Monica Bennett

Monica Bennett

I am a retired high school and college teacher. I have taught forensics, biology, chemistry, ecology, and Earth science.. Long Island has been my home for 60 years.

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  • Monica Bennett
    Published about a year ago
    Womb Raiders

    Womb Raiders

    Every month, Darci Pierce added to her girth by stuffing clothing under her clothes. She had told everyone she was pregnant. Now, she was running out of time. This "baby" was already past term, and Darci was having a hard time finding excuses for an overdue birth. She believed the only reason her husband had married her was that she was pregnant. In a calculated and well thought out plan, she read about the techniques of doing a Caesarian delivery, bought the tools and supplies necessary, and then she selected her victim. Cindy Ray was kidnapped at gunpoint from the parking lot of her obstetrician. The gun was a fake. Cindy was 8 months pregnant, and Darci's best chance at success. The operation was to be performed at Darci's home, but as they pulled up, Darci realized her husband was home. She drove Cindy up into the wooded mountains. Darci strangled Cindy, dragged her behind some bushes and tore open Cindy's abdomen with her car keys. Cindy was still alive as Darci chewed through the umbilical cord with her teeth. When Pierce was taken to the hospital, she refused to allow doctors to examine her and started to change her story about giving birth, saying it was a surrogate who gave birth to the baby. The authorities were called and eventually, the 19-year-old womb raider was arrested. Cindy was dead by the time police found her. The baby survived. Pierce received a 30-year sentence.
  • Monica Bennett
    Published about a year ago
    Parents Who Kill Their Children

    Parents Who Kill Their Children

    Elise and Harry Donnison were murdered by their mother, Fiona Donnison, in 2010. She smothered them while they were sleeping with their own pillows. The reason? To get back at her husband for leaving her and starting a new relationship. Forensic Science International published a study based on three decades of filicide (child killing) events between 1976 and 2007. In the United States, these crimes occur at the rate of 500 a year. Victims of parental murder were usually under six years of age (72 percent). One-third of those cases were babies under a year old. In fact, a baby is in the greatest danger of being killed on the very day it is born. There are five recognized motives behind filicide:
  • Monica Bennett
    Published about a year ago
    The Name Game

    The Name Game

    The photo above is an old shot of Willy Shoemaker, the jockey, and Wilt Chamberlain, the basketball player. Willy is not a dwarf of any kind. He is 4'11" tall. Wilt is not a giant. He is 7'1" tall. There is no argument—they are both Homo sapiens. What if you found their bones at an anthropological dig site? If you knew nothing about humans, you might think they represented two distinct species. After all, their skulls would have different volumes, and their postcranial bones would appear quite different from each other. This is what researchers face. Variation in a species can be enormous. There are so many classifications of hominins that it boggles the mind. Here is a list of some: Homo habilis, rudolfensis, antecessor, ergaster, erectus, heidelbergensis, floresiensis, neanderthalensis, gautengensis, cepranensis, naledi, tsaichangensis, rhodensiensis, georgicus, Denisovans, and Red Deer Cave People. This is not a complete list. There are many reasons that the taxonomy (classification) of Homo is so complicated. Some species coexisted, but they also cross mated, making all of these early hominins blends of each other. Each researcher has his own idea of who begat whom, and what makes a fossil Homo. Everyone has an opinion and no one agrees with anyone else. There is no standard among scientists, and the entire naming process is getting out of hand. Anyone who finds a fossil these days is claiming to have found our oldest ancestor, the oldest Homo, or the "missing link." Just look at the situation that recently occurred in South Africa. Last year, Lee Berger proclaimed Homonaledi, a fossil found by his son, to be this ancient Homo who was already a member of our genus while Australopithecuseines like Lucy were running around. You could hear the laugh go around the paleo world when the fossils were found to be a mere 250,000 years old.
  • Monica Bennett
    Published about a year ago
    Korean Paleoanthropology

    Korean Paleoanthropology

    Rudyard Kipling once said, “There is too much Asia and she is too old.” He was right, from a paleoanthropological point of view. Asia is huge and trying to find vastly scattered remains of hominids is daunting. If you take the Koreas, however, they are a nice piece of a big pie that can be searched for delicious tidbits of knowledge. There are problems with paleoanthropology here, as exists in all countries, but the Koreas present some that are unique. Many descriptions and papers from here are written in Korean, which makes their availability for Westerners unaccessible. South Korean soil and climate are just not conducive to the preservation of bone fossils. It also lacks in tectonic activity (volcanos) which limits the ability of time dating fossils. The good news here is other methods of dating are surfacing. North Korea, unfortunately for all, has most of the Korean caves and limestone geologic structures. Information of any finds here are not forthcoming, and what little we have gotten is highly suspect. There are four theories of the peopling of Asia:
  • Monica Bennett
    Published about a year ago
    Paleoanthropology in India

    Paleoanthropology in India

    The country of India is truly unexplored when it comes to hominin fossils. As can be seen from the photo above, it must have been a major corridor in the migration of hominids from the Arabian Peninsula to South East Asia and beyond to Australia. But where is the evidence? If the truth is told, there is a paucity of evidence that has been found in India. The most famous, and nearly the only fossils found are those from the Narmada Valley, located at nearly mid-point north, south, east, and west. The fossils are calvaria (skull caps) and a few postcranial bones. The remains indicate that these were a small pygmy type hominin, possibly the ancestors of the enigmatic Andaman Island group of "Negritos" or perhaps Homo floresiensis. The Andaman Islands are populated by Negritos who are very small. It is not known when the Islands were first inhabited by anyone. Estimates go from 70kbp to 2kbp, but it is possible they are older than some think. At least one island has kept intruders out completely. Answers are not forthcoming yet, and genetic evidence is only available from islanders accepting of researchers.
  • Monica Bennett
    Published about a year ago
    Vocal for Beginners

    Vocal for Beginners

    Vocal basics are easy to learn, even as a newbie. My advice, by the way, comes from someone new at this as well, but I have had to figure it out for myself. I am hoping to save you time and effort in getting your words read. First of all, read the resource section at Vocal. It is full of information about writing and how Vocal works. Don't be wreaked if a posting is turned down. Fix it until it is accepted. When I first started at Vocal, I read postings to see what type of stuff they published, but I didn't go far enough. Most of what I saw was a walk-down-memory-lane type stuff. I rewrote some stuff I had on a website I made up for my children full of memories of our good times and bad. They were schmaltzy, but they got published. However, nobody was reading them. So I got daring and started posting articles on the sciences I love. I got a few more people reading my words. I have never been on social media of any kind; no Facebook or tweeting at all. I joined both. But I have to say, I am still getting a handle on Twitter. The easiest one suggested by Vocal is StumbleUpon. Go to the site first and learn how to stumble before you post. There are many different categories under which to put your post. You want to determine which category will get you the most views. For instance, I posted an article on evolution. I could have put it under evolution or the more general topic of science. I chose the more general topic. Then, several weeks later, I posted it in evolution. Repostings like this can drive up your readership. I post articles from my science magazines and make sure I stumble other articles every day. It is painless, and I've read some really good stuff. Reddit is a lot more difficult for me because they have so many rules! Their family category doesn't allow any pictures, which leaves out anything suitable for Vocal because pictures are big on this site. The science category only accepts peer-reviewed articles, so that's a dead end for me. The rules are tough to work around and I get hundreds of more reads from StumbleUpon than I do at Reddit. Reddit readers also contact you, and they are not always kind. So your skin must be tough.