The Homunculus

Psychology, Anthropology, Evolution

Archive for October, 2009

we keep the music

Posted by Joy Icayan on October 15, 2009

We have all heard the stories: the man who forgets his past but keeps his music, the old lady with Alzheimer’s who can detect a wrong note when childhood music is played. Music, in Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia has been found out to reach out to patients suffering from catatonia and Parkinson’s. Known to soothe and calm us down, it has also been found to trigger seizures, nightmares, and pain.

So what is it about music? It could be our experiences, or the fact that minor chords can sound so sad. Steinbeck once wrote of his musical therapy, listening to music while in a state of emotional loss, coming out of it quite shaken, cleansed. Whatever it is, our lives seem parallel to the soundtracks we’ve designed to document it.

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Hello Ardi

Posted by Joy Icayan on October 2, 2009

ardiScience writes on the discovery of Ardi, the oldest human skeleton found which predates famous Lucy by at least a million years. Ardi belonging to the species Ardipithecus ramidus lived 4.4M years ago and was female, weighed 110 pounds, and had a small brain. She was found in the Afar desert in Ethiopia, 76 km from where Lucy was also found more than three decades ago.

One of the more surprising findings on Ardi suggest that the species was bipedal but crawled on trees. Since Ardi was found to be living in a wooded area, this finding challenges the earlier notion that bipedalism evolved when hominids left the woodlands for the open grasslands. Anthropologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University suggests it all had to do with sex and food.

Most importantly, the dicovery disproves the missing link theory that humans originated from a chimp like ancestor. It suggests that chimpanzees and humans evolved from a common ancestor around six to seven million years ago, and have been evolving independently since. National Geographic News provide an interactive timeline on our redefined evolutionary history, where you can also, uhm, explore Ardi’s body parts.

Links:

Ardipithecus Ramidus (free articles!) from Science

Oldest Human Skeleton Found – Disproves Missing Link

Did Early Humans Start Walking for Sex?

Ardipithecus Ramidus Lights the Way

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