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The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is a research institute based in Leipzig, Germany, founded in 1997. It is part of the Max Planck Society network.The institute comprises five departments and several Junior Scientist Groups, and currently employs about three hundred and thirty people.Well-known scientists currently based at the institute include Svante Pääbo , Bernard Comrie , Michael Tomasello , Christophe Boesch , and Jean-Jacques Hublin . Wikipedia.

Lawson D.J.,University of Bristol | Falush D.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics | Year: 2012

A large number of algorithms have been developed to classify individuals into discrete populations using genetic data. Recent results show that the information used by both model-based clustering methods and principal components analysis can be summarized by a matrix of pairwise similarity measures between individuals. Similarity matrices have been constructed in a number of ways, usually treating markers as independent but differing in the weighting given to polymorphisms of different frequencies. Additionally, methods are now being developed that take linkage into account. We review several such matrices and evaluate their information content. A two-stage approach for population identification is to first construct a similarity matrix and then perform clustering. We review a range of common clustering algorithms and evaluate their performance through a simulation study. The clustering step can be performed either on the matrix or by first using a dimension-reduction technique; we find that the latter approach substantially improves the performance of most algorithms. Based on these results, we describe the population structure signal contained in each similarity matrix and find that accounting for linkage leads to significant improvements for sequence data. We also perform a comparison on real data, where we find that population genetics models outperform generic clustering approaches, particularly with regard to robustness for features such as relatedness between individuals. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved. Source

Hartman G.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Functional Ecology | Year: 2011

1.Mammalian species from hot and arid environments often have elevated nitrogen isotope values compared to animals from similar trophic levels in more temperate climates. This pattern has most often been explained as the result of a physiological response by animals to heat and water stress. However, a positive correlation between rainfall and the δ 15N values of plants and herbivorous mammalian species suggests that diet may be responsible. 2.This study uses the horn keratin of desert-adapted bovids (Dorcas gazelle and Nubian ibex) to test whether the δ 15N values of herbivore body tissues are determined by heat and water stress or by the isotopic composition of their diet. The δ 15N values of horn keratin are compared against several climatic factors that affect heat and water stress to determine if a relationship exists. In addition, the range of δ 15N values measured in desert vegetation is used to evaluate the contribution of the diet to the isotopic values of bovid body tissue. 3.The δ 15N values of desert bovid horn keratin were correlated against individual climatic factors that induce water stress and were not found to be significant. When climatic factors were combined, a significant positive correlation was found between the δ 15N values of Dorcas gazelles and temperature, humidity, and rainfall. This observation contradicts the physiological stress hypothesis that predicts a negative correlation between rainfall and humidity and δ 15N values. Instead, this correlation is likely attributable to denitrification processes in the soil that directly affect the isotopic values of the plants. Values for δ 15N of horn keratin fall within the range predicted by discrimination between diet and consumer (Δ=4·1‰) which supports the diet hypothesis. 4.The results suggest that the isotopic composition of the diet is the dominant factor determining the δ 15N values of herbivore body tissue. © 2010 The Author. Functional Ecology © 2010 British Ecological Society. Source

Hublin J.-J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2015

Dating the timing of the replacement of local Neandertal populations by modern humans in western Eurasia at the dawn of the Upper Palaeolithic remains challenging due to the scarcity of the palaeontological evidence and to the complexity of the archaeological record. Furthermore, key specimens have been discovered in the course of excavations that unfortunately did not meet today's archaeological standards. The importance of site-formation processes in the considered time period makes it sometimes difficult to precisely assign fragmentary remains a posteriori to distinct techno-complexes. The improvements in dating methods have however allowed for the clarification of many chronological issues in the past decade. Archaeological and palaeontological evidence strongly suggest that the initial modern colonization of eastern Europe and central Asia should be related to the spread of techno-complexes assigned to the Initial Upper Palaeolithic. This first expansion may have started as early as 48 ka cal BP. The earliest phases of the Aurignacian complex (Protoaurignacian and Early Aurignacian) seem to represent another modern wave of migrations, starting in the Levant area. The expansion of this techno-complex throughout Europe completed the modern colonization of the continent. The interpretation of a third group of industries referred to as "transitional assemblages" in western and central Europe is much debated. At least in part, these assemblages might have been produced by Neandertal groups that may have survived until c. 41 ka cal BP, according to the directly dated Neandertal specimens of Saint-Césaire (France) and Spy (Belgium). © 2014 The Author. Source

Kuhl H.S.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Burghardt T.,University of Bristol
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Animal biometrics is an emerging field that develops quantified approaches for representing and detecting the phenotypic appearance of species, individuals, behaviors, and morphological traits. It operates at the intersection between pattern recognition, ecology, and information sciences, producing computerized systems for phenotypic measurement and interpretation. Animal biometrics can benefit a wide range of disciplines, including biogeography, population ecology, and behavioral research. Currently, real-world applications are gaining momentum, augmenting the quantity and quality of ecological data collection and processing. However, to advance animal biometrics will require integration of methodologies among the scientific disciplines involved. Such efforts will be worthwhile because the great potential of this approach rests with the formal abstraction of phenomics, to create tractable interfaces between different organizational levels of life. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Hublin J.-J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Current Biology | Year: 2014

The bushy nature of the human evolutionary tree in the past 3 million years is widely accepted. Yet, a spectacular new fossil of early Homo has prompted some paleoanthropologists to prune our family tree. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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