Evolución (Continuación)

Por Robert Sala Ramos, profesor de Prehistoria, URV (LA VANGUARDIA, 24/12/06):

Los neandertales fueron la única línea humana típica de Europa: los verdaderos europeos. Aparecieron a partir de la evolución del Homo heidelbergensis hace 250.000 años. En su máximo esplendor ocuparon no sólo todo el continente, sino que llegaron al Próximo Oriente y a Uzbekistán, en Asia Central. Son centenares los yacimientos arqueológicos que presentan restos de su actividad a lo largo de una evolución de más de 200.000 años hasta el momento de su extinción, 25.000 años atrás. Precisamente es noticia reciente la datación del conjunto de la cueva Gorham en Gibraltar, donde hemos sabido que, como mínimo, hace 28.000…  Seguir leyendo »

Science Notebook by Terence Kealey, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham (THE TIMES, 30/10/06):

When I was still at school a boy once rushed into the classroom crying that Darwin had been proved wrong — not by one of those lunatic creationists but by a fellow scientist. The scientist was Stephen Jay Gould and he worked as a biologist at Harvard.

Darwin had suggested that evolution was a gradual phenomenon, and that species were always changing to meet new environmental challenges. But Gould noted that the fossil evidence suggested that, actually, many species survived unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, and that stability, not change, seems to be the normal fossil record.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Lynne A. Isbell, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 03/09/06):

Snakes hit a nerve in people. How else to explain why the movie “Snakes on a Plane” became an Internet sensation months before it was released in theaters? The very idea was all it took to rouse attention.

That humans have been afraid of snakes for a long time is not a fresh observation; that this fear may be entwined with our development as a species is. New anthropological evidence suggests that snakes, as predators, may have figured prominently in the evolution of primate vision — the ability, shared by humans, apes and monkeys, to see the world in crisp, three-dimensional living color.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Olivia Judson, a research fellow in biology at Imperial College London, is the author of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation. In June, her column The Wild Side will appear on the TimesSelect Web site (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 28/05/06):

Ever since scientists realized that the fossilized bones of ichthyosaurs and mastodons were relics of organisms past, debates have raged about what fossils mean for our understanding of the history of life on Earth, and especially of evolution. No longer. Fossils have become unnecessary to the argument: since we’ve learned to sequence whole genomes, we’ve had far more powerful ways to examine the past.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Dean Falk, chairwoman of the anthropology department at Florida State University, is writing a book on mother-infant communication (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 14/05/06):

On Mother’s Day, it’s customary to speak about the sacrifices our mothers made to improve our lives. But mothers also deserve credit for the pivotal role they’ve played in the story of human evolution. Prehistoric mothers did nothing less than seed the development of our species’ remarkable intelligence.

The story begins at least two million years ago, when our brains started to grow larger, eventually making humans the most cognitively advanced species on earth. This evolution was not without its difficulties, particularly for mothers.…  Seguir leyendo »