New Left Column
New Left Column
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New Right Column
Alister Hardy promotes his Homo aquaticus or "aquatic ape" hypothesis to the British Sub Aqua Club. He will follow up this announcement with several magazine articles.
The Civil Rights Act of 1960 is signed into law by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 6. The act establishes federal inspection of local voter registration rolls and introduces penalties for anyone who obstructs a citizens attempt to register to vote or to cast a ballot.
Gene Shoemaker and E.C.T. Chao publish a paper characterizing the Ries Basin in Bavaria as the result of a meteorite impact. This will help pave the way for eventual acceptance of asteroid and comet impacts as potential causes of mass extinction.
F. Jacob and J. Monod publish "Genetic regulatory mechanisms in the synthesis of proteins," a paper in which the theory of the OPERON is developed.
Martin Glaessner determines fossils in the Ediacara Hills of South Australia (Ediacaran fauna) to be Precambrian in age (approximately 600 million years old), making them the oldest-known multicelled organisms.
The Congress of Racial Equality organizes Freedom Rides through the Deep South.
Human geneticist James Neel develops the "thrifty genotype" hypothesis that human ancestors endured feast-famine cycles that made the human body very effective in storing fat for lean times.
On October 1, James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
Lantian Man, a 500,000-year-old Homo erectus specimen, is found in Lantian County, China, just north of Xi'an.
Fred Vine and Drum Matthews publish a paper describing magnetic stripes formed at ocean ridges. Their findings will pave the way for the acceptance of continental drift over the next decade.
Martin Luther King Jr. writes his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on April 16.
Martin Luther King Jr. is named Time magazine's Man of the Year.
On June 12, Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers is assassinated outside his home in Jackson.
Louis Leakey describes Homo habilis, meaning "handy." The new species designation is not well received by the scientific community.
Two deciduous molars, roughly 44,000 years old, are collected at Grotta del Cavallo in southeastern Italy. After an initial classification as Neanderthal, they will be assigned to modern humans in a 2011 study.
Vincent Dethier publishes "Microscopic Brains," an article on insect behavior, in Science. He calls for a more empathetic approach to animal subjects, even tiny invertebrates.
W. Brian Harland and Martin J. S. Rudwick publish a theory that the Earth experienced a great ice age in the Neoproterozoic (late Precambrian). Rudwick suggests that the climate's return to moderate conditions paved the way for the evolution of multicelluar life.
Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act and this discrimination in all public accommodations and by employers. It also establishes the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to monitor compliance with the law.
On June 21, civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner are abducted and killed by terrorists in Mississippi.
The 24th amendment to the Constitution, which abolishes the poll tax, is ratified.
N.H. Field publishes "Fossil sea-echinoids from a Romano-British site" describing the centuries-long occupation of a Romano-British settlement in Dorset. Newer buildings have been built upon older ones, with fossil urchins in each.
Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21.
The Watts Uprising occurs on August 11-16th. Thirty-four people are killed and 1000 are injured in the five-day confrontation.
Willi Hennig works on a new approach to assessing evolutionary relationships, known as cladistics. Although it will be hotly debated, this technique will eventually become standard practice in paleontology, botany and zoology.
Harry Whittington begins reexamining Burgess Shale fossils originally identified by Charles Walcott starting in 1909. Over the next two decades, Whittington (with the assistance of his graduate students Simon Conway Morris and Derek Briggs), will eventually overturn some of Walcott's theories and propose that most of the animals left no living relatives.
On June 5, James Meredith begins a solitary March Against Fear for 220 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to protest racial discrimination. Meredith is shot by a sniper soon after crossing into Mississippi.
On November 8, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts becomes the first African-American to be elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction.
On September 15, the Black Panther Party is formed in Oakland, California, by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.
Lynn Sagan (later Lynn Margulis) hypothesizes that chloroplasts originated as cyanobacteria, and that mitochondria originated as bacteria. She suggests that both were engulfed by other cells and began functioning as symbionts.
Graduate student S.B. Misra discovers a well-preserved sea floor with numerous fossils dating from the late Precambrian (later to be dubbed the Ediacaran Period) at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland.
P. S. Martin suggests that fast-moving bands of human hunters caused the extinctions of Pleistocene big-game species.
Richard Leakey finds two fossil skulls, Omo I and Omo II, in Ethiopia. Though initially dated at 130,000 years, the fossils will later be dated (using argon decay) at 195,000 years, and designated as the oldest examples so far found of Homo sapiens.
Daniel Janzen argues that, because they live under "easy" conditions, tropical plants cannot likely survive a wide range of temperature, light, or hydrologic conditions.
On July 13, Thurgood Marshall takes his seat as the first African-American justice on the United States Supreme Court.
On June 12, the United States Supreme Court, in Loving vs Virginia, strikes down state interracial marriage bans.
The six-day Newark Riot begins on July 12.
A.G. Cairns-Smith publishes a paper suggesting that the first life on Earth might have been fine-grained clay crystals. He will publish on this topic several more times before his death, but the experimental evidence will remain scant, perhaps in part because sufficient technology doesn't yet exist to test the hypothesis.
Richard Fox describes a Paleocene mammal, Prothryptacodon albertensis, retrieved from a well dug in Alberta, Canada. This find eerily resembles that of another Paleocene mammal recovered from a Louisiana oil well and described in 1932 by George Gaylord Simpson.
Teenaged fossil enthusiast Tadashi Suzuki finds a plesiosaur fossil in his hometown of Iwaki City, Japan. The fossil turns out to be a new species, but it won't be identified as such for nearly 40 years.
On April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In the wake of the assassination, 125 cities in 29 states experience uprisings.
On June 5, New York Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles.
R. H. Whittaker proposes to divide all living things into five kingdoms: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera.
Archaeologist Joachim Hahn pieces together the fragments of the lion- headed man found 30 years earlier the Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave in Germany.
John Ostrom publishes Osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus, an Unusual Theropod from the Lower Cretaceous of Montana — a description of Deinonychus with a frontispiece illustration by Bob Bakker, suggesting that the dinosaur is alert, agile and intelligent.
Americans land the first man on the moon.
(no entry for this year)
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