Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New "Archaic" Mystery Humans Uncovered in Latest DNA Genome Sequencing

Heh heh heh :)  I love this!

From Nature Magazine Online:

Mystery humans spiced up ancients’ rampant sex lives

Genome analysis suggests interbreeding between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and a mysterious archaic population.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oldest Evidence of Domestication of Dogs is from Europe

More or less simultaneous "domestication" of canines can well have happened in many different part of the world.  However our current canine companions cam to be, I am so happy they did.  I have had the most amazing relationships with my doggies, and I still mourn the passing of each and every one over these forty plus years.  They were the most faithful, unjudgmental and loyal companions, and they loved me no matter what.  Dogs can teach us much about being decent "people."

Dog saves life of owner paralyzed in skiing accident
Posted: Nov 13, 2013 4:13 AM CST
Updated: Nov 13, 2013 4:19 AM CST

Des Moines, Iowa, man returns, rescues dog who woke him amid house fire
By Michael Walsh / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS  
Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 5:51 PM

Dog saves new owner from house fire
Posted on: 8:44 pm, November 15, 2013, by ,
updated on: 08:45pm, November 15, 2013(Florida dog wakes woman who rescued him from dog shelter less than two weeks earlier)

I saw this at Yahoo news on Friday:

Where did dogs first appear? DNA points to Europe

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, scientists have been dogged by this evolution question: Just where did man's best friend first appear?

The earliest known doglike fossils come from Europe. But DNA studies have implicated east Asia and the Middle East. Now a large DNA study is lining up with the fossils, suggesting dogs originated in Europe some 19,000 to 32,000 years ago.

Experts praised the new work but said it won't end the debate.

Scientists generally agree that dogs emerged from wolves to become the first domesticated animal. Their wolf ancestors began to associate with people, maybe drawn by food in garbage dumps and carcasses left by human hunters. In the process they became tamer, and scientists believe people found them useful for things like hunting and guard duty. Over a very long time in this human environment, wolves gradually turned into the first dogs.

The latest attempt to figure out where this happened was published online Thursday by the journal Science.

Researchers gathered DNA from fossils of 18 ancient wolflike and doglike creatures that lived up to 36,000 years ago in Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. They compared the genetic material to modern samples from 49 wolves from North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, 77 dogs of a wide variety of breeds including cocker spaniel, basenji and golden retriever, and four coyotes.

The DNA of modern dogs showed similarities to the genetic material from the ancient European specimens and modern-day European wolves, the researchers reported.

The first dogs evolved by associating with hunter-gatherers rather than farmers, since dogs evidently appeared before agriculture did, they said.

"There are now, based on genetic evidence, three alternative hypotheses for the origin of dogs," said Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles, a study author.

He said his results suggest a better case for Europe than for east Asia or the Middle East. He also said the kind of wolf that gave rise to dogs is now extinct.

Olaf Thalmann of the University of Turku in Finland, another author, said the work doesn't mean that Europe is the only place where dogs emerged.
"We conclude that Europe played a major role in the domestication process," he said in an email.

The work makes a strong argument for an origin in Europe, although it might not be the only place, said Greger Larson of Durham University in England, who did not participate in the research. "I think it's a real step in the right direction."

Nobel Prize Winning Author, Doris Lessing, Has Died at 94

I'm a big fan of her Canopus in Argos:Archives series.  Lessing lived a long and eventful life, and I do hope her writing will continue to inpire and provoke future generations.  I remember very little at this time, 30 plus years later, after reading "The Marriages Between Zones, Three, Four and Five," but I do remember crying my eyes out, sobbing and having to stop reading, at various points as I read the book.  She didn't age well; she didn't care.  I think of her always as looking like she does in this 1962 photo by Stuart Heydinger-Hulton (oh geez, I LUV that name, LOL!), Getty/Stone:

Report by the Associated Press from the online version of The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel

LONDON (AP) Doris Lessing, the Nobel prize-winning, free-thinking, world-traveling and often-polarizing author of "The Golden Notebook" and dozens of other novels that reflected her own improbable journey across the former British empire, died Sunday. She was 94.

Her publisher, HarperCollins, said the author of more than 55 works of fiction, opera, nonfiction and poetry, died peacefully at her home in London. Her family requested privacy, and the exact cause of death was not immediately clear.

Lessing explored topics ranging from colonial Africa to dystopian Britain, from the mystery of being female to the unknown worlds of science fiction.

She won the Nobel Literature prize in 2007. The Swedish Academy praised Lessing for her "skepticism, fire and visionary power." When informed about winning the prize outside her home she responded: "Oh Christ! ... I couldn't care less."

That was typical of the irascible, independent Lessing, who never saved her fire for the page. The targets of her vocal ire in recent years included former President George W. Bush "a world calamity" and modern women "smug, self-righteous." She also raised hackles by deeming the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States "not that terrible."

She remains best known for "The Golden Notebook," in which heroine Anna Wulf uses four notebooks to bring together the separate parts of her disintegrating life. The novel covers a range of previously unmentionable female conditions menstruation, orgasms and frigidity and made Lessing an icon for women's liberation. But it became so widely talked about and dissected that she later referred to it as a "failure" and "an albatross."

Published in Britain in 1962, the book did not make it to France or Germany for 14 years because it was considered too inflammatory. When it was republished in China in 1993, 80,000 copies sold out in two days.

"It took realism apart from the inside," said Lorna Sage, an academic who knew Lessing since the 1970s. "Lessing threw over the conventions she grew up in to stage a kind of breakdown to celebrate disintegration as the representative experience of a generation when what you should have been doing is getting the act together."

For some readers and critics, however, the book was an unwelcome exposure of female failings.

The criticism of Lessing's work continued throughout her life. Although she continued to publish at least every other year, she received little attention for her later works and was often criticized as didactic and impenetrable.

"This is pure political correctness," American literary critic Harold Bloom said in 2007 after Lessing won the Nobel Prize. "Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable ... fourth-rate science fiction."

While Lessing defended her turn to science fiction as a way to explore "social fiction," she, too, was dismissive of the Nobel honor. After emerging from a London black cab, groceries in hand, she was asked repeatedly whether she was excited about the award.

"I can't say I'm overwhelmed with surprise," Lessing said. "I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off."

As the international media surrounded her in her garden, she brightened when a reporter asked whether the Nobel would generate interest in her work.

"I'm very pleased if I get some new readers," she said. "Yes, that's very nice, I hadn't thought of that."
Born Doris May Tayler on Oct. 22, 1919, in Persia (now Iran) where her father was a bank manager, Lessing moved to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) aged 5 and lived there until she was 29.
Strong-willed from the start, she read works by Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling by age 10 and lived by the motto "I will not." Educated at a Roman Catholic girls school in Salisbury (now Harare), she left before finishing high school.

At 19, she married her first husband, Frank Wisdom, with whom she had a son and a daughter. She abandoned that family in her early 20s and became drawn into the Left Book Club, a group of literary communists and socialists headed by Gottfried Lessing, the man who would become her second husband and father her third child.

But Lessing became disillusioned with the communist movement and in 1949, aged 30, left her second husband to move to Britain. Along with her young son, Peter, she packed the manuscript of her first novel, "The Grass is Singing." The novel, which used the story of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage to portray poverty and racism in Southern Rhodesia, was published in 1950 to great success in Europe and the United States.

Lessing then embarked on the first of five deeply autobiographical novels from "Martha Quest" to "The Four-Gated City" works that became her "Children of Violence" series.

Her nonfiction work ranged from "Going Home" in 1957 about her return to Southern Rhodesia to a book about her pets, "Particularly Cats," in 1967.

In the 1950s, Lessing became an honorary member of a writers' group known as the Angry Young Men who were seen as injecting a radical new energy into British culture. Her home in London became a center not only for novelists, playwrights and critics but also for drifters and loners.

Lessing herself always denied being a feminist and said she was not conscious of writing anything particularly inflammatory when she produced "The Golden Notebook."

"I had been listening to women talk about women's issues and about men. Suddenly when I wrote down these private conversations, people were astounded. It was as though what women said didn't exist until it was written," she said.

Lessing's early novels decried the dispossession of black Africans by white colonials and criticized South Africa's apartheid system, prompting the governments of Southern Rhodesia and South Africa to bar her in 1956. Later governments overturned that order. In June 1995, the same year that she received an honorary degree from Harvard University, she returned to South Africa to see her daughter and grandchildren.

In Britain, Lessing won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1954 and was made a Companion of Honor in 1999. That honor came after she turned down the chance to become a Dame of the British Empire on the grounds that there was no such thing as the British Empire at the time.

Lessing often presented women herself included as vain and territorial and insisted in the introduction for a 1993 reissue that "The Golden Notebook" was not a "trumpet for women's liberation."

"I think a lot of romanticizing has gone on with the women's movement," she told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. "Whatever type of behavior women are coming up with, it's claimed as a victory for feminism doesn't matter how bad it is. We don't seem to go in very much for self-criticism."

In 2001, she told the Edinburgh book festival that modern men were "cowed" by women.

"They can't fight back," she said. "And it's time they did."

She is survived by her daughter Jean and granddaughters Anna and Susannah.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...