South Africa's Sterkfontein Caves produce 2 new hominin fossils

Two new hominin fossils have been found in a previously uninvestigated chamber in the Sterkfontein Caves, just North West of Johannesburg in South Africa.

The two new specimens, a finger bone and a molar, are part of a set of four specimens, which seem to be from early hominins that can be associated with early stone tool-bearing sediments that entered the cave more than two million years ago.

“The specimens are exciting not only because they are associated with early stone tools, but also because they possess a mixture of intriguing features that raise many more questions than they give answers,” says lead researcher Dr Dominic Stratford, a lecturer at the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental studies, and research coordinator at the Sterkfontein Caves. Read more.

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The platypus was officlally classified as a mammal when it was discovered that it has mammary glands and it suckles its young.   However, much like the echidna, the platypus does not have nipples.  Instead, the milk flows from pores into grooves in the female’s abdomen, where the young can lap it up.

Another oddity about young platypodes is that they are born with teeth.  Aside from the egg tooth, used to help the hatchlings pierce the shell of their eggs, the baby platypus has three teeth in each of its upper jaws, a premolar and two molars.  It is unknown why these teeth are present, as they drop out before the babies leave the breeding burrow and never grow back; the adult platypus has horny plates in its mouth to grind food, and also swallows gravel to aid with digestion.

The Molar & The Molecular, by Sean Smith

“[Deleuze & Guattari] posited two basic kinds of lines or vectors: lines of articulation (or consistency) and lines of flight, both of which project their effects across the rhizomatic field. Lines of articulation connect and unify different practices and effects. They establish hierarchies. They define center-periphery relations. They create rules of organization. They encourage stasis. In contrast, lines of flight disarticulate non-necessary relations between and among practices and effects. They open up contexts to their outsides and the possibilities that dwell there. They disassemble unity and coherence. They decenter centers and disrupt hierarchies.”

— Tusen Pekpinnar: Kickass Introduction to Deleuze & Guattari