New additional clues have been discovered that reignites the proposed relationship between human beings and their closest relatives, the apes (Popular Archaeology 2013). Researchers, Frans de Waal, PhD and Zanna Clay, PhD both from the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Emory University have postulated the theory supporting the linkage. From their recent study of the bonobo primates in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a sanctuary near Kinshasa, striking similarities between the emotional development of the bonobos and children were observed. From the results of the study, it became evident that the great apes had a similar emotional behavior that was human-like (Popular Archaeology 2013).
The analyses of the emotional behaviors of the bonobos were done using video techniques that measured the emotional reaction and management of the bonobos towards themselves and others. Young bonobos raised by their own mothers were observed to recover quickly from traumatic emotional encounters and were more empathically inclined towards other bonobos than those who were orphaned (Popular Archaeology 2013). Human children hold the same pattern exhibited by the bonobos. Just like human children, the bonobos raised by their original parents comforted their distressed neighbors by kissing, touching and embracing. The overall control of emotions has a similar pattern whereby those orphaned have difficulty in managing their emotions. Emotional regulation is critical for healthy social developments (Popular Archaeology 2013). This new research finding has a great significance in the field of brain research since it makes the species ideal for psychological analyses, studies, and comparisons in the medical field. The finding has no doubt been aided by the fundamental similarity traced back to the common ancestors, millions of years ago.
Other exciting and fascinating archaeological news have similarly been made including the study on the Aboriginal hunters in the Western desert in Australia. The hunters in the area have a unique hunting method that instead of decreasing target animal populations, it increases them. The study was conducted by senior anthropology researchers Rebecca and Doug Bird of the Stanford Woods Institute, and it offers new insights in the maintenance of animal communities through co-evolution of humans and animals and ecosystem engineering (Rebecca et al. 2013). The fire hunting method is behind the unexpected success as it is used to clear the patches of land to improve search for the game. Fire is responsible for the regrowth and enhancement of habitat that consequently promotes the continual thriving of the lizards (Rebecca et al. 2013).
The complex role of human populations in the global functioning of the ecosystem cannot be underestimated. The study appreciates the knowledge that has been highlighted and covered in different studies including the school coursework. People have been a major component of different ecosystems, and tribal burning has been extensively practiced in many parts of the world. Native Americans in California have for instance believed that the policies of exclusion of traditional practices of burning and fire suppression have contributed to the current loss of biodiversity and decline of native species (Rebecca et al. 2013).
The results from the study stress on the positive impacts that humans can have on other species types without the need for resource management and policies on conservation. Indigenous communities that practice subsistence for example can also be as effective in the maintenance of biodiversity. The aboriginal community, Martu refers to the relationship and interaction with their ecosystem as practical, spiritual, and part of the cosmological organization of life (Rebecca et al. 2013). The significant finding from the study therefore is the concept that land has to be used to support life and that the absence of hunting causes species decline. This explains the extinction of desert species during the mid- 20th century due to the persecution of aboriginal people. The incorporation of indigenous knowledge in land management can be instrumental in the restoration and conservation of healthy landscapes and ecosystems.
Petroglyphs Rock Art in Nevada
Yet another fascinating archeological find are the North American Rock Art in Nevada. This one has fascinating petroglyphs that could date back to almost 14, 800 years to the first people in America. The petroglyphs carved on the soft limestone range from simple pits, lines and swirls to ambiguous and complex shapes resembling trees, diamonds, veins in a leaf and flowers (Ker 2013). The lead geochemist Larry Benson together with his team concluded that the petroglyphs at Winnemucca Lake could be at least 10,500 years old or perhaps more than 14,800 years old. This result was achieved through clues from carbonates and the studies explaining the evolution of the Lake from its past full water capacity to its present day dry status. The boulders etched with the petroglyphs were possibly then submerged, and as the water levels slowly dropped the carbonate, crusts gradually formed the boulders. From radiocarbon testing of the carbonate layers, the age range was revealed to be about 10, 300 to 14,800 years old (Ker 2013). Comparison of the findings with analyses from the surrounding sediment cores of the Pyramid Lake, suggest that the boulders must have been exposed at around 10, 500 to 11,300 years ago.
Before the dating technique that was done in Lake Winnemucca petroglyphs, the oldest rock art in North America from different studies and observation in the archeology unit have been known to be the carvings in Oregon at the Long Lake (Ker 2013). This date to approximately 7,300 years ago. Benson and his team have not yet discovered the true meaning of the scripted symbols, but note that they have a similarity in ages with pieces of fossilized human coprolites or feces in the Paisley Cave in Oregon. They date to around 13, 000 to 14,400 years ago (Ker 2013). A time scientists believe from genetic evidence humans had first began settling in America as the first wave of migrants started crossing America from Asia through the coasts.
A clear clarification of the exact age of the glyphs can only be achieved through sampling the carbonates from the inside of the etchings. The events of the past in this archeological case are significant in the accurate findings of what is left of the present age. The knowledge of the crossing of the humans who had entered North America across the Bering Strait into Alaska and through an ice-free corridor into Canada during the second wave of migration is for instance instrumental in the dating of the ancient carvings. The team speculates that these members could be responsible for the rock arts in Lake Winnemucca.
Ker, Than. Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old. 2013. National
Geographic. Retrieved from: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130815-lake-winnemucca-petroglyphs-ancient-rock-art-nevada/#close-modal
Rebecca, Bird., Doug, Bird., Tayor, N., Codding., B. F. Niche construction and Dreaming logic:
aboriginal patch mosaic burning and varanid lizards (Varanus gouldii) in Australia. 2013. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280, (1772): 20132297 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2297
New Emotional Clues to Human and Ape Evolutionary Links. 2013. Popular Archaeology.12,