For other links see " LINKS ".
These are some terms that may not be found in a good English dictionary, or have special meanings in this book. Double click any word to get its definition.
- [ f-n ][ o]
- occipital condyle: the articulation point between the skull and the first vertebra. It positioning on the skull helps determine whether the animal walked upright or not. [3: skull inferior view , from human skeleton site ]
- oestrus: a short (5-60 days) reproductive cycle, during which ovulation takes place, in sexually mature mammal species. Mating usually takes place during this period. [3: oestrus cycle ]; [3: oestrus ] [3: ovulation ];
- Old world: Old
World consists of those parts of Earth known to Europeans before the
voyages of Christopher Columbus: Europe, Asia, and Africa. The New
World is one of the names used for the continents of North and South
America and adjacent islands collectively, in use since the 16th
century. Old World monkeys all belong to one family,
Cercopithecidae (catarrhines). The [3: New World monkeys]
are the platyrrhines.
- Old World monkeys: the [2: catarrhine ] monkeys of Europe,
Africa and Asia. Families [3:
Cercopithecidae ] and Colobidae (see New
World Monkeys ) [3: old world monkeys];
- Oldowan tool technology, also known
as the " pebble industry": the oldest known tools, 1.5 to 2 mya. Simple
tool flakes, made during the [1: Lower
Paleolithic] period in Africa, were struck off unmodified cores. Homo
habilis is believed to have made these tools. See also [2: achulean], [2: Mousterian] and [1: Upper
Paleolithic]; [3: Tool industry]; [3: tool
(see tool image)]
- Olduvai Gorge: A famous anthropological site in Tanzania [3: see KenyaWeb ]
- Oligocene epoch: of the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era, 37 to 24 Mya [3: Oligocene ].
- online sources: For some online reference data see [2: E-texts ];
- orangutan: Pongo pygmaeus. Found in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo. [3: orangutan foundation ]; [3: Orangutan Network ] ; [3: BOS ]
- Ordovician period: of the Paleozoic Era, 505 to 438 Mya.[2: TABLE OF THE GEOLOGICAL TIME SCALE ].[3: Ordovician ]; [ geological time scale gif ]
- organelle: an intracellular ("within" the cell) structure (cell "organ") that has a specific function and structure. E.g.. nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplast. A cell has many organelles, each performing a specific function for the whole cell, and without which the cell could not fully function. [3: cell structure and function ]
- ostracoderm fishes: primitive jawless fishes that lived through the early Ordovician to the late Devonian periods (470 to 370 million years ago). Their bodies are covered with a thick armour of bony plates and dermal scales. Pteraspidomorphi - ostracoderms (ostracoderm is a term used for any armored, jawless fish, it is no longer considered a taxon). Their internal skeleton was cartilaginous (notochord, branchial skeleton, cranium). All were extinct by the end of the devonian. [3: Pteraspidiformes: Ostracoderm information ]. The first jawed fish (sharks), the [3: placoderms (images) ], were also armoured and appeared in the Devonian.
Mammal that is adapted to an aquatic habitat. Usually carnivorous and
having webbed and clawed feet and dark brown fur. [3: Giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis]; [3: Minnesota
River Otter (Lutra canadensis)];
clawless otter]; [3: sea otter]
- [ p]
- pacas: a large (6-10 kg) rodent that lives in the tropical climates of North and South America. [3: paca ]; [3: Agouti paca]
- P&C: Perpetuity and compatibility, the two interacting elements that form the basis of holism. They are similar in definition to [1: yin and yang ]. [1: perpetuity ]; [2: perpetuity ;compatibility ]
- paleoanthropology: the scientific study of human fossil records and primitive humans cultures of prehistoric times [3: Recent developments in Paleoanthropology ].
- Palaeocene epoch: of the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era [3: Cenozoic Era ], [3: Paleocene ], 65 to 58 Mya.
- Paleolithic industry: of the Paleolithic Period. This word Paleolithic is translated as "old stone age" and covers the period from the first use of stone tools around 2 million years ago until about 12,000 to 10,300 years ago.The Lower Paleolithic covers a long period from the first tool use until about 150,000 years ago. The [3: Middle Paleolithic ] ([3: Mousterian sites] starts about 150,000 years ago and ends with the extinction of the Neanderthals about 33,000 years ago. This term is used for the fossils and flake tools of the Neanderthals, while in the sub-Saharan Africa, the same period is referred to as the Middle Stone Age.The Upper Palaeolithic began about 40,000 years ago and covers the period where modern humans, their culture, and art emerged, replacing the Neanderthals. Human beings from this period up to 10,000-12,000 years ago are typified by the Cro-Magnons. Rapid improvement of tools marked this period [3: Paleolithic Art ]. see [1: Upper Paleolithic tool industry]; [3: Palaeolithic Tools - Glossary]. The Mesolithic and Neolithic Periods follow this. In the [2: Mesolithic ] (a term restricted to Europe), hunter gatherers used microliths (arrowheads, barbs on spears and harpoons, usually of flint), Pleistocene glaciers retreated and modern forms of plants and animals evolved [3: prehistory links ]. During the [2: Neolithic ], we see the transition of early man from a hunter-gatherer to a farmer with small villages.
- Palearctic region: this stretches halfway around the globe. It includes Europe, Asia north of the Himalayas, and a large part of Arabia and North Africa. It is bounded in the north by the Arctic Ocean and in the south by the Sahara, the Gulf of Oman and the Himalayas. Its western limit is the Atlantic and its eastern frontier is the Pacific Ocean.
- paleoanthropologist: one who studies prehistoric human cultures [3: Paleoanthropology Links ], [3: PALEOANTHROPOLOGY links ].[3: Recent developments in paleoanthropology ];
- paleobiology: [3: National
Museum of Natural History paleo resources]
- paleoenvironmental studies: A study of climatic changes and their causes over time and how they relate to a fossil species physical and biological environment, [2: adaptation ], habitat change and evolution. [2: Natural selection ] takes place in relation to a particular environment so an analysis of adaptive evolution requires environmental reconstruction.[3: Environmental Hypotheses of Hominin Evolution ].
- Paleomagnetism: the study of residual magnetization of specific rocks to establish the polarity of the earth's magnetic field in the past. This orientation occurs at the time of the rock's formation. The earth's field has reversed often in its history. [3: laboratory ]
- paleontology: (palaeontology) the scientific study of the fossils of animals, plants and other organisms that lived in prehistoric times, more than 5,500 years ago. See [2: anthropology ] and [2: archaeology ].
- Paleozoic Era: Of the phanerozoic Aeon: the geologic period extending from 590 (544) to 249 (245) Mya. The [3 Paleozoic era ] translates as the "time of ancient life".This Era is subdivided into Permian (286 to 245 mya), Carboniferous (360 to 286 mya), Pennsylvanian (325 to 286 mya), Mississippian (360 to 325 mya), Devonian (410 to 360 mya), Silurian (440 to 410 mya), Ordovician (505 to 440 mya), Cambrian (544 to 505 mya), Tommotian (530 to 527 mya) [3: Paleozoic Era ]; [3: late paleozoic ].
- Paley: William (1743-1805). Author of "Natural Theology". An English philosopher and [2: natural theologian ]. [3: Paley ]; [3: Paley ]
- Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus: the two chimpanzee species.
- Paranthropus species: "beside man". Robust australopithecines such as A. robustus are usually separated into a separate genus. P. robustus, P. aethiopicus andP. boisei are the three species that represent this genus. A cave at Drimolen in South Africa has yielded over 80 A. robustus specimens and is far from fully excavated to date (2001). A. robustus existed for 1 million years and coexisted with early Homo species. Males of A. robustushad huge jaws and a bony crest on the top of the skull for muscle attachment. Females had smaller jaws and teeth and not crests. [3: P. aethiopicus ,; images: KNM-WT 17000 ]; [3: A. aethiopicus - KNM-WT 17000 , Omo 18 ]; [3: A. boisei - OH 5 , KNM-ER 406 , KNM-ER 729 , KNM-ER 732 , Omo L. 7a-125 ]; [3: A. robustus - SK 48 , SK 79 , TM 1517 , SK 6 , DNH 7 , DNH 8 ]; [3: P. aethiopicus ]; [3: P. boisei ]; [3: P. robustus ]
- parasite: A species obtaining its nutrition from another species (the host). The host is detrimentally affected while the parasite benefits from the association.
- particle physics: the study of the properties and structure of elementary particles.
- particle accelerator: an electric device used to study the nucleus of the atom. Scientists use it to accelerate particles such as electrons and protons that are smashed into the nucleus and the result studied.
- Pascal:, Blaise (1623-1662): French physicist, mathematician, and philosopher who contributed to probability theory. [3: Pascal ].
- pastoralism: the ownership and nomadic herding of domesticated or partially domesticated animals.
- Pauli exclusion principle: a principle in physics that no two identical fermions (specific elementary particle) in any system can be in the same quantum state (stationary state).
- pc-concept: the perpetuity-compatibility concept developed in this book.
- PCR: Polymerase chain reaction. A
method of amplifying or copying [2:
DNA ] fragments. The fragments are combined with DNA polymerase
enzymes, nucleotides , and other components to form a mixture in which
the DNA is cyclically amplified to give many copies of the same strands
- peccary: a distant relative of the wild pig, found in forests and desert scrubs.
- Pennsylvanian: A now unused classification for 320 to 286 Mya, and of the [2: CARBONIFEROUS PERIOD from [2: 286 to 360 mya .]
- periodic table: The Periodic Table of the Elements is a compilation of the 109 chemical symbols and characteristics. [3: periodic table ]; [ 2:image of periodic table ].
- peripatric speciation: see first speciation . Small isolated (founder) populations that persist without gene exchange with the main population, tend to evolve rapidly. Change to their gene pool occurs very rapidly when compared with the main population.
- periwinkle: a small marine snail found on the seashore. Genus Littorina.
- Permian Period: last of six of the Paleozoic, 286 to 248 Mya. Persian Empire: reached its peak around 500 B.C. as the Achaemenid Empire, during the reign of Darius I. Persis, from where the name Persia came [3: Permian ].
- perpetuity: This refers to the natural instinct to survive and reproduce - to perpetuate - found in all life forms. [2: introduction: ]; [2: Perpetuity and compatibility ]; [1: P&C ]; [2: Hobbes ]; [2: Darwin ];
- Phanerozoic Aeon: covers the past 590 Mya. It is divided into the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.
- pheasant (Phasianus colchicus): an edible bird species, related to the domestic chicken.
- phenotype: (phenotypic) features (trait, feature or character) such as appearance (physical form), behaviour and function (Wills, 1991) (see genotype) [ back to human evolution ].
- philosophy: [3: History of Western Philosophy ]; [3: Dictionary of philosophical terms and names ]; [3: Philosophers ]; [3:Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]; [3: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]; [3: Berkeley University ]; [Kemerling's philosophy timeline ]
- photosynthesis: the food making process that occurs in green plants. Light is absorbed by a pigment called chlorophyll, found in the cell structures (organelles) called chloroplasts [3: Introduction to photosynthesis ]; [3: photosynthesis ]; [3: photosynthesis links .
The history or evolution (origin and development) of a closely
(genetically) related group of organisms, often depicted in a treelike
diagram, the phylogenetic tree. Phylogenetic relationships are genetic
The tree of life ]; [3: Tree of
Life]; [3: CLASSIFICATION, - cladistics
Phylogeny ]; [3: UCMP
glossary of phylogenetic terms ]; [3: prehominid
human origins]; [1: taxonomy]; [3: early
human phylogeny]; [3: Paranthropus
- phylum: a major [1: taxonomic ]category, with Class below and Kingdom above. Animal and plant classification is typically broken down into kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.
- physicist: one who studies physics, the science of matter and energy.
- Placoderm: The first jawed sharks, the [3: placoderms (images) ], appeared in the Devonian. Their head and frontal body had a strong armour of rigid, fused bony plates. Some forms evolved scales and small bony plates. As sharks, their endoskeleton was made of cartilage or mineralised cartilage.
- placental: animals (mammals) that nourish their young within the womb through a placenta, an organ made of embryonic and maternal tissues in close union. Richly supplied with blood vessels, oxygen and food is transmitted to the foetus across the placenta.
- Planck, Max Karl Ernst Ludwig (1858-1947): German theoretical physicist. He developed the concept of energy quanta: energy is transferred between a hot object and its surroundings only in finite (but very small) amounts, called quanta. He introduced the quantum theory (1900) to replace classical Newtonian principles, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918. Others worked on this mysterious problem, including [3: Niels Bohr , Werner Heisenberg , Erwin Schrödinger and Paul Dirac ]; [3: Planck @Malaspina]; [3: Max Planck ]
- Planck's constant: In quantum physics, this is a fundamental constant of nature (h = 1.05 *10 -34 kgms-1). It is significant in the subatomic realm, but negligible in macroscopic systems.
- plankton: free floating aquatic organisms, found in oceans, lakes and other bodies of water. Phytoplankton is the plant component and zooplankton is the animal component.
- plantigrade: using the whole sole of the foot to walk as in humans, bears and racoons.
- Platyrrhines: One group is the marmosets and tamarins, small-bodied primates that live in Central and South American rain forests. Another, the Cebidae, has six subfamilies that inhabit a wide range of ecological niches.[3: Platyrrhines ]
- Pleistocene Epoch: The period from [2: 1.8 to 0.045 Mya ] of the Quaternary Period, of the Cenozoic Era; [3: Pleistocene ]. Pleistocene epoch is divided into: Lower 1.8 m.y.a. - 730,000; Middle 730,000 - 128,000; Upper (Late) 128,000 - 10,000. Characterized by extreme climatic oscillations, with 15 major glacials (one every 100,000 years).
- Pliny (the Elder) (A.D. 23-79): Wrote a 37 volume Natural History.
- Pliocene epoch: 5 to 1.8 Mya, of the Tertiary Period, of the Cenozoic Era; [3: Pliocene ]
- Polo, Marco (1254-1324?): Italian merchant trader and traveller who wrote much about China and his travels in his book, Il milione, which became widely read.
- Polynesia: An area in the Pacific; [2: see Melanesian ]. See also [2: ancient Polynesians ].
- Pongidae: family of great apes including orangutan, gorilla and chimpanzee. These apes are called pongids.
- pongid: a member of the Pongidae such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. An [2: ape .]. This classification is now outdated, see [2: hominin ], [2: human taxonomy ]
- Popper, Karl (1902-1994): An austrian-born philosopher of science. He spent most of his working life at London University's London School of Economics. He defined science as a discipline founded on the creation of hypotheses that predict phenomena that can be tested. Popper quote on evolution : "I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation. ... The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological." (Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind, Dialectica 32:339-355, 1978. See 344-346 for this quote.) He repeated the recantation three years after that: "It does appear that some people think that I denied scientific character to the historical sciences, such as paleontology, or the history of the evolution of life on Earth. This is a mistake, and I here wish to affirm that these and other historical sciences have in my opinion scientific character; their hypotheses can in many cases be tested." ( Letter to New Scientist 87:611, 1981);
- population: Groups organisms of the same species that tend to mate with each other in a limited geographic area.[3: The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics ]; [3: population genetics ]; [3: population genetics simulations ]; [2: Lotka Volterra model ]; [3: population ecology ]; [3: pop models| 1 |]
dynamics: the ways in which their numbers grow and shrink as
time goes by. [3:
- Wildlife Population Dynamics]; [3: Population Dynamics in
Java - various models]; [3: Lotka
Volterra Competition]; [3: population
dynamics models]; [3: essay];
- prairie: a region of flat or hilly land dominated by tall grasses, typical of the American Middle West.
- Precambrian: the [2: first four billion years ] of geologic time, includes the Archaean and Proterozoic aeons; [3: Precambrian ]; [3: Precambrian ]
- predation [3: Predation ]
- President Roosevelt, Theodore: (1858--1919). Twenty-sixth U.S. president who served the United States from 1901 to 1909. His historical writings, include The Naval War of 1812 (1882), Essays on Practical Politics (1888), and the four-volume The Winning of the West (1889).
- President Truman: (1884--1972). Thirty-third president, served the United States from 1945 TO 1953 and died in 1972. Truman has an important place in history as he dropped the first atom bombs on Japan. He also authorized the Marshall Plan to aid post-war Europe organized the Berlin Airlift (1948--9). To fight racism he ordered the desegregation of the armed forces (1948). For global stability, he established NATO (1949).
- Prigogine: [3: Prigogine (1980) ]
- primary consumer: an organism that grazes directly upon plant producers. A secondary consumer would then feed upon primary consumers.
- primate: the
group of mammals the include humanity, with two main groups,
(humans, apes, monkeys) and prosimians (aye-ayes, galagos, lemurs,
lorises, pottos, and tarsiers. [2:
Human Evolution ]; [3:
primates ]; [3:
Introduction to the Primates ]; [3:
Prehistoric cultures and
primates ]; [3: primate taxonomy pdf,
- Prisoner's dilemma: [3: Prisoner's Dilemma ]; [2: Prisoner's dilemma ]; [3: Introduction to Games Theory ], [3: iterated].
- probability: statistical probability is based on mathematical probability theory that predicts which result or event is more probable. For example, in tossing a coin the probability of getting a head is 1/2. Fermat and Blaise Pascal developed this science.
- Proconsul: is a well represented Miocene hominoid, living from 23 to 14 million years ago. There was considerable variation in this genus. [3: image ]
- progress: many evolutionists do not like to recognise the quality of progress in the evolutionary process, yet Dennett (1985), quoting Eigen (1992) briefly sums up the situation: "the blue-green alga, a very early product of evolution, transforms light into chemical energy with an efficiency approaching perfection" He then goes on to say, "Such optimality cannot be happenstance; it must be the result of a gradual homing-in process of improvement." This "improvement" is progress that occurs within lineages. In a definitive book, "Keywords in Evolutionary Biology," Dawkins is give the task of defining progress. He ends his discussion by saying, "I recommend that evolutionary writers should no longer, under any circumstances, use the adjectives "higher" and "Lower". What about progress? Although his chapter is titled "Progress" he forgets to define what it is. Then, there is the meaty conference, "Evolutionary Progress" (1989), edited by Matthew Nitecki. Progress needs to be limited and defined and perhaps that makes it a bad choice of words, but not necessarily an invalid concept. Gould (1989) (quoted from Dennett, 1995) explains the context of progress: "New species usually win an address by driving out others in overt competition (a process that Darwin often described in his notebooks as "wedging"). This constant battle and conquest provides a rationale for progress, since victors, on average, may secure their success by general superiority in design. This is not a goal-directed progress, but is bound to the evolutionary process of natural selection. Ayala (1988) also recognises a net overall biological progress in this evolutionary context where a later member is on average a better design. He also recognises that "the notion of progress is axiological and therefore, it cannot be a strictly scientific term: value judgements are not part and parcel of scientific discourse, which is characterised by empirically testable hypotheses and objective descriptions." We need a new term for what Gould recognises as a deep and essentially directional pattern.
- prokaryote: Cellular organisms such as bacteria that lack a membrane-bound nucleus and membrane-bound organelles, such as the bacteria and blue-green algae. [2: image - Taxonomic Kingdoms ], [2: eukaryote ]
- Prophet Muhammad: (570 c. 632 ). The Last Prophet of the line leading from Adam, and the prophet of Islam. Born in Mecca. At the age of 40, angel Gabriel appeared to him on Mt Hira, near Mecca, commanding him, in the name of God, to preach the true religion and bring God's revelation. God sent the Holy Quraan to humanity via Prophet Muhammad. [3: Quraan: search for Koran and download].
- prosimian: a suborder of Primates that includes various primitive groups, lemuroids, lorisoids, and tarsioids.[3: Prosimians ]
- protein: organic compounds forming tissues such as muscle, and made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds.See also [1: RNA ];
- Proterozoic Aeon : a period from 2500 Mya to 590 Mya.This period of time is massive, so is also sub-divided into Neoproterzoic (900 to 544 mya), Vendian (650 to 544 mya), Mesoproterzoic (1600 to 900 mya), Paleoproterozoic (2500 to 1600 mya) [3: Proterozoic Era ]; [3: Vendian ]; [2: proterozoic ]
- Protozoa: a single celled organism. It may have plant like or animal like characteristics.
- pseudoscorpion: Order Pseudoscorpiones, small spider relatives (arachnids) that resemble true scorpions.
- psychology: the established science of mental processes and behaviour.
- Pulteney, Richard: quoted from Worster, (1994). He wrote "A general view of the writings if Linnaeus" (1781, London.).
- pumas: a mountain lion, of the cat family.
- punctuated equilibrium: A model of evolution where new species appear suddenly (within a few hundred thousand years) in the fossil record and show little change for millions of years until their extinction.Gradualism is the term used where there is a gradual evolution of one species into another. [3: PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM ]
- Pygmies: small people of Africa who live in tropical rain forests.[3: Pygmies today (2005) pdf ]; [3: Pygmies ]; [3: Pygmy ]
- [ q]
- QBasic: A DOS based programming language. QBasic is a BASIC language interpreter for DOS. You won't find it on win95 systems, but it exists in D:\other\oldmsdos on the WIN95 SETUP cd. [3: Rated as excellent - qbasic.com ]; [3: The Basic Archives ]; [3: Jeremey's QBasic Page ];
- Qin dynasty: A Chinese dynasty (family of rulers) that governed from 221 B.C. to 206 B.C. The Han dynasty replaced it.
- quantum theory: Introduced by Planck (1900) as an improvement upon classical Newtonian mechanics. An important principle is that some physical quantities can only assume discrete values.
- quantum mechanics: a field of physics that deals mathematically with phenomena on extremely small scales. At present, this particular theory is inconsistent with the general theory of [2: relativity ]; [3: Quantum mechanics ].
- Quraan: see [2: Holy Quraan ]; [3: The Quraan, Hadith, and the Prophet Muhammad ]; [2: Islam ]
- quarks: are never found as free particles, but form part of hadrons and are involved in strong interactions. A hadron is composed of quarks and/or antiquarks. There are six different types of quark.
- quaternary period: The current interval (starting 1.8 million years ago) of the Cenozoic Era, an interval with regular changes in global climate and a series of glacial and interglacial ages.. The Quaternary is made up of the [ 2: ] Holocene (11,000 years ago to today) and the [ 1: ] Pleistocene (1.8 mya to 11,000 years ago); [3: The Quaternary Period ];[ A Dictionary of Quaternary Acronyms and Abbreviations ]
- quinones: found in many cells, they can stabilize unpaired electrons during many energy-transfer activities. For example, the active ingredients in aloe and henna are quinones. The electron-transport process of photosynthesis uses these molecules to convert light into chemical energy. [3: quinones ]
- [ r]
- radioactivity: the natural disintegration of the nuclei of some elements, with the emission of alpha and beta particles and sometimes gamma rays. The result is a change in the chemical status of the element involved and often the change from one element to another, resulting in a more stable nucleus. Artificial radioactivity can be caused by the bombardment of nuclei of boron and aluminium with alpha-particles. Artificial elements are created that then also decay spontaneously as do naturally radioactive elements.
- Radiocarbon dating: A
technique for dating of fossils that contain carbon. See [2: carbon dating]. The nuclide or
isotope, 14C is called radiocarbon; hence the term.
Radiocarbon has a half-life of 5730 years. A modern technique used by
archaeologists is the AMS method (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry) that
measures (counts) 14C atoms directly (not their
radioactivity), allowing the measurement of small samples.
Greater precision (a standard deviation of 50 years) is achieved
compared to radiactive decay measurements (Mithen, 2003). [3: Radiocarbon dating ],
[3: Welcome to radiocarbon
WEB-info. Radiocarbon dating is the technique upon which chronologies
of the late Pleistocene and Holocene have been built. ];[3: Research ]; [3:Radiocarbon ].
Techniques: ( Bowman, 1990). Significance: (Renfrew, 1993). AMS
technique: (Hedges, 1981).
- radiometric date: The age of a geological or archaeological sample, determined by the decay of its radioactive elements, often the radiocarbon (carbon-14) or uranium series. Some elements are not completely stable in their natural state and its atoms slowly change from one element to another by a process called radioactive decay. By a measure of radioactivity, one can calculate how much radioactive decay had occurred since a radioactive mineral had formed. For igneous rocks the start of decay is after its cooling and hardening from magma or lava. The decay curve is exponential. Carbon-14 is a radionuclide with a half-life of 5730 years (the time it takes for the measured radioactivity to halve). After death, absorption of atmospheric CO2 practically ceases and with the decay of C14, the ratio of C14 to C12 decreases. Scientists measure this ratio to estimate when the creature lived [3: radiometric dating  ; [ 2 ]; [3 (excellent) ]; [4 ]]; [2: dating tools ]; [2: absolute dating ]
- Ray, John (1628-1705), a natural theologian. He wrote "The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation" (1691) and "Three Physico-Theological Discourses" (1692), outlining his views.[2: Natural theology ] influenced scientists and philosophers for over a century after Ray's death, inspiring naturalists to look at form, function and adaptation. [3:Ray ]
- ramipithecines: lived in open woodlands in Africa, Asia and possibly parts of Europe during the late Miocene. They ate tough plant food. Their teeth were hominid-like, with reduced canines and incisors and thick enamel coating the molars. They may represent a lineage that led to the orangutan, separating from the pongids 13 to 17 Mya. It also represents the last common ancestor of the gorilla, chimpanzee and hominid lineages. The pongid lineage started as the Dryopithecines, a forest-dwelling primate of Africa and Europe. Ramapithecines became extinct eight million years ago.
- raptor: derives from the bird order Raptores and means bird of prey.
- red queen hypothesis: This is a [2: coevolutionary ] hypothesis. In the book, "Through the Looking-Glass", the Red Queen had to keep running just to remain in the same place. In nature, an evolving species must affect the species that it interacts with closely for a long duration. A bird predator will need to evolve improved methods of detecting a prey, such as a moth, that becomes bettter camouflaged through natural selection. An organism has to adapt to the changes in the environment. When these changes are biological, the Red Queen effect comes into play, one species evolving and adapting to the changes of an interactor, or becoming extinct. This idea was proposed by Van Valen, who saw the importance of studying evolution and extinction rates in an ecological context. Natural selection enhances economic success, in that an animal can become more competitive by being more efficient. An animal that expends less energy collecting the same amount of food has a selective and economic advantage. During a drought, an animal with better kidney function than its neighbour, has a better chance of surviving. Flowering plants (angiosperms) that appeared in the Lower [2: Cetaceous ] have replaced gymnosperms as the dominant plant species and engendered a world of animals dependent on it through the Red Queen effect. [3: red queen ]
- reductionism: Two approaches confront the scientist. In one instance the refinement and simplification of a theory science leads to its "reduction" to or explanation by another, more fundamental science. This is a trend to be found in the history of science (Ayala, 1986) (p65, Depew & Weber, 1986). Ayala (1986) gives the example of the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics. Another perception of scientists recognises that (living) systems are a hierarchy of units, with each level of interaction following its own laws. The laws operating at one level are not necessarily reducible to the laws of a lower level (Dawkins, 1982).
- reference sources: See [1: philosophy ]; [2: e-texts ]; [2: encyclopedia ]; [2: dictionary ]. [3: PNAS online has some pdf available and a good search tool]
- relative dating methods: Relative
dating gives an age estimate based on other information found at the
fossil site, such as other animal remains, that have been accurately
dated. Some of the methods include dendrochrology, pollen analysis,
ice core sampling, stratigraphy, seriation, linguistic dating, and
climate chronology. Methods for estimating the age off a fossil are
divided into either relative or [2:
absoute dating methods ]. [See introductory article, [2: " DATING TOOLS "] on this
relative dates ]; [3:
relative dating of geologic sequences ]
- relativity: see general theory of relativity .
- religion: Oxford dictionary definition (theistic): "1 the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2 the expression of this in worship. 3 a particular system of faith and worship." Non-Theistic definition: "The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relation to itself, the universe and other life. Essentially, religion is belief in spiritual beings. As it relates to the world, religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life." (Hubbard, 1994). [1: theology ]
- renewable resources: These are energy sources other than the finite resources such as coal and oil and natural gas (fossil fuels) Traditional renewable resources can be grown or are organic wastes - fuel wood, crop wastes, and dung. Other "non-traditional" renewable energy sources-hydro, solar, wind, ocean, and geothermal.
- reproductive isolation: Various mechanisms prevent interbreeding, creating the conditions necessary for species formation. see [3: reproductive isolation ];
- rhipidistian: Fish of the [2: Devonian ], often with broad, circular, bony scales and heavy, bony plates on the head. There is a broad resemblance between the fleshy and muscular paired fins of rhipidistian fish and the equivalent limbs of amphibians.
- rhyniophytes: The first land plants, that the trimerophytes replaced.
- RNA: is a "polynucleotide" or a polymer made of nucleotide units. A polymer is a compound made of a long chain of identical or similar chemical units. A nucleotide is a chemical compound made of a purine or pyrimidine base attached to a five-carbon sugar molecule. The sugar also has a phosphate attached. Purines and pyrimidines are compounds made of nitrogen. RNA is a [2: nucleic acid ]; [3: Microbial Diversity and Growth ].
- ritualization: What is termed ritualisation of certain behaviour occurs during evolution. This improves their effectiveness as signals, so making such interactions more efficient. This behaviour is found in conflict and courtship, and may involve physical changes to contribute to the message. Interactive behaviour is energetically expensive, so the ritualisation of certain behaviours can rapidly evolve under the forces of natural selection. The classic example of ritualisation is the mandarin duck that shows preening behaviour during courtship. In doing so it displays specially evolved orange wing feathers. [2: black wildebeest ].
- Russell, Bertrand (1872-1970). Philosopher and mathematician, born SE Wales, UK. His written works and contributions include the Principles of Mathematics (1903), Principia mathematica (1910--13), An Enquiry into Meaning and Truth (1940) and Human Knowledge (1948). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. [3: B. Russell @ Malaspina]; [3: Russell ].
- [ s]
- Sahelanthropus tchadensis:
Currently the oldest hominid fossil. S. tchadensis shows a mix
of primitive and evolved characteristics not expected
in such an old fossil. [3:
National Geographic article ];[2: |1 |2 |]; [3: Natural History
Museum article ]
- saki: An American monkey with a prehensile (capable of grasping) tail and a neck-ruff.
- sanguine: optimistic and hopefully confident
- Sao Paulo: Brazil's largest city.
- savannah: grasslands with widely scattered trees and shrubs, found in regions with dry and rainy seasons. Savannahs often lie between deserts and tropical rain forests.
- Saxon plough: Saxons were a Germanic people who came from southern Denmark around A.D. 100. The Saxon plough was introduced before A.D. 1000. It was wheeled and could plough heavy fertile soils.
- Saxon Wheel: Inventor unknown. Introduced at the end of the middle ages, for spinning. Foot operated treadles drove it. It is the spinning wheel depicted in children's stories such as fairy tales.
- scarab beetle: A large group of dung beetle (Order Coleoptera, Family Scarabaeidae). Some feed on crops.
- Scholastic philosophy (Aristotelianism): Generated by the translation of Aristotle's works into Latin. To establish an accord between Aristotle's philosophy and Christian doctrine, scholastics such as Saint Thomas Aquinas created a system of thought called scholasticism (1100's to 1400's). This became the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Scientology: This is an applied religious philosophy that contains workable answers to the problems people face in their lives. The subject matter of Scientology is all life. It contains practical means through which predictable improvement can be obtained in any area to which it is applied.
- sea urchin: a relative of the starfish and sand dollar, with ball-shaped bodies covered with long movable spines and many tentacle like tube feet.
- Seed fern: Cycadopsida: Ferns that produce seeds, the only living group being the cycads.
- selection: see natural selection
- Semang: Of Malaysia: One of the world's cultures that have adapted to thick forests. As well as cultural adaptations to life in the rain forest, these people have physical adaptations similar to other forest dwellers: the Pygmies of Africa, the Negritos of Asia, the Onge of the Andaman Islands and the Aete of the northern Philippines. Most notably, they all have a small stature compared with the rest of humanity.
- Shaman: A medicine man who is responsible for cultural knowledge where writing does not exist. Shamans have contact with and are influenced by the spirit world. Taoism, which emerged around 300 B.C., was influenced by shamanism. Shamanism arose at least 8,000 years ago, possibly in Siberia, from where it spread into North and South America, China, Japan and Korea and then to South East Asia. A core belief is that there are two worlds, the material and spiritual. The shaman's role is to be able to contact the other world and control it.
- sickle cell anaemia;
- sickle cell hemaglobin: [3: sickle cell ]
- Silurian period: Of the Paleozoic Era, 438 to 408 Mya [3: Silurian ] [2: silurian ].
- Sivapithecus: an ancestor of the Orangutan. With the genus Ramapithecus, they are called ramapithecines and are represented by fossils between 12 and 18 million years old.[3: Sivapithecus ]
- slime moulds (Myxomycophyta): A type of fungi.
- skeleton: see [3: comparative anatomy of human,
gorilla and baboon skeletal bones .]; [3:
electronic textbook to human skeleton ]
- skull, human: Skull Module - 3 dimensional images. [3: Homininae: Comparative cranial casts and skulls]. [3: human skeleton site ]; [ skeletal system ]; [3: skull anatomy]
- Smuts, J.C.: General Smuts wrote the book: "Holism and Evolution" in 1926. For recent interest see [3: Smuts seminar] ; [3: " History, Concepts & Potentials of Holism "]; [2: holism & matter quote] ; [3: Translate Robine's French article at Altavista ]; [2:Home ]; [3: Smuts discussion ]
- sociology: the study of the individuals, groups and institutions and their relations that make up human society.
- Socrates: (469?-399 B.C.), Greek philosopher and teacher [3: Socrates ].
- Speciation: This is the evolution of multiple species from a single founding (ancestral) species. Closely related forms are usually defined as species if there is some form of reproductive isolation. Anagenetic speciation (anagenesis) is where a single species changes over time to the extent that it is recognised as a new species. see [1: peripatric speciation .]; [2: cladistic speciation]; [3: speciation ]; [3: sympatric speciation ]; [3: Observed Instances of Speciation ]; [3: the concept of species ]; [ The Species Concept ]; [3: Speciation ]; [3: observed instances ]; [3: events of ]; [3: speciation [3: Audio file on sympatric speciation
- species: [3: Concept & meaning of species ]
- spectroscopy: a technique of producing, detecting and analysing spectra of electromagnetic radiation such as the colours violet, red green, yellow, orange and red.
- sperm: male reproductive gametes.
- springtail: the most primitive insect belonging to the apterygotes (wingless forms), subclass Apterygota, order Collembola. They live hidden in rock crevices and soil.
- stability-diversity hypothesis.
- stochastic disturbance, stochastic variation, stochastic error term: Individual readings from a system may not necessarily conform to the expected value derived from one's model. The model's output does not predict all occurrences. This is especially evident in weather forecasts. These individual readings are however clustered around the averaged figure of the model. The average ambient temperature at 12h00 for June in a specific locality may be 23 degrees Celsius and that particular day it may be 15 degrees Celsius. There is thus a deviation around an expected value. This deviation represents an unobservable random variable, called stochastic disturbance. This disturbance term (u) represents variables that are not included in the model. There are many reasons for including such a variable. The model is usually imperfect, the variables may not be measurable or the quantitative information is not available, the variables may be too numerous, random or very small compared with the major variables, there may be errors in measurement and lastly, keeping models as simple as possible is necessary. [back: Chaos]
- Stoic: virtue is the highest good and that men should be free from passion and unmoved by life's happenings
- stone age: the period in all humans cultures when people used stone rather than metal tools. This period extends from about 2 million years ago to about 3,000 B.C. The periods of the stone age used to be called the palaeolithic, mesolithic and neolithic phases.[3: Stone Age Habitats ]; [3: stone age handaxes ]
- Stratigraphy: the science of rock formations or stratified rock, where there are layers or strata of rock types.[3: earth history : many links]; [3: principles of stratigraphic dating ]; [2: and fossils ]; [3: stratigraphy and litholic correlation ]; [3: sedimentary rocks ]; [3: rocks and minerals ]
- string theory: String theory is an research program within the context of quantum field theory. It approach is that all fundamental particles are excitations of underlying non-pointlike entities in a multi-dimensional space. A particles' intrinsic charge, mass and spin may then become nonseparable features of the world at the deepest level [3: string theory ].
- stromatolites: One of the most ancient life forms that lives today. [2: stromatolites ];
- Sumerian culture: http://ragz-international.com/sumerian_culture.htm
- Suprainiac fossa: An elliptical depression on the occiput above the superior nuchal line, or inion.
- system: The most apparent attributes of a system are its boundary conditions within which many integrated internal components and processes function, subject to and in response to environmental stimuli. [3: SYSTEMIC PHILOSOPHY ]; [3: Jan Smuts, Father of Holism ]; [3: Is there a general System? ]
- Systematics: is the scientific study of life's diversity, arranging groups of organisms on the basis of their evolutionary relationship. A genus is group of genetically related species with a common ancestor. Genera are grouped to form families, that are further grouped into orders, and orders into classes. Classes are organised phyla, all this a distant common ancestor and groups of phyla become kingdoms. The process of creating a name or taxon is an exercise in [1: taxonomy ]. Placing an organism into the established nomenclature of biology, using systematics and taxonomy, is called [2: classification ].
- [ t]
- Taoism: or Daoism. Chinese religious tradition, pointing to or revealing the "way" (Tao) that is the reality underlying physical and biological creation. See: [2: Taoism in P&C ] [3: Su Tzu Chinese Philosophy Pages ] . [2: home] [3: Tao The King ]; [ Lao Tzu's "Tao Te Ching" ].
- Taung: hominid fossil site lies between the two towns of Kimberley and Mafikeng in the Cape Province[3: site]; [3: fossil], [3: fossils].
- tautology: [3: Is the principle of natural selection a tautology? ]
- taxonomy: The science of the classification or organisation of all life forms, including both living and extinct species. A taxonomic study deals with the general principles and laws of classification for the purpose of communication. The taxonomic nomenclature enables scientists to agree upon which organism (taxonomic name) is being discussed. Carolus [2: Linnaeus ] (1707-1778), a Swedish naturalist, developed a system to classify plants and animals, that forms the basis of modern classification. [3: Introduction to the Principles of Taxonomy with a Focus on Human Classification Categories ]; [3: Taxonomy of Living Primates ] [1: primate taxons chart image ]; [2: image - Taxonomic Kingdoms ]; [2: Taxonomy of the higher primates showing the close genetic links between Pan and Homo]; [3: Taxonomic arrangement of apes]
- teleology: this is generally understood to mean that all life forms fulfil a plan and design preordained. It implies purpose and design to natural events. I cover this in detail in my discussion of [2: Kantist teleology ]; [2: also a note on teleology ]. A teleological explanation explains something or some event in terms of the purpose or goal served by the thing or event.[3: Is there a goal to evolution? ]
- terrestrial: means literally, of the earth.
- territory, territoriality: Behaviour of animals that enables individuals to occupy and dominate an area.
- tertiary period: of the Cenozoic Era, 65 to 1.8 Mya.
- theology: A study or system of theistic religion. Theism is the belief in a God (or gods) supernaturally revealed to man, a God that sustains a personal relation to his creatures. Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all theistic religions.[1: religion ]
- therapsid: A group of reptiles from which the ancestral mammals emerged. They were extinct by the early Jurassic Period.
- thermodynamics: In 1851, James Prescott Joule observed that energy is conserved. This idea led eventually to the science of thermodynamics, the study of heat and energy flow in chemical reactions. laws in pdf format. Heat Energy and Flow
- thermoluminescence: some solids that have been subject to ionizing radiation have trapped electrons that they release when the solid is heated, emitting visible radiation.
- Thoday: An evolutionist who tried to establish an acceptable definition for fitness in 1953. (Symposia of the society for Experimental Biology 7:96-113.)
- Thoreau H. D.: (1817-1862). American naturalist and writer, whose most well known book is "Walden". He introduced the idea of ecological succession through his essay, "The succession of forest trees." He was inspired by [1: Gilbert White ].
- thought experiment: imagined events that attempt to explain certain effects so as to arrive at a real explanation. I coined the term " nature experiment " to contrast with this approach. [3: Thought Experiments ];
- three toed horse: early horse ancestor, Perissodactyla (single hoofed angulates). The multi-toed horse ancestor Eohippus ( [3: Hyracotherium ]) evolved in the Eocene, followed by [3: Mesohippus sp .] in the Tertiary - Oligocene, [3: Merychippus sp .] [3: front leg ] in the Tertiary - Miocene and [3: Pliohippus sp. ] and [3: Hipparion sp. ] [3: front leg ] in the Tertiary - Pliocene. Horses [3: Equus ] [3: front leg ] spread through North and South America and the Old World in the Pleistocene. The horse fossil record, through the last 55 million years, clearly illustrates the evolutionary process.[3: horse evolution ]; [2: horse ]
- thymine: (T, Thy). One of the pyrimidine nitrogenous bases of DNA. Thymine pairs with adenine.
- tibia: leg bone, see [3: human
skeleton ]; [1: skeleton ]
- tiger: largest of the cat family, with males weighing up to 190 kilograms.
- Tigris River: A major river of south-western Asia that arises in Turkey.
- Tigris-Euphrates valley: the region of the earliest civilisation that developed in Sumer around 3500 B.C. Today the valley form part of Iraq.
- Timeline: A map of historic events that brings significant events from different fields of history into context upon the same time scale. [3: Timeline ]; [3: Media History Project Timeline ]; [3: 15-billion-year-long history of the Universe ]; [3: History of Evolution ]; [3: Timelines , from the Pleistocene Period to the Devonian Period ]; [3: Geologic Time ]; [2: see also geology ]; [3: hominids ]; [2: geological time scale ]
- Tolstoy: Leo. (1828-1910). A Russian writer, mystic, moral and religious thinker and reformer. One of his books, War and Peace was published in 1869.
- tools: [3: tools and weapons@ramanank ]; [3: hominid tools ]; [2: Early tools of Homo species ]
- transitional vertebrate species: see a full [3: discussion ];
- Triassic period: The first period of the Mesozoic era, extending from 225 to 180 million years ago[3: Triassic ].
- Trilobites: An arthropod that flourished from the Cambrian to the Silurian (Palaeozoic Era, 570 to 240 million years ago), but is now extinct. More than 10,000 species have been identified.[ ©3 : [ 2 : Image of Trilobite fossil ];[ 2 : Cambrian trilobite Asaphiscus wheeleri].
- trimerophytes: One of the earliest groups of land plants that evolved after the rhyniophytes, during the Devonian.
- Trojan culture (Troy): Situated on the Aegean Sea around the city of Troy (Ilium) in Asia Minor (Turkey). Troy was established around 3,000 B.C.
- tundra: an area between the arctic polar icecaps and the tree line. It has frozen soils and low vegetation.
- Turkana boy: A well preserved 1.6 million year old fossil of a 12 year old Homo erectus boy found near Lake Turkana in Kenya. He stood 1.7 metres tall.
- Tyrannosaurus: A mobile dinosaur with massive three-toed hind limbs and short, two-fingered forelimbs. It was a meat eater.
- [ u]
- United Nations: A supranational organisation working for world peace, security and human betterment. Charter of the United Nations
- Upper Paleolithic tool industry, dominant from 40,000 to 12,000 years ago. [3: tool traditions (see tool image)]; [3: stone age reference collection ]; [1: Paleolithic industry]; [2: Acheulean tools]; [3: image]; [3: Upper Paleolithic in Egypt]; [3: technology]
- Uranium-thorium dating: (U-Th) measures the
deacy of uranium into thorium over time, so giving a measure of
the age of a fossil. It can be used to both compare with and calibrate carbon dating. It covers a period earlier than
measured by dendrochronology.
This method allows the correction of radio carbon dates, so that as
radio-carbon date of 20,000 BP is actually 23,000 BP, while a date of
12,500 BP is actually around 14,500 BP. An accurate source of
information is paired radiocarbon uranium-thorium dates from coral
(Bard et al, 1990).
- URL: Uniform Resource Locator. This is the standard way to give the address of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide Web.
- [ v]
- vertebrate: All creatures with a backbone of vertebrae that encloses the spinal cord, such as birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. [3: Introduction to vertebrates ]
- vitalism: theory that life originates due to a force distinct from chemical and other physical forces. The classical 18th century vitalist doctrines propose that all life phenomena are animated by immaterial life spirits. These life spirits are unexplainable and undescribable from a physical point of view, but determine the various life phenomena. see also [2: emergence ]
- vitamin: A nutrient and chemical compound that the body needs in small amounts. The body can produce some vitamins and others come from foods such as vegetables.
- viviparity: A viviparous animal produces eggs that are fertilised and develop within the mother's body. Most mammals, many reptiles and some fish are viviparous.
- virus: particles of protein and nucleic acid that cannot necessarily be classified as living, but that cause infectious diseases. They require living tissue for reproduction and growth and are very simple compared with life forms. The common cold is a virus. [3: virus ]
- von Bertalanffy, Ludwig: (1901-1972) Canadian (Austrian-born) biologist quotation taken from Worster's "Nature's Economy", in turn quoted from Bertalanffy's "Modern theories of development" and translated by J.H. Woodger. Oxford, 1993.
- von Neuman: John (1903-1957). A mathematician who introduced game theory, an economics tool. As a specialist in pure and applied mathematics, he wrote a major work on quantum mechanics (1932). He contributed to the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos during World War 2, developing a mathematical treatment of shock waves.
- [ w]
- Wallace. Alfred, R.(1823-1913). A British naturalist and explorer who proposed the same evolutionary theory as Charles Darwin. For more detail see, [2: Wallace @ human evolution introduction ]; [3: THE DARWIN .WALLACE 1858 EVOLUTION PAPER ]; [ 2 : Wallace photo ]; [3: Wallace.html ].
- Wegener, Alfred (1880-1930): Proposed the geological theory of [3: plate tectonics ] and continental drift.
- white paper: on evolution; scientific and academic
document on evolutionary biology
- White, Gilbert: (1720-1793). English clergyman and naturalist, born in Selbourne in the Hampshire countryside of England, and wrote "The Natural History of Selbourne" (1789) (Worster, 1994). In this book, a collection of letters to fellow naturalists, he describes the way animals and plants interact with their environment (Bowler, 1992). He was a parson for the local Christian church and a naturalist. Died at the age of 73.
- Whitehead: [3: Whitehead @ Malaspina].
- window of opportunity: [2: Paradigm chapter ];
- writing: [3: History of writing ]
- [ x]
- Xenophon : (430? to 355? B.C.). Xenophanes. A Greek soldier, writer and historian. A friend and pupil of Socrates. [3: Xenophon ]; [3: Xenophon ];
- y chromosome: The sex chromosome found in the male of a species.
- [ y]
- yam: a tuberous, starchy root vegetable similar to a sweet potato. Yams have formed a part of the human diet for a very long time. [3: yam ]
- yin and yang: Part of Chinese Taoism or philosophy. These are inseparable components of a single reality. Yin is the passive element and so regulates or inhibits or resists through its constancy. Yang is the active component that generates and outpours. The sun is a good example of yang expression. The earth that absorbs this energy is yin. [2: see compatibility ]
- Yucatan Peninsula: South-eastern Mexico, separating the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea.
- [ z]
- Zhou Dynasty: A Chinese dynasty that governed from 1122 B.C. to 256 B.C.
- zorapterans: Insects of the order Zoraptera, found in decaying wood and humus.
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