Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014!
It's a New Year and a new semester here at U of T and Inside Anthropology! I have a lot of interesting posts currently in the works, and I can't wait to share more with you this semester. To get us started, I was surfing the U of T news website when I found a cool article that you might have seen posted to the U of T Anthropology Facebook page recently: UTSC Researcher Helps Build New Tree of Life.

Illustration by Carl Buell: What the common ancestor may
have looked like. Cute tail, right?

So naturally, I was intrigued. Throughout the study of biological anthropology, I have come across many diagrams of evolutionary relationships. As it turns out, Mary Silcox, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Toronto Scarborough was recently part of a diverse international team that reconstructed the tree of relationships between placental mammals. Placental mammals is a group that includes humans, and this research claims to have found the common ancestor of placental mammals: a somewhat rat-like, insectivorous animal that came about after dinosaurs became extinct.

The original article on U of T news was written by Kurt Kleiner, and you should all head over and check it out. Silcox was the only Canadian member of the research team and was responsible for contributing to data collection used to classify primates (including humans) and for organizing the dental traits that were used in the analysis.

The research team found that placental mammals diversified later than had been suggested previously, and all currently living groups came forth after the dinosaurs went extinct. Fossil evidence has shown that placental mammals evolved several hundred thousand years post-extinction. More details from this amazing research breakthrough can be found in both Kleiner's article and in articles in this week's Science magazine: I've linked them Here and Here: Article 2.

This is just one great example of the strides that anthropologists are making in puzzling out the world we live in and how it came to be.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next article here at Inside Anthropology! It's going to be a great 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment