So for the first post of this blog, there unfortunately isn’t going to be much new material.
I talk on my homepage (if you haven’t already seen it) about interpreting the research that goes on behind the scenes at the Powell-Cotton Museum (PCM) in Birchington, Kent. It mainly involved whittling down PhD-level and post-Doctoral research carried out on themes ranging from gorilla ecology to the preservation of amphibian specimens currently owned by the museum.
Here, then, is a link to a double page spread that I put together during my time there, to give you an idea what the rest of this blog will sound like when you read it.
A blast from the past.
So go ahead, click on the link for your blast from the past, both mine and the more distant past of Major Percy Powell-Cotton. It also has relevance to the much more distant evolutionary past too, since gorillas count themselves among the organisms most closely related to us – the great apes.
The apes are a group made up of gibbons, orang-utans, gorillas, chimpanzees and humans, and are distinguished from monkeys in that they don’t possess tails. The great apes are useful comparisons for us when we study fossils thought to belong to direct human ancestors, although it’s critical to remember that none of the other great apes alive today (extant) are actually our ancestors, and even though our closest extant relatives may be very important, the last common ancestor of purselves and chimps was probably not very similar to either [reference 1].
The modern great apes can also be used as a yardstick for comparing genetic differences between modern humans, when studying how, when and where modern humans arose and then dispersed across the globe.
But much more of that later – that’s what this blog is all about!
A glimpse of the future.
Also to be found in the link! All Jaimie’s hard work will contribute to understanding the ecology of gorillas and help towards targeting conservation efforts in years to come, as well as making the job of future researchers at the PCM far easier. It should also help her gain her PhD. Lucky girl.
p.s. I’d love some feedback on my writing style so please feel free to leave your (vaguely constructive) opinions in the comments section or on twitter (link is near the top of the page on the right, beneath the giant picture of my face).
 Sayers, K., Raghanti, M. A., Lovejoy, O. C. (2012). Human evolution and the chimpanzee referential doctrine. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 41: 119 -138. (Not freely available).