Neotropical Primate Conservation. Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) is a charity website that is committed to conserving neotropical forest habitat and wildlife through numerous strategies. The techniques include research, land protection, sensitization, improving deteriorated habitat for wildlife and enhancing commercialization of ecological, sustainable products for the local people. The website is directed by Sam Shanee, a wildlife rescue specialist who founded NPC. From the website, I have gained insight about the threat of illegal wildlife trafficking on the extinction of species and how to protect and improve the habitats.
Primate Conservation, Inc. This is a non-profit website that focuses on research, preservation, and conservation of habitats of endangered species. Primate Conservation, Inc. (PCI) provides grants to support field research on the needs of primates and how local people can help to protect the species from hunters and loggers. PCI was founded by Noel Rowe, the renowned author of The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. From the website, I have learnt that there are over 200 species and subspecies that are critically endangered. The threat is higher in the tropical forests that host most primates. It is, therefore, important to protect and conserve primates.
All The World’s Primates. All the World’ Primates, edited by Noel Rowe and Marc Myers, provides a database of contributions from over 300 scientists on primate research and their natural habitats. The database, which features all species and subspecies recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), covers diet, social behavior, and risks of extinction, and physical measurements of primate-related issues. I love the website because it emphasizes the importance of protecting primates and conserving the environment since only 27% of primates are considered safe.
The Human Genome Project
National Human Genome Research Institute (NGRI). Directed by Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D, this website is committed to advancing genomics research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Topics covered include chromosomes, genes, DNS double helix, genetic variants, and ancestry DNA. While I had a rough understanding of the Human Genome Project, NHGRI has provided a deeper understanding of the subject including results and its timeline of events. I now understand that the Human Genome Project enabled the first time reading of nature’s complete genetic blueprint of a human being. The genome project ended in 2003.
Personal Genome Project- Global Network. The Global Network of Personal Genome Project is maintained by the U.S.-based Open Humans Foundation organization. The website focuses on providing public genome, trait, and health data from projects across the world. Participants are called upon to publicly share their research and discoveries to advance the Human Genome Project subject. I like the website because, unlike those that only post previews of projects, most of its research papers are freely accessible. By going through some of the published papers, I have gained insight on various issues including privacy risks of genomic data.
Broad Institute. Broad Institute, run by MIT and Harvard, is committed to advancing the knowledge of the biology and treatment of diseases by use of genomics. The Human Genome Project paved way to the establishment of this website. Broad institutes is committed on supporting and sharing research that offers insight on the genetic basis of human diseases and how the knowledge can be used to develop effective therapies and prevention measures. From the website, I have learnt issues like the molecular component of life.
Fossil Dating Methods
Layers of Time. Layers of Time is a website run by Sterling Nesbitt, a paleontologist who is committed on studying fossilized bones of dinosaurs including their reptilian ancestors. Sterling does this to gain an understanding of how life was millions of years ago. He guides teams that search for fossils in sedimentary rocks and study in labs to determine the kind of animal the fossil belongs to. I love the website because it is interactive and its content is clear.
The Nature Education Knowledge Project. This website covers various nature topics including biological anthropology like human fossil record. The sector of Biological Anthropology, which is edited by Katy Gonder, Jessica Rothman, Holly Dunsworth, and Kieran McNulty, publishes work on fossil discoveries. Human evolution can be understood more using fossils. For instance, fossil discoveries can help us understand when humans evolved from apes or specifically how hominids evolved to start using two limbs.
FossilEra. FossilEra, unlike the other websites that only provide information on fossils, also focuses on the sale of authentic fossils from regions around the world. The website strictly engages in the legal collection and legal sale of the fossilized materials. FossilEra is directed by Matt Heaton, the founder of the website. Besides the sale of fossils, the website provides valuable information on fossils including fossil dating methods, which it specifies that there are two main fossil dating methods: relative and absolute dating.
Human Fossil Finds
The TalkOrigins Archive. The TalkOrigin Archives, run by Jim Foley, explores the evolution of humans by providing evidence for human evolution. The website also covers analyses of creationist claims of human evolution. It extensively covers topics such as hominid species and fossils. The TalkOrigins Archives not only focus on educating by sharing fossil discoveries but also debunks some of the myths related to human evolution. The website is entertaining.
Understanding Evolution. Understanding Evolution is an education, non-commercial website that provides insightful resources on science and the history of human evolution. The website covers topics that reveal how evolution works and how it factors into people’s lives. The data provided also illustrates how research on human evolution is performed and how it has changed over the years. From the website, I have learnt that the first human fossil, which was a skullcap, was discovered in 1857 by German miners.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. This website advances the public understanding on human evolution by covering a wide range of topics related to human fossil and evolution. Some of the topics include climate effects on human evolution, survival of the adaptable, human behavior, genetics, and human fossil dating. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History indicates that more than 6,000 of early human fossils have been discovered including teeth, skeletons, and skullcaps among others. The topics covered offer a clear understanding of human evolution from fossils.
The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, managed by the Trinity International University, explores topics on biomedicine, biotechnology, and common humanity. The website extensively covers bioethics including human enhancement, end of life, and cloning. The first human cloning was done in 1997. The creation of Dolly the Sheep paved way to more research on human cloning for various purposes including reproductive reasons or for organ farming studies. This website has informative data on cloning and the moral dilemma surrounding the issue.
Center for Genetics and Society (CGS). CGS is a non-profit website that focuses on delivering an equitable future where human genetic and reproductive technologies do not cause harm. The website advocates for ethical use of human genetic reproductive technologies and ensures effective societal governance of the technologies. CGS covers various topics including genomics, technologies, the society, assisted reproduction, and genetic selection. Genetic selection has gained prominence the error of women’s rights where women have the right to decide when to conceive. The most impressive article I have read is the moral debate surrounding IVF clinics in America which have moved from sex selection to surrogacy.
Science Daily – Artificial Intelligence. This website shares research on artificial intelligence (AI) topics including cognitive science, neuroscience, robotics, data mining, control systems, and facial recognition among others. The content also features data on evolutionary computation where biologically inspired concepts like mutation, survival of the fittest, and populations are applied technologically to generate better solutions to problems. The technologies have combined genetic algorithms and swarm algorithms to build hybrid intelligence systems that function like the human brain. I love the website because the information shared is not only educative but also astonishing and impressive.
Figure 1. Modern Human Skeleton
Humans are unique, unlike other primates, practice obligatory bipedalism, walking upright on two limbs. Humans inhabit all terrestrial parts of the earth and occupy even the inhospitable environments like the Atlantic and the Sahara (eSkeletons).
Figure 2. Gorilla skeleton
The above is a 3D representation of a gorilla skeleton. Gorillas are the largest living primates, standing up to 1.75 meters tall, with an arm span of 2.75 meters (eSkeletons). In captivity, adult gorillas can weigh up to 350kg (770 lb). Three types of gorilla species include Gorilla gorilla, Gorilla graueri, and the Gorilla beringei.
Figure 3. Baboon skeleton
(Source: ClipArt ETC)
The above image illustrates a skeleton of a Chacma baboon. Baboons inhabit the African woodland savannas and feed on grasses, fruits, seeds, tubers, and roots (eSkeletons). Three species of baboons include Papio, Theropithecus, and Mandrillus.
Figure 4. Hafted adzes and grooved axe (center)
(Source: PA Archeology)
The tools were made by pecking or grinding stones to facilitate various functions like cutting.
Figure 5. Greenstone
(Source: Melbourne Museum)
The greenstone was an important tool for the Wurundjeri people in the south-east regions of Australia. This tool was used to make ground-edged stone hatchets for cutting or splitting purposes (Melbourne Museum).
Figure 6. Hand axes
The hand axes were used to cut prey in the Stone Age.
Figure 7. Fossil skull
The above hominid skull was discovered in South Africa by University of Witwatersand’s Lee Berger in 2010 (Stephens). The skull belongs to an ancient human being who lived over 2 million years ago.
Figure 8. Human fossil
(Source: Natural History Museum)
The above human fossil was the first to be discovered in Africa over 90 years ago. The skull was found in 1921 in Zambia (Natural History Mueum). According to scientists, the skull belonged to an adult male with a large face and too much eyebrows.
Figure 9. Taung child
The above skull belongs to a Taung child who is believed to have been killed by an eagle. The skull was fond in 1924 in Africa.
Aigerim. “So Many Surprises from a Taung Child Fossil!”. Biological Anthropology. 2013. http://nazarbioanthro.blogspot.com/2013/03/earliest-african-fossil-of-child-killed.html. 13 May 2019.
Alexandrou, Peter. “Bones: Names, Descriptions, and Factoids”. Infollific. 2019. https://infolific.com/health-and-fitness/anatomy-and-physiology/bones-names-and-descriptions/. 13 May 2019.
ClipArt ETC. “Chacma Baboon Skeleton”. ClipArt ETC. 2019. https://etc.usf.edu/clipart/77800/77899/77899_skltn_baboon.htm. 13 May 2019.
eSkeletons. “Taxon”. eSkeletons. n.d. http://www.eskeletons.org/. 13 May 2019.
Melbourne Museum. “Stone Tools – Valuable Stone Tool”. Melbourne Museum. 2019. https://museumsvictoria.com.au/website/melbournemuseum/discoverycentre/600-million-years/timeline/quaternary/stone-tools/index.html. 13 May 2019.
Natural History Museum. “First Early Human Fossil Found in Africa Makes Debut”. Natural History Museum. 7 March 2013. https://phys.org/news/2013-03-early-human-fossil-africa-debut.html. 13 May 2019.
PA Archeology. “Thoughts on “G”. PA Archeology. 22 April 2011. http://twipa.blogspot.com/2011/04/thoughts-on-g.html. 13 May 2019.
Stephens, Tim. “UCSC Researcher Contributes to Major Hominid Fossil Find in South Africa”. UC Santa Cruz. 8 April 2008. https://news.ucsc.edu/2010/04/3658.html. 13 May 2019.
Turbosquid. “3D Models – Gorilla”. Turbosquid. 2019. https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/gorilla-skeleton-3d-model/1023796. 13 May 2019.
Weton, Phoebe. “Giant 300,000-year-old Hand Axes that May have been Used to Cut Up Prey by a Mystery Ancestor are Uncovered in Spain”. Mail Online. 28 Feb. 2018. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5446227/Giant-300-000-year-old-handaxes-ancient-Europe.html. 13 May 2019.