Archive for December 13, 2010

Ancient Humans Ate Eachother Then Took The Day Off

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Several examples of bent ends of bones chewed by Koi people. From the Journal of Human Evolution

The results of this study, to be published in January in the Journal of Human Evolution, were derived from experiment to identify patterns in teeth marks on bones after chewing.

The authors actually had 4 groups of people chew and gnaw the bones of barbecued short ribs and boiled sheep, as well as some raw pork rib bones and sheep leg bones. They also studied the chewing patterns of Koi people from an experiment done in the 1960s, and studied the patterns of the bite marks on the bones.

The study claims that there are several types of markings left on bones after chewing. A certain combination of markings is indicative of human chewing. The results of the study state:

The main traits that characterize a pattern of human chewed bones from this experimental study are ends of bone bent, crenulated edges of bone or chewed ends, and punctures and linear marks on the bone surfaces.

The results from these experiments, i.e. the pattern of chewing thought to belong to humans, was then compared to fossils to determine if the bite marks are human, or if they belong to some other animal. And in a couple of cases, they were a match.

So why would ancient humans want to eat each other? From Discovery News,

“Think that a member of your group dies,” Fernandez-Jalvo told Discovery News. “The body can give one day off from hunting, which was always dangerous at that time, and what to do with the dead body that may attract other dangerous carnivores that may attack the group.”

“This could be a good solution,” she added, reminding that cannibalism does not always mean the cannibal killed the consumed individual.

So this was more about an efficient means of getting nutrition and disposing of a body that could potentially attract predators, than any kind of ritualistic killing of fellow tribe members.

Top 10 Quotes of the Year

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Its getting near the end of the year. That means Christmas, Hanukkah, and Top 10 lists.

I love top 10 lists. Probably part of the reason I’m still on Team Letterman and not Team Leno.

Here’s the first one I’ve seen so far: The Top 10 Quotes of the Year. Fred Shapiro, associate librarian of Yale University, has released his list of top quotables for the past year, which he has been doing since 2006.

So without further adieu, here is the list. My favourite is #9 since it’s the one that made me want to bang my head against the wall the hardest.

#10. “They should never have put me with that woman. … She was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour.” Gordon Brown, comments about a voter he met while campaigning for British general election, Apr. 28.

#9. “You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?” Christine O’Donnell, Delaware senatorial debate, Oct. 19. (The Associated Press reported the quote: “So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?”)

#8. “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” LeBron James, television broadcast, July 8.

#7. “We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it.” Nancy Pelosi, speech to National Association of Counties, March 9.

#6. “I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies. They’re saying: My goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?” Sharron Angle, radio interview in January.

#5. “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le! Los mineros de Chile!” Chant at Chilean mine rescue, Oct. 13.

#4. “Don’t retreat. Instead — reload!” Sarah Palin, Tweet, March 23.

#3. “If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested.” airline passenger John Tyner, remark to Transportation Security Administration worker at San Diego airport, Nov. 13, 2010

#1. (TIE) “I’d like my life back.” Tony Hayward, comment to reporters, May 30.

#1. (TIE) “I’m not a witch.” Christine O’Donnell, television advertisement, Oct. 4.