How an SMU dinosaur hunter’s 72-million-year-old sea monster got to the Smithsonian

Dallas Morning News Originally Posted: November 14, 2018 Three weeks before his team's fossil finds go on display at one of the world's most famous natural history museums, Louis Jacobs stands in a basement lab at Southern Methodist University sanding the lower jaw of a 72-million-year-old sea monster. His colleague Michael Polcyn sits nearby, dabbing sealant on a model of the animal's upper jaw and skull. White dust hovers in the air. Plaster tailbones, skulls and teeth top every counter. This is the sort of work — preparing models and fossils — that Jacobs had done early in his career, before he became a professor, before he hunted for fossils in Alaska, Antarctica, Malawi, Cameroon and Texas; before he dug up the bones of dinosaurs [...]

By | 2018-11-14T18:23:37+00:00 November 15th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Earth Sciences, Events, Faculty News|Comments Off on How an SMU dinosaur hunter’s 72-million-year-old sea monster got to the Smithsonian

David Meltzer, Anthropology, ancient DNA reveals complex migrations of first Americans

National Geographic Originally Posted: November 8, 2018   Ancient DNA reveals complex migrations of the first Americans Newly sequenced Native genomes showcase a wealth of surprises, from previously unknown populations to unique high-altitude adaptations. “Where do I come from?” That's perhaps one of the most fundamental questions for humanity. Now, three studies of ancient and modern human DNA are offering some intriguing answers by providing a detailed new look at the complex peopling of the Americas. Once modern humans left Africa about 60,000 years ago, they swiftly expanded across six continents. Researchers can chart this epic migration in the DNA of people both alive and long-dead, but they were missing genetic data from South America, the last major stop on this human journey. The trio [...]

By | 2018-11-13T18:40:38+00:00 November 14th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on David Meltzer, Anthropology, ancient DNA reveals complex migrations of first Americans

Listen: Scientists Unveil Ancient Sea Monsters Found In Angola

NPR Originally Posted: November 8, 2018 When the South Atlantic Ocean was young, sea monsters ruled it. Some of their bones have turned up along the coast of West Africa and are going on exhibit Friday at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. They tell a story of the bloody birth of an ocean. The fossils of giant swimming reptiles called mosasaurs have been found in the rocky cliffs of Angola, overlooking the Atlantic. It's not a country known for fossils. Few scientists have looked there — half a century of civil war made it too dangerous. But geologically, Angola is special. About 200 million years ago, Africa was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Then, about 135 million years ago, that continent started unzipping down [...]

By | 2018-11-08T06:51:27+00:00 November 8th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Earth Sciences, Faculty News|Comments Off on Listen: Scientists Unveil Ancient Sea Monsters Found In Angola

Spanking Is Still Really Common and Still Really Bad for Kids

The Atlantic Originally Posted: November 6, 2018 The good news about spanking is that parents today are less likely to do it to their children than parents in the past. The bad news is that parents today still spank their kids—a lot. “Some estimates are that by the time a child reaches the fifth grade [in the United States], 80 percent of children have been spanked,” says George Holden, a professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University who studies parenting and corporal punishment. Spanking is also widespreadworldwide. Perhaps parents are quick to spank their children because it can bring about immediate acquiescence, but the benefits, a consensus of scholars and doctors agree, end there. On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which represents 67,000 doctors, came out strongly [...]

By | 2018-11-07T08:35:41+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Psychology|Comments Off on Spanking Is Still Really Common and Still Really Bad for Kids

Texas Democrats see bright spots, even if midterm wasn’t Shangri-La

Dallas News Originally Posted: November 7, 2018 Did Democrats enjoy a blue wave? The answer depends on how you characterize victory. The party mounted a respectable effort at the top of the ticket — which is an accomplishment of sorts. Democrats picked up some urban and suburban seats in Congress and the Legislature. Still, they failed to break through statewide. “I would call it a good night, not a great night” for Democrats, said Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. “A great night would’ve been Beto O’Rourke winning” in the U.S. Senate race, he said. “That was the fondest dream of Democrats in Texas. But O’Rourke’s candidacy and the mobilization that he generated is going to carry a couple of new [...]

By | 2018-11-07T08:16:39+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Political Science|Comments Off on Texas Democrats see bright spots, even if midterm wasn’t Shangri-La

12 things to do in the D.C. area this week

Washington Post Originally Posted: November 5, 2018 New exhibit, with SMU ties, opens at the National Museum of Natural History this week in Washington, D.C. Excerpt below. ‘Sea Monsters Unearthed’ at National Museum of Natural History: Go back in time millions of years to the era of mosasaurs, also known as giant marine lizards (or, yes, sea monsters). The National Museum of Natural History’s new Sant Ocean Hall exhibit, called “Sea Monsters Unearthed: Life in Angola’s Ancient Seas,” reveals fossils of colossal Cretaceous marine reptiles on public display for the first time. The waters along Africa’s southwest coast once teemed with the ferocious predators and other sea life, and the museum is showing off animations, murals and full-scale reconstructions of these creatures from the ancient [...]

By | 2018-11-05T10:04:07+00:00 November 5th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Earth Sciences, Events, Faculty News, Undergraduate News|Comments Off on 12 things to do in the D.C. area this week

What’s at stake in the midterms? Both sides warn the future of our democracy is at risk

USA Today Originally Posted: November 5, 2018 Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University is quoted in this article. What's at stake? Democrats warn that the midterm elections on Tuesday will undermine the future of America's democracy unless President Trump's authoritarian instincts are curtailed. Republicans argue that the nation's sovereignty is at risk if Democrats prevail. "Fear is the dominant issue, bar none," said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. That's particularly remarkable because the economy is strong and the nation doesn't face an instant foreign policy crisis, although there are trouble spots around the world. Instead of a sense of peace and prosperity, though, the final weeks of the campaign have been dominated by [...]

By | 2018-11-05T08:55:11+00:00 November 5th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, History|Comments Off on What’s at stake in the midterms? Both sides warn the future of our democracy is at risk

Can personality trump ideology in the Cruz-O’Rourke race?

Texas Tribune Originally Posted: November 1, 2018 Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson provides expertise in Trib Talk, a publication of the Texas Tribune. With less than a week to go before Election Day and early voters casting ballots at a record pace, the nation’s eyes are on the Texas mid-term U.S. Senate race. The contest between Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democrat U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke pits a former GOP presidential candidate against one of the brightest young stars in the Democratic firmament and has drawn both unprecedented money and tremendous national media attention. Cruz seems to have the edge right now with a narrow but persistent lead in recent polls, but the race promises to be the closest statewide contest that Texas has [...]

By | 2018-11-01T08:47:08+00:00 November 1st, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Political Science|Comments Off on Can personality trump ideology in the Cruz-O’Rourke race?

Robert Jordan, Tower Center, commentary, Khashoggi murder requires real response to Saudi Arabia policy

The Hill Originally Posted: October 27, 2018 Robert W. Jordan served as the United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2001 to 2003. He is now a diplomat in residence at the John Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University In the wake of the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia are at the lowest point since the 9/11 attacks. I arrived in Riyadh as the new United States ambassador to Saudi Arabia a month in the aftermath of that tragedy 17 years ago. My first question to Prince Salman, at the time governor and now king, was “How could it be that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis?” His answer astonished me as he [...]

By | 2018-10-31T07:09:28+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Tower Center|Comments Off on Robert Jordan, Tower Center, commentary, Khashoggi murder requires real response to Saudi Arabia policy
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