New Year's predictions, 2006 edition

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The weblog didn't start from zero a year ago; the sections related to my courses and the Flores files long predate that. But it has been a year since I started daily updates and regular reviews. It has been a great year here, with an immense growth in readership -- December ended with over 1500 daily readers. I want to give my thanks to everyone who has helped, by reading, contributing ideas, or sending papers. Please keep it up!

In the coming year, you'll be seeing more of my writing elsewhere, in addition to some very interesting (and long-awaited) research papers of my own that will be coming out. It should be a year of great announcements, and maybe a few discoveries.

So I think in lieu of a look back over last year, it would be appropriate to start 2006 off with some predictions. Here is a list of my top ten predictions for 2006, ordered from most certain to most speculative. As with most predictions, I've tried to keep an appropriately Delphic tone. And I've excluded almost everything related directly to my own work, which makes the predictions more fair, but leaves a couple of fairly obvious gaps.

  • 10. We will see a name for the Flores pathology.
  • 9. There will be two Neandertal genome-related announcements.
  • 8. No Ardipithecus.
  • 7. "Population cluster" will become the new "race".
  • 6. There will be another paper (yes, besides the one last month) using genetics to estimate the time of the human-chimpanzee divergence. The date will be 5 million to 7 million years ago.
  • 5. Evidence of recent selection will be found for several Y chromosome genes.
  • 4. Sahelanthropus postcrania will be published.
  • 3. There will be an ancient DNA announcement from China.
  • 2. StW 573 will be proposed as a new species ancestral to all later hominids.
  • 1. A Hawks weblog post will be cited in a peer-reviewed research paper.
  • BONUS: A new Georgian hominid will be a robust australopithecine.