Saturday, February 16, 2008

Some Mac Links

A paper has recently been published in Plos one about the peopling of the new world that uses a large sample of mtDNA from Native Americans to assess population history. They argue for a three stage model that essentially supports the idea that the new world was colonized by northeast Asian groups who crossed Beringia and an ice-free corridor through northwest North America. They do argue that the origin of Clovis culture may go back to 16,000 years or more, which is a bit older than generally thought.
Blogs on this paper can be found here ( and here (Dienekes).

Also of potential interest is a recent proposal to start an institute of human origins at the University of California San Diego. The news article explains that:
"The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny will be “trans-disciplinary,” said Varki, who will be co-director with Gage and Schoeninger. (Anthropogeny is the study of human evolution.)

“It will be more than multidisciplinary,” he said. “CARTA will transcend disciplines, bringing together biologists, social scientists, neuroscientists, chemists, medical specialists – anybody who can bring insight into the question of where we come from.”

Said Schoeninger: “The center will allow us to move well beyond the bounds of any given field of study. Looking at the biological and cognitive links between humans and other primates or other animals – and doing so not only with the breadth afforded by different disciplines, but also with the depth offered by an evolutionary perspective – will give us a richer picture of the past and of today.”"

Sounds pretty cool. We need more work on figuring out what makes humans human.

Human macroecology is interested in underlying mechanisms of the growth and form of human institutions/groups/populations at multiple scales. A recent study in Science magazine covered geometric principles of the growth and form of cities that is covered by Science Daily and worth a quick read.



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