Ancient hominin Lucy died by fall from tree


This video says about itself:

Lucy fell from a tree 3.18 million years ago

29 August 2016

Lucy died after falling from a tree, new research suggests. Lucy is a 3.18-million-year-old specimen of Australopithecus afarensis considered one of the oldest and most complete fossil hominins, an erect-walking human ancestor.

From Nature:

Perimortem fractures in Lucy suggest mortality from fall out of tall tree

Published online 29 August 2016

The Pliocene fossil ‘Lucy’ (Australopithecus afarensis) was discovered in the Afar region of Ethiopia in 1974 and is among the oldest and most complete fossil hominin skeletons discovered.

Here we propose, on the basis of close study of her skeleton, that her cause of death was a vertical deceleration event or impact following a fall from considerable height that produced compressive and hinge (greenstick) fractures in multiple skeletal elements. Impacts that are so severe as to cause concomitant fractures usually also damage internal organs; together, these injuries are hypothesized to have caused her death.

Lucy has been at the centre of a vigorous debate about the role, if any, of arboreal locomotion in early human evolution. It is therefore ironic that her death can be attributed to injuries resulting from a fall, probably out of a tall tree, thus offering unusual evidence for the presence of arborealism in this species.

Tim White, a paleoanthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has studied Lucy and other Australopithecus fossils, and he doesn’t think there is enough evidence to say how Lucy died. “Most, if not all of the breaks appear to be the result of geological processes well after the time of death,” he tells NPR’s Christopher Joyce. “Fossilization makes bones brittle, and when fossils are embedded in sediment they are often cracked, crushed, and distorted”: here.

Fossil autopsy claims Lucy fell from tree. Disputed analysis says early hominid broke multiple bones: here.

Buff upper arms let Lucy climb trees. Arm, leg bone X-ray data provide clues to famous hominid’s mobility. By Bruce Bower, 2:00pm, November 30, 2016: here.

Piltdown man hoax perpetrator exposed


This 2014 video is about the Piltdown man fraud.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Piltdown hoax: Culprit behind one of history’s greatest ruses finally exposed

Arthur Conan Doyle was even suspected of being the perpetrator

Kate Nelson

The culprit behind one of the greatest scientific hoaxes in history has been found after new forensic techniques revealed his identity.

Between 1912 and 1914, museum palaeontologist Arthur Smith Woodward and solicitor Charles Dawson claimed to have discovered fossils which supposedly showed the link between man and ape.

Known as the Piltdown Man, after the area of Sussex the remains were allegedly found, the discovery fooled even the most eminent scientific minds of the time.

It took more than 40 years to discover the hoax.

The new fossil had an ape-like jaw and brain-case like a modern human.

Mr Dawson claimed to have discovered further evidence at a second site, close to the original, prior to his death in August 1916.

Doubts were immediately raised but many thought the amateur archeologist was incapable of such a sophisticated ruse.

At one point Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, was under suspicion.

Some thought he wanted to mock scientists for ridiculing his spiritualist beliefs.

New research has now revealed that the forgeries were created using a limited number of specimens all constructed using a consistent method – suggesting the perpetrator acted alone.

It is highly likely that an orangutan specimen and at least two human skeletons were used to create the fakes, which are still kept at the Natural History Museum.

The work, which points the finger of suspicion firmly at Mr Dawson, was undertaken by a team led by Liverpool John Moores University and used the latest scientific methods.

Dr Isabelle De Groote, from the university and lead author on the paper which is published in Royal Society Open Science, said: “Although multiple individuals have been accused of producing the fake fossils, our analyses to understand the modus operandi show consistency between all the different specimens and on both sites.

“It is clear from our analysis that this work was likely all carried out by one forger – Charles Dawson.”

DNA analysis found that both the canine tooth planted at the first Piltdown site and the molar from the second probably came from one orangutan.

Holes in the skull bones were filled with dental putty, which was also used to re-set the teeth in the jaw and to reconstruct one of the teeth that fell apart while it was being ground down.

Chris Stringer, human origins expert at the Natural History Museum, said: “Our work shows that a century on, we can add a new chapter to the Piltdown story through new investigative techniques.

“We found surprising evidence that the forger had even removed the molars in order to modify them, and had then replaced them in the jawbone.”

Madagascar lemurs’ love life, video


This video says about itself:

Lemur‘s Scent Attracts Females – Animal Attraction – BBC

24 January 2016

Ring tailed lemurs waft their special scent to attract females, but the very latest science suggest that his scent contains clues to a different strength…

The Madagascan fat-tailed dwarf lemur could hold the secret to human hibernation and mankind’s chances of exploring the deepest reaches of the known universe, according to a team of top neuroscientists: here.

Most threatened primates top 25


This video from the USA is called RED RUFFED LEMURS at DUKE LEMUR CENTER.

From AFP news agency:

Over half of world’s primates on brink of extinction: experts

24 Nov 2015 at 08:55 ET

More than half the world’s primates, including apes, lemurs and monkeys, are facing extinction, international experts warned Tuesday, as they called for urgent action to protect mankind’s closest living relatives.

The population crunch is the result of large-scale habitat destruction — particularly the burning and clearing of tropical forests — as well as the hunting of primates for food and the illegal wildlife trade.

Species long-known to be at risk, including the Sumatran orangutan, have been joined on the most endangered list for the first time by the Philippine tarsier and the Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur from Madagascar, scientists meeting in Singapore said.

“This research highlights the extent of the danger facing many of the world’s primates,” leading primatologist Christoph Schwitzer, director of conservation at Bristol Zoological Society in Britain, said in a statement.

“We hope it will focus people’s attention on these lesser known primate species, some of which most people will probably have never heard of.”

This includes the Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur — a species only discovered two years ago — and the Roloway monkey from Ghana and Ivory Coast, which experts say “are on the very verge of extinction”.

There are 703 species and sub-species of primates in the world.

Madagascar and Vietnam are home to large numbers of highly threatened primate species, the statement said.

In Africa, the red colobus monkey was under “particular threat”, as were some of South America’s howler monkeys and spider monkeys, it added.

“All of these species are relatively large and conspicuous, making them prime targets for bushmeat hunting,” the statement said.

Russell Mittermeier, chair of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said he hoped the report would encourage governments to commit to “desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures”.

Mittermeier said ahead of next month’s global climate conference in Paris, there was growing evidence some primate species might play key roles in dispersing tropical forest tree seeds, which in turn “have a critically important role in mitigating climate change”.

Here is the list of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates for 2014-2016 and their estimated numbers remaining in the wild.

The list is compiled by the IUCN, Bristol Zoological Society, International Primatological Society and Conservation International and is updated every two years:

Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur — unknown

Lake Alaotra bamboo lemur — about 2,500-5,000

Red ruffed lemur — unknown

Northern sportive lemur — around 50

Perrier’s sifaka — 1,700-2,600

Rondo dwarf galago — unknown but remaining habitat is just 100 square kilometres (40 square miles)

Roloway monkey — unknown but thought to be on the very verge of extinction

Preuss’ red colobus monkey — unknown

Tana River red colobus monkey — 1,000 and declining

Grauer’s gorilla — 2,000-10,000

Philippine tarsier — unknown

Javan slow loris — unknown

Pig-tailed langur — 3,300

Cat Ba langur (golden headed langur) — 60

Delacour’s langur — 234-275

Tonkin snub-nosed monkey — less than 250

Kashmir grey langur — unknown

Western purple-faced langur — unknown

Hainan gibbon — 25

Sumatran orangutan — 6,600

Ka’apor capuchin — unknown

San Martin titi monkey — unknown

Northern brown howler monkey — less than 250 mature animals

Colombian brown spider monkey — unknown

Ecuadorian brown-headed spider monkey — unknown

Wild sifakas’ food in Madagascar, new study


This video says about itself:

Infant Development of Diademed Sifaka and Indri, Maromizahaha forest, Madagascar

28 July 2013

The Diademed Sifaka and Indri are the largest species of lemur and are only found in Madagascar. They are both classified as endangered with decreasing populations. This video was made by Jody Weir and Alastair Judkins as part of Jody’s PhD study into comparing the infant development of these two species.

From PLOS ONE:

The Nutritional Geometry of Resource Scarcity: Effects of Lean Seasons and Habitat Disturbance on Nutrient Intakes and Balancing in Wild Sifakas

June 10, 2015

Abstract

Animals experience spatial and temporal variation in food and nutrient supply, which may cause deviations from optimal nutrient intakes in both absolute amounts (meeting nutrient requirements) and proportions (nutrient balancing). Recent research has used the geometric framework for nutrition to obtain an improved understanding of how animals respond to these nutritional constraints, among them free-ranging primates including spider monkeys and gorillas.

We used this framework to examine macronutrient intakes and nutrient balancing in sifakas (Propithecus diadema) at Tsinjoarivo, Madagascar, in order to quantify how these vary across seasons and across habitats with varying degrees of anthropogenic disturbance. Groups in intact habitat experience lean season decreases in frugivory, amounts of food ingested, and nutrient intakes, yet preserve remarkably constant proportions of dietary macronutrients, with the proportional contribution of protein to the diet being highly consistent.

Sifakas in disturbed habitat resemble intact forest groups in the relative contribution of dietary macronutrients, but experience less seasonality: all groups’ diets converge in the lean season, but disturbed forest groups largely fail to experience abundant season improvements in food intake or nutritional outcomes. These results suggest that: (1) lemurs experience seasonality by maintaining nutrient balance at the expense of calories ingested, which contrasts with earlier studies of spider monkeys and gorillas, (2) abundant season foods should be the target of habitat management, even though mortality might be concentrated in the lean season, and (3) primates’ within-group competitive landscapes, which contribute to variation in social organization, may vary in complex ways across habitats and seasons.

Bonobo and human anatomy compared


Percentage of muscle distribution to upper and lower limbs in Pongo pygmaeus, Gorilla gorilla, P. paniscus, and H. sapiens. Credit: (c) Adrienne L. Zihlman,PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505071112

From Phys.org:

Comparison of bonobo anatomy to humans offers evolutionary clues

June 02 2015

A pair of anthropology researchers, one with the University of California, the other Modesto College has found what they believe are clues to human evolutionary development by conducting a long term study of bonobo anatomy. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Adrienne Zihlman and Debra Bolter, describe their anatomy studies and their ideas on why what they found offers new clues on why humans developed in the ways we did.

Scientists looking to understand how humans evolved have studied a lot of fossils, but such samples are of bones, which means there is little to no evidence of what organs, muscle or fat looked like in our ancestors which means there are still questions regarding things such as what percentage or proportion of fat or muscle was there, where were they located on the body, and what the organs were like. In this new study, the research pair sought to uncover clues by studying bonobos, apes that look a lot like chimpanzees and are considered to be our closest relative.

To learn more about bonobo , the researchers performed autopsies on thirteen of the apes that had died naturally over the course of three decades, carefully jotting down seldom noted information such as fat and muscle percentages. In so doing, they came to see that bonobos have considerably less fat on their bodies than do humans, even those that lived a similar sedentary life due to living in captivity. They also found that the apes had more upper body mass than humans as a rule and less leg muscle—bonobos also have a lot more skin.

In analyzing their results, the researchers suggest that the differences likely came about as began walking around upright, causing the need for more leg muscle and more fat—because a nomadic lifestyle would necessitate a store to prevent starvation during lean times, especially for females if they were to successfully bear offspring. They also believe that we humans have less skin because as we moved around and moved faster on two legs—our skin developed an ability to sweat as a means to keep cool and that led to thinner skin.

More information: Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution, Adrienne L. Zihlman,PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1505071112

Abstract

The human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4–5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition.

New ‘apeman’ species discovery in Ethiopia


This video says about itself:

New Human Ancestor Species from Ethiopia – May 2015

27 May 2015

A new relative joins “Lucy” on the human family tree. An international team of scientists, led by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, has discovered a 3.3 to 3.5 million-year-old new human ancestor species. Upper and lower jaw fossils recovered from the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia have been assigned to the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda. This hominin lived alongside the famous “Lucy’s” species, Australopithecus afarensis. The species will be described in the May 28, 2015 issue of the international scientific journal Nature.

From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in the USA:

May 27, 2015

New human ancestor species from Ethiopia lived alongside Lucy’s species

A new relative joins “Lucy” on the human family tree. An international team of scientists, led by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, has discovered a 3.3 to 3.5 million-year-old new human ancestor species. Upper and lower jaw fossils recovered from the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia have been assigned to the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda. This hominin lived alongside the famous “Lucy’s” species, Australopithecus afarensis. The species will be described in the May 28, 2015 issue of the international scientific journal Nature.

Lucy’s species lived from 2.9 million years ago to 3.8 million years ago, overlapping in time with the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda. The new species is the most conclusive evidence for the contemporaneous presence of more than one closely related early human ancestor species prior to 3 million years ago. The species name “deyiremeda” (day-ihreme-dah) means “close relative” in the language spoken by the Afar people.

Australopithecus deyiremeda differs from Lucy’s species in terms of the shape and size of its thick-enameled teeth and the robust architecture of its lower jaws. The anterior teeth are also relatively small indicating that it probably had a different diet.

“The new species is yet another confirmation that Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, was not the only potential human ancestor species that roamed in what is now the Afar region of Ethiopia during the middle Pliocene,” said lead author and Woranso-Mille project team leader Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. “Current fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille study area clearly shows that there were at least two, if not three, early human species living at the same time and in close geographic proximity.”

“The age of the new fossils is very well constrained by the regional geology, radiometric dating, and new paleomagnetic data,” said co-author Dr. Beverly Saylor of Case Western Reserve University. The combined evidence from radiometric, paleomagnetic, and depositional rate analyses yields estimated minimum and maximum ages of 3.3 and 3.5 million years.

“This new species from Ethiopia takes the ongoing debate on early hominin diversity to another level,” said Haile-Selassie. “Some of our colleagues are going to be skeptical about this new species, which is not unusual. However, I think it is time that we look into the earlier phases of our evolution with an open mind and carefully examine the currently available fossil evidence rather than immediately dismissing the fossils that do not fit our long-held hypotheses,” said Haile-Selassie.

Scientists have long argued that there was only one pre-human species at any given time between 3 and 4 million years ago, subsequently giving rise to another new species through time. This was what the fossil record appeared to indicate until the end of the 20th century. However, the naming of Australopithecus bahrelghazali from Chad and Kenyanthropus platyops from Kenya, both from the same time period as Lucy’s species, challenged this long-held idea. Although a number of researchers were skeptical about the validity of these species, the announcement by Haile-Selassie of the 3.4 million-year-old Burtele partial foot in 2012 cleared some of the skepticism on the likelihood of multiple early hominin species in the 3 to 4 million-year range.

The Burtele partial fossil foot did not belong to a member of Lucy’s species. However, despite the similarity in geological age and close geographic proximity, the researchers have not assigned the partial foot to the new species due to lack of clear association. Regardless, the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda incontrovertibly confirms that multiple species did indeed co-exist during this time period.

This discovery has important implications for our understanding of early hominin ecology. It also raises significant questions, such as how multiple early hominins living at the same time and geographic area might have used the shared landscape and available resources.

Discovery of Australopithecus deyiremeda:

The holotype (type specimen) of Australopithecus deyiremeda is an upper jaw with teeth discovered on March 4, 2011, on top of a silty clay surface at one of the Burtele localities. The paratype lower jaws were also surface discoveries found on March 4 and 5, 2011, at the same locality as the holotype and another nearby locality called Waytaleyta. The holotype upper jaw was found in one piece (except for one of the teeth which was found nearby), whereas the mandible was recovered in two halves that were found about two meters apart from each other. The other mandible was found about 2 kilometers east of where the Burtele specimens were found.

Location of the Discovery:

The fossil specimens were found in the Woranso-Mille Paleontological Project study area located in the central Afar region of Ethiopia about 325 miles (520 kilometers) northeast of the capital Addis Ababa and 22 miles (35 kilometers) north of Hadar (“Lucy’s” site). Burtele and Waytaleyta are local names for the areas where the holotype and paratypes were found and they are located in the Mille district, Zone 1 of the Afar Regional State.

The Woranso-Mille Project:

The Woranso-Mille Paleontological project conducts field and laboratory work in Ethiopia every year. This multidisciplinary project is led by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Additional co-authors of this research include: Dr. Luis Gibert of University of Barcelona (Spain), Dr. Stephanie Melillo of the Max Planck Institute (Leipzig, Germany), Dr. Timothy M. Ryan of Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Mulugeta Alene of Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Drs. Alan Deino and Gary Scott of the Berkeley Geochronology Center, Dr. Naomi E. Levin of Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Beverly Z. Saylor of Case Western Reserve University. Graduate and undergraduate students from Ethiopia and the United States of America also participated in the field and laboratory activities of the project.

Explore further: Fossil lower jaw sheds light on early Homo

More information: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature14448

Journal reference: Nature