Search This Blog


Monday, March 14, 2016

Policy Brief: European Politics: Western Europe

To: President of the United States Hillary Clinton
From: Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ian Judge-Lord
CC: United States Secretary of State Tim Kaine

Madam President,
            You served with distinction as Secretary of State under your predecessor, former President Barack Obama. You became President Obama’s Secretary of State when he took office in January 2009.
At that time, the United States of America was losing between seventeen and 120 soldiers per month, at an average rate of more than two soldiers per day, in the war in Iraq begun in March 2003 by President Obama’s Republican predecessor George Walker Bush.[1] [2] According to the Associated Press on November 9, 2006, then-Minister of Health of Iraq Ali Al-Shemari put the number of Iraqi civilian casualties at 100 per day.[3] As United States Senator from the State of New York, you were among the 29 Democratic Senators to vote in favor of Joint Resolution 114:  Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution” on October 11, 2002.
When President Obama took office in January 2009, the United States was also involved in the war in Afghanistan begun by President Bush on October 7, 2001, following the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2001. On October 25, 2010, London’s “The Daily Telegraph” put the number of American and North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan at two per day.[4] You were among the fifty Democratic Senators to vote in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 23, the authorization for the use of military force in Afghanistan, on September 14, 2001.
            Having previously served as First Lady of the United States in the Presidential administration of your husband William Clinton, you know as well as anyone that the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were the result of the “fatwa” or “jihad” against the United States of America declared by Saudi Arabian billionaire Osama Bin Laden in August 1996. In it, Bin Laden specifically cited the presence of United States forces based in Saudi Arabia.

      I.         Background
With the United States Central Intelligence Agency, Bin Laden had aided the Seven Party Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahedeen Alliance in its 1989 defeating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] after the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan in 1979.[5] [6] Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia in time for President of Iraq Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait In August 1990, which put the Iraqi Republican Guard on the Saudi Arabian border and posed a threat to the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden, in a meeting with King of Saudi Arabia Fahd Al Saud and Sultan Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the Minister of Defense and Aviation, offered to defend the Saudi Arabian cities and Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina with his mujahedeen, called “Al-Qaeda” [“The Foundation”]. His offer was rebuffed and the Saudi monarch invited the deployment of the United States 82nd Airborne division in the city of Dhahran, 400 miles from Medina. Bin Laden publicly denounced Saudi “dependence” on non-Muslim assistance form the United States Military and was banished to Sudan by the Saudi royal family in 1992.[7] [22] Saudi Arabia pressured Sudan to expel Bin Laden, and he returned to Afghanistan on May 18, 1996.
In his “Fatwa”, entitled “Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques” [Saudi Arabia, in reference to Mecca and Medina] in London’s “Al-Quds Al-Arabi” newspaper on August 23, 1996[8], Bin Laden cited an agreement between President George Herbert Walker Bush and King Fahd Al Saud that all American forces based in Saudi Arabia would be withdrawn after the defeat and withdrawal of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Republican Guard on February 28, 1991. On August 17, 1992, however, President Bush, citing his decision not to destroy the remnants of Hussein’s regime, launched Operation Southern Watch for the controlling of air space in Iraq south of the 33rd parallel of latitude [the Southern No Fly Zone] by the United States Central Command [CENTCOM] to ensure Iraq’s compliance with the April 5, 1991 United Nations Security Council Resolution 688.
            Following the signing into law of the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution” by President George Walker Bush on October 16, 2002, the invasion of Iraq begun by the Bush administration on March 20, 2003 succeeded in overthrowing Hussein’s regime on April 9, 2003.[9] [10] Among the Administration’s many pretenses for the invasion was their assertion that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his regime had aided and even harbored Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, and had a hand in Al-Qaeda’s attacks on America in September 2001. While this claim, like many of Bush’s other justification for the Iraq War, was later found to have been known to be untrue by the Bush administration at the time of the invasion[11], the toppling of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party with the American military occupation of the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad in 2003 opened the door for the formation of Al-Qaeda in Iraq on October 17, 2004 by Jordanian Islamist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi pledging allegiance to Bin Laden.[12] [13] In October 2006, Al-Qaeda in Iraq declared the establishment of the “Dawlat Al-Iraq Al-Islamiyyah” [“Islamic State of Iraq”],[14] naming Abu Al-Baghdadi; a former Islamic mosque cleric and officer in the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein with a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies form the Islamic Al-Iraqia University of Baghdad; as its leader. [15]
            As Secretary of State, you were in the Situation Room in the West Wing of the White House when, on May 1, 2011, President Obama ordered the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, a city 68 miles North of Islamabad, capitol of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.[16] On April 8, 2013, Al-Baghdadi announced the adoption of the name “Ad-Dwalah Al-Islamiyah Fi-I-Iraq Wa-Sh-Sham”, or “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” [ISIS].[17]

    II.         Plan of Action
            On December 14, 2008, President Bush signed the “Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq on the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities During Their Temporary Presence in Iraq”. This “Status of Forces Agreement” included the date of June 30, 2009 by which United States combat forces should withdraw from Iraqi cities and established that all America forces would be completely out of Iraqi territory by December 31, 2011. In accordance with this agreement, the last 500 soldiers left Iraq on December 18, 2011.
            It is the recommendation of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs that the withdrawal of America forces from Iraq between December 2007 and December 2011 be used as a model for the withdrawal of American military bases from Saudi Arabia, in accordance with the original agreement between former President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush and Former King Fahd Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the violation of which served as the primary impetus for the jihad of Osama Bin Laden that resulted in the deaths of 2,606 Americans in Lower Manhattan on the morning of Tuesday September 11, 2001. The agreement between President Bush and King Fahd had been made to take affect after the end of the First Persian Gulf War in February 1991. It is the recommendation of this Bureau that it be the policy of the United States of America to honor that agreement following the end of the Second Persian Gulf War in December 2011.
As was proven by the scandal at the Baghdad Central Prison at Abu Ghraib in 2003, American military bases in the Islamic world can often do more harm than good.

  III.         Potential Complications
The military bases in Saudi Arabia were installed initially to facilitate the American and NATO counter-offensive against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. As documented by NBC News on March 5, 2014, an overwhelming preponderance of evidence now exists to support that both the first and second Presidents Bush’s reason for violating the agreement with the Saudi royal family to remove those bases was to secure American access to Saudi Arabia’s abundant reserves of petroleum. American oil imports reached a historic high on more than ten and a half million barrels a day in June 2005 and American oil production hit a low of less than four million barrels per day in September 2005. The situation under President Bush’s father in 1990 was similar.  Since at least February of 2012, however, according to the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the United States of America exports more oil than it imports for the first time since the mid-twentieth century following the end of the Second World War, meaning that net American imports of foreign oil are at historic lows. The price of oil, meanwhile, has hit its all-time high[18] and concerns about the price of fossil fuels are growing.[19] [20] At the same time, prices of renewable alternative energy resources, such as wind power, are at all-time lows.[21] [22] [23] Other nations, such as Germany, have already taken advantage of this juxtaposition[24], dropping the percentage of their energy from fossil fuels to historic lows[25] and setting new records for the percentages of their energy that comes from renewable alternatives such as wind power.[26] As a result, worldwide, both the amount of investment[27] and growth in renewable alternatives such as wind power has hit an all-time high.[28]
It is the further recommendation of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs that it be the policy of the United States to emulate the policies of the governments of Western Europe, such as Germany, when it comes to our policy toward reliance on fossil fuels, as a complete American withdrawal from the Middle East and the Arabian peninsula will only ever be practical if and when we are able to effectively eliminate American economic interests in that region of the world to as much of an extent as is practically feasible. Since the end of the Second World War, the Western world’s foremost primary economic interest in the Middle East has been in its abundance of fossil fuel reserves.
Both the September 11, 2001 and July 7, 2005 Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and London, England respectively and the November 13, 2015 ISIS attacks on Paris, France serve to demonstrate the ease with which the instability that has plagued the Middle East since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in 1922 can directly and detrimentally affect the stability of the western world. Likewise, unrest in the region has had a long history of disrupting the dependability of western economies, primarily through either direct or indirect manipulation of the supply and prices of fossil fuels, such as during the 1967 and 1973 oil embargoes.[29] [30]
It is the position of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs that the continued presence of American military troops stationed in bases near the cities in Saudi Arabia that are holy to Muslims continues to contribute to and exacerbate the already-volatile and unstable social and political climate in the Middle East.
Since the installation of bases in Saudi Arabia for the facilitation of the first Persian Gulf War was a NATO action, however, a unilateral withdrawal by the United States of America, however much it may decrease the negativity of attitudes of Islamic Middle Easterners towards America in particular, will unfortunately be insufficient. If international Islamic terrorism’s capability to attack New York, London and Paris alike demonstrates nothing else, it should be that the threat posed by the anti-Western hostility felt by Middle Eastern Muslims, unarguably made worse by the presence of Western armed forces near Muslim sacred sites, is one that is shared equally among all of the nations of the Western world. Therefore, it is the position of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs that it be the policy of the United States to, through diplomacy, enlist the participation of all interested parties, all Western nations with either a military presence or a vested economic interest in the Middle Eastern region in formulating a coordinate multilateral strategy for the withdrawal, however gradual or eventual, of all Western presence from the Middle East and the Arabian peninsula by the middle of this century, if not sooner.
As no estimate of when global oil production will peak puts that date beyond the 2030’s[31] [32] [33] [34], by mid-century[35], if oil supplies have not been depleted[36], then they will at the very least be in decline.[37] The oil embargoes of 1967 and 1973 demonstrate the extraordinary capability of fluctuations in Middle Eastern oil supplies to affect Western economies. As it has the driving force behind industrialization since the late nineteenth century, the decline and eventual depletion of fossil fuel reserves will have an economic effect on those nations whose economies are still reliant on fossil fuels at the time that it occurs that, in even the most charitable and generous of estimations of economists, will make the Great Recession of 2008 and even the Great Depression of the 1930’s appear mild by comparison. [38] Thus, in addition to the threat that the social and political unrest plaguing the Middle East poses to the safety and security of the citizens of Western nations, the ticking time-bomb that is the rapidly-diminishing reserves remaining of Middle Eastern fossil fuels poses what could very well be as grave a threat to those nations’ economic futures. Just as the American and Western military presence in the Middle East exacerbates the civil unrest in the region the longer those troop remain stationed there, so too does the risk of the economic depression that will inexorably strike the Middle East when its reserves of fossil fuels are inevitably depleted[39] also adversely affecting the American economy in turn worsen for every year that America continues its current rate of reliance on the consumption of fossil fuels, in contrast to the nations of Western Europe.[40]

  IV.         Summary
            It cannot be known or stated with any real degree of certainty whether withdrawing American and Western military armed forces and bases from Saudi Arabia will diminish the level of civil unrest in the region, or even the risk this unrest poses to the security of westerners. Likewise, it also cannot be absolutely said that withdrawing American economic interests, like our continued consumption of fossil fuels, from the Middle East will entirely immunize the Western world from having its economies adversely affected by the economic depression that will result from worldwide fossil fuel supplies peaking and declining midway through the 21st century.[41] [42]
            However, it is the position of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs that, in both of these arenas, America and our Western European allies being less involved, both militarily and economically, in a region of the world that is as fractious and chaotic presently, historically and in the foreseeable future, as the Middle East is in the best interests not only of the citizens of western nations, but also, ultimately, of the peoples of the Middle East as well.
            The famous German-American physicist Albert Einstein, who saw both sides of both World Wars of the early twentieth century firsthand, once observed “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Under the first and second Presidents Bush, the United States of America witnessed and experienced the consequences of policies of getting the Western world ever more deeply involved in the affairs of the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. It is the recommendation of this Bureau that what is now the third Presidential Administration of the 21st century not repeat that policy, but instead seek to pursue the opposite course instead, and see where that leads.  

[1] Burkle, Frederick and Greenough, P. Gregg. “Mortality in Iraq.” The Lancet, Volume 369, Number 9556. January 13, 2007. Page 104:
[2] Morayef, Heba Fatma. “The Politics and Limitation of Counting the Dead: A Review of Two Mortality Studies on Iraq”. DePaul University Journal of Health Care Law, Volume 11, Issue 3, Article 9. Summer 2008:
[3] Hurst, Steven. “Iraqi Official: 150,000 Civilians Dead”. The Associated Press. Friday November 10, 2006.
[4]Two Soldiers Die Every Day in Afghanistan, Figures Show”. The Telegraph. October 25, 2010:
[5] Coll, Steve. “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 11, 2001”. March 3, 2005. Pages 87-148.
[6]Context of 1986-1992: CIA and British Recruit and Train Militants Worldwide to Help Fight Afghan War”. The Global Center for Cooperative Research. August 18, 2013.
[7] Jehl, Douglas. “A Nation Challenged: Saudi Arabia; Holy War Lured Saudis As Rulers Looked Away”. The New York Times. December 27, 2001:
[8]Bin Laden’s Fatwa”. PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer. August 23, 1996:
[9] Degen, E.J., Fontenot, Gregory and Tohn, David. “On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom”, Chapter 6: “Regime Collapse”. United States Army Combined Arms Center Combat Studies Institute. Fort Leavenworth. 2004.
[10] Lambeth, Benjamin. “The Unseen War: Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein”. United States Naval Institute. Annapolis, Maryland. October 2013.
[11] Mitchell, Greg. “Rachel Maddow To Probe Lies That Led To Iraq War in TV Special “Hubris”. The Nation. February 14, 2013:
[12]Al-Zarqawi Group Vows Allegiance To Bin Laden”. The Associated Press. October 18, 2004.
[13] Pool, Jeffrey. “Zarqawi’s Pledge of Allegiance To Al-Qaeda: From Mu’Asker Al-Battar, Issue 21”. The Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor, Volume 2, Issue 24. December 16, 2004:
[14]Jihad Groups In Iraq Take An Oath of Allegiance”. The Middle East Media Research Institute Special Dispatch Number 1324: Islamist Websites Monitor Number 8. October 17, 2006:
[15] Zelin, Aaron. “Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: Islamic State’s Driving Force”. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. July 31, 2014.
[16] Adams, Richard, MacAskill, Ewen and Walsh, Declan. “Osama Bin Laden in Dead, Obama Announces”. The Guardian. Sunday May 1, 2011:
[17]ISI Confirms that Jabhat Al-Nusra Is Its Extension In Syria, Declares “Islamic State of Iraq And Al-Sham” As New Name of Merged Group”. The Middle East Media Research Institute Jihad and Terrorism Studies Project Special Dispatch Number 5264. April 8, 2013:
[18] Flavin, Christopher. “Oil Price Hits All-Time Record”. World Watch Institute. March 6, 2008:
[19] Dutzik, Tony, Figdor, Emily and Payne, Sarah. “The High Cost of Fossil Fuels”. Environment America Research and Policy Center. Tuesday June 30, 2009:
[20]The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels”. Union of Concerned Scientists. August 10, 2005:
[21] Huffman, Mark, “Price of Wind Energy at All-Time Low”. Consumer Affairs. August 12, 2012:
[22]Study Finds Price of Wind Energy In US at an All-Time Low, Averaging Under 2.5 Cent/kWh”. United States Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. August 10, 2015.
[23] Reubold, Todd. “Price of Wind Energy Hits All-Time Low in U.S.”. Flora Family Foundation. August 15, 2015.
[24] Papandreou, Andreas and Ruzzenenti, Franco. “On the Effects of Fossil Fuel Prices on the Transition Towards a Low Carbon Energy System”. European Union Seventh Framework Program Financialization, Economy, Society and Sustainable Development Working Paper Number 89 Part A. 2015:
[25] Morris, Craig. “Power from Fossil Fuel Drops to 35-Year Low in Germany”. The Heinrich Boll Foundation. January 8, 2015.
[26] Kroh, Kiley. “Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent of Power Needs from Renewable Energy”. Center For American Progress. May 13, 2014.
[27] Musolino, Evan. “Show Me the Money: Renewable Energy Investment Hits New All Time High in 2011”. World Watch Institute. October 9, 2012:
[28]Renewable Energy Hit Record High in 2014—Report”. Oak Foundation. June 18, 2015.
[29] Bartos, Jan. “Assessing Oil Markets During Oil Supply Disruptions”. International Energy Agency. April 9, 2013:
[30] Hamilton, James. “Historical Oil Shocks”. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Number 16790. February 2011:
[31] Shafiee, Shahriar and Topal, Erkan. “When Will Fossil Fuel Reserves Be Diminished?” Energy Policy, Volume 37, Issue 1. January 2009. Pages 181-189.
[32] Monbiot, George. “When Will the Oil Run Out?” The Guardian. Sunday December 14, 2008:
[33] Strahan, David. “Peak Oil Before 2020 a Significant Risk, Say Experts”. The Ecologist. October 8, 2009:
[34] Vidal, John. “The End of Oil Is Closer Than You Think”. The Guardian. Thursday April 21, 2005:
[35] Green, David, Hopson, Janet and Li, Jia. “Running Out and Into Oil: Analyzing Global Oil Depletion and Transition Through 2050”. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Volume 1880. October 2003. Pages 1-9.
[36] Chandler, Michele. “It’s About Forty Years Until the Oil Runs Out”. Stanford University Graduate School of Business. January 1, 2008:
[37]Accelerated Depletion: Assessing Its Impacts on Domestic Oil and Natural Gas Prices and Production”. Energy Information Administration Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting. July 2000:
[38] Plumer, Brad. “IMF Study: Peak Oil Could Do Serious Damage To Global Economy”. The Washington Post. October 27, 2012:
[39] Fraser, Douglas. “What Happens If We Run Out Of Oil?” BBC News. October 7, 2015.
[40] Kopits, Steven. “Oil and Economic Growth: A Supply-Constrained View”. Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Center on Global Energy Policy. February 11, 2014:,%202014)%20-%20Presentation%20Version%5B1%5D.pdf
[41] Ganser, M. and Gorelick, S. et al. “Peak Oil Demand: The Role of Fuel Efficiency and alternative Fuels in a Global Oil Production Decline”. Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 47, Issue 14. July 2013. Pages 8031-8041.
[42] Bezdek, R., Hirsch, R. and Wendling, R. “Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management”. United States Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory. February 2005:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Article Review: Coffing, Katherine and McHenry, Henry. “Australopithecus to Homo: Transformations in Body and Mind”. Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume 29 (2000), pages 125-146.

            Professor Henry McHenry and Katherine Coffing of the University of California—Davis’ hypothesis is that the 1.9-million-year-old Homo rudolfensis, discovered on Lake Turkana, Kenya in 1972, represents a transition between the Genus Australopithecus and the Genus Homo. As such, their article focuses on the time period between 2.5 and 1.8 million years ago. Among the authors’ stated reasons for focusing on this particular period of time is the fact that it is during this period that stone tools first appear, and the latter end of this time period is represented by Homo habilis, discovered by Louis and Mary Leakey in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania in 1955. In keeping with their thesis, however, the authors’ analysis raises disagreements as to in which genera habilis, like rudolfensis, belongs: Homo or Australopithecus.
            They begin the article in the introduction with a discussion of Nariokotome Boy, a 1.6-million-year old Homo ergaster also discovered at Lake Turkana in 1984. The upper limit of the authors’ target time period, 2.5 million years ago, is represented by Australopithecus aethiopicus, discovered in Southern Ethiopia in 1967, which the paper’s analysis places, along with its fellow “robust” Australopithecines, or “Paranthropus” in a sister clade of the Genus Homo. 2.5 million years ago is also represented in the fossil record by the first Australopithecine ever discovered: Australopithecus africanus, first discovered by Raymond Dart in 1924, which the paper’s analysis places as being more distantly related to the Genus Homo than the robust Paranthropus. One reason why the authors focus on Nariokotome Boy is that he most clearly demonstrates the morphological changes that took place in the transition from Australopithecines to the Genus Homo. At age eighteen, Nariokotome Boy was 160 centimeters [63 inches] tall. [4] The paper’s analysis puts his height at adulthood at over six feet tall, and contrasts this against Australopithecines, averaging only 120 centimeters [less than four feet] in height.
The article also points out the decrease in sexual dimorphism between Australopithecines and Homo, with male Australopithecines averaging a full fifty percent larger than females. In the case of the most famous Australopithecine specimen, the 2.9-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis, discovered in Ethiopia by Donald Johansson in 1973, this translated to a dimorphism of a full fifty centimeters [1.6 feet] between males and females of the species. [2] By contrast, anatomically modern Homo sapiens have a sexual dimorphism of, at most, only fifteen percent between males and females of the species, which translates to a difference of only fourteen centimeters [5.5 inches].
In spite of Leakey, upon discovering Homo habilis with stone tools, naming his species the Latin name for “Handy Man”, the article notes the fact that the earliest evidence of stone tools is with Australopithecus garhi, discovered in Afar, Ethiopia in 1996, and which predates the two-million-year-old Homo habilis by more than half a million years. [Page 129] The paper raises another possible toolmaker in Paranthropus robustus, one member of the “robust” Australopithecines, which coexisted with Homo habilis two million years ago. [Page 130]
According to the authors, one of the most “frustrating” factors in the difficulty of determining whether Homo rudolfensis belongs in the Genus Australopithecus or Homo is the fact that, like with Homo ergaster, few or no full fossil skeletons of Homo rudolfensis exist complete with the bones of the forelimb, especially the hand and fingers.  This is significant, as the authors explain, because Australopithecus afarensis had forelimb and finger fossils showing distinct tendencies toward an arboreal ancestry, in spite of predating the first evidence of stone tool making with Australopithecus garhi by only half a million years. [Page 129]
            Moving on, the authors point out that the thorax of Australopithecus afarensis is funnel shaped, resembling that of members the family Pongidae, as contrasted against the barrel-shaped thorax of humans today. The authors interpret the funnel shape of the Pongid thorax as an arboreal adaptation in Australopithecines. [Page 131] The authors attribute the difference in thorax shape between Australopithecines and Homo, in part at least, to differences in the size and shape of the hip. In addition to being an adaptation for bipedal locomotion from arboreal ancestry, they raise the possibility that the difference in size and shape of hips between Australopithecines and modern humans is due to adaptations to childbirth as well. They suggest that pelvic size was less of a factor in childbirth in Australopithecines than in modern humans due to their relatively smaller cranial sizes. [Page 133]

Statement of Thesis:
            In their abstract, in their introduction and in their conclusion, McHenry and Coffing state the same facts and ask the same question. The statement of facts: “Significant changes occurred in human evolution between 2.5 and 1.8 million years ago. Stone tools first appeared, brains expanded, bodies enlarged, sexual dimorphism in body size decreased, limb proportions changed, and cheek teeth reduced in size and crania began to share more unique features with later Homo” [Page 125] The question: “This paper reviews what can be said, and with what level of certainty, about these transformations.” [Page 126] The combination of these same facts and this same question, as the only readily recognizable repeated theme between the abstract, introduction and summary of the paper, form the closest thing that can be found to a thesis statement by McHenry and Coffing.

            McHenry and Coffing’s 23-page-long article, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Annual Review of Anthropology can and should be considered a scientific literature review, considering that the last 6 pages [pages 140-146] of the article consist very nearly entirely of a bibliography of cited works. Outside of the body of the text, data is only ever presented in the form of three graphics. The first of these three, on page 127, alone is drawn from a half a dozen sources.

Organization of Paper:
            In spite of its 23-page length, McHenry and Coffing go out of their way to organize their paper in a way that makes it easy to locate particular information and data. They separate the paper into sections and subsections.

Quality of Discussion and Interpretation:
            Due to having no fewer than half a dozen different theses regarding several different scientific subject disciplines, in spite of their best efforts, McHenry and Coffing’s 23-page-long article can be and is quite dense
Even though the in-text references get dense, all 64 cited works in the half-dozen-page-long bibliography are either articles from peer-reviewed scientific journals or books from academics, scholars and scientists. It should be noted, in all fairness, than nearly a third of those citations, eighteen of them on page 144 are references to articles from one of the paper’s authors, Henry McHenry himself. It is, however, gratifying that, in addition to half a dozen citations on page 142, Doctor Donald Johansson also receives a mention by McHenry and Coffing in the “Acknowledgments” section on page 140, as does Leakey, who is also cited half a dozen times on page 143.

Primary External Works Referenced:
1.     Berger, Lee and Churchill, Steven, et al. “Australopithecus Sediba At 1.977 Ma And Implications For The Origins Of The Genus Homo”. Science, Volume 33, Issue 6048 (September 9, 2011). Pages 1421-1423.
2.     Blumberg, Bennett and Todd, Neil. “On The Association Between Homo and Australopithecus”. Current Anthropology, Volume 15, Number 4 (December 1974). Pages 386-388.
3.     Bryn, Brandon. “Australopithecus Sediba May Have Paved the Way For Homo”. American Association For the Advancement of Science. September 8, 2011

4.      “The Nariokotome Homo Erectus Skeleton (A.K.A. The Turkana Boy; KNM-WT 15000).” Nature. 2014