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kate wong
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Editor and writer at Scientific American covering paleontology, archaeology, biology
Editor and writer at Scientific American covering paleontology, archaeology, biology

2,759 followers
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My take on China's ceremonial destruction of 6+ tons of confiscated elephant ivory earlier today: it's a step in the right direction, but only a baby step. China is sitting on much more illegal ivory than that, and it has a legal domestic ivory trade that provides cover for illegal wildlife trafficking. 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2014/01/06/china-crushes-ivory-but-must-do-more-to-fight-wildlife-crime/

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Last week I watched as the US pulverized 6 tons of confiscated elephant ivory--an amount that could fetch up to $12 million on the black market--to send a message to the world that it will not tolerate illegal wildlife trafficking. But critics charge that the destruction of ivory stockpiles will drive ivory prices up and lead to more elephant poaching. I asked proponents of the US ivory crush to respond to that argument. Here's what they said. 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/11/19/why-the-u-s-destroyed-its-ivory-stockpile/

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Analysis of mummy hair shows the Incas gave chosen children large quantities of alcohol and coca before sacrificing them to the gods. As for the parents forced to contribute their kids, no tears allowed. http://bit.ly/18KLP5I

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Australian archaeologist Mike Morwood, co-discoverer of our tiny relative Homo floresiensis (aka the hobbit), died on Tuesday. Here's my post on how that find forced scientists to reconsider some enduring ideas about human evolution. 
http://bit.ly/15Rs2ix

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Scientists announced today that they have obtained a complete genome from a 700,000-year-old horse fossil. This is waaaay older than the previous record holder. Comparison of this genome with genomes of other equids revealed some surprising things about horse evolution. I wondered whether researchers might eventually be able to get DNA from human fossils this old (or older), so I asked around---and got some intriguing answers. Here's what I found out. http://bit.ly/17gAv0k

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You know that woolly mammoth carcass that everyone's talking about? The one that supposedly has liquid blood and maybe live cells, which could facilitate cloning efforts? It sounded a little too good to be true, so I asked some experts what they thought. The upshot: the specimen is awesome, but some of the claims are incorrect as reported or have yet to be established as fact. My report for Scientific American: http://bit.ly/11dNbn4

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If you weren't on Twitter over the weekend, you missed out on a hilarious parody of the aquatic ape theory. Here are some highlights. http://bit.ly/11Ae0iS

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Australopithecus sediba, the recently discovered 2-million-year-old human ancestor from South Africa, has been in the news again this month, which got me to wondering whether this might just be the most important hominin find yet. http://bit.ly/15LRMzP 
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