It’s not just that my real life has been busy lately. There doesn’t seem to have been a decent extraordinary and criticizable archaeological claim for… like… ever.
Maybe it’s because the past few weeks have seen the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and the Paleoanthropology Society. Maybe it’s left my peers and colleagues mute for the moment.
It’s prolly just stochastic variability. But I do get to feeling as if I’m letting the readership down when I don’t put something up every day, to say nothing of more than once a week!
The past few weeks haven’t been without interest… they’ve just been without much of interest to me.
In fact I have three times in the past five days begun to write something, only to realize that I didn’t have the juice to push through to the end.
There were some interesting bits. Here they are, complete with some archaeology porn.
There was the suspiciously convenient claim to have found the entry to Hades [the Hell of ancient Greek mythology] in Turkey. It was a DiscoveryNews story online. Pictures, claims, no plans, no profiles, no real way to be critical of the proposition. It was curious, however, that it was an Italian archaeologist claiming to have found physical evidence of a mythical location in what’s today known as Turkey, which, if you remember is perennially antagonistic toward Greece, to the point of open warfare between ethnic Greeks and ethnic Turks on the island of Cyprus.
|Credit to DiscoveryNews. Source url|
Then there was the as-yet unpublished result of some kind of magical 3D modeling that suddenly transformed Toumaï [Sahelanthropus tchadensis] from a possible gorilla ancestor to one of ours. Happily, that too held nothing up for critical scrutiny. However, in Kate Wong’s Scientific American blog there was a link to a higher resolution image of Toumaï and one showing all six anatomical views of the specimen. Criky, you could practical take measurements of the latter. Here are the links.
Toumaï at 45° between frontal and left lateral…* [Caution: file is more than 5MB]
Toumaï in six views** [Caution: file is more than 37MB]
Reproduction is governed by a Creative Commons license.***
|Credit to Scientific Amreican Source url|
Then, a day or so ago we learned through Nature‘s open-source Scientific Reports of new dates on wood from Tikal that once and for all correlated the Gregorian calendar and the Maya long count. A friend of mine was high up on the list of authors. I shoulda had something to say about that. Finally, a published paper. But nothing to be critical of. So, nothing to say. I was afraid that if I mentioned it in a laudatory way I could be vulnerable to accusations of having a man-crush.
|From Scientific Reports. Source url|
Also there was a human/Neanderthal genome study in PLOS ONE Genetics that I was very busy trying to write about this morning until I pooped out. It concludes that interbreeding was improbable. Great! Wonderful! But I don’t speak Genome. So, it’s all Greek to me. *cough*
|From PLOS ONE Genetics. Source url|
The last three are subjects worthy of note, for sure. They’re just not conducive to subversive criticism. Maybe that’s it. Better to keep silent and be thought a fool, or a laggardly blogger, than to open my metaphorical mouth and erase all possible doubt.
Just know that when I’m quiet like this, I’m perched on the top branch of a dead tree somewhere, my featherless neck bent like the drain on your bathroom sink, and my sturdy, recurved beak pointing in the direction of down, waiting for some delicacy to come limping down the track toward me.
I think I’ll leave you with that vision of me, and the credits for the two amazing images of Toumaï…
English: Cast of the Sahelanthropus tchadensis holotype cranium TM 266-01-060-1, dubbed Toumaï, in facio-lateral view.
Specimen of of Anthropology Molecular and Imaging Synthesis of Toulouse.
Size 182,5x105x97 mm
Français : Moulage du crâne holotype de Sahelanthropus tchadensis TM 266-01-060-1, surnommé Toumaï, en vue facio-latérale.
Exemplaire du Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Moléculaire et Imagerie de Synthèse de Toulouse.
Taille 182,5x105x97 mm
Date 23 June 2010
Author: Didier Descouens
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