Jeff Spear's research involves traveling back and forth between Airbnbs and museum basements to collect the large samples needed for a study of this kind. Although perhaps not as glamorous as field sites, museums can offer a treasure trove of data and are an essential resource for studying evolution.
The Leakey Foundation, Director's Diary
It is with immense sadness that we share news of the passing of Ann Getty. She died on Monday, September 14, 2020. She was 79 years old. Ann joined The Leakey Foundation in 1973 as a Fellow with her husband Gordon Getty who later became the Chairman of the Board. Together they helped the Foundation grow to become the world class funding institution and educational outreach organization that it is today.
While advances in medicine and nutrition in the last 200 years have added years to human lifespans, a new Leakey Foundation-supported study suggests there could be a more ancient explanation for why humans live longer than our closest relatives do.
A team of researchers, including Leakey Foundation grantees, discovered human and other animal footprints embedded on an ancient lake surface in the Nefud Desert in Saudi Arabia that are around 120,000 years old. These findings represent the earliest evidence for Homo sapiens on the Arabian Peninsula, and demonstrates the importance of Arabia for understanding human prehistory.
Strong social ties are a key driver of cooperation in many species and are associated with adaptive benefits in several of them, including humans, feral horses and dolphins. Although such bonds are widely observed, it is not always known why any two particular animals become friends (just as in humans).
A 13-million-year-old fossil unearthed in northern India comes from a newly discovered ape, the earliest known ancestor of the modern-day gibbon. The discovery was made by Leakey Foundation grantee Christopher C. Gilbert, Hunter College. It fills a major void in the ape fossil record and provides important new evidence about when the ancestors of today’s gibbon migrated to Asia from Africa.
Hailay Reda is a two-time Leakey Foundation Baldwin Fellow from Ethiopia. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon. He has also been awarded a Leakey Foundation research grant for his project entitled "Reconstructing the paleoecology of Woranso-Mille hominins using cercopithecids."
Lunch Break Science
The Leakey Foundation’s new series Lunch Break Science has been a great success with over 7,000 views of episodes since its launch on June 25. The series was originally slated to run through August 27th, but don’t pack up your lunches quite yet! Lunch Break Science has been renewed for another 26 episodes starting Thursday, October 1st.
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