Hot Off the Press: The-Not-So New World?

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There have been some very heated debts among the archaeological community about the first Homo sapiens sapiens to arrive in America. The modern consensus is the Clovis culture arrived around 15,000 years ago migrating across the Bering land bridge. But based on very recently published findings form Nature, it could push back the time table to when earlier hominin (key word) arrived in America and not modern Homo sapiens sapiens. The time change could be over 115,000 earlier than what the modern consensus is, that modern day humans where the first to arrive in American around 15,000 years ago.

It starts in the early 90’s at Route 54 in San Diego county. When (recently dated to be 130,000 years old) mastodon fossils were discovered a portion of the area was blocked off for excavation. What was odd about the discovery was the fossilized bones of the mastodon where crushed by what looked like stone tools found with them. And at the site they also found some very rudimentary stone tools that look like other stone tools found that would have been used like a hammer and anvil. Based on the breakage of the mastodon bones and testing of modern elephant bones using similar stone tools found at the site they make the same pattern of breakage.

What is interesting is that they found the (possibly tools) stones in the first place. Because the sedimentary layer they found the fossils is made of siltstone, which was deposited by slow moving water. And based on geological processes, the current of the water to deposit silt is way to weak to have placed the ,some 30 pounds, rocks. It is suggested that they were likely left there from human activity. They also claim based on the fractures of bones they were done soon after death and not by natural or geological processes.

Cerutti Mastodon site.

If not us then who? The site dates back to 130,000 years ago but the earliest evidence of us leaving Africa is 100,000 years ago. So who was there. Sadly there were no human bones discovered at the site. And Hominins were a lot more diverse then they are are now, Homo sapiens sapiens being the only ones alive today. And based on the time there are numerous possibilities like the late Homo erects, the mysterious Denisovans, Neandertals, or even Homo floresiensis, though I seriously doubt it was people of the Flores man. But until there is a skeleton found around this date, if there is any to be found, we wont know for sure.

Currently the team that discovered the site are looking for mastodon protein residue in the pores of the rocks. If the rocks really were used as tools and the residue is there then the tools(not just rocks at this point) will really become compelling. The team will also begin there re-excavation of the site hopefully discovering further evidence. For now I remain skeptical, but intrigued and optimistic. For the time being there have already been the skeptic archaeologists making there claims, as anthropologists usually do when a new discovery might put a dent in the modern consensus. But I agree that there needs to be more evidence (bones) before we cut down trees to change the history books.

For more information, evidence, and skepticism please visit these articles.

http://www.nature.com/news/controversial-study-claims-humans-reached-americas-100-000-years-earlier-than-thought-1.21886?WT.mc_id=SFB_NNEWS_1508_RHBox

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/mastodons-americas-peopling-migrations-archaeology-science/

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Remnants of the Past

Our bodies are literally littered with our ancestral past. And for a time people couldn’t explain why we had certain traits that were either very odd or served no purpose. Starting in the 18 hundreds  paleontologists and biologists were beginning to explain and examine these enigmas. Today biologists and physical anthropologists explain them as either vestigial structures, atavism, or pseudogenes.

Vestigial Structures:                            img62

Vestigial structures are like souvenirs of the past, more specifically our evolutionary past. These traits are being expressed in the body but have no use or a use that does not reflect its original function/adaption to be used for its original purpose. This reflects that all organisms have a common ancestry and certain groups share a common descent . This also reflects divergent evolution, which means different groups of animals with a common ancestor adapt to the variety of environmental conditions. And as other features of our body become less important for the environment we live in, they might eventually become a vestigial organ.

Appendix

The apendix is a small organ left over from when our ancestors had a largely plant diet. The organ was critically important for breaking down cellulose ( fiber). But now in humans it has become so small, compared to animals like cows, that it has no role in the digestion system, and some people are even born without one. The appendix has even become dangerously small that one in fifteen people will suffer from appendicitis, which left untreated can become life threatening. But whether or not the organ is good or bad it is still a vestigial organ for it doesn’t perform its original function. The organ may even be on its way out but with modern medicine and surgery to treat appendicitis the natural selective pressures have mostly been taken away from people with appendixes.

Coccyx

The coccyx or tail bone, hint hint, is our vestigial tail. Our coccyx is now composed of seven tightly fused bones connected to the end of the vertebrae. It does still have some function, being used for useful muscle attachment for our bipedal locomotion, but remember it’s still a vestigial structure because it no longer has its original function it was evolved for. Some people are even born with a rudimentary tail muscle that is attached to the coccyx. It is also identical to other animals that have a tail. But since the coccyx doesn’t move the muscle is useless. You may be sitting on it and not even notice!

Arrector Pili   arrector-pili-muscles

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Ever see a scary movie and get goosebumps? Goosebumps are created by the muscle arrector pilli that is attaches to your body hairs. The muscle is useless now in humans because we also have vestigial body hair. But the original purpose is to raise fur to create heat and insulation and to express behaviors to look bigger and also warn off predators.

Ear muscles

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If you can wiggle your ears you are demonstrating a vestigial trait. These are the same three muscles attached to animals like cats or deer, used to locate sound to protect them from predators and so on. But there was a evolutionary trade-off that began with our ancestors to have color and stereoscopic vision( helpful in trees) , sacrificing good sense of hearing as well as smell.

Atavisms:

A human embryo were during development a “turned off” gene can be re-expressed.

On rare occasions an individual will have a anomaly that looks like the reappearance of an ancestral trait. To have a atavism it must be the re -expression (gene expression) of a ancestral trait. For example someone with an extra limb does not have an atavism because none of our ancestors have five legs. But why do atavisms occur? It comes from the re-expression of genes that was once functional in our ancestors but then “turned-off” by natural selection when they were no longer needed. Yet these silenced genes in our genome can be be “turned on” again when something goes askew in development.

Human Tail people-with-tails2-624x1110

The most striking atavins in our own specious is the human tail. Human tails are true atavisms because we carry exactly the same gene to make a tail also found in other animals. We actually had a tail when we were just an embryo, but after seven weeks of development these genes are deactivated from further growth and the tail is reabsorbed by the body. But rarely the genes aren’t “turned off” and we have people with tails.

Pseudogenes              6b900d6d15b4c152557b8d11a94457bf

To continue with the ‘turned off” genes, scientists have discovered that in humans and other animals there are loads of genes that are no longer “tuned on” or expressed (gene expression). These genes that are no longer functioning are called pseudogenes. Essentially they are like vestigial genes for they don’t function the way they were once evolved to do.

Vitamin C

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The 2 GLO gene structure shows the independent mutations of two mammalian lineages that lost the ability to produce Vitamin C.  This also shows that the two separate lineages have a common ancestor.

A popular example of pseudogenes in humans and all other anthropoid primates is our inability to produce vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy metabolism, and virtually all mammals produce all the vitamin C they need. But not anthropoid primates and some other mammalian lineages like the guinea pigs, and fruit bats. And the reasons why we don’t produce vitamin C is because we obtain enough from our diet being able to eat and digest vitamin C from fruit. Yet in our genome we still carry the mutated  pseudogene GLO which creates the enzyme to produce Vitamin C.  Shows that vitamin C synthesis is also an ancestral trait of mammals and that this trait has been lost in three mammalian lineages: bats, guinea pigs and anthropoid primates.

A Video about vestigial structures hosted by a funny guy Hank Green who talks a lot about science in the YouTube channel SciShow.

A Bite into the Past

Between 4 million to 1 million years ago there was a a very diverse group of bipedal hominins in East and South Africa called the australopiths. There are currently 9 specious of australopiths discovered and several of them lived concurrently at a time. They can be divided into two groups, the more gracile generally having a smaller build and a more generalized diet. While the robust have a tank of a skull that was very specialized for the food consumption in their niche. And based on there teeth between the two groups they had a very diverse diet that most likely varied between species. But what changed in Africa gave rise the the first hominin and would eventually lead to us?

Before 4 million years ago in Africa there were prevalent rainforests with species similar in morphology in the skull and diet to modern day African apes, gorillas, and chimps. Chimps and gorillas spend half of there waking hours chewing on mostly fruits and high fibrous plants. The shape of there molars with thin enamel are used for sheering there food and large canines used to peel the hard exterior of fruit. But by the epoch of the Pliocene(5.3-2.6 million years ago) there was this ongoing trend of the earth becoming cooler which made Africa drier. During the australopiths era, the cooling made wide spread open wood lands and grasslands. Which greatly diminished and scattered limited fruit. This would lead australopiths to a diet of less nutritious diet of leaves, stems, seeds, and also tubers and roots, and bulbs(which were year round and can survive droughts). With the change in the environment and a change in the opportunity of less nutritious foods would have strong selective pressure for adaptations to obtain the nutrients from there varying diet. Also because they had such a varied diet compared to the their ape counter parts, and lived in varying environments creating new niches creating a very diverse (textbook adaptive radiation) radiating genus separated into the two groups of gracile or robust Australopithecus.

Morphology:screen_shot_2013-12-10_at_33801_pm-142dea8f0d254db55af

Because of the hard, less nutritious, and fibrous foods they where primarily eating, unlike chimps in the rain forest, natural selection acted strongly on the components of mastication (chewing) to breakdown foods into smaller particles to easily get more nutrients. The components mostly changed for the adaptations to eat the new African environment are the shape, size, and thickness of teeth, jaw muscles, jaw bones, the maxilla and mandible.

Teeth mand25c325adbulas

There was big push for big grinding posterior teeth for there type of chewing that could withstand the endlessly repetition of powerful chewing and be able to bite forcible with out damaging the teeth. The forceful chewing also created thick molar enamel that could withstand the chewing. There was also a trade off for smaller canines as they weren’t being used as usefully as their ape counter part who used them for peeling tough fruit. You can see this progressive trade off from earlier australopiths who had bigger canines then the later specious of the genus. Apes also have thinner molar enamel and higher cusps in there molars for sheering there food unlike australopiths who grinded their food with thick enamel and flat molars.

Jaw Muscles

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They needed large jaw muscles to be able to chew so forcefully on their food. The robust australopiths are the extremists in this category for they had such large temporalis muscles they had a boney crest called a sagital crest for more muscle. They also had widely expanded zygomatic arches that some robust austslopiths faces were as wide as it was long. The expansion was for more room for the masseter chewing muscles.

Jaw bones

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There jaw bones, maxillas, and mandible, were also under selective strain to be tougher so that they didn’t fracture under strain which would be game over if you could noteat. So their jaws  developed to be thicker, taller, and wider to lower the stress of chewing forcible to obtain the nutrients in there diet.

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Donald Johanson. The Discoverer of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy)

 

 

Legacy:

Gracile australopiths would eventually lead to the genus Homo and the robust became extinct probably because their more specialized adaptations lead to a less flexible diet as climate change continued in Africa. Even today we still have a reflection of what the australopiths left as we became there decedents. Like a more diverse diet less dependent on fruit, adaptations that was continued as we developed into our more specialized bipedal moment, grinding chewing as we chew with thick molar enamel, and small incisor-like canines.

For more information

The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman

http://kcur.org/post/dental-detectives-what-fossil-teeth-reveal-about-ancestral-human-diets#stream/0

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Footprints after the ash

A volcano erupts. Soon after tephra fall covers the surrounding terrain creating a thin layer of ash. During the eruption light rain fell causing the ash layer to a gooey mud. Animals walk through this terrain of mud leaving footprints. Fast forward 3.6 million years and what you have is preserved fossilized footprints. The preservation was made possible because the ash in the mud is wet carbonatite, which once dried hardens into a rock-hard substance. This event took place in now Laetoli Tanzania. The site was discovered in in 1976, lead by Mary Leaky, but it wasn’t until 1978 the the site would become world famous as the Laetoli Footprints, for they had discovered hominin footprints for the first time, also the oldest hominin footprints to date. But not just any footprints. These looked strikingly similar to us because we do this all the time on our own feet. These were snapshot actions of bipedal locomotion, walking on two legs.
1258847_e15982324c_bThis really was a revolutionary find. Because the leading consensus, developed in the 1800’s when the hominin fossil record was scarce, was that the initial kick start to humanity was larger brains and intelligence. But based on the expanded fossil record it was bipedalism as the initial fundamental behavior of hominin, not intelligence that came first and would eventually separate use from our closest relative the apes.

First Steps: What are feature that contribute to bipedal locomotion based on the prints?

2010657e6d99431c9c4d942253c771ecThere are many adaptions that contribute to the use of being able to walk on two feet. One example is our foramen magnum, a hole on our skull that connects to our erect spine. While apes have theirs in a posterior position for being on all fours most of the time. But what can we learn from observing the feet for bipdelism? Quite a lot! There are quite a few observations that can be made, but two main feature of bidality that are the the longitudinal foot arch and the lack of an opposable big toe. If you feel the bottom of your foot you can feel an arch and what that is suppose to do is be like a shock absorber when making contact with the ground and also give you leverage when pushing forward. Apes have flat feet, which reflect the adaptation of their feet for grasping. Apes have a divergent big toe which can be used for terrestrial walking and grasping objects. Humans don’t have a divergent big toe, because our feet are solely (pun intended) specialized for for walking and running.

laetoli-prints

The Laetoli footprints were most likely made by Australopithecus afarensis as fossils were found later near the site in the same sedimentary layer as well as in other parts of East Africa where they have been discovered. Observing the foot prints, recent studies of them using computer models, and examination of the fossils themselves resolves any doubt that A.U. afarensis was bipedal. The footprints show that they had foot arches, and no divergent big toe. The features also show they had a similar gait, manner of walking, compared to modern humans as their foot hit the ground first, heel-strike, and ending with the toes pushing off the ground, toe-off. The closeness of the footprints show a short stride meaning that the had short legs compared to archaic and modern humans.

For more information:

http://discovermagazine.com/2015/oct/19-first-impressions

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/behavior/footprints

 

Leakey’s in Africa

1500x675_leakeysFor Most of the 20th century and into the 21st century there has been a family working in some of the most desolate parts of the world changing our understanding of what it means to be human, and changing the face of paleoanthropology. Paleoanthropology is the study of human evolution which includes the excavation and examination of hominid and hominin fossils, ancient stone tool, and other paleontologist evidence for a further understanding of our origins. And with the major contribution of the Leakys’ and other anthropologists they were able to debunk the held beliefs that humans evolved in Europe or Asia, a simple straight line of human evolution from earliest to modern, humans had recent ancestry, and the brain expanded as humans evolved and then eventually walked upright. Each was eventually disproved. But not easily and not quickly. And the contribution of the Leakys’ have helped paved the way to further understanding by setting up a fossil record of hominins in East Africa.

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Louise Leakey in Kenya

It is hard to quantify the contribution Louis Leakey made to paleopanthropology and science. Throughout his life he wrote 20 books and 150 articles about paleo, anthropology as well as the pros and cons of British imperialism in Kenya. He was born and grew up in Kenya. His parents were English missionaries to the Kikuyu tribe. He was a happy kid that made friends with the other kids in the Kikuyu tribe, some of whom where for his entire life. By the age of thirteen he actually became a member of the Kikuyu tribe. Later in life he was actually tasked with recording the traditions and history of the Kikuyu tribe. His love from an early age for animals and prehistory would set him on a career course for anthropology. And while looking for animals he discovered ancient tools that inspired his belief in African origins. He would later get his education in England. which proved hard at first since the education system in Kenya was different. And for a time he was an outsider since he came from a different part of the world. He would eventually get his degrees in anthropology and archaeology from Cambridge University. And for the rest of his life he would fossil and stone tool hunt for further understanding of our past. Facing much opposition at the time for his position on human ancestry in Africa would prove true under scientific scrutiny and Africa was eventually placed as the birthplace of humanity.

 

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Mary leaky is a world renowned hominin fossil hunter. And is credited with many discoveries that sharked the understanding of human evolution at the time. She was a well accomplished women for her time and she didn’t even graduate from high school! She was born in England in 1913, then Mary Nicol. Her parents were artists and they lived a nomadic lifestyle around Europe. Her father loved archaeology and prehistory and he would take her to museums, paleolithic sites like cave paintings, and would even take her to sites they could participate in and found paleolithic tools and blades. This influenced her to seek a career in archaeology. She would get expelled from numerous schools and by the end was left to her own devices. She would seek her own education and informally attend lectures in London about archaeology and participate in archaeological digs. She proved her artistic ability was useful for being the illustrator of anthropologists books by drawing the stone tools and other artifacts found. At a dinner party after the Royal Anthropological Institute a friend of Mary introduced her to Louis so she could possibly be the illustrator of his next book. This would start a long relationship, both personally and professionally.

Their entire career now would be focused on East Africa in the Great Rift Valley. The area

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Australopithecus boisei or “Nutcracker Man”

is unique because of the divergent plates that border and created the Red Sea. The plates movement (faults) would eventually make the Great Rift Valley and expose sedimentary layers (strata) that are millions of years old. Three major sites the Leakey team discovered or used would put Africa on the map for human origins. Olduvai Gorge proved invaluable in understanding human evolution. Tools like Oldowan (used by Homo habilis and possibly by later Australopithecus) and Acheulean (used by Homo erectus). And the discovery Australopithecus boisei and the earliest species in our genus  Homo habilis. Ologesailie had a wealth of Acheulean tools. The fossils of animals found there indicate they where butchered with the aid of these hand axes. And based on the one hominin discovered there ,decades after Louis and Mary were there, they were made by Homo erectus and they did not live there where they made the tools and butchered the animals for their meat. And the site of Laetoli which proved to be Marys most exiting discoveries where the 89 foot long trail of preserved footprints of animals (some extinct like the three toed horse) but also of human footprints! They where dated to be 3.6 million years putting the timetable back for when our ancestors first practiced in bipedal locomotion.

 

Legacy:

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Richard And Louis Leakey

This is just a small glimpse on how Louis and Mary put Africa on the map for human origins. And how they brought inspiration to future anthropologists and laid a path for future paleoanthropologists to interpret there discoveries as science progresses and the fossil record increases.

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Leakys’ Angles

As their name grew and they could acquire funding from there success, Louis also helped assist other anthropologists by supporting them and offering funds to support there research. One popular example are Leakey’s Angles. Three primatologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas. Leakey wanting to know more about existing hominids and there behavior, and apply to what the behavior might have been to extinct hominids and hominins.

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Meave and Louise Leakey

One of their three sons Richard Leakey followed in his parents footsteps along with his wife Meave to make spectacular findings in places like Turkana Basin, where his team discovered an almost complete Homo erectus called Turkana Boy. Richard and Meave’s daughter, Louise, today continues the Leakey tradition and is a paleoanthropologist in East Africa.

Composite image of historic footprints.
“One small step for man.” Neal Armstrong

 

Colonial Cold Case

leavy_neck_skeleton

It starts with the Lost Towns Project, a non-profit organization in modern day Anne Arundel county Maryland where they conduct research to make new discoverers of the Chesapeake region.  And in 2003 they discoverer and old plantation on the site called Leavy Neck. The owners records indicate William Neale acquired the house and property in 1662 and abandoned around 1677 after his death. And around where the home would have been they discovered a colonial storage cellar used for food, beverages and household items. But another purpose is as a trash dump. This is not a unusual purpose for the cellar but after digging through a thin layer of clay they found a entire human skeleton! And based on the “archaeological”evidence(trash) below and above that was used to cover the body, he died when the Neale family lived there most likely pre 1670s. Based on the disrespectful manner of which he was buried he was not close to the family and has no loved ones near, most likely in England. And based on this evidence the initial assumption was he was a indentured servant.

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Indentured servant contract.

Indentured servants were the work force of plantations in 17th century Chesapeake. At the time 3/4 of immigrants where indentured servants. And they would sign a legally binding agreement to serve there owner for a certain time frame they agreed upon, usually 4 to 7 years. And in return for their service the owner would have to pay for their travels to America, give them shelter, and provide food. After the agreed amount of time expires they gain their freedom and are given land to use by the government. But the work was hard and they had to do everything their owner demanded.

Life history based on the bones

But was he really a indentured servant? Once he was brought to the Smithsonian Institute they would try to solve that question. Based on the bones he was a European male, about 5ft 2in and still growing based on the incomplete fused epiphyses on his long bones. And he was around 15 to 16 years old. And based on the extensive muscle attachment on his shoulder and arm bones he did a lot of heavy lifting on a daily basis. Based on his vertebrae he did heavy lifting and he developed Schmorl’s depressions. This is a compression in the spine caused by heavy lifting. The same thing can be seen in weight lifters and gymnasts. Also based on stable isotope analysis he was a recent     immigrant. He also had poor health. He suffered for the beginning symptoms of tuberculosis. 19 of his 32 teeth had cavities, some of where infected which could have been the cause of his tuberculosis. All of these factors would have made work as a indentured servant difficult, if not impossible. Which could have lead to his death.

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Because there is beveling on the ceramic edge this was definitely used to bury his grave.   

But why bury him under the cellar? Well based on the laws of the time it was prohibited to give a inappropriate burial of a servant and they had to be public. Public burials cost the owner money but also gave government officials the opportunity to look at indentured servants remains for mistreatment and abuse. Something the Neale’s might not of wanted them to see. There is other skeletal evidence that show foul play. Perimortem ( before death with no signs of healing) fractures in the right wrist indicate a defensive injury. This indicates that there was an altercation that lead to his death, mostly likely because he couldn’t preform the takes that his owner demanded of him. The burial that was given to him also supports the suspicious causes around his death because he was buried in a quick grave that didn’t even fit him completely, and the quickest tool he/ she could find which was the ceramic sherd (yes sherd) that was in the trash pit with him. A burial that was done in haste and secrecy.

More information:

Written in the Bones by       – has a lot of information on this case and other in Chesapeake during the 17th century.

http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/leavy_neck.html – Smithsonian site about the findings in the Chesapeake region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bones with Stingers

biological-anthropology-bs-2-hIf your still in high school with a interest in anthropology you should consider going to Appalachian State’s Forensic Anthropology Camp. I know, because I did

Because I was a late bloomer and didn’t discover my love for anthropology until my junior year, I was actually one of the oldest kid there in the summer of 2016. Just a few months before I would go to school at ISU. I also had to do the June camp that year, because if i went to the July camp I would have been to old to even apply. But luckily, I found the camp opportunity just in time to apply and participate just before I started college. 

about-featured
APP State

When my mom and I first got there I knew I was going to have a good time. The campus was beautiful and the scenery was like nothing Illinois could offer. You could tell the people where as interested in anthropology as I was. And could actually have a conversation about something like balanced polymorphism and its correlation with natural selective pressures for the heterozygote of sickle cell anemia in parts of the world like Central Africa. And no one would bat an eye.

Throughout the week I worked with other campers, Counselors(grad students at the school), and the one and only Dr. Schung. A well know bioarchaeologists and professor at App State. And we got to work with real human skeletons and learn basic human osteology, like sex age ancestry, and stature. Also skeletal evidence for trauma, starvation, and infectious diseases. Once we learned all these techniques to read bones and someones life we where split up into groups and each given a case to solve and reconstruct the life and manner of death from our skeletal remains. And then present it to the camp and see how much we got right.

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From the specific case we got we where able to tell our suspect was male. From the robustness of his skull and the shape and angle of his pelvis. His age based on his dentition, all his epiphyseal fused and advanced osteoporosis  we determined he was sixty plus years old. Based on his facial features he was of European dissent. And that he stood around five feet eight inches. Based on the healed injures like his Salter Harris Type 1 Fracture on his left Tibia, and the amount of muscle markings on his long bones suggested he lived a very active lifestyle. He also had DISH on his spine and some ribs which can happen at old age. The lack of trauma on his body and his old age we assumed he died of natural causes. We presented our findings to the camp and at the end like everyone else after we presented got to know the true identity of there individual. And we where right on everything except cause of death. He actually died of cancer which was present in the ribs but was hard to distinguish between the Dish which he also had. 

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The FAKE remains we found.

On the last day ,which was the most eventful day for me, we went into the woods(just pick a direction) and was tasked with finding FAKE skeletal remains underground. We split up into groups again and was assigned a general area where the remains would be. one spot looked suspicious for it was sagging a bit as if the soil has been turned awhile ago. This is where we learned to the surveying and excavation techniques. Which weren’t that much different from the techniques I learned at camp CAA the year before. The biggest difference was the rate of digging. I was internally having a meltdown when I saw people thrust their shovel or trowel inches deep. Almost like they were stabbing the ground. This was very different form my time at CAA where the process was slow only going centimeters deep. Looking for the tiniest pieces of flint or pottery. I asked one of the councilors about this and she agreed, but in a forensic setting time was sometimes not an ally so the rate of digging was faster. I did go down once people actually started hitting bone and realized they should slow down a bit.

When everyone was done digging up there skeletons groups took turns looking at what other groups had found. But apparently someone had disturbed a wasp nest(yellow jacket) and when I turned to leave I felt an extreme pinching in my leg and when a look down a see a wasp jabbing its stinger in my leg! I’m not allergic but instantly I knew this would wreck the rest of my day. I told one of the councilers and it turned out i wasn’t the only one and we all left for the nearby clinic. Also luckily no one was allergic and so nobody needed any care. So once the professor made all the calls the the parents to let them know we left the clinic the professor now driving us and me riding shotgun. Luckily I made this crap situation into a positive. I had the rare opportunity to talk to her and ask her questions and also tell her about the CAA camp which ironically she brought up since I went there the summer before!

So the day wasn’t a total loss. And If anyone is serious about physical anthropology then you should consider this camp. It has probably the best hands on experience opportunity for high school students using real bones. You get to be around people your own age with the same interests. And the grad students and professor have a wealth of knowledge, With the grad students having immeasurable knowledge on what it’s like to be a anthropology student and what to plan for for your specific interests in the department.

Information:

http://www.appalachianbioanth.org/Camp_index.html – For more details on this unique camp.