Category Archives: News

Monsters in the Mammalian Family Tree


Scientists have found saber-toothed monsters in the Russian Permian fossil record of mammals.

One was about the size of a wolf with long, blade-like teeth — the dominant predator of its time. The other was a smaller carnivore with a long snout, big eyes and needle-like teeth.

They roamed what is now modern-day Russia between 299 and 252 million years ago during what’s known as the Permian Period.

Read more at the CBC.

News that Sounds Like Science Fiction

John_H._Tanton.jpgAfter a decades-long struggle, a multi-millionaire eugenicist with ties to right nationalism finally gets his man into the White House. Soon, he has the opportunity to place his vision of racial purity into practice, beginning at the border. It sounds like science fiction, but Splinter,  a project of Univision and Gizmodo, has the story of one John Tanton and his campaign to give us his personal dystopia, the America that locks children in cages.

While the Center for Immigration Studies bills itself as an independent, non-partisan research organization, it is in fact a key node in a small network of think tanks and nonprofits, founded and directed by a man whose private correspondence contains praise for anti-Semites, fascists, and race scientists of various ideological backgrounds, many of whom would go on to figure prominently in today’s so-called alt-right and financed largely by one of the oldest and wealthiest families in America. That man is John Tanton, an aging ophthalmologist from Michigan; his benefactor was Cordelia Scaife May, heir to the Scaife family fortune, a branch of the Mellon family. Neither were world-historical political masterminds, but they were vectors for world-historical forces: The institutions they created together show more clearly than most how capitalism and white supremacy are mutually constitutive; how the ruling class uses racial resentment to reinforce its rule; and how the spoils of imperialism are redeployed toward maintaining the internal colonies, racial hierarchies, and economic order of our age.


13,000 years ago, people walked the west coast

The reigning theory that the Clovis people were the first Americans has been challenged in recent years, but 29 human footprints could kick it off its pedestal. The footprints are dated to 13,317 to 12,633 years ago, but tools found in the same sediment are not Clovis in origin. It looks like someone else had a toe-hold on the continent.

From Science News:

032718_BB_coastal-footprints_featBeach excavations on Calvert Island, off British Columbia’s coast, revealed 29 human footprints preserved in clay-based sediment, says a team led by archaeologist Duncan McLaren. About 60 centimeters below the sandy surface, the deposits contained the footprints of at least three individuals, the Canada-based researchers report March 28 in PLOS ONE.

“This discovery places Clovis-age people on the British Columbia coast, far from a so-called ‘ice-free corridor’ and where no Clovis technology has ever been found,” says archaeologist Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon in Eugene. A long-standing idea that Clovis people were the first Americans, already challenged by recent finds, “is dead in the water,” he argues.

The site is rich with other potential finds. Twenty-eight other footprints were unearthed there in 2015 and 2016.