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Thread: Paleontology and poor countries

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    Default Paleontology and poor countries

    My two cents: I suspect we will get a better grasp on human evolution once subsaharan and middle eastern countries have stronger, better funded indigenous institutions for paleontological and paleoanthropological research.

    The tricky relationship between palaeontology and poor countries

    WHAT YOU see depends on where you stand. The unarguable fact that most palaeontologists live in the rich world means two things. One is that the fossils of these places are far better studied than those of poorer countries, which is a scientific pity. The other is that what knowledge has been garnered about poor-country palaeontology is frequently the result of visits by rich-country palaeontologists.

    All this was well known, if not quantified, before Nussaibah Raja put numbers on it in a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Ms Raja, however, sees not just a regrettable history-induced bias that should certainly be addressed in future, but also a continuing pillage of poor countries by the scientific establishments of rich places more powerful than they.

    https://ucpnz.co.nz/2022/01/06/the-t...tries/?lang=en

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    ^ (1) Until the 1950s, hardly anybody was bothering to look for human origins in Africa because it was widely assumed humans evolved first in Asia.

    (2) Molecular clock estimates indicate that humans and the other great apes diverged from a common primate ancestor in the Miocene. But research in this area is moving at a snails pace, because Miocene sedimentary strata are largely unknown in southern and eastern Africa -- probably because not enough people are bothering to look for them.

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    Not knowing much about this, it seems most of the 'Digs' are in Egypt and lower Africa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    ^ (1) Until the 1950s, hardly anybody was bothering to look for human origins in Africa because it was widely assumed humans evolved first in Asia.

    (2) Molecular clock estimates indicate that humans and the other great apes diverged from a common primate ancestor in the Miocene. But research in this area is moving at a snails pace, because Miocene sedimentary strata are largely unknown in southern and eastern Africa -- probably because not enough people are bothering to look for them.
    Political strife and war also tend to make exploration a lot harder.
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- JFK (5/17/61)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatOwlWoman View Post
    Political strife and war also tend to make exploration a lot harder.
    True, Kenya and South Africa being relatively stable attracted most of the field research

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    True, Kenya and South Africa being relatively stable attracted most of the field research
    The climate has a lot to do with finding fossils and other artifacts, too. It's pretty damn dry in the Olduvai Gorge area. We have similar issues here. Outside of the culture of the people who built the Mounds scattered around the Midwest, there is not much in the way of physical evidence/artifacts in the eastern part of the U.S. The dry Western climate preserved a lot of the pueblos and other sites in that region.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatOwlWoman View Post
    The climate has a lot to do with finding fossils and other artifacts, too. It's pretty damn dry in the Olduvai Gorge area. We have similar issues here. Outside of the culture of the people who built the Mounds scattered around the Midwest, there is not much in the way of physical evidence/artifacts in the eastern part of the U.S. The dry Western climate preserved a lot of the pueblos and other sites in that region.
    That's a good point.

    Also, isn't it true that 19th century farmers in the Midwest destroyed a lot of the mounds because they are located on arable land, and farmers wanted to cultivate it.

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