The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - April 28, 1999

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

April 28, 1999

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


The Pedosphere and its Dynamics
The University of Alberta (Canada)'s Soil Science Server supplies this excellent site on the Pedosphere, "the part of the Earth's environment in which soils are found." A dozen sections provide illustrated information on the basics of soil; ecological functions of soil; soil texture, color, and structure; soil formation; soil classification systems in Canada; mineralogy; soil reactions and chemistry; soil water; soil air; soil ecology; soil organic matter; and soil survey. In addition, five tutorials and numerous "self tests" allow readers to maximize their learning about the soils of Alberta, soil water calculations, and soil organic matter dynamics, among other topics. Each section consists of concise definitions, several color figures, and a description of important concepts or details; a glossary follows. For anyone wishing to learn more about soils, this is an outstanding place to start. [LXP]
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G3 (Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems)
G3 (Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems) is a forthcoming electronic journal that will be issued by the Geochemical Society and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This journal publishes "relevant observational, experimental, and theoretical investigations of the solid Earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere that pertain to understanding the Earth as a system." Scientists interested in contributing to this journal must submit material electronically via a Web form. Although a starting date of publication has not been mentioned at the Website, email announcements will be sent to subscribers (subscription is free) once the journal begins publication. [SN]
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Coleoptera of Rhode Island
A creative presentation of checklist data by graduate student Derek Sikes of the University of Connecticut, this site provides access to taxonomic information on the beetles of Rhode Island. Featuring a searchable (by Family or Species) database, the site also includes an introduction, a map of Rhode Island, and a selection of source references. Typical returns provide Family, Subfamily, Species, and Determiner name, with hyperlinks to Voucher source(s). The searchable database includes 96 expected and documented families, 2,413 expected and documented species, and 511 apparent new state records. [LXP]
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Center for Coastal Studies
The Center for Coastal Studies is a division of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at the University of California, San Diego. This center conducts research studies in the coastal environment in areas such as "waves, currents, and tides in near shore and estuarine waters; sediment transport by waves, winds, and rivers; fluid-sediment interactions; and marine archaeology." The Hydraulics Laboratory, also housed at the center, investigates natural phenomena by replicating those conditions in a laboratory setting. Sections included at the site are research, facilities, and data, among others. [SN]
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Current Research Information System (CRIS) [.pdf]
The Current Research Information System (CRIS) is the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) documentation and reporting system "for ongoing and recently completed research projects in agriculture, food and nutrition, and forestry." The searchable CRIS database forms the heart of the site; here, users may browse an Overview of CRIS files or search projects by full-text or individual data fields. Typical returns include abstract-length summaries (with objectives, approach, progress, and publications) for each research project. Also at the site, users will find the Revised Manual (revised December 1998) of Classification of Agricultural and Forestry Research (.pdf format), the CRIS Guide to Services, CRIS Forms and Assistance Manuals, and contact information. [LXP]
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Sea Surface Temperature Satellite Image Archive [XBrowse]
The University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography provides the Sea Surface Temperature Satellite Image Archive, which contains more than 20,000 images from April 1979 to the present. These sea surface temperature images are processed by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) (mentioned in the September 17, 1997 Scout Report for Science and Engineering) data from NOAA satellites. New images are added to the archive on a daily basis and can be viewed either with Netscape or XBrowse (which can be downloaded from the site). Users can select images by year, month, start and end days, size, color, and overlays (latitude/ longitude grid or coastline). [SN]
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Learning Resources

Benchmarks for Science Literacy Online [Frames]
Benchmarks for Science Literacy, a companion publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) project "Science for All Americans," describes "what all students should know and be able to do in science, mathematics, and technology by the time they graduate from high school." Offered as "a tool to be used by educators in designing a curriculum," Benchmarks is a compendium of specific goals for science literacy in several key areas: science, mathematics, technology, the physical setting, the living environment, the human organism, human society, historical perspectives, common themes, and habits of mind. Each section includes a summary of desired knowledge and specific targets for literacy goals by grade categories K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. In addition to its direct and intended application, Benchmarks is a useful gauge of society's scientific awareness (or lack thereof). For any science educators, this is a fascinating publication that merits attention. [LXP]
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Graph Theory Tutorials
Chris Caldwell of the University of Tennessee at Martin provides the Graph Theory Tutorials Website. Sections included at the site are Introduction to Graph Theory, Euler Circuits and Paths, Coloring Problems, and Adjacency Matrices (under construction). Each section consists of an interactive tutorial discussing the basic concepts of graph theory. Registration (press the REGISTER button at the bottom of first page of each tutorial) is required for each tutorial. The user must either pass a quiz in the tutorial section or write a comment before continuing to the next page. Links to related resources are also provided at the site. This site is useful for high school students and is definitely worth a visit. [SN]
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The Wetlands Resource Centre
Provided by the Canada-based WetNet Project, a consortium of organizations dedicated to wetland conservation and research in the Americas, The Wetlands Resource Centre was created to act as a hub for Internet resources on wetlands and shorebirds in the Western Hemisphere. The site offers access to resources via "modules," sections devoted to topics with a concentration of resources. Information is currently bimodal (i.e., shorebirds or Canadian wetlands), but further topics will be covered as new information becomes available. At present, the site links users to Canada's Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation, Maps and Wetland Regions of Canada (and accompanying Wetland Inventory Data), The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, The Shorebird Handbook, and a host of related sites. [LXP]
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Molecular Modelling for Organic Chemistry [Frames, Chime Now, JAVA, ChemApp, ChemSymphony, MacMolPlt, CosmoPlayer, MacroModel, CAChe, MOPAC93, winMOPAC, Spartan, GAMESS, Dalton, Gaussian 94/98]
The Department of Chemistry at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine provides the Molecular Modelling for Organic Chemistry Website. Molecular modelling is defined as a "technique for deriving, representing and manipulating the structures and reactions of molecules, and those properties that are dependent on these three dimensional structures." This site aims to help users learn which molecular modelling tool is appropriate for a typical problem depending on structure, activity or reactivity, and the limitations and strengths of each method. Sections included at the site are Introduction, Overview, the various Case Studies (1-12), Transition State WS, Course Problems, and Available Modelling Programs. A list of related links rounds out the site. [SN]
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The Harvard Science Review
Founded in 1988, The Harvard Science Review is Harvard's oldest undergraduate science publication, "a bi-annual publication that works to promote science awareness and discourse." Each issue features a group of articles, each of which provides commentary, analysis, and learning tools on a specified topic. Focal topics from recent issues include How Things Work (covering heart disease, homeopathy, cancer therapies, and how computers play chess) and Transportation (covering the history of human flight, the Kon-Tiki expedition, modern avionics, and Maglev trains), among others. [LXP]
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General Interest

Wetland Floras
Southern Wetland Flora [.zip]
Northeast Wetland Flora [.zip]
The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Soil Conservation Service branch in Fort Worth, Texas produced the Southern Wetland Flora: Field Office Guide to Plant Species, and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service's Northeast National Technical Center in Chester, Pennsylvania produced the Northeast Wetland Flora. Both guides contain black and white illustrations, full species descriptions (with color photographs, illustrations, and small distribution maps), illustrated glossaries, an alphabetical species list (each provides common and scientific names for 300 species of vascular plants), and a key to generalized plant groups. Both guides may be browsed online or downloaded in .zip format. [LXP]
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The Department of Geophysics at University of Washington provides the Tsunami! Website. An excellent general resource about tsunamis (large water waves), this site provides information about the "mechanisms of tsunami generation and propagation, the impact of tsunamis on humankind, and the Tsunami Warning System." Sections included at the site are General Tsunami Information, Tsunami Survey and Research Information, Miscellaneous Information (links to related sites), and Background on the Development of Tsunami!.[SN]
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Great Lakes Ecopages -- EPA
Maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, the recently updated Great Lakes Ecopages offer information on ecology, restoration, and protection of Great Lakes ecosystems. Eight sections form the backbone of the site and cover basic ecological information on the Great Lakes (and oak savannas), case studies, green landscaping, habitat demonstration grants, and a photo essay; the science and technology section is currently under construction. Although the amount and depth of information varies by section, certain sections include a wealth of information, and the overall collection of material is very informative. [LXP]
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Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics
The Learning Technologies Project (LTP) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center provides the Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics Website. This site offers an introduction to the fundamentals of aerodynamics and propulsion. Sections included at the site are Airplanes, Lift, Air, Gliders, Wind Tunnel, Curve Ball, and Forces. Most of the sections include a summary of the topic supplemented with slides, links, references, and interactive computer animations. This is an excellent resource and is well worth a visit. [SN]
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Reptile Database
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) of Heidelberg (Germany) hosts the Reptile Database, providing taxonomic information on Lizards, Snakes, Tuataras, Crocodiles, Amphisbaenians, and Turtles. The database is intended "to provide information on the classification of all living reptiles by listing all species and their pertinent higher taxa." Each section may be browsed by taxa at the Family or Subfamily level. Clicking on a specific genus will typically result in a brief outline including species name (scientific name with synonyms), distribution, and original references. A few species accounts contain links to external sources with pictures. Interested users should begin in the Introduction section; further information is provided in Species Statistics and in References and Related Pages. [LXP]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

Celebrating Wildflowers: 1999 Events
For many who live in temperate regions, the return of spring is an event unmatched in splendor. This 1999 online event directory is the National Park Service's state-by-state listing of spring events in the US, most of which focus on wildflowers. Although much of the list is public-oriented, several academic events and symposia are included. Information is organized by state and may be accessed by clicking on each state within the color-coded US map. [LXP]
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A Family of Giants: First System of Multiple Planets Found around a Sun-like Star
The Upsilon Andromedae Planetary System
Three planets that are larger than Jupiter have been found orbiting the star, Upsilon Andromedae. Astronomers from four research institutions have confirmed this observation. The first site is a news release from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The second site provides more information about the Upsilon Andromedae Planetary System. [SN]
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New Publications

Carbon Sequestration: State of the Science [.pdf]
The US Department of Energy has released this report (.pdf format) entitled Carbon Sequestration: State of the Science. Divided into nine sections, the report covers separation and capture of carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems, ocean sequestration, carbon sequestration in geological formations, and advanced chemical and biological approaches to sequestration. Heavy on high-tech solutions (and low on human restraint), the section entitled Detailed Descriptions of Ecosystems will be of particular interest to ecologists, as it describes how each ecosystem, with assistance from human technology (genetics, etc.), can reach its full potential as a carbon garbage can. [LXP]

SESTAT: A Tool for Studying Scientists and Engineers in the United States [.pdf]
Doctorate Awards Declining in some Science and Engineering Fields [.pdf]
The National Science Foundation (NSF) report entitled SESTAT: A Tool for Studying Scientists and Engineers in the United States contains information about the "employment, educational, and demographic characteristics of scientists and engineers in the US." The Division of Resource Studies at NSF has provided online access to the statistical report entitled Doctorate Awards Declining in some Science and Engineering Fields. This report highlights the "findings from the 1997 Survey of Earned Doctorates, which provides characteristics of science and engineering research doctorate recipients from US universities, including post-graduation plans." Both articles are available in HTML and .pdf formats. [SN]

Tribal Environmental and Natural Resource Assistance Handbook [.pdf]
The Domestic Policy Council Working Group on American Indians and Alaska Natives has put together this Handbook, intended "to provide a central location for federal sources of both technical and financial assistance available to Tribes for environmental management." Resources cover air, water, plants and animals, toxic wastes, emergency preparedness and response, and environmental education. The document is available for download (.pdf format) at the site. [LXP]

America's Drinking Water in 1997 [.pdf]
1996 National Public Water System Annual Compliance Report and Update on Implementation of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments [.pdf]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided online access to two reports, America's Drinking Water in 1997 and the 1996 National Public Water System Annual Compliance Report and Update on Implementation of the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments. While both reports find that US drinking water is generally safe, the EPA also reviews initiatives to improve water quality. The brief summaries of these reports can be viewed in HTML format, while the full-text articles are available in .pdf format. [SN]

Selections from Scientific American
Upcoming and current articles from the prestigious magazine Scientific American (described in the May 31, 1996 Scout Report) may be previewed at this site. In addition to providing featured articles, the site offers quick article summaries, news and analysis, review and commentaries, and access to previous issues; the highlight of this site is the large number of hyperlinks contained in each review, pointing users to related, high quality resources. [LXP]

Lithogeochemical Character of Near-Surface Bedrock in the Connecticut, Housatonic, and Thames River Basins [.pdf, .eps]
The US Geological Survey (USGS) provides online access to this article, Lithogeochemical Character of Near-Surface Bedrock in the Connecticut, Housatonic, and Thames River Basins. The abstract and full-text article can be viewed in HTML format, but some data can only be viewed in .pdf or .eps formats. [SN]

Climate Change and Forest Sinks: Factors Affecting the Costs of Carbon Sequestration [.pdf, 195 KB]
The Law and Economics of Habitat Conservation: Lessons from an Analysis of Easement Acquisitions [.pdf, 167 KB]
Discussion paper 99-31 by Richard Newell and Robert Stravins entitled Climate Change and Forest Sinks: Factors Affecting the Costs of Carbon Sequestration and paper 99-32 by James Boyd, Kathryn Caballero, and David Simpson entitled The Law and Economics of Habitat Conservation: Lessons from an Analysis of Easement Acquisitions are now available in .pdf format at the Resource For the Future (described in the August 28, 1998 Scout Report) site. [LXP]

Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States: Version 4.0, March 1998
A collaborative report by the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wetland Science Institute Soil Survey Division, and National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils, this report describes field indicators of hydric soils in the US. In addition to descriptive text, the report includes several color photographs illustrating techniques and soil types, a glossary, and tables of field indicators and indicator correlations. [LXP]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Although the Chronicle of Higher Education charges a fee to access the current week's job listings, extensive postings for the previous week are freely available. [LXP]

Employment Opportunities in the Mathematical Sciences
The Mathematical Association of America provides the Employment Opportunities in the Mathematical Sciences page. This page lists jobs in both academia and industry. [SN]

Physics Today: Classified Ads
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) provides the Physics Today: Classified Ads page. This page lists employment opportunities in academia and industry on a monthly basis. [SN]
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2000 Unified Request for Proposals -- NPCI/ NFWF
The Native Plant Conservation Initiative (NPCI) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are collaborating to provide funding for plant conservation projects in the year 2000. Proposed projects should emphasize "on-the-ground conservation projects which provide immediate results and benefits." Full descriptions and contact information are provided on-site. The application deadline is June 2, 1999. [LXP]

Two New Funding Opportunities from the National Science Foundation
Exploratory Research on Biosystems at the Nanoscale
Large Scientific and Software Data Set Visualization
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is offering two new funding opportunities for scientists in the United States. The first initiative, Exploratory Research in Biosystems at the Nanoscale, is Phase I of this program, which hopes to "emphasize high risk/high return, exploratory feasibility studies of biomaterials at the nanoscale." Program submissions emphasizing novel phenomena and processes, new molecular architectures, molecular modeling, and novel systems are encouraged. The full proposal submission deadline is August 15, 1999. The goal of the second funding opportunity, Large Scientific and Software Data Set Visualization, is to "improve our ability to understand large data sets, simulation results, and software systems." The full proposal submission deadline is July 6, 1999. [SN]

European Research Projects: Fifth European Framework Program
US scientists are invited to participate in European research projects in an effort "to promote the globalization of scientific collaboration by developing and disseminating valuable information to scientists and researchers worldwide." Although funding is not available for US scientists, other benefits (and instructions for arranging formal collaborations) are outlined at the site. [LXP]
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Natural Waters & Water Technology: Chemical Speciation of Metals & Bioavailability
The European Science Foundation has announced that the European Research Conference on Natural Waters and Water Technology will be held in Lucca, Italy, October 15-20, 1999. The conference will bring together experts to discuss chemical speciation and bioavailability, topics that have "direct relevance to studies of toxicity, nutrient uptake and the setting of regulations for metals." Several grants for young scientists are available on a competitive basis; applications are available online and are due May 31, 1999. [LXP]

Seventh ACM International Symposium on Geographic Information Systems
The Seventh Association of Computing Machinery Symposium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM GIS '99) will be held November 5-6, 1999, in Kansas City. This symposium's goal is to bring "together researchers, users, and practitioners carrying out research in novel systems based on geo-spatial data and knowledge." The abstract (via email in ASCII format) submission deadline is May 5, 1999 while an electronic version of the paper (.pdf format) should be submitted by May 10, 1999. [SN]

Plant & Animal Genome VIII Conference
The Plant & Animal Genome VIII Conference will be held in San Diego, California January 9-12, 2000. The conference will include presentations on aquaculture, DNA libraries, Bioinformatics, Cattle, Sheep, Maize, Poultry, Sugar cane, and the use of molecular markers by plant breeders, among many other topics. Abstract submissions are due October 15, 1999. [LXP]

The American Society for Cell Biology: 39th Annual Meeting
The American Society for Cell Biology will hold its 39th annual meeting in Washington, DC, December 11-15, 1999. Numerous symposia are scheduled, including The Impact of Genome-Wide Studies on Cell and Developmental Biology, Asymmetric Cellular Organization, and Dynamics of the Nucleus, among others. The abstract submission deadline is August 2, 1999, and abstracts may be submitted online. [LXP]
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New Data

Wyoming Bioinformation Node (WBN) Species Atlas [Frames, .zip]
A collaborative project of the University of Wyoming's Spatial Data and Visualization Center and the Biological Resources Division (BRD) of the US Geological Survey, the Wyoming Bioinformation Node (WBN) Species Atlas contains distribution maps for 445 terrestrial vertebrate species. The Species Atlas database may be browsed by taxonomic group (amphibians, reptiles, mammals, or birds) or searched by species name, habitat type, or reference (author). Each species map shows Wyoming county boundaries overlaid by the species' predicted distribution; distributions are selected based on primary (shown in green) and secondary (brown) land cover type. Maps (Arc/Info export files) and species distribution information may be downloaded in .zip format; instructions for download are provided on-site. [LXP]
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Holocene Carbon-cycle Dynamics Based on CO2 Trapped in Ice at Taylor Dome, Antarctica [.pdf]
The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) (described in the January 17, 1997 Scout Report) has provided FTP access to data published in the article Holocene Carbon-cycle Dynamics Based on CO2 Trapped in Ice at Taylor Dome, Antarctica, which was published in the March 11, 1999, issue of Nature. The abstract can be viewed in HTML format, and the full-text article is available in .pdf format. [SN]
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Data and Metadata -- MESC [.exe, .gz, .tar]
The US Geological Survey's Midcontinent Ecological Science Center provides online access to metadata and data from numerous research projects conducted during recent decades. Projects are listed by title or state, and accessibility of data is described for each project year. Research projects include bird surveys, vegetation sampling, black bear territory studies, and moose surveys, among others. Metadata are available for all projects, although detailed data are only available for a subset of projects. The data available for download are provided as self-extracting, compressed ARC/INFO files (.exe) or compressed ARC/INFO files for UNIX platforms (.gz and .tar). [LXP]
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First Landsat 7 Images
The US Geological Survey (USGS) provides the First Landsat 7 Images. These images, which were acquired on April 18, 1999, are of Southeast South Dakota. [SN]
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In The News

Discovery of a New Human Ancestor
1. Fossil Find May Be "Missing Link" -- BBC [RealPlayer]
2. New Species of Human Ancestor Found in Ethiopia
3. Guided Tour: Hominid Evolution, An Introduction
4. Fossil Skulls! -- AMNH [Shockwave]
5. How Humans Evolved
6. The Origin of Modern Humans: Multiregional and Replacement Theories
7. Human Evolution: A Multimedia Guide to the Fossil Record [Shockwave]
8. History of Evolutionary Thought
9. Paleoanthropology Links
This week's In The News highlights the discovery of a new species of human ancestor, Australopithecus garhi, the details of which appear in the April 23, 1999 issue of the journal Science. Unearthed by an international team of paleoanthropologists in Bouri, Ethiopia, the skull and tooth fragments may belong to a "completely new" hominid that lived 2.5 million years ago. Also found at the site (though a connection to the skull fragments has not been established) are long arm and leg bones and the earliest ever examples of tools for carving and eating meat. According to Ethiopian anthropologist Dr. Berhane Asfaw and research colleagues from the US and Japan, this combination has never been seen in a fossil species of hominid before. The suggestion by the international researchers -- that these remains could come from an immediate predecessor of humans, filling a vital and missing link in the evolution from ape-man (Australopithecus) to human (Homo) -- has raised contention among other scientists with competing theories of human evolution. The nine resources listed above provide background information, commentary, and resources related to the recent discovery.
The first site, from BBC News, contains a photo-illustrated summary of the fossil discovery and its implications; also at the site are several audio (RealPlayer) commentaries by team researchers (1). UniSci Science & Research News provides the next site (2), which offers information on the discovery as well as the evolutionary context into which A. garhi fits; select the "Related Stories" option for news articles on previous discoveries. The University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum hosts a photo-illustrated "tour" of fossil remains from Lucy to modern humans, walking the viewer through hominid evolution (3). The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) provides 3-D images (Shockwave) of twelve skulls representing 3.5 million years of human evolution (4). Robert Boyd and Joan Silk, Professors of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, have written an excellent and comprehensive resource on the study of biological anthropology (5). Michael Roberts, Professor of Biology at Linfield College (Oregon), provides a Webpage (6) describing two models of human evolution, the regional continuity hypothesis and the replacement hypothesis. Anthropology Professor Phillip Walker of the University of California at Santa Barbara co-produced a "student Internet edition" of a multimedia (Shockwave) presentation on human origins (7). Although most sections are off limits to outside viewers, Monkeys and Apes, Australopithecines, and Neanderthals may currently be browsed. For those interested in the larger context into which recent discoveries fall, the University of California's Museum of Paleontology provides an online history of evolutionary thought, organized as a series of brief biographies beginning with Aristotle (8). The final site is a collection of links from, a Usenet newsgroup "devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins." Sites listed here (9) serve as a gateway to more specific topics, such as general paleoanthropology, fossil hominids, and introductory anthropology courses, among others. [LXP]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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