Human ancestor discovery in Ethiopia


This video says about itself:

Becoming Human Documentary

16 December 2013

Humans (variously Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only extant species of the genus Homo. Humans are distinguished from other primates by their bipedal locomotion, and especially by their relatively larger brain with its particularly well developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable high levels of abstract reasoning, language, problem solving, and culture through social learning. Humans use tools to a much higher degree than any other animal, and are the only extant species known to build fires and cook their food, as well as the only known species to clothe themselves and create and use numerous other technologies and arts. The scientific study of humans is the discipline of anthropology.

Humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of symbolic communication such as language and art for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families and kinship networks to states. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. The human desire to understand and influence their environment, and explain and manipulate phenomena, has been the foundation for the development of science, philosophy, mythology, and religion.

The human lineage diverged from the last common ancestor with its closest living relative, the chimpanzee, some five million years ago, evolving into the australopithecines and eventually the genus Homo. The first Homo species to move out of Africa was Homo erectus, the African variety of which, together with Homo heidelbergensis, is considered to be the immediate ancestor of modern humans. Homo sapiens originated in Africa, where it reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.

From Science:

Published Online March 4 2015

Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia

Abstract

Our understanding of the origin of the genus Homo has been hampered by a limited fossil record in eastern Africa between 2.0 and 3.0 million years ago (Ma). Here we report the discovery of a partial hominin mandible with teeth from the Ledi-Geraru research area, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia, that establishes the presence of Homo at 2.80-2.75 Ma. This specimen combines primitive traits seen in early Australopithecus with derived morphology observed in later Homo, confirming that dentognathic departures from the australopith pattern occurred early in the Homo lineage. The Ledi-Geraru discovery has implications for hypotheses about the timing and place of the origin of the genus Homo.

Save Saudi teenager from death penalty


This video is about Ethiopian refugees, tortured in Saudi Arabia.

From the Bahrain Freedom Movement:

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action to highlight the plight of a Saudi national sentenced recently to death for an alleged crime that he had not committed. Ali Mohammad Baqir Al Nimr was seventeen when he allegedly committed these “crimes” including participating in a demonstration against the government, attacking security forces, possessing a machine-gun and armed robbery.

The court has based its decision on [a] signed “confessions” which had been extracted under torture. AI called for investigation into allegations of torture, to observe the rights of Mr Al Nimr who falls within the children category and establish immediately an official moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing death sentences.

Migratory fish in Ethiopia


This video says about itself:

21 January 2014

Thousands of birds that fly south during the European winter migrate to Lake Tana in Ethiopia. It’s the source of the Blue Nile and has a unique ecosystem. More than two thirds of its fish species are unique to the lake. Several of the lake’s islands are also home to ancient Coptic monasteries. But the region’s resources are under threat. A German conservation group is trying to alleviate the situation.

From BirdLife:

Migratory birds? What about migratory fish?

By nairobi.volunteer, Wed, 28/05/2014 – 08:00

Major ‘International Days for…’ play a strong role in supporting the work of conservation networks. There is the International Day for Biological Diversity, the World Environment Day, and of course World Migratory Bird Day. Now, there is also World Fish Migration Day!

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)under its Eastern Afromontane Hotspot programme is funding  is a project in Ethiopia, implemented by the  Addis Abeba University, to empower local fishing communities to sustainably utilize and conserve the (migratory) fish resources of Lake Tana. Lake Tana is an Afromontane Key Biodiversity Area as well as an Important Bird Area.

As part of that project, Addis Abeba University supported the first ever World Fish Migration Day which was celebrated colourfully at the city of Bahir Dar, near the Lake, on Saturday, 24 May 2014. Thousands of people marched on the streets of Bahir Dar voicing the conservation importance of the migratory fish and – specifically – the world’s only remaining Labeobarbus species flock of Lake Tana.

Abebe Getahun, Addis Abeba University’s manager of the Lake Tana project, described the day. “There were brief talks at the beginning of the march marking the day and its official opening, and there was a seminar with a discussion at the end, during which three papers relevant to fish biodiversity conservation were selected and presented. Thousands of leaflets were prepared in the local language and distributed to the public. Banners were also displayed at selected strategic sites in the city. The march was accompanied by the Police Marsh, which provided more visibility to the public and policy makers. Several local and international organizations were involved in sponsoring the event.”

Zewditu Tessema, the CEPF Eastern Afromontane Hotspot project officer in Ethiopia, based at the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS, BirdLife in Ethiopia) congratulated the organizers of the event by saying: “This is a good starting point which will have an immense contribution towards the creation of awareness on the conservation of fish species in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa University and the donors are pioneers for the celebration of World Fish Migration Day in Ethiopia.” She continued: “I also congratulate CEPF for creating a legacy for this event, the first of its kind in Ethiopia, and I hope the celebrations will continue, and be marked at a national level with many more awareness creation programmes such as EWNHS‘s own efforts during the celebration of World Environment Day.”

The Lake Tana project runs from January 2014 to June 2015. 

Story by Ato Abebe Getahun

BirdLife International, together with IUCN and the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, form the Regional Implementation Team that supports CEPF with their investment in the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot.

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