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************************************************************ HUMAN EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH / HUMEVO@GWUVM An Electronic Publication of the International Institute for Human Evolutionary Research George Washington University, Washington, DC Vol. 2, No. 2 19 March, 1992 Editor: Dr. Noel T. Boaz (BOAZ@GWUVM) ************************************************************ BULLETIN BOARD ***American Association of Physical Anthropologists*** Las Vegas, Nevada March 31 - April 4, 1992 ***"Paleoanthropology Society" [newly organized]*** Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania April 7-8, 1992 (Contact JYELLEN@NSF) Note: HUMEVO will be represented at both these meetings and will report salient announcements and research findings. Volunteers to report on other meetings of interest to HUMEVO discussants are encouraged to contact the editor. COOPERATION COLUMN Karen Rosenberg (FJH30276@UDELVM.BITNET) is assembling a list of novels about prehistoric life. She has the following: Golding, The Inheritors; Kurten, Dance of the Tiger, Singletusk; Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear, etc. Please send her additions or annotations. RESEARCH Keith Robison (robison@ribo.harvard.edu) sent the following to the molecular evolution list: There's a story in today's [3/17/92] New York Times about the finding of a bone fragment which is believed to provide a crucial link in the hominid family. What I am curious about is the family tree which was diagrammed in the article, which shows the line leading to humans splitting away from a chimp-gorilla common ancestor. The Boston Globe article on the same finding had the leader of the research team, Dr. Glenn Conroy of Washington University, making a similar statement. I thought the molecular evidence was rather strong that it was gorillas which split first, not humans, and that this evidence was widely accepted. Is this another case of the anthropologists refusing to believe the molecular evidence, or is this still an open question in the molecular field? - Keith Robison Harvard University Program in Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Response (from the Editor): First of all the specimen in question is dated at ca. 13 ma from Namibia, and therefore likely pre-dates any putative split in hominids from a common African hominoid trunk. Although most molecular work seems to support an initial split of the gorilla lineage, not all molecular evolutionists agree with this position, e.g. Sarich, Schmid, and Marks (1989, Cladistics 5:3-32). The "traditional" morphological approach is to consider the morphological similarities of the chimp and gorilla synapomorphies, but there is growing evidence that many of these may be parallelisms. EDUCATION Earthwatch, the non-profit volunteer-funded foundation, recently (March 6-7,1992) held its 20th Reunion Retrospective at the Harvard Science Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Over the past 20 years Earthwatch has funded 1350 scientific field projects in 90 countries. Earthwatch is now marketing itself in conservation terms, e.g. their programs in "Strategies for Survival" and "Threatened Habitats" but basic research still plays an important part of their mission. Earthwatch expeditions can be excellent training for students in field research. They also provide grants for "both basic and applied research" to "scholars of any nation", but potential P.I.'s should be prepared for the logistical requirements of fielding (and feeding) Earthwatch volunteers. Earthwatch's address is 680 Mount Auburn Street, Box 403, Watertown, MA 02272; tel. 617/926-8200; FAX 617/926-8532.


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