|Cameron Todd Willingham Guilty|
No doubts: Those closest to case shed no tears for Willingham
By Janet Jacobs, Corsicana Daily Sun
published: September 07, 2009 05:08 pm
expired, original link
The undeniable facts of the Cameron Todd Willingham case are these:
â¢ On Dec. 23, 1991, 2-year-old Amber Louise Kuykendall, and 1-year-old twins Karmon Diane Willingham and Kameron Marie Willingham died in a mid-morning house fire at 1213 W. 11th Ave. in Corsicana.
â¢ Willingham, 23, the childrenâs father, and the only adult home at the time of the fire, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death on Aug. 21, 1992.
â¢ After five appeals and 12 years on death row, he was put to death by lethal injection on Feb. 17, 2004.
Everything else is controversial.
Carrying the torch
To people opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances, the holy grail is an innocent man who was executed, preferably in Texas, home of the nationâs busiest death row. Some argue Todd Willingham is that innocent man.
The latest argument for Willinghamâs innocence comes from a report by Craig Beyler, of Hughes Associates in Baltimore, Md., and submitted Aug. 17 to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a panel formed in 2005 to deal with forensic errors.
Beyler was contracted to review the case following a complaint by the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is best known for using DNA analysis to exonerate wrongly convicted men.
The report claims the Texas investigators didnât understand fire science, and didnât use modern methods in the Willingham case. Because one of the investigators was with the Texas fire marshalâs office, the marshalâs office will have a chance to respond to Beylerâs findings, and the commission should deliver a verdict next spring.
This week, the New Yorker published an article by David Grann which condemns the science and the system which sent a seemingly innocent man to his death. Part of the article is based on Willinghamâs relationship with a woman who visited him on death row, and became an amateur sleuth on his behalf. Previous articles questioning the Willingham verdict have also appeared in the Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Tribune.
Leaders of the Innocence Project say this is proof of a failed death-penalty system.
âThere can no longer be any doubt that an innocent person has been executed,â said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, in a release. âThe question now turns to how we can stop it from happening again.
âAs long as our system of justice makes mistakes â including the ultimate mistake â we cannot continue executing people,â Scheck stated.
In Corsicana, the attempts to make Todd Willingham into a martyr arenât well-received.
âHeâs not a poster child for anybody,â said Sgt. Jimmie Hensley of the Corsicana Police Department.
Doug Fogg, a Corsicana firefighter for 31 years, was the first responder to arrive at 1213 W. 11th Ave. in Corsicana that Monday morning. He conducted the local arson investigation.
Fogg calls Beyler an âarmchair quarterbackâ and riles at the accusation that Corsicana and state detectives used nothing more than folklore to come to their conclusions.
âA lot of this stuff (in Beylerâs report) is misspoken or misinterpreted,â Fogg said.
The report accuses state arson investigator Manuel Vasquez, now deceased, of not securing the scene, of missing or mishandling crucial evidence that might have exonerated Willingham, and not using scientific fire analysis.
Willingham had a lot of excuses for the fire, Fogg recalled, including that a stranger entered the house and set the fire, that the 2-year-old started it, that a ceiling fan or squirrels in the attic caused an electrical short, or the gas space heaters in the childrenâs bedroom sparked it.
The investigators searched for electrical shorts, but found none; the gas-powered space heaters were off because the familyâs gas supply had been cut off at the meter; and âwe didnât find a ceiling fan. Willingham said there was one, but we didnât find any signs of one,â Fogg said.
The other explanations just didnât add up, Fogg said, adding: âWe eliminated all accidental causes.â
Evidence of accelerants was found, but Willingham had an excuse for that, too. Willingham told investigators he poured cologne on the childrenâs floor âbecause the babies liked the smell,â he blamed a kerosene lamp for any accelerant in the hallway, and said spilled charcoal-lighter fluid happened while he was grilling, Fogg recalled.
Fogg agreed that there was a damaged bottle of charcoal lighter fluid on the other end of the porch away from the door, but the grill was in the side yard not on the porch when firefighters arrived. Fogg remembered four empty bottles of charcoal lighter were found just outside the front door.
Beyler acknowledges that one sample did have accelerant in it, but said it was unidentified, a claim Fogg disputes.
Local investigators didnât leave the house until midnight, spending over 12 hours sifting through the debris by hand, taking videotape and more than 80 photographs of the scene, cutting up flooring for the lab, bagging and dating each sample and recording where it came from in the house, Fogg said. Samples were contaminated by melted plastic toys, fire-damaged carpet and floor tiles, but it wasnât because of investigatorâs incompetence, Fogg said.
Beyler theorized it was a flashover, and said investigators didnât see the difference between the intense heat of a flashover and an accelerant-driven fire. Fogg laughed at the notion.
If it had been a flashover, it would have taken out the thin layer of sheetrock on the walls, he argued.
âThat house was box construction,â Fogg said. âThe only sheetrock that came down was what was hit with water. The paper backing wasnât even scorched.â
As well, the fire damage was worse at the floor level than at the ceilings, which is the opposite of typical fire, Fogg said.
â(Beyler) thought we were total idiots,â Fogg said.
Beyond the fire
Sgt. Jimmie Hensley of the Corsicana Police Department was the lead investigator on the Willingham murder case back in 1992.
For Hensley, the most damning evidence came from Willingham, who told officers that 2-year-old Amber woke him up. Firefighters later found her in his bed, with burns on the soles of her feet. Yet, Willingham didnât take the girl with him when he fled, nor did he receive burns walking down that same hallway, Hensley pointed out.
Willingham was taken to the hospital where doctors did a blood-gas analysis on him, a standard test for someone whoâs been inside a burning house.
âHe had no more (carbon monoxide) than somebody who had just smoked a cigarette,â Hensley said.
Hensley has since become a certified arson investigator. In hindsight, he insists they took the right steps with the evidence in the Willingham case.
âWe did everything we were supposed to do,â he said.
Hensley also dismisses Beylerâs report, pointing out that Beyler didnât talk to the investigators, and reading the testimony canât replace first-person observations.
âYou can find expert witnesses everywhere, and if you pay them enough theyâll testify to anything,â Hensley said. âTheyâre to be bought.â
Willingham was tried for murder, not arson, and the guilty verdict was based on the whole picture, not just part of it, he said.
âYou canât just look at a little part. Look at the whole picture, and thatâs what the jury did,â Hensley said. âIf a 2-year-old wakes you up and thereâs smoke and fire everywhere, arenât you going to at least get that one out? It couldnât possibly have happened the way (Willingham) said.â
Willinghamâs behavior afterwards did not help his case. Todd Morris was the first police officer on the scene and he found Willingham trying to push his car away from the house to save it from the fire, while his children were inside burning up, Hensley said.
Dr. Grady Shaw and his team spent an hour at the emergency room trying to resuscitate Amber while next door Willingham complained about his own suffering, Shaw said.
âI remember this case very clearly,â Shaw said. âShe was in Trauma Room 1, and her father was placed in Trauma Room 2, and only a curtain separated those. He was whining and complaining and crying out for a nurse to help him because of the pain from his extremely minor burns while we were trying to resuscitate this child.â
Willinghamâs first-degree burns on the backs of his hands and on the back of his neck were the kind that might come from accidentally touching an oven rack, or having a small ember pop up from a campfire, Shaw said.
âHe was not hurting that bad from these minor burns,â Shaw said. âIt was clearly audible what was going on next door, but to hear him doing all that complaining and asking for attention when everybody was trying to save the little girlâs life was grossly inappropriate.â
Friends of the family testified that Willingham had beaten his wife in an attempt to abort the pregnancy of the twins, and many people assumed the murder of the children was more of the same, said John Jackson, former district judge and the lead prosecutor of the Willingham case.
âWe really just believed the children inhibited his lifestyle,â Jackson said.
Hensley came away deeply disturbed by the case, and heâs angry that anti-death penalty proponents ignore the childrenâs deaths in trying to make Willingham into a martyr.
âIn my opinion, justice was served,â Hensley said. âAnd itâs a shame he couldnât have died three times, one for each of the little girls.â
Alan Bristol, who helped prosecute the case for the district attorneyâs office, said Willingham was âone of the most evil people Iâve ever come in contact with in my life.â
âThe guy was a sociopath,â he said. Willingham refused a polygraph, tortured and killed animals as a child, abused his wife repeatedly, thought more about losing his car than his children, and clearly lied about what happened in the deadly fire, Bristol said.
âNone of the stories he told us panned out,â Bristol said. âHe tried to make himself out to be a big hero, that he tried to go in and save the children, but there was no smoke in his lungs and he had only minor injuries.â
Bristol said the science for investigating fires may have changed over the last two decades, but the accelerant was there, and that evidence remains valid.
âI donât have any doubt he did it, or was guilty,â Bristol said. âI think he would have been convicted whether we had the arson evidence or not.â
Willingham appealed his case, but the verdict was upheld. In the end, he asked for clemency that never materialized.
âThe only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit,â Willingham said in his final moments. âI have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do.â
The article in the New Yorker quoted Willinghamâs protest of innocence as his final words, but Loyd Cook of the Daily Sun was one of three media witnesses at the execution. Willinghamâs actual final words were a venom-filled curse at his ex-wife as he attempted an obscene gesture, Cook reported.
âI hope you rot in hell, bâ,â Willingham said before dying.
Stacy Kuykendall, who still lives in Navarro County, said she doesnât talk about the case anymore. However, she did talk to Cook shortly before Willinghamâs execution.
She refuted her ex-husbandâs attempts to blame Amber, and came to her own conclusions that he killed their daughters. Kuykendall divorced Willingham while he was in prison, and married again. She did not have more children.
âMaybe some of the fear of him will leave me, but Iâll never get over what he did to my kids,â she said in 2004.
From his seat at the defense table, attorney David Martinâs job was to fight tooth and nail for Willingham. Once it was over, though, Martin became convinced his client was guilty. He dismisses the Beyler report as propaganda from anti-death penalty supporters.
âThe Innocence Project is an absolute farce,â Martin said. âItâs a bunch of hype, in my opinion.â
The defense team couldnât locate an arson expert back then willing to say the house fire was accidental.
âWe never could find anybody that contradicted Vasquez,â Martin said.
As for motive, Martin agreed with investigators about Willinghamâs character.
âHe had no conscience,â Martin said. âWhy do monsters kill? They like killing.â
|National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach|
In August of 2017, the Department of Justiceâs National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released a report on National Best Practices for Sexual Assault Kits: A Multidisciplinary Approach. In 2013, the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Report Act (SAFER Act) was passed into law amending the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000 to provide funds for grants to be administered to laboratories to address the critical need of eliminating the backlog of sexual assault kits, the law requires an establishment of protocols and practices.
In consultation with Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies, and government laboratories, the Department was required to develop and publish a description of protocols and practices to ensure accurate, timely, and effective collection and processing of DNA evidence, including practices specific to sexual assault cases. To that end, NIJ created the SAFER Working Group, which convened to develop protocols and practices to positively improve sexual assault responses and the experiences of victims.
This report, requested by congress, provides 35 of those recommended practices and protocols. For more information on the 35 recommendations and the report, please visit: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/250384.pdf
|Domesticated dogs may have lived along side hunter-gatherers||New DNA analysis suggests that dogs and wolves split from a common ancestor before humans transitioned to agricultural societies. Dogs and wolves evolved from a common ancestor between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago, before humans transitioned to agricultural societies, according to an analysis of modern dog and wolf genomes from areas of the world thought [&hellip|
|DNA Tests Find Subway Chicken Only 50 Percent Meat||The CBC's investigative consumer show Marketplace ordered the DNA analysis. The sandwich chain unilaterally denies the accusation, with a spokesman calling the claims "absolutely false."|
|American dogs originated in Eastern Asia||DNA analysis taken from a variety of living dogs and compared with the remains of dogs found at archaeological sites in the US have revealed that many American dog breeds actually originated in Asia. Research has challenged the idea that dogs already present in the Americas when Europeans arrived were swamped by animals brought in [&hellip|
|Who Is An Indian? Race, Place, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas|
Who Is An Indian? Race, Place, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas is my newest edited collection, published by the University of Toronto Press. It completes a trilogy of edited volumes on indigeneity in the Americas that I began in 2006 with Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary Caribbean: Amerindian Survival and Revival, and in 2010 with the publication of Indigenous Cosmopolitans: Transnational and Transcultural Indigeneity in the Twenty-First Century.
About this Book
Who is an Indian? This is possibly the oldest question facing Indigenous Peoples across the Americas, and one with significant implications for decisions relating to resource distribution, conflicts over who gets to live where and for how long, and clashing principles of governance and law. For centuries, the dominant views on this issue have been strongly shaped by ideas of both race and place. But just as important, who is permitted to ask, and answer this question?
This collection examines the changing roles of race and place in the politics of defining Indigenous identities in the Americas. Drawing on case studies of Indigenous communities across North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, it is a rare volume to compare Indigenous experience throughout the western hemisphere. The contributors question the vocabulary, legal mechanisms, and applications of science in constructing the identities of Indigenous populations, and consider ideas of nation, land, and tradition in moving indigeneity beyond race.
Genesis of the Project
This latest volume is probably the longest I have worked on any one publication project. It first began to take shape in 2006, as an effort exclusively focused on race, motivated by recognition of the fact that there were no volumes, treating the Americas as a whole, that compared and contrasted different ideas and applications of race in the definition of Indigenous identity. This was the basis for the first symposium in 2006, âIndigeneity and Race: âBlood Politicsâ and the âNatureâ of Indigenous Identity,â organized under the auspices of the Canadian Anthropology Societyâs annual conference, held at Concordia University on May 13, 2006. The same theme carried over into a following seminar, âWho Is an Indian? Race, Blood, DNA, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americasâ involving 14 participants and hosted at the Clarion Hotel in Montreal, August 2-5, 2007, with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. However, as a result of the discussions held at the second symposium, we came to the realization that race alone could not be the exclusive subject of our concerns in addressing who people have historically answered the question, âwho is an Indian.â The role of place, land, and territoriality, and resistance to neoliberalism, figured prominently in a number of the papers to the extent that we concluded that both race and place should be our dual, framing concepts.
The original impetus for this project came from a very particular context of concern. My research in the Caribbean alerted me to the extent to which notions of âpurity,â âblood,â and lately even DNA analysis came to figure prominently not just as ways of ascribing Indigenous identities, but also as means of claiming them in light of widespread, categorical assertions by colonial rulers and scholars that these peoples had vanished. To my surprise, similar politics of identity were being instituted in North Americaâindeed, the interest in DNA studies had spread from the U.S. to the Caribbean, and in North America as well I found a concern with blood, purity, and the stigma faced by âBlack Indiansâ who were being rejected as claimants to Cherokee citizenship. In Canada, First Nations residents carry cards indicating what degree of Indigenous âbloodâ they possess. Also in Canada, I repeatedly hear Euro-Canadians refer to this or that Aboriginal figure as ânot a real Indianâ¦he looks whiteâ. (I had encountered similar purist prejudices during my years in Australia, directed at some of the most prominent Aboriginal activists who, phenotypically and superficially appeared to be âmixedâ if not âalmost whiteâ.) If race, blood, and DNA were so prevalent, could we find similar concerns spread out across all of the Americas? If so, why? If not, why not? Are race, blood, and DNA essentially the same thing? These were the very first, seemingly very simple questions that led to the emergence of this project.
Taking together all stages of this project, it included a total of as many as 21 scholars from across the Americas and from across the disciplines, only some of whom appear in this volume. In particular I would like to thank and acknowledge the advice, support, varying degrees of participation and interest, and correspondence of individuals who were involved at different stages of the project, including: Kimberly Tallbear, JosÃ© Barreiro, Phil Bellfy, Marisol de la Cadena, Alice and Dennis Bartels, and the late Melissa Meyer who sadly for us passed away mid-way through the development of this project. We also benefited from the participation of Indigenous scholars, who comprised half the number of participants in the overall project. With an immense amount of research and writing taking place in the U.S., there was often a tendency to have greater American representation, more than Canadian, Latin American, and least of all, from the Caribbean. The result of this struggle, the constant revision and reinterpretation, we hope will offer some critical insights into the processes of making âraceâ out of (or against) Indigenous identity and the role of âplaceâ in debates about Indigenous identity. The final product strikes some geographic balance, with two chapters on Canadian cases, two dealing with American Indians, two focused on Central America and the Caribbean, and two pertaining to South America.
What about DNA Testing?
The previous concern with DNA, represented by as many as four participants early on in the project, largely diminished and then vanished altogether, especially when we no longer had the same participants as in earlier stages of the project. This is not to say that DNA debates are absent in the volume as a whole, but rather that they no longer structure the volume as a leading focus, which in any case would be more relevant to the North American situation than elsewhere. Yet even that is not entirely accurate, as the use of DNA testing to determine Indigenous ancestry has traveled to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and to my great surprise to the very community I studied for four years in Trinidad & Tobago, as the result of the work a team from the Molecular Anthropology lab at Pennsylvania State University and the National Geographic Genographic Project. In the past, similar studies have also been conducted among the Garifuna in Central America and recently in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, in the latter case again by the Penn State team.
The Historical Importance of a Bad Question
The collaboration that produced this volume through much iteration has been focused on what is arguably one of the worst questions to be posed to or against Indigenous Peoples ("Who is an Indian?"), one that ultimately calls on them to give an account of themselves, for being who they are in the light of foreign invasions and occupations. Itâs as if being who they are is a problem, and furthermore, it is a problem that they caused. Worse yet, they may not even be who they think they are.
As with all bad questions, one can expect to get a lot of bad answers. So why address such a question, going as far as making it the leading question of this project? The answer is simple: the question, however one may assess its epistemological qualities, is a politically important question (the most important perhaps), an institutionalized question, a governing question that structures peopleâs lives, their access to resources, and even their self-perceptions. It is also a key historical question, one that continues to be asked repeatedly, and one that will inevitably lose relevance. That this question has been raised across the Americas, in different forms (substituting, as the case may be, any number of cognate or tribal labels in the place of âIndianâ), is due to a shared history of colonization and state-building and the dominance of European theories of citizenship, nationhood, race, and identity. Here we can start to look beyond the constraints and limitations of that question and in seeing past the constraints imposed today by states.
It was not the intention of the contributors of the volume to either advance academic expertise as the ultimate arbiter of Indigenous identities, to provide an easy-to-follow menu for âaccurately determiningâ who is Indigenous, or to provide advice that caters to the functioning of government bureaucracies and their micro-management of Indigenous affairs. Our greater concern was with the politics that work to preserve the dominance of a âbad question,â a very âbadâ and yet historically very important question: âWho is an Indianâ? Our hope is that readers will come away from this effort with a determination to ask better questionsâbetter in the sense of being more analytically productive and with implications that are more socially just and fair. Among the questions we would like to see posed are those that posit indigeneity as a historically specific type of relationality, that involve issues of power and affectivity, without searching for the elusive âone size fits allâ solution. If, however, we overcame the stigmatization of being Indigenous only to then treat it as a category implying âprivilegeâ and uniquely demanding âproofâ of belonging, then we will not have gone far past the point of endorsing extinction.
Setting the Stage: Some Opening Quotes to Remember
Preface, pages vii-ix
Introduction: âWho Is an Indian?â The Cultural Politics of a Bad Question, pages 3-51 Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Sociology and Anthropology)
In this chapter I discuss the genesis, multiple meaning and historical applications of this "bad question," across the Americas. In the process I also defend the thesis that the Americas as a whole serve as the appropriate unit for analysis in understanding the colonial, "scientific," ideological, and (geo)political efforts to define Indigenous identities. While I outline how the racialization of indigeneity spread across imperial domains in the Americas, I also examine the centrality of place, of territoriality, and how place also intersects race. I discuss the emergence of "Indian" as a racial construct, and from there I proceed to build the larger theoretical and analytical narrative which the various chapters help to form. Who is the "real Indian" and issues of "race mixture" and the impact of slavery and the plantation system in North and South America and the Caribbean forms one level of analysis. Another has to do with kinship and science, with blood, DNA, and how these relate to ideas of "race purity." Going beyond "blood quantum" and race, I provide some context and the wider debate around the critically important contribution by Julia Coates in this volume, on the always timely issue of the Freedmen and the Cherokee Nation. Debates around self-identification, and tribal politics, progress toward a discussion of the many cases of "Indian non-Indians" and "Non-Indian Indians". Finally I end with an overview of the problems involved with "recognition", with some discussion of the geopolitics of recognition and then, pointing toward the Conclusion, looking beyond the politics of recognition.
Chapter One Inuitness and Territoriality in Canada, pages 53-70 Donna Patrick (Carleton University, Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Canadian Studies)
âThe question of who counts as Aboriginal [in Canada],â explains Donna Patrick (this volume), âhas long been linked to the question of who owns traditional Aboriginal landsâ. Patrickâs chapter explores âthe question of categorizing Indigeneity in Canada by examining the linguistic, political, and judicial processes associated with the notions of territory, ancestry, and belonging that shape Indigeneity today,â with a focus on the Inuit in Canada, situated within a broader analysis of Aboriginal identity in Canada. âInuitnessâ in Canada, as Patrick tells us, followed a different trajectory from that of First Nations, in that the construction of Inuit identity has been guided not just by state policy but by Inuit attachments to both land and language. In Patrickâs chapter we learn that for the Inuit âthe notion of âterritorialityâ operates together with the notion of ancestryâ in shaping the identities of Inuit living in urban centres of the Canadian South as much as those living in the Arctic. Donna Patrick observes that Indigenous ideas of identity in early colonial Canada âhad little to do with race, biology, or ethnicityâ and that Indigenous Peoples in fact demonstrated in practice that they were guided by a ânotion of inclusivityâ whose existence âhas been supported by numerous accounts of Euro-American settlers and soldiers being accepted and adopted into First Nations groupsâ. While Patrick argues that we do not see in Canada a dominant discourse about the bio-politics of Indigenous identities to the same extent that we find in the U.S., she admits that a ââcovertâ or de facto blood quantumâ has been part of policies governing Aboriginal, and in particular First Nations, peoples.
Chapter Two Federally-Unrecognized Indigenous Communities in Canadian Contexts, pages 71-91 Bonita Lawrence (York University, Equity Studies)
In her chapter Bonita Lawrence points out the cases of First Nations that span the Canada-U.S. border, where for example âthe Passamaquoddy Nation of New Brunswick, or the Sinixt Nation, in British Columbia, have federal recognition in the United States but not in Canada,â which underscores the arbitrary, shifting, and inconsistent standards used by states to âappraiseâ indigeneity, as Lawrence argues. Bonita Lawrence explores identity issues among two federally-unrecognized groupsâthe Algonquins of Eastern Ontario and the Miâkmaqs of Newfoundlandâwhich have been the subject of her research for the last decade, providing a window into how the Canadian state produces unrecognized Aboriginals. As she explains, âmost federally-unrecognized bands or nations are created by the nature of the treaty process itself,â while other bands are federally-unrecognized âbecause Canada has refused to honour historic relationships or has disregarded the traditional boundaries of Indigenous nationsâ. The primary means for such communities to gain federal recognition, to legally become Aboriginal again, is to assert Aboriginal title through the courts (if there is a treaty governing particular territory), or as Lawrence outlines in her chapter, âto take part in the comprehensive claims process if no treaty has been signed in the territoryâ. Otherwise, federally-unrecognized Indigenous peoples are âincorporated simply as âcitizensâ within the wider nation-state dominated by settlersâ.
Chapter Three The Canary in the Coalmine: What Sociology Can Learn from Ethnic Identity Debates among American Indians, pages 92-123 Eva Marie Garroutte (Boston College, Sociology) and C. Matthew Snipp (Stanford University, Sociology)
Eva Marie Garroutte and Matthew Snipp in their chapter in this volume titled, âThe Canary in the Coalmine: What Sociology Can Learn from Ethnic Identity Debates among American Indians,â devote considerable attention to debating the racialization of indigeneity. As just one example of the kinds of interests vested in the non-recognition of âmixedâ American Indians, Garroutte and Snipp point to Donald Trump: as a competitor against the newly recognized Pequots, and their plans to open a casino, he produced a definition of âwho is an Indianâ in phenotypical terms: âthey donât look like Indians to me. They donât look like Indians to Indians,â injecting his racial bias by further calling them âMichael Jordan Indiansâ. This is useful in showing how ultimately one of the most common ways of assigning Indigenous identity in the Americas is focused on appearance, and where racial discourses prevail, a specific type of appearance: phenotype. Garroutte and Snipp also discuss some of the additional, problematic conceptual issues raised by the quantification of identity, which can apply to both genetic testing and blood quantum. Quantification establishes distance as a prerequisite for measurement, âwith the corollary that, at some point, individualsâ connection to American Indian forebears becomes exhaustedâ. Quantification of identity presupposes distance, and tends toward disappearance. It raises physical standards about ideational and subjective identities, even as it creates new subjectivities around the use of scientific resources. The right to measure involves a power to erase, just as the power to speak for Indigenous peoples, and to assign their identities, is the power to silence them, permanently. The two case studies at the focus of their chapter, the Mashantucket Pequots and Kennewick Man, make for highly engaging and illuminating reading.
Chapter Four âThis Sovereignty Thingâ: Nationality, Blood, and the Cherokee Resurgence, pages 124-150 Julia Coates (University of California Davis, Native American Studies)
Julia Coates strongly and productively challenges a number of prominent, published perspectives that have been critical of definitions of Cherokee identity by the Tribal Nationâs government. Coates argues that legal definitions are often overlooked in discussions of indigeneity, while race and culture gain greater attention. Yet, as she explains, many tribal governments in the U.S. regard legal definitions, not as artificially imposed from external colonizing institutions, but as internally achieved definitions of nationality and their sovereign statuses. While the Cherokee Nationâs lack of cultural requirements are frequently not understood by non-Indians and derided by other tribal nations, the Cherokee Nation has continued to assert that nationality derived from their specific history of tribal citizenship is a more inclusive category for contemporary times than race or cultural markers. This is almost a reversal of arguments criticizing the Tribal Nationâs exclusion of certain persons. Based on interviews with what Coates calls âa particularly challenging group of Cherokee nationals,â the 60 percent of the citizenry living outside the tribal core in northeastern Oklahoma, her chapter examines the potential of nationality as a basis for self-identification for those in the Cherokee diaspora, and the role the concept of citizen plays in the contemporary Cherokee resurgence. Coates points to problems with a debate that âfocuses on identity construction as located in race, heritage, DNA, and cultural attributes and expressionsâ and that leave out law and sovereignty. She says that one reason why the cultural, racial, and ethnic aspects of identity may be the primary sites for investigation and discussion, for many Indigenous Peoples is the fact that many of them are not formally organized into nominally sovereign political entities with an internal jurisdiction. Speaking of academics, Coates suggest that one reason most academics seem to differ from tribal governmentsâ rigid determinations of citizenship, is that academics tend to be more inclusive in their view of who is an American Indian, not wanting to serve as identity police and imposing definitions of Indigenous identity on Natives. Her emphasis is on nationality as a potential for retention and resurgence (or what some call resilience), rather than simply acting as a colonialist mechanism of control and exclusion.
Chapter Five Locating Identity: The Role of Place in Costa Rican Chorotega Identity, pages 151-171 Karen Stocker (California State University, Anthropology)
Designating a special place as the locus of persons with an Indigenous identity can be a way for an assimilationist state, one that historically rejected the Indigenous presence as in the case of Costa Rica, to create the illusion that indigeneity is minimal and marginal. As Karen Stocker explains in her chapter in this volume, in Chorotega some residents of what later became the reservation opposed reservation status given their âtremendous resentment at being the only community in the region officially designated as Indigenous when the whole area had Indigenous roots, and aversion to the stigma attached to Indigenous identity in a country that often projected an image of whiteness and European heritageâ. The Costa Rican governmentâs imposition of an Indigenous identity on residents of Chorotega was a convenient way of removing that label from everyone else who resided outside of that particular place, using the assigned indigeneity of some to reassure others of their Europeanness. Karen Stockerâs chapter, based on ethnographic research carried out between 1993 and 2007, addresses how various residents of the Chorotega reservation, those who live just outside the reservation, scholars, legal discourse, historical discourse, those who have resided or studied in other Costa Rican reservations and, more recently, the tourism industry have âdefined Indigenous identity in contradictory ways, and in manners that have had varying consequences for those labeled as Chorotega in Costa Ricaâ. She addresses the history and impact of these multiple competing definitions. Stocker traces the ways in which âone set of customs has gone from Indigenous to non-Indigenous, national custom, and back again, as a result of the shifting of discourses around itâ. Stocker spotlights what she finds to be âa common thread through all of these definitions and interpretations of indigeneity,â and that is âthe role of place, and how the same concept that mired inhabitants of the Chorotega reservation in discrimination now serves to authenticate its practicesâ.
Chapter Six Carib Identity, Racial Politics, and the Problem of Indigenous Recognition in Trinidad and Tobago, pages 172-193 Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Anthropology)
My own chapter in this volume, based on four years of ethnographic research and ethnohistoric research dating to early colonial times, shares some features similar to both those by Donna Patrick and Karen Stocker. On the one hand, the stateâs recognition of only one single, organized Indigenous community in just one of Trinidadâs 16 former mission townsâthe Santa Rosa Carib Community in Arima, on the island of Trinidadâmakes it seem, however implausibly, that indigeneity was somehow contained and delimited (which instead reflects the stateâs bias in how indigeneity ought to be controlled and secluded). On the other hand, in articulating their own indigenous identity, members of the Carib Community point to a multitude of factors, beyond but including race, to include a history of residence in Arima. The structure of this chapter follows three basic lines of argument: first, that the political economy of the British colony dictated and cemented racializations of identity. Second, the process of ascribing Indigenous identities to individuals was governed by the economic rights attached to residents of missions, rights which were cut off from any miscegenated offspring. There were thus political and economic interests vested in the non-recognition of Caribs, and race provided the most convenient justificationâa justification that took the form of a narrative of extinction. Third, over a century later, while racial notions of identity persist, current Carib self-identifications stress indigeneity as a cultural heritage, an attachment to place, a body of practices, and recognition of ancestral ties that often circumvent explicitly racial schemes of self-definition. State recognition of the Caribs occurs within this historical and cultural context, and therefore imposes limits and conditions that simultaneously create new forms of non-recognition.
Chapter Seven Encountering Indigeneity: The International Funding of Indigeneity in Peru, pages 194-217 JosÃ© Antonio Lucero (University of Washington, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies)
As JosÃ© Antonio Lucero explains in this volume, âbloodâ is already incorporated in national ideologies of race-mixture, and is not specific and particular enough to be used as part of the regimes of identifying the Indigenous. As Lucero adds, âin a region where âeveryoneâ has native blood, but not everyone is âIndianâ the social category and social fact of Indianness rely, necessarily, less on biology or blood than on the intersecting socio-cultural workings of politics, language, place, class, and genderâ. More specifically, Lucero's chapter takes the work of Oxfam America as the focus of his case study, as it has been among âthe earliest funders of Indigenous activismâ. His chapter examines two different moments in the interactive process of legitimation between organizations such as Oxfam America and Indigenous political organizations in Peru, âas actors on both sides of the development encounter shape discourses over the meanings of development and indigeneity across local and global scalesâ. The âgeopolitics of recognitionâ is what Lucero conceptualizes as regimes of indigeneity that span local, national and global scales. Lucero discusses how Indigenous people throughout the Americas (and beyond) have often found it inevitable, and sometimes useful, to engage a variety of legal, economic, and political systems. âSince the first contacts with missionaries,â he writes, âthe state, and agents of global capital, Indigenous people have found that new systems of domination are not without points of entry within which they can contest the very terms of domination,â and in the present context, âthe rising importance of non-state actors in the wake of aggressive neoliberal economic reforms (which shrank already weak states) provided an additional set of opportunities that Indigenous people have been able to useâ (Lucero, this volume). However, one of the problems for Indigenous actors bound in relationships with external agencies is that the reconstruction of indigeneity that results is often Janus-faced, where âsome discourses are for external consumption and have little to do with the lived âsocial factâ of indigeneity at the local levelâ.
Chapter Eight The Color of Race: Indians and Progress in a Center-Left Brazil, pages 218-223 Jonathan Warren (University of Washington, International Studies, Chair of Latin American Studies)
Jonathan Warren begins by telling us that "since the 1990s a large number of Brazilian Indigenous communities have been federally recognized, successfully acquired land, established their own schools, and achieved a higher degree of autonomy and self-determination. Furthermore, anti-Indian violence is no longer condoned by the Brazilian government; racism has been officially acknowledged; race-cognizant government policies, such as affirmative action, have replaced race-neutral ones; and a number of antiracist commissions and initiatives have been established at federal, state and municipal levels. Finally, the first centre-left politicians in Brazilian history, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva (2003â2010) and Dilma Rousseff (2011âpresent), both of the Workersâ Party, have controlled the executive branch of government for almost a decade. Given these substantial changes, one could be forgiven for expecting a positive report on the state of Indigenous affairs in contemporary Brazil. Unfortunately, the outlook is rather dim. Perhaps most surprising is that many of the culprits are from the centre-left, namely the Workersâ Party, social scientists, and sectors of the movimento negro". Jonathan Warrenâs chapter reveals to us that in Brazil, the racial question, and thus conceptions of antiracismâlike much of âcritical race studies,â he addsâsimply removes the Indian from analysis, as if Indian subjectivities were entirely irrelevant. A key example of how this has occurred in critical race studies comes from Howard Winantâs very own analysis of racism in Brazil, which singles out Africans. This is odd, as Warren finds, given that as many as a third of Brazilians have some Indian ancestry. As Warren explains in this volume, Brazilian Indians are removed from the racial question in Brazil: ârace is reduced to a question of blacknessâ. Indeed, throughout Latin America, Warren sees that Indigenous peoples are ânot considered germane to race matters,â and quoting Peter Wade he adds: âthe virtually unquestioned assumptions [prevails] that the study of blacks is one of racism and race relations, while the study of Indians is that of ethnicity and ethnic groupsâ. Warren also shows that phenotype is present in Brazilian estimations of âauthenticâ and ârealâ Indigenous identities, with those who have African and European features routinely dismissed as âracial charlatans,â in ways that echo experiences both in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Warrenâs chapter is critical to this volumeâs contention that race is a problem that needs to be studied in connection with indigeneity, not apart from it. His argument is critical not only for developing critical race studies, but also for political practice: the antiracist movement in Brazil cannot be just a Black movement.
ConclusionSeeing Beyond the State and Thinking beyond the State of Sight, pages 234-241 Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Sociology and Anthropology)
Rather than restating or summarizing the contents of this volume, the Conclusion helps to sketch some of the ways in which critical Indigenous perspectives have sought to develop alternative ideas and practices of indigeneity and indigenization. In a hemisphere which sees, in most cases, Indigenous Peoples moving to cities, and an increased decoupling of indigeneity and territoriality, along with the incursion of the industrialization of ethnic ascription--the commerce in genetic identities--these issues become especially important. The volume closes with a sharp reminder of why "Who is an Indian?" is a bad question that produces even worse answers, and what our task as intellectuals ought to be when confronted with such questions.
Contributors, pages 243-246
Index, pages 247-254
A Little About the Contributors
Julia M. Coates (Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Oklahoma) is presently at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her title is Senior Writer/ Oral Interviewer in American Indian History for the Center for Oral History Research of the Charles Young Research Library. At the time of writing she was an assistant professor in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests cover Native American diasporas, history, identity, women, and politics. She has conducted participant-observation fieldwork with hundreds of Cherokee citizens in California, Texas, and New Mexico. Coates also helped to form numerous Cherokee community organizations throughout California and in other states. For over six years, she was the project director and lead instructor for the award-winning Cherokee Nation history course, which brought her into personal contact with most of the employees of the Cherokee Nation, along with thousands of Cherokees in northeastern Oklahoma communities and throughout the country. She also serves on the Tribal Council of the Cherokee Nation as its âAt Largeâ representative. At UC Davis she teaches the Introduction to Native American Studies as well as classes on race, women, development and history within Native America.
Eva Marie Garroutte (Cherokee Nation) is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Boston College. She has a background of research and publication related to the study of Native American issues, health and aging, racial/ethnic identity, and religion. She is the author of the influential book Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America (University of California Press) and various articles in sociological and health-related journals. In collaboration with Cherokee Nation Health Services, she has conducted a series of research projects funded by the National Institute on Aging to examine medical communication needs among American Indian elders using tribal clinics. Her current service on editorial advisory boards includes the Journal of Native Aging and Health, American Indian Quarterly, and the University of Arizona Press series Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies. She is a past Area Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bonita Lawrence (Miâkmaw) is an associate professor at the School of Social Sciences of the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she teaches Indigenous Studies and anti-racism. Her research and publications have focused primarily on urban, non-status, and MÃ©tis identities, federally unrecognized Aboriginal communities, and Indigenous justice. She is the author of âRealâ Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native People and Indigenous Nationhood (UBC Press), and co-editor of Strong Womenâs Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival, a collection of Native womenâs scholarly and activist writing (Sumach Press). She is a traditional singer who sings with groups in Kingston and Toronto at Native social and political gatherings.
JosÃ© Antonio Lucero is an assistant professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of Struggles of Voice: The Politics of Indigenous Representation in the Andes (University of Pittsburgh Press) and the editor of Beyond the Lost Decade: Indigenous Movements, Democracy, and Development in Latin America (Princeton University Program in Latin American Studies). He teaches courses on government, politics, and social movements in Latin America, among others. His research interests focus on comparative politics, Latin American politics, democratization, social movements, and the politics of race and ethnicity.
Donna Patrick is professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her current SSHRC-funded research focuses on multiliteracies, identity, and community-building among urban Inuit in Ottawa. Her other interests lie in the broader area of Indigeneity and urban Aboriginality in Canada, as well as in the political, social, and cultural aspects of language use, with a focus on language endangerment discourse and Aboriginal languages in Canada. Her 2003 book, Language Politics and Social Interaction in an Inuit Community (Mouton de Gruyter), examines these issues in Arctic Quebec. She teaches courses in language, culture, and power and in Aboriginal and northern issues, with a focus on the Arctic. In teaching and research, Donna approaches the study of Aboriginal issues, language, and discourse through an interdisciplinary lens, focusing on historical, geographical, and social processes.
C. Matthew Snipp is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University where, among other positions, he has been the director of the Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. He teaches courses in contemporary and historical American Indian Studies as well as rural sociology. He is the author of American Indians: The First of the Land (The Russell Sage Foundation, New York), which was selected as an academic book of the year by CHOICE.
Karen Stocker is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton. She is a scholar of applied anthropology with interests in education, the social constructions of race and ethnicity, language, and Latin American ethnography. She is the author of âI Wonât Stay Indian, Iâll Keep Studyingâ: Race, Place and Discrimination in a Costa Rican High School (Colorado University Press).
Jonathan W. Warren is an associate professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is also the director of the Latin American and Caribbean Contributors Studies Program. Within the broad area of critical race studies he has focused on Whiteness, racism literacy, racial identity formations, and the links between everyday practices and racism in the U.S. and Brazil. He is the author of the highly regarded book Racial Revolutions: Antiracism and Indian Resurgence in Brazil (Duke University Press).
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|A PICTURE OF MONKEY BUSINESS - OR, HOW A SMALL FURRY PET BECAME A GIANT MYSTERY APE. PART 2: THE TRUE HISTORY OF AMERANTHROPOIDES LOYSI|| |
The uncropped version of Dr FranÃ§ois de Loys's photograph of the supposed South American ape Ameranthropoides loysi â one of the most controversial cryptozoological images of all time (public domain)
Welcome to my 600th post on ShukerNature! Befitting of such a momentous occasion, the subject documented by me in this post is of profound cryptozoological significance â revealing how one of the most infamous mystery beast frauds of all time was finally exposed. In Part 1 (click here) of this two-part ShukerNature article, I documented the 'official' history of a truly extraordinary mystery creature - a supposedly genuine, tailless, bipedal South American ape, reputedly encountered and killed in the Venezuelan jungle almost exactly a century ago by a team of geologists led by one Dr FranÃ§ois de Loys, and subsequently dubbed Ameranthropoides loysi ('Loys's American ape') by a radical French zoologist called Prof. George Montandon who held very extreme, controversial views concerning human evolution. Now it's time to document this creature's true history, by presenting the crucial yet all-too-long-overlooked information that conclusively exposed the entire Ameranthropoides episode as a blatant, deliberate hoax.
The 'official' history of Ameranthropoides loysi began to unravel on 16 July 1962. This was when the Caracas, Venezuela, newspaper El Universal's historian Guillermo JosÃ© Schael published in the paper a telegram lately received from the village of Casigua, in the Tarra River region of Venezuela, concerning a supposed giant spider that had allegedly strangled to death a ranch worker named Juancho. Not surprisingly, this dramatic news attracted considerable interest from readers, and elicited a letter from a hunter named JerÃ³nimo MartÃnez-Mendoza, which was published on 17 July by El Universal.
In it, MartÃnez-Mendoza suggested that the report was mistaken, that it had probably been a giant spider monkey which had attacked and killed Juancho, and he drew comparisons in his letter with the Ameranthropoides incident. This letter was in turn read by Dr Enrique Tejera Guevara (1899-1980), a Venezuelan-born friend of de Loys in the field (as well as a decorated tropical physician and pathologist, ambassador, and minister in the Venezuelan government), who lost no time in replying via a letter of his own, but which contained a truly sensational disclosure.
Enrique Tejera Guevara (Wikipedia CC BY 4.0 licence)
Published in El Universal on 19 July 1962, Dr Tejera's letter revealed that back on 11 March 1929 (mistakenly given as 1919 in the newspaper-published version of his letter) he had attended a lecture at the Academy of Sciences in Paris, France, given by Montandon concerning Ameranthropoides, but that he had been very surprised to hear Montandon's claims about the creature being a very tall, bipedal, tailless South American ape. Consequently, at the end of the lecture Tejera had stood up, and, to a hushed audience, had brusquely dismissed Montandon's claims as nonsense.
Tejera informed them that he had actually been in the company of de Loys in 1917 when the famous encounter with the two apes and the shooting of one of them had supposedly taken place â but affirmed that no such encounter or shooting had in fact occurred. Instead, the creature in the photograph was nothing more than de Loys's own normal-sized pet marimonda spider monkey, which he had dubbed 'the monkey-man', and whose tail had been amputated after it had become infected. Moreover, after his pet spider monkey had later died, and again in the presence of Tejera, de Loys had decided, as a joke, to take a photo of its body propped upright and sitting on a crate.
And as the climax of his dramatic exposÃ©, Tejera proclaimed that it was this joke picture that had subsequently become known as the now-infamous Ameranthropoides'ape' photograph, thanks to Montandon, and which with Frankensteinian vigour had swiftly raged out of its creator's control - until in order to preserve his reputation as a serious scientist, a highly embarrassed de Loys, seeing no way of extricating himself from this most unwelcome situation without looking very foolish indeed, had thereby found himself unable to confess the truth.
But that was not all. Far from being in an area of wild, uncharted jungle in peril from attacks by Motilone Indians at the time when the photograph was taken as claimed by de Loys, he and his party were actually in an oil exploration camp very close to civilisation. Furthermore, there was vital, conclusive proof of this statement contained in the uncropped version of the Ameranthropoides photograph, yet which had been overlooked by everyone for decades, even after Tejera's earth-shattering announcement in front of a shocked and stunned Montandon back in 1929.
The proof was the presence in this picture of a banana crop on the opposite side of the river from where the dead spider monkey was propped up and photographed. Banana trees are of Asian and Australasian origin, they are not native to the New World, having been introduced there by humans, and they can only grow near civilisation, not in the wild jungle region of South America where de Loys had averred that the photograph had been snapped. So the presence of banana trees in that picture verified that it had been snapped in the former location, not in the latter one that de Loys had alleged. This in turn also negates a claim made by him that whilst supposedly in the remote jungle, no fewer than 17 of his men had died due to the inhospitable conditions and the hostile Motilone Indians (in reality, there is no independent confirmation of this). In addition, Tejera revealed that rather than de Loys having led a single 4-year expedition to the Tarra River region as so frequently claimed in subsequent accounts of the Ameranthropoides case, he had instead led several much shorter ones (Tejera even provided their respective specific dates), and rarely beyond the perimeter of civilisation, as demonstrated, for instance, by the presence of banana trees in the Ameranthropoides photo.
Having said that, the portion of the photograph showing these trees is sufficiently blurred for their conclusive identification to be somewhat tricky. Tejera was there when the photo was taken, so obviously he could clearly discern their true nature, but the evidence for them from the photo alone is less certain. Happily, however, there is one additional aspect of this image that vindicates his statement. In the lower right quadrant of the photo, alongside the monkey in the foreground, a leafy shoot is present that is identifiable as a chopped-down but now-regenerating banana tree (I have shown this to various friends who have kept banana trees, and they have all affirmed that this shoot is indeed one). I have arrowed it in the uncropped photo reproduced below.
De Loys's full, uncropped Ameranthropoides photograph with the banana tree shoot in the foreground arrowed (public domain)
In addition, an aspect that, very surprisingly, seems not to have been considered previously is that for a creature supposedly killed by a hail of bullets, it seems in the photograph to be remarkably free of bullet holes or wounds, especially as it was supposedly shot from the front, not from the back or side. This of course is readily explained by the fact that, thanks to Tejera, we now know that the creature wasn't an attacking ape that had been shot, it was merely a pet monkey that had died of natural causes.
Equally, as the photographed 'ape' specimen was merely a marimonda spider monkey after all, de Loys's allegation that its dentition was different from that of spider monkeys was clearly yet another falsehood. And no doubt his so-convenient explanation of why the skull had not been retained for formal scientific examination (he claimed that the camp cook had converted it into a salt container and that it had then fallen apart), which of course would have readily identified its true taxonomic nature and exposed his dentition claim as false, was also a blatant lie. Little wonder, then, why de Loys was not able to escape from the web of deceit that he had spun when carrying out his joke, and which had ultimately and inextricably enveloped him.
But that was still not everything. At least two years before penning to El Universal his devastating letter outing and condemning Montandon and the entire Ameranthropoides charade, Tejera had actually revealed all of this to fellow medical practitioner Dr Raymond Fiasson, who had documented it in his book Des Indiens et des Mouches: Dans les Llanos du VÃ©nÃ©zuela(1960). Yet this too had escaped attention from cryptozoologists and zoologists alike. So also had a section included by American primatologist Prof. Earnest Hooton in his book Man's Poor Relations (1946) â a significant but hitherto-overlooked snippet until French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal had rediscovered it in 2007 (during that same year, Michel had also been instrumental in bringing Fiasson's documentation to public notice). Prof. Hooter had revealed that in late 1932, American geologist A. James Durlacher had written to him announcing that in 1927 he had spoken to various former members of de Loys's expeditions and had learnt from them that Ameranthropoideshad indeed merely been a marimonda spider monkey. Even more frustrating, in 2001 Spanish researchers Bernardo Urbani, Dr Ãngel L. Viloria, and Franco Urbani had presented much of this key information in a paper published by the Spanish journal Anartia, Publicaciones Ocasionales del Museo de Biologia de La Universidad del Zulia, in which they had concluded that the Ameranthropoides saga was certainly a hoax â but yet again, this revelation had somehow evaded widespread attention! (It is even possible that Tejera's dramatic intervention at the end of Montandon's lecture back in 1929 was subsequently documented in some French newspaper(s) and/or periodical(s), but if so these too failed to attract any public notice and still await rediscovery.)
The revelatory book by Bernardo Urbani and Dr Ãngel L. Viloria â Ameranthropoides loysi Montandon 1929: The History of a Primatological Fraud (Â© Bernardo Urbani and Dr Ãngel L. Viloria/Editorial LibrosEnRed â reproduced here on a strictly educational, non-commercial Fair Use basis only)
Happily, however, their skilful detective work uncovering this hoax was at last given its long-deserved international attention when, in 2008, Bernardo Urbani and Dr Viloriapublished all of their findings in book form â Ameranthropoides loysi Montandon 1929: The History of a Primatological Fraud. The book's text was presented in two separate languages, English and Spanish, and was fully referenced, thus constituting the most comprehensive, and now-definitive, study and exposÃ© of the whole sorry Ameranthropoides saga.
One final point to consider here, which I haven't seen mentioned before but which has intrigued me for some time, is whether de Loys was at least partly inspired when setting up his hoax photo by a very distinctive illustration that was still famous back then, although much less so today.
In 1758, eminent English naturalist and wildlife painter George Edwards wrote and illustrated Gleanings of Natural History, an authoritative tome that would remain a major work on that subject for well over a century. One of its illustrations was a hand-coloured copper engraving by Edwards of a young orang utan, among the first pictures ever prepared of this great ape, in which the orang utan was portrayed sitting upright on a wooden bench holding a long tall wooden stick in one hand. If this illustration is compared with the iconic Ameranthropoidesphoto, a number of striking similarities can be seen, including the orientation and/or form of the feet, limbs, facial expression, and even the stick (albeit utilised for different purposes).
Comparison of the Ameranthropoides loysi photograph with the George Edwards illustration of an orang utan (public domain)
Consequently, as Gleanings of Natural History was still well known during the early 20thCentury, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that de Loys had seen Edwards's orang utan illustration in it and had elected to reconstruct it using the dead spider monkey, but for practical purposes had transformed the stick into a supporting prop in his photo.
Ameranthropoides loysiRIP...? Although this specific case was a fraud from beginning to end, it should be noted that mystery animal researchers are well aware that large ape-like creatures, walking bipedally and lacking tails, have been frequently reported by natives and Western explorers alike from many parts of Central and South America, where they are referred to locally and variously by such names as the sisimite (in Belize), xipe (Nicaragua), shiru (Colombia), vasitri (Venezuela), didi (Guyana), tarma (Peru), mono rey (Bolivia), caipora and curupira (Brazil), and others too. Detailed documentation of such sightings lies outside the scope of this present article, but one extremely noteworthy, representative encounter occurred as recently as 1987, so is deserving of inclusion here.
That was when New York Botanical Gardens mycologist Gary Samuels was crouching down on the forest floor in Guyana, investigating fungi. Looking up, he was very startled to see a 5-ft-tall hairy ape-man, walking by at close range on its hind legs but seemingly unaware of him as he stayed kneeling, concealed on the ground. This remarkable entity, which uttered an occasional "hoo" cry as it passed by him, was presumably a didi.
O Curupira, by Brazilian painter Manoel Santiago, produced in 1926 and depicting the mythical(?) red-haired man-beast of Brazil known as the curupira (Wikipedia CC BY 4.0 licence)
Explorer Simon Chapman's book, The Monster of the Madidi: Searching For the Giant Ape of the Bolivian Jungle (2001), documented his search in Bolivia's Madidi region for the mono rey. Although he failed to find it, his book does contain a couple of tantalising snippets that were new to me. One was his claim that until recently, a local Bolivian actually owned a pelt from a mono rey, which was then purchased by "a gringo" (European) who took it home and sent it (or samples from it) off for DNA analysis, but the results (if any) were never revealed. No details were given in his book as to who the "gringo" was, where he came from, or where he sent the pelt/samples. The other snippet, which Chapman had apparently attempted unsuccessfully to substantiate, was that a living mono rey had allegedly once been exhibited at Bolivia's Santa Cruz Zoo! (This zoo is known in full as the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Municipal Zoo to distinguish it from others.)
Also worthy of note here is the existence of centuries-old carvings and statues depicting large, tailless, ape-like beasts, found among the crumbling relics from long-gone civilisations in various South American (and also Mexican) localities. Just coincidence â or representations of genuine creatures? There is even an unequivocally ape-like mask preserved at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, which had been carved in stone by Costa Rica's Guetar Indians and dates from 1200 to 1500 AD.
At one time, a major zoological stumbling block to accepting the possibility that any such entities actually do exist today in Latin America was the absence of fossil precedents. That all changed in 1995, however, with the publication of a paper by American anthropologist Dr Walter Hartwig in the Journal of Human Evolution, which documented the remains of a very sizeable Pleistocene monkey discovered in the Lagoa Santa cave system of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. In fact, this large-bodied species had originally been described as long ago as 1838, by Danish naturalist Peter Wilhelm Lund, who had named the extinct species Protopithecus brasiliensis. However, later publications concerning it had not examined the original fossils and had underestimated this species' actual size. In his paper, however, Hartwig rectified that error, and estimated that P. brasiliensis may well have been more than twice as massive as any living New World monkey.
Just a year later, on 23 May 1996, Hartwig published a second Protopithecuspaper, this time in Nature and co-authored with Brazilian palaeontologist Dr Castor Cartelle. In it, they described a near-complete skeleton, which had been found in 1992 within Pleistocene cave deposits in Brazil's 60-mile-long Toca da Boa Vista, the longest cave in the Southern Hemisphere, located in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Intriguingly, this skeleton combined a howler monkey-like vocal sac with a spider monkey-like cranium, and sported a robust body with limbs adapted for brachiation (arm-swinging locomotion), similar to both spider monkeys and woolly monkeys (and also Old World gibbons).
The giant species represented by it, which would have weighed around 50 lb, is now housed within the spider monkey subfamily, Atelinae. Moreover, after detailed studies it was considered sufficiently distinct from the earlier Protopithecusmaterial to warrant its reclassification as a new species (and genus) in its own right, which in 2013 was formally christened Cartelles coimbrafilhoiin a Journal of Human Evolution paper written by Drs Lauren B. Halenar and Alfred L. Rosenberger.
Also found in that same cave and at the same time was a near-complete skeleton of another, hitherto-unknown, species of giant Pleistocene ateline monkey. In a Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA paper published on 25 June 1996, this new species was duly christened Caipora bambuiorum (after the caipora, a small, peccary-riding humanoid entity in Brazilian Tupi-Guarani mythology), and would have weighed around 45 lb in life. And in 2000, after co-leading a palaeontological expedition to Toca de Boa Vista, Hartwig announced that thousands of fossils, mostly from extinct mammals, had been unearthed there â including the skull of a 55-lb giant spider monkey, over twice the size of any species alive today.
Artistic representation of a caipora riding a peccary (Â© Jakared/Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)
So perhaps it is premature after all to dismiss entirely the prospect that the Neotropical (platyrrhine) primate lineage may indeed have evolved a larger, ape-like representative via convergent evolution, one that occupies some of the ecological niches filled in the Old World by the apes, and which still awaits formal zoological discovery and recognition.
A very exciting possibility if true, that's for sure!
Further information concerning the history of Ameranthropoides loysi (including evidence supporting the intriguing prospect that some additional photographs taken by de Loys of his spider monkey in Ameranthropoides pose may also exist) can be found in my book Extraordinary Animals Revisited. It also features on its front cover a colourised version of de Loys's notorious yet never-to-be-forgotten South American 'ape' photograph â truly a cryptozoological icon, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
|Japan executions: Inside the secretive, efficient death chambers|
THERE are polished floors, clean surroundings and symbolic statues.
But this place is far from peaceful and thereâs a reason why itâs known as the Tokyo death house.
This is where Japan hangs its criminals in secrecy so tight that not even the convicted know when their time is up.
Last weekâs execution of two convicted murderers has once again cast light on the countryâs practice of putting people to death, a method labelled cruel and inhumane by human rights groups.
Nishikawa, 61, was convicted of killing four female bar owners in western Japan in 1991, while Sumida, 34, was sentenced to death for killing a female colleague in 2011 and dismembering her body.
The government remained unrepentant despite calls from activists to stop the hangings.
âBoth are extremely cruel cases in which victims were deprived of their precious lives on truly selfish motives,â Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda said.
âI ordered the executions after careful consideration.â
INSIDE CHAMBER OF DEATH
Japan remains notoriously secret about its use of the death penalty, with the US the only other major developed country which carries out capital punishment.
In Japan, most prisoners wait years for their fate to be carried out.
In 2010 the media was given a rare glimpse into the execution chamber in Tokyo where the condemned are put to death.
Prisoners are kept in isolation and have access to a priest before they die.
A statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, is in a nearby room, just metres from where prisoners will take their last breath.
They are then led into the chamber and a noose is put around their neck while red boxes around a trapdoor indicate where the condemned are to stand.
In the room next door, three executioners have access to the trap door which will give way once the buttons are pressed.
Human rights group Amnesty International called Japanâs use of the death penalty inhumane and said it showed âwanton disregard for the right to life.â
âThe death penalty never delivers justice, it is the ultimate cruel and inhumane punishment,â Hiroka Shoji, East Asia researcher at the campaign group, said in a statement last week.
âExecutions in Japan remain shrouded in secrecy but the government cannot hide the fact that it is on the wrong side of history, as the majority of the worldâs states have turned away from the death penalty.â
The two menâs deaths bring to 19 the number of people executed in Japan since 2012, with 124 remaining on death row, Amnesty said.
The human rights group also said prisoners were often only given a few hours notice with lawyers and family only notified after it had taken place.
âSecret executions are in contravention of international standards on the use of the death penalty,â Amnesty said.
Nishikawa was hanged while seeking a retrial. But Mr Kaneda indicated it was mistaken to believe that death-row inmates cannot be executed as long as their retrial pleas are pending.
While the two men last week were convicted of murder, not everyone on death row is actually guilty.
In 2014 Iwao Hakamada was released after 45 years on death row after being convicted on falsified evidence.
The former boxer had confessed to murdering four people in 1966 but retracted his statement shortly after.
Once released he said he was coerced into confessing the crime.
Prosecutors claimed the case against Hakamada rested on bloodstained pyjamas. But instead of presenting the pyjamas at the trial they found five other pieces of clothing, each with blood on them, at his workplace.
A court found that a DNA analysis obtained by Hakamadaâs lawyers suggested that investigators had fabricated evidence and he was eventually freed.
|Is Stephen Colbert's spider a unique species?||Stephen Colbert is probably proud that the spider named after him, Aptostichus stephencolberti, stalks the beaches of liberal California bastions such as Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Francisco. But the faux-conservative comedian may be less enthralled to learn that A. stephencolberti's tenuous claim as a unique species rests on the shoulders of evolutionary theory, not divine intervention.|
In a paper posted this week on the website of the journal Systematic Biology, ecologists Jason Bond and Amy Stockman of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, argue that Colbert's spider should constitute its own species. (They also make the case for two other completely new species of trapdoor spiders: Aptostichus angelinajoleae and Aptostichus miwok. The latter refers to a group of Native American tribes that have lived in what is now Northern California for at least 5000 years.)
Bond offered Colbert the Linnaean tribute, after Colbert griped that Neil Young had received the honour instead of him (scroll down for clips).
But one problem with A. stephencolberti's status as a species is that the arachnid looks exactly like several related species of spiders that live in many of the same kinds of habitats, up and down the California coast. In the new paper, the authors outline a way to resolve whether such species really constitute a unique species, melding geographic, ecologic and genetic approaches.
This dilemma isn't unique to celebrity-named spiders, but to all plants, animals and even bacteria. The debate is a can of worms that Linnaeus and Darwin both opened, then closed, and one this reporter would rather not address with two other deadlines looming. Suffice it to say, we wrote a feature story on the topic a decade ago, and some researchers devote their careers to the question.
Bond and Stockman conclude that A. stephencolberti makes the cut in large part because of its evolutionary history. DNA analysis shows that the spider is genetically distinct from related spiders, meaning that even though the species can interbreed to spawn fertile offspring, they don't in practice. Bond and Stockman also argue that the unique geographical distribution of A. stephencolberti and its sister species support their designation.
The specific epithet is a patronym, named in honor of Mr. Stephen Colbert. Mr. Colbert is a fellow citizen who truly has the courage of his convictions and is willing to undertake the very difficult and sometimes unpopular work of speaking out against those who have done irreparable harm to our country and the world through both action and inaction. He will be especially remembered by many of Jason Bond's generation for his speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner.
Bond appears on Colbert Report tonight (hat tip to The Loom for flagging the visit).
Ewen Callaway, reporter
|NYU Abu Dhabi researchers provide breakthrough insight on how coral reefs may cope with climate change|
Research reveals unique adaptations help Arabian Gulf corals survive sea temperatures of 36 degrees or higher
Abu Dhabi, August 10, 2017: Research undertaken by scientists at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will help provide new insight into how coral reefs around the world will be able to cope with climate change.
Rising sea temperatures are a primary cause of global coral reef bleaching, when water is too warm, corals expel the algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn white (known as coral bleaching). Major coral bleaching events have occurred around the world, including significant events in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef, and experts expect to see continued damage in the coming years.
NYU Abu Dhabi researchers may have found new insight into this global challenge, using corals found in the Arabian Gulf. A team of researchers examined the genetics of a widespread coral to understand how corals survive extreme sea temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius or higher in the Arabian Gulf, making them more heat tolerant than any other corals on the planet.
The study, which was published in the scientific journal PLOS One, sought answers to whether these corals have genetically adapted to these extreme conditions or have physiologically acclimated to the heat. To this end, the genetic structure of the coral Platygyra daedalea and its symbiotic algae in the Arabian Gulf and the nearby Gulf of Oman were investigated.
âBy looking at both corals and algae, we can get a better idea of whether one or both are involved in Gulf coral thermal tolerance,â said Edward Smith, postdoctoral associate researcher at NYU Abu Dhabi.
DNA analysis was performed on corals collected from reefs in the Arabian Gulf near Abu Dhabi and from sites in the slightly cooler Gulf of Oman around Fujairah and Muscat. This analysis found some key differences, revealing that the Arabian Gulf corals and their algae are genetically distinct from their counterparts in Gulf of Oman.
According to Smith, limited gene flow exchange between regions indicates that Arabian Gulf corals have adapted to cope with their extreme conditions. âThis is interesting because the results suggest that both the coral and their algae together contribute to the superior thermal tolerance traits of Arabian Gulf corals,â Smith said.
âGenetically adapted populations of corals and their symbionts in the Arabian Gulf are an important scientific resourceâ, he added. âThis study will help us understand the mechanisms involved in coral thermal adaptation, and provide new insight into whether corals elsewhere in the world will be able to cope with climate change.â
Regional adaptation has also lead the researchers to conclude that reefs threatened by climate change in the Gulf of Oman or Indian Ocean are unlikely to acquire the so-called âsuper genesâ of Arabian Gulf corals.
Reefs in the Arabian Gulf are the most diverse ecosystems in the region and support major economic industries such as fisheries. âUnfortunately, the conditions that have made Arabian Gulf corals among the hardiest known to science, also makes them vulnerable: they are living in very stressful conditions, and any further stress can push them over the edgeâ, said John Burt, NYUAD associate professor of biology.
âIn the past three decades weâve witnessed widespread degradation of reefs around the region, with sedimentation from coastal development and nearshore reclamation being the prime culprits,â he explained. âIf we are to conserve these scientifically and economically important natural assets, management efforts to limit human stressors are critical.â
Link to the paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180169
|City Developments Limited: The Singapore Sustainability Academy Launches as Training and Networking Hub|
Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA), a major training and networking hub dedicated to achieving a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future, opened in June.
Focusing on the key areas of advocacy, building capacity and collaboration, education and training, information and resource sharing, and community engagement, the SSA is a unique partnership between a private developer, City Developments Limited (CDL) and an NGO, the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS).
Drawing on CDL’s strength in green building and user engagement, the expertise of SEAS in sustainable energy, and supporting agencies and industry partners, the Academy will harness their knowledge and network to build collaborations among various stakeholders in the areas of sustainable development.
And the Academy is not just talking the talk: the zero-energy SSA building itself features a photovoltaic system that is expected to generate an annual energy yield of over 60,000 kWh, which is more than the SSA’s estimated annual energy consumption of about 50,000 kWh/year.
Moreover, the SSA is the first building in Singapore to have its construction materials – Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glued Laminated Timber (Glulam) – verified by the Nature’s BarcodeTM system as coming from responsible sources. This entails scientific tests including DNA analysis to minimise the risk that the wood comes from illegal logging.
“The timber is a treat for the senses. Apart from being visually appealing, it creates a clean, rustic and natural atmosphere, and the woody scent invokes a sense of calm within,” says Esther An, CDL’s Chief Sustainability Officer and a key player in realising the vision of the Academy.
The SSA, she explains, was conceived in mid-2015 under the leadership of CDL’s late Deputy Chairman and prominent sustainability advocate Mr. Kwek Leng Joo, who passed away in late 2015. “With his visionary leadership, CDL started our CSR journey founded on the ethos of ‘Conserve as we Construct’ in 1995. I am hugely honoured to have worked with him from the beginning, and to now continue his legacy by stepping up our efforts in ESG integration, making it a strong business case.”
Indeed, CDL, Singapore’s pioneer real estate developer with a global presence in 97 locations across 26 countries and specialising in residences, offices, hotels and malls totaling over 18 million square feet of floor area, has an impressive list of international sustainability awards to its name. The company has built a track record in developing quality green spaces and industry-changing innovations, which inspire eco-friendly lifestyles and sustainable workplace practices.
“Buildings are so much a part of life – we all live, work and play in and around built spaces, especially in highly built-up Singapore,” says An.
“Globally, buildings consume 40% of energy, 25% of water, and 40% of resources, and are responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. At CDL, we apply a three-pronged sustainability strategy that focuses on developing and adopting game-changing green building innovations and methods; managing our buildings in an energy and resource efficient manner; and user engagement and advocacy.”
The SSA is CDL’s third major 3P (People, Public and Private) ground-up initiative, following its purpose-built zero-energy CDL Green Gallery @Singapore Botanic Gardens and My Tree House, the world’s first green library for kids to encourage them to learn and care about the environment.
Located on a roof terrace in Singapore’s first eco-mall, City Square Mall, and surrounded by greenery, the 4,300 square feet Academy comprises classrooms, a veranda, an office, and an exhibition gallery.
“The walkway leading from a modern mall setting to the Academy contains infographics aimed at creating a sense of urgency and environmental consciousness among visitors,” says An. “The walkway walls feature thought-provoking issues on whether our planet will survive rapid population growth, rising demand for natural resources and climate change. It also features the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and best practices of some of the most sustainable global cities that lead the way to saving our planet.”
“Simply put, the Academy is a small space with a big vision and I am truly excited about SSA’s mission in community education and engagement, building a strong coalition and force to combat climate change and contribute to a sustainable future.”
SSA has set its sights on training and engaging sustainability professionals and communities beyond Singapore. SEAS has an established partnership with Asian Development Bank to provide training programmes for energy practitioners in the region.
Similarly, the SSA Programme Committee, chaired by An, is in talks with various partners, including NPOs, think tanks and industry associations, to bring experts from international organisations such as the UN Global Compact, Business Council for Sustainable Development, and World Green Building Council, to share best practices and expertise with audiences from Singapore and the region.
SEAS, the operator, will focus on training and capacity building while CDL, as the owner of the Academy, will spearhead the planning of programmes, thought leadership, advocacy, networking and partnerships amongst public, private and people sectors, explains An.
The programmes will be funded mainly by CDL and its partners, who will hold sustainability-related activities at the Academy. SEAS will continue to run their training classes using the organisation’s current sustainable business model as a non-profit.
“Examples of some programmes we have planned are capability building workshops, sustainability forums and youth workshops on topics such as the circular economy, sustainability reporting, green financing, etc.,” says An. Focusing on youth is particularly important, she says. “Young people are our future. They are the next generation of consumers, workforce and leaders who will be shaping our future economy and society. For two decades now, CDL has been active in youth development, one of our four key community investment areas.
“For the SSA, we have brought together our track record in youth development and our network of partners to develop innovative programmes with a strong focus on social-environmental advocacy. For example, we will be launching a new format for the 8th edition of CDL’s E-Generation Challenge through the platform of SSA. In partnership with the Global Green Economic Forum, the Challenge aims to raise eco-awareness amongst young people between the ages of 18 to 35 and to discover outstanding young champions for the environment. The winner of the challenge will embark on a 12-day study trip to the International Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned explorer and conservationist Robert Swan. The young champion will return to assume an advocacy role on environmental conservation to inspire more youths to follow.”
In addition to youth development, CDL is setting up the first network for women in Singapore’s green sectors, Women4Green. “This aims to engage women executives who work in the green building, clean energy, technology, green financing and consultancy fields to inspire each other to do more for their respective causes,” says An. “As there is an increasing number of women in the forefront of climate action, this network will engage women leaders to inspire, mentor and empower other females to charge forward and accelerate our transition to a low-carbon future. It also aims to support SDG 5 on Gender Equality.”
THE COMPANY: City Developments Limited (CDL) is a Singapore-listed international real estate operating company with a global presence spanning 97 locations in 26 countries. As one of Singapore’s largest companies by market capitalisation, its portfolio comprises residences, offices, hotels, serviced apartments, integrated developments and shopping malls, totalling over 18 million square feet of floor area globally. CDL is ranked Top Singapore Company and Most Sustainable Real Estate Management and Development Company in the 2017 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ranking. It is the first Singapore company to be listed on four of the world’s leading sustainability benchmarks – FTSE4Good Index Series (since 2002), MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes (since 2009), Global 100 (since 2010) and Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (since 2011).
COMMENT: By Simon Webley, Research Director, Institute of Business Ethics
CDL is a significant organisation in the property development sector. Operating in 26 countries, this Singaporean-based estate developer is outstanding for one main reason: it only builds what it describes as ‘green’ buildings, which are those that are eco-friendly in all aspects of that description. But that is not all it is doing to improve the environment. Its management, following the initiative of a former deputy chairman, realises that to be effective in the long term, it is necessary to convince the next generations that an environmental strategy requires innovations and imaginative education. Hence, CDL’s sponsorship of the Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA) in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS). This educational facility, which SEAS will operate, is to be opened this year to help promote eco-awareness and the ingredients of a sustainable future to the next generations.
Points of note:
|Forensic Science Universities How To Choose|
If you're looking to study at one of the top forensic science universities, it's important to look at the course offerings as well as the options at each of the colleges.
Forensic science universities train students to become professional analysts of crime scene data by working with the latest technology. In order to gain the expertise needed, various top schools provide the latest lab equipment for DNA analysis, as well as more standard technologies such as biological and weapons identification.
When selecting the best forensic school for your career, you should look at the forensic science focus as well as the quality of the college's general science offerings. Students in forensic science will need a solid background in chemistry, physics and biology, in addition to specialized lab courses. Many school offer course work in forensic science within their general science offering, but if you're seeking an immediate career in forensic science, then you should seek out a university with a dedicated degree.
Three of the best forensic science universities are the University of Mississippi, the University of Central Florida and Loyola University in New Orleans.
Mississippi offers a large scientific research institution at a public institution where class sizes in science are relatively small. Rated among the top five programs by the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, the school is a top choice for forensic undergraduate studies.
Central Florida has a well established technology curriculum with state of the art scientific labs, as well as expert faculty. Those seeking graduate education in forensic science should consider Loyola University which has more of a student focus, with smaller classes and more of a focus on providing research opportunities to students.
When seeking a bachelor of science in forensics, students should evaluate the university's offerings in organic chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, genetics and criminal justice, all of which are important for a future career in the field. While the scientific skills are necessary for your carer, it is equally important that you have a broad exposure to general criminal justice coursework which will help facilitate your work with law enforcement and ease you transition into the work force.
Make sure to structure a well balanced course load that allows you to obtain sufficient scientific and social science skill sets needed for a forensic science career. Look for a university with relatively small science courses, as well as close student to faculty interaction and a research laboratory focus within its coursework. Louis Zhang, Certforensictechnician dot com
|Worldview and Apologetics in the News|
What Ever Happened to the New Atheists?
Fate of Ancient Canaanites Seen in DNA Analysis: They Survived
For Culturally Illiterate Science Reporters, Canaanite DNA Yields Occasion to Slap Bible Around
âTransgender manâ gives birth to baby boy in Portland
Anonymous single mom exposes behind-the-scenes details at Planned Parenthood in emotional interview
Kentucky Could Be The First Abortion Free-State By 2018
Bible Studies at the White House: Who's Inside This Spiritual Awakening?
Mother shares photos of baby miscarried at 14 weeks: âHe is very obviously humanâ
Indian Christians charged with kidnapping, forced conversion
Conservative Anglicans in Open Revolt Against Church of England's 'Capitulation to Secular Values'
When a âDoctorâ is No Longer a Doctor
âDCâs Legends of Tomorrowâ Adds Muslim Superhero in Response to Trump
Planned Parenthood will spend $3 million to support this Virginia candidate for governor
When exorcists need help, they call him
Cosmic Inflation Theory Loses Hangups About Scientific Method
Peer-Review Fraud Scheme Uncovered in China
NT Wright attacks 'fashionable fantasy' of allowing children to choose their own gender
Courage and Godspeed,
Last week's edition is here.
|Will O.J. Finally Get A Chance To Resume His Search For The Real Killers?|
(UPDATE: The Nevada state parole has ruled unanimously that Simpson is to be released after serving the minimum nine years of his sentence.)
It was a balmy late spring evening on the East Coast, June 17, 1994 to be exact. We were watching Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden on a Los Angeles television station because we were putting our recently installed 12-foot satellite dish through its paces and had swung it into a position where we could pull in California signals.
The Knicks were ahead by a basket in a lead-changing nail biter when the station suddenly cut away to a Los Angeles freeway where a camera from a news helicopter showed a phalanx of police cruisers, their lights madly flashing, in pursuit of a white Ford Bronco.
I was one of the few reporters to plumb the racial aspects of the jury early on in the 11-month trial -- 10 women and two men, nine of whom were black, two white and one Hispanic -- and while I did not predict the acquittal (nobody did), I wrote that such an outcome would not necessarily be surprising because woman jurors seemed so sympathetic to O.J. and the truth stretching but convincing arguments of his defense lawyers, who had basically eaten Marsha Clark and her fellow prosecutors for lunch.
I was the only reporter, to my knowledge, to explore gender views of Nicole.
In one story, I riffed off of trial testimony showing that after returning home with her two young children on the night of the murders, Nicole had put them to bed, then lit candles throughout her condo, put on soothing music and taken a long bath. And that to most men, such a scenario indicated that she was getting ready to meet a lover, in this case Goldman, while most women believed that like many a mother, she just wanted to chill out after a long and stressful day, which had included an unpleasant encounter with O.J. at an ice cream parlor. Meanwhile, Goldman just happened to show up to return a pair of reading glasses she had misplaced. Men couldn't relate to the tired-mom scenario. Women could.
My one "big" scoop concerned the fact the Nicole's breasts had been surgically enhanced because O.J. liked 'em big, something I confirmed in an interview with the Main Line Philadelphia plastic surgeon who had done the deed.
|wobjr83055 on (Unpublished) Aquatic Ape Hypothesis; Rethinking; of Human Evolution.|
Alternative Knowledge: is defined as âinformation rooted in mainstream science, but in areas normally kept from public discussion because they cast doubt on the currently accepted paradigms and dogmas of the mainstream.â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â -Lloyd Pye-
Â Aquatic Ape Hypothesis; the Miocene Epoch âPlanet of the Apesâ Â Â Â Â Â Â Rethinking; of Human Evolution. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â By Wendell O. Belfield, Jr. Optidose Orthomolecular Nutritional Advocate CopyrightÂ© 2017 Wendell O. Belfield, Jr. Â
"I have come to the understanding that the science that we were taught takes us but a distance towards the truth."Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Dana Scully, X-Files
âHumans have been around for tens of billions of years.Â They are all over the place out there and migrate from world to world.Â Humans were originally aquatic which accounts for many of their unusual characteristics which seem inadequate for life on the surface.Â Aquatic humans still exist in the oceans of other worlds and lived in the oceans of earth until the end of the ice age.Â There are rumors that some still do.â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â -AnonymousÂ Remote Viewer-
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Darwinian evolution lays claim to the following; âall species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduceâ. Up until now there have been several theories as to how evolution is initiated. In the past it has been proposed that radioactive substances, gamma rays, x-rays, or certain chemicals cause mutations which are considered a necessary part of evolution. There are many kinds of mutations. The three main mutations are 1) Point mutation (one base is substituted or changed into another base. 2) Deletion mutation (a base is deleted from the DNA sequence shifting all of the other bases. 3) Insertion mutation (a base is inserted into the DNA sequence shifting all of the other bases.). It is important to keep in mind that genes do not operate in a nutritive vacuum.
Â Â Â The science of Orthomolecular nutrition (In 1968 Dr. Linus Pauling defined Orthomolecular therapy as the following; "Orthomolecular therapy consists in the prevention and treatment of disease by varying the concentrations in the human body of substances that are normally present.") has demonstrated that the underlying basis of evolution is a nutritionally changing environment. The ultimate survival of a species depends on how efficiently the intake of micronutrients are utilized. The following statement from the United States Department of Energyâs Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California supports the previous comment; âA personâs genes determines how their body absorbs and uses nutrients.â Â The science of Orthomolecular nutrition is all-important in determining whether a species will survive or go extinct.
Â Â Â Dr. Hans Selye (1907- 1982) is acknowledged as the "Father" of the field of stress research, was an Austrian-Hungarian/Canadian endocrinologist. He was the first to give a scientific explanation for biological stress. On the authority of Dr. Selye there are two major components to biological stress. They are the nervous system and the endocrine (hormonal) system. The three stages of Selyeâs General Adaptation Syndrome stress model are the following: 1) Alarm Reaction (AR). This refers to the organismâs immediate action to the stressor. 2) Stage of Resistance or Stage of Adaptation. Does the organism adapt to the stressor. In this case the stressor can be starvation. 3) Stage of Exhaustion or Extinction.Â This is the ability of the organismâs immune system to resist disease.
Â Â Â Dr. Selyeâs, General Adaptive Syndrome stress model can be considered the number-one stimulus of evolutionary mutagenesis (is a process by which the genetic information of an organism is changed in a stable manner, resulting in a mutation). The science of Orthomolecular nutrition used as an adjunct with Hanâs Selyeâs GAS, can disclose whether a species has been selected for continuous evolution or doomed for extinction.
Â Â Â The accuracy of the General Adaptive Syndrome stress model can be evaluated by the following statement. The core principle in Darwinian evolution is when a species can successfully maintain a level of optimum nutrition; this will ensure the passing of their genes to their offspringâs.Â Those species who cannot sustain a level of optimum nutrition will not have the privilege to reproduce because their nutritive deficiencies will make them susceptible to debilitating diseases (stage #3 of Hanâs Selyeâs, General Adaptive Syndrome). This is the first time that the science of Orthomolecular nutrition has been elevated to the forefront to provide a detailed understanding of the forces of Darwinian evolution.
Â Â Â It is quite unusual that a consensus is shared among two bitter scientific rivals. Among alternative and conventional science groups there is a general agreement that the aquatic ape hypothesis espoused by marine biologist Alister Hardy, Elaine Morgan, Desmond Morris and former NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) scientist Dr. Paul Robertson has no place in discussions concerning human evolution.Â The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the aquatic ape hypothesis was not only plausible but did occur during the course of human evolution. AAH had great significance in the evolution of humans. Â The General Adaptive Syndrome and the Science of Orthomolecular Nutrition (SOON) are used to provide a new analysis to the aquatic ape hypothesis. When GAS-SOON is used as means to analyze the mechanism of human evolution it will become quite apparent that nutrition is a major factor in the process of evolutionary change.
Â Â Â The Miocene named by Sir Charles Lyell is the first geological epoch of the Neogene Period. The Miocene epoch extended from about 23.03 to 5.333 million years ago. During this epoch, apes experienced their greatest divergence, it is thought that as many as 30 to 100 species existed, inhabiting extensive regions of Africa, Asia, and Europe.Â During the Late Miocene, climatic changes that increased seasonality (and gradually replaced many forests with grasslands) and competition from an ever increasing number of monkey species caused a decline in the diversity of ape species.
Â Â Â With the large migration of apes throughout the world it is quite possible that they inhabited just about all environmental niches. For instance, even though it has never been officially discussed in academic circles, there may have been flying apes, actually gliding apes.Â It is known that some species of apes like the gibbons practice the technique of brachiation (a form of arboreal locomotion in which primates swing from tree limb to tree limb using only their arms.). With a few micro evolutionary modifications brachiation may have given way to a form of gliding from tree to tree. This would be similar to the evolution of gliding squirrels.
Â Â Â It is quite plausible that there may have been two kinds of aquatic apes.Â Just like there are two kinds of porpoises, fresh water or river porpoises and the more popular marine or seawater porpoises. Since porpoises are mammals just like the apes and they occupied both freshwater and sea water environments. There is reason to believe that apes could have exploited similar water environments like the porpoises. About 18 million years ago the true evolutionary history of man began in the warm coastal waters around the Southern hemisphere with the coastal aquatic ape. Â The focus of this paper will be on marine apes.
Â Â Near the middle or end of the Miocene epoch environmental pressures such as scarcity of food and the quality of food (GAS; Stage #2, Stage of Resistance or Stage of Adaptation) was influencing the evolution of Australopithecus. The competition for scarce food resources among the troop of Australopithecines was at times deadly.Â During these stressful times in order to keep these troops as fit as possible, those individuals who were consideredÂ nonproductive Â with regards to acquiring food and breeding unfit offspring became cast offs from their respective troops. This practice was put to use to increase the troopâs chances for survival during harsh times. The discarding of nonproductive individuals was a common practice among the Australopithecineâs, after a time there would be a sizable population of Australopithecine âoutcasts.â Â These Outnoicineâs (outcasts/hominoids/Australopithecines) had a poor diet (GAS; Stage #2). It was common for these ragtag troops to go days without food. When searching for food they often found themselves encroaching into a rivalâs territory only to be immediately rebuffed.
Â Â Eating on the run was a habit of the Outnoicineâs. In their weakened state the Outnoicineâs did not fare well in direct confrontations with rival troops of Australopithecineâs especially when there were sparse food resources. It can be surmised that do to an inadequate diet these ragtag troops were malnourished. This lifestyle led them to be in poor health and to be developmentally retarded physically and mentally. The primary means of increasing their troop size was not an increase in the birth rate but by absorbing other Outnoicineâs. Â If it wasnât for a prolonged period at GAS; Stage #2: Stage of Resistance or Stage of Adaptation these Outnicineâs would have entered GAS; Stage #3: Stage of Exhaustion or Extinction. Instead of entering Stage #3 they continued to adapt through the activation of the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule. The activation of this enzyme at Stage #2 allowed the Outnoicineâs to internally synthesize ascorbic acid which would protect them from not only scurvy but from other sub-clinical scurvy related diseases.
Â Â Â For millions of years the troops of Australopithecine Outnoicineâs were gradually being forced out from the prime regions of the tropical forests and grasslands. Eventually they found themselves being forced to the outer fringes of these lands. In the final expulsion; they finally ran out of real estate. They were banished to the coastlines. This nutritive deficient troop finally reached their biochemical stress related threshold. This is when the General Adaptation Syndrome conceived by Hans Selye MD determines whether a short-term and long-term reaction to stress affects the reactivation or deactivation of the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule.Â Â Â
Â Â Â Short-term stress [(GAS; Stage #1; Alarm Reaction (AR)], would not Â activate the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule for the internal biosynthesis of ascorbic acid because external or environmental sources of ascorbic acid are still readily available for maintaining health. Â Long-term reactions to stress, (GAS; Stage #2; Stage of Resistance or Stage of Adaptation,) will facilitate the internal synthesis of ascorbic acid, the reason being that there are little or no environmental sources of ascorbic acid to maintain health. Â In summary the General Adaptation Syndrome does the following it influences an organismâs rate of evolutionary change and influences whether an organismâs short-term or a long-term reaction to stress activates or deactivates the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule.
Â Â Â Â The last phase for this troop of Australopithecine Outnoicineâs came when evolution selected them as no longer fit, (GAS; Stage #3; Stage of Exhaustion or Extinction). The L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule was deactivated. The Outnoicines were no longer able to internally synthesize ascorbic acid. They now became vulnerable to a whole range of sub-clinical scurvy type diseases. As the curtain of extinction was descending something remarkable happened.Â A few individuals from this dying troop turned death into a fighting chance to live when they discovered a nutritious and plentiful food source on the coastal shores that they didnât have to compete for.Â This undernourished and hypoascorbemic troop of Australopithecineâs, fortuitously came upon an unlimited supple of coastal crustaceans.Â This consisted of crabs, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and krill. The nutritive value for 100 grams of crustaceanâs for this brand new subspecies, the semi-aquatic Australopithecines(it is reasonable to assume these semi-aquatic Australopithecines ate more than 100 grams of crustaceans in- one- sitting) versus the tropical diet of land dwelling Australopithecines was equal to or in the best of times exceeded the nutritive intake of their land dwelling cousins.Â
Â Â Â The situation described above has to be considered more of an exception than the rule. GAS: stage #3 is curtains or the end for the majority of species on Earth. In the normal course of evolution all living things die off. The Australopithecines Outnoicines serendipitously found themselves in favorable circumstances when they were forced into their new coastline environment.Â They immediately exploited an untapped food source.Â This propelled them up from GAS; stage #3 to Stage #2 and eventually to GAS; stage #1. As a rule Darwinian evolution functions in descending not ascending stages.
Â Â Â This new diet was instrumental in the rejuvenation of the Outnoicineâs. This once pathetic troop of Australopithecines was now evolving to adapt to their new surroundings.Â Micro evolutionary changes were now being initiated for them to become specialized to a semi-aquatic environment. As they became more specialized their diet would expand to include marine fish. They would still retain enough of their terrestrial roots. On rare occasions when they would find their diet of crustaceans lacking, they would climb sea cliffs to raid the nesting seabirds of their eggs.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Nutritive Value of 100 grams of Crustaceans
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Vitamins Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Minerals Â Â
Â Â Â Â 1. Vitamin A---53 IU Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1. Calcium---27 mg
Â Â Â Â 2. Vitamin B-9---37 mg Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2. Iron------.84 mg
Â Â Â Â 3. Vitamin E----2.85 mg Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3. Potassium--302 mg
Â Â Â Â 4. Vitamin B-6---1 mg Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4. Magnesium---27 mg
Â Â Â Â 5. Vitamin B-12---2 ug Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 5. Phosphorus---256 mg
Â Â Â Â 6. Vitamin C----1.2 grams Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 6. Sodium----58 mg
Â Â Â Â 7. Vitamin K----1 ug Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 7. Zinc----1.3 mg
Â Â Â Â 8. Vitamin B-1-----.07 mg
Â Â Â Â 9. Vitamin B-2-----.03 mg
Â Â Â 10. Vitamin B-5-----54 mg
Â Â Â 11. Vitamin B-9-----37 ug
Â Â Â Two times unshared Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling and Irwin Stone PhD speculated that when L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule was turned off this may have accelerated the development of neural pathways, meaning rapid brain development. The good luck that was seemingly bestowed upon the Australopithecine Outnoicineâs provided them with an uninterrupted source of omega three fatty acids that they once had in their tropical environment. A marine diet rich in omega three fatty acids would augment the further development of their brain.Â With an overall better diet it would seem likely that the brain development of the semi-aquatic apes was increasing at an alarming rate, than for the land dwelling apes that had to contend with food scarcity and temporary starvation. With better nutrition the semi-aquatic coastal apes experienced a baby boom. These new generations of semi-aquatic apes were healthier, bigger and smarter than their parents and their land dwelling cousins. Overtime a small troop of these semi-aquatic apes would venture farther and deeper into the coastal waters for food. This additional adaptation made sure that they would never again experience food scarcity and starvation. Â
Â Â Â As their brains grew the semi-aquatic apeâs behavior became more complex. They began to demonstrate complex communication skills such as rudimentary language. This complex behavior allowed them to conduct periodic foraging raids on their ancient ancestral lands. Having multi-faceted communication skills allowed these semi-aquatic apes to function efficiently on both land and sea environments. This ability made them a formidable adversary to terrestrial Australopithecines. These semi-aquatic apes were stealthy on land. When venturing into the tropical forests/grasslands they took whatever food they wanted, with hardly any altercations from the terrestrial Australopithecines. Their audacity gave notice to the terrestrials that a new evolved species has come to power and is going to make changes. This behavior kept them in contact with their inland origins. Later on this behavior would serve them well when the oceans started to recede.
Â Â Â Â The Pleistocene Epoch is defined as the period of time that began about 1.8 million years ago and lasted about 11,700 years ago. The most recent Ice Age is sometimes referred to as the Quaternary glaciation (Quaternary period) or the Pleistocene glaciation. This geological period took place during the last 100,000 years of the Pleistocene, from approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago.Â As glaciers covered vast parts of the planet Earth the oceans receded, exposing land that was once covered by the oceans. Some semi-aquatic Australopithecines adjusted to the retreating oceans by going farther out from the coastlines into deeper waters for their food (GAS; stage #2; Stage of resistance or Stage of adaptation.). These semi-aquatic apes were going through micro-evolutionary changes to become totally aquatic. Their land dwelling days were over. In time, these aquatic apes would become eminently adapted for aÂ pelagicÂ existence.
Â Â Â Â What was previously described took millions of years to accomplish.Â These semi aquatic apes were experiencing biochemical and physiological micro-evolutionary changes. Those apes that were very efficient in metabolizing their micronutrients were to experience the full effect of evolutionary change. Efficiency in metabolizing micronutrients allowed a splinter group from the semi-aquatic apes to sustain minimal stress at General Adaptive Syndrome; stage #1 AR/Alarm Reaction. Take into account that minimal stress is normal, an absence of stress means youâre no longer living! As a result, long intervals at stage #1 allowed beneficial micro-evolutionary changes to be made on these semi-aquatic apes. Changes in their anatomy and physiology allowed the apes to become specialized for a marine existence. Â 1) Webbing between fingers (other primates donât have this), 2) Subcutaneous fat (insulating from cold water), 3) Control over breath (humans can hold breath up to 20 minutes, longer than any other terrestrial animal), 4) Loss of body hair (hair creates drag in water), 5) Instinctive ability to swim (human babies are able to do this). 6) A highly developed brain, which depends on nutrients provided by having a marine diet.
Â Â Â The rate of evolution for those semi-aquatic apes that were not as efficient as the aquatic apes in metabolizing their micronutrients was slower. These less efficient apes would never complete their evolutionary change for a permanent marine existence, they remained semi-aquatic. The evolutionary fate of these semi-aquatic apes would be determined at either GAS; stage #2; Stage of resistance or Stage of adaptation or stage #3; Stage of exhaustion or extinction.
Â Â The aquatic apes evolved into a species that became specialized to a marine existence, they would be exposed to new stressful conditions never before encountered. The General Adaptation Syndrome; stage #1; Alarm Reaction (AR) would be appropriate in describing the new environmental pressures these aquatic apes would be encountering. Â Decompression illness (includes nitrogen narcosis, high pressure nervous syndrome, oxygen toxicity, pulmonary barotrauma/burst lung) would be important environmental challenges while in deep waters. The alarm reaction experienced would have been an increase in heart rate and hormonal activity. The GAS; stage #2 activation of the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule would have been an immediate solution to Decompression illness. The ability to internally synthesize ascorbic acid would play a crucial role in negating the effects of oxygen toxicity.Â Without the ability to internally synthesize ascorbic acid these aquatic apes would descend to General Adaptation Syndrome; stage #3; stage of Exhaustion or extinction. Â The inability to cope with decompression illness would surely have led to their extinction.
Â Â Â The receding oceans were a result of the Ice Age. The main group, the semi-aquatic apes found themselves gradually going back to their ancient ways, a terrestrial existence. The coastal areas were no longer a major source for food. While the Semi-aquatic Australopithecus was in the process of re-claiming their ancient past as land dwellers, the forces of evolution were in the process of exerting anatomical and physiological micro-evolutionary changes which gave rise to the macro-evolution of a new species of hominoid called Homo erectus. Â As Homo erectus was completing its transformation to a land existence, millions of years later evolution would once again execute another important macro-evolutionary change. Homo erectus evolved into Homo Heidelbergensis.
Â Â Â Â Homo Heidelbergensis retained their 48 chromosomes from their ape ancestors. With this number of chromosomes it is suspected that these hominoids needed an optimum level of nutrition to sustain their high metabolism. The ancient marine diet that once saved their ancestors from extinction had enough calories to sustain their metabolism, but they no longer had access to that kind of diet
Â Â Â As Homo Heidelbergensis continued to migrate inland they experienced weather extremes that caused droughts and famines (GAS; stage#2; Stage of resistance/Stage of adaptation). Â In these environmental extremes they could not sustain an optimum level of nutrition. The continued exposure to dietary deficiencies increased the vulnerability of these hominoids to a whole range of diseases (GAS; stage #3; Stage of exhaustion or extinction). There had to have been sub-groups of Homo Heidelbergensis that succumbed to stage #3 of the General Adaptive Syndrome stress model.
Â Â The repeated exposure to environmental extremes during the existence of Homo Heidelbergensis made them a âbad weatherâ hominoid. Unfortunately, in order to minimize their stress they did not have the ability synthesize their own ascorbic acid.Â An ever increasing accumulation of micro-evolutionary mutations damaged the niacin (B3) DNA repair process. These frameshift mutations were deleterious. Those sub groups of Homo Heidelbergensis at stage #3 continued to die off. Â Sub groups at stage #2 were more genetically resilient than the previous subgroup. The biochemistry of this subgroup of Homo Heidelbergensis was efficient in how their body absorbed and utilized nutrients. Â Frameshift mutations (a genetic mutation caused by a deletion or insertion in a DNA sequence that shifts the way the sequence is read. Frameshift mutations may be beneficial, deleterious, or lethalÂ ) at stage #2 was beneficial. The stage #2 subgroups were fortunate to have enough favorable micro-evolutionary changes to diverge into a new species of hominoid. This new species was Homo Neanderthalensis.
Â Â Â The Neanderthals were the first to branch off from the Homo Heidelbergensis line; in the future there would be two additional (questionable) branches off this line.Â Â They would be Cro Magnon (hominoid) and Homo sapiens (Hominid). The question that seems to be deliberately avoided by mainstream science is the following; are Cro Magnon and Homo sapiens part of the normal evolutionary flow on this planet? It is generally accepted that periods of long duration either at stage #1 or Stage #2 prompted the reactivation of the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule which is crucial for the internal biosynthesis of ascorbic acid. The internal synthesis of ascorbic acid continues to be a major factor in the success of Homo Neanderthalensis.
Â Â Â Â With 48 chromosomes, studies have shown that the Neanderthal anatomical structures, especially their large brain needed more energy to survive than any other species of hominoids (except for the Cro Magnonâs). Their energy needs were up to 100â350 calories more per day compared to modern human males weighing 68.5 kg (151.0 lbs.) and females 59.2 kg (130.5 lbs.).Â The demands of having a high caloric intake were not met when food became scarce. The scarcity of food with a high caloric content may have played a major role in the decline of Neanderthals but not their extinction (Stage#2; Stage of Resistance/Stage of Adaptation, GAS).Â
Â Â Â The conventional image of the Neanderthals is of a short stocky hominoid, clad in animal skins, trekking across vast expanses of ice in a desperate search to find food. This is the long established image that comes to mind when we think about the Ice Age. Such stereotypes are false because there were probably several different types of Neanderthals ranging in size, height and weight.
Â Â Â The average temperature of the earth during this glacial period was 49 degrees Fahrenheit. During this period the colder regions of Earth was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit or less. The late Lloyd Pye one of the pioneers of alternative knowledge had postulated that the Neanderthals wearing animal skins could not keep warm in temperatures ranging from 12 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Â Pye states that in excavation sites where Neanderthals were thought to have inhabited there has been no discovery of any kind of rudimentary sewing paraphernalia to indicate that they were wearing animal furs. The thinking is that the Neanderthals entire body was covered with hair to keep them warm. The science of Ichnology (is the branch of geology and biology that deals with traces of organismal behavior, such as footprints and burrows. It is generally considered as a branch of paleontology) has demonstrated that the footprints of Neanderthal and âBig Footâ or âSasquatch âare identical. Â
Â Â Â One should keep in mind that 30% to 40% of the land on this planet has not been foot surveyed. The dense montane forests are too difficult to be foot surveyed by humans. Â Â These hard to reach areas are the locations where the hominoids inhabit. The prime real estate sites on Earth are occupied by the Homo sapiens. Â The evidence just presented requires a new paradigm concerning the physical appearance of the Neanderthals. âBig Footâ or âSasquatchâ, abominable snowman and the skunk ape are actually Neanderthals.
Â Â Â The new image of the typical Cro Magnon is of a short stocky hominoid, clad in animal skins, trekking across vast expanses of ice in a desperate search to find food. Â Cro Magnon, also, had48 chromosomes and a high or fast metabolism and like their cousins Homo Neanderthalensis. During the ice age the Neanderthals were nocturnal hunters especially adapted to dense montane forests. The main source of nutrition in those climates is meat. Even though the Neanderthals are considered omnivorous their diet considered mostly of meat. The Cro Magnon a diurnal hunter may have been more socially advanced but they were not as strong and skilled a hunter as the Neanderthals. Â Cro Magnon had difficulty satiating their high metabolism during environmentally hard times (stage #2).
Â Â Â Â It has been hypothesized that when the Neanderthals left Africa for Europe, about 40,000 years later Cro Magnon pursued a similar migratory path. Eventually, over time these two species would co-exist. The Cro Magnonâs were not strong nurturers of their young during harsh times.Â If a Cro Magnon infant happened to be born during the hunting season, in order to make sure that all members could participate in the hunt, infanticide (probably the killing off of female babies was the norm because they weren't considered as useful in hunts; evidence: the male population was 10% greater than the female population) was periodically practiced to relieve the female adult of child rearing obligations.Â
Â Â Â Evidence has revealed that on occasion the Cro Magnon practiced cannibalism. The practice of cannibalism was a last resort when the local environment could not supply the optimum nutrients to sustain their high metabolism. It has been speculated that over time the Cro Magnon population was declining because of inadequate nutrition, infanticide and cannibalism. In a desperate attempt to replenish the population, breeding with Neanderthals was attempted. This attempt at best was only marginally successful.Â When Homo sapiens arrived on the scene in Europe Cro Magnon was near extinction (Stage #3; Stage of Exhaustion or Extinction, GAS).
Â Â Crossbreeding between the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnonâs was possible since each had 48 chromosomes. Â The result of such a union was a hybrid. Letâs call this union âCromthaalsâ.Â The females of such a union would maintain their monestrous cycle (the period in the sexual cycle of female mammals, during which they are in heatâi.e.,Â ready to accept a male and to mate. One or more periods of estrus may occur during the breeding season of a species.Â ). The estrus cycle is evolutions way of putting a limit on population growth.
Â Â Â The real problem would arise when the Cromthaals would breed among themselves and no longer with the Neanderthals or Cro Magnonâs. It is suspected that when these hybrids would breed among themselves the second generation females would lose their monestrus cycle completely. Â This resulted in the ability of the second generation female hybrids to get pregnant anytime of the year. This allowed for an unlimited population growth. An unlimited growth would put the population at stage #3 (stage of exhaustion; a stressed immune system would be unable to resist disease) of the General Adaptive syndrome (GAS).
Â Â Â It has been hypothesized that there was a breakaway group of Cro Magnonâs which did not migrate with the others.Â This particular group remained because they were able to retain some of the nutritional habits of their ancient ancestors, the coastal aquatic apes.Â They had a diversified diet. As they migrated farther inland away from the coastal oceans, they could not maintain their diversified diet. They were increasingly becoming hypoascorbemic. As a result, this group of Cro Magnonâs became susceptible to a whole range of subclinical scurvy type diseases (Stage #3 of the GAS).Â Evolution would mark this group for extinction.
Â Â Â For reasons that cannot be explained something very unusual happened to this group of Cro-Magnons. The evidence is becoming quite compelling that there was several subgroups of Cro-Magnonâs undergoing a beneficial frameshift mutational change. The Cro-Magnonâs genome would be reduced from 48 chromosomes to 46. What happened was that there was a fusion of two chromosomes that reduced the chromosome number to 46. âHow this happened is not known,â according to Ron Baker, PhD from the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago, Illinois.Â The fusion of two chromosomes has only been accomplished successfully in a laboratory environment.
Â Â Â The fusion that happens in the human chromosome (the fusion of two chromosomes) is a disorder that typically causes handicaps and even the death of an individual. The best-known example is Downâs syndrome. So far scientific experiments have revealed that chromosomal fusion delivers no benefits; on the contrary it produces unhealthy mutants or infertile individuals.
Â Â Â Mainstream science makes the claim that âgenetic driftâ (Environmental and social pressures that make one population different from another.) was the mechanism by which ape chromosomes 12 and 13 was fused to make human chromosome 2. Remember, chromosomes do not operate in a nutritive vacuum. If this is true the hominoids that are undergoing âgenetic driftâ are probably experiencing either GAS; stage #2(Stage of Resistance or Stage of Adaptation) or stage#3 (Stage of Exhaustion or Extinction.). These hominoid populations are dying. The question that has to be asked is how many generations does it take before âgenetic driftâ becomes beneficial during a state of nutritive deficiency. It would be a stroke of luck if âgenetic driftâ during an initial random mutation happened to be an immediate benefit. Letâs say, after several generations of random mutations a beneficial mutation arises, the hominoid gene pool is so depleted that inbreeding now becomes a major threat to the viability of the species.
Â Â Â From an Orthomolecular view point these Cro-Magnonâs were nutritionally deficient (Stage #3 of the GAS). As a result they developed a genetic disorder or a non-lethal mutation that occurs at a rate of 1/1000. The genetic disorder was the fusing to make human chromosome 2. Chromosome 2 is the fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13 with most of the same genes. With this odd occurrence, over a short period of time (250,000 years) Cro Magnon accumulated enough micro-evolutionary mutations to evolve into a new species called Homo sapiens.
Â Â Â It is hypothesized that the fusion of the human chromosome 2 did confer some benefits to the Homo sapiens. The first being the slowing down of their metabolism; a slower metabolism meant a lower caloric intake of nutrients. This modification made Homo sapiens more resistant to famines. To minimize any potential deleterious effects of chromosomal fusion an old standby was revived, the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule was reactivated by a transitional point mutation. The last time the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule was activated was during the heyday of Homo Neanderthalensis.Â Â Â This very rare process of chromosomal fusion, which may have taken place in nature, eludes conventional scientific thinking.Â It is difficult to believe that chromosomal fusion may occur naturally. Before chromosomal fusion could begin the telomeres (caps at the end of chromosomes) have to be chemically sliced off. In order to verify that the telomeres have been removed requires several high technology techniques such as; DNA extraction, Karyotyping, FISH analysis, Gel electrophoresis, Mass spectrometry and many other different techniques. How can this be accomplished and verified without any kind of high tech techniques and equipment absolutely boggles the mind.
Â Â Â It is still within the realm of possibilities that Hans Selyeâs General Adaptive Syndrome (GAS) stress model may consist of a rare stage #4 step which facilitates the fusion of two benign chromosomes by way of a conditional mutation (A mutation that will kill a cell under certain conditions but not under others.).As another alternative explanation to the fusion of two chromosomes, one must seriously consider the prospect of Interventional Evolution or directed panspermia. This may be the easiest to understand rather than to believe the fusion of two chromosomes occurred naturally during evolution. Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â Â A new transitory subspecies of Homo sapiens named Homo sapiens Ascorbicus was created when the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule was reactivated.Â This subspecies to all intents and purposes was disease resistant. The two major drawbacks of an activated L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule was the lack of permanence and no accelerated neural development. At this point in Homo sapien evolution, accelerated neural development was not a crucial need. Â Homo sapien Ascorbicus would continue to experience neural development but at a slow sustained rate.
Â Â Â The forces of evolution deemed it important for Ascorbicus to focus on developing a stable social structure Â Â along with good nurturing skills for their young. There was no immediate need to have accelerated neural growth until the Ascorbicus population had stabilized.Â From now on major evolutionary changes would take place socially not by micro evolutionary changes that would affect the DNA molecule. Â The day finally arrived when Homo sapiens Ascorbicus became a vibrant and flourishing species. The evolutionary urge to migrate came into full swing. The Homo sapiens would be more prepared physically and socially than their Cro Magnon ancestors when they started their northward trek. Â
Â Â Â The migration from a tropical or warm environment to a colder environment was fret with many dangers. Reasons being that the tropical plants do not contain enough of the omega-three fatty acids needed in the colder areas. When Homo sapien Ascorbicus left the confines of South Africa the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule that brought them back from near extinction would once again be deactivated. The one time disease resistant Homo sapien Ascorbicus now became the mere mortal Homo sapien. Â Famine conditions played a major factor in creating the; GAS stage #2, stage of Resistance or stage of adaptation which deactivated the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule. The disabling of the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule prevented the internal bio-synthesis of ascorbic acid.
Â Â Â Once again, the deactivation would resume the acceleration of neural development. Â Accelerated neural growth would allow Homo sapiens adapt to new environments and to find new alternative sources of ascorbic acid. During this period the omnivorous diet of the Homo sapiens may have been given further prominence. The General adaptive Syndrome stimulated the desire in humans to eat a large variety of foods from animal and vegetable sources. Â The colder climates provided enough omega-three fatty acids to further facilitate the acceleration of neural development.
Â Â Â The reduction from 48 to 46 chromosomes provided humans with a slower metabolism. Besides having a slower metabolism another benefit was bestowed upon these humans that increased their chances of survival during times of food scarcity. These Homo sapiens would now take advantage of a distinctive trait from their ancient aquatic-ape past. In times of famine (GAS; Stage #2, Stage of Resistance or Stage of Adaptation.) they could now effectively use their supply of subcutaneous fat as a source of energy (in ancient times served to insulate them from cold water). Once, again they would have to contend being hypoascorbemic. Â Hypoascorbemia would always continue to be a scourge that would wreak havoc on humans. The inability to internally synthesize ascorbic acid would relegate humans to stage #3 of the General Adaptive Syndrome stress model.
Â Â Â At times it seems the mysteries contained within the human genome overshadows the evidence that Homo sapiens had aquatic beginnings. This by itself is truly amazing! Â The evidence presented strongly suggests that hominoid evolution began in accordance to the precepts of Darwinian evolution. During the Cro Magnon era there is a deliberate interruption in the flow of evolution. The reduction of 48 chromosomes to 46 by way chromosomal fusion is a paradox. The future existence of the current version of Homo sapiens (evidence suggests the strong possibility of being a genetic fabrication) may depend on a clear understanding of why this tampering occurred.
Â Â Â The evolutionary history of Homo sapiens is beset with a lot of mysteries. In the human genome, chromosome 2 is the result of the fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13. How could the random nature of Darwinian evolution execute such an intricate process?Â The three stages of Hans Selyeâs M.D., General Adaptive Syndrome stress model provides a clear insight into the inner workings of evolution. It has been shown that the General Adaptive Syndrome is the driving force behind Darwinian evolution or natural selection. Even though GAS is crucial in the process of natural Selection it does not provide a clear understanding into the forming of chromosome 2 in the human genome. If the principal of Occamâs razor (Is a line of reasoning that says the simplest answer is often correct) is used to solve this enigma, of how the fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13 produced chromosome 2. The simplest answer to this puzzle should be directed panspermia or Interventional evolution.
Â Â Â The repeated deactivation and reactivation of the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule during natural selection appears not to have impeded the evolutionary progress of Hominoid development. Â This is indeed somewhat strange considering the importance of ascorbic acid (C6H8O6 ) is to the biosynthesis of collagen (is the most abundant protein in the body. It helps connective tissue to be strong and provides cushioning for various parts of the body). Â Two times unshared Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling states the following: âWe have come upon the two big reasons why we require for good health so much larger amounts of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) than are present in the plants we use as food. First, there is the bodiesâ continuing need for the synthesis of large amounts of collagen for growth and for replacement of the collagen degraded by daily wear and tear.Â Second, vitamin C, in the critical reactions that assemble collagen in the tissues, does not serve merely as a catalyst but is destroyed."
Â Â Â Â Mario C. DeTullio, PhD raises the question as to how Homo sapiens could have evolved normally( This is the issue Homo sapiens did not evolve normally!) without the ability to internally synthesize ascorbic acid. He states the following; âbut how can something so crucial for survival be eliminated through the course of evolution? Typically, we expect that positive traits should be retained during evolution, and as vitamin C is beneficial, how would natural selection remove such a crucial biosynthetic capability? Indeed, individuals carrying the mutation(s) in the gene encoding gulonolactone oxidase should have had less chance of surviving and reproducing. However, the opposite occurred, and those who had lost vitamin C biosynthesis survived. How can we explain this apparent paradox?
Â Â Â The creation of Homo sapiens came about when Cro-Magnonâs 48 chromosomes were reduced down to 46. This reduction should be considered one of the biggest mysteries on the planet Earth. Conventional science claims that âgenetic driftâ maybe responsible for this reduction. So far, the fusion of two genes has only been accomplished in a laboratory environment. One of the important rules in Darwinian evolution is that evolutionary changes are not made in anticipation of a problem. Previously it has been stated the fusion of two chromosomes (ape genes 12 and 13 produced human chromosome 2) was done to make Homo sapiens better able to survive famines. If this happens to be the case, a compelling argument can be made that the fusion of two chromosomes was done in anticipation of a future problem. Whatever process evolution chose in selecting ape chromosomes 12 and 13 had to have been a âlongâ process (thousands of years). Before chromosomes 12 and 13 could be fused the telomeres had to be chemical sliced off. There would have to be some sort of high tech diagnostic process to ensure that whatever technique being used was effective. Â
Â Â Â When genetic engineering has been performed there has to be a period of time which must transpire during the development of the life form in order to see all of the observable characteristics. The life form must fully develop to observe the phenotypical traits that are influenced by both theÂ genotypeÂ and the environment (nutrition). This brings to mind the iconic scenes in sci-fi movies when the good guys finally enter the nefarious lab only to notice row after row of specimen jars that shows the gradual steps in perfecting a viable species ( in this particular instance the creation of human beings).
Â Â Â There is too much room for error using just statistical probability in determining the effectiveness of genetic engineering process. The species attrition rate has to be exceedingly high if evolution is conducting such experiments. This is a definite Stage #3 of the General Adaptive Syndrome stress model. Darwinian evolution could not pull off this kind of genetic experimentation without a high species mortality rate. If success was achieved it is doubtful if there would be enough genetic variation left in the existing population for successful reproduction.Â On the other hand interventional evolution could pull this off with a low mortality rate. Obvious areas of failure would be avoided; this cannot be said with Darwinian evolution.
Â Â Â It is very apparent that nutrition was (and currently is) a major force in the evolution of mankind.Â Homo sapiens health is dependent upon consuming food to which humans have been adapted to for over 100,000 years of evolution. Orthomolecular nutrition, in optimal doses, is such a potent factor it can put a limit on genetic determinism (is the mechanism by which genes, along with environmental conditions, determine morphological and behavioral phenotypes). The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) influences the process of natural selection on whether to reactivate or inactivate the last (or fourth) enzyme in the internal biosynthesis of ascorbic acid.
Â Â Â The first three pathways will turn off the synthesis of ascorbic acid, but will affect other biochemical pathways. What is astounding is that the deactivation of the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule at the fourth or last pathway in the bio-synthesis of ascorbic acid does not affect any other biochemical pathways it only affects the synthesis of ascorbic acid. Hominoid evolution seems to be punctuated by the on again and off again of the L-gulonolactone oxidase molecule. The only advantage that can be deduced from the turning off of this molecule is an acceleration of neural development. This is a very precise course adjustment performed by evolution.Â
Â Â Â Â In addition to not being able to synthesize(5R)-5-[(1S)-1, 2-Dihydroxyethyl]-3, 4-dihydroxy-2(5H)-furanone) which is known as ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) , (so far the results look promising in bio-engineering attempts to reactivate the L-gulono-Î³-lactone oxidase molecule in non-human subjects.) Homo sapiens cannot synthesize the micro nutrients B1, B2, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12 E & K.Â What is concerning is that there has been and continues to be an evolutionary decline in the biosynthesis of niacin (B3). Abram Hoffer PhD, MD has stated; âNevertheless, the synthesis of niacin from tryptophan is a very inefficient process and the 60 milligrams (mg) of the amino acid are necessary to provide 1mg of niacin.Â This process also involves vitamins B1, B2 & B6.Â If these are in short supply, the synthesis of vitamin B3 will be even less efficient.âÂ
Â Â Â With the inability synthesize C6H8O6, along with the nine other micronutrients and the continual evolutionary decline in the synthesis of B3 the question that has to be asked; how can this be of any benefit to Homo sapiens?Â Niacin is good for so many things but there are two areas where it is especially effective, controlling blood lipids and psychoses. It is quite possible that the evolutionary decline of niacin is the last gasp in Stage #3 of GAS. Unless there is some sort of intervention this current version of Homo sapiens will be snuffed out like a candle flame.
Â Â Â Among some scientific circles it is believed that there may have been two versions of Homo sapiens. Version 1.0 was short lived because of numerous genetic defects.Â Once these genetic defects were cleaned up version 2.0 was created, which is the current version. In some laboratory here on Earth or elsewhere maybe there are blueprints on the drawing board for newer versions of Homo sapiens. It is hoped that great care and diligence is being conducted for these newer versions. It is quite obvious that the first two versions of Homo sapiens were created in a âslipshodâ manner.
Â Â Â There was an unexpected outcome from The Human Genome Project (HGP) which was proposed in the 1980s and was formally initiated in 1990. The HGPâs major aims were to map and determine the chemical sequences of the three billion nucleotide base pairs that comprise the human genome. The many years of extensive DNA analysis revealed that the human genome has over 4000 gene based disorders. An individualâs genome may have a few of the 4000 or more gene base disorders, but not all 4000 or more in their genome (if they had all 4000 in their genome they could not survive). If these results are accurate this would lend credence to the hypothesis that the human genome could not have been the product of Darwinian Evolution but the result of Interventional Evolution.
Â Â Paleoanthropologists have been searching for the âmissing linkâ fossil (transitional fossil connected with human evolution) for at least a century or more.Â The âmissing linkâ is considered the gold standard in proving Homo sapien evolution. The search for the missing link is a red herring (something unimportant that is used to stop people from noticing or thinking about something important). In evolution there are at least several transitions between species âAâ and species âBâ. Finding the one true transitional speciesÂ is almost next to impossible. This endless search has now become irrelevant. What is relevant is the understanding how a species could transition from one species to the next. There is a growing belief that living Neanderthals that are currently occupying the dense montane forests will provide answers to these mysteries surrounding the grand appearance of Homo sapiens. The following quote from James Le Fanu, M.D says it best: âScience is a search for the explanation of how things work, not a search for something called âproofâ that by direct implication, prevents questioning.â
|2008 CG Di Arie Vineyard 38 Winery Petite Sirah Estate Grown||Petite Sirah was first named after Francois Durif a botanist from the French University of Montpellier The original source seed was obtained from the berry of another French variety named Peloursin and after more than 100 years the father was identified through DNA analysis as Syrah
60br 62 60br 62
This variety known as Durif in France and as Petite Sirah in the US contains generous amounts of tannin color and backbone that make it an ideal wine for use as a blender For just these reasons it can be a challenge to make it into a balanced varietal wine We harvested the grapes at the peak of ripeness to maximize the fruit character and minimize the harsh tannins and fermented the wine in our Dual Compartment Submerged Cap Fermentation Tanks that resulted in a highly concentrated wine with fruit forward and soft tannins We then aged the wine in predominantly French oak barrels During final blending 23 Estate Grown Syrah was added to add balance and elegance to the wine
|DNA Points to Multiple Migrations into the Americas||DNA analysis of skeletons found in the Pacific Northwest backs up traditional oral histories, and suggests there could have been more than one colonization of the Americas. Emily Schwing reports. |
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
|Sperm DNA analysis in a Friedreich ataxia premutation carrier suggests both meiotic and mitotic expansion in the FRDA gene|| Delatycki, M.B., Paris, D., Gardner, R.J.M., Forshaw, K., Nicholson, G.A., Nassif, N., Williamson, R., and Forrest, S.M. (1998) Sperm DNA analysis in a Friedreich ataxia premutation carrier suggests both meiotic and mitotic expansion in the FRDA gene. Journal of Medical Genetics, 35. pp. 713-716. |
|The Irish Orphan Abduction: A tale of race, religion and lawlessness in turn-of-the-century Southern Arizona||Such a shocking and dreadful story that speaks to the vitriolic racism of White folks living in the Clifton-Morenci area of Arizona in the early 1900sâwhere my grandfather, Camilo Alfredo Rios, once worked as a miner by day and a minister in the evenings and weekends in nearby Clifton in the early 1940s. He preached alternatively in Baptist and Presbyterian churches, saying that Presbyterians were "Baptists in dry country," referring to the differences in baptism, submersion in water versus Presbyterians' sprinkling or pouring of water. |
I come from a long line of Protestant, mostly Baptist, ministers that were in fact founders of the Baptist church in Mexico back when it was viewed more like a religious sectâand still is in some places. This is the part of my lineage that is Sephardic Jew, successfully evading the Spanish Inquisition in the vast Sierras of southern Mexico. It's really interesting to see all these folks in the mountains of Guerrero who have been Protestant for generations in great part because of the many seeds that were planted and sown there in the early- to mid-1800s. My grandfather's father himself, Vicente Rios Pineda, founded 15 Baptist churches in Guerrero and MichoacÃ¡n, many of them operating still today.
My grandfather shared with his grandchildren stories about the wage discrimination that he experienced while working in the copper mines. It angered him that he would be required to train Anglos to do their jobs and how they would then make more money after that doing the same job for the same work right next to him. My grandfather's positionality as a minister combined with his social justice impulse that he had inherited from his own parentsâfound expression in his activism as a minister upon his being on the receiving end of this discrimination by Anglos in his day. He didn't understand this unequal treatment and it always angered him deeply.
In the 1950s, my grandfather was involved in the desegregation of public establishments. He single-handedly as a minister desegregated the Concho River where the children used to swimâAnglos upstream, Mexican Americans midstream, and African Americans downstream. He and his sons desegregated the municipal swimming pool. There's a lot of important detail to these stories, of course. My grandmother worked, as well, to persuade the Protestant ministers' wives in town to tell their husbands to employ Mexican Americans for their businesses so that they did not have to leave San Angelo to work on the migrant stream so that the children could remain in school and get educated. These efforts, of course, led to significant changes over time, including the bringing down of the "No Mexicans or Dogs" signs at public establishments.
Next to my parents, my grandparents were easily the most influential persons in my young life, growing up in my West Texas town of San Angelo, not very far from Austinâ3 1/2 hours drive, which is a short distance by Texas standards.
My grandparents had arrived in Morenci-Clifton after this "Irish Orphan Abduction" story had already occurred. I wish my grandpa were alive so that I could talk to him about this because he would have definitely known the details surrounding this case since he was deeply involved in the community.
I encourage you to read the entire story. It provides insight into the history and complexities of race relations, including what often is an affinity between Mexicans and Irish folks. Through my maternal grandfather who was Spanish-Irish, our name is O'Hara. According to my DNA analysis, I myself am part Irishâ10 percent. However, our family name is "Haro," because Mexican immigration agents couldn't say the name and "translated" it to another, more recognizable, one for Mexicans. Racial purity is such a profound, misguided myth. Race itself is a social constructâand a very powerful one, indeed.
Aside from the atrocious way that these children's attempted-adoptions-turned-abductions were handled, a deeper concern is with how these Irish children, members of an ethno-religious group, were forced to become whiteâand violently so.
We often think of these racial categories as fixed and unchanging when, as this story exemplifies, race is best understood as a process of "racialization" which means a coming into being. We largely assume that race is natural, like the "air that we breathe," when, in fact, it is a deeply historic and profoundly lived aspect of our existenceâfor minorities and majorities alike.
The best book to read on this, in my opinion, is Michael Omi & Howard Winant's, Racial Formation in the United States. They theorize a credible, well-documented framework on an historical process that they term, "racialization."
Slavery has always existed, unfortunately. But historically, one never enslaved a race. One enslaved a people who could be of any hue. So race is a modern construct and related to the colonization of this continent by settlers who in the span of timeâabetted by machinations and artificeâcome to see themselves as superior and entitled to their status within the extant social (racial and economic) structure of society.
This story on Arizona screams white entitlement.
I'm not pointing fingers here. I am a teacher. I am asking what can we learn from this story? It is an important question, lest we open the door to even darker ways of knowing and being in the world. In what world would a scenario like this ever be acceptable? I frankly don't care if it's the "lawless" Wild West. How convenient...as if that were an explanation.However casually, unknowingly, or painfully we live and experience race and racism in our lives today, it remains a social construction tied to powerful facets of our history that this story poignantly illustrates. W.I. Thomas' dictum works well here: "That which is perceived as real, is real in its consequences."
Race is real, my friends, but not biologically. Rather it is tied to social, economic, and political forces that have given, and continue to give, rise to it. It's an everyday affair about which we all need to be more cognizant.
It had been awhile since giving thought to Linda Gordon's excellent historical account, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction. So many lessons to take away from another great book for race relations/Ethnic Studies scholars.
Thanks to Juan Marinez for sharing. Continue reading here.
A tale of race, religion and lawlessness in turn-of-the-century Southern Arizonaby Margaret Regan
Courtesy The Copper Era
Â© 2017 Tucson Weekly
Our panel (Ben Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow and Blake Smith) interview Professor Todd Disotell, PhD. Todd has been a guest on multiple television shows to examine potential Bigfoot and Yeti DNA. We ask him about the science of DNA analysis, his thoughts on cryptid-TV, and what he's found in his studies.
|MyHeritageDNA: Father's Day discount|
In celebration of Father's Day (June 18), MyHeritage is happy to announce a huge DNA sale, starting now through June 19.
For a limited time, you can get the MyHeritage DNA test at the specially discounted price of $69.
Thanks to the fast-growing international database of people who have already been tested, MyHeritage DNA is connecting more and more relatives to each other. Watch the emotional reunion of sisters Jennisara and Morgan, and read about Robin reuniting with her biological daughter Becky, both reunions made possible through MyHeritage DNA.
The MyHeritage DNA test finds DNA Matches â people who are related to you, whom you may not have known before. It also provides ethnicity estimates that have among the highest resolution on the market, thanks to the unique Founder Population study conducted by MyHeritage.
MyHeritage DNA is the perfect gift for yourself and the people you love, now at the lowest price ever offered. Thereâs more! As part of this exciting offer, MyHeritage is reducing the shipping cost by 50% when you buy 2 kits, and offering FREE shipping for a purchase of 3 kits or more. By testing more relatives, you can learn more about yourself and determine whether your DNA matches are maternal or paternal.
All it takes is a few minutes and a gentle swab of the cheek to obtain the DNA sample that you mail back to the MyHeritage DNA lab. Within 4-5 weeks, DNA analysis will be complete, and youâll be able to view the results online at MyHeritage.
DNA testing is the perfect way to celebrate Father's Day.
The MyHeritage Team
|Jane Goodall: What separates us from the apes?||Traveling from Ecuador to Africa, Jane Goodall takes the audience on an ecological journey, discussing highlights and low points of her experiences in the jungle. She shows how progress is helping research (DNA analysis) and hurting the environment (clear-cutting). And she draws a dozen parallels between primate and human behaviour, making the point that we […]|
|MITOCHONDRIAL-DNA ANALYSIS IN PARKINSONS-DISEASE|| SCHAPIRA, AHV; HOLT, IJ; SWEENEY, M; HARDING, AE; JENNER, P; MARSDEN, CD; (1990) MITOCHONDRIAL-DNA ANALYSIS IN PARKINSONS-DISEASE. MOVEMENT DISORD , 5 (4) 294 - 297.
|An Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis, Second Edition|
List Price: $ 113.95 Last checked best price : Kindly click the buy button to get latest prices Thank you for visiting AttorneyNext. Support us by buying products through our links. Significant advances in DNA analysis techniques have surfaced since the 1997 publication of the bestselling An Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis. DNA typing has ...
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|Double Match Triangulator (DMT)||by Behold Genealogy (Louis Kessler)
A free autosomal DNA analysis tool that combines two different people’s Chromosome Browser Results files from FamilyTreeDNA to provide Double Match and Triangulation data that can be used to help determine genealogical relationships.
|Senate Bill 461 Printer's Number 1026||An Act amending Title 44 (Law and Justice) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in DNA data and testing, further providing for policy, for definitions, for powers and duties of State Police, for State DNA Data Base, for State DNA Data Bank, for State Police recommendation of additional offenses, for procedural compatibility with FBI and for DNA sample required upon conviction, delinquency adjudication and certain ARD cases, providing for collection from persons accepted from other jurisdictions and further providing for procedures for withdrawal, collection and transmission of DNA samples, for procedures for conduct, disposition and use of DNA analysis, for DNA data base exchange and for expungement....|
|Re: JOSEPH TODD OF ELING SOUTHAMPTON DIED 1699 OR JOSEPH TODD OF SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA DIED 1708????||Dear Todd researchers,|
Here is a synthesis of available online records showing the relationship between Mallory Todd and the Mallory family.
The short story is that Mallory Todd married an Angelina Mallory as his first wife and she was his first cousin:
William Mallory b abt 1681 md Angelina Hunt b 1681
a. John Mallory 1715-1788 d Isle of Wight Co
(1) Angelina Mallory md Mallory Todd
(a) William Todd
b. Frances Mallory abt 1712 d 1780 md 1742 to James Perot
(1) Elliston Perot
(2) John Perot (who visited his uncle John Mallory in Isle of Wight in 1769)
c. Angelina Mallory md John Todd d 1757 (will mentions brother in law James Perot)
(1) Joseph Todd
(2) Mallory Todd md (1) Angelina Mallory d pr 1789 (2) Anne Robinson
(3) Richard Todd
(4) Sarah Todd
Until someone goes through the microfilms of Bermuda records available through the LDS church (or goes to Bermuda!), we can't determine where Mallory's father John Todd fits into the family tree Since John Todd wrote his will in 1747 and died in 1758, he could be:John Todd b 1695 son of John Todd md 1688 Prudence Prudden and grandson of John Todd 1605-1677/78 or john Todd b 1703 son of Joseph son of Joseph md 1668 md Ann tatum son of John d 1677/78 or John Todd b 1669 son of Benjamin Todd d 1711.
The confusion arose between the Bermuda Todds and the Joseph Todd of Elingbecause Joseph Todd of Bermuda lived in Southampton (Bermuda) whereas Joseph Todd of Eling, was from Southampton, England. And some of the rest of the family names were similar: Benjamin, Joseph, John etc.
Also if you compare the online abstract of the will of Joseph Todd of Southampton , Bermuda with the actual will itself, you will see that the will itself doesn't mention the Tudor name but the transcript mentions it repeatedly. In short, the person who transcribed that will created the myth of the Tudor middle name. In 1999, Lynn Todd Cornelius who, many years later with the help of DNA analysis and concentrated research, proved her connection to the Joseph Todd of Eling family began to question the conflation of the two families. In that posting, she said that the "Tatum researchers maintain (quite strongly) that Ann Tatum is the mother of the Joseph who later migrated to America." So we would need to delve into the Tatum research world to figure out who introduced this error into the printed record.
|Genetic analysis: Will I develop Alzheimerâs?||It is clearly a very personal choice: carrying out DNA analysis to know you genetic predisposition to Alzheimerâs. Since there is no treatment for Alzheimerâs people are indeed worried of knowing whether they stand a high chance of developing the illness. Treatment of Alzheimerâs only helps in slowing the disease but not in stopping its progression. Alzheimerâs is a debilitating illness which leads to death.
|History of Forensic DNA analysis||Forensics of DNA analysis was introduced in the 1980s, and since then evolved into a powerful tool for practicing paternity testing for children to determine the parents and in criminal justice to crack the case on crime scenes.|
|Genetic analysis: Will I develop Alzheimerâs?||It is clearly a very personal choice: carrying out DNA analysis to know you genetic predisposition to Alzheimerâs. Since there is no treatment for Alzheimerâs people are indeed worried of knowing whether they stand a high chance of developing the illness. Treatment of Alzheimerâs only helps in slowing the disease but not in stopping its progression. Alzheimerâs is a debilitating illness which leads to death.
|History of Forensic DNA analysis||Forensics of DNA analysis was introduced in the 1980s, and since then evolved into a powerful tool for practicing paternity testing for children to determine the parents and in criminal justice to crack the case on crime scenes.|
|Federal Circuit Denies En Banc Rehearing of Ariosa v. Sequenom, But Some Judges Urge Supreme Court to Fix Flawed Patent Eligibility Precedent|
Today the Federal Circuit issued an order (available here) denying en banc rehearing of Ariosa v. Sequenom, an important patent eligibility decisions discussed in earlier posts. I filed a brief on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) arguing in favor of en banc rehearing, and discussing the negative implications of the decision for patenting in biotechnology, particularly as related to diagnostics and personalized medicine. The decision to deny rehearing was accompanied by two concurring and one dissenting opinions filed by a total of four judges (Lourie and Moore, Dyk, and Newman), which provide some very interesting insight into their views on the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence, particularly as it relates to the life sciences.
There was some substantial overlap in the opinions of all four judges. For example, they all appeared to agree that the decision invalidating Sequenomâs method was both ill-advised as a matter of policy and not compelled by the language of the patent statute. All of the judges seemed to recognize that Ariosaâs interpretation and application of the Mayo framework threatened the availability of effective patent protection for a broad swath of biotechnological innovation, particularly in the area of diagnostics. Lourie and Moore, for example, found âsome truthâ in concerns raised by Sequenom and their amici âthat a crisis of patent law and medical innovation may be upon us,â and that a broad range of claims appear to be in serious jeopardy, particularly diagnostic claims.
The judges recognized that the claims might raises concerns regarding overbreadth and/or indefiniteness, but suggested more measured approaches to address these concerns rather than the blunt instrument of the Supreme Courtâs new patent eligibility jurisprudence. Lourie and Moore suggested that âthe finer filter of Section 112 [i.e., the enablement and definiteness requirement] might be better suited to treating these [concerns] as questions of patentability, rather than reviewing them under the less-defined eligibility rules.â In contrast, Judge Dyk opined that these other statutory requirements of patentability might not be entirely up to the task, but instead proposed a novel alternative approach to patent eligibility analysis that would have likely salvage some patent protection for a company like Sequenom, albeit at the cost of substantially narrower claim scope. His suggested approach is discussed in more detail below.
The concurrence by Lourie and Moore found that while the blood fractionation and DNA analysis steps recited in the claims are individually well known, âthe innovative aspect of the claims appears to be the improvement in the method of determining fetal genetic characteristics  consisting of use of the non-cellular fraction of fetal DNA obtained from maternal blood sample.â The result is a novel, innovative and practical method of diagnosis that constitute a substantial improvement over the highly intrusive means use prior to the invention.
Lourie and Moore went on to find that the claims would not preempt the asserted natural phenomenon, since there exist âother uses for cffDNA and other methods of prenatal diagnostic testing using cffDNA that do not involve the steps recited in the various claims,â and that this âfact should sufficiently address the concern of improperly tying up future use of natural phenomena and laws.â In other words, these judges appear to support the notion that a claim only raises patent ineligibility concerns if it preempts all applications of a natural phenomenon. This is in stark contrast to the approach of the panel that decided Ariosa - they treated the question of preemption as essentially irrelevant to the determination of patent eligibility.
Dykâs concurring opinion largely tracked Lourie and Moore, agreeing that the language of Mayo, while unfortunate, compelled the panel decision in Ariosa. But Dyk goes on to suggest that in assessing patent eligibility courts should distinguish between a patent eligible concept that is well known and long-standing at the time of invention as opposed to one that is newly discovered. In his view:
Mayo did not fully take into account the fact that an inventive concept can come not just from creative, unconventional application of a natural law, but also from the creativity and novelty of the discovery of law itself. This is especially true in the life sciences, or development of useful new diagnostic and therapeutic methods is driven by investigation of complex biological systems. I worry that method claims that apply newly discovered natural laws and phenomena in some conventional ways are screened out by the Mayo test. In this regard I think that Mayo may not be entirely consistent with the Supreme Courtâs decision in Myriad.
I think Judge Dyk raises a very interesting and insightful point regarding Myriad. In that case, the Supreme Court found that the genetic sequence of the BRCA genes was a natural phenomenon, but that the corresponding cDNA sequences were nonetheless patent eligible, in spite of the fact that nothing could be more routine and conventional than to synthesize cDNA based on the discovery of a naturally occurring gene. Judge Dyk inferred that Myriad ârecognize[d] that an inventive concept can sometimes come from discovery of an unknown natural phenomenon, not just from unconventional application of the phenomenon.â He went on to propose a refinement of the Supreme Courtâs test for patent eligibility, whereby âthe novelty of the discovery [of a natural phenomenon] should be enough to supply the necessary inventive concept.â
Significantly, under Dykâs proposed approach, an inventor would only be able to claim applications of a newly discovered natural phenomenon that had been âactually reduced practice, not merely âconstructivelyâ reduced to practice by filing of a patent application replete with prophetic examples.â According to Dyk, the resulting claims would be narrow in scope and âwould allow the inventor to enjoy an exclusive right to what he himself has invented and put into practice, but not to prevent new applications of the natural law by others.â In other words, the narrow scope of the claims would obviate the preemption concerns underlying the patent eligibility doctrine.
Dykâs concurrence concludes by suggesting that:
A future case is likely to present a patent claim where the inventive concept resides the newly discovered law of nature or natural phenomenon, but the claims narrowly drawn and actually reduced practice. That case will, I hope, provide the Supreme Court with an opportunity to revisit theMayo/Alice framework in this one limited aspect.
The third opinion was a dissent by Judge Newman. Not surprisingly, she agreed with the other judges that the decision below was wrongly decided, but she did not âshare their view that this incorrect decision is required by Supreme Court precedent.â She found that the facts of Ariosa diverge significantly from those in Mayo and Myriad, and that the patent eligibility of Sequenomâs claims could be upheld without contravening Supreme Court precedent.
|Following the trail of "fatalism" in direct-to-consumer genomics|
"Fatalism", which is the acceptance of all things and events as inevitable, has been applied as a reason to caution direct-to-consumer genomics. This label raises many questions: such as whether fatalism is truly an outcome of knowing information contained in our own genome? Or is a genetic fatalism different than one from knowing our family healthy history? What can we learn from those who have experienced a sense of genetic fatalism?
We turn to academia for the answers.
"The Future of Personal Genomics" postulates that while genetic testing "...studies are invaluable for understanding disease pathogenesis, but the present utility of this information for making treatment decisions is limited. Just because an association between genetic variation and disease is statistically significant does not mean that it is clinically meaningful" The authors support their opinion with, "For some, it might lead to fatalism and reduced compliance with healthy choices. As a result, many clinicians are ânot at all enthusiastic about rushing out to test people in the clinicâ for these genes (7)." The word fatalism doesn't actually appear in reference (7) but does appear in reference (8).
"Results indicate that knowledge of a small personal increase in risk is insufficient to facilitate smokersâ quitting, consistent with evolving evidence that genetic risk information may be ineffectual in motivating behavior change 22 or potentially may even be harmful by inducing fatalism, feelings of impotency, or loss of willpower.23"
Reference 23 is "The impact of learning of a genetic predisposition to nicotine dependence: an analogue study" a study of 269 British adult smokers which found that "Gene positive participants were significantly more likely to choose the cessation method described as effective for their genetic status, but significantly less likely to choose to use their own willpower." Is their reluctance to use willpower a result of genetic fatalism? The authors promote fatalism to support this theory with, "Genetic risks are sometimes seen as immutable and may engender a sense of fatalism. 7"
Reference 7 leads to "Will genetic testing for predisposition for disease result in fatalism? A qualitative study of parents responses to neonatal screening for familial hypercholesterolaemia", a study of 24 British parents of infants that were tested for a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol.
The paper only mentions "fatalism" in the title and the abstract "Conclusion: these pilot data raise questions about the extent to which assessing disease risks by DNA analysis may result in a sense of fatalism, adversely affecting motivation to change behaviour and to reduce risks."
Additional items of relevance that the authors acknowledge:
"Although family histories of heart disease were taken from all parents, not all parents appeared to be informed that the screening test was specifically a genetic test. As consultations were not tape recorded, however, it is not possible to assess the extent to which parents responses were determined by the information presented at the clinic."
"...genetic testing, perceptions of genes were only explored if participants raised them first."
"As the themes presented here were produced spontaneously by participants, rather than in response to specific questions, some of these representations were generated by only a small proportion of the sample. Whether or not the remaining participants represented cholesterol and genes in a similar fashion is not known."
"As the sample was small in size, it was not possible to ascertain whether sociodemographic factors such as gender, ethnicity and sociodemographic status were associated with the perceptions described. In addition, these findings may not be generalisable to other types of genetic testing, such as screening for recessive conditions or screening of populations aware of their high risk." (Perhaps the authors of the smoking study missed that last part?)
An important point to note is that the authors of the high cholesterol study do not state whether the 24 British parents were given any genetic counseling about the results.
With no additional sources for the word "fatalism" left to follow, we are left with the sum of the results: a mere 269 clinically tested British adults and unknown number of infants are the aggregate for the term "fatalism" being applied to direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
|Borneo Pygmy Elephant|
Common Name - Borneo Pygmy Elephant
Scientific Name - Elephas maximus or sometimes Elephas maximus borneensis, although they have not been officially determined to be a separate subspecies from mainland Asian elephants
Habitat - Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests
Location - Sabah, Borneo (northeast tip of the island), Malaysia and occasionally into East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Status - Endangered
Population - Unknown, estimated to be 1500 or fewer
Borneo pygmy elephants are smaller than other Asian elephants. The males may only grow to less than 2.5 meters, while other Asian elephants grow up to 3 meters. They also have babyish faces, larger ears, longer tails that reach almost to the ground and are more rotund. These elephants are also less aggressive than other Asian elephants.
Major Habitat Type
Concentrated in Sabah, particularly the floodplain, tributaries and the upper catchment of the Kinabatangan River - but their route has been cut off by illegal loggers and the elephants have not been there in years. They occasionally range into East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Biogeographic Realm - Indo- Malaya
Range States - Malaysia, Indonesia
Geographical Location - Northeast Borneo
Why is this species important?
Until recently the pygmy elephants of Borneo were believed to be a remnant population of a domesticated herd abandoned on the island by the Sultan of Sulu in the 17th century. But a 2003 DNA analysis carried out by WWF and Columbia University proved that the pygmy elephants were genetically distinct from other Asian elephants, thereby recognizing it as a likely new subspecies and emphasizing its conservation priority.
According to the DNA evidence these elephants were isolated about 300,000 years ago from their cousins on mainland Asia and Sumatra. During that period, they became smaller with relatively larger ears, longer tails and straighter tusks.
The evolutionary history of Borneo's elephants justifies their recognition as a separate evolutionary significant unit (ESU).
Ecology and habitat
The Asian elephant is one of the largest forest herbivores in the world. A single adult can eat up to 150 kgs of vegetation everyday, feeding mostly on species of palms, grasses and wild bananas. They also require minerals which they receive from salt licks or mineral concentrations in limestone outcrops.
The primary threat to these elephants is the loss of continuous forests. Mammals of their size require large feeding grounds and viable breeding populations with sizeable male- to female ratios. Shrinking forests have also brought the elephants into more frequent contact with people, increasing human elephant conflict in the region.
The large blocks of forests they require are now being fragmented by encroachment in forest areas and conversion of natural forests into commercial plantations. Human disturbances within forests such as logging, increased agriculture, building of palm oil mills with associated settlements and hunting are rapidly breaking up contact between sub populations, as well as minimizing the areas of forests available for each small group to live and feed on.
The Borneo Elephant, also called the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, (Elephas maximus borneensis) is a subspecies of the Asian Elephant and found in north Borneo (east Sabah and extreme north Kalimantan).
The origin of Borneo elephants is controversial. Two competing hypotheses argued that they are either indigenous, or were introduced, descending from elephants imported in the 16thâ18th centuries. In 2003, mitochondrial DNA research has discovered that its ancestors separated from the mainland population during the Pleistocene, about 300,000 years ago. The subspecies currently living in Borneo possibly became isolated from other Asian elephant populations when land bridges that linked Borneo with the other Sunda Islands and the mainland disappeared after the Last Glacial Maximum, 18,000 years ago. Isolation may be the reason it has become smaller with relatively larger ears, longer tails, and relatively straight tusks. Other scientists argue that the Borneo elephant was introduced by the Sultan of Sulu and abandoned, and that the population on Sulu, never considered to be native, was imported from Java. Thus the Borneo elephant may be actually the extinct Javan elephant. Many facts support this hypothesis, including no archaeological evidence of long term elephant habitation of Borneo, a corroboration in folklore and the lack of the elephants colonizing the entire island of Borneo
The Borneo elephant is smaller than all the other subspecies of the Asian elephant. The Borneo elephant is also remarkably tame and passive, another reason some scientists think it was descended from a domestic collection.
Wild Asian elephant populations are disappearing as expanding human development disrupts their migration routes, depletes their food sources, and destroys their habitat. Recognizing these elephants as native to Borneo makes their conservation a high priority and gives biologists important clues about how to manage them.
In Aug 2007 it was reported that there are probably not more than 1,000 pygmy elephants left in Sabah, after a two year study by WWF.
|Tagging Pygmy Elephants In Borneo||PHYGMY ELEPHANT FEATURE STORY|
Tagging pygmy elephants in Borneo
By Jan Vertefeuille
Thereâs an elephant less than six metres in front of me and yet I canât make out any part of her in the dense Borneo jungle. So congested is the jungle with vines and leaves that seeing and walking become arduous tasks.
But we can hear her. Immobilized by the sedative shot into her rump but still conscious, the pygmy elephant calls out to her herd for help using infrasound, uttering a soft, low rumble from the back of her throat. Elephants are famously protective of their families and the rest of the herd is distressed by their matriarchâs apparent troubles. There is much trumpeting from the bush. How many elephants are surrounding us, we canât tell.
The WWF team moves quickly, and quietly, to lessen the stress on our target elephant. Weâre here to put a satellite tracking collar on her as part of WWFâs research to learn more about the pygmy elephants of Borneo and how best to protect them. Itâs the first time anyone has ever studied Borneoâs elephants and WWF is collaring five of them on the northeast tip of the island. It will be the largest study ever done to track Asian elephants via satellite.
Searching for an elephant in a jungle
The elephant in front of us has been dubbed Nancy, in honour of long-time elephant conservation supporter Nancy Abraham. One member of our team covers the elephantâs eyes with cotton as WWF scientist Dr Christy Williams hoists the 10kg collar over her neck. Enough room is left to ensure the collar isnât too tight, but not so loose that she could slip it off. The collar houses GPS and satellite units that will convey Nancyâs location to a website checked daily by WWF scientists to track the herdâs movements through the Borneo rain forest.
The Borneo jungle doesnât give up its secrets easily. Following in an elephantâs footsteps through knee-deep mud, through walls of vines that cling to every surface, and beneath underbrush dripping with hungry leeches is a slow and sometimes frustrating process. Who would have thought finding and darting an animal as a large as an elephant would be so hard. Itâs almost like looking for a needle in a haystack.
The collaring team from the Sabah Wildlife Department in Malaysia and WWFâs Borneo office are used to spending days, sometimes weeks, inside the jungle looking for the elusive species.
âIf you go inside the jungle, you can feel how big it is,â says William Joseph, a 35-year-old elephant tracker with WWF in Borneo.
Joseph and his fellow tracker and brother, Engelbert, can look at grass bent over by elephants and know which way they went, or see a pile of elephant dung on the road and know how long since they have passed by and how many there were.
Make room for the pygmies
The jungles of Borneo are big. In fact, the islandâs forests are one of the only places left in Southeast Asia where it is still possible to conserve forests on a very large scale. But world demand for palm oil â used in common products like hand lotion, ice cream and chocolate â is driving the rapid conversion of the pygmy elephantsâ forests into palm oil plantations.
Elephants â even pygmy ones â require large feeding grounds, as well as access to members of the opposite sex for breeding. Shrinking forests and blocks of habitat cut off from one another make it difficult for elephants to thrive. It also brings the elephants into more frequent contact with people, increasing human-elephant conflict in the region. As forests shrink, elephants are increasingly closer to fields and cultivated land, generating conflict with humans that often result in the death of the elephants by poisoning or capture, as well as economic losses to humans.
Putting collars on the elephants will be a huge step forward in scientistsâ understanding of the pygmy elephants and which forests are most important to them â and hence, the most crucial to preserve. And the collars will make keeping track of them much easier for WWF, the only conservation organization working to protect the population.
âOur field team has tracked elephants on foot for weeks at a time to gather data, but itâs very difficult and labor-intensive,â says Raymond Alfred, WWFâs project manager of the Asian Rhinoceros and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS). âWe are still in the process of figuring out how to get optimum outputs from the use of this tagging technology.â
WWF elephant experts expect the collars to give them insight into how much ground each herd covers, what type of forest they prefer to feed in, how they react to logging and other human disturbance in the forest, and what habitat is most crucial to the elephantsâ future survival. Nancy doesnât know it, but sheâs helping scientists save her species.
Survival of the species
So little is known about the Borneo pygmy elephant that itâs not even known how many there are. WWFâs AREAS Programme estimates that there are about 1,000 to 1,500 of them, but probably no more than that.
âFurther studies are needed to better understand this population and exactly how it differs from other Asian elephants,â said Williams, who leads WWFâs Asian elephant conservation efforts.
What is known is that Borneo elephants are less aggressive and smaller than other Asian elephants, with males growing perhaps only as tall as 2.5m, while other Asian elephants can grow to 3m. They also have larger ears and longer tails and are more rotund, making even adult pygmy elephants look like juveniles.
As Nancy gets fitted with her new collar, another member of the collaring team takes her measurements with a very large measuring tape, while another team member does a quick walkaround to check for scars, injuries and other identifying marks. Sheâs a big elephant, probably around 40, and appears to be pregnant â something the team will be able to determine in the coming months as it starts to keep closer tabs on her.
Until recently, the origins of the Borneo pygmy elephant were in dispute. Many believed they were remnants of a domesticated herd abandoned on the island by the Sultan of Sulu in the 17th century. If they were simply domesticated elephants gone feral, that would make them a low conservation priority for the Malaysian government. But in 2003, a DNA analysis by WWF and Columbia University researchers proved the pygmy elephants are genetically different from other Asian elephants and thus a separate subspecies. The evidence suggests that they became isolated from other elephant populations about 300,000 years ago and developed their distinctive characteristics over this time.
As an endangered subspecies, they are of high conservation priority. WWF is moving quickly to learn all we can about them, as much of their rain forest habitat is converted into commercial tree plantations.
In less than 25 minutes, the collaring is complete. Everyone backs quickly away as a team member injects a dartful of antidote into her rump. Nancy calls to her herd and angry trumpets can be heard from the group as they rush to check on her.
Wonder what they think of the new neckwear sheâs now sporting?
* Jan Vertefeuille is a Senior Communications Officer at WW-US.
â¢ The Island of Borneo, the worldâs third largest island â split between the countries of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia â is known for its rain forests, which rival those of the Amazon and New Guinea in biological diversity. These rich forests provide habitat for elephants, rhinos and orangutans, as well as a vast array of distinct creatures, from giant moths to flying squirrels, horn-billed birds to color-changing lizards.
â¢ According to a WWF report â Borneo: Treasure Island at Risk â rampant logging and the conversion of forests to plantations are driving the destruction of Borneo's forests. There about 2.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations in Borneo. With a current deforestation rate of 1.3 million hectares per year, only peat and montane forests would survive in the coming years. Today, only half of Borneo's forest cover remains, down from 75 per cent in the mid 1980s.
â¢ Through WWFâs Heart of Borneo initiative, the global conservation organization aims to assist Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia to conserve a total of 220,000kmÂ² of equatorial rainforest through a network of protected areas and sustainably-managed forest, and through international cooperation led by the Bornean governments and supported by a global effort.
|First snow of the season!|
It feels so good to be back after a month long blogosphere hiatus! Winter time and the shorter daylight hours have really taken some adjustment to get used to. My new job is going wonderfully- I feel like such a lucky girl and am continuing to grow in both my creativity and knowledge on the job. Autumn was such a powerful transitional time for me- and just a few days ago I turned 26- Twenty-six! I can hardly believe it. I celebrated with my friends last Sunday, with Daniel on Thursday (my actual birthday) and with family this weekend. Wow, I really know how to stretch out a celebration, don't I?! Each year I tend to grow fearful of that additional digit- but honestly, this year I feel excited to be a little older. I have really learned SO much in my twenties and every year I am uncovering more and more, it is such a whirlwind experience and I am wholly grateful for it. I feel much more grounded than in my early twenties- more aware of who I am and what I want to be- yet able to admit that I am inherently flawed and not at all perfect- and it's a pretty freeing realization.
Coat: Tulle, Tights: WeLoveColors.com, Dress and Bag: ModCloth, Hat: H&M, Necklace: Grandmother's <3
I can not tell you how lucky I felt on my birthday this year. I worked a busy half day at work- where my coworkers sweetly sent me off at 2:00 pm with their well wishes- I hopped into a car with Daniel and drove off to my favorite restaurant in Philly- Vedge. After our delicious vegetable cuisine (that place is SERIOUSLY my food Cloud 9) we made a visit to Sweet Freedom Bakery and took a stroll down South Street where I discovered a fun 70s poncho for 40% off! That was enough for me- but Daniel went above and beyond this year- surprising me with this amazing camera dress from ModCloth and a gorgeous pink cardigan covered in roses. I gushed with joy when my in-laws gifted me with the adorable fox purse a few days later, they make the perfect quirky combo in my book ;) The most amazing gift of all? (besides being able to see the people I love most for my birthday). National Geographic's Geno 2.0- a DNA analysis kit that allows you to trace your deep ancestral roots and reveals specific details about your genetic makeup. I know, I am such a nerd- but it is something I have been interested in for so long- and to be able to participate is like a dream come true for me. I can not wait to see my results!
Getting back to this wintery scene-the first snow of the season fell today and boy did it accumulate fast. Looking out my window- it finally appears to be slowing down- but not without leaving nearly a foot of snow! It is officially winter time in Delaware, and while I am enjoying the sight of a white winter wonderland my summer heart longs for the sights of green grass and bright poppies from warmer days.
It is truly amazing how a little snow can make even the dreariest setting look magical. Usually I wouldn't find the back of our apartment buildings to be a desirable place to shoot, but admittedly it was the easiest place to walk to- and equally gorgeous in this spontaneous snow-down!
Although I much prefer warmer weather, there is something so innately playful and also comforting about a landscape blanketed in snow- the notion that life outside is slowing down- the perfect time and setting for cuddling up to your favorite book or movie and sipping something warm. There is something to that carefree, "anything goes" approach to running in the snow, and then coming back inside to feel your wind-chapped cheeks rewarming near a hot fire or beside the heater under a warm blanket. Winter is a time to nestle, to reccoperate, to nurture and rejuvenate; to layer and bundle, to hug and cocoon; to read,write and lounge and to rediscover life's circular rhythm.
So now that I have sufficiently given myself a good kick in the pants back to the blog, I plan on keeping up with my posting once again. It seems that every now and then it takes some readjustment time to get myself back on track. I am wishing you all a beautiful December and hoping your holiday seasons are going well so far, I can not wait to catch up on all of your recent thoughts, ideas, and adventures!
You may well have spotted that I haven't been that good at keeping the blog up to date (and that's perhaps a bit of an understatement), but hopefully you have all been keeping an eye on Fair Isle news via our latest sightings page (updated daily), our facebook page or our Twitter account.
Below is a bit of a random collection of images from the spring since my last update. We'll also publish an update soon on some of the more interesting piece of ringing news from the spring and then there should be seabird news to report.
|Happy New Birds (and some old friends from 2014)|
Birding has produced some decent bits and bobs, but actually very little that hasnât been lingering since the back end of 2014. The Buzzard is the pick of the bunch amongst those, in fact itâs such a scarce bird in Shetland that it has been added to the local description list at the start of 2015 â so it becomes our first description of the year, despite having been present since October! Three Tundra Bean Geese (re?)appeared on 28th December and also made it to the New Year (although they have been dropped as a local description species after several influxes in recent years), whilst other highlights include Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Mealy Redpoll, Water Rail, Merlin and, more unusually, two Sparrowhawk, amongst the 48 species now recorded in 2015 (thanks to Logan for the regular text updates during the last few days letting me know how he was getting on with building the year list up).
So, whilst things are relatively quiet, Iâll have a quick review of a few things from 2014, starting with some darvic-ringed wildfowl that were seen by quite a few of our visitors. It was a good year for sightings of these individually marked birds, with the first two being Whooper Swans âYellow BTBâ and âYellow BTDâ that were both ringed in Iceland on 5th August 2013 (and seen again in Iceland on 20th April 2014) before being seen on Fair Isle on 29thSeptember 2014. The next Whooper to be individually identified in a strong autumn passage of the species was âRed BLLâ, ringed in February 2012 at Martin Mere WWT (in Lancs), next seen in December 2013 at Welney (Norfolk) before turning up on Fair Isle on 7th October. Long-staying Whooper Swans on Fair Isle rarely do well (there are only about seven years where birds have successfully overwintered and two of those years were a bird that hung around with domestic geese!), so when BLL was still present with a couple other Whoopers at the start of November and ignored the chance to head south with a few small groups of her species that moved through the island, it didnât look good. Indeed, with the death of her occasional companion on 24th November it seemed only a matter of time before BLL also succumbed. However, one islander took pity on BLL and went out every day with food (to the extent that we had our own mini-version of the WWT âswan lakeâ events, with BLL flying in every day at the same time to the field where she was being fed) and this did the job as she was last seen on 1stDecember, having apparently continued her migration.
Also of interest was the flock of 130+ Barnacle Geese grounded on Fair Isle by poor weather from 6th October for a few days. Amongst these, we were able to pick out four darvic rings: NAP, SAZ, SID and PVI. NAP was ringed as a female gosling at Aalesund (Norway) on 2nd August 1996 (making her older than some of our staff!), SAZ (the partner of NAP) was ringed as an adult male at the same site in July 2000, with both birds having not been seen since spring migration through Norway in 2013. PVI was ringed as an adult female in July 1999 and was last seen in March 2014 at RSPB Mersehead. Despite the name, SID was actually a female, ringed as a yearling in July 2000 and last seen on spring migration in Norway in 2014. Interestingly, the last sighting of SID in winter was at WWT Caerlaverock in November 2011, whilst SAZ last winter record was from the same site in December 2009 â so I wonder where they now spend the winter? Many thanks to the WWT for getting back to us so quickly with the details of these records.
|Third Scottish Genealogy Network CPD Day|
On Saturday 10 May 2014 around 25 genealogists met at the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness for the Scottish Genealogy Networkâs Continual Professional Development (CPD) day. The Archive Centre was a perfect venue and the hospitality shown by the Highland Archive Centre was the icing (literally!) on the cake.
Built just a few years ago, this state of the art archive is a mere dream for most archivists. We were invited to tour the building on Friday and had a behind the scenes look at the extensive storage facilities and the excellent conservation room.
The CPD day began with an interesting talk by Michael Tobias of JewishGen, who explained to us how we can optimise genealogy searches and collate and organise our data. If we can learn to do this more efficiently we can more quickly and clearly identify individuals we are looking for, especially in larger projects such as one-name studies. Michael demonstrated how we can minimise loss of search results due to indexing errors, reminding us the useful âfuzzy searchâ feature on the Scotlandâs People website. It is a shame that for some reason that the âfuzzy searchâ feature is not currently available in the Scotlandâs People centre.
The next talk, âMaking the Best Use of Sheriff Court Recordsâ, was given by Graham Maxwell of Maxwell Ancestry, who spoke about one particular type of case useful to genealogists: âaffiliation and alimentâ actions in cases of illegitimacy. He explained how to locate both extracted decrees and court processes which could hold vital genealogical information as well as give an insight into the lives of ancestors. Initial research has shown that around 10% of illegitimate births in the 1850s may have resulted in an extracted decree, and an additional 5% of such births resulted in other cases which can be found among the processes of the Sheriff Courts.
After a short break (which involved some more cupcakes), we enjoyed listening to Kirsty Wilkinson of My Ain Folkâs talk âEdinburgh Army Attestation Registersâ. This exciting resource, held by Edinburgh City Archives, does not just contain records of men from Edinburgh. Kirstyâs detailed research has revealed that men from all over Scotland are recorded as attesting, and even more surprisingly, men from across Ireland, England and Wales also appear. The regiments they joined were also unexpectedly diverse. Not only did the talk help us to understand this valuable resource, it also reminded us of the importance of not neglecting local records when weâre researching. The details held within these registers could provide the vital piece of information we need to get over our âbrick wallâ and continue with our research.
The last talk before lunch was given by Lorna Kinnaird, of DunEdin Links Genealogy. Lorna has been working hard as a volunteer in her local school over the last few months, teaching Primary 7 pupils about the First World War in a manner that they could easily engage with. She has arranged for historians to come into the school with WWI artefacts (which the children really enjoyed) and also arranged a trip to the National Records of Scotland (NRS). Lorna is really passionate about history, especially genealogy, and wanted the children to have the opportunity to visit the NRS themselves and be able to do some of their own research. Many of the children were able to research someone connected to their family and some were able to trace their tree back a number of generations in that one visit. Hopefully this taster will encourage the children to continue learning about history.
After lunch we eagerly took our seats to listen to Ali Macdonald, of Family Tree DNA, talk about some current Scottish DNA projects and help us better understand the rapidly developing subject of DNA testing for genealogy purposes. The talk was fascinating as DNA research has become such an important tool for genealogists. Ali reminded us how important it is to understand how to interpret the results correctly, making the most of the possibilities of DNA testing in conjunction with evidence from written sources. Exciting discoveries are being made frequently as the Clans, Families and Surnames of Scotland are being unraveled. Despite having the same modern-day surname, DNA analysis has shown that we can separate those with the same surname into different families with different migration patterns. Ali gave us a handout which included some very useful Scottish DNA websites:
Next up was Jean Dickson, who spoke about social bookmarking and Excel tips. Itâs all too easy to read a blog or visit a website, finding a great resource but promptly forgetting about it when we continue browsing! Jean uses Delicious to store and tag websites she wants to come back to later. One of the great advantages of this is that she can access these from any computer and share them with fellow researchers. A helpful tip Jean gave us was to be consistent in tagging. For example, if you were to tag one website âprisonâ, but another similar site âprisonerâ, when you search your links a year later using the term âprisonâ, the site with âprisonerâ tag will not appear. This talk reminded us of the importance of being an organised genealogist.
After a short break, we had the final talk of the day, which was given by Judith Russell, a genealogist based in Glasgow. The title was entitled âGlasgow Families in WWI: Lord Provosts and Red Clydesidersâ. Judith has carefully researched some of the key characters in this important and dramatic period of Glasgowâs history, using a wide variety of sources, and brought the subject to life in an informative and well-illustrated talk. I believe Judith will be giving a similar talk to this in August at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in Glasgow: tickets should be on sale for that event in a day or two!
All in all, it was a great day where everybody benefited from the talks and conversations throughout the programme. If you are a professional genealogist working in Scotland and would like to be at our next CPD day, or come to one of our monthly meetings, please contact the group's secretary, Emma Maxwell, for further details at scotsgenenet @ gmail.com
|First wolf to visit Grand Canyon in a half century is shot dead||An endangered gray wolf shot to death in Utah was positively identified Wednesday as the female lobo seen last fall on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, the first of its kind to be seen in the region in half a century. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used DNA analysis to confirm that|
|Calamaya family from Leyte||Hello. Looking for any info or connections. There were two brothers in the late 1800s that were supposedly Chinese. A relative said there was a photo of them with silk robes and long braids that seems to back this up (also my DNA analysis from other sites has A LOT of Chinese). I do not know their names. However, they are my great great grandfather and great great uncle. |
The uncle had a son named Florencio Calamaya. I don't know if he had other children.
The other had my great grandfather and his siblings born around 1900. Their names are Ciriaco Calamaya, Gregorio Calamaya, Teofilo Calamaya, and Candida Calamaya. Ciriaco was my great grandfather. He was a jeweler and a Philippine guerilla during WWii, I'm not sure if his brothers were as well. One of his brothers was a bus driver and some sort of medicine man. The other owned a shoe repair shop. The cousin worked for the gvt fishery dept.
I have hit a wall on this side of my family, so hoping anyone might have some clues.
|Pet Bird Health, Hygiene & Safety|
|CPT 81206, 81270, 81403, 81450 - BCR / ABL negative MYELOPROLIFERATIVE||Procedure codes and Description|
Group 1 Codes:
81206 BCR/ABL1 (T(9;22)) (EG, CHRONIC MYELOGENOUS LEUKEMIA) TRANSLOCATION ANALYSIS; MAJOR BREAKPOINT, QUALITATIVE OR QUANTITATIVE
81207 BCR/ABL1 (T(9;22)) (EG, CHRONIC MYELOGENOUS LEUKEMIA) TRANSLOCATION ANALYSIS; MINOR BREAKPOINT, QUALITATIVE OR QUANTITATIVE
81208 BCR/ABL1 (T(9;22)) (EG, CHRONIC MYELOGENOUS LEUKEMIA) TRANSLOCATION ANALYSIS; OTHER BREAKPOINT, QUALITATIVE OR QUANTITATIVE
81219 CALR (CALRETICULIN) (EG, MYELOPROLIFERATIVE DISORDERS), GENE ANALYSIS, COMMON VARIANTS IN EXON 9
81270 JAK2 (JANUS KINASE 2) (EG, MYELOPROLIFERATIVE DISORDER) GENE ANALYSIS, P.VAL617PHE (V617F) VARIANT
81402 MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY PROCEDURE, LEVEL 3 (EG, >10 SNPS, 2-10 METHYLATED VARIANTS, OR 2-10 SOMATIC VARIANTS [TYPICALLY USING NON-SEQUENCING TARGET VARIANT ANALYSIS], IMMUNOGLOBULIN AND T-CELL RECEPTOR GENE REARRANGMENTS, DUPLICATION/DELETION VARIANTS OF 1 EXON, LOSS OF HETEROZYGOSITY [LOH], UNIPARENTAL DISOMY [UPD])
81403 MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY PROCEDURE, LEVEL 4 (EG, ANALYSIS OF SINGLE EXON BY DNA SEQUENCE ANALYSIS, ANALYSIS OF >10 AMPLICONS USING MULTIPLEX PCR IN 2 OR MORE INDEPENDENT REACTIONS, MUTATION SCANNING OR DUPLICATION/DELETION VARIANTS OF 2-5 EXONS)
81445 TARGETED GENOMIC SEQUENCE ANALYSIS PANEL, SOLID ORGAN NEOPLASM, DNA ANALYSIS, AND RNA ANALYSIS WHEN PERFORMED, 5-50 GENES (EG, ALK, BRAF, CDKN2A, EGFR, ERBB2, KIT, KRAS, NRAS, MET, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, PGR, PIK3CA, PTEN, RET), INTERROGATION FOR SEQUENCE VARIANTS AND COPY NUMBER VARIANTS OR REARRANGEMENTS, IF PERFORMED
81450 TARGETED GENOMIC SEQUENCE ANALYSIS PANEL, HEMATOLYMPHOID NEOPLASM OR DISORDER, DNA ANALYSIS, AND RNA ANALYSIS WHEN PERFORMED, 5-50 GENES (EG, BRAF, CEBPA, DNMT3A, EZH2, FLT3, IDH1, IDH2, JAK2, KRAS, KIT, MLL, NRAS, NPM1, NOTCH1), INTERROGATION FOR SEQUENCE VARIANTS, AND COPY NUMBER VARIANTS OR REARRANGEMENTS, OR ISOFORM EXPRESSION OR MRNA EXPRESSION LEVELS, IF PERFORMED
81455 TARGETED GENOMIC SEQUENCE ANALYSIS PANEL, SOLID ORGAN OR HEMATOLYMPHOID NEOPLASM, DNA ANALYSIS, AND RNA ANALYSIS WHEN PERFORMED, 51 OR GREATER GENES (EG, ALK, BRAF, CDKN2A, CEBPA, DNMT3A, EGFR, ERBB2, EZH2, FLT3, IDH1, IDH2, JAK2, KIT, KRAS, MLL, NPM1, NRAS, MET, NOTCH1, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, PGR, PIK3CA, PTEN, RET), INTERROGATION FOR SEQUENCE VARIANTS AND COPY NUMBER VARIANTS OR REARRANGEMENTS, IF PERFORMED
81479 UNLISTED MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY PROCEDURE
Coverage Indications, Limitations, and/or Medical Necessity
This policy provides coverage for multi-gene non-NGS panel testing and NGS testing for the diagnostic workup for myeloproliferative disease (MPD), and limited coverage for single-gene testing of patients with BCR-ABL negative MPD. MPD includes polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocytopenia (ET), and primary myelofibrosis (PMF).
For laboratories performing single gene technologies, a sequential genetic testing approach is expected. Once a positive result is obtained and the appropriate diagnosis is established, further testing should stop. Reflex testing to the next gene will be considered reasonable and necessary if the following sequence of genetic tests produce a negative result:
BCR-ABL negative test results, progress to #2
JAK 2, cv negative test results, progress to #3 or #4
JAK, exon 12 (JAK2 exon 12 is only done when PV is suspected)
CALR/MPD (CALR/MPD is only done when either ET or PMF is suspected; testing for CALR/MPD does NOT require a negative JAK2 exon 12, just a negative JAK2 V617F result)
Genetic testing of the JAK2 V617F mutation (81270) is medically necessary when the following criteria are met:
Genetic testing impacts medical management; and
Patient would meet World Health Organizationâs diagnostic criteria for myeloproliferative disease (i.e. polycythemia vera, essential thrombocytopenia, primary myelofibrosis) if JAK2 V617F were identified.
Genetic testing of JAK2 exon 12 (81403), performed to identify PV, is medically necessary when the following criteria are met:
Genetic testing impacts medical management; and
Patient would meet World Health Organizationâs diagnostic criteria for PV, if JAK2 exon 12 testing were positive; and
JAK2 V617F mutation analysis was previously completed and was negative.
Genetic testing of the CALR gene (81479) (only found in ET and PMF) is medically necessary when the following criteria are met:
Genetic testing impacts medical management; and
JAK2 V617F mutation analysis was previously completed and negative; and
Patient would meet World Health Organizationâs diagnostic criteria for MPD (i.e. ET, PMF) if a clonal marker were identified.
Genetic testing of the MPD gene (81402) is medically necessary when the following criteria are met:
Genetic testing impacts medical management; and
JAK2 V617F mutation analysis was previously completed and negative; and
Patient would meet World Health Organizationâs diagnostic criteria for MPD (i.e. ET, MPF) if a clonal marker were identified.
Note: In a single-gene sequential approach (not mandated by this policy), CALR would be a higher priority single gene test than MPD because:
CALR mutations is more prevalent than MPD mutations in ET/PMF patients; and
CALF mutations are reported to predict a more indolent disease course than patients with JAK2 mutations.
For laboratories performing next generation sequencing (NGS or âhotspotâ) testing platforms: Molecular testing for BCR-ABL, JAK 2, JAK, exon 12, and CALR/MPD genes by NGS is covered as medically necessary for the identification of myeloproliferative disorders.
Myeloproliferative disorders are a group of conditions that cause abnormal growth of blood cells in the bone marrow. They include polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocytosis (ET), primary myelofibrosis (PMF), and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The World Health Organization (WHO) further classifies PV, ET, and PMF as Philadelphia chromosome negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). The diagnosis of an MPN is suspected based upon clinical, laboratory, and pathological findings (i.e. bone marrow morphology). MPNs are related, but distinct from, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). In general, MDS are characterized by ineffective or dysfunctional blood cells, while MPN are characterized by an increase in the number of blood cells.
Polycythemia vera is a chronic myeloproliferative disease characterized by increased hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cell mass. There is an associated increased risk for thrombosis and transformation to acute myelogenous leukemia or primary myelofibrosis; however, patients are often asymptomatic. Criteria for a diagnosis of PV are based upon CBC and clinical features. The JAK2 V617F mutation is present in the vast majority of PV, accounting for approximately 90% of cases. Functionally similar mutations in JAK2 exon 12 account for most remaining cases of JAK2 V617F mutation-negative PV. Together, they are identified in 98% of PV cases and lead to high diagnostic certainty.
Among the proposed revised World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for diagnosis is presence of the somatic JAK2 V617F mutation or functionally similar exon 12 mutation. Absence of a JAK2 mutation, combined with normal or increased serum erythropoietin level, greatly decreases the likelihood of a PV diagnosis. WHO proposed revision criteria for PV do not address additional molecular markers, including CALR mutation status.
Essential thrombocythemia is a disorder of sustained increased platelet count. The majority of ET patients (60%) carry a somatic JAK2 V617F mutation, while a smaller percentage (5-10%) have activating MPD mutations. Revision to the WHO criteria for diagnosis of ET has been proposed and includes exclusion of PV, PMF, CML, myelodysplastic syndrome, or other myeloid neoplasm. Also included in the proposed major criteria for diagnosis is demonstration of somatic JAK2 V617F mutation or MPD exon 10 mutation 12. Proposed criteria additionally state that 70% of patients without a JAK2 or MPD mutation carry a somatic mutation of the calreticulin (CALR) gene. Among confirmed ET cases, mutations in CALR are more common than MPD. Positive CALR mutation status is suggested as indicating a more indolent course 5.
Primary myelofibrosis (PMF) is a rare disorder in which the bone marrow is replaced with fibrous tissue, leading to bone marrow failure. Clinical features are similar to ET. The approximate incidence is 1 in 100,000 individuals. Persons can be asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease. For such patients, treatment may not initially be necessary. Progression of the disease can include transformation to acute myeloid leukemia. Treatment is generally symptomatic and aimed at preventing complications.
Demonstration of a clonal marker is important for diagnosis. Somatic molecular markers in PMF patients are similar to those in patients with ET, and include JAK2 V617F, MPD, and CALR. Somatic mutations in JAK2 are identified in 50-60% of PMF cases, and MPD mutations in 10%. Mutations in CALR are less common than JAK2, but more common than MPD.
Molecular Genetic Testing
One JAK2 gene mutation, V617K, is most commonly reported, occurring in over 90% of all polycythemia vera (PV) cases and about 50% of ET cases. Testing for JAK2 V617K gene mutations can be useful in diagnosis and is incorporated into the WHOâs diagnostic criteria for these conditions.
The thrombopoietin receptor MPD is one of several JAK2 cognate receptors and is considered essential for myelopoiesis. The mutation frequency of MPD mutations associated with myeloproliferative disorders is substantially less (<10 2008="" 3.="" a="" acquired="" an="" be="" british="" clonal="" committee="" criteria="" diagnostic="" disease="" e.g.="" et="" for="" gene="" genes="" group="" guideline="" health="" hematology="" identified.="" if="" in="" include="" indicated="" individuals="" jak2="" marker="" may="" meet="" modification="" mpd="" mutation="" mutations.="" myeloproliferative="" of="" or="" organization="" p="" pathogenetic="" presence="" recommended="" s="" standards="" testing="" than="" the="" therefore="" to="" were="" who="" world="" would="">Calreticulin (CALR) mutations have been identified in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms and recent studies have investigated the utility of CALR mutation testing for the diagnosis and classification of myeloproliferative neoplasms. The mutations themselves are variable; however, generally focused in the exon 9 region.
Studies have shown that a significant proportion of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms and normal JAK2 617F mutation testing have a CALR gene mutation. CALR mutations account for a large proportion of JAK2/MPD-negative ET and PMF cases. Approximately 60% of JAK2/MPD-negative ET patients are CALR-positive and 30% of JAK2/MPD-negative PMF patients are CALR-positive. Overall, CALR mutations are identified in approximately 21% of ET cases and 16% of PMF cases. CALR mutations have not been reported in PV case series 2.
For this reason, CALR gene testing may be indicated for individuals who would meet World Health Organizationâs diagnostic criteria for myeloproliferative disease if a clonal marker were identified. Proponents have argued for revised WHO criteria that includes CALR mutation status in the classification system for ET and PMF 12. Current NCCN guidelines do not make recommendations for CALR genetic testing; however, these guidelines are specific to MDS and do not broadly address myeloproliferative neoplasms, such as ET or PMF. Somatic mutations in non-MDS genes, such as CALR, are listed as being associated with conditions that can mimic other myelodysplastic syndromes.
Aside from diagnostic utility, some research suggests distinct clinical outcomes associated with CALR mutation status; however, the findings have not been confirmed in other studies. It is suggested that ET patients with CALR mutations have lower polycythemic transformation rates, but not lower myelofibrotic transformation rate, compared with ET patients harboring a JAK2 mutation. Others reported a higher platelet count, younger age of diagnosis, lower leukocyte count, and decreased risk for thrombosis, compared with a JAK2 positive ET population 1. CALR-mutated ET has also been associated with better thrombosis-free survival and lower leukocyte counts; overall survival has been reported as not different among CALR mutated and non-mutated ET 2,15.
Although they are useful for establishing a diagnosis, the presence of specific clonal markers does not dictate treatment. Controversy exists generally regarding the treatment of asymptomatic individuals with ET. Some argue against treatment if there are no associated complications. In general, the main goal of treatment with PV and ET is to identify persons at high risk for thrombosis and prevent complications. Persons with PV and ET are determined to be at high-risk due to age >60 years and past history of thrombotic event(s). CALR mutational status is not currently used for risk stratification 11.
In summary, multiple studies have demonstrated the diagnostic value of CALR mutation status in a population of JAK2 and MPD negative patients with suspected ET and PMF. The presence of a somatic CALR mutation can prove useful in obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Emerging evidence suggests possible differences in clinical phenotype among the associated clonal markers, including CALR-positive ET cases. However, CALR mutation status is currently not incorporated into clinical risk stratification and more research is needed in this area.
ICD-10 Codes that Support Medical Necessity
ICD-10 CODE DESCRIPTION
C88.8 Other malignant immunoproliferative diseases
C92.10 Chronic myeloid leukemia, BCR/ABL-positive, not having achieved remission
C92.20 Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia, BCR/ABL-negative, not having achieved remission
C92.21 Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia, BCR/ABL-negative, in remission
C92.22 Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia, BCR/ABL-negative, in relapse
C93.10 Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia not having achieved remission
C94.40 Acute panmyelosis with myelofibrosis not having achieved remission
C94.41 Acute panmyelosis with myelofibrosis, in remission
C94.42 Acute panmyelosis with myelofibrosis, in relapse
C94.6 Myelodysplastic disease, not classified
D45 Polycythemia vera
D46.0 Refractory anemia without ring sideroblasts, so stated
D46.1 Refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts
D46.20 Refractory anemia with excess of blasts, unspecified
D46.21 Refractory anemia with excess of blasts 1
D46.22 Refractory anemia with excess of blasts 2
D46.A Refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia
D46.B Refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia and ring sideroblasts
D46.C Myelodysplastic syndrome with isolated del(5q) chromosomal abnormality
D46.4 Refractory anemia, unspecified
D46.Z Other myelodysplastic syndromes
D46.9 Myelodysplastic syndrome, unspecified
D47.1 Chronic myeloproliferative disease
D47.3 Essential (hemorrhagic) thrombocythemia
D47.Z9 Other specified neoplasms of uncertain behavior of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue
D47.9 Neoplasm of uncertain behavior of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue, unspecified
D72.821 Monocytosis (symptomatic)
D72.829 Elevated white blood cell count, unspecified
D75.1 Secondary polycythemia
D75.89 Other specified diseases of blood and blood-forming organs
D75.9 Disease of blood and blood-forming organs, unspecified
|CPT 81479, 81211 - Molecular pathology procedure||Procedure Code and Description|
81211 BRCA1, BRCA2 (BREAST CANCER 1 AND 2) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; FULL SEQUENCE ANALYSIS AND COMMON DUPLICATION/DELETION VARIANTS IN BRCA1 (IE, EXON 13 DEL 3.835KB, EXON 13 DUP 6KB, EXON 14-20 DEL 26KB, EXON 22 DEL 510BP, EXON 8-9 DEL 7.1KB)
81479 UNLISTED MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY PROCEDURE
Coverage Indications, Limitations, and/or Medical Necessity
This LCD provides limited coverage for the GeneSightÂ® Psychotropic (AssureRx Health, Inc, Mason, OH) gene panel. GeneSightÂ® testing may only be ordered by licensed psychiatristsor or neuropsychiatrists contemplating an alteration in neuropsychiatric medication for patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) (in accordance with DSM IV/V criteria) who are suffering with refractory moderate to severe depression (as defined by the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17) score of 14 or greater) after at least one prior neuropsychiatric medication failure.
GeneSightÂ® Psychotropic is a multiplex pharmacogenomic test involving the analysis of fifty alleles (SNPs) from six different genes and a clinical outcomes-based decision support modeling tool that weights the influence of the various alleles/SNPs with respect to thirty-two different psychotropic pharmaceutical agents. The test results in the differentiation of psychoactive drugs that are likely to be effective and well-tolerated by a particular patient versus those that are not. In multiple prospective clinical studies, the use of GeneSightÂ® to guide neuropsychiatric pharmaceutical selection and prescription has demonstrated an increased patient response to treatment from 60% to 250% (as measured by the standardized 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression or HAM-17; response is defined as = 50% reduction in HAM-D17 score) versus unguided, empirical treatment (or treatment as usual).
GeneSightÂ® has particular relevance for Medicare beneficiaries, 26% of whom experience a mental disorder each year. Additionally, six out of ten disabled Medicare beneficiaries (~3.7 million) under age 65, representing roughly 17% of all beneficiaries, have a diagnosis of mental disorder. Furthermore, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes depression as the most common mental disorder in people aged 65 and older. It frequently appears as a co-morbid symptom to other conditions and can even mimic the symptoms of dementia. As a group, seniors generally take more medications than other age groups, increasing their risk of drug-drug interactions and adverse drug events (ADEs).
The GeneSightÂ® report segments and displays these psychotropic medications into three âtraffic lightâ categories or âbinsâ - green, yellow and red. Based on the patientâs genetic make-up and the drugâs metabolic and therapeutic pathways, the green bin identifies drugs that will likely be well tolerated and efficacious for the tested patient; the yellow bin identifies drugs with an intermediate effect; and the red bin identifies drugs likely to be poorly tolerated and/or ineffective. The report also identifies common drug-drug interactions that are similarly influenced by the patientâs genetic composition.
Pine Rest Study
The Pine Rest study was a prospective, patient- and rater-blinded, randomized controlled trial evaluating the clinical impact of GeneSightÂ® on antidepressant selection and treatment outcomes in depressed outpatients (GeneSightÂ®, N=25 vs treatment as usual (TAU), N=24). Patients were assessed for symptom improvement, remission and response from baseline (week 0) and at 2, 4, and 8 weeks, using the HAM-D17 rating.
Subjects in the GeneSightÂ® arm had a greater average decrease in the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17) scores from baseline at 8 weeks (p = 0.30) and a higher response rate (p = 0.055) and significantly higher remission rate (p = 0.012) at any time point. Response rates in the GeneSightÂ®-guided arm were 73% higher compared to the unguided TAU arm. Retrospective analysis of the TAU subjects at the end of the study after un-blinding and stratifying by GeneSightÂ® results proved the clinical validity of GeneSightÂ®, with 30% of subjects unknowingly on red bin medications showing a significant worsening of depressive symptoms in contrast to significant improvements in depressive symptoms experienced by 30% of subjects unknowingly on green bin medications (p = 0.07). Additionally, surveys from the treating clinicians revealed that the GeneSightÂ® composite report had a significant influence on treatment decisions for 65% of the GeneSightÂ® subjects.
The Hamm Clinic prospective cohort study with two arms (GeneSightÂ® (n = 22) vs. TAU (n = 22)) enrolled adult patients with a primary diagnosis of major depressive disorder utilizing DSM-IV criteria for depression not otherwise specified. GeneSightÂ® subjects achieved greater reductions in depression symptoms between the baseline and the week 8 visits compared to TAU subjects using the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology â Clinician version (QIDS-C16) (p = 0.0024) and HAM-D17 (p = 0.042) ratings. Both the response and remission rate were more than doubled in the GeneSightÂ® arm compared to the TAU arm. Upon unblinding the TAU group at the end of 8 weeks, TAU subjects were being prescribed significantly more red and yellow bin medications and less green bin medications compared to the GeneSightÂ® guided subjects (p = 0.02).
In the La Crosse prospective cohort study (GeneSightÂ® (n = 72) vs. TAU (n = 93)) at the Franciscan Skemp Hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin, patients with a primary diagnosis of MDD or depression not otherwise specified with a minimum score of 14 on HAM-D17 were enrolled. Diagnosis was confirmed by checking the diagnosis reported in the physician clinical notes in the electronic medical record (EMR). Samples were collected at baseline in both arms, while only the physicians in the GeneSightÂ® arm were provided with test results to inform treatment decisions. In addition to the prospective comparisons, retrospective analysis in the TAU subjects at the end of the study was implemented after un-blinding the GeneSightÂ® results to test for clinical validity.
A greater reduction in depression scores from baseline to the week 8 visit was observed in the GeneSightÂ® arm for all three measures of depression: QIDS-C16 (p < 0.0001), HAM-D17 (p < 0.0001), and PHQ-9 (p < 0.0001). In all measures, a faster reduction of symptoms was observed in the GeneSightÂ® arm subjects compared to the TAU arm subjects (QIDS-C16 and HAM-D17 (p < 0.0001), PHQ-9 (p = 0.002)). The GeneSightÂ® arm had a significantly higher remission rate based on the QIDS-C16 score (p = 0.03), and significantly higher response rates based on QIDS-C16 (p = 0.005), HAM-D17 (p = 0.03), and PHQ-9 (p = 0.01).
Physicians changed medications more often for subjects in the GeneSightÂ®-guided group (57.9%) than the unguided group (25.9%) (p = 0.0007). Of the 15 GeneSightÂ®-guided subjects classified in the red bin category at baseline, fourteen (93.3%) experienced a medication change or dose adjustment during the eight week study period, compared with 8 out of 18 subjects in the unguided group (44.4%) in the red bin category (p = 0.002). A significant association between bin status and outcome was observed within the unguided group (p = 0.028). Subjects classified in the red bin category had less improvement (11%) eight than those classified in the green or yellow categories (31.9%, p = 0.047), further demonstrating the deleterious effects of red bin medications on patient outcomes.
This retrospective study, in collaboration with Union Health Services (UHS, a staff model HMO located in Chicago, Illinois), examined healthcare utilization in relation to medication categories (binning) using GeneSightÂ®. Ninety-six patients previously diagnosed with a depressive disorder or anxiety disorder and treated with one of the medications included in the GeneSightÂ® panel were included in the study. The GeneSightÂ® bin assignments of patient psychiatric medications were compared to the medical records for patient medication prescriptions, healthcare utilization, medical absence days, and disability claims for the previous 12 months.
Subjects whose medication regimen included a medication in the GeneSightÂ® red bin (âuse with caution and more frequent monitoringâ) had 69% more total healthcare visits (p = 0.005), 67% more general medical visits (p = 0.02), greater than 3-fold more medical absence days (p = 0.06), and greater than 4-fold more disability claims (p = 0.004) than subjects taking drugs in the green (âuse as directedâ) or yellow bin (âuse with cautionâ). The mean healthcare utilization cost calculated for red bin subjects during the previous 12 month period was higher at $8,627, compared to $3,453 calculated for green bin subjects (p = 0.024) and $3,426 for yellow bin subjects (p = 0.027), yielding an average annual increase in healthcare cost of $5,188 for subjects on GeneSightÂ® red bin medications.
Meta-analysis of GeneSightÂ® Prospective 2-Armed Studies
In a meta-analysis of three prospective, 2-armed clinical trials (Pine Rest, Hamm, and La Crosse), use of the test to aid in therapeutic selection has improved patient responses to treatment by 73% on average, which is consistent with the results from each study individually, and is highly significant (p=0.004). These findings support the value of the GeneSightÂ® test in improving patient outcomes.
Documentation supporting the medical need for these tests, including substantiating documentation for the ICD-9 code(s) submitted, must be maintained in the patientâs medical record. In order to be considered medically necessary, the patient must have failed or currently be failing on at least one neuropsychiatric medication, and the healthcare provider must be contemplating an alteration in neuropsychiatric medication treatment. Prior medication failure and intent to alter medication course consistent with the test results must be documented in the patientâs medical record and noted with the test requisition.
Billing/Coding/Physician Documentation Information
This policy may apply to the following codes. Inclusion of a code in this section does not guarantee that it will be reimbursed. For further information on reimbursement guidelines, please see Administrative Policies on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina web site at www.bcbsnc.com. They are listed in the Category Search on the Medical Policy search page.
Applicable codes: Effective in 2013, if the specific analyte is listed in codes 81200-81355 or 81400-81408, that CPT code would be reported. If the specific analyte is not listed in the more specific CPT
codes, unlisted code 81479 would be reported.
BCBSNC may request medical records for determination of medical necessity. When medical records are requested, letters of support and/or explanation are often useful, but are not sufficient documentation unless all specific information needed to make a medical necessity determination is included.
ICD-10 Codes that Support Medical Necessity
ICD-10 CODE DESCRIPTION
F32.1 Major depressive disorder, single episode, moderate
F32.2 Major depressive disorder, single episode, severe without psychotic features
F32.3 Major depressive disorder, single episode, severe with psychotic features
F32.4 Major depressive disorder, single episode, in partial remission
F32.9 Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified
F33.1 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate
F33.2 Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features
F33.3 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe with psychotic symptoms
F33.40 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, in remission, unspecified
F33.41 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, in partial remission
F33.9 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, unspecified
Coverage for BRCA1 and BRCA 2 Testing
Coverage Indications, Limitations, and/or Medical Necessity
Germline genetic testing of BRCA1 and BRCA2 is available to identify individuals at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers, as individuals with an inherited cancer syndrome may benefit from screening and prevention strategies to reduce their risk. The prevalence of BRCA mutations in the population is estimated between 1 in 300 and 1 in 800; however, specific mutations known as founder mutations occur more often in populations founded by a small ancestral group, including Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews, French Canadians, and Icelanders. The prevalence of BRCA mutations in the Ashkenazi Jewish population is approximately 1 in 40. Three recurrent BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been identified in Ashkenazi Jewish individuals (i.e., a genetically distinct population of Jewish people of eastern and central European ancestry) and make up the vast majority of BRCA mutations that occur in this population. Rearrangements, such as large genomic alterations including translocations, inversions, large deletions and insertions are believed to be responsible for 12% to 18% of BRCA1 inactivating mutations but are less common in BRCA2 and in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. The NCCN guidelines note that comprehensive genetic testing includes full sequencing of BRCA1/BRCA2 and the detection of large genomic rearrangements. The NCCN recommends that since certain large genomic rearrangements are not detectable by a primary sequencing assay, additional testing may be needed in some cases.
Evidence in the published, peer-reviewed scientific literature indicates that BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing is appropriate for a specific subset of adult individuals who have been identified to be at high risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Furthermore, several specialty organizations, including NCCN, American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG), and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), have issued statements recognizing the role of pre- and post-test genetic counseling and BRCA testing in the management of at risk patients. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has published recommendations regarding genetic risk assessment, genetic counseling and BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. Based on this USPSTF recommendation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that private group and individual health plans provide coverage for genetic counseling and, if appropriate, genetic testing for women at risk for hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC) as a preventive service with no out of pocket expense.
Olaparib is a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor inhibitor approved by the FDA as monotherapy in patients with ovarian cancer, with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation who have been treated with three or more prior lines of chemotherapy. Testing of ovarian cancer patients in this clinical scenario is indicated to guide treatment.
Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are passed down in families through an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern meaning that the associated cancer predisposition can be inherited through either the motherâs or fatherâs side of the family and transmitted by a male or female. When a parent carries a BRCA mutation, there is a 50% chance of passing down the gene mutation with every pregnancy. Although the risk of inheriting the predisposition from a parent who carries a mutation is 50%, not everyone with an inherited mutation will develop cancer. The likelihood that a woman with a mutation will develop a related cancer (i.e., penetrance of a BRCA mutation) is estimated between 41% and 90% and is much lower for men. The risk of developing cancer depends on numerous variables, including the penetrance of the specific mutation, the genetic makeup of the individual, environmental risk factors, the gender of the individual and their age.
Several national evidence based and expert opinion guidelines and accrediting bodies recommend that genetic testing should be undertaken only in conjunction with independent pre-test genetic counseling services in order to assist patients in complex clinical decision-making. Post genetic testing counseling is also strongly recommended. The NCCN guidelines  state that genetic counseling is a critical component of the cancer risk assessment process. In addition, the guidelines state that pretest counseling should include a discussion of why the test is being offered and how test results may impact medical management, cancer risks associated with the genes being tested, the significance of possible test results for the individual and family, the likelihood of a positive result, technical aspects and accuracy of the test, and economic considerations. Per the guidelines, posttest counseling includes disclosure of results, discussion of the significance of the results for the individual and relevant family members, a discussion of the impact of the results on psychosocial aspects and on the medical management of the individual, and how and where the patient will receive followup care and access to additional resources.
Medicare is a defined benefit program and requires that testing is only performed on patients with signs and symptoms of disease. Testing of unaffected individuals or family members is not a covered Medicare services. However, once a mutation is identified in the family, Medicare eligible relatives with signs and symptoms of breast cancer are typically tested for that specific mutation only. For patients of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, initial testing is generally done for the three specific mutations that account for most hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in that population: 185delAG and 5382insC (also called 5385insC) in the BRCA1 gene and 6174delT in the BRCA2 gene. If the test results are negative, full analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is only considered if testing criteria for non Jewish individuals are met. Nonetheless, Medicare does not cover testing for patients without signs and symptoms of breast or ovarian cancer.
While not required for payment, NCCN Guidelines recommend referral to a cancer genetics professional with expertise and experience in cancer genetics prior to genetic testing and after genetic testing. Examples of cancer genetics professionals with expertise and experience in cancer genetics include: an American Board of Medical Genetics or American Board of Genetic Counseling certified or board eligible Clinical Geneticist, Medical Geneticist or Genetic Counselor not employed by a commercial genetic testing laboratory (excludes individuals employed by or contracted with a laboratory that is part of an Integrated Health System which routinely delivers health care services beyond just the laboratory test itself as these individuals are also considered inter dependent); medical oncologist, obstetrician-gynecologist or other physician trained in medical cancer genetics, a genetic nurse credentialed as either a Genetic Clinical Nurse (GCN) or an Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics (APGN) by either the Genetic Nursing Credentialing Commission (GNCC) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) who is not employed by a commercial genetic testing laboratory (excludes individuals employed by or contracted with a laboratory that is part of an Integrated Health System which routinely delivers health care services beyond just the laboratory test itself as these individuals are also considered inter dependent).
This is a limited coverage policy for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genetic testing. BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genetic testing has been found to be reasonable and necessary in the following instances.
Personal History of Female Breast Cancer
BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing for susceptibility to breast or ovarian cancer is covered in adults [by full sequence analysis and duplication/deletion analysis of common variants (CPT codes 81211 and 81213) as medically reasonable and necessary when there is a personal history of breast cancer (invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ) and ANY of the following indications:
Diagnosed at age 60 or younger with a triple negative breast cancer (estrogen receptor (ER) negative, progesterone receptor (PR) negative, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) negative);
Diagnosed at age 50 or younger with a limited family history (e.g., fewer than two first- or second degree female relatives or female relatives surviving beyond 45 years in the relevant maternal and/or paternal lineage);
Diagnosed at any age and there are at least two close blood relatives* with breast cancer at any age;
Diagnosed at any age with at least one close blood relative* with breast cancer at age 50 or younger;
Diagnosed at any age and there are at least two close blood relatives* with pancreatic cancer or prostate cancer with Gleason score >7 at any age;
Diagnosed at any age with at least one close blood relative* with epithelial ovarian cancer, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer;
Close male blood relative* with breast cancer;
Individual of Ashkenazi Jewish descent begin testing with Ashkenazi Jewish founder specific mutations (a gene mutation observed with high frequency in a group that is or was geographically or culturally isolated, in which one or more of the ancestors was a carrier of the mutant gene) (CPT code 81212). If negative, complete analysis (CPT 81211 and 81213) may be considered if ancestry also includes non-Ashkenazi Jewish relatives or other criteria for BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic testing are met.
*NCCN defines blood relative as first- (parents, siblings and children), second- (grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and half-siblings), and third degree-relatives (great grandparents, great aunts, great uncles, great grandchildren and first cousins) on same side of family. Genetic testing for a known mutation in a family is a covered service for individuals with signs and/or symptoms of breast cancer. Testing of an unaffected Medicare eligible individual or family member is not a covered Medicare service.
Personal History of Other Cancer
BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing for susceptibility to breast or ovarian cancer is covered in adults [by full sequence analysis and duplication/deletion analysis of common variants (CPT codes 81211) and uncommon duplication/deletion analysis (CPT 81213)] as medically necessary when there is a personal history of ANY of the following indications:
Personal history of epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer;
Personal history of male breast cancer;
Personal history of pancreatic cancer or prostate cancer with Gleason score =7 at any age, =1 close blood relatives* with breast (=50 y), invasive ovarian, pancreatic cancer, or prostate cancer with Gleason score=7 at any age;
Personal history of pancreatic cancer at any age with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (Begin testing with Ashkenazi Jewish founder specific mutations [CPT code 81212]. If negative, complete analysis (CPT 81211 and 81213) should be performed. Complete analysis (CPT 81211 and 81213) may be considered if ancestry also includes non-Ashkenazi Jewish relatives and other criteria for BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic testing are met.
Genetic testing for a known mutation in a family is a covered service for individuals with signs and/or symptoms of another inheritable cancer. Testing of an unaffected Medicare eligible individual or family member is not a covered Medicare service.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing for susceptibility to breast or ovarian cancer with multi-gene next âgeneration sequencing (NGS) panels is covered as medically necessary when ALL of the following criteria are met:
Pre-test genetic counseling by a cancer genetics professional independent of the laboratory has been performed and post-test genetic counseling by a cancer genetics professional independent of the laboratory is planned;
All genes in the panel are relevant to the personal and family history for the individual being tested (large panels with genes that are not relevant to the individualâs personal and family history are not reasonable and necessary);
Criteria listed under Section 1, Personal history of female breast cancer and/or Section 2 Personal history of other cancer are met.
Individual also meets criteria for at least ONE other hereditary cancer syndrome for which NCCN guidelines provide clear testing criteria and management recommendations, including but not limited to Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, Cowden Syndrome, or Lynch Syndrome.
Any test must also meet:
Availability of a clinically valid test, based on published peer reviewed medical literature; AND
Testing assay(s) are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved/cleared or if LDT (lab developed test) or LDT protocol or FDA modified test(s) the laboratory documentation should support assay(s) analytical validity and clinical utility.
BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic testing for susceptibility to breast or ovarian cancer is not covered for any other indication including any of the following because it is considered not medically reasonable and necessary for these indications:
Genetic screening in the general population. Such testing is considered screening and is excluded by Medicare statute. An ABN must be obtained for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing for individuals without signs and symptoms of breast, ovarian or other hereditary cancer syndromes as indicated in this policy.
Testing of individuals with no personal history of breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, primary peritoneal, pancreatic, or prostate cancer. Such testing is considered screening and is excluded by Medicare statute.
An ABN must be obtained for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing for individuals without signs and symptoms of breast, ovarian or other hereditary cancer syndromes as indicated in this policy.
Testing of individuals under 18 years of age.
Generic (not disease specific) genomic sequence panels (NGS comprehensive definitive cancer testing panel/s) of 51 or greater genes are non-covered at this time (specific testing of 51 or greater genes as expressed by disease specific coding, e.g. Prosigna breast cancer assay, can be medically necessary).
Group 1 Paragraph: N/A
Group 1 Codes:
cpt 81211 BRCA1, BRCA2 (BREAST CANCER 1 AND 2) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; FULL SEQUENCE ANALYSIS AND COMMON DUPLICATION/DELETION VARIANTS IN BRCA1 (IE, EXON 13 DEL 3.835KB, EXON 13 DUP 6KB, EXON 14-20 DEL 26KB, EXON 22 DEL 510BP, EXON 8-9 DEL 7.1KB)
81212 BRCA1, BRCA2 (BREAST CANCER 1 AND 2) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; 185DELAG, 5385INSC, 6174DELT VARIANTS
81213 BRCA1, BRCA2 (BREAST CANCER 1 AND 2) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; UNCOMMON DUPLICATION/DELETION VARIANTS
81214 BRCA1 (BREAST CANCER 1) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; FULL SEQUENCE ANALYSIS AND COMMON DUPLICATION/DELETION VARIANTS (IE, EXON 13 DEL 3.835KB, EXON 13 DUP 6KB, EXON 14-20 DEL 26KB, EXON 22 DEL 510BP, EXON 8-9 DEL 7.1KB)
81215 BRCA1 (BREAST CANCER 1) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; KNOWN FAMILIAL VARIANT
81216 BRCA2 (BREAST CANCER 2) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; FULL SEQUENCE ANALYSIS
81217 BRCA2 (BREAST CANCER 2) (EG, HEREDITARY BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER) GENE ANALYSIS; KNOWN FAMILIAL VARIANT
81445 TARGETED GENOMIC SEQUENCE ANALYSIS PANEL, SOLID ORGAN NEOPLASM, DNA ANALYSIS, AND RNA ANALYSIS WHEN PERFORMED, 5-50 GENES (EG, ALK, BRAF, CDKN2A, EGFR, ERBB2, KIT, KRAS, NRAS, MET, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, PGR, PIK3CA, PTEN, RET), INTERROGATION FOR SEQUENCE VARIANTS AND COPY NUMBER VARIANTS OR REARRANGEMENTS, IF PERFORMED
81455 TARGETED GENOMIC SEQUENCE ANALYSIS PANEL, SOLID ORGAN OR HEMATOLYMPHOID NEOPLASM, DNA ANALYSIS, AND RNA ANALYSIS WHEN PERFORMED, 51 OR GREATER GENES (EG, ALK, BRAF, CDKN2A, CEBPA, DNMT3A, EGFR, ERBB2, EZH2, FLT3, IDH1, IDH2, JAK2, KIT, KRAS, MLL, NPM1, NRAS, MET, NOTCH1, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, PGR, PIK3CA, PTEN, RET), INTERROGATION FOR SEQUENCE VARIANTS AND COPY NUMBER VARIANTS OR REARRANGEMENTS, IF PERFORMED
81479 UNLISTED MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY PROCEDURE
ICD-10 Codes that Support Medical Necessity
ICD-10 CODE DESCRIPTION
C25.4 Malignant neoplasm of endocrine pancreas
C25.7 Malignant neoplasm of other parts of pancreas
C25.8 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of pancreas
C25.9 Malignant neoplasm of pancreas, unspecified
C50.011 Malignant neoplasm of nipple and areola, right female breast
C50.012 Malignant neoplasm of nipple and areola, left female breast
C50.019 Malignant neoplasm of nipple and areola, unspecified female breast
C50.021 Malignant neoplasm of nipple and areola, right male breast
C50.022 Malignant neoplasm of nipple and areola, left male breast
C50.029 Malignant neoplasm of nipple and areola, unspecified male breast
C50.111 Malignant neoplasm of central portion of right female breast
C50.112 Malignant neoplasm of central portion of left female breast
C50.119 Malignant neoplasm of central portion of unspecified female breast
C50.121 Malignant neoplasm of central portion of right male breast
C50.122 Malignant neoplasm of central portion of left male breast
C50.129 Malignant neoplasm of central portion of unspecified male breast
C50.211 Malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant of right female breast
C50.212 Malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant of left female breast
C50.219 Malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant of unspecified female breast
C50.221 Malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant of right male breast
C50.222 Malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant of left male breast
C50.229 Malignant neoplasm of upper-inner quadrant of unspecified male breast
C50.311 Malignant neoplasm of lower-inner quadrant of right female breast
C50.312 Malignant neoplasm of lower-inner quadrant of left female breast
C50.319 Malignant neoplasm of lower-inner quadrant of unspecified female breast
C50.321 Malignant neoplasm of lower-inner quadrant of right male breast
C50.322 Malignant neoplasm of lower-inner quadrant of left male breast
C50.329 Malignant neoplasm of lower-inner quadrant of unspecified male breast
C50.411 Malignant neoplasm of upper-outer quadrant of right female breast
C50.412 Malignant neoplasm of upper-outer quadrant of left female breast
C50.419 Malignant neoplasm of upper-outer quadrant of unspecified female breast
C50.421 Malignant neoplasm of upper-outer quadrant of right male breast
C50.422 Malignant neoplasm of upper-outer quadrant of left male breast
C50.429 Malignant neoplasm of upper-outer quadrant of unspecified male breast
C50.511 Malignant neoplasm of lower-outer quadrant of right female breast
C50.512 Malignant neoplasm of lower-outer quadrant of left female breast
C50.519 Malignant neoplasm of lower-outer quadrant of unspecified female breast
C50.521 Malignant neoplasm of lower-outer quadrant of right male breast
C50.522 Malignant neoplasm of lower-outer quadrant of left male breast
C50.529 Malignant neoplasm of lower-outer quadrant of unspecified male breast
C50.611 Malignant neoplasm of axillary tail of right female breast
C50.612 Malignant neoplasm of axillary tail of left female breast
C50.619 Malignant neoplasm of axillary tail of unspecified female breast
C50.621 Malignant neoplasm of axillary tail of right male breast
C50.622 Malignant neoplasm of axillary tail of left male breast
C50.629 Malignant neoplasm of axillary tail of unspecified male breast
C50.811 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of right female breast
C50.812 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of left female breast
C50.819 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of unspecified female breast
C50.821 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of right male breast
C50.822 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of left male breast
C50.829 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of unspecified male breast
C50.911 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of right female breast
C50.912 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of left female breast
C50.919 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of unspecified female breast
C50.921 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of right male breast
C50.922 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of left male breast
C50.929 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified site of unspecified male breast
C56.1 Malignant neoplasm of right ovary
C56.2 Malignant neoplasm of left ovary
C56.9 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified ovary
C57.00 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified fallopian tube
C57.01 Malignant neoplasm of right fallopian tube
C57.02 Malignant neoplasm of left fallopian tube
C61 Malignant neoplasm of prostate
D05.00 Lobular carcinoma in situ of unspecified breast
D05.01 Lobular carcinoma in situ of right breast
D05.02 Lobular carcinoma in situ of left breast
D05.10 Intraductal carcinoma in situ of unspecified breast
D05.11 Intraductal carcinoma in situ of right breast
D05.12 Intraductal carcinoma in situ of left breast
D05.80 - D05.82 - Opens in a new window Other specified type of carcinoma in situ of unspecified breast - Other specified
type of carcinoma in situ of left breast
D05.90 - D05.92 - Opens in a new window Unspecified type of carcinoma in situ of unspecified breast - Unspecified type of
carcinoma in situ of left breast
Z85.07 Personal history of malignant neoplasm of pancreas
Z85.43 Personal history of malignant neoplasm of ovary
Z85.46 Personal history of malignant neoplasm of prostate
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