Happy Halloween! A fantastic holiday and one I would have loved. We did sort of make interesting noises around bonfires in my time, and it often happened when the increasing darkness scared us and we were getting anxious about the Winter coming.
Good to know that so many spiritual traditions, from ancient paganism and heathenism to current day Christianity have memorialized this day.
Three great things to tell you on All Hallows Eve, Sanheim, All Souls Day and El Día de los Muertos.
Skull and shoulder blade of Selam
Credit: Zeray Alemseged
First, there is now proof that I could climb trees as well as walk upright.
Second, eight great designs of Skeleton posters are for sale on tanga.com. It’s only for 24 hours, so roll a chair close to a computer, point your browser in the correct direction and push the button that says BUY!
Third, orders are now being taken for the skins for the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 & 3. You remember our contest. It’s Halloween and the store is open!
But back to walking upright and tree-climbing. The thought for many years was that the two were probably mutually exclusive. That annoyed many of us who remember standing tall, walking right up to a beautiful tree, and then climbing its branches for a safe, comfy sleep in our big nest near the top.
Our ability to both walk and climb trees was shown in the report a few days ago of study of the shoulder bones of one of my distant cousins, Selam.
The skeleton of Selam, 3, was discovered in Ethiopia, as was my skeleton, and her scapula is the “earliest and most complete ever analyzed,” according to Zeresenay Alemseged, a paleoanthropolotist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Fransisco, and one of the authors of the study.
It took ten years for scientists to analyze Selam’s bones because they were as thin as paper and embedded in sandstone.
“Because shoulder blades are paper-thin, they rarely fossilize–and when they do, they are almost always fragmentary,” Dr. Alemseged said. “So finding both shoulder blades completely intact and attached to a skeleton of a known and pivotal species was like hitting the jackpot. This study moves us a step closer toward answering the question ‘When did our ancestors abandon climbing behavior?’ It appears that this happened much later than many researchers have previously suggested.”
Amazing what can be done.
Alemseged told the New York Times that the position of Selam’s shoulder was a lot that that of a gorrilla. Selam and I will try not to be offended by that comparison, but it’s really OK if it’s what enabled us to climb those trees.
We continue to be even more grateful for the human-like hips, lower leg bones and feet that let us walk upright.
Ever try to carry a baby while walking on all fours?
Have fun today sitting around a bonfire, going trick-or-treating or seeing all the great costumes and handing out candy!
– Lucy of Hadar