Sunday, October 18, 2009

Global Sea Conditions as of date posted

Click on desired feature: region, wave height/direction, sea surface temperature...

Compare today's sea surface temperatures to SST during the last glacial maximum 18,000 years ago in the ice age:

Average sea surface salinities

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Antarctic glacier melt: today fastest since 14ka, per 100m sediment deposit

The Falklands islands wolf: a social isolate for 6.7 million years, related closest to North American Maned wolf which 4ma later expanded to South America.

Google eyes see Amazon rainforest destruction

Nazca desertification due to empire growth (same everywhere).

MtDNA molecular clock proven unreliable in antarctic penguins

Speech genes? tospeak, Foxp2 and basal vocalization/tissue patterns

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Marine-Rift Conduit

Ardi at Yardi: fossil hominin

Proconsul, Morotopith: Uganda, 21-20ma, upright spine
Orangs split 20ma
Gorilla split 8ma
Oreopithecus: Sardinia island, 9 - 7ma, very long arms, tree climbing, stilted biped.
Sahelanthropus: Chad, 7 - 6ma (SN: 7/13/02, p. 19)
Orrorin: 6ma (SN: 7/14/01, p. 20)
Ardipithecus ramidus: 4.4ma Rift - Afar
Kenyanthropus 3.5ma: (SN: 3/24/01, p. 180)
Ardipithecus kadabba: 5.8 - 5.2ma
Australopithecus afarensis: 3.2ma Lucy, Selam
Homo 2.4ma
ardi pic

Best article on MSC: MSC


Shallow-water habitats as sources of fallback foods for hominins
R Wrangham, D Cheney, R Seyfarth & E Sarmiento 2009 AJPA 140:630-642

Underground/underwater Storage Organs (rhyzomes) consumed
by hominins could have included both underwater and underground storage
organs, ie, from both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Shallow aquatic
habitats tend to offer high plant growth rates, high densities, and
relatively continuous availability throughout the year.

This study differs from traditional savanna chimpanzee models
of hominin origins by proposing that access to aquatic habitats was a
necessary condition for adaptation to savanna habitats. It also raises the
possibility that harvesting efficiency in shallow water promoted adaptations
for habitual bipedality in early hominins.

Similarities of African apes and dolphins in group behavior

But note this from Molly: Why is the discussion always between chimps and humans? Orangs are more intelligent than chimps and we share a type C viral gene with them that other apes don’t have. How do they fit in the ancestor picture?
Scientists have tallied up genes that were accidentally duplicated in our lineage, for example, so that we now have more copies of them than do other primates. They've also identified genes that became pseudogenes. And some genes in humans got their start as noncoding DNA in other primates. Recently Aoife McLysaght of the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin discovered three proteins produced by humans that aren't found in our closest non-human relatives. McLysaght then discovered that the genes for these three human proteins correspond almost precisely to stretches of noncoding DNA in the other species. It appears that mutations transformed these pieces of genetic material into genes capable of making proteins. (per Carl Zimmer)

This image was added by magellan on Aug 2, 2003 7:55 AM, Dave's Garden
"Hardy Water Lily \\\'Arc en Ceil\\\' best known for its unusual variegated green leaves mottled with pink, cream and sometimes red. Produces many blooms which open light pink and change to off white."

Goubbat al Kharab (Gebt/Gulf from Indian Ocean) to Awash (A!k'wa'sh) River to Rift Valley, recent volcanic uplift changed watersheds
Women with ornate shell hairstyles harvesting water lily bulbs at Awash River ("nymphs from Afar?") gather nymphaea (water lilies) in the presence of dragonfly nymphs (larvae) which feed on pond mosquito larvae, see story about remarkable journey taken by these Dragonflies from India over the Indian Ocean to Africa:

Backfloating on Awash River
Post-volcanic Awash R watershed
Post-volcanic Abbe R / Tana L watershed in Ethiopia

Note: Lake Tana & Blue Nile (Abbay) River, Ethiopia is NOT Tana river delta, Kenya coast. They are different regions. Lake Abbe (Abhe Bad) also differs, being the final depository of the Awash River on the border between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Lake Abbe, end of Awash River
Lake Abbe, Djibouti

Tana river-delta on the Kenya coast:
Tana delta, Kenya

Lake Tana: highland source of Ethiopia Blue Nile (Abbay) River:
Lake Tana, Ethiopia

Both are linked to early human evolution and civilization.

Homo sapiens developed cane canoes, rafts, boats
Lake Tana papyrus canoe
Lake Baringo ambatch canoe

But before these composite boats evolved, simple bundles of reeds were used as floats, and wood-hafted stone axes as weights, during cyclic submersion while foraging for plant rhyzomes, cichlids, catfish, crustaceans, shellfish etc.

Kelp Highway, Blue Highway

University of Texas at Austin anthropologist John Kappelman presented this counterintuitive idea October 19 in a talk titled “Blue Highways,” which followed his fossil digs along the Blue Nile tributaries in Ethiopia. Early humans are thought to have taken one of two routes out of Africa: along the Red Sea, or along the Nile Valley and out across Eurasia. But “there’s been very little testing on the ground, recovering fossils and sites that actually permit us to evaluate either one of those two hypothetical migration events,” Kappelman said. Most fossils found to date come from the rift valley on the eastern side of the continent, where dry, flat, exposed land makes for good fossil hunting. In the late 1990s, Kappelman started exploring the tributaries on the western side of the Nile, where no one had looked for fossils before. The last record of western exploration there was from British naturalist Sir Samuel Baker in the 1860s.

“This area that was a blank slate for Africa is finally starting to fill in,” Kappelman said.
Samuel Barker noticed something key: The rivers are dry for most of the year, but every summer the water rushes back “like freight cars,” Kappelman said. The torrent of water gouged out deep holes that retained water even during the dry season, leaving a necklace of isolated pools.

And the pools were full of fish. “The fish were literally in a bucket,” Kappelman says. If early humans stayed near these water holes, they could feast all through the dry season without working too hard. “We think of dry seasons as a time of adversity. We’re proposing that these were the easy times,” Kappelman says.

Kappelman and his team found double-edged blades that were probably used as arrow heads and evidence of hearth fires in several sites around the Nile. He thinks using these water holes could have taught early humans crucial skills, like fishing with nets or bow and arrow, that helped them survive seasonal and climate changes after migration to other parts of the world.
“It honed the behavioral foraging habits of early humans, and taught them to exploit a wide range of food,” Kappelman said.

(Ainu culturally derived) coastal Ama divers

The traditional Ama divers of Japan south coast spent part of the year tending freshwater rice paddies and part diving at the seashores with pry tools and basket floats.

The Moken (okeos) Andaman Sea people have wooden boat communities, children dive for shellfish.

Notes on tropical/fragrant water lily: Seed, tuber, buds as food

In times of drought in the waterlilies natural habitat what happens is the pads will die off and the tuber will remain below the soil and becomes quite nut-like, protecting the tuber through the dry season. Once the rains return and the tuber becomes moist again it will send up new growth from the terminal crown and a new plant will be born.

Water lilies reproduce by seed and also by new plants sprouting from the large spreading roots (underground stems called rhizomes). A planted rhizome will cover about a 15-foot diameter in about five years.

Fragrant water lily has an interesting pollination strategy. Each white or pink flower has many petals surrounding both male and female reproductive parts, and is only open during the daytime for three days. On the first morning, the flowers produce a fluid in the cup-like center and are receptive to pollen from other flowers. However, they are not yet releasing pollen themselves. Pollen-covered insects are attracted by the sweet smell, but the flower is designed so that when they enter the flower, they fall into the fluid. This washes the pollen off their bodies and onto the female flower parts (stigmas) causing fertilization. Usually the insects manage to crawl out of the fluid and live to visit other flowers, but occasionally the unfortunate creature will remain trapped and die when the flower closes during the afternoon. On the second and the third days, the flowers are no longer receptive to pollen, and no fluid is produced. Instead, pollen is released from the stamens (the flexible yellow match-shaped structures in the flower center). Visiting insects pick up the pollen and transport it to flowers in the first day of the flowering cycle. After the three days the flowers are brought under water by coiling their stalks. The seeds mature under water and after several weeks are released into the water. Water currents or ducks, which eat the seeds, distribute them to other areas. This flowering regimen is followed nearly throughout the summer, producing many eye-pleasing blooms and a large supply of seeds.

In addition to reproducing by seeds, water lilies spread by rhizomes. Anyone who has tried to curtail this plant's growth in front of their dock knows how tenacious these root systems are. Also, if pieces of the rhizome are broken off during control efforts, they will drift to other locations and establish a new patch of lilies.

The fragrant water lily was utilized in many ways by Native Americans in the eastern United States. Roots of this and other water lilies were used medicinally as a poultice for sores and tumors, internally for many aliments including digestive problems, and rinse made for sores in the mouth. The leaves and flowers were also used as cooling compresses. In addition, the rhizomes were occasionally used as food and the young leaves and lower buds were eaten as a vegetable. Even the seeds were fried and eaten or ground into flour. Wildlife, including beaver, muskrat, ducks, porcupine, and deer also will eat the leaves, roots, or seeds.

Jordan Valley frog bit Hydrocharis morsus-ranae

Jordan Valley white water lily

Jordan Valley yellow pond lily

India pink lotus

Egyptian blue water lily
The Egyptian Blue Water-lily, N. caerulea, opens its flowers in the morning and then sinks beneath the water at dusk, while the Egyptian White Water-lily, N. lotus, flowers at night and closes in the morning.

Tana river delta nymphaea

Okavango Delta: termite, tree, hippo

Congo Mbeli bai, Ndoki swamp lowland gorilla eat floating frogbit hydrocharis (92%) & some sedges (8%)
Picture shows superficial resemblance of Hydrocharis and water lily, but hydrocharis roots float free with stolons at surface (easily dredged from above surface by gorilla standing or sit-floating upright with inflated laryngeal air sacs), while the water lily has anchored benthic roots and horizontal rhyzomes at a depth 6"-10" below soil substrate far below the water surface, often requiring facial submersion and combined with benthic shellfish foraging).

Nassarius marine mud snail shells used for ornamentation inland

Hydrocharis storage turion buds into new plant


Butterfly (Nymphalids) 90ma & Angiosperm (flowering plants) 100ma evolution

Frog 125ma & Archeafructus 125ma (water lily predecessor?) North East China
(see earlier posts)

Human ancestors: India 3ma (see Yohn & Todaro: African primate-only viruses between 3-5ma) (also see India origin of malaria 3ma), Djibouti (unique Tuberculosis 2ma), myosin mutation 2.4ma reduced jaw muscles & brain size constraint
2ma Asian pseudogene RRm2p4 nucleotide polymorphism on human X chromosome
In an effort to find the remaining genes that govern myosin--the major contractile protein that makes up muscle tissue Penn researchers have found one small mutation that undermines an entire myosin gene. Their estimated dating for the appearance of this mutation places it at about 2.4 million years ago, just prior to a period of major evolutionary changes in the hominid fossil record. These include the beginning of larger brain size, so important in making us human. Anthropologists have long debated how humans evolved from ancestors with larger jaw muscles and smaller brains. This newly discovered mutation seems responsible for the development of smaller jaw muscles in humans as compared to non-human primates. Did this genetic mutation lift an evolutionary constraint on brain growth in early humans? MYH16 on chromosome 7 They found the gene-inactivating mutation in all modern humans sampled, with the same inherited muscle "disease." However, the mutation was not present in the DNA of seven species of non-human primates, including chimpanzees. macaque chewing and biting muscles are nearly ten times as large as in humans, which correlates with the fact that MYH16 protein is made in macaques and not in humans. researchers calculated that the inactivating mutation appeared in a hominid ancestor about 2.4 million years ago, after the lineages leading to humans and chimpanzees diverged. Shortly thereafter, roughly 2.0 million years ago, the less muscled, larger brained skulls of the earliest known members of the genus Homo start to appear in the fossil record.

From this the investigators postulated that the first early hominids born with two copies of the mutated MYH16 gene would show many effects from this single mutation--most notably a reduction in size and contractile force of the jaw-closing muscles, some of which exert tremendous stress across and/or cause deposition of additional bone atop growth zones of the braincase. "The coincidence in time of the gene-inactivating mutation and the advent of a larger braincase in some early Homo populations may mean that the decrease in jaw-muscle size and force eliminated stress on the skull, which 'released' an evolutionary constraint on brain growth,

Ice age glacial sea level 100m drops as Yemen gateway to south Asia and Sahara-Sinai desert gateway to Europe.

Based on this, we know that Ardi & Lucy were not likely to have been direct human ancestors, but possible chimp ancestors or extinct relatives which shared many phenotypical traits with early human ancestors.
other items

Neandertals at Gibralter, Anglo Saxons of eastern England feasted on dolphin

Stone/wood beaters used on tree bark cloth felt (cf Mongolian wool felt pulled/bounced behind horse, egyptian papyrus pith paper) in China, Vietnam, Tonga, Mexico.
Judith Cameron, Archaeology and Natural History, Australian National Univ.

Flora and fauna, fish hook and sewn plank canoe transmission between Asia and America pre-Colombian
Terry L. Jones and Kathryn A. Klar

Zizyphus fruit tree of Eurasia, short stemmed:

Nutrition at waterside:

Cattle domestication at Mehrgarh, Indus above Indus delta.

Plausible? He only at rift & coast, not interior, Hs pre-domesticated along Levant-Indus coast, then returned to Africa as pastoralist/agriculturalist H&G only (pygmy/san/onge/kusunda?)...explains why megafauna remained in Africa long after mammoths and other megafauna all extinct throughout EurAsia.

Parallel: Further north, the Rift in the Jordan Valley, at paleo-lake Ubeidiya (3 km So of Sea of Gallilee), a large shallow freshwater lake at 100m below sea level, many acheulean hand axes found from 1.5ma. "Originally the site was on the edge of a small sweet-water lake; this accounts for the abundance of bones of mammals, reptiles, fish and birds. The hominids living at the site were hunters and scavengers. They made distinctive chopping tools of flint and spheroids of limestone, as well as hand-axes of flint and to lesser degree of basalt" (also almond and pond lily nuts). 20? km east of the Medit. along Jezreel valley, north of Dead Sea. During the Neogene, the Mediterranean penetrated into the Jordan Valley. The end of the Pliocene marks the creation of the Rift valley, cover basalt from 5ma to 3ma underlie the interesting layers. See page 11/31 at this pdf:
IN 1959 Dr, G. Haas, of the Department of Zoology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was sent some fossil animal bones which had been turned up by a bulldozer levelling a field near Tell Ubeidiya in the Jordan Valley near Lake Tiberias. In this material, Dr. Haas identified bones of extinct mammalia and ``a human incisor and two small fragments of a hominid calvarium of very great thickness''1.

The large carnivores from ‘Ubeidiya (early Pleistocene, Israel)
Of specific importance is the presence of the African origin saber tooth Megantereon cf. M. whitei and the Eurasian origin canids Canis moschbachensis and Lycaon lycoanoides. Hippo tusk, mammoth molar at Ubeidiya:

Peritethyan and Pannonian Seas of Europe 10ma

The Pannonian Sea existed for about 9 million years. Its last remains disappered in the middle of Pleistocene Epoch, about 600,000 years ago. The water of the Pannonian Sea actually ruptured its way through the modern ─Éerdap Gorge on the Danube river and flowed through the gorge leaving behind a large plain known as the Pannonian Plain.

Snail fossils suggest semiarid eastern Canary Islands were wetter 50,000 years ago

Isotopic measurements performed on fossil land snail shells resulted in oxygen isotope ratios that suggest the relative humidity on the islands was higher 50,000 years ago, then experienced a long-term decrease to the time of maximum global cooling and glaciation about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, according to new research by Yurena Yanes, a post-doctoral researcher, and Crayton J. Yapp, a geochemistry professor, both in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. With subsequent post-glacial climatic fluctuations, relative humidity seems to have oscillated somewhat, but finally decreased even further to modern values.

Consequently the eastern Canary Islands experienced an overall increase in dryness during the last 50,000 years, eventually yielding the current semiarid conditions. Today the low-altitude eastern islands are characterized by low annual rainfall and a landscape of short grasses and shrubs, Yanes says. The research advances understanding of the global paleoclimate during an important time in human evolution, when the transition from gathering and hunting to agriculture first occurred in the fertile Middle East and subsequently spread to Asia, North Africa and Europe.

Via Elaine at AAT, from Dawkins site: [Recall that Queen Hatsheput, Pharaoh of Egypt that voyagedd the Red Sea to Punt met Queen Ati there who had steatopygya as did her daughter, showing a continuum from South African Namakwa KhoiSan to Andamaners, also seen in early Hs Euro mother Venus sculptures]

"One very interesting feature is Steatopygia -- extreme obesity in women during
pregnancy, often occur in Andamanese. It's considered as a disorder, but i
suspect it's an aquatic "adaptaion" -- for that pregnant women need more energy
storage and buoyancy (u may link it to water birth), or also, as the photo show,
a "platform" for the baby staying near water surface. (well this sounds
ridiculous, but it could contribute to higher survival rate if they were that
aquatic)" The photo shows and infant standing on the protuding buttocks of the mother
hanging on to her neck... and re. buoyancy: "Human buoyancy is very close to optimal for aquatic mammals. More importantly perhaps, our center of buoyancy is compatible with marine, not terrestrial mammals (Slijper 1976). This gives us the ability to maintain a horizontal attitude near the surface of the water with minimal energy expenditure."

Asian genes
Parallel: East Asian people have reduced body and facial hair with fu manchu beard, West Asian & African people have facial hair with full beard. East Asian tigers have only small fu manchu beard, West Asian & African lions have large mane and full beard.
India/Tibet has both types of people and lions-tigers. Why? Tigers more aquatic-arboreal or colder climate?

Marcel on marine kidneys, oreopith, AHV:

MSC: 6ma - 5.5ma Mediterranean dried out. Last common ancestor of chimpanzee and Homo is dated to around 5.5 Mya. Papio/gelada divergence at 4 (3.99) Mya.

Wood eating crabs at depth, as well as wood boring molluscs and isopods, there are crustaceans which eat plant matter which sinks to the ocean floor, including old wooden boats and tools (so its even harder to get evidence of ancient coastal tool use!).

Seeing fish at depth: