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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Evolution
Posted: May 19, 2020 at 5:48 pm
Evolution, theory in biology postulating that the various types of plants, animals, and other living things on Earth have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations. The theory of evolution is one of the fundamental keystones of modern biological theory.
The diversity of the living world is staggering. More than 2 million existing species of organisms have been named and described; many more remain to be discoveredfrom 10 million to 30 million, according to some estimates. What is impressive is not just the numbers but also the incredible heterogeneity in size, shape, and way of lifefrom lowly bacteria, measuring less than a thousandth of a millimetre in diameter, to stately sequoias, rising 100 metres (300 feet) above the ground and weighing several thousand tons; from bacteria living in hot springs at temperatures near the boiling point of water to fungi and algae thriving on the ice masses of Antarctica and in saline pools at 23 C (9 F); and from giant tube worms discovered living near hydrothermal vents on the dark ocean floor to spiders and larkspur plants existing on the slopes of Mount Everest more than 6,000 metres (19,700 feet) above sea level.
The virtually infinite variations on life are the fruit of the evolutionary process. All living creatures are related by descent from common ancestors. Humans and other mammals descend from shrewlike creatures that lived more than 150 million years ago; mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes share as ancestors aquatic worms that lived 600 million years ago; and all plants and animals derive from bacteria-like microorganisms that originated more than 3 billion years ago. Biological evolution is a process of descent with modification. Lineages of organisms change through generations; diversity arises because the lineages that descend from common ancestors diverge through time.
The 19th-century English naturalist Charles Darwin argued that organisms come about by evolution, and he provided a scientific explanation, essentially correct but incomplete, of how evolution occurs and why it is that organisms have featuressuch as wings, eyes, and kidneysclearly structured to serve specific functions. Natural selection was the fundamental concept in his explanation. Natural selection occurs because individuals having more-useful traits, such as more-acute vision or swifter legs, survive better and produce more progeny than individuals with less-favourable traits. Genetics, a science born in the 20th century, reveals in detail how natural selection works and led to the development of the modern theory of evolution. Beginning in the 1960s, a related scientific discipline, molecular biology, enormously advanced knowledge of biological evolution and made it possible to investigate detailed problems that had seemed completely out of reach only a short time previouslyfor example, how similar the genes of humans and chimpanzees might be (they differ in about 12 percent of the units that make up the genes).
This article discusses evolution as it applies generally to living things. For a discussion of human evolution, see the article human evolution. For a more complete treatment of a discipline that has proved essential to the study of evolution, see the articles genetics, human and heredity. Specific aspects of evolution are discussed in the articles coloration and mimicry. Applications of evolutionary theory to plant and animal breeding are discussed in the articles plant breeding and animal breeding. An overview of the evolution of life as a major characteristic of Earths history is given in community ecology: Evolution of the biosphere. A detailed discussion of the life and thought of Charles Darwin is found in the article Darwin, Charles.
Darwin and other 19th-century biologists found compelling evidence for biological evolution in the comparative study of living organisms, in their geographic distribution, and in the fossil remains of extinct organisms. Since Darwins time, the evidence from these sources has become considerably stronger and more comprehensive, while biological disciplines that emerged more recentlygenetics, biochemistry, physiology, ecology, animal behaviour (ethology), and especially molecular biologyhave supplied powerful additional evidence and detailed confirmation. The amount of information about evolutionary history stored in the DNA and proteins of living things is virtually unlimited; scientists can reconstruct any detail of the evolutionary history of life by investing sufficient time and laboratory resources.
Evolutionists no longer are concerned with obtaining evidence to support the fact of evolution but rather are concerned with what sorts of knowledge can be obtained from different sources of evidence. The following sections identify the most productive of these sources and illustrate the types of information they have provided.
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Charity Nebbe speaks with biologists Maurine Neiman and Jim Colbert.
While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages.Every Tuesday, we'll learn about biology, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.
On this edition ofTalk of Iowa biologists Maurine Neiman and Jim Colbert will introduce listeners to the theory of evolution.
Think for a moment about the dizzying number of plant and animal species you know about. Life on Earth is incredibly diverse, and it's all because of evolution.
Neiman and Colbert give us a short course in evolution basics. We also debunk some common myths about evolution. Evolution is not purposeful, always positive or always in the direction of greater complexity.
We also hear about some examples of amazing adaptations and weird traits, or maladaptations. We learn why evolution is important to each one of us. Later in the program, we learn a little bit about how viruses evolve, resulting in new threats to human health.
Discussion questions & activities:
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Posted: at 5:48 pm
Live dealer specialist Evolution Gaming has struck a strategic agreement with Golden Nugget that will see it expand the range of games provided to the US casino operator.
Golden Nugget was the first operator in New Jersey to launch live dealer games in 2016, in partnership with Ezugi, a supplier acquired by Evolution in November 2018.
Since then the operator has continued to offer games broadcast from a dedicated studio run by Ezugi, which also provides content to partners such as BetMGM, PartyCasino, Caesars and FanDuel.
Under the expanded agreement, it will now add Evolutions portfolio of US live casino services to its offering. This will make game types such as Dream Catcher, Side Bet City and Top Card available on its New Jersey site, streamed live from its Atlantic City studio, or from Golden Nuggets existing facilities.
Furthermore, clients of that studio will also have the option to access Evolutions content through their existing partnership. While the agreement currently focuses on New Jersey, the only state in which Golden Nugget offers igaming currently, there is an option to expand into other markets as regulation permits.
Read the full story on iGB North America.
Posted: at 5:48 pm
In the year 2000 Hyundai Motor introduced its first-generation Santa Fe, making the company one of the pioneers in the SUV market.
Now celebrating its 20thanniversary, the Santa Fe has become an icon for the brand, and Hyundai is taking a look back at how its first SUV has evolved over the years.
Having entered dealerships in 2001, Santa Fe is Hyundais longest-running model in Europe. Now in its fourth generation, the Santa Fe has undergone significant evolution in its design, safety and technology over the years, often leading the way as a flagship for new features. This summer, Hyundai will launch an enhanced version of the current generation with new electrified powertrains and major design updates.
Following its launch two decades years ago, Santa Fe quickly became one of Hyundais most popular models. Named after a city in the Southwestern U.S., it was the companys first SUV, and played an important role in establishing Hyundai in the SUV segment. Unusually for a Hyundai model, the Santa Fe has its own logo showing the model name and a sun, while its name has been carried over to future generations, continuing its heritage. Over the past 20 years, Hyundai has sold more than 5,260,000 units of Santa Fe globally.
The Santa Fe was Hyundais first SUV, and it is one of our longest-running model lines, making it a key model not only globally, but also in Europe. For Hyundai it is an automotive icon which continues to evolve in terms of design, technology, roominess and comfort. With this latest evolution, Santa Fe maintains its status as a flagship model in our broad SUV portfolio, and further underlines our heritage in SUVs while also moving the game forward with its innovation and electrification.
Andreas-Christoph HofmannVice President Marketing & Product at Hyundai Motor Europe
First-generation Santa Fe (2000-2006): the original best-seller
Hyundai introduced the Santa Fe to European audiences for the first time at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. While subsequent generations became progressively premium over time, the very first Santa Fe was practical and appreciated for its functionality and reliability. In 2001, not long after the first model was produced Hyundai had to ramp up production due to the overwhelming demand in the US.
The first generation Santa Fe featured a rugged, yet refined look and was substantially longer and wider than many of its rivals in the segment, emphasising its practicality for off-road driving. The spacious interior offered enough room for up to five passengers, as well as ample cargo space. Meanwhile, its convenience features, which included air conditioning, a CD player, as well as electric windows, mirrors and a sunroof, were comprehensive for the time.
In 2003, in response to customer demand for even more driving performance, Hyundai upgraded Santa Fe with a more powerful engine and a computer-controlled four-wheel drive system.
Second-generation Santa Fe (2006-2012): more power, more space, and an updated safety system
The second-generation Santa Fe was launched at the North American International Motor Show in January 2006. It featured a new 2.2-liter diesel-powered engine and an updated 2.7-liter gasoline-poweredV6 while offering significantly improved handling and sportier engines to equip customers for a range of driving and weather conditions.
By the middle of the 2000s, design was becoming increasingly important to customers. Therefore, the Santa Fes successor model featured significant changes outside and inside the vehicle. Its exterior offered an assertive front grille, confident sculpted lines and finely detailed headlights. This contemporary look showcased how the brands design direction was evolving.
The interior utilised a range of soft-touch, high-quality materials and low-gloss surfaces to provide second-generation Santa Fe customers with a touch of luxury. This premium feeling was further emphasised by the blue backlighting which surrounding the models controls and switches, in combination with leather upholstery. Meanwhile, it offered more space than before, as for the first time, the option of adding a third row of seats was available, extending the five-seater to a seven-seater.
With customers of the time demanding increased safety features, the second-generation Santa Fe offered a series of extensive safety upgrades, which continued Hyundais leadership in standardising the industrys most effective technologies. Electronic Stability Control (ESC), an anti-lock braking system (ABS), side-curtain airbags for all seating rows, a tyre pressure monitor, and active front head restraints now came as standard. Later, a premium version was added, which included a built-in navigation system, rear-view camera, cruise control and a light sensor.
Third-generation Santa Fe (2012-2018): enhanced safety and improved connectivity
The third-generation Santa Fe was a big step forward for Hyundai, as it offered even greater comfort and quality, re-tuned engines and improved efficiency. In addition, it featured a new design direction called Storm Edge, which consisted of refined lines as well as bold and voluminous surfaces. By adding a more emotional, muscular look and a wealth of premium features, the company demonstrated it was moving away from offering a purely functional SUV, and instead a sophisticated lifestyle vehicle.
Available as both a sporty five-seater and a version with a long wheelbase offering three rows of seats for six or seven passengers, the third-generation Santa Fe also boasted a refreshed unibody crossover platform. The long version received a slightly differentiated design, including a unique hexagonal grille design, a new look for the B-pillar, optional 19-inch alloy wheels and flush dual exhaust tips. This illustrated that, in addition to maintaining the earlier models strengths of practicality, roominess and dependability, the new model looked modern and dynamic, making it an ideal proposition for to conquest new customers to the Hyundai brand.
Both Santa Fe models offered a similar interior look, fully geared towards passenger comfort and functionality. In the early 2010s, advances in technology gave automakers the opportunity to improve their customers comfort and driving experience with a range of intelligent connectivity features. As a result, the third-generation Santa Fe offered an optional multifunction eight-inch touchscreen with navigation with a simpler and more intuitive user interface as well as enhanced voice recognition commands, while phone connectivity was also improved.
With the third generation Santa Fe, Hyundai reinforced its commitment to providing its customers with class-leading safety features. These included a premium braking package, which contained four-wheel disc brakes, an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist providing maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on vehicle loading conditions. By offering these levels of state-of-the-art active safety technology, the third-generation model ensured improved protection for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Fourth-generation Santa Fe(2018-present): SmartSense safety features and a bold new design
Building on the success of its previous generations, in 2018 Hyundai introduced the fourth-generation Santa Fe. Its premium feeling is illustrated by its prestigious appearance, while it is equipped with the most advanced technology as well as best-in-class safety features and exceptional roominess.
The elegant SUV model features a bold outward appearance with a wide, athletic stance. Hyundais signature Cascading Grille decorates the front, and the side is enhanced by sleek lines which stretch along the roof and from the headlights to the taillights. This reinforces the cars status at the top of Hyundais SUV line-up. Inside, it is the roomiest Santa Fe yet, with 38 mm more leg room in the second row.
Equipped with Hyundais latest SmartSense technology, the fourth-generation Santa Fe is among the safest in its class, and it received the maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Hyundai demonstrates it continues to care for its customers by offering even more innovative features, including Hyundais in-house developed and industry-first Rear Occupant Alert, which uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect the movement of children or pets on the rear seat and alert the driver when leaving the car.
Another safety feature is Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, which scans a 180-degree area behind the vehicle, warning the driver and applying the brakes if necessary to avoid collisions. Additionally, for the first time in a Hyundai, the fourth-generation Santa Fe features a full head-up display that projects relevant information onto the windshield to keep the view clear while driving.
The All-New Santa Fe features HTRAC, Hyundais advanced four-wheel drive system with an enhanced torque application depending on wheel grip and the speed of vehicle. It supports drivers in all kinds of driving situations, whether on snow, slippery roads or in regular road conditions, and enhances stability in cornering.
18 years after the introduction of the first-generation model, this powerful, elegant SUV has evolved to become Hyundais premium flagship model in Europe. The continuing improvements the Santa Fe has undergone over the past two decades demonstrate Hyundais commitment to developing quality products with the latest features for its customers. Further details on the enhanced fourth generation will be revealed in the near future.
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This story appeared in the June 2020 issue as "Head Cases."Subscribeto Discover magazine for more stories like this.
These are heady times for paleoanthropologists. In the opening decades of the 21st century, new discoveries have refined and revised the story of human evolution at an unprecedented rate.Researchers have added four new members to the genus Homo: South Africas Homo naledi, Asias Denisovans, Indonesias hobbit H. floresiensis and, just last year, its neighbor in the Philippines, H. luzonensis. Improvements in extracting and analyzing ancient DNA and preserved proteins have created molecular-level tools capable of determining relationships between both individuals and species.
Much of the new research involves high-tech analysis of fragmentary fossils or genetic code but no single tooth, scrap of finger bone or shiny piece of lab equipment captures our attention quite like a skull.
The head, and especially the face, is the part of a person that we most commonly engage with, and also usually self identify with, says University of Tbingen paleoanthropologist Katerina Harvati, who co authored a 2019 study in Nature Ecology & Evolution on the evolutionary history of the human face.
Fossil skulls, she says, have the ability to convey not only a lot of information about the species to scientists, but also can give an immediate, intuitive impression of what an individual would have been like as a person when alive and can therefore more easily capture the imagination of both scientists and the public.
And that, quite frankly, is where things get messy.
Christoph Zollikofer, an anthropologist at the University of Zurich, cautions that the sheer charisma of fossil skulls of being face-to-face with an individual who lived thousands or even millions of years ago can lead even the professionals astray.
Our mindsets are like shop display windows that separate us from the mannequins: We look at these fossil skulls through our own mirror images and imaginations, Zollikofer says.
When researchers with different visions look at the same ancient skull, often heated debates erupt. Such arguments have become more common in the 21st century with the discovery of each new fossil that challenges conventional thinking about the evolution of hominins humans and our nearest ancestor and kin species. The more fossils paleoanthropologists find, and the more methods they have to study them, the murkier the story of human evolution seems.
When there were few fossils, it was very easy to make a line and show a very linear evolution, says Silvana Condemi, a paleoanthropologist at Aix-Marseille University in France and co-author of A Pocket History of Human Evolution: How We Became Sapiens. Now we have a lot more fossils, and we see its not so simple, it was much more complex, but we dont have enough fossils to understand it.
She adds: We have new tools. We try to be rigorous. We do our best. But a single discovery can still change everything.
Five fossil skull finds, each with its own controversy, provide a glimpse into how much weve learned about our origin story and how much remains uncertain.
(Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikimedia Commons)
Species: Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Age: up to 7 million years old
Found: Chad, Central Africa
First described: 2002
Discovered in 2001 in Northern Chads desert landscape, the find was extraordinary: a collection of bones and bone fragments sitting beside a mostly complete skull. Researchers named the skull Touma, or hope of life in the local language. Its features were a mashup of old and new, a chimp-sized brain but with small canine teeth theyre typically smaller in hominins than in chimps, our nearest living relatives.
It was the fossils age that was even more shocking, however. Touma is between 6 million and 7 million years old. At the time, paleoanthropologists believed that the last common ancestor we share with chimps was at least a million years younger. Touma suggested the split in our lineages occurred much earlier than thought. And, for many paleoanthropologists, one feature in particular suggested that Touma was one of us, the first hominin. The foramen magnum is the opening at the base of the skull where the spinal cord exits. The angle of the opening can reveal if the spine stretched out behind the skull, as it does for four-legged animals, or dropped down, like it does for bipedal hominins.
According to the reconstruction, the foramen magnum is in a position that suggests it was able to walk on two feet, Condemi says of Touma. Bipedalism is one of the essential features of Homo. This species was in that line.
Touma was hailed as the oldest known hominin, giving researchers a look at the very roots of our lineage in the Late Miocene, when our ancestors split from other apes. When the cranium came out, paleoanthropologists looked at it and said, It must be The One, says paleontologist Fred Spoor of the Natural History Museum in London. Then there was pushback from the Miocene ape [research] community saying, Wait a minute.
As more Miocene ape fossils turn up, the overall picture becomes more complex. In 2019, for example, separate reconstructions of hips and torsos of European Miocene apes Danuvius and Rudapithecus definitely not hominins suggested they also might have been at least experimenting with some form of bipedalism.
Its not a given that only hominins were bipedal, says Spoor. We may well end up in a situation where there were bipedal Miocene apes We shouldnt assume that everything in the past has a lineage that continues in the present.
Zollikofer was the lead author on a 2005 reconstruction, published in Nature, of the Touma skull based on high-resolution CT scans. His team concluded that Toumas species, Sahelanthropus, was more closely related to hominins than to apes. But the researchers were less certain about how it moved.
It is clear that its skull shows evidence for some form of upright stance and bipedal locomotion, says Zollikofer. Is Sahelanthropus our ancestor? We will never know! He might have been part of a population of bipedal apes that was an evolutionary dead end.
Spoor sees Touma as a key specimen regardless of whether it belongs in our family tree. The importance of the cranium is immense. Its a 7-million-year-old fossil that is well preserved, he says. The fairest way to describe it is as the earliest possible or potential hominin. If its not a hominin, its likely quite close.
(Credit: ALe Omori/Cleveland Museum of Natural History)
Species: Australopithecus anamensis
Age: 3.8 million years old
Found: Ethiopia, East Africa
First described: 2019
About 4.2 million years ago, the first australopiths, predecessors of our own Homo genus, emerged. Their brains were a little larger than those of a chimp, but not by much, and they were bipedal. The most famous hominin fossil, 3.2-million-year-old Lucy, was a member of Australopithecus afarensis, a later member of the genus. It was A. afarensis, conventional thinking went, that diversified into other australopith species spread across much of Africa.
Many researchers believed that A. afarensis itself evolved about 3.9 million years ago from the first australopith, A. anamensis. Partial fossils of this earlier species had been found at multiple sites in East Africa, but paleoanthropologists just couldnt put a face to the name. Even fragmentary skull fossils from A. anamensis were scarce.
In August, however, researchers revealed a jawdropping find from Ethiopia: a nearly complete skull of A. anamensis.
Anamensis we have known for decades, but this was the first time we had the cranium, says Condemi, who was not involved in the research. Its wonderful to have an idea what it looks like.
We learn the skull was very small, just a little bigger than Sahelanthropus. The face had chimplike features, with a big sagittal crest, she adds, referring to a ridge of bone along the top of the skull that is more pronounced in animals with powerful jaw muscles, which attach to the crest.
Theres just one problem: The skull, called MRD, is 3.8 million years old. Thats about 100,000 years younger than the oldest fossil described as A. afarensis. MRD, according to the researchers who discovered it, nixed the idea that, over time, A. anamensis had evolved into A. afarensis. Instead, the two species appear to have co-existed.
The idea that anamensis led to afarensis has been thrown out the window though not entirely, says Spoor, who was not part of the team.
To the casual observer, the distinction may seem minor, but understanding the course of australopith evolution has direct consequences for charting our own story.
Spoor and other experts focus on the smallest details, such as the angle of projection of the cheekbone, to see the bigger picture of how the hominin family tree grew to include at least six australopith species and, eventually, the genusof Homo.
"To understand how to build the tree, you have to understand what is newly evolved and what is inherited, says Spoor. The new skull gives us the opportunity to think about all that and to reconsider that all these [later] groups originated from anamensis and not afarensis.
He adds an important caveat: The MRD teams conclusions that the two species overlapped are based on the assumption that the oldest fossil classified as A. afarensis a fragment of skull dated to 3.9 million years ago actually belongs to that species.
Zollikofer shares that concern: The interpretation as having two species at the same time suffers from the fact that there are only two specimens. How can we know for sure what is within-group and betweenspecies variation here? We cant.
Until additional skulls of both A. anamensis and A. afarensis turn up, say the researchers, MRD may be just a pretty face.
(Credit: Guram Bumbiashvili/Georgian National Museum)
Specimen: Skull 5
Species: Homo erectus
Age: 1.77 million to 1.85 million years old
Found: Georgia, Caucasus Region of Eurasia
First described: 2013
A day's drive south of the Caucasus Mountains in the country of Georgia, beside a ruined medieval fortress and a small working monastery, sits one of the worlds most important, and confounding, paleoanthropological sites: Dmanisi, home to the oldest hominin fossils outside Africa.
Beginning in the 1980s, researchers unearthed thousands of fossils that are about 1.8 million years old. Among the remains of Etruscan wolves, saber-toothed tigers, deer and other animals are the bones of several hominins, including partial and complete skulls.
A particularly robust lower jaw was found in 2000 and initially described as an entirely new species, H. georgicus. In 2013 in Science, however, researchers announced theyd unearthed the rest of the individuals skull, now known as Skull 5. Having the complete skull led the team to do an about-face, no pun intended. They concluded the Dmanisi hominins were members of H. erectus, the earliest member of our genus found beyond Africa.
What led to the researchers unusual reversal? As Zollikofer puts it, Skull 5 is not alone It has four buddies, and all of them look quite different from each other.
Zollikofer has co-authored several Dmanisi hominin studies, including a 2006 paper in The Anatomical Record Part A on one of the other skulls. That specimen is unique in the entire hominin fossil record: The individual lost its teeth several years before death, leaving it unable to chew. It may have survived with assistance from others, suggesting social behavior otherwise unknown this early in human evolution.
It was the 2013 study on Skull 5, however, for which Zollikofer served as senior author, that ignited an academic firestorm. In addition to reclassifying the Dmanisi hominins as H. erectus, the team went a step further: They suggested that differences between the five Dmanisi skulls offered proof of considerable variation within H. erectus, so much so that other early Homo species, such as Africas H. habilis, could be reclassified as H. erectus.
It was a fresh salvo in one of paleoanthropologys longest-running battles: Was the early evolution of Homo linear, a single species changing over time into a new species? Or was it an unruly tangle of multiple populations, species and subspecies, mixing and mingling, sometimes evolving in isolation and then coming together again to interbreed?
Numerous critics took on the teams conclusions, including Spoor, who authored the provocatively titled Nature commentary Small-brained and big-mouthed.
Spoor appreciates Skull 5s significance It is a beautiful example of a very early Homo erectus but remains opposed to the teams radical proposal to redefine all early Homo species as H. erectus. He notes that their conclusion hinges on the assumption that the five Dmanisi skulls, found in the same general layer of rock, lived at the same time.
One level of excavation can represent 10,000, 20,000 years, Spoor says.
Being able to document the variation between Skull 5 and other Dmanisi hominins may be the most significant thing about the fossils. Exactly what that significance is, however, varies from one researcher to the next.
A reconstruction, based on partial bones that are about 315,000 years old, shows facial features within the range of modern humans. (Credit: Sarah Freidline/MPI Eva Leipzig)
Specimen: Irhoud 10
Species: Homo sapiens
Age: about 315,000 years old
Found: Morocco, North Africa
First described: 2017
For decades, conventional thinking was that H. sapiens emerged no more than 200,000 years ago, and in East Africa. Then a team took another look at a minor fossil site in Morocco.
In 1961, during mining operations, workers digging into a hillside had found an old skull. Subsequent excavations turned up more partial fossils, but the species was as uncertain as their estimated age, which ranged from 40,000 to 160,000 years old.
The most recent round of digging at the site, known as Jebel Irhoud, began in 2004 and included a more rigorous approach to dating the additional fossils found. The results were striking: The hominins, which included a partial face and braincase known as Irhoud 10, were about 315,000 years old.
In 2017 in Nature, researchers announced that Irhoud 10s facial features were within the range of modern humans. The Moroccan hominins were, said the authors, the oldest H. sapiens in the fossil record by more than 100,000 years.
This material represents the very root of our species, lead researcher Jean Jacques Hublin told media at the time.
Other paleoanthropologists saw the teams conclusions as hype.
Paleoanthropologists have an obsession with species, species definitions and ancestors, says Zollikofer, noting that Darwin believed there was far more fluidity among related populations. In Jebel Irhoud you can focus on a set of facial features that create a link to H. sapiens, or focus on other features that create a strong link to earlier humans. Guess which option sells better?
Chief among the archaic features of the Irhoud hominins is the low and elongated braincase, far from the rounded shape thats a hallmark of modern H. sapiens. But others in the field see the Irhoud hominins as an exciting snapshot of evolution in action.
I consider Jebel Irhoud Homo sapiens, says Condemi. What we see in Jebel Irhoud is similar to what we see in the evolution of Neanderthals, in that the Neanderthal we see from 200,000 years ago is not the Neanderthal we see from 50,000 years ago. There is evolution within a lineage.Spoor agrees. Evolution is a continuous event. Different parts of the head evolve at a different tempo. Its neat to see modernity emerge.
While the age of the Irhoud fossils is significant, so is the location. Finding the earliest H. sapiens thousands of miles from East Africa is as unexpected as the Irhoud hominins age.
I think what this evidence shows is that our old model of looking for a specific geographical region where modern humans evolved, a kind of Garden of Eden, so to speak, was probably too simple, says the University of Tbingens Harvati, a co-author of the 2017 paper introducing Irhoud 10. It is much more likely that several closely related populations across Africa contributed to our lineage, at times diverging and coming back together as environmental conditions separated them or brought them back into contact with each other.
I think [Irhoud] means that the cradle of Homo sapiens is not East Africa. Its all of Africa, adds Condemi. It means sapiens is a Pan-African species.
The partial cranium (right) and its reconstruction (left, middle) demonstrate a unique feature of modern humans the rounded shape contrasts sharply with Neanderthals and their ancestors. (Credit: Katerina Harvati/Eberhard Karls University Of Tbingen)
Specimen: Apidima 1
Species: Homo sapiens
Age: about 210,000 years old
Found: Greece, southern Europe
First described: 2019
In 2018, a Partial modern H. sapiens jaw from Israel, known as Misliya-1, pushed back the clock for our first road trip. It was up to 194,000 years old, evidence that our species was venturing out of Africa much earlier than once thought.
Given the general acceptance of Misliya-1, it was perhaps surprising that another fossil, described last July in Nature, met with so much controversy. Known as Apidima 1, the partial skull from Greece had been found more than 40 years earlier but had never been rigorously analyzed. Thats in part because it was discovered within arms reach of another, more complete hominin skull, Apidima 2, a Neanderthal. Found so close to it, Apidima 1 was assumed to be Neanderthal, too.
But then Harvati and her team looked at both skulls and conducted more advanced dating to determine their age. The results surprised even the researchers.
Apidima 2 was about 170,000 years old. But the team concluded that Apidima 1, about 210,000 years old, was H. sapiens: the earliest evidence of our species in Europe by more than 160,000 years.
We thought that Europe was the exclusive realm of the Neanderthals and their ancestors until about 45,000 years ago, says Harvati. However, there is no inherent reason why this should be so. There was no barrier that would have prevented early modern humans already in the Near East to spread further north to Anatolia and southeastern Europe.
And Apidima 1, says Harvati with certainty, is H. sapiens. Even though only a portion of the skull has been preserved, its the back area, which is uniquely rounded in modern humans.
Not everyone shares her confidence.
Says Zollikofer: [Apidima 1] is a conundrum. It could represent a lost aspect of early Neanderthal variation. It could represent a lost human population, without species attribution. It could represent H. sapiens. It is frustrating that it is so badly preserved; on the other hand, just being so badly preserved gives room for imagination.
In fact, just before Nature published Harvatis results, a smaller journal, available only in French, published another study on Apidima 1. Those authors concluded the partial skull belonged to the Neanderthal lineage.
As for the disparity in age between the two fossils, even Harvati first assumed they were contemporaries until results showed otherwise. The partial skulls and other, unidentified bone fragments were preserved in breccia, a mishmash of gravel and random debris washed into and through the cave system and then cemented together over time.
Our current hypothesis is that the specimens both fell into a kind of shaft, which filled with sediments from various parts of the cave, were jumbled together and solidified together, says Harvati.
She plans to return to the cave to conduct fresh excavations. Finding additional fossils may put critics concerns to rest or start new debates.
Spoor, echoing the mindset of many in the field at this thrilling and uncertain time, is ready for the next unexpected fossil find.
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Posted: at 5:48 pm
Canned wine isnt just found on grocery store shelves and at outdoor festivals these days. Fine wine producers are taking the category seriously today, and an increasing amount of high-end juice is making its way into cans, creating a luxury niche in the fast-growing format.
From a hospitality standpoint, finding a way to create premium wines that were immediately accessible seemed like a no-brainer, says Thomas Pastuszak, the wine director at New York Citys NoMad, who created Vinny in 2018, with the goal of creating a high-quality wine in a can. He contracts with 10 small farms in New York State to create a sparkling white and a sparkling ros, which retail at $20 for a four-pack (250-milliliter)and of course, the cans are part of the James Beard Award-winning bar program at NoMad Bar.
For years, canned wine was seen as a cheap alternative offering convenience in an attractive package, but recently, it appears that the same perception evolution that occurred in the screw-cap market is happening with canned wine.
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I have long been a naysayer for canned wine, because I think about how I like to consume fine wine, says Rob McMillan, the founder of the Silicon Valley Banks Wine Division, who authors the banks annual State of the Wine Industry report. But ignoring cans as a segment means ignoring an on-ramp for younger consumers. The smaller servings also make it possible for all consumers to try better wines for a lower price.
The categorys popularity is undeniable: according to Nielsen, off-premise sales of canned wine in 2019 grew 79.2 percent for the 52-week period ending December 28, 2019. In comparison, during the same period, overall wine sales from off-premise outlets increased just 1.4 percent year-over-year.
As premium wine increasingly joins the canned wine category, retailers and restaurants are figuring out how to position canned wine to leverage its potential.
The Francis Ford Coppola Winery first popularized the can with the debut of the Sofia Blanc de Blancs in 2004, but the major spike in new entrants is more recent: The number of winemakers canning wine grew 180 percent (from 125 to 350) between June 2018 and June 2019, according to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based wine-in-a-can research firm, WIC Research.
The market is dominated by a few big brandsPrecept Wines House Wine, Union Wine Co.and bigger players like E&J Gallo, The Wine Group, and Constellation are now aggressively in the game. Even beer behemoths are capitalizing on the categorys success; AB InBev snapped up Babe Wine from Josh The Fat Jewish Ostrovsky last year, later partnering with the NFL as its first Official Wine Sponsor.
However, WICs partner and co-founder Dr. Robert L. Williams Jr. predicts that the luxury end of the market will also continue to grow. Good wine in a can is good wine, and the opposite is true as well, says Williams. More premium wines will continue to get canned as the market grows and competition increases, he adds.
Early on, two producers saw the growing importance of quality wine inside the can: Union Wine Co.s Underwood label from Oregon, and Alloy Wine Works from Paso Robles, which debuted in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Each aimed to deliver craft quality in unpretentious packaging, and together, they helped drive the categorys growth 125 percent from $6.4 million to $14.5 million between 2015 and 2016 alone.
Union Wine went from an initial 500-case production run to current annual sales of about 400,000 cases. Meanwhile, Alloys founder Andrew Jones, who sold the company to Vintage Wine Estates last year, but remains on board, reports that his production line is currently 20 times what it was when he launched.
It was about meeting people where they wanted to be, says Jones, who also helms single-vineyard project Field Recordings. They wanted top-quality, terroir-driven grapes, treated the same way they would be for the bottle, but in a smaller, endlessly recyclable package that could be consumed anywhere.
A 375-milliliter can of Underwood or Alloys varietal wines typically retails for about $6 to $7, and a four-pack of 187-milliliter Sofia cans retails for $20. But what about wine that sells for $25 a can?
In 2015, SANS Wine Co. began sourcing organically farmed wine grapes from the Napa Valley and putting them in a can.
We started with a white, a red, and a ros, but we saw a place for premium varietal wines on the market, co-founder Gina Schober explains. Our cans are vintage-dated and sourced from a single vineyard. No one else was specifying AVAs, vintages, and vineyards, but we knew there was a market for that.
While the original base-level offerings retail for an above-average $10 per can, SANS now produces a $12 Carbonic Carignan, $15 dry Riesling, and a $25 Cabernet Sauvignon. Since launching, theyve doubled their growth every year; now they produce 5,000 24-can cases annually.
Our philosophy is to treat the grapes as we would if they were going in the bottle, co-founder Jake Stover says. Our interaction with them is minimal. We dont use spray, we dry farm, and we stopped using sulfites in five of the seven wines.
Also filling the organic canned wine void, Winesellers Ltd. started canning their Tiamo brand in 2017 and have been seeing double digit growth ever since.
Canned wines inherent outdoor-friendly convenience has driven other producers to add them to their offerings. Sean Larkin, the founder of premium, hand-farmed wine producer Larkin Wines in Napa Valley, was inspired by the no-glass policy at the beach; he now offers white, red, and ros cans ($144 for a 12-pack).
In South Africa, U.S. expats Charles Brain and Walker Brown launched Lubanzi Wines in both bottles and cans. They launched in 26 states and Canada last year, and hope to continue to grow their distribution; a four-pack of their Chenin Blanc or Red Blend retails for $30.
As wine lovers and adventure seekers who feel deeply connected to the land and people of South Africa, creating a line of cans just made sense because we like to enjoy wine in the wild, on the go, says Brown. Cans just feel more relevant to the way people live their lives.
Even established fine wine importers and distributors are recognizing cans value and potential.
I did not think canned wine could be serious, terroir-driven, or varietally true, says Arjun Dewan, the executive vice president at New York-based importer and distributor Winebow. Dewan changed his mind in 2017 when Winebow began working with Bridge Lane Wine, the second label of Lieb Cellars in Long Island, which specializes in both bottles and alternative formats. Bridge Lanes four-pack of 375-milliliter cans sells for $34 and deliver dry, distinctive wines made from sustainably farmed vineyards.
The Winebow team launched their own line of premium canned ros wine, Amble + Chase, in 2018, which retails for about $5 a can. In March, Winebow also became the New York distributor for Union Wine Co.s Underwood, which now represents six of the top 15 SKUs in Winebows Oregon super premium categoryincluding wine in bottle.
When the Family Coppola first launched canned wine in 2002, the technology of canning sparkling wine was difficult to manage. Because no one else was doing it here, it took us two years to perfect the science of preparing wine for the can, says winemaker Tondi Bolkan. Because theres no oxygen exchange, you have to be thoughtful about what varieties you select and how the wine is treated before canning.
WIC Researchs Williams attributes the stratospheric growth of canned wine in part to improvements in canning technology, as well as subtle shifts in consumer desires.
Cans have gone through the same evolution as screw caps, Williams says. For some people, it will always be a cork or nothing, but the canning technology and working knowledge of what works and doesnt for cans has progressed enough to make cans a net positive for wine itself.
It took some early trial and error to understand how different wines and different acid levels react to the liners in cans, and producers have since adapted for more consistent results. Today, according to a blind taste test conducted by WIC last year, the difference in taste between canned and bottled wine is negligible.
Rich Bouwer, the CEO of Free Flow Wines in Sonoma, California, a leading provider of alternative wine packaging, agrees that its winemakers approach to cans, not the technology itself, that has shifted and resulted in better quality.
Issue one is with the handling of cans, says Bouwer. Cans cant be stacked as high as bottles, because theyll get crushed, and they have to be moved around more carefully, so there has been a learning curve.
Issue two, he says, is understanding that cans are airtight environments, unlike bottles with cork closures. Even more so than screw-caps, there is no transfer of oxygen. Bouwer says that the best way for producers to prevent unexpected quality issues caused by reactions between a can and the wine that may exacerbate over time is to put cans through an aging test.
Every new producer we work with has to have their cans tested by Ball, he says. Theyll red flag any chemical composition issues and test the shelf life.
An increasing awareness of sustainability and wellness among consumers may bolster the positioning of premium canned wine in the marketplace. Organic farming and energy conservation are integral to the philosophy behind canned wine brand Archer Roose, founded in 2015, as does the aluminum package.
A single-serve can eliminate the bottle left unfinished at the end of the night, says Marian Leitner, the founder of Archer Roose. All of our cans are made from recycled aluminum, a material that can be recycled and reused indefinitely. Our cans are back on shelves within 60 days of being recycled. The global recycling rate for glass is only around 26.5 percent, while the global recycling rate for cans is 69 percent.
Brett Vankoski, the co-founder and wine director of Latitude Beverage Co., which has a line of premium canned wines dubbed Lila, also sees a real desire for healthier alternatives in the beverage industry. As an industry we need to find ways to address how smaller formats like cans, especially ones with premium juice, can be a healthier alternative, says Vankoski.
Its cans ability to fit in with current consumption trends, as well as their improved quality, believes McMillan, that means they are here to stay: Cans are not a fad, they are the future.
Kathleen Willcox is a journalist who writes about food, wine, beer, and popular culture; her work has appeared in VinePair, Edible Capital District, Bust magazine, and Gastronomica, and on United Stations Radio Networks, among other venues. She recently coauthored, with Tessa Edick, Hudson Valley Wine: A History of Taste & Terroir. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Long-lasting Oxygen in Earth’s Early Atmosphere May Have Jump-Started the Evolution to Animal Life – Air & Space Magazine
Posted: at 5:48 pm
It seems the history of oxygen on Earth will have to be adjusted, based on a new paper by Kaarel Mnd from the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues. They analyzed carbon-rich sedimentary rocks from two billion years ago and found chemical markersincluding very high levels of molybdenum, uranium and rheniumconsistent with large amounts of oxygen in the ocean and in Earths early atmosphere.
Our planets atmosphere underwent a big transformation about 2.45 billion years ago, in whats known as the Great Oxidation Event. Cyanobacteria in the ocean released oxygen as part of their metabolism, which reacted with methane in the atmosphere to produce carbon dioxide. The Sun was weaker at the time, and combined with the loss of methanea much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxideit resulted in the so-called Snowball Earth, when nearly the whole planet was covered with ice.
Then something else strange happened. Known as the Lomagundi-Jatuli Event, dated at about 2.22 to 2.06 billion years ago, the geological record shows a very long positive peak of the carbon 13 isotope (heavy carbon). This is interpreted to be due to the huge production of organic carbon from inorganic carbon, mostly carbon dioxide, and its later burial. As a consequence, a lot of oxygen (from the original carbon dioxide molecules) was set free. This must have extended the Snowball Earth period even more. Until now, many scientists believed that following the Lomagundi-Jatuli Event, oxygen levels in the atmosphere declined, except in very localized areas. Mnds results may force us to rethink that. Global oxygen levels appear to have remained high for much longer, probably for many tens of millions of years.
This history is of more than academic interest, because oxygen is believed to have been important for the rise of eukaryotes, the first microbes with a nucleus. The fossil record is unclear, but eukaryotes appear to have originated around that same time, and may have been jump-started by a longer period of high oxygen levels. The transition from prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) to eukaryotes was a critical step in the increase of complexity of life on Earth, which eventually ended up with a technologically advanced speciesus (yes, were all eukaryotes).
This brings up the question of how fast evolution can progress toward complexity on a habitable planet. Most scientists believe it takes several billion years, as it did on Earth, because oxygen is needed to fuel the high metabolism of animals. To get high enough oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere, the rocks have to be oxidized first, followed by the oceans. All that takes a very long time. But what if there are environmental mechanisms that keep the oxygen content high early in a planets history, allowing the rise of animals much earliersay a billion years earlier than it did on our own planet? If so, there could be a planet out there with intelligent life thats a billion years ahead of us.
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Posted: at 5:47 pm
The editors at the prominent science journal BioEssays recently published an editorial demanding government-mandated censorship of intelligent design. My colleagues and I had expected something like this before long. They singled out Evolution News in particular as a being in need of prejudicial treatment from the huge tech companies that dominate electronic media. If giants like Google or Facebook hesitate, then says biologist Dave Speijer, the government should Make them.
The threat is no joke. You were aware that censors are already at work suppressing other ideas on the Internet that they dont like. Intelligent design was next in line.
What can you do to make a meaningful statement in favor of free speech? Heres an idea: Get a copy of the new book from Discovery Institute Press, Evolution & Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, the most accessible and up-to-date introduction to ID thats ever been released. It goes on sale today on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats.
The five authors, led by Thomas Y. Lo, cover the range of evidence for design in under 150 pages. The origin of the universe, the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion, and more theres no subject we cover at Evolution News that is left out, but it is all treated in a way that anyone can understand.
Why is it an effective counter to the bullies at BioEssays who want to shut down views that point to an underlying purpose in the cosmos?
As Dr. Lo writes in his Introduction, shuffling objective evidence of design under the rug is something that science textbooks have been doing for decades. He tells a moving story about his own journey to maturity as a scientist and as a religious believer, how his Christian faith unraveled when he was a young man, only to be regained as he realized what had been left out of his education: cosmological evidence of creation ex nihilo at the Big Bang, the fine-tuning of the universe, the truth about 19th-century German zoologists Ernst Haeckels classic embryo drawings, the puzzle of the Cambrian event that Charles Darwin acknowledged but that the textbooks papered over or ignored altogether.
He recalls one scientist, University of San Francisco biologist Paul Chien, whom he heard give a lecture thirty years ago. Dr Chien explained the challenge of the Cambrian explosion to standard Darwinian accounts of evolution. Today, Dr. Chien contributed a chapter to the Nutshell book that includes his own personal stories of visiting key Cambrian fossil sites.
The textbooks leave most or all of this out. In the same tradition, todays censors are bent on keeping minds closed. But they are more dangerous because of the way technology has turned social media platforms into potential bottlenecks.
So get Evolution & Intelligent Design in a Nutshell for yourself, or share it with a friend, or with a student. The book is just in time because, under an endless lockdown in many places, theres a bull market for studying at home. You might have a high school student in your household, or a college student, who would benefit from the insights and crystal-clear presentation of Lo, Chien, and their co-authors, Eric Anderson, Robert Alston, and Robert Waltzer.
Arguments for intelligent design, conveyed in weighty tomes, can be daunting for the learner seeking an introduction. As chemist Marcos Eberlin quips, evolutionists hope you dont know chemistry. Sometimes it seems that ID proponents assume that you know not only chemistry, but biology, physics, mathematics, computer engineering, and philosophy, just for starters. Thomas Lo has done a service by cutting through much detail to the core of intelligent design.
For more on BioEssays and its call for suppression, see here:
You are not powerless. Stick it to the censors by ordering your copy now.
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Posted: at 5:47 pm
BMW's kidney grille is such a distinctive design element of the brand's models that it's hard to picture a product from the company without these dual openings at the front. It's now an iconic element for the firm's styling.
The famous design detail has changed many times since 1933, and it has only become bigger and bigger in recent years. Just look at the forthcoming BMW 4 Series for the best example.
But where does the BMW "double kidney" come from and how has it evolved over the years? Let's find out together!
A brief historical note is necessary because when the BMW 303 was born in 1933, the double kidney was nothing more than a radiator grille divided into two long vertical parts that angled rearwards on the outside.
Designer Fritz Fielder used this split design as a way to improve the 303's aerodynamics. His decision kicked off a legend that has continued to appear on BMW's machine. Over time, the iconic grille has changed in height, width, shape, and position, but those who see it know at a glance that the car is a BMW.
The BMW 328 was among the cars that first made the BMW brand (and its grille) known in Europe because of its success in racing.
The style became more famous on the luxurious 327, and the look remained largely intact through the 1940s. In the postwar period, there were the 501 and 502 models that reproduced kidneys with a few changes. On the 503, things started to change when the shape shrunk in height.
In 1956, the 507 brought a complete revolution to the kidney grille. The spectacular sports car with a design by Albrecht von Goertz boasted a pair of short, yet wide horizontal opening that created an integral part of the styling between the headlights.
TheBMW Z8 with a design by Henrik Fisker underthe supervision of Chris Bangle brought the 507's styling back with a more modern appearance. The similarities are obvious, yet don't go so far to make the Z8 look too retro.
In recent years, BMW's designers have tweaked the design to incorporate a horizontal line joining the headlights to the grille. You can see this element on the latest3 Series, 5 Series, and 8 Series. The i3 adapts this look into a smaller size because it does not need air to flow to the engine. With the i8 and latest Z4, the firm stretched the shape to occupy a larger horizontal area of the front end.
The 2011 BMW Vision ConnectedDrive and 2019 BMW Vision M NEXT concepts follow this same general style. However, the designers put a focus on creating more complex polygonal shapes along the edges.
Returning to the earlier evolution of the kidneys, check out look the arrival of the so-called Neue Klasse models in the early 1960s. On these vehicles, the designers used two relatively skinny ovals in the centre and incorporated a wide array of mesh outward to the headlights.
The first 5 Series from 1972, the 1975 3 Series, and the 1977 7 Seriesfurther crystallised this distinctive aspect of BMW's frontal design for the decades to come.The general concept of this styling cue lasted until the mid-1990s on some of the brand's machines.
Even while the company's major models wore the trademark combination of a wide grille opening and circular headlights, other products showed experimentation with something different. Vehicles like the M1, Z1, and original 8 Series still had kidneys, but they were smaller and simpler than other members of the lineup.
The 1989 Z1 and 1990 8 Series actually previewed the future direction for the kidneys that later models adopted. In the 1990s, vehicles like the E36-generation 3 Series, E39-gen 5 Series, and much of the rest lineup no longer head the wide grille from the past decades. Instead, the kidneys were a discreet element of the nose, and body-colour elements surrounded them.
This styling cue continued into the 2000s on vehicles like the 1 Series, 6 Series, X1, and X3.
Over the past ten years, BMW teased the motoring world by showing concepts and even some production cars with an slightly evolved take on the kidney grille.
With the 2018 BMW X5, the designers enlarged the openings horizontally and vertically. Using chrome for the uprights made them even more visually distinctive. So far, the 2019 7 Series and X7 are the most obvious expressions of this styling cue, but we know that more models like this are on the way.
Before that, however, there was the 2013 BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe Concept and the 2014BMW Vision Future Luxury were hints of what was to come.
In 2011, the BMW 328 Hommage concept debuted showing a modern take on the classic model. Part of its design was a large, vertical grille that ran from the tip of the bonnet nearly to the ground. With the upcoming 4 Series, we are seeing the company incorporate this cue into a production vehicle.
The 2014 BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage, followed by the 2016 Vision Next 100, 2019 Concept 4, and2020 Concept i4highlighted the slow evolution of BMW designers incorporating the taller kidney grille into increasingly production-ready-looking vehicles. We now know the Concept 4 is a very close preview of what to expect from the next-gen 4 Series when it arrives in showrooms.
Even earlier, there were signs of BMW eliminating the gap between the kidneys and using a single bar between them instead. Vehicles like the 2017 Vision Dynamics,2017 Vision iNEXT and 2018 Concept iX3 showed this evolution.
While they are uncommon, there are BMWs without a kidney grille. The Isetta comes to mind, although it's styling originally comes from an Italian microcar. There's also the BMW 700 that has a rear-engine layout, so the kidneys aren't a styling necessity.
Here's where things get weird because there are vehicles with close relationships to the Bavarian automaker without actually being BMW products that have a kidney grille. First, there'sEisenacher Motorenwerk (or EMW) from the former East Germany. Following World War II, the former BMW factory in Eisenach, Germany, began re-manufacturing pre-war BMW vehicles and later some tweaked versions of these products.
There's also the case of Britain's Bristol Cars in the post-war period. It was able to gain access to BMW technology and even employed BMW 303 designersFritz Fielder to create the Bristol 400 that had a striking styling similarity to pre-war BMW vehicles.
There have also been a few cases of designers wanting to tweak the kidney grille. For example, the Spicup concept (green vehicle below) by Bertone in 1969 opted for an angular shape with rectangular shapes, which wasn't on production BMW vehicles at the time although was somewhat simpler to the later M1. Bertone also created the Garmisch (the beige vehicle below) with a diamond-shaped take on the kidneys.
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Posted: at 5:47 pm
VFD Group has held its 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM), in line with the social distancing rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in view of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
At the 1st Open Virtual AGM (OVA), the financial institution got the approval of its financial statements for the fiscal year 2019 by the shareholders, declared a dividend of N3.30 kobo per 50 kobo share payable as of May 1, 2020; appointment of a new director and re-election of retiring directors. Other agenda of the meeting was the appointment of new external auditors and members of the statutory audit committee.
The OVA accorded every shareholder an opportunity to vote on all the resolutions presented before members, under the chairmanship of Mr Olatunde Busari (SAN). The meeting, which was held via Zoom and live-streamed on YouTube with access to the general public, is a remarkable feat indicative of the Companys transparency.
READ ALSO: Transcript of VFD Groups conference call for FY 2019 results presentation
Busari said, VFD Group has shown its commitment to world-class governance and transparency by being the first public company to organise an OVA that accorded all shareholders an opportunity to vote. We strongly believe that our capital market and public companies will be better governed if every shareholders vote counts every single vote. It is on record that we had 100% participation of all shareholders in the voting process. He urged the regulators to make polling in AGMs for public companies compulsory and also introduce virtual voting to enable every shareholder to cast his or her vote, regardless of geography.
Speaking on the Groups financial performance, the Group Managing Director, Mr Nonso Okpala, said, VFD Group Plcs performance in 2019 has provided the foundation for its emergence as the leading investment company in Nigeria with interest in key sectors of the Nigerian economy. In 2020 and beyond, we will seek to integrate these companies in order to establish a value ecosystem for enhanced efficiency and compelling offering to over a hundred million Nigerians. The base of that ecosystem is our investment in VFD Tech and its recent launch of Nigerians #1 virtual bank called V by VFD which is available on the Apple App Store or Google PlayStore http://www.vbank.ng
Members also approved the appointment of Mr Chuks Ozigbo, as a Director of the Company. It also re-elected Mr Olatunde Busari (SAN), Mr Suleiman Lawal, Mr Azubike Emodi, Dr Samuel Maduka Onyishi and Ms Jewel Okwechime as Directors.
READ MORE: VFD Group Plc appoints new Director
The meeting further served to appoint Deloitte & Touche as the External Auditors of the Company, as well as approve the election of members of the Statutory Audit Committee.Following the General Meeting, the Board of Directors still comprises 13 members including 5 Executive Directors and two Independent Directors.
About VFD Group Plc:
VFD Group Plc is a proprietary investment company with a vision to be a commercially viable investment company with global influence focused on building positive and socially conscious ecosystems. The Group has an investment interest in banking, real estate, technology, hospitality, leasing, financial advisory, remittance and asset management.
The Company was incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on 7th July 2009 and commenced business operations the same year.
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