October 18, 2013 |
In the humid foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, deep within a carnivore's bloody lair, an early human ancestor fought a life-or-death struggle, and lost. He had entered the den on a scavenging mission, possibly with several others. Their plan: Use a stone to scrape meat from the bones of freshly killed prey, then flee before a saber-tooth cat or other giant predator caught him in the act. "It seems that they were fighting for the carcasses, and unfortunately ... they were not always successful," said David Lordkipanidze, a paleoanthropologist and director of the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.
September 25, 2013 |
Scientists say they have discovered a fossil of the oldest known vertebrate animal with a jaw -- a strange chimera of a fish that could unseat the shark as a representative of extremely "primitive" jawed fishes and turn our evolutionary understanding of humans' ocean-dwelling ancestors on its head. The new fossil described in the journal Nature, called Entelognathus primordialis , is a 419-million-year-old armored fish from the end of the Silurian period, right before the start of the Devonian, known as the Age of Fishes for their remarkable diversity during that period.
July 9, 2013 |
Like it were planned, and perhaps it was, American fans of Chris O'Dowd left bereft by the end of Christopher Guest's HBO series "Family Tree" may jump, as from a lovely frying pan into a really nice fire, to O'Dowd's own "Moone Boy," which begins streaming Wednesday on Hulu. As it happens - and not surprisingly, given that the improvisatory "Family Tree" made much use of O'Dowd's own voice - the two series have a lot in common. Both are sweet and a little eccentric, interested in small things and informed by the creator-star's seeming good nature, though perhaps that is just the soft music of the accent.
June 15, 2013 |
A powerful recurring motif in the varied works of Christopher Guest is the dummy. From early sketch comedy on "Saturday Night Live" through a series of mock documentaries, the looming figure is an essential part of the Guest aesthetic. It can be a truth-teller as on his new HBO series "Family Tree," where a sharp-witted monkey hand puppet accuses a bubble-brained wife of being "inflatable. " Or it can also be a flesh-and-blood dimwit such as Nigel Tufnel, the "This Is Spinal Tap" guitarist who boasts his special amp's volume goes to 11. It turns out the deep fascination with dummies may be embedded in the family DNA. Guest discovered, after receiving a treasure trove of family diaries, photographs and letters in 1996, that one of his forebears was a ventriloquist.
June 14, 2013 |
It may be a bit of a stretch for actor Fred Willard, but in Sunday's episode of Christopher Guest's delightful new HBO comedy, “Family Tree,” he will step into the time-honored TV role of wacky next-door neighbor. He plays neighbor to an American relative of series star Chris O'Dowd's character, who after losing his girlfriend and his job embarks on a transatlantic genealogical journey to fill in the names on his family tree. After four episodes in overcast England, the series moves Sunday to sunny California to finish its last four episodes for the season - and that's where we first meet Willard's character on the series.
June 14, 2013 |
Fans of the British comedy hit "The IT Crowd" have been anxiously anticipating the final feature-length special episode meant to wrap up the series. But now they have an extra reason to be excited: Series creator Graham Linehan has put out the call for fans to record themselves reacting to an outrageous (but unseen) video on their phone or laptop and submitting it. Those selected will be included in the final episode. And they'll probably finally get to see exactly which video they were supposed to be reacting to. On his website, Linehan describes what he's looking for, with one odd specification: "It would be really good if the photo can show a famous landmark in the background," he writes.