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Human evolution: Ask the familyhttp://www.economist.com/node/21560237Fossils complicate human ancestor searchhttp://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/08/fossils-complicate-human-ancestor-search/?hpt=hp_t3Questions over human and Neanderthal interbreedinghttp://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528784.700-questions-over-human-and-neanderthal-interbreeding.htmlNeanderthal sex debate highlights benefits of pre-publicationhttp://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/08/neanderthal-sex-debate-highlights-benefits-of-pre-publication.htmlIntroduction to Human Evolutionhttp://humanorigins.si.edu/resources/intro-human-evolutionBecoming Humanhttp://www.becominghuman.org/Who are we? Where did we come from? These are a few questions that motivate evolutionary biologists and others interested in the world of human evolution. Recently, a team of scientists from the Turkana Basin Institute in Nairobi published work in Nature that seems to point towards yet another possible unique species of human. The team has found evidence that there may have been another group that existed around 2 million years ago, which they are referring to as KMN-ER 62000. This new species has a face similar to another specimen (Homo rudolfensis) but it would appear that its upper jaw does not match any existing fossil jaw specimens. Of course, the record of human evolution is fragmentary, so this finding is only a preliminary one. In other human origins news, a lively debate over the interbreeding of humans and Neanderthals has been stirring the genetics community. Some researchers claim that Neanderthals and humans evolved from a common ancestor who lived about 320,000 years ago, and others claim that interbreeding occurred as recently as 65,000 to 47,000 years ago. While the latter claim seems to be prevailing for now, this is another story worth following.The first link will take visitors to a nice piece of reporting on the fossil discovery from this week's The Economist magazine. The second link will take interested parties to a wonderful piece from CNN's "Light Years" blog about how this discovery complicates scientists' search for a common human ancestor. The third link leads to a piece that outlines the debate over human and Neanderthal ancestry. The fourth link will take visitors to a discussion of how this debate could have benefited from more rapid pre-publication of the papers in question, so that each paper could respond to other authors' most recent findings. The fifth link will take users to the brilliant page created by the National Museum of Natural History that provides an interactive and thoughtful introduction to human evolution. The final link will lead parties to the Becoming Human website which brings together research, scholarship, and interactive multimedia materials to create "greater understanding of the course of human evolution."
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