Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Science]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0038-235320180001&lang=pt vol. 114 num. 1-2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Developing young scientists. Really?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Ancient human DNA: How sequencing the genome of a boy from Ballito Bay changed human history</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Young South African researchers attend the 2017 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Kromdraai evolved, but poorly packaged</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Higher education's contribution to graduate employability and the social good</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>The world of southern African ants made accessible</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Research, politics and conservation in South Africa's national parks</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>The cranium of Sts 5 ('Mrs Ples') in relation to sexual dimorphism of <i>Australopithecus africanus</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Restoration of wetlands on the Agulhas Plain is unlikely to generate peat</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Soil algae and cyanobacteria on gold mine tailings material: Comments on Seiderer et al. (2017)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Human uses and indigenous knowledge of edible termites in Vhembe District, Limpopo Province, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Termites are a good food source, being rich in proteins, fats, vitamins and many essential mineral nutrients, and thus provide food security for poor households. We report on a survey conducted in the Vhembe District Municipality of Limpopo Province, South Africa, to identify edible termite species and find out how they are harvested, prepared, graded, packaged and marketed. We also looked at the socio-economic factors of the harvesters, marketers and consumers. Using a structured questionnaire, 104 individuals were interviewed from 48 villages. Most of the harvesters were over the age of 60 years but termites are consumed by the whole family. The results of the survey revealed that only three termite species are consumed: soldiers of Macrotermes falciger (89.90%), M. natalensis (8.08%) and M. michaelseni (2.02%). The preferred method of preparation was frying (77.55% of the respondents). At least 80.77% of the respondents indicated that some religions have restrictions on termite consumption but no ethnic restrictions were reported. The income derived from selling termites was estimated to range from ZAR2040 to ZAR17 680 per annum between April 2015 and April 2016. The results of this study showed that edible termites contribute significantly to the livelihoods of many rural families and this indigenous knowledge should be passed on to younger generations. Research on the sustainability of termite harvesting is recommended. SIGNIFICANCE: • Termites are sources of food with high economic and social importance, and are easily accessible by the poor. • Studies have been conducted on edible termites in many African countries, yet comparatively little is known about edible termites in South Africa. • Preservation of indigenous knowledge used during harvesting and processing needs to be prioritised. <![CDATA[<b>Composition of the Kirsten Skeletal Collection at Stellenbosch University</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The Kirsten Skeletal Collection is curated in the Division of Anatomy and Histology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. It comprises the largest documented cadaver-derived South African coloured skeletal collection in the world. Our aim in this paper is to present an inventory and characterise the identified skeletons in the Kirsten Skeletal Collection as well as provide a descriptive indication of what researchers can expect to encounter at the anthropology unit at Stellenbosch University. The skeletal material was derived mainly from the cadaver donation programme of the Division of Anatomy and Histology over a 58-year period (1957-2015). All pertinent information for each individual skeleton is entered into a database and a full skeletal inventory is established. The skeletal database registry was analysed to demonstrate the distribution of age, sex and population affinity of individuals in the collection. Currently, this collection consists of 1161 skeletons with known records. Despite differences in the age and sex composition, the skeletal profile in general reflects mainly the profile of the Western Cape population. Most individuals were born between 1920 and 1950, placing the Kirsten Skeletal Collection in the early to mid-20th century. The age at death for the greatest proportion (41.8%) of individuals was between 40 and 60 years. Current biological profile techniques in age, ancestry and sex estimation can be improved and, among others, new regional and ancestral specific standards for the biologically unique and diverse South African coloured population can be developed. SIGNIFICANCE: • We present the largest documented skeletal collection of the South African coloured population in the world. • This work contributes to the skeletal reference database for use by physical anthropologists and others. <![CDATA[<b>Palaeodemographics of individuals in Dinaledi Chamber using dental remains</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Hominin skeletal remains from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, represent a minimum of 15 individuals of the extinct species Homo naledi. We examined the dental material from this sample in order to assess the life-history stages of individuals in the sample, in particular to determine the minimum number of individuals in the sample as a whole, and within each of six age classes. We found evidence of individuals within every age class: infant, early juvenile, late juvenile, subadult, young adult and old adult. The Dinaledi Chamber sample is notable in comparison to other samples of human, chimpanzee and fossil hominins in that it has a relatively high representation of juvenile remains, as compared to infants and adults. With 15 individuals, the sample size presented by the Dinaledi dental material is too small to test the hypothesis of attritional versus catastrophic accumulation. The data here provide a basis for further investigation of individual associations within this commingled assemblage, and provide an important comparative data set as a basis for the consideration of life history in H. naledi and other extinct hominin populations. SIGNIFICANCE: • We identified a minimum number individuals so far recovered in the assemblage and document the use of molar eruptions as biomarkers of life-history stages to sort the individuals into age classes. • We provide a demographic profile of individuals from the chamber and establish a comparative data set for life history in extinct hominin populations. <![CDATA[<b>Black living standards in South Africa before democracy: New evidence from height</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100014&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Very little income or wage data were systematically recorded about the living standards of South Africa's black majority during much of the 20th century. We used four data sets to provide an alternative measure of living standards - namely stature - to document, for the first time, living standards of black South Africans over the course of the 20th century. We found evidence to suggest that living standards in the first three decades of the century were particularly poor, perhaps because of the increasingly repressive labour policies in urban areas and famine and land expropriation that weighed especially heavily on the Basotho. The decade following South Africa's departure from the gold standard, a higher international gold price and the demand for manufactured goods from South Africa as a consequence of World War II seem to have benefitted both black and white South Africans. The data also allowed us to disaggregate by ethnicity within the black population group, revealing levels of inequality within race groups that have been neglected in the literature. Finally, we compared black and white living standards, and revealed the large and widening levels of inequality that characterised 20th-century South Africa. SIGNIFICANCE: • We provide the first long-run estimates of black living standards in South Africa and evidence of inter-group differences in the effects of 20th-century events and policies. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of transit transport corridor efficiency of landlocked African countries using data envelopment analysis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100015&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt We used a data envelopment analysis (DEA) to examine the efficiency and performance of transport systems of landlocked African countries (LLACs). We conducted a comparative performance efficiency analysis of transfer transport systems for LLACs' corridors. Three different types of DEA models were proposed and used to measure the relative efficiencies of transit transport using a 6-year data set (2008-2013) of some selected LLACs. The results show that the average pure technical and scale efficiency scores are 90.89% and 37.13%, respectively. Two units (13.33%) are technically efficient (technical and scale efficiency) while four units (26.66%) are only purely technically efficient over the observed period. Swaziland was the most efficient corridor while the Central African Republic corridor was the least efficient throughout the monitored years. The results indicate the relevance of minimising trade costs to stimulate landlocked countries' exports. SIGNIFICANCE: • This study is the first efficiency study on transit transport corridors of landlocked African countries. • DEA is an effective analytical tool for corridors evaluation and can help decision-makers in finding practical solutions. • Some corridors are efficient, which means that other landlocked countries can learn from these efficient corridors to improve their corridor services. <![CDATA[<b>Public perceptions of biotechnology in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100016&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt A nationally representative survey of the South African public's perceptions of biotechnology provides new insights into the position of the sector in the public sphere. Familiarity with the concept of biotechnology, and awareness of GM food, have increased over the last decade, although these changes have occurred from a low base. Compared to Europeans, South Africans are more positive about the health implications of GM food, less critical about the environmental impact of GM food, and more positive about the economic consequences of GM food. Knowledge about biotechnology is positively correlated with younger age, higher educational attainment and higher living standard. For marginalised groups, particularly low-income groups in rural areas and traditional authority areas, engaging on the basis of indigenous knowledge systems may prove to be the most effective platform for communication. The concepts of DNA and genes are far better understood than those of genetic modification or GM food, and would therefore present a better starting point for engagement and knowledge transfer. Together, these considerations point towards new strategic imperatives for public engagement in the South African biotechnology sector. Public policy, and broader sectoral engagement strategies, need to take into account: (1) the highly dynamic nature of public perceptions, (2) the diversity of views held by different demographic groups and (3) the diversity of sources of information utilised and preferred by different demographic groups. These considerations would support a strategically targeted engagement approach that would leverage the rapidly growing public awareness of biotechnology in a constructive manner. SIGNIFICANCE: <![CDATA[<b>Palaeoecology of giraffe tracks in Late Pleistocene aeolianites on the Cape south coast</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100017&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Until now there have been no reliable historical or skeletal fossil records for the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) south of the Orange River or northern Namaqualand. The recent discovery of fossil giraffe tracks in coastal aeolianites east of Still Bay, South Africa, significantly increases the geographical range for this species, and has implications for Late Pleistocene climate and vegetation in the southern Cape. Giraffe populations have specialised needs, and require a savanna ecosystem. Marine geophysical and geological evidence suggests that the broad, currently submerged floodplains of the Gouritz and Breede Rivers likely supported a productive savanna of Vachellia karroo during Pleistocene glacial conditions, which would have provided a suitable habitat for this species. We show evidence for the hypothesis that the opening of the submerged shelf during glacial periods acted as a pathway for mammals to migrate along the southern coastal plain. SIGNIFICANCE: • The identification of fossil giraffe tracks on the Cape south coast, far from the area in which giraffe have previously been known to occur, is unexpected; conclusions about prehistoric conditions and vegetation can be drawn from this discovery. <![CDATA[<b>Corrigendum: </b><b>Desalination and seawater quality at Green Point, Cape Town: A study on the effects of marine sewage outfalls. </b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532018000100018&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Until now there have been no reliable historical or skeletal fossil records for the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) south of the Orange River or northern Namaqualand. The recent discovery of fossil giraffe tracks in coastal aeolianites east of Still Bay, South Africa, significantly increases the geographical range for this species, and has implications for Late Pleistocene climate and vegetation in the southern Cape. Giraffe populations have specialised needs, and require a savanna ecosystem. Marine geophysical and geological evidence suggests that the broad, currently submerged floodplains of the Gouritz and Breede Rivers likely supported a productive savanna of Vachellia karroo during Pleistocene glacial conditions, which would have provided a suitable habitat for this species. We show evidence for the hypothesis that the opening of the submerged shelf during glacial periods acted as a pathway for mammals to migrate along the southern coastal plain. SIGNIFICANCE: • The identification of fossil giraffe tracks on the Cape south coast, far from the area in which giraffe have previously been known to occur, is unexpected; conclusions about prehistoric conditions and vegetation can be drawn from this discovery.