Did you know that Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, does not contain a single mention of the word “evolution”? I am reading it for the first time and was struck not only by the absence of that term in Darwin’s first edition (it does begin to creep in after 20 years in later editions) but many other discrepancies between the historical Darwin and modern Darwinism.
Almost a century ago, British anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon traveled the world seeking samples of human hair, among other curios, for his ethnographic studies of native people.
San Diego State University professor D. Emily Hicks has traced some common ancestry with President Barack Obama. According to the professor of Chicana/o Studies, she and the President share Melungeon roots.
For Bobbi Bacha of Blue Moon Investigations it was the chance of a lifetime. Attending a celebrity auction more than a decade ago, she put in the winning bid for some blood and semen stained sheets. Nearly 20 years old, but carefully preserved, they were reputed to come from the hotel room where Elvis Presley stayed on his Farewell Tour in 1977. She won’t tell us how much she paid but says, “I could have bought a comfortable medium-sized home.”
Phyllis Starnes drew many threads of Melungeon research together when she delivered her presentation on autosomal DNA validation studies at the Fifteenth Melungeon Union, held atWarren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC July 15-16, 2011. Sponsored by the Melungeon Heritage Association of Kingsport, Tenn., the conference was appropriately titled, “Carolina Connections: Roots and Branches of Mixed Ancestry.”
In a review of Chris Stringer’s book The Origin of Our Species(Lane, 2011), Jean-Jacques Hublin sides with one of the first promoters of the 30-year old Recent African Origin hypothesis and supports the notion that modern humans out of Africa entirely replaced Neanderthals because they were, well, fitter and superior.
It used to be thought that the Sorbs, a medieval East German Slavic population, formed the core of a group of Jews who ended up as the dominant element of Ashkenaz, Eastern Jews in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Silesia and Russia. No longer.
Will the archeological establishment’s obtuseness about prehistory and the religion of the Great Goddess ever falter? In an article titled “Pieces of a Bronze Age Puzzle” in the current issue of Archaeology Magazine (Sept/Oct 2011, p. 15), Jessica Woodard discusses the “enigma” of thousands of broken Cycladic figurines from the tiny, uninhabited island of Keros near Naxos. Summarizing the decades long work of Cambridge archeologist Colin Renfrew, she dates the site to 2800 to 2300 BCE and (are you ready for this) speculates there was a lot of “social activity as well as ritual activity…relating to beliefs about life, death, and perhaps the hereafter.”
Everyone probably has wondered at some time what makes Aboriginal Australians different from other people, where they came from and how old their ethnic type is. Well, wonder no more. Following up on the previous post, “Australian Aboriginal DNA Gets Attention,” this post will summarize the groundbreaking article in Science magazine, M. Rasmussen et al., “An Aboriginal Australian Genome Reveals Separate Human Dispersals into Asia” (Science 334, 7 Oct. 2011, 94-98).