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Carrie Arnold, The sparrow with four sexes. nature 539 (2016), 482–484.
Ecologist Elaina Tuttle spent her life trying to understand the bizarre chromosome evolution of a common bird—until tragedy struck.
Researchers believe that the X and Y chromosomes in many mammals, and the W and Z in birds, emerged from a major inversion on a normal pair of chromosomes that prevented them from swapping genetic material, or ‘crossing over’. But, because all this happened in the distant evolutionary past, scientists had struggled to identify the precise steps involved. The sparrows offered such a chance. The inversion on chromosome 2 doesn’t include genes that determine sexual development — but it does contain some that affect the birds’ reproductive behaviour. Over time, those genes diverged and drove the different characteristics of the two morphs. “Whatever genes control these behavioural differences will ultimately be traced back to this inversion,” says Maney.
M. Mirazón Lahr et al., Mirazón Lahr et al. reply, Replying to C. M. Stojanowski et al. Nature 539 (2016). nature 539 (2016), e10–e11.
M. Mirazón Lahr, F. Rivera, R. K. Power, A. Mounier, B. Copsey, F. Crivellaro, J. E. Edung, J. M. Maillo Fernandez, C. Kiarie, J. Lawrence, A. Leakey, E. Mbua, H. Miller, A. Muigai, D. M. Mukhongo, A. van Baelen, R. Wood, J.-L. Schwenninger, R. Grün, H. Achyuthan, A. Wilshaw & R. A. Foley
Nataruk is not a cemetery, the majority of remains were disarticulated and dispersed; the human remains’ multiple cranial and post- cranial traumas are more consistent with perimortem traumatic lesions than soil compression, and critically include embedded projectiles. There is no association between body position and age, or face orientation and location of fractures. A case of inter-group conflict remains the best explanation of the events at Nataruk.
Christopher M. Stojanowski, Andrew C. Seidel, Laura C. Fulginiti, Kent M. Johnson & Jane E. Buikstra, Contesting the massacre at Nataruk, Arising from M. Mirazón Lahr et al. Nature 529, 394–398 (2016). nature 539 (2016), e8–e10.
Mirazón Lahr et al.1 present the earliest evidence of inter-group warfare at the East African site of Nataruk. Their evidence of warfare is based on three inferences: that the skeletons were all contemporaneous, that the bodies were left unburied, and that most individuals exhibited perimortem trauma consistent with interpersonal violence. We believe the data suggest that the burials are not contemporaneous and that most of the observed cranial damage is inconsistent with blunt force trauma. Therefore, the inference of inter-group warfare is premature.
Israel Finkelstein, The finds from the Rock-Cut Pool in Jerusalem and the date of the Siloam Tunnel, An alternative interpretation. Semitica et Classica 6 (2013), 279–284.
In a recent article Reich and Shukron (2011) presented new archaeological data from the area of the Gihon Spring in Jerusalem. They interpret them as indication that the Siloam Tunnel and the Siloam Inscription date to the late 9th or early 8th century—earlier than their generally accepted date in the late 8th century BCE.
The scenario suggested above adheres well to what we know about the expansion of the urban space of Jerusalem, the date of the fortification that surrounded the city and the conventional date assigned to the Siloam Tunnel—all in the last decades of the 8th century BCE. It also adheres to the conventional paleographic date assigned to the Siloam Inscription.
Israel Finkelstein & Thomas Römer, Comments on the Historical Background of the Abraham Narrative, Between “Realia” and “Exegetica”. Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 3 (2014), 3–23.
The aim of this presentation was not to provide a complete theory about the formation of the Abraham narrative. In the context of the sometimes chaotic situation of pentateuchal research, we simply wanted to show the importance of some “realia” – geographical and archeological alike – which, combined with exegetical analysis, support the idea that the Abraham traditions originated in the Iron Age; that the 7th century was an important moment for their textualization; and that the conjoining of the Abraham (and Isaac) tradition with the northern Jacob tradition is a product of the period that followed the fall of Israel.
Israel Finkelstein & Yuval Gadot, Mozah, Nephtoah and royal estates in the Jerusalem highlands. Semitica et Classica 8 (2015), 227–234.
This article deals with the identification of two biblical places in the vicinity of Jerusalem and with the long-term phenomenon of royal estates in this region. Though at times hypothetical, the overall picture that emerges helps to clarify issues related to the history, economy and geographical history of the Jerusalem countryside.
Michael B. Toffolo, Eran Arie, Mario A. S. Martin, Elisabetta Boaretto & Israel Finkelstein, Absolute Chronology of Megiddo, Israel, in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, High-Resolution Radiocarbon Dating. Radiocarbon 56 (2014), 221–244.
Megiddo (Israel) is a key site for the study of the stratigraphy, chronology, and history of the Bronze and Iron ages in the Levant. The article presents a Bayesian chronological model for seven ceramic typology phases and 10 stratigraphic horizons at this site, covering the Late Bronze and much of the Iron Age. The model is based on 78 samples, which provided 190 determinations —the most thorough set of radiocarbon determinations known so far in a single site in the Levant. This set of data provides a reliable skeleton for the discussion of cultural processes and historical events in the region and beyond, including the periods of the Egyptian Empire in Canaan and the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
The disputed transition from the late Iron I to the Iron IIA (Sharon et al. 2007; Mazar and Bronk Ramsey 2008; Finkelstein and Piasetzky 2010b) falls in the range 985–935 BCE (Figure 8), meaning that it cannot be decided according to the Megiddo data. Note that the gap between the two camps has now narrowed to a few decades, 970–940 BCE (Finkelstein and Piasetzky 2011; Mazar 2011).
Martin Buber (Hrsg.), Gabe Herrn Rabbiner Dr. Nobel zum 50. Geburtstag. (online 2016).
Rachel Heuberger, Rabbiner Nehemias Anton Nobel, Die jüdische Renaissance in Frankfurt am Main. Schriftenreihe des Jüdischen Museums 8 (Frankfurt 2005).
L. S. Premo, Effective Population Size and the Effects of Demography on Cultural Diversity and Technological Complexity. American Antiquity 81 (2016), 605–622.
A central tenet of the so-called demographic hypothesis is that larger populations ought to be associated with more diverse and complex toolkits. Recent empirical tests of this expectation have yielded mixed results, leading some to question to what extent changes in population size might explain interesting changes in the prehistoric archaeological record. Here, I employ computer simulation as a heuristic tool to address whether these mixed results reflect deficiencies in the formal models borrowed from population genetics or problems with the generalizations archaeologists have derived from them. I show that two previously published and highly influential models highlight two different effects of demography. My results illustrate how natural selection and cultural selection weaken the relationship between census population size, cultural diversity, and mean skill level, suggesting that one should not expect population size to predict the diversity or complexity of a cultural trait under all conditions. The concept of effective population size is central to understanding why the effects of population size can vary among traits that are passed by different mechanisms of cultural transmission within the same population. In light of these findings, I suggest ways to strengthen (rather than abandon) empirical tests of the demographic hypothesis.
Eilat Mazar, Wayne Horowitz, Takayoshi Oshima & Yuval Goren, A Cuneiform Tablet from the Ophel in Jerusalem. Israel Exploration Journal 60 (2010), 4–21.
A small fragment of a Late Bronze Age letter in Akkadian was discov ered in the Ophel excavations in Jerusalem. Its sign-forms suggest that it is a rough contemporary of the Amarna letters, including the letters of Abdi-Heba, the ruler of Jerusalem. The analysis of the tablet by optical mineralogy, supported by XRF spectrometry, reveals that its raw material is typical of the Terra Rossa soils of the Central Hill Country. It is suggested, therefore, that it was a local product of Jerusalem scribes, made of locally available soil. This, coupled with the fact that its find site is close to what must have been the acropolis of LB Jerusalem, makes it likely that the letter fragment does in fact come from a letter of a king of Jerusalem. It may well be an archival copy of a letter from Jerusalem to the Pharoah.
Alan D. Sokal, Transgressing the Boundaries, An Afterword. Philosophy and Literature 20 (1996), 338–346.
A lot of the blame for this state of affairs rests, I think, with the scientists. The teaching of mathematics and science is often authoritarian, and this is antithetical not only to the principles of radical/democratic pedagogy but to the principles of science itself. No wonder most Americans cannot distinguish between science and pseudoscience: their science teachers have never given them adequate rational grounds for doing so.
Alan D. Sokal, Transgressing the Boundaries, Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity. Social Text 46 (1996), 217–252.
Thus a liberatory science cannot be complete without a profound revision of the canon of mathematics.
Hans Heckel, Die Wahrheit. Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung 2016 , Nov. 26.
Wie Volker Kauder die Lüge ausrotten will, was Diktaturen wirklich ausmacht, und wie die globale Linke die Hosen herunterläßt.
In freiheitlichen Demokratien gilt: Niemand “besitzt” die Wahrheit, sie ist immer umstritten, weshalb jeder seine eigene Version öffentlich verkünden darf, ohne dafür bestraft zu werden. In unterdrückerischen Diktaturen dagegen gibt es eine Instanz, welche die “Wahrheit” festlegt. Wessen öffentliche Kundgebungen dieser Wahrheit nicht entsprechen, spürt die Knute.
Die Gestalt der roten Tante ist nämlich wieder auferstanden, nur trägt sie heute die Gesichtszüge von Volker Kauder. “Wir müssen weiter diskutieren, ob die Betreiber der Plattformen nicht mehr tun müssen, um das Netz nicht nur von rechtswidrigen Inhalten freizuhalten, sondern von Lügen generell in der politischen Debatte.”
Ulf Ickerodt, Ein notwendiger Kommentar zu Gernot Tromnaus Würdigung von Alfred Friedrich Wilhelm Rust (1900 – 1983). Archäologische Informationen 39 (2016), 227–238.
Alfred Rust, an archaeologist from Schleswig-Holstein / Germany, is held in a high public esteem in his former domain Ahrensburg. This respect stems from a combination of unique features which are centred on his scientific success, his excavations in Jabrud and Meiendorf as well as his adventurous journeys by bicycle as far as the Near East and Egypt. This picture has been questioned since the beginning of the reworking of his NS past in the 1980ies when a walking trail through the Ahrensburger Tunneltal was going to be dedicated to him. Later, the late director of the Kultur- und Stadthistorisches Museum Duisburg Gernot Tromnau spread the idea that A. Rust had managed to find his scientific niche during the NS regime due to his specific cleverness. This example of historical misinterpretation must be contradicted simply considering the present state of research. The article discusses and evaluates the assumptions of G. Tromnau.
Keywords: archaeology | history of research | Alfred Rust | reception history | pseudo-science | NS-archaeology | Gernot Tromnau
Der schleswig-holsteinische Archäologe Alfred Rust genießt in seiner alten Wirkungsstätte Ahrensburg eine starke öffentliche Rezeption. Diese Rezeption wird von einer Kombination an Alleinstellungsmerkmalen getragen, zu deren Kern seine wissenschaftlichen Erfolge, die Ausgrabungen in Jabrud und Meiendorf sowie seine abenteuerliche Reise per Fahrrad in den Vorderen Orient bis nach Ägypten gehören. Als ihm in den 1980er Jahren ein Wanderweg durch das Ahrensburger Tunneltal gewidmet werden soll, gerät dieses Bild im Rahmen der NS-Aufarbeitungsarbeit in eine Diskussion, die bis heute nicht abgeschlossen ist. Im Nachgang kolportiert der Leitende Museumsdirektor a. D. des Kultur- und Stadthistorischen Museums Duisburg Gernot Tromnau die These, dass A. Rust mit einer besonderen Schlitzohrigkeit seine wissenschaftliche Nische im NS-Regime gefunden habe. Dieser Form von Geschichtsklitterung soll hier mit Blick auf den aktuellen Forschungsstand widersprochen werden. Im Rahmen dieses Beitrages wird auch die von G. Tromnau aufgestellte These diskutiert und eingeordnet.
Keywords: Archäologie | Wissenschaftsgeschichte | Alfred Rust | Forschungsgeschichte | Rezeptionsgeschichte | Pseudowissenschaft | NS-Archäologie | Gernot Tromnau
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