I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
The Field Museum - Anomalous Gorilla
Remember last week when I posted a few pictures of the fused gorilla spine? Well, my research friends/staffers Jp Brown and Anna Goldman at the Field Museum decided to develop some composite x-rays of the vertebral column in order to get a better understanding of what occurred underneath the surface. What seems to be the most likely cause is a genetic, arthritic inflammatory condition called ankylosing spondylitis - essentially, an ossification and fusion of the joints in the spine. This condition has been documented non-human primates and gorillas previously, as well as cetaceans and marine mammals. Since it is genetic in humans, I would be intensely curious to look at the development of this particular gorilla’s offspring (given he bore a few).
Huge thanks to Jp and Anna for letting me share their x-rays!
I asked a young White woman why she was studying social anthropology. She replied that she was hoping to go to Zimbabwe, and felt that she could help women there by advising them how to organize. The Black women in the audience gasped in astonishment. Here was someone scarcely past girlhood, who had just started university and had never fought a war in her life. She was planning to go to Africa to teach female veterans of a liberation struggle how to organize! This is the kind of arrogant, if not absurd attitude we encounter repeatedly. It makes one think: Better the distant armchair anthropologists than these ‘sisters’.
African feminist Ifi Amadiume
white people, stay the fuck out of Africa
White people, stay the fuck out of Africa
White people, stay the fuck out of Africa
WHITE PEOPLE, STAY THE FUCK OUT OF AFRICA
(No more White Saviours)
The Field Museum - Gorilla gorilla
Look forward to small photosets of my trip behind the scenes at the Chicago Field Museum in the coming days! There were so many remarkable things, it’d be rude not to share.
We came across this specimen in the mammal prep lab waiting to be reunited with the rest of its skeleton, presumably still being processed in their dermestid colony. It’s the spinal column of a gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) that was donated by the Lincoln Park Zoo once the animal died.
What is absolutely jaw-droppingly fascinating about this specimen is that the entire spinal column is fused. All of the vertebrae have grown together to form one continuous, smooth bone, rather than being comprised of multiple moving vertebrae. There is also a large healing pathology towards the top of the lumbar vertebrae and at the bottom of the thoracic. An obvious reason for this to have occurred is because this animal had a limited range of movement as it lived in a zoo enclosure for the majority, if not duration of its life.
It makes me wonder what human skeletons must look like if we continue to live our lives in front of computers, heavily restricting our range of movement day-in and day-out.
Wow, that’s actually the bony surface? Not a treatment or anything to help preserve it/prepare it for display? It’s amazingly smooth, way different than any of the examples of spinal fusion in humans that I’ve seen. That’s got to be some is some intense long-term remodeling going on, to give it that dipped-wax look.
Ah, the fibula. Wonkiest of the long bones. I could never side the fuckers without extensive consultation of my osteo notes or keep the proximal and distal ends straight until a TA of mine showed me this trick, which has the awesome benefit of working both with whole fibulae and any shaft fragment (!!!!!!!) that includes part of the distal third or so of the shaft. AND you can do it by touch, which is a double bonus if you’re more tactile and shape oriented in your siding like me. AND IT WORKS UPSIDE DOWN, so you’re not completely fucked if you can’t figure out which end is up.
Okay, see that diagonal line there on the lateral view on the right? And how it defines a roughly triangular surface of bone just proximal to the distal end? That is the triangular subcutaneous area of the fibula and it is your new best friend.
(See T.D. White knows what I’m talking about.)
The key point here is that this very rough right triangle tapers towards the same direction that the bone is from. Just follow it with your eyes or your fingers, base to top. This one is a right, so it points up and to the right.
I don’t know what it is, but I like it.
I believe it’s a candle holder found here
they also have these fancy doo-dads
1 month ago on April 11, 2013 at 08:35am with 672 notes
archaeological field fashion: part 2
Coveralls are all you need (note: they must be ill fitting)
Do they even make coveralls that fit correctly?
Seriously, the smallest biohazard pants-covers I’ve ever worn me and my hypothetical twin could have both climbed into easily and yanked the waistband up to our armpits (though this might be at least partly because the company that makes them is assuming an all-dude customer base and it’s ladies central in my corner of the four field approach).
- by Antoine Balzeau and Hélène Rougier
“The question of whether suprainiac depressions observed on Neandertals and in other human samples are homologous is widely discussed. Recently (Balzeau and Rougier, 2010), we ascertained the autapomorphic status of the Neandertal suprainiac fossa as a depression showing speciﬁc external bone features together with a thinning of the diploic layer with no substantial remodeling nor variation in the external table thickness. A suprainiac fossa with these characteristics is systematically present on Neandertals from the earliest developmental stages on, and since the beginning of the differentiation of the Neandertal lineage. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the micro-CT dataset (resolution of 50 lm) of the occipital bone of the La Ferrassie 8 Neandertal child, whose proposed age-atdeath is around 2 years, and we compare it to the adult condition as represented by La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 (resolution of 122 lm). We describe and quantify the boundaries between the different structural layers of the occipital bone, namely the external and internal tables and the diploic layer. We also describe very ﬁne details of the diploic layer structure that had never before been observed on fossil hominins. This study illustrates for the ﬁrst time that the internal particularities that make the suprainiac fossa a Neandertal autapomorphy are evident early during growth and development. Moreover, we demonstrate that the developmental pattern and causes of expression for the features observed in modern humans and Neandertals are certainly different, indicating that these features are not homologous traits from evolutionary and functional perspectives. Consequently, we conﬁrm the autapomorphic status of the Neandertal suprainiac fossa” (read more).
(Source: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, in press 2013)
First round, bone one: very low inter-observer error!
Second round, bone two: fewer than one fifth of our pairs match up.