Art and science: "Your Inner Neanderthal"

If you're in the Twin Cities area on Saturday, April 28th, I recommend going to check out artist and science geek Lynn Fellman talk about the Neanderthal contribution to the modern human genome, and how art can help people understand complicated science. "Your Inner Neanderthal" is part of the Hennepin County Library's DNA Days events. It's free, but you need to register. Read the rest

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit": Romantic anatomy models

"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. I'll be featuring posts in this series all week. Want to see them all? Check out the archive post. I'll update the full list there every morning.

This is Romantic in the classical sense, although they're also kind of romantic in the aesthetic sense, as well. These anatomy models, made from wax, were used to teach 18th-century Italian med students all about the human body. There are full-body models, and detailed models of specific parts. Several of full-body models wear wigs, and most are set in states of cool repose, looking as though they're waiting for a lover to climb up a ladder to their window. It's kind of all the awesomeness of the plastinated bodies exhibits that are popular today, without having to worry about whether the body you're looking at once belonged to a Chinese political prisoner.

You can find the models in La Specola, the Museum of Zoology and Natural History in Florence. Darren Milligan took this photo and has a whole gallery of other great shots on Flickr that you should really check out. Besides these lady models, there's also a flayed man, and a disembodied face peeled back to the eyeball.

EDIT: Pesco points out that guest-blogger Mark Dery did a whole a feature on these models for us back in 2009. Read the rest

Our Selves, Other Cells

Photo: lunar caustic

Is it any solace to sentimental mothers that their babies will always be part of them?

I’m not talking about emotional bonds, which we can only hope will endure. I mean that for any woman that has ever been pregnant, some of her baby’s cells may circulate in her bloodstream for as long as she lives. Those cells often take residence in her lungs, spinal cord, skin, thyroid gland, liver, intestine, cervix, gallbladder, spleen, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. And, yes, the baby’s cells can also live a lifetime in her heart and mind.

Here’s what happens. Read the rest

Humans and Neanderthals: An introduction

Confused about what we do and don't know about the relationship between humans and Neanderthals? This video by Lynn Fellman will get you up-to-date on the basics—including some of the questions that haven't been answered yet. It doesn't cover everything, but it is a nice primer on recent research and how that research was done.

EDIT: Bad news: Autoplay continues to be the devil. The good news: If you go to Lynn Fellman's website to view the video there, it doesn't autoplay. So follow the link and enjoy.

Image: Neanderthal Silhouette, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from erix's photostream

Neanderthals ate their veggies, too: all-meat diet a myth Finding the Neanderthal within ourselves Humans and neanderthals: Getting it on, after all? What Became of Neanderthals? We Ate ‘em, Made ‘em into Jewelry, Says Scientist Cloning Neanderthals Hot human-on-neanderthal action: A scientific update More on the sex lives of ancient humans We didn’t kill our grandfather Read the rest