A strong network of friends may be just as big a factor in acts of group violence as having a charismatic leader or a savvy battle plan, according to a new study. (more…)
Tag Archives: east africa
The eastern Sahara Desert was once home to a 45,000 km2 freshwater lake similar in surface area to the largest in the world today.
A study led by the University of Exeter has revealed that the mega lake was probably formed more than one hundred thousand years ago in the White Nile River Valley in Sudan.
Dr Tim Barrows of the University of Exeter and colleagues used a dating approach based on exposure to cosmic rays to measure the amount of the isotope beryllium-10 in shoreline deposits. Its abundance can be used to calculate how long rocks or sediments have been exposed at the surface of the earth. (more…)
International Research Team Close Human Evolution Gap with Discovery of 1.4 Million-Year-Old Fossil Human Hand Bone
University of Missouri researcher part of team that found the bone in Kenya
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Humans have a distinctive hand anatomy that allows them to make and use tools. Apes and other nonhuman primates do not have these distinctive anatomical features in their hands, and the point in time at which these features first appeared in human evolution is unknown. Now, a University of Missouri researcher and her international team of colleagues have found a new hand bone from a human ancestor who roamed the earth in East Africa approximately 1.42 million years ago. They suspect the bone belonged to the early human species, Homo erectus. The discovery of this bone is the earliest evidence of a modern human-like hand, indicating that this anatomical feature existed more than half a million years earlier than previously known. (more…)
A research team led by UA anthropologist David Raichlen has found that the Hadza tribe’s movements while foraging can be described by a mathematical pattern called a Lévy walk – a pattern that also is found in the movements of many other animals.
A mathematical pattern of movement called a Lévy walk describes the foraging behavior of animals from sharks to honey bees, and now for the first time has been shown to describe human hunter-gatherer movement as well. The study, led by University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen, was published on December 23, 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Lévy walk pattern appears to be ubiquitous in animals, similar to the golden ratio, phi, a mathematical ratio that has been found to describe proportions in plants and animals throughout nature. (more…)
Despite continued reports of economic growth in Africa, much of the continent remains wracked by poverty, with roughly one in five citizens saying they frequently lack food, clean water and medical care, according to the largest survey of African citizens.
This suggests the growth is not trickling down to the poorest citizens or that actual growth rates are inflated, said Carolyn Logan, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University and deputy director of the survey, called the Afrobarometer. (more…)
Research May Also Help Determine Effects of Global Warming in the Region
With more than 40 million people living under exceptional drought conditions in East Africa, the ability to make accurate predictions of drought has never been more important. In the aftermath of widespread famine and a humanitarian crisis caused by the 2010-2011 drought in the Horn of Africa—possibly the worst drought in 60 years— researchers are striving to determine whether drying trends will continue.
While it is clear that El Niño can affect precipitation in this region of East Africa, very little is known about the drivers of long-term shifts in rainfall. However, new research described in the journal Nature helps explain the mechanisms at work behind historical patterns of aridity in Eastern Africa over many decades, and the findings may help improve future predictions of drought and food security in the region. (more…)
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The huge changes in the Earth’s crust that influenced human evolution are being redefined, according to research published today in Nature Geoscience.
The Great Rift Valley of East Africa – the birthplace of the human species – may have taken much longer to develop than previously believed.
“We now believe that the western portion of the rift formed about 25 million years ago, and is approximately as old as the eastern part, instead of much younger as other studies have maintained,” said Michael Gottfried, Michigan State University associate professor of geological sciences. “The significance is that the Rift Valley is the setting for the most crucial steps in primate and ultimately human evolution, and our study has major implications for the environmental and landscape changes that form the backdrop for that evolutionary story.” (more…)
CT scans of fossil skull fragments may help researchers settle a long-standing debate about the evolution of Africa’s Australopithecus, a key ancestor of modern humans that died out some 1.4 million years ago.
The study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explains how CT scans shed new light on a classic evolutionary puzzle by providing crucial information about the internal anatomy of the face. (more…)