Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sieving 101

I pretty much keep up with Science, which arrives weekly. I'll confess I don't read many of the research articles, but since the first 75 pages are news and timely summaries, I can at least keep up on a wide range of biology, chemistry and medical news. When I get behind, the issues lay in a stack on my desk until I have a plane trip, and Science makes great airplane reading. So the 2 October issue went with me last week, and in honor of the year of Darwin, this issue had 11 articles and some editorials describing the paleobiology of Ardipithecus ramidus and other early hominids. Discovered in 1994, the articles described what it is like to hunt for fossils, every bucket of dirt shaken through sieves and each piece inspected by hand so as not to miss a fragment, how to compare bones from different species. I can't give you a link as the articles on-line are by subscription, but I can pull down pdf's or lend you my copy if you are interested. I plan to re-read this issue and maybe read an intro anthropology book, I learned so much. The issue also contains 2 pages of thumb-nail photos of the 50-odd authors of these articles, a first, I believe.

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