[Taxacom] misleading research announcements

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Thu Mar 27 13:00:39 CDT 2008


The link below refering to Yerkes researchers identifying a language
feature unique to the human brain represents an example of advertizing
gettting ahead of new facts in the science of human evolution. The
authors do not actually demonstrate this claim (which they did not make
in their paper) as they only compared humans to the chimpanzee and
rhesus macaque. 


The authors did show that the human brain was different from the chimp
and macaque with respect to the arcuate fasiculus, but because they did
not comapre with the gorilla and orangutan they did not demonstrate the
feature was unique. 


Since publicaiton they have also found that humans are different from
the gorilla, so it remains to be seen what the orangutan situation is.
In all likelihood the human characteristics will be shown to be unique
comapred to orangtuans and other apes and monkeys, but the comparisons
need to be made.


The authors only mention the chimpanzee theory of human origin and they
say that the different aspects of the arcuate fasciculus in humans
evolved after divergence of human and chinmpanzee lineages. This origin
could also be compatible with a most recent common ancestor being shared
between humans and orangutans, unless the orangutan is found to be more
like humans with respect to this feature.


John Grehan


Rilling et al 2008. The evolution of the arcuate fasiculus revealed with
comparative DTI. Nature Neuroscience 23 March 2008.


> -----Original Message-----

> From: primate-science-bounces at primate.wisc.edu


> Yerkes researchers identify language feature unique to human brain

> EurekAlert, March 23, 2008

> http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/scripts/external.php?link=7917






Dr. John R. Grehan

Director of Science and Collections

Buffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt Parkway

Buffalo, NY 14211-1193

email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org

Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372




Ghost moth research


Human evolution and the great apes




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