I’ve just noticed that the Australian National University Press has released some of its older books online as PDF! My picks are:
The Austronesians – This wonderful little book has long been the standard introduction to the Austronesian world, and is totally worth a read:
The Austronesian-speaking population of the world are [...]
The New York times has a nice piece on evo-devo:
“It’s been said that classical evolutionary theory looks at survival of the fittest,” said Dr. Scott F. Gilbert, a developmental biologist at Swarthmore College. By looking at what sorts of organisms are most likely or impossible to develop, he explained, “evo-devo looks at the [...]
Why do primates have color vision? One of the leading theories over the last few years is that primates evolved trichromatic color vision to better detect fruits (generally red or orange colored) from leaves (primarily green). However, others have argued that the cause was to enhance intra-specific signalling, primarily to recognise the reddened skin regions [...]
Could yawning be an adaptation to cool the brain?
The next time you “catch a yawn” from someone across the room, you’re not copying their sleepiness, you’re participating in an ancient, hardwired ritual that might have evolved to help groups stay alert as a means of detecting danger.
The full paper is available at [...]
I’ve been rather quiet for the last few days, having been at the fantastic Evolution 2007 meeting, but here’s a quick post to catch up:
Dosenbach et al in P.N.A.S. report on Distinct brain networks for adaptive
and stable task control in humans. David McDonald has a fun paper on
Peter Austin recounts the recent International Conference on Austronesian Endangered Language Documentation in Taiwan (why did I miss that one?):
The current struggles by the Thao, Pazeh, Kaxabu and other groups in Taiwan are reminiscent of the situation in eastern Australia, though historically with rather less positive participation by linguists. It is [...]
In a dusty neighborhood under sheer sandstone cliffs studded with juniper on the Arizona-Utah border, a rare genetic disorder is spreading through polygamous families on a wave of inbreeding.
The twin border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, have the world’s highest known prevalence [...]
Nature announces the ENCODE project (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements) which is a pilot program to investigate the functional elements in 1% of the human genome:
We report the generation and analysis of functional data from multiple, diverse experiments performed on a targeted 1% of the human genome as part of the pilot phase of the [...]
One of Darwin’s pet examples of sexual selection were the Diving Beetles, where he argued that the male and female members of the same species co-evolved their mating techniques (i.e. males with large suction cups to hold the females).
However, it appears that this is more of an inter-sex arms race, where the [...]