offers an idiosyncratic look at the competitive world of paleoanthropology, beginning with Charles Darwin 150 years ago, and continuing through the Leakey dynasty in Africa, and concluding with the latest astonishing findings in the Caucasus. The book's title refers to the 1856 discovery of a clearly very old skull cap in Germany's Neander Valley. The possessor had a brain as large as a modern human, but a heavy low braincase with a prominent brow ridge. Scientists tried hard to explain away the inconvenient possibility that this was not actually our direct relative. One extreme interpretation suggested that the preserved leg bones were curved by both rickets, and by a life on horseback. The pain of the unfortunate individual's affliction had caused him to chronically furrow his brow in agony, leading to the excessive development of bone above the eye sockets. The subsequent history of human evolutionary studies is full of similarly fanciful interpretations. With tact and humor, Tattersall concludes that we are not the perfected products of natural processes, but instead the result of substantial doses of random happenstance.
Release

The First Signs

Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols

Author: Genevieve von Petzinger

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 147678549X

Category: Art

Page: 320

View: 9358

DOWNLOAD NOW »

"Archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger looks past the horses, bison, ibex, and faceless humans in the ancient paintings and instead focuses on the abstract geometric images that accompany them. She offers her research on the terse symbols that appear more often than any other kinds of figures--signs that have never really been studied or explained until now"--
Release

The Goodness Paradox

The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution

Author: Richard Wrangham

Publisher: Pantheon

ISBN: 1101870915

Category: Science

Page: 400

View: 1780

DOWNLOAD NOW »

“A fascinating new analysis of human violence, filled with fresh ideas and gripping evidence from our primate cousins, historical forebears, and contemporary neighbors.” —Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature We Homo sapiens can be the nicest of species and also the nastiest. What occurred during human evolution to account for this paradox? What are the two kinds of aggression that primates are prone to, and why did each evolve separately? How does the intensity of violence among humans compare with the aggressive behavior of other primates? How did humans domesticate themselves? And how were the acquisition of language and the practice of capital punishment determining factors in the rise of culture and civilization? Authoritative, provocative, and engaging, The Goodness Paradox offers a startlingly original theory of how, in the last 250 million years, humankind became an increasingly peaceful species in daily interactions even as its capacity for coolly planned and devastating violence remains undiminished. In tracing the evolutionary histories of reactive and proactive aggression, biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham forcefully and persuasively argues for the necessity of social tolerance and the control of savage divisiveness still haunting us today.
Release

Troublesome Science

The Misuse of Genetics and Genomics in Understanding Race

Author: Rob DeSalle,Ian Tattersall

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231546300

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 8744

DOWNLOAD NOW »

It is well established that all humans today, wherever they live, belong to one single species. Yet even many people who claim to abhor racism take for granted that human “races” have a biological reality. In Troublesome Science, Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall provide a lucid and forceful critique of how scientific tools have been misused to uphold misguided racial categorizations. DeSalle and Tattersall argue that taxonomy, the scientific classification of organisms, provides an antidote to the myth of race’s biological basis. They explain how taxonomists do their science—how to identify a species and to understand the relationships among different species and the variants within them. DeSalle and Tattersall also detail the use of genetic data to trace human origins and look at how scientists have attempted to recognize discrete populations within Homo sapiens. Troublesome Science demonstrates conclusively that modern genetic tools, when applied correctly to the study of human variety, fail to find genuine differences. While the diversity that exists within our species is a real phenomenon, it nevertheless defeats any systematic attempt to recognize discrete units within it. The stark lines that humans insist on drawing between their own groups and others are nothing but a mixture of imagination and ideology. Troublesome Science is an important call for researchers, journalists, and citizens to cast aside the belief that race has a biological meaning, for the sake of social justice and sound science alike.
Release

Collecting, Processing and Presenting Geoscientific Information

MATLAB® and Design Recipes for Earth Sciences

Author: Martin H. Trauth,Elisabeth Sillmann

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3662562030

Category: Science

Page: 274

View: 452

DOWNLOAD NOW »

This second edition is an intensively revised and updated version of the book MATLAB® and Design Recipes for Earth Sciences. It aims to introduce students to the typical course followed by a data analysis project in earth sciences. A project usually involves searching relevant literature, reviewing and ranking published books and journal articles, extracting relevant information from the literature in the form of text, data, or graphs, searching and processing the relevant original data using MATLAB, and compiling and presenting the results as posters, abstracts, and oral presentations using graphics design software. The text of this book includes numerous examples on the use of internet resources, on the visualization of data with MATLAB, and on preparing scientific presentations. As with the book MATLAB Recipes for Earth Sciences–4rd Edition (2015), which demonstrates the use of statistical and numerical methods on earth science data, this book uses state-of-the art software packages, including MATLAB and the Adobe Creative Suite, to process and present geoscientific information collected during the course of an earth science project. The book's supplementary electronic material (available online through the publisher's website) includes color versions of all figures, recipes with all the MATLAB commands featured in the book, the example data, exported MATLAB graphics, and screenshots of the most important steps involved in processing the graphics.
Release

Cannibalism

A Perfectly Natural History

Author: Bill Schutt

Publisher: Algonquin Books

ISBN: 1616204621

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 4086

DOWNLOAD NOW »

“A masterful and compulsively readable book that challenges our preconceived notions about a behavior often sensationalized in our culture and, until just recently, misunderstood in the scientific world.” —Ian Tattersall, Curator Emeritus, American Museum of Natural History, and author of The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism--the role it plays in evolution as well as human history--is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we’ve come to accept as fact. In Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History,zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism’s role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party--the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti). Bringing together the latest cutting-edge science, Schutt answers questions such as why some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why certain insects bite the heads off their partners after sex; why, up until the end of the twentieth century, Europeans regularly ate human body parts as medical curatives; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of the Neanderthals. He takes us into the future as well, investigating whether, as climate change causes famine, disease, and overcrowding, we may see more outbreaks of cannibalism in many more species--including our own. Cannibalism places a perfectly natural occurrence into a vital new context and invites us to explore why it both enthralls and repels us.
Release

Neanderthals on the Edge

Papers from a Conference Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Forbes' Quarry Discovery, Gibraltar

Author: Chris Stringer,R. N. E. Barton,Nicholas Barton,Clive Finlayson

Publisher: Oxbow Books Limited

ISBN: 9781842170151

Category: Science

Page: 267

View: 3528

DOWNLOAD NOW »

In 1998 a conference was held to mark the 150th anniversary of the famous Gibraltar skull. The papers reflect the state of our knowledge about the role played by Gibraltar and the southern Iberian Peninsula in the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. Contents: Neandertal landscapes (W Davies, J Stewart & T H van Andel) ; Mediterranean perspective on the Middle/Upper Palaeolithic (O Bar-Yosef) ; Mousterian in Mediterranean France (C C Szmidt) ; Late Neandertals in the South West of France (J-P Rigaud) ; Chatelperronian chronology and the case for Neanderthal/Modern Human `acculturation' (P Mellars) ; Final Acheulian to the Middle Palaeolithic in the Iberian Peninsula (F G Pacheco, A Santiago Perez, J Ma Gutierrez Lopez, E Mata Almonte & L Aguilera Rodriguez) ; Middle Palaeolithic technocomplexes and lithic industries in the Northwest Iberian Peninsula (J A Cano Pan, F Giles Pacheco, E Aguirre, A Santiago Perez, F J Garcia Prieto, E Mata Almonte, J Ma Gutierrez & O Prieto Reina) ; Mousterian hearths at Abric Romani, Catalonia (I Pasto, E Allue & Josep Vallverdu) ; Late Middle Palaeolithic in the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (M Vaquero & E Carbonell) ; Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Cantabrian Spain (V Cabrera, A Pike-Tay, M Lloret & F Bernaldo de Quiros) ; Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Portugal (L Raposo) ; Late extinction of Iberian Neanderthals
Release