Category Archives: archaeology
News about ancient humanity: Humans in California 130,000 years ago? Homo naledi find is much younger than expected
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Unidentified remains found in the English countryside and all signs point to the untimely death of a young man. Researchers examined the bones of a supposed victim, which showed signs of leprosy, to search for clues about the arrival of … Continue reading
The post “Elementary, My Dear Watson!” Clues Revealed About an Ancient Case of Leprosy appeared first on PLOS Blogs Network.
DUELING PAPERS ABOUT THE FIRST AMERICANS Oh, goody. Dueling papers. Always a treat. And dueling papers in the same week in Science and Nature, an extra-special treat. The topic a hot one, as befits dueling papers: Based on genetic studies … Continue reading
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Posted by aliens, Americas, ancient DNA, anthropology, archaeology, Asia, Astronomy, ET, extraterrestrials, genetics, Genome, Human Evolution, media criticism, migration, On Science Blogs, paleontology, Research, science blogging, Science Journalism, Science Writing, Stephen Hawking, united statesin
By Liam Zachary Field school season is approaching for anthropology and earth science undergraduate students, and while some students have already enrolled in an exciting field school program, many are still scrambling to find a spot, and even more students … Continue reading
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Posted by academia, archaeology, bio-archaeology, field school, Hudson Meng Bison, Hudson-Meng, Hudson-Meng Bison Bone Bed Interpretation Project, Institute for Field Research, Nebraska National Forest, Netherlands, Passport in Time, PLoS Blogs, South Dakota, The Student Blog, University of California Santa Cruzin
Some people don’t like the term “junk DNA”, because they assume all that extra DNA in the human genome must be doing something. Some of those people are tenured faculty, members of the ENCODE project, and have trouble penning reasonable definitions of biological function.
Other people have experimental data to show that random sequences of DNA can be biochemically active without physiological effect, understand that the genome’s complexity resists easy classification, and can, simultaneously, understand that these swathes of non-functional DNA are valuable because they contain the history of our evolution.
In that light, I am going to propose that we abandon the misleading phrase “junk DNA” and adopt a word from archaeology used to describe piles of informative waste: midden*.
A midden…is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, vermin, shells, sherds, lithics (especially debitage), and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation. The word is of Scandinavian via Middle English derivation, but is used by archaeologists worldwide to describe any kind of feature containing waste products relating to day-to-day human life. – Wikipedia
Now, if you want to call it midden DNA or the DNA midden, that I am happy to leave up to personal taste and style.
*A potential confusion might arise when researchers sequence DNA from biological samples in an actual midden heap – a risk with which I am willing to live.
Filed under: Curiosities of Nature Tagged: archaeology, ENCODE, genomics, junk DNA, midden DNA
Even though our favorite pet dogs are now well-domesticated, we can still catch glimpses of their primal past when we watch them devour a bone or hunt those pesky squirrels. Sadly, new research shows that the status of dogs in … Continue reading
The post Playing With Canines: Ancient Dog Teeth Reveal Early Human-Dog Interactions appeared first on PLOS Blogs Network.
Give us this day a fix for the GMO battles?
Two papers published in the last week were signal events for agricultural genomics. First was the draft of the huge, and hugely complex, genome of bread wheat, the …
The post A fix for GMO battles? Plus sexual harassment during field research appeared first on PLOS Blogs Network.