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Rising Star: In the hot seat
Sat, 2013-11-16 02:16 -- John Hawks
My first Rising Star Expedition update has been posted on the expedition blog: "In the hot seat".
I’ve had an extraordinary number of new fossils pass through my hands in the last four days. But here’s what finally brought me to tears: Our young scientists and cavers running up to the command center, cranking up the generator, so they could do a spontaneous Skype call to a third grade class in Rhode Island.
The post has already gotten some attention, and if you're looking for a good news story on yesterday's events at the site, I recommend this one from Alan Boyle: "Cave women unearth skull of unknown human ancestor". Yes, the headline is awful for these young scientists, but the story really gives a good overview of what is going on.
But of course the best source is the Rising Star Expedition blog, and the Twitter updates from @johnhawks and @LeeRBerger
The Rising Star Expedition was rapidly assembled during October 2013 to recover ancient hominid fossils discovered deep in a South African cave.
With remains from multiple individuals already identified, the find could add significantly to our understanding of human evolution.
With the bones hidden 30 meters underground beyond obstacles including a dangerous squeeze only 18 cm wide, it was necessary to assemble a select team of capable researchers with excavation experience and the unlikely caving skills and particular size required to reach the inner chamber.
Directed by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger, and supported by cavers from the Speleological Exploration Club of South Africa, these researchers are now daily bringing up hominid fossils for experts on the surface to begin analyzing.
For an unprecedented view into this rare discovery, follow along with daily updates here and on Twitter:
Genome Biology and Evolution 2013 Oct 25.
Apparent Variation in Neanderthal Admixture among African Populations is Consistent with Gene Flow from non-African Populations.
Shuoguo Wang, Joseph Lachance, Sarah Tishkoff, Jody Hey, and Jinchuan Xing
Recent studies have found evidence of introgression from Neanderthals into modern humans outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Given the geographic range of Neanderthals, the findings have been interpreted as evidence of gene exchange between Neanderthals and the modern humans descended from the Out-of-Africa (OOA) migration. Here we examine an alternative interpretation in which the introgression occurred earlier within Africa, between ancestors or relatives of Neanderthals and a subset of African modern humans who were the ancestors of those involved in the OOA migration. Under the alternative model, if the population structure among present-day Africans predates the OOA migration, we might find some African populations show a signal of Neanderthal introgression while others do not. To test this alternative model we compiled a whole-genome data set including 38 sub-Saharan Africans from eight populations and 25 non-African individuals from five populations. We assessed differences in the amount of Neanderthal-like SNP alleles among these populations and observed up to 1.5% difference in the number of Neanderthal-like alleles among African populations. Further analyses suggest that these differences are likely due to recent non-African admixture in these populations. After accounting for recent non-African admixture, our results do not support the alternative model of older (e.g., >100 kya) admixture between modern human and Neanderthal-like hominid within Africa
reply to post by punkinworks10
Just out of curiosity, which site did you pull the abstract from? Just curious if its one of the ones that likes charging my credit card once a year so I can read through the full paper. As always, you bring me new and fascinating things to read so thank you.