Sunday mornings

Usually I use my PowerPoint skills only for evil, like putting together lectures and talks. But sometimes I get distracted. Today, for instance, instead of grading and prepping next week’s┬álectures on Eugenics and Spine Evo-devo (don’t worry, they’re for different classes), I spent half an hour making this:

A spirited twist on Jane Austen's classic novel.

A spirited twist on Jane Austen’s classic novel. Why am I devoting my life to research and teaching when I could go to where the real money is?

This is surely the project that will land me tenure in a few years.

What do you call a Middle Miocene hominoid that doesn’t belong to you?

Nacholapithecus kerioi.

Oh man, that was a bad joke. N. kerioi is an ape known from the site of Nachola in Kenya, dating to 17-14 million years ago. There is a fairly complete skeleton, KNM-BG 35250, and completeness is always exciting for the paleontologist. It seems to have had a fairly large and robust forelimb compared to its hindlimb, possibly indicating locomotor behavior unlike anything modern primate. Based on evidence from the skull and teeth it was likely a hard-object feeder, a characteristic in many Miocene hominoids starting with the 17 million year-old Afropithecus. Here’s a picture of the skeleton (Nakatsukasa and Kunimatsu 2009, Fig. 1):
This specimen is the holotype for N. kerioi. A nice contrast to my last post griping about specimens that have been selected as holotypes.

Nakatsukasa M and Kunimatsu Y. 2009. Nacholapithecus and its importance for understanding hominoid evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 18: 103-119.