Before the year is over, here there is a bunch of stuff I wanted to mention:
Lower and Middle Paleolithic
Humans may have originated near rivers - Technology & science - Science - LiveScience - msnbc.com - neither savanna nor jungle, beach (river banks) was the favored ecosystem even for old good Ardi, it seems.
Pileta de Prehistoria: 180 prehistoric sites located around Atapuerca[es] - not just Neanderthal ones: a bit of everything (located just outside Burgos city, Atapuerca is a key pass between the Upper Ebro basin and the Northern Iberian Plateau, which must have played an ecological and socio-political role always, and hence attracted people towards it).
77,000-year-old evidence for 'bedding' and use of medicinal plants uncovered at South African rock shelter
Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic
ScienceDirect - Journal of Human Evolution : Stratigraphic and technological evidence from the middle palaeolithic-Châtelperronian-Aurignacian record at the Bordes-Fitte rockshelter (Roches d’Abilly site, Central France) - refines the dating for Chatelperronian (PPV paper).
Exceptional discoveries at Mas d’Azil - La Gazette Ariégeoise[fr] - not much info provided however.
|The boulders at lake Huron were to trap the reindeer (caribou)|
Remains found of the culture which inhabited Northern Chile 11,000 years ago - Terrae Antiqvae[es] - they exploited a quartz deposit for their tools in the middle of Atacama desert, which then was probably quite milder.
Divers retrieve prehistoric wood from Lake Huron - from 8900 years ago.
Simultaneous ice melt in Antarctic and Arctic at the end of the last Ice Age.
Neolithic and Chalcolithic
Turkey : oldest obsidian bracelet reveals amazing craftsmen's skills in the eighth millennium BC - CNRS Web site - CNRS
Pileta de Prehistoria: businessman Victorino Alonso on trial for destroying a Neolithic cave in Aragon[es] - I asked for death penalty back in the day.
El Neolítico en Europa: una simulación del proceso | Neolítico de la Península Ibérica - Iberian Neolithic - exposition and criticism in Spanish language of yet another paper simulating the Neolithic 'colonization' (Lemmen 2011).
Metal Ages and Historical periods
Iruina blog: doubts about the ability of the Basque Autonomous Police to analyze the Iruña-Veleia pieces[es] - the Spanish Guardia Civil police force already declared themselves unable to do the tests. The defense asks to send the remains to one of the few international laboratories able to do the tests and has even offered to pay the cost of it. Also at Diario de Noticias de Alava[es].
Iruina: yet another study supports the autheticity of the Iruña-Veleia pieces, considering 'almost impossible' to falsify them so perfectly[es] - also at Diario de Noticias de Alava
An intimate look at ancient Rome - OregonLive.com - a journey through the hygienic practices of Ancient Rome.
Scientists unlock the mystery surrounding a tale of shaggy dogs - Native Americans used dog hair for textiles (among other components).
The Archaeology News Network: Real Mayan apocalypse may have been their own fault -overexploitation of the jungle biome caused desertification.
Some of these open access papers surely deserved a deeper look at... I did not have time or energies for that however.
PLoS ONE: Population Structure and Genetic Diversity in a Rice Core Collection (Oryza sativa L.) Investigated with SSR Markers - rice genetics and possible origins.
PLoS ONE: The Local Origin of the Tibetan Pig and Additional Insights into the Origin of Asian Pigs - pig genetics.
BBC News - Liking a lie-in in people's genes, researchers say - long sleeping is a genetic need: tell your boss next time you are late. I am among those who need to sleep 9-10 hours per day (normally) though I have also met people who only sleep 4-5 hours.
The Spittoon » Find Your Inner Neanderthal (I retract what I said before: the results are coherent, even if Africans still get too much too often I guess that's part of the margin of error. However there is another "free online" genetic test that is misleading).
Biology and psychology
Of mice and men, a common cortical connection - a nice comparison to better understand brain regions. To the right: F/M: frontal/motor cortex, S1: primary somatosensory cortex, A1: primary audtive cortex and V1: primary visual cortex. Mice have a much more developed somatosensory cortex (surely related to whiskers, smell, etc.) but a much less developed frontal/motor cortex (related to willpower and rationality).
Scientists Discover Some Keys to Human Brain Evolution | Popular Archaeology - exploring the past - and the relevant paper: PLoS Biology: MicroRNA-Driven Developmental Remodeling in the Brain Distinguishes Humans from Other Primates
Brain Scans Reveal Difference Between Neanderthals and Us | LiveScience - something about the sense of smell, not too clear.
Primates are more resilient than other animals to environmental ups and downs - diversification and flexibility is the key to long-term success.