An international conference will take place at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 18 & 19 September 2014 as part of the project ‘Percussive technology in Human Evolution: A comparative approach’, sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust’s International Networks Program.
Researchers from around the world working on the various facets of percussive technology will meet for two days to present new discoveries related to the role of pounding activities in areas such as Primatology, Ethnology and Archaeology. The conference aims to promote inter-disciplinary comparisons to aid better understanding of the role of pounding activities in primate evolution.
Key topics will be discussed in four sessions, followed by a round table event.
Session 1: Percussive technology in modern humans and other primates
- Chair: James Steele
- Invited speakers: Andrew Whiten; Brian Hayden; Misato Hayashi; Blandine Bril; Christophe Boesch; Satoshi Hirata
Session 2: Percussive stone tools and the archaeological record
- Chair: Helene Roche
- Invited speakers: Karen Wright; Laure Dubreuil; Xavier Roda; Sophie de Beaune; Deborah Barsky
Session 3: Percussive activities in wild chimpanzees
- Chair: Andrew Whiten
- Invited speakers: Elisabetta Visalberghi; Lydia V. Luncz; Tetsuro Matsuzawa; Susana Carvalho; Guilia Sirianni
Session 4: The role of percussive tasks in human evolution
- Chair: John Gowlett
- Invited speakers: Naama Goren-Inbar; Jackson Njau; Sonia Harmand; Thomas Wynn
- Chair: William McGrew
- Discussants: James Steele; Andrew Whiten; Helene Roche; John Gowlett
Closing note by William McGrew
A limited number of poster presentations on themes related with the conference key topics will be accepted. Titles and abstracts should be submitted before 15 June 2014 to Adrian Arroyo: email@example.com
Conference Programme & Abstracts
Links & contacts
- Project website: Percussive technology in human evolution
- Conference Organiser: Ignacio de la Torre
- Conference Secretary: Adrian Arroyo
(Source: UCL Institute of Archaeology)
Jaw Function in Smilodon fatalis: A Reevaluation of the Canine Shear-Bite and a Proposal for a New Forelimb-Powered Class 1 Lever Model
The jaw function of Smilodon fatalis has long been a source of debate. Although modern-day lions subdue large prey through the use of a suffocating throat bite, the dramatically elongated maxillary canines of S. fatalis suggest an alternative bite mechanism. The current literature favors a “canine shear-bite,” in which the depression of the cranium by the ventral neck flexors assists the mandibular adductors in closing the jaws. Although the model makes intuitive sense and appears to be supported by scientific data, the mechanical feasibility of “neck-powered” biting has not been experimentally demonstrated. In the present study, the computer-assisted manipulation of digitized images of a high-quality replica of an S. fatalis neck and skull shows that a rotation of the cranium by the ventral neck flexors will not result in jaw closure. Instead, the cranium and mandible rotate ventrally together (at the atlantooccipital joint), and the jaws remain in an open configuration. The only manner by which rotation of the cranium can simultaneously result in jaw closure is by an anterior rotation at the temporomandibular joint. Based on this finding, the author proposes a new Class 1 lever mechanism for S. fatalis jaw function. In this model, the mandible is immobilized against the neck of the prey and a dorsally directed force from the extension of the forelimbs rotates the cranium anteriorly at the temporomandibular joint. The maxillary canines pierce the prey’s neck and assist in clamping the ventral neck structures. The model is based on a maximum gape angle of approximately 90° and incorporates a secondary virtual point of rotation located slightly anteroventral to the temporomandibular joint. The Class 1 Lever Model is mechanically feasible, consistent with current data on S. fatalis anatomy and ecology, and may provide a basis for similar studies on other fossil taxa” (read more/open access).
***So maybe not human evolution but this kitten is rad.
(Open access source: PLoS ONE 9(10): e107456, 2014)
Kulturhistorisches Museum, Rostock, Part I 2014
Diet and Human Mobility from the Lapita to the Early Historic Period on Uripiv Island, Northeast Malakula, Vanuatu
Vanuatu was first settled ca. 3000 years ago by populations associated with the Lapita culture. Models of diet, subsistence practices, and human interaction for the Lapita and subsequent occupation periods have been developed mainly using the available archaeological and paleoenvironmental data. We test these models using stable (carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur) and radiogenic (strontium) isotopes to assess the diet and childhood residency of past communities that lived on the small (<1 km2) island of Uripiv, located off the northeast coast of Malakula, Vanuatu. The burials are from the initial Lapita occupation of the island (ca. 2800–2600 BP), the subsequent later Lapita (LL, ca. 2600–2500 BP) and post-Lapita (PL, ca. 2500–2000 BP) occupations, in addition to a late prehistoric/historic (LPH, ca. 300–150 BP) occupation period. The human stable isotope results indicate a progressively more terrestrial diet over time, which supports the archaeological model of an intensification of horticultural and arboricultural systems as local resources were depleted, populations grew, and cultural situations changed. Pig diets were similar and included marine foods during the Lapita and PL periods but were highly terrestrial during the LPH period. This dietary pattern indicates that there was little variation in animal husbandry methods during the first 800 years of prehistory; however, there was a subsequent change as animal diets became more controlled in the LPH period. After comparison with the local bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr baseline, all of the Lapita and LPH individuals appeared to be ‘local’, but three of the PL individuals were identified as “non-local.” We suggest that these “non-locals” moved to the island after infancy or childhood from one of the larger islands, supporting the model of a high level of regional interaction during the post-Lapita period” (read more/open access).
(Open access source: PLoS ONE 9(8): e104071, 2014)
- by Harold L. Dibble, Vera Aldeias, Paul Goldberg, Shannon P. McPherron, Dennis Sandgathe and Teresa E. Steele
- by Krzysztof Wertz, Jarosław Wilczynski and Teresa Tomek
"New research affords new data on bird usage in the Pavlovian culture. This is the ﬁrst article to report on bird remains excavated at Dolní Vestonice II and Pavlov II, and to discuss a small group of bones from Pavlov I. Although the two sites share a number of striking similarities, including the high frequency of Raven (Corvus corax), there are also some differences, e.g., in the ratio of the bird taxa. The former may be common for the whole Pavlovian culture; the latter may depend from speciﬁc usages of the sites by the Gravettian people” (read more/open access).
(Open access source: Quaternary International, in press 2014 via Academia.edu)
There are few topics as controversial as research involving experiments on animals in general and primates in particular.
- from Max Planck Institute
“The conflict centres on two irreconcilable ethical obligations: the obligation to seek ways of making diseases treatable and in this way reduce human suffering, on the one hand, and the obligation to protect the lives of animals, on the other. As long as animal testing remains the only way of accessing knowledge about the functions and complex biological interactions in living organisms, there can be no satisfactory solution to this conflict.
A few figures to begin: As all experiments on animals are subject to both authorisation and approval, there are very accurate statistical records available on them. According to the statistics, the number of animals killed for the requirements of basic research in Germany is only 0.03 percent of the total number of animals sacrificed for human requirements (this only includes the animals killed to provide food and materials and does not include the extermination of so-called vermin etc.). Around three-quarters of all laboratory animals are rodents; the percentage of non-human primates (e.g. macaques, marmosets and vervet monkeys) is 0.05 and has remained constant for years.
Playing around with numbers like this is of little help when it comes to the ethical balancing of animal and human suffering. It is true that animals are killed to gain information. But it is not true that animals are tortured. It is clearly important to examine the harm and suffering inflicted on animals in basic research. However, the hope and assumption is that the knowledge gained from the experiments will serve in establishing a better understanding of the cause of diseases in animals and humans, and the development of effective treatments. The desire to forego the knowledge that can be gained from animal testing means deliberately foregoing the desire to help people who suffer from diseases for which no treatment currently exists. This is the moral dilemma” (read more).
(Source: Max Planck Institute)