EAORC Bulletin 502

Reviews or summaries of the recent literature are posted here.

EAORC Bulletin 502

Postby AlgisKuliukas » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:52 am

EAORC BULLETIN 502 – 27 January 2013



SCIENCE NEWS – Diet Shaped Dog Domestication. 1

SCIENCE NEWS – First Known 'Social Chromosome' Found. 1

SCIAM NEWS – Mysterious Shaman Stones Uncovered in Panama. 1

SEMINAR – From the unknown to the unknown: languages and cognition in the cradle of civilisation. 1


Proceedings of the Royal Society B – 22 March 2013. 1

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B – 5 March 2013. 2

New Scientist – 26 January 2013. 2

Science – 25 January 2013. 2

Nature – 24 January 2013. 2

PLOS One – 23 January 2013. 3

PNAS – 22 January 2013. 3

Current Anthropology – February 2013. 4

Language and Cognition – January 2013. 4

To unsubscribe from the EAORC Bulletin. 4


SCIENCE NEWS – Diet Shaped Dog Domestication

Genomic analysis reveals that dogs and humans walked similar evolutionary paths

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... tml?ref=em

SCIENCE NEWS – First Known 'Social Chromosome' Found

Cluster of genes in ants is passed down like sex chromosomes

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... tml?ref=em

SCIAM NEWS – Mysterious Shaman Stones Uncovered in Panama

By Tia Ghose and LiveScience

An almost 5,000-year-old collection of precious stones may be the earliest evidence of shamanic rituals in Central America

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... O_20130121

SEMINAR – From the unknown to the unknown: languages and cognition in the cradle of civilisation

Dr John MacGinnis

Wednesday 13 February at 5.30 pm

Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 5BT

The process by which the cuneiform writing system emerged in ancient Mesopotamia is still not fully understood, nevertheless it rose to be the ancient near eastern vehicle of writing par excellence and a scripta franca for a period of at least a thousand years. Over this immense time span cuneiform was employed as the vehicle for recording a multiplicity of languages. Yet we do not know for certain which language was encoded in the earliest inscriptions and even in the later periods some of these languages have proved markedly recalcitrant. This lecture will address the extraordinary career of this most persistent script, starting with the administrative setting and recording practices which formed its nursery, moving on to trace the linguistic trajectories made visible in clay, and concluding with the presentation of evidence newly excavated at the archaeological site of Ziyaret Tepe in southeastern Turkey which throws light both on the para-literate recording systems as well as hinting at the existence of a previously unknown language.

More details can be found here http://www.therai.org.uk/index.php?view ... &Itemid=83

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to http://rairesearchmacginnis.eventbrite.co.uk/


Proceedings of the Royal Society B – 22 March 2013


C CROCKFORD et al with K ZUBERBÜHLER – Urinary oxytocin and social bonding in related and unrelated wild chimpanzees [“little is known about the cognitive or hormonal mechanisms involved in cooperation. Indeed, there is little support for a main hypothesis that non-human animals have the cognitive capacities required for bookkeeping of cooperative exchanges. We tested an alternative hypothesis that cooperative relationships are facilitated by an endocrinological mechanism involving oxytocin, a hormone required for bonding in parental and sexual relationships across mammals. We measured urinary oxytocin after single bouts of grooming in wild chimpanzees. Oxytocin levels were higher after grooming with bond partners compared with non-bond partners or after no grooming, regardless of genetic relatedness or sexual interest. We ruled out other possible confounds, such as grooming duration, grooming direction or sampling regime issues, indicating that changes in oxytocin levels were mediated by social bond strength”] http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 5.abstract

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B – 5 March 2013


CHARLOTTA KVARNEMO & LEIGH W SIMMONS – Polyandry as a mediator of sexual selection before and after mating [“Polyandry can reduce a male's ability to monopolize females, and thus weaken male focused sexual selection. Perhaps the most important effect of polyandry on males arises because of sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Polyandry favours increased male ejaculate expenditure that can affect sexual selection on males by reducing their potential reproductive rate. Moreover, sexual selection after mating can ameliorate or exaggerate sexual selection before mating. Currently, estimates of sexual selection intensity rely heavily on measures of male mating success, but polyandry now raises serious questions over the validity of such approaches. Future work must take into account both pre- and post-copulatory episodes of selection”] http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 2.abstract

STEPHEN M SHUSTER, WILLIAM R BRIGGS & PATRICIA A DENNIS – How multiple mating by females affects sexual selection [“Multiple mating by females is widely thought to encourage post-mating sexual selection and enhance female fitness. We show that whether polyandrous mating has these effects depends on two conditions. Condition 1 is the pattern of sperm utilization by females; specifically, whether, among females, male mating number, m (i.e. the number of times a male mates with one or more females) covaries with male offspring number, o. ... Condition 2 is the pattern of female reproductive life-history; specifically, whether female mating number, m, covaries with female offspring number, o.”] http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... 6.abstract

New Scientist – 26 January 2013


First farmers' trash put wolves in the doghouse [Dogs love a bone, but a taste for starchy farm waste may have helped domesticate their wolf-like ancestors at the dawn of the agricultural age] http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... house.html

Science – 25 January 2013


ANDREAS SCHLEICHER – Making Sense of Rising IQ Scores [review of ‘Are We Getting Smarter? Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century’ by James R. Flynn] http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6118/394.short

Nature – 24 January 2013


Palaeontology: Gritting their teeth [A comparison of the wearing effect of plant-derived silica and desert dust on tooth enamel suggests that extreme wear on teeth might not be caused by food. The findings may change some thoughts about the diets of human ancestors] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... E-20130124


DAN JONES – Social evolution: The ritual animal [Praying, fighting, dancing, chanting — human rituals could illuminate the growth of community and the origins of civilization] http://www.nature.com/news/social-evolu ... al-1.12256


ERIK AXELSSON et al – The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet [“Here we conduct whole-genome resequencing of dogs and wolves to identify 3.8 million genetic variants used to identify 36 genomic regions that probably represent targets for selection during dog domestication. Nineteen of these regions contain genes important in brain function, eight of which belong to nervous system development pathways and potentially underlie behavioural changes central to dog domestication. Ten genes with key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism also show signals of selection. We identify candidate mutations in key genes and provide functional support for an increased starch digestion in dogs relative to wolves”] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/va ... E-20130124

MÉLANIE SALQUE et al – Earliest evidence for cheese making in the sixth millennium bc in northern Europe [“The introduction of dairying was a critical step in early agriculture, with milk products being rapidly adopted as a major component of the diets of prehistoric farmers and pottery-using late hunter-gatherers. The processing of milk, particularly the production of cheese, would have been a critical development because it not only allowed the preservation of milk products in a non-perishable and transportable form, but also it made milk a more digestible commodity for early prehistoric farmers”] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... E-20130124

PLOS One – 23 January 2013


DAVID P CORINA et al – Lexical Processing in Deaf Readers: An fMRI Investigation of Reading Proficiency [“This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine brain activation in deaf readers (N = 21), comparing proficient (N = 11) and less proficient (N = 10) readers’ performance in a widely used test of implicit reading. Proficient deaf readers activated left inferior frontal gyrus and left middle and superior temporal gyrus in a pattern that is consistent with regions reported in hearing readers. In contrast, the less-proficient readers exhibited a pattern of response characterized by inferior and middle frontal lobe activation (right>left) which bears some similarity to areas reported in studies of logographic reading, raising the possibility that these individuals are using a qualitatively different mode of orthographic processing than is traditionally observed in hearing individuals reading sound-based scripts. The evaluation of proficient and less-proficient readers points to different modes of processing printed English words”] http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0054696

PNAS – 22 January 2013


BRETT J TIPPLE – Capturing climate variability during our ancestors' earliest days [“In subtropical Africa, the period between 2.8 and 1.0 Ma saw increased climate variability and aridity, with a fundamental junction in the hominin taxonomic tree. Fossil evidence from this time also suggests an increased diversity of hominin species and gradual increases in brain size and tool development. The coincidence of climate variability with hominin evolution and cognitive development has fueled suggestions and hypotheses about how the emergence and dispersion of the genus Homo is linked to climate-driven ecosystem change.”] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/4/1144.extract


CLAYTON R MAGILL, GAIL M ASHLEY & KATHERINE H FREEMAN – Water, plants, and early human habitats in eastern Africa [“We conclude that freshwater availability exerted a substantial influence on eastern African ecosystems and, by extension, was central to early human proliferation during periods of rapid climate change”] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/4/1175.abstract

CLAYTON R MAGILL, GAIL M ASHLEY & KATHERINE H FREEMAN – Ecosystem variability and early human habitats in eastern Africa [“The scale and pace of repeated ecosystem variations at Olduvai Gorge contrast with long-held views of directional or stepwise aridification and grassland expansion in eastern Africa during the early Pleistocene and provide a local perspective on environmental hypotheses of human evolution”] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/4/1167.abstract

VIVEK V VENKATARAMAN, THOMAS S KRAFT & NATHANIEL J DOMINY – Tree climbing and human evolution [“Here we show that Twa hunter–gatherers use extraordinary ankle dorsiflexion (>45°) during climbing, similar to the degree observed in wild chimpanzees. Although we did not detect a skeletal signature of dorsiflexion in museum specimens of climbing hunter–gatherers from the Ituri forest, we did find that climbing by the Twa is associated with longer fibers in the gastrocnemius muscle relative to those of neighboring, nonclimbing agriculturalists. This result suggests that a more excursive calf muscle facilitates climbing with a bipedally adapted ankle and foot by positioning the climber closer to the tree, and it might be among the mechanisms that allow hunter–gatherers to access the canopy safely. Given that we did not find a skeletal correlate for this observed behavior, our results imply that derived aspects of the hominin ankle associated with bipedalism remain compatible with vertical climbing and arboreal resource acquisition”] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/4/1237.abstract

QING CAI, LISE VAN DER HAEGEN & MARC BRYSBAERT – Complementary hemispheric specialization for language production and visuospatial attention [“we determined the lateralization for spatial attention in a group of individuals with known atypical right hemispheric (RH) lateralization for speech production, based on a previous large-scale screening of left-handers. We show that all 13 participants with RH language dominance have left-hemispheric dominance for spatial attention, and all but one of 16 participants with left-hemispheric language dominance are RH dominant for spatial attention. Activity was observed in the dorsal fronto-parietal pathway of attention, including the inferior parietal sulcus and superior parietal lobule, the frontal eye-movement field, and the inferior frontal sulcus/gyrus, and these regions functionally colateralized in the hemisphere dominant for attention, independently of the side of lateralization. Our results clearly support the Causal hypothesis about the complementary specialization, and we speculate that it derives from a longstanding evolutionary origin”] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/4/E322.abstract

Current Anthropology – February 2013


BRENDA R BENEFIT – Why Monkeys Matter: Understanding Human Love and Competitiveness [review of ‘Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships’ by Dario Maestripieri] http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669115


PAUL SHANKMAN – The “Fateful Hoaxing” of Margaret Mead: A Cautionary Tale [“In the Mead-Freeman controversy, Derek Freeman’s historical reconstruction of the alleged hoaxing of Margaret Mead in 1926 relied on three interviews with Fa’apua’a Fa’amū, Mead’s “principal informant,” who stated that she and another Samoan woman had innocently joked with Mead about their private lives. In turn, Freeman argued that Mead believed these jokes as the truth and that they were the basis for her interpretation of adolescent sex in Coming of Age in Samoa. The unpublished interviews with Fa’apua’a became the centerpiece of Freeman’s second book on the controversy, The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead (1999). Yet an analysis of Mead’s relationship with Fa’apua’a demonstrates that she was not an informant for Mead on adolescent sex, and an examination of the three interviews used by Freeman does not support his interpretation of them. In fact, responding to direct questioning during the interviews, Fa’apua’a stated that Mead did not ask her questions about her own sexual conduct or about adolescent sexual conduct. Nor did she provide Mead with information on this subject. Crucial passages from these interviews were omitted by Freeman in his publications on the alleged hoaxing. Based on the interviews themselves, there is no compelling evidence that Mead was hoaxed”] http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/669033

Language and Cognition – January 2013


CALEB EVERETT – Independent cross-cultural data reveal linguistic effects on basic numerical cognition [“The role of numeric language in basic numerical cognition is explored via the consideration of results obtained in two recent independent studies, one with Nicaraguan homesigners and one with speakers of Pirahã. Attention is drawn to remarkable parallels between the relevant findings, parallels that provide compelling evidence that adults without access to numeric language face difficulties when simply attempting to differentiate quantities greater than three”] http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/langcog ... 3-0005.xml
Waterside hypotheses of human evolution assert that selection from wading, swimming and diving and procurement of food from aquatic habitats have significantly affected the evolution of the lineage leading to Homo sapiens as distinct from that leading to Pan. (p118)
Kuliukas, A., Morgan, E. (2011). Aquatic scenarios in the thinking on human evolution: What are they and how do they compare?. In: Vaneechoutte, M., Verhaegen, M., Kuliukas, A. (2011). Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?
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