Showing posts with the label human

RotM: Interview with Dr. Steven Churchill

Prof. Steven E. Churchill In continuation of our newly introduced, Researcher of the Month (RotM) series, we spoke to Professor Steven Churchill , professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University .  Prof. Churchill specializes in human paleontology and his research interests include studying archaic and modern humans of the Middle and Late Pleistocene era.  In his recently published paper in Current Anthropology , Prof. Churchill and his team discuss the 'feminization' of human skull and origins of the life that we live today.  Here's Prof. Churchill, telling us more about his findings.  CTS: For the benefit of our readers, please tell us about the fresh perspective that your recent findings have provided on the origins of Behavioral modernity?         SC : Humans are remarkably socially tolerant compared to most other animals.  We often gather with strangers in large numbers without violence (something that would not happen with chimpa

Genes that come from No Where!

Genetics has come a long way since the 1950’s. Although there has been progress made in unravelling the mysteries of our molecular heritage, we are constantly stumped by newer facts about our genetic code . And the one that leads the way is the mystery about Junk DNA. Genes, our molecular hereditary information, although bulky and cumbersome have a methodical way of working. Genes are transcribed into RNA which in turn are coded into protein, and these proteins finally get involved in the molecular build-up of our existence, thus making the genes where they come from, the foundation of it all. But not all of the gene or genetic material is really coded into protein. There is a major portion which is left out of this entire process and is not capable of coding for protein; this is called ‘ junk DNA ’. Interesting facts about ‘junk DNA’ have baffled the world of science, like the ‘junk DNA’ constitutes almost 95% of the human genome! For years the scientific world was