Originally published 10/01/2013
Two horses and a two-wheeled carriage were found in Thrace.
Originally published 06/26/2013
Researchers have reconstructed an ancient genome that is 10 times as old as any retrieved so far, and now say that DNA should be recoverable from animals that lived one million years ago. This would greatly extend biologists’ ability to understand the evolutionary past.The genome was that of a horse that lived some 700,000 years ago in what is now the Yukon Territory in Canada, and its reconstruction has already led to new insights. The researchers who sequenced it then analyzed DNA from a less ancient horse, one that lived 43,000 years ago, as well as five contemporary horse breeds and a donkey named Willy that resides in the Copenhagen zoo. They concluded that the genus that gave rise to modern horses, zebras and donkeys — Equus — arose about four million years ago, twice as far back as had been thought.Before this work, the oldest genome that had been recovered was that of a Denisovan human who lived 70,000 years ago. The new finding, if accepted, would extend by tenfold the reach of paleogenomics, the study of ancient genomes reconstructed from fossil bones. Within the last few decades this young science has become a powerful complement to paleontology, the study of fossils, as a way of reconstructing evolutionary history....
Originally published 08/12/2014
Liberty and Power
The history of thought is an inherently tricky evidentiary exercise, as it typically involves a need to discern intention from written words left by the subjects in question. Its better practitioners attempt to understand the parameters of a particular decision or argument by weighing the available evidence around it and interpreting it in light of the context in which it was made. Typically implicit is a willingness to follow that evidence where it leads, even when the implication is unexpected or, in cases involving thinkers of prominence, an unwelcome mark on their reputation. But when the historical enterprise itself begins with an act of simply casting about for bullet points to get around a past figure’s shortcomings, the whole enterprise quickly devolves into counter-historical territory – into exercises in exonerative history that attempt to parse a past figure away from something embarrassing, or something that simply “went wrong” in ways that defied his intentions or expectations. Such seems to be the case with a relatively new and unusual approach to the contributions of economist Paul A. Samuelson as they pertain to the Phillips Curve.
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