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Olympia Gianfrancesco, Vivien J Bubb, John P Quinn
Many facets of human behaviour are likely to have developed in part due to evolutionary changes in the regulation of neuropeptide and other brain-related genes. This has allowed species-specific expression patterns and unique epigenetic modulation in response to our environment, regulating response not only at the molecular level, but also contributing to differences in behaviour between individuals. As such, genetic variants or epigenetic changes that may alter neuropeptide gene expression are predicted to play a role in behavioural conditions and psychiatric illness...
October 11, 2016: Neuropeptides
Cristina J Wittkopp, Madison B Adolph, Lily I Wu, Linda Chelico, Michael Emerman
Humans express seven human APOBEC3 proteins, which can inhibit viruses and endogenous retroelements through cytidine deaminase activity. The seven paralogs differ in the potency of their antiviral effects, as well as in their antiviral targets. One APOBEC3, APOBEC3C, is exceptional as it has been found to only weakly block viruses and endogenous retroelements compared to other APOBEC3s. However, our positive selection analyses suggest that APOBEC3C has played a role in pathogen defense during primate evolution...
October 2016: PLoS Pathogens
Didier Raoult, Rezak Drali, Kosta Mumcuoglu
Lice are a classic example of cospeciation. Human lice confirm this cospeciation with lice specialized in hominids which differ from those of gorillas and chimpanzees. Head lice and body lice seem to belong to closely related species with different ecotypes and a different geographical distribution which may reflect population movements. Paleo-entomology allows us in some cases to trace the migrations of archaic human populations. The analysis of lice found on mummies in Egypt and South America has clarified a certain number of these migrations, also the study of lice and the diseases they transmit has shed a new light on the epidemics of the past...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Oliver Hochadel
The Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain is ranked among the most important excavation sites in human origins research worldwide. The project boasts not only spectacular hominid fossils, among them the 'oldest European', but also a fully fledged 'popularization industry'. This article interprets this multimedia industry as a generator of different narratives about the researchers as well as about the prehistoric hominids of Atapuerca. It focuses on the popular works of the three co-directors of the project...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Matthew R Goodrum
Since the nineteenth century, hominid palaeontology has offered critical information about prehistoric humans and evidence for human evolution. Human fossils discovered at a time when there was growing agreement that humans existed during the Ice Age became especially significant but also controversial. This paper argues that the techniques used to study human fossils from the 1850s to the 1870s and the way that these specimens were interpreted owed much to the anthropological examination of Stone, Bronze, and Iron Age skeletons retrieved by archaeologists from prehistoric tombs throughout Europe...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Johan Frostegård, WenJing Tao, Lennart Råstam, Ulf Lindblad, Staffan Lindeberg
BACKGROUND: We here study antibodies against phosphorylcholine (anti-PC) which we reported to be inversely associated with atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and autoimmune conditions. In previous studies, we determined that this inverse association is more pronounced at low levels with high risk and at high levels, with decreased risk. We compare individuals from Kitava, New Guinea (with low risk of these conditions), with Swedish controls. METHODS: We studied a group of 178 individuals from Kitava (age 20-86), and compared those above age 40 (n = 108) with a group of age- and sex-matched individuals from a population based cohort in Sweden (n = 108)...
September 9, 2016: Immunological Investigations
Yaqiong Wang, Zekun Wang, Ankita Pramanik, Mario L Santiago, Jianming Qiu, Edward B Stephens
Old World monkey (OWM) and hominid APOBEC3Aproteins exhibit differential restriction activities against lentiviruses and DNA viruses. Human APOBEC3A(hA3A)has weak restriction activity against HIV-1Δvifbut is efficiently restricted by an artificially generated chimeric from mandrills (mndA3A/G). We show that a chimeric hA3Acontaining the "WVS" insertion (hA3A[(27)WVS(29)]) conferred potent HIV-1restriction activity. Analysis of each amino acid of the "WVS" motif show that the length and not necessarily the charge or hydrophobicity of the amino acids accounted for restriction activity...
November 2016: Virology
Christoph P E Zollikofer, Thibaut Bienvenu, Marcia S Ponce de León
Because brains do not fossilize, the internal surface of the braincase (endocast) serves as an important source of information about brain growth, development, and evolution. Recent studies of endocranial morphology and development in great apes, fossil hominins, and modern humans have revealed taxon-specific differences. However, it remains to be investigated to which extent differences in endocranial morphology reflect differences in actual brain morphology and development, and to which extent they reflect different interactions of the brain and its case with the cranial base and face...
August 9, 2016: Journal of Anatomy
Xander Nuttle, Giuliana Giannuzzi, Michael H Duyzend, Joshua G Schraiber, Iñigo Narvaiza, Peter H Sudmant, Osnat Penn, Giorgia Chiatante, Maika Malig, John Huddleston, Chris Benner, Francesca Camponeschi, Simone Ciofi-Baffoni, Holly A F Stessman, Maria C N Marchetto, Laura Denman, Lana Harshman, Carl Baker, Archana Raja, Kelsi Penewit, Nicolette Janke, W Joyce Tang, Mario Ventura, Lucia Banci, Francesca Antonacci, Joshua M Akey, Chris T Amemiya, Fred H Gage, Alexandre Reymond, Evan E Eichler
Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution...
August 11, 2016: Nature
Michala K Stock, David G Reynolds, Ari J Masters, Timothy G Bromage, Donald H Enlow
OBJECTIVES: It remains unclear how the realignments of the face and basicranium that characterize humans were acquired, both phylogenetically and ontogenetically. The developmentally constrained nature of the skull has been previously demonstrated in other primates using Donald H. Enlow's mammalian craniofacial architectural relationships. Here, we compare crania of our closest relatives to gain greater understanding of how and why the relationship of the face and cranial base is developmentally constrained in order to inform instances of abnormal growth and clinical intervention...
2016: Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
Andrew H Moeller, Alejandro Caro-Quintero, Deus Mjungu, Alexander V Georgiev, Elizabeth V Lonsdorf, Martin N Muller, Anne E Pusey, Martine Peeters, Beatrice H Hahn, Howard Ochman
The evolutionary origins of the bacterial lineages that populate the human gut are unknown. Here we show that multiple lineages of the predominant bacterial taxa in the gut arose via cospeciation with humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas over the past 15 million years. Analyses of strain-level bacterial diversity within hominid gut microbiomes revealed that clades of Bacteroidaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae have been maintained exclusively within host lineages across hundreds of thousands of host generations...
July 22, 2016: Science
Julia A Segre, Nick Salafsky
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 22, 2016: Science
John S Taylor, Thomas E Reimchen
The Neanderthals' northern distribution, hunting techniques, and orbit breadths suggest that they were more active in dim light than modern humans. We surveyed visual opsin genes from four Neanderthals and two other archaic hominids to see if they provided additional support for this hypothesis. This analysis was motivated by the observation that alleles responsible for anomalous trichromacy in humans are more common in northern latitudes, by data suggesting that these variants might enhance vision in mesopic conditions, and by the observation that dim light active species often have fewer opsin genes than diurnal relatives...
August 2016: Genome Génome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada
Brian P Grone, Karen P Maruska
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a widely conserved signaling molecule that in animals has been adapted as a neurotransmitter. GABA is synthesized from the amino acid glutamate by the action of glutamate decarboxylases (GADs). Two vertebrate genes, GAD1 and GAD2, encode distinct GAD proteins: GAD67 and GAD65, respectively. We have identified a third vertebrate GAD gene, GAD3. This gene is conserved in fishes as well as tetrapods. We analyzed protein sequence, gene structure, synteny, and phylogenetics to identify GAD3 as a homolog of GAD1 and GAD2...
2016: Scientific Reports
John G Fleagle, Christopher C Gilbert, Andrea L Baden
OBJECTIVES: Extant primate crania represent a small subset of primate crania that have existed. The main objective here is to examine how the inclusion of fossil crania changes our understanding of primate cranial diversity relative to analyses of extant primates. We hypothesize that fossil taxa will change the major axes of cranial shape, occupy new areas of morphospace, change the relative diversity of major primate clades, and fill in notable gaps separating major primate taxa/clades...
October 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Andrea Ravignani, W Tecumseh Fitch, Frederike D Hanke, Tamara Heinrich, Bettina Hurgitsch, Sonja A Kotz, Constance Scharff, Angela S Stoeger, Bart de Boer
Research on the evolution of human speech and music benefits from hypotheses and data generated in a number of disciplines. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the high relevance of pinniped research for the study of speech, musical rhythm, and their origins, bridging and complementing current research on primates and birds. We briefly discuss speech, vocal learning, and rhythm from an evolutionary and comparative perspective. We review the current state of the art on pinniped communication and behavior relevant to the evolution of human speech and music, showing interesting parallels to hypotheses on rhythmic behavior in early hominids...
2016: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Merlin Donald
Languages are socially constructed systems of expression, generated interactively in social networks, which can be assimilated by the individual brain as it develops. Languages co-evolved with culture, reflecting the changing complexity of human culture as it acquired the properties of a distributed cognitive system. Two key preconditions set the stage for the evolution of such cultures: a very general ability to rehearse and refine skills (evident early in hominin evolution in toolmaking), and the emergence of material culture as an external (to the brain) memory record that could retain and accumulate knowledge across generations...
July 1, 2016: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Ian Tattersall
Views differ radically as to how deep the roots of language lie in human phylogeny, largely because prior to the development of writing systems, this striking human attribute has to be inferred from indirect proxies preserved in the material record. Here I argue that the most appropriate such archaeological proxies encode the modern human symbolic cognitive system from which language emerges. Throughout the 2.5 million years or more for which an archaeological record has existed, change has been both sporadic and rare-until symbolic objects and behaviors begin to appear, well within the tenure of our highly apomorphic species Homo sapiens...
July 1, 2016: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Jonathan Redshaw, Thomas Suddendorf
Animal brains have evolved to predict outcomes of events in the immediate environment [1-5]. Adult humans are particularly adept at dealing with environmental uncertainty, being able to mentally represent multiple, even mutually exclusive versions of the future and prepare accordingly. This capacity is fundamental to many complex future-oriented behaviors [6, 7], yet little is known about when it develops in children [8] and whether it is shared with non-human animals [9]. Here we show that children become able to insightfully prepare for two mutually exclusive versions of an undetermined future event during the middle preschool years, whereas we find no evidence for such a capacity in a sample of chimpanzees and orangutans...
July 11, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Jamie Hodgkins, Curtis W Marean, Alain Turq, Dennis Sandgathe, Shannon J P McPherron, Harold Dibble
Neandertals disappeared from Europe just after 40,000 years ago. Some hypotheses ascribe this to numerous population crashes associated with glacial cycles in the late Pleistocene. The goal of this paper is to test the hypothesis that glacial periods stressed Neandertal populations. If cold climates stressed Neandertals, their subsistence behaviors may have changed-requiring intensified use of prey through more extensive nutrient extraction from faunal carcasses. To test this, an analysis of Neandertal butchering was conducted on medium sized bovid/cervid remains composed of predominately red deer (Cervus elaphus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), and roe deer (Capreolus caprelous) deposited during global warm and cold phases from two French sites: Pech de l'Azé IV (Pech IV, Bordes' excavation) and Roc de Marsal (RDM)...
July 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
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