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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Weekend News (6 June 2009)

Evolution

Here is an interesting and amusing report from BBC News:

Tickled Apes Yield Laughter Clue

New research that has given credence to the idea that laughter evolved in a common ancestor of the great apes and humans.

Researchers tickled 22 young apes and three humans -- [Editor's note: Though probably not creationists, since they lack any sense of humour] -- and acoustically analysed the laughing sounds that resulted.

Though the vocalisations varied, the team found that the patterns of changes fit with evolutionary splits in the human and ape family tree.

The research in Current Biology also suggests that gorillas and bonobos have some control over their breathing.

Primate researchers have long guessed that many of the social behaviours that are seen in humans have a basis in our primate lineage.

Studies have noted that vocalisations that some apes make while being tickled are similar to those made when they are playing, and acoustically they share some characteristics with human laughter. [...]

Click on the above link to continue.

Here is another interesting story on evolution from Science Daily (June 2, 2009):

New Hominid 12 Million Years Old Found In Spain, With 'Modern' Facial Features.

Researchers have discovered a fossilized face and jaw from a previously unknown hominoid primate genus in Spain dating to the Middle Miocene era, roughly 12 million years ago. Nicknamed "Lluc," the male bears a strikingly "modern" facial appearance with a flat face, rather than a protruding one. The finding sheds important new light on the evolutionary development of hominids, including orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and humans.

In a study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Salvador Moyà-Solà, director of the Institut Català de Paleontologia (ICP) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and colleagues present evidence for the new genus and species, dubbed Anoiapithecus brevirostris. The scientific name is derived from the region where the fossil was found (l’Anoia) and also from its "modern" facial morphology, characterized by a very short face. [...]

Click on the above link to continue.

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