The "braided stream" of human evolution
June 29, 2015 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Recent genetic discoveries are revealing this is a more accurate analogy for human origins than the "branching tree" model. John Hawks discusses the role of connectivity in human evolution in a clip from the new PBS series First Peoples.
posted by ChuckRamone (7 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
That was really interesting, thanks for posting.
posted by metaBugs at 9:14 AM on June 29, 2015

As an undergrad I got a fair amount of mileage in biology courses out of the phrase "anastomosing network".
posted by jfuller at 11:13 AM on June 29, 2015

OTOH once when a friend and I were canoeing down a flat, slow middle-Georgia river we came to a place where it divided--apparently to go around an island. We took the left-hand fork, which looked just a tad larger. Then that one divided, and divided again, and pretty soon we trying to paddle a three foot wide canoe down a one foot wide creek. The water looked about four inches deep. My friend said "Aw f*k it, I'm gonna get out and drag us." So he did, and promply sank up to his waist (happily no deeper) in sandy muck. I made the mistake of saying "Don't worry, I'm sure this is an anastomosing network, we'll get back to the main channel eventually, just keep pulling." That's when he tried to hit me with a paddle.
posted by jfuller at 11:28 AM on June 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

uh, okay. I guess that stuff is kinda related. it's like a writer for clickhole commented here.
posted by ChuckRamone at 1:01 PM on June 29, 2015

Those nassarius beads seem to have been in use for around 30,000 years - an unimaginable length of continuity for cultural artefacts - before vanishing 20,000 years before the next known human decoration. (That's the most recent account I can find; there are much more recent papers, but they're academic-paywalled.)
posted by Devonian at 3:38 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Don't worry, I'm sure this is an anastomosing network, we'll get back to the main channel eventually, just keep pulling."

You haven't lived until you have had to mediate an argument in the field about definitions of anastomosing versus braided streams. I have seen people almost come to blows over this.

I am sure the same passions run equally strongly in evolution.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:30 PM on June 29, 2015

Yeah, but evolution has "lumpers" to start a second argument over whether they've solved the question by just calling them all "anastobraided streams".
posted by traveler_ at 8:02 AM on July 2, 2015

« Older where everyone is bisexual and no one is bisexual   |   Trans 101 Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments