But first, some sad news to report:
Wayne Prescott Suttles, 1918-2005: Indian culture 'his life's work'
His works are considered the foremost references on Northwest Indian culture:
Observations that have served as the basis for landmark court rulings in two countries; fieldwork that has revived traditions and tongues thought forever lost; and analyses that have helped to prove that peoples deemed long extinct still, in fact, live on.
Wayne Prescott Suttles, a soft-spoken scholar who in recent years walked with the aid of a cane, for decades stood high above the specialized field of Coast Salish anthropology as its towering figure.
Now, the man regarded as "the greatest living ethnographer of the Pacific Northwest" lives no longer.
Suttles unfortunately suffered from the same general lack of recognition as northwest coast history and prehistory. Which is unfortunate because the area has many unique adaptations. The main problem is a general lack of large monuments or settlement structures, not a lot of pottery, and a damp climate that tends to degrade a lot of material.
Ancient DNA Confirms Single Origin Of Malagasy Primates
Yale biologists have managed to extract and analyze DNA from giant, extinct lemurs, according to a Yale study published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
. . .
Living lemurs comprise more than 50 species, all of which are unique to the island of Madagascar, which is the world's fourth largest island and east of Africa. Evolutionary analysis of the DNA obtained from the extinct giants reveals that they, like the living lemurs, are descended from a single primate ancestor that colonized Madagascar more than 60 million years ago, Yoder said.
Excellent example of adaptive radiation.
Prehistoric Decline of Freshwater Mussels Tied to Rise in Maize Cultivation
USDA Forest Service (FS) research suggests that a decline in the abundance of freshwater mussels about 1000 years ago may have been caused by the large-scale cultivation of maize by Native Americans.
In the April 2005 issue of Conservation Biology, Wendell Haag and Mel Warren, researchers with the FS Southern Research Station (SRS) unit in Oxford , MS, report results from a study of archaeological data from 27 prehistoric sites in the southeastern United States.
It would probably be more compelling if there were more information on how diet changed over time. Purely random collection of different shellfish seems a bit unusual.
Tut update King Tut reigns again
Here's America's true summer blockbuster: The Return of King Tutankhamun. And like Star Wars, it's bigger, louder and way more expensive than the original nearly 30 years ago, when the boy king toured the USA to universal acclaim. This time in Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, Tut returns as a blazing comet of spectacle — and unprecedented $30 tickets. When the four-city, two-year U.S. tour opens June 16 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, it will be preceded by a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign the likes of which no American museum has ever mounted.
"I'm not sure there's so much difference between Tutankhamun and Celine Dion,"
No. We just can't. . . . . .
Tse-whit-zen Site teaching Klallam tribe `who we were, who we are'
Phillip Charles never figured he'd find himself making stone fish hooks and knives from deer bone.
But after six years of working a cash register, at first one mini-mart, then another, then a gas station, Charles took a job at the Tse-whit-zen archaeological site.
They need a new name. 'Tse-whit-zen' just doesn't have enough caché, like Thebes or Rome. Kinda like Çatalhöyük.
Cave Bear DNA Sequencing Could Be Boon for Human Evolution Studies
Scientists have succeeded in retrieving and sequencing nuclear DNA from the bones of an extinct cave bear. The method they used could conceivably be applied to ancient human remains, such as those of Neandertals.
Ancient DNA has been recovered from human bones in the past. In 1997 Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and his colleagues extracted and sequenced DNA from a Neandertal bone. The team worked with DNA from the mitochondria, the cell's energy-producing organelles, which have their own DNA that is passed along from mother to child. Because cells have multiple mitochondria, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is far more common than nuclear DNA in fossilized remains and thus easier to recover in sufficient amounts for analysis. But there are limits to what mtDNA can reveal about extinct species. Nuclear DNA is what researchers have been waiting for, though many have doubted the feasibility of obtaining it.
Additional material at Nature, National Geographic, and DIscovery.
Probably will have more later today.