Hello all! I find it particularly interesting that environmental climate change is being uncovered concurrently with discoveries surrounding the human genome. It makes me wonder how exposure to daily emissions, such as unclean air, is biologically affecting humans. And even more so, will we, ourselves be able to see the effect of climate change on us, or will it should up in the genomes of our children and grandchildren. Check out this link (Ghost in Your Genes) which looks at epigenetics, biological changes that occur without changes in our DNA.
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Dogs, in particular, are fascinating aspects of our lives because they’ve been with us from as early as 130,000 years ago when we had just become human ourselves. Research shows we have evolved together. Today the dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is the most diverse species on the planet with breeds that could fit into a teacup up to several hundred pound behemoths. Not only is dog man’s best friend as they rescue victims in the mountains and at sea as well as sniffing out cancer and essentially just being incredible companions, but man is dog’s best friend. Man and dog have an intricate history together and neither could survive without the other.
The link leads to a page on several highly rated books on dog behavior and history. In my opinion, there can never be too many dog books.
Since human evolution is such a sensitive topic for many students, it was great to have a symposium at the meeting taking this topic head on. There are so many wonderful approaches one could use in the classroom indicated at this symposium, from detailed comparative work on chimps to close examination of emergence of modern humans in the fossil record.
One common refrain of the creationist/ID supposed “controversy” is the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. This is of course totally untrue, both for non-human and human evolution. In the evolution symposium, the talk on Neanderthal DNA offers excellent resources for testing hypotheses of transitional forms in human evolution. Seeing different DNA polymorphisms in neanderthals that are sometimes more similar to other great apes and sometimes more similar to modern humans is wonderful support for neanderthals as a transitional form from our common ancestor with chimps to us.