Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Big Brains, Small Genus

Sorry that my posting disappeared last week. I was running an experiment in the lab, which meant my days suddenly became 7-13 hour days not including time spent on coursework. With all the extra time spent in an internet dead zone.

Some notable newsworthies I'd managed to miss during the week, courtesy Seed's New & Notable:

Pea-Brained
A British team of researchers analyzing skulls spanning 30 generations has found that our cranial vaults are 20% bigger than they were in the 14th century. The researchers suggest that the increased skull volume might be related to a higher mental capacity. They also found that our ancestors had more prominent features than we do, leading scientists to believe that hundreds of years from now, everyone will look like the alien allegedly discovered at Roswell, New Mexico.
(source: BBC)...

...Trivial Pursuit: Genus Homo
A DNA comparison shows that humans and chimps have evolved at a very similar rate, even though we split from a common ancestor between five- and seven-million years ago. This lends support to the push to reclassify chimps from their current genus, Pan, to our genus, Homo. Some biologists think the chimps should stay in their own genus, because transferring them into ours might implicitly give them moral rights and responsibilities they don't deserve. Others believe that instead of moving them, we should suck up our pride and become Pan sapiens. The Discovery Institute would be thrilled about that one.
(source: Guardian)

I'm going to try to find that BBC article when I get a chance, but right now I have to run off to class.

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