Friday, August 12, 2022

Readings: Deep Time Mexico, Neanderthals, Early Mammals

Relish these articles.

1) Mexico City Deep Time Sickness.  Modern day Mexico City is built on the bed of lakes that formed around 2 million years ago. The Mexica people in the 14th century constructed a series of dams and dykes partitioning salt water and fresh water areas. They developed agriculture called as 'chinampas' on islands made up of mud and organic debris. This region became the city state of Tenochtitlan. Later in the 16th century this vast lake was drained by Spanish Conquistadors. Over time, extraction of groundwater is causing compaction of the soft sediment. The ground is subsiding unevenly across different parts of the city. Ground shaking by frequent earthquakes is making the problem worse. As cracks grow and widen, buildings tilt, and the ground shakes, the citizens have become acutely sensitive or "tocado" to geology altering their everyday lives.

"Deep time is often framed as something antithetical to immediacy, something totally separate not only from everyday experience, but also the idea of history itself. But if we are living in a moment in which experiential time, historical time and deep time are colliding, which of these times are being written onto the walls of Mexico City apartments?

A beautiful and unnerving article by Lachlan Summers.

2) Did Neanderthals Speak? Archaeologist Anna Goldfield summarizes our current state of understanding of the throat anatomy of Neanderthals and how they might have sounded. There is a nice audio clip too! 

3) Warm Blooded Mammals. When did warm bloodedness or endothermy evolve in mammals? Katherine Irvine writes about a new study of ear canal bone structures indicative of endothermy. An analysis of fossils suggest that warm bloodedness, along with a host of traits typically associated with mammals, arose by around 233 million years ago. 

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