Step Aside, Lucy; Your Distant Ancestor Walked Upright, Researchers Claim

first_imgPenn State researchers are trying to scoop the coveted title of “discoverers of the first upright-walking hominid” with a CT scan of their champion, Orrorin (see 02/23/2001 headline).  They have the ball and socket joint of the specimen (thought to be like a chimpanzee) and a bit of the bony neck that connects the ball to the upper thighbone, and part of the upper thigh.  They claim that CT scans show a slight thickening in the neck that is intermediate between those of apes and humans.  This is enough to convince them that their specimen walked upright, according to the report in EurekAlert.  If so, they win the prize, because they date their specimen at 6 million years old, whereas Donald Johanson had dated his iconic specimen Lucy at only 3 million.    Skeptics are not sure the CT scans were accurate enough to make such a determination, and whether Orrorin, if it walked upright at all, did it habitually (even pygmy chimps and some monkeys walk upright sometimes; see 07/22/2004 headlines).  But already the imaginations are getting into gear: “Bipedalism probably does represent a fundamental first step in human evolution,” claims Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, according to the report in National Geographic News.  “As Darwin recognized, walking on two legs frees up the arms and hands for tasks like carrying, tool making, and tool use.  And much of what happened in human evolution later on stemmed from it.”What magnificent returns in storytelling emerge from such a trifling investment of fact.  A tiny ratio difference in thickness on one bone from one specimen, based on CT scans of questionable accuracy, assuming no modifications by the fossilization process (see 03/28/2003 headline), dated with evolutionary assumptions, and they can convert a chimpanzee fossil into an upright walking human ancestor.  Six million years later, its descendants are designing spacecraft and deciphering the human genome.  How ever did the noble enterprise of science stoop to such pitiful grandstanding?  Don’t think Johanson’s group, or any of the other rival teams, is going to take this upset without a challenge.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Senate passes TPA legislation

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On Friday night, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015)“Thank you to the senators who voted in favor of Trade Promotion Authority,” said Chip Bowling, a Maryland farmer and president of National Corn Growers Association. “This legislation is critical to removing trade barriers, expanding our access to global markets, and ensuring farmers get the best possible trade agreements.”“The Senate took the first step today to ensure that the success of American farmers in international markets can continue,” American Soybean Association President Wade Cowan said in a statement. “For the past fifteen years, soybean farmers have been the leading ambassadors for American agriculture overseas, in large part due to the ability of USTR to craft agreements that maximize access for our products in markets around the world. Since 2007, however, our ability to maintain this role has been hampered by the absence of Trade Promotion Authority. In that time, despite valiant efforts by USTR, we haven’t been able to be as aggressive in crafting new agreements as our competitors in South America, which have caught up and, in some cases, eclipsed us.“But today’s vote has changed that. We’re a step away from equipping our negotiators with the tools they need to fully represent the interests of American soybean farmers,” Cowan said.National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis also praised the Senate’s action on TPA.“This vote by the Senate is a clear indication of the support that exists nationwide for future free trade agreements,” Ellis said. “The U.S. market is already one of the most open markets in the world, and to continue to grow demand for U.S. beef, we must continue to negotiate tariff elimination worldwide. I urge the House to follow the lead of the Senate and pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation.The ASA, NCGA, NCBA and other major Agriculture groups urged the House of Representatives to quickly pass the bill.last_img read more

Snider attends annual agriculture educator conference

Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Carley Snider, from Felicity, attended the 2016 National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.Selected from a pool of nationwide candidates, Snider was one of 24 pre-service agricultural education students who participated in the Future Agriscience Teacher (FAST) symposium, five day professional development and networking event that was part of the annual NAAE convention.The symposium consisted of professional development training, including instruction on inquiry-based teaching methods by National Agriscience Teacher Ambassadors, classroom management, and developing engaging lessons. In addition to professional development, attendees also participated in organizational business, committee and regional meetings.The FAST symposium provided essential training and support to equip future agriscience teachers with 21st century science, technology, engineering and math skills through practice application in the context of agriculture. Snider attended various workshops geared towards increasing her content knowledge, classroom management skills and abilities to successfully advise an FFA chapter. Information about inquiry-based learning and how to incorporate it into the classroom, as well as learning about curriculum to increase learning opportunities for future students and, were presented to the attendees.“One session I attended focused on activities to use when teaching welding in the classroom and another on successfully teaching mig welding,” said Snider. “These were really helpful workshops, as I’ll be teaching welding next semester during my student teaching.” read more

India vs England Test: Murali Vijay scores fourth Test ton to put England on backfoot

first_imgMurali Vijay fired an unbeaten 122 to lead India to 259-4 against England after the first day of the first test at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.Extending his fourth test century, Vijay finished a good opening day for India at the crease with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was 50 not out.James Anderson was the leading bowler for England, with 2-70. He made the only breakthrough in the first session, removing Shikhar Darwan for 12, and dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara for 38 after lunch thanks to a brilliant one-handed catch at silly mid-on by Ian Bell.Stuart Broad followed that wicket by removing Virat Kholi on 1 in the next over, and Liam Plunkett dismissed Ajinkya Rahane, who toe-ended a short ball to silly point, where England captain Alastair Cook took an impressive reaction catch.last_img read more