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  • August 19, 2010
  • 12:20 PM
  • 901 views

Sacrifice on the Serengeti – A Guest Post by Eric M Johnson

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

I’m so pleased to bring you another installment of Eric’s wonderful writing on his Primate Diaries in Exile blog tour.  Following the recent PepsiGate scandal at SEED Science Blogs Eric has taken his show on the road…and I’m so pleased to be one of his stops along the way!  You can follow other stops on [...]... Read more »

Fox, M., Sear, R., Beise, J., Ragsdale, G., Voland, E., & Knapp, L. (2009) Grandma plays favourites: X-chromosome relatedness and sex-specific childhood mortality. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1681), 567-573. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1660  

  • August 19, 2010
  • 11:27 AM
  • 1,858 views

Unmasking Eoanthropus dawsoni, The First Englishman

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Fellow blogger and Scientope Scicurious played host to the most recent edition of The Giant’s Shoulders, a blog carnival that recognizes folks who use classic science papers in their writing. Sci put together a spectacular collection of posts based on the theme of Fools, Frauds, and Failures, and it’s certainly worth perusing.
I had high hopes for participating in this round of the carnival, but

... Read more »

MacCurdy, G. (1914) The Man of Piltdown. American Anthropologist, 16(2), 331-336. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1914.16.2.02a00110  

  • August 19, 2010
  • 05:04 AM
  • 1,067 views

The final (?) word on those handaxes from Crete

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

While everybody was busy talking about unexpectedly old cutmarks and other Pleistocene goings-on last week, the paper by Strasser et al. (2010) describing the discovery of quartz handaxe assemblages on Crete quietly came out in Hesperia. This is a topic that was discussed at length on this blog, in several posts that generated a large amount of comments a few months back. The sticking point of ... Read more »

  • August 17, 2010
  • 08:41 PM
  • 635 views

The Dental Evidence for Agriculture

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’ve recently been discussing stable isotope analysis as a way to directly determine dietary practices from skeletal evidence, and that is certainly a powerful tool in learning about past societies, but there are some drawbacks to it.  Like all complicated laboratory procedures, it’s expensive, and it has the additional problem of being destructive.  If it’s [...]... Read more »

  • August 17, 2010
  • 05:30 PM
  • 665 views

What The Internet Thinks About Antidepressants

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Toronto team Rizo et al offer a novel approach to psychopharmacology: trawling the internet for people's opinions. It's a rapid, web-based method for obtaining patient views on effects and side-effects of antidepressants.They designed a script to Google the names of several antidepressants in the context of someone who's taking them, and checks to see if they describe any side-effects.A large number of URLs were rapidly screened through Google Search™, using one server situated in Ohio, USA. T........ Read more »

  • August 17, 2010
  • 04:24 PM
  • 566 views

So What Did the Turkeys Eat?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

As if on cue, given that I’ve been talking about turkey husbandry and stable isotope testing of human remains, a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science combines the two, using similar stable isotope techniques on turkey remains from sites in southwestern Colorado to determine what the turkeys were eating.  The [...]... Read more »

  • August 16, 2010
  • 11:13 PM
  • 1,907 views

An Anthropological Genetic View of Berkeley’s Personalized Medicine Project

by Kris in Ge·knit·ics

Recently, UC Berkeley announced their “Bring Your Genes to Cal” Project, offering personalized genetic testing for all incoming freshmen. The program allowed incoming students, on a voluntary and anonymous basis, to submit DNA samples, with the promise that they would receive their personal results of tests for three common genetic variants. The program had IRB [...]... Read more »

  • August 16, 2010
  • 08:05 PM
  • 550 views

Basketmaker Subsistence

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the important questions in understanding the spread of agriculture into the Southwest from Mexico is when Southwestern peoples became dependent on it for their subsistence.  It is generally accepted that this dependence was in place by the Pueblo I period, which is defined as starting around AD 750 in most areas, but there [...]... Read more »

  • August 16, 2010
  • 05:32 PM
  • 1,347 views

Ape-man the hunter?

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

Well, at least the butcher, if not the tool-maker... McPherron et al. (2010) report the discovery of four bone fragments bearing marks left by stone tools from the the Dikika-55 locality in Ethiopia (dating to between 3.24-3.42 million years BP), a stone's throw from where the juvenile Australopithecus afarensis dubbed Selam was found. This is a pretty monumental discovery, in that it pushes back the evidence for the use of stone tool technology by about 800,000 years, and associates it fairly c........ Read more »

Semaw S, Renne P, Harris JW, Feibel CS, Bernor RL, Fesseha N, & Mowbray K. (1997) 2.5-million-year-old stone tools from Gona, Ethiopia. Nature, 385(6614), 333-6. PMID: 9002516  

Stout D, Quade J, Semaw S, Rogers MJ, & Levin NE. (2005) Raw material selectivity of the earliest stone toolmakers at Gona, Afar, Ethiopia. Journal of human evolution, 48(4), 365-80. PMID: 15788183  

  • August 16, 2010
  • 08:04 AM
  • 1,267 views

Did Dogs Gain Their Social Intelligence By Accident?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

I will be reposting some dog-related posts from the archives in the coming few weeks as I prepare for the course I'm teaching this semester on dog cognition. Please let me know if you find something inaccurate or unclear.

Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures (see here). If you point to something the dog zeroes in on the object or location you're pointing to (whether it's a toy, or food, or to get his in-need-of-a-bath butt off your damn be........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 06:38 PM
  • 815 views

A Curious Look At The 3.39 Million Year Old “Stone Tool Markings” From Dikika, Ethiopia

by Anthropology.net in Anthropology.net

I don’t know who this is worse for, the editors & reviewers over at Nature or the authors of the article who can’t tell the difference between crocodile teeth markings and stone tool modification, nor raise the possibility. The paper, “Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia,” very [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 02:56 PM
  • 432 views

More Turkey Stuff

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In looking into recent research on Southwestern turkeys, I found an interesting paper from 2007 by E. Bradley Beacham and Stephen R. Durand about turkey eggshell.  Specifically, they came up with a new technique for analyzing archaeological eggshell to determine whether or not the egg had hatched.  The idea behind it, confirmed by an experiment [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 12:14 PM
  • 1,016 views

New Studies: Music Makes People Nicer

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


Birds do it. Bees do it. But primate species don't sing and dance, except for Homo sapiens. Why is music-making part of human nature, then? Why do we enjoy singing in three-part harmony or clapping together in church, which wouldn't appeal for a single second to our chimp or orangutan cousins? This paper proposes an explanation: Music, it says, makes little kids nicer. Maybe it evolved because it made our ancestors more cooperative, and hence more successful.
Sebastian Kirschner and ........ Read more »

  • August 12, 2010
  • 10:24 AM
  • 625 views

Smells From the Past: The Fulton Fish Market

by Krystal D'Costa in The Urban Ethnographer

It’s been a very hot summer here in New York City. And the city smells. It’s more than the smell of baking asphalt, exhaust fumes, and lack of deodorant—these smells are around all year. The heat has awakened older smells. Around midday, if you happen to stroll down by the South Street Seaport you can [...]... Read more »

Cann A, & Ross DA. (1989) Olfactory stimuli as context cues in human memory. The American journal of psychology, 102(1), 91-102. PMID: 2929788  

Djordjevic J, Zatorre RJ, Petrides M, & Jones-Gotman M. (2004) The mind's nose: Effects of odor and visual imagery on odor detection. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 15(3), 143-8. PMID: 15016284  

  • August 11, 2010
  • 04:56 PM
  • 1,396 views

The Earliest Known Use of Flaked Stone Tools by Hominids?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is possible that a much earlier than previously known date for the use of flaked stone tools has been established in Ethiopia, dating to prior to 3.39 million years ago.

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • August 11, 2010
  • 01:25 PM
  • 1,386 views

New Primate Fossil Informs Us of the Ape-Monkey Split During the Oligocene

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

The newly reported Saadanius hijazensis may or may not be a "missing link" but in order for this monkey to climb onto the primate family tree, a new branch had to be sprouted. So, not only is Saadanius hijazensis a new species, but it is a member of a new taxonomic Family, Saadaniidae, which in turn is a member of a new Superfamily, Saadanioidea. Why is this important? It's complicated. But not too complicated.

The fossil was found while University of Michigan paleontologist Iyad Zalmout w........ Read more »

Zalmout, I., Sanders, W., MacLatchy, L., Gunnell, G., Al-Mufarreh, Y., Ali, M., Nasser, A., Al-Masari, A., Al-Sobhi, S., Nadhra, A.... (2010) New Oligocene primate from Saudi Arabia and the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Nature, 466(7304), 360-364. DOI: 10.1038/nature09094  

  • August 10, 2010
  • 11:30 PM
  • 561 views

The Turkey Connection

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In a comment to the previous post, Alan Reed Bishop brings up an issue closely related to the recent evidence for early maize cultivation in Chaco Canyon: the introduction of domesticated turkeys to the Southwest.  A recent study of archaeological turkey remains found that the majority of the turkeys found in Southwestern archaeological sites are [...]... Read more »

  • August 10, 2010
  • 02:02 PM
  • 646 views

Hauser Of Cards

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A major scandal looks to be in progress involving Harvard Professor Marc Hauser, a psychologist and popular author whose research on the minds of chimpanzees and other primates is well-known and highly respected. The Boston Globe has the scoop and it's well worth a read (though you should avoid reading the comments if you react badly to stupid.)Hauser's built his career on detailed studies of the cognitive abilities of non-human primates. He's generally argued that our closest relatives are smar........ Read more »

Hauser MD, Weiss D, & Marcus G. (2002) Rule learning by cotton-top tamarins. Cognition, 86(1). PMID: 12208654  

Hauser MD, Glynn D, & Wood J. (2007) Rhesus monkeys correctly read the goal-relevant gestures of a human agent. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 274(1620), 1913-8. PMID: 17540661  

Wood JN, Glynn DD, Phillips BC, & Hauser MD. (2007) The perception of rational, goal-directed action in nonhuman primates. Science (New York, N.Y.), 317(5843), 1402-5. PMID: 17823353  

Hauser MD, Kralik J, Botto-Mahan C, Garrett M, & Oser J. (1995) Self-recognition in primates: phylogeny and the salience of species-typical features. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 92(23), 10811-14. PMID: 7479889  

  • August 8, 2010
  • 07:15 PM
  • 1,300 views

Why did the Tasmanians Stop Eating Fish?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Georges Bank is a very large shallow area in the North Atlantic, roughly the size of a New England state, that serves as a fishing ground and whaling area (these days for watching the whales, not harpooning them) for ports in New England, New York and Eastern Canada. Eighteen thousand years ago, sea levels were globally at a very low point (with vast quantities of the Earth's water busy being ice), and at that time George's Bank would have been a highland region on the very edge of the North A........ Read more »

Davidson, Iain, & Roberts, David Andrew. (2009) On Being Alone: The Isolation of the Tasmanians. Book: Turning Points in Australian Prehistory. info:other/

  • August 5, 2010
  • 03:51 PM
  • 571 views

The Context for Early Maize at Chaco

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In my earlier post about Stephen Hall‘s recent paper reporting on maize pollen at Chaco Canyon dating as early as 2500 BC, I said briefly that this really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been following this kind of research closely, and also that I would discuss the context for it later.  Basically, the context [...]... Read more »

Merrill, W., Hard, R., Mabry, J., Fritz, G., Adams, K., Roney, J., & MacWilliams, A. (2009) The diffusion of maize to the southwestern United States and its impact. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(50), 21019-21026. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906075106  

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