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  • July 15, 2010
  • 04:34 PM
  • 543 views

Why No Wheels?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’m back at Chaco and giving tours again, so I’m once again being exposed to visitors’ common questions and preconceptions in a way I haven’t been in a long time.  One thing that seems to surprise a lot of visitors is the fact that the Chacoans apparently had no knowledge of the wheel, or if [...]... Read more »

Ekholm, G. (1946) Wheeled Toys in Mexico. American Antiquity, 11(4), 222. DOI: 10.2307/275722  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 03:10 PM
  • 710 views

Fossil primate Saadanius provides context for the ancient ape/Old World monkey split

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Imagine that there was no primate fossil record. No hominins, no Proconsul, Dryopithecus, no Eosimias, no Darwinius -- nothing. Now, given this dearth of fossil material, you could be excused for systematically organizing primates according to the stark divisions apparent between living species. Our species, while clearly a primate, would seem to stand by itself, [...]... 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  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 06:08 AM
  • 974 views

Detoxifying cassava

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog


Strategies that minimize one risk…may augment another risk… Peasant farmers are perfectly conversant with such linkages. The neglect of peasant agriculture by both donors and governments is among the deeper causes of current crises, along with the increasing inequality that deprives them of secure tenure to land and other resources, reducing benefits they can expect [...]... Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 03:52 PM
  • 1,053 views

Words as alleles: A null-model for language evolution?

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo

For me, recent computational accounts of language evolution provide a compelling rationale that cultural, as opposed to biological, evolution is fundamental in understanding the design features of language. The basis for this rests on the simple notion of language being not only a conveyor of cultural information, but also a socially learned and culturally transmitted [...]... Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 03:52 PM
  • 933 views

Words as alleles: A null-model for language evolution?

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

For me, recent computational accounts of language evolution provide a compelling rationale that cultural, as opposed to biological, evolution is fundamental in understanding the design features of language. The basis for this rests on the simple notion of language being not only a conveyor of cultural information, . . . → Read More: Words as alleles: A null-model for language evolution?... Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 10:49 AM
  • 565 views

Autism And Wealth

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

We live in societies where some people are richer than others - though the extent of wealth inequality varies greatly around the world.In general, it's sad but true that poor people suffer more diseases. Within a given country almost all physical and mental illnesses are more common amongst the poor, although this isn't always true between countries.So if a certain disease is more common in rich people within a country, that's big news because it suggests that something unusual is going on. Aut........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2010
  • 10:03 AM
  • 706 views

Taung, 2.3 Million Years Ago – Scratched bones and fossil primate teeth as keys to a lost world

by Laelaps in Laelaps

On December 23, 1924, the Australian anatomist Raymond Dart chipped away the last bit of rock encasing the skull of a small fossil primate. The specimen had been part of a collection of fossil scraps sent to him from a limestone quarry in Taung, South Africa - not too far from where he was teaching [...]... Read more »

  • July 11, 2010
  • 05:05 AM
  • 1,227 views

Academic capitalism and the spread of English

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In 2009, I contributed a chapter about the social inclusion of migrants in Australia to an edited book about immigration policy published in Japanese in Japan. The book is doing well – a second edition has just been published – … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 8, 2010
  • 03:35 PM
  • 753 views

Atlatls to Bows: A Suspiciously Large Arrow

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In comments to the previous post, pato’ links to a recent press release on the discovery of an atlatl dart in a melting ice patch near Yellowstone.  This type of discovery is becoming more common as global warming causes ice patches and glaciers to melt at an unprecedented rate, releasing artifacts that have been frozen [...]... Read more »

Keddie, G., & Nelson, E. (2005) An Arrow from the Tsitsutl Glacier, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Archaeology, 113-123. info:/

  • July 8, 2010
  • 11:32 AM
  • 1,587 views

Put Down Your iPhone and Watch the Game: Notes on the Home Team Advantage

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Baseball is not golf. Yes, in both sports players attempt to hit a ball with a stick, but that's essentially where the similarities end. Baseball, unlike golf, thrives on the noisy participation of the fans. Golf asks spectators to "remain still and quiet during a player's shot [and] crowds are strongly discouraged from cheering until after a player hits the ball." Baseball will have none of

... Read more »

  • July 8, 2010
  • 08:01 AM
  • 800 views

Can linguistic features reveal time depths as deep as 50,000 years ago?

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo

Throughout much of our history language was transitory, existing only briefly within its speech community. The invention of writing systems heralded a way of recording some of its recent history, but for the most part linguists lack the stone tools archaeologists use to explore the early history of ancient technological industries. The question of how [...]... Read more »

Greenhill SJ, Atkinson QD, Meade A, & Gray RD. (2010) The shape and tempo of language evolution. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 20375050  

  • July 7, 2010
  • 11:25 AM
  • 1,555 views

The Virtual Experience of Time: VR and Online Games

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

In an earlier post, I explored the conflicts that can result from an attempt to compress time and space (e.g., jet lag). The question I left you with, Readers, was whether the physical and social ripples that result from navigating space-time compression can be minimized online? Recently, I suggested that the Internet may be a timeless state. But does this argument hold in virtual reality? Once

... Read more »

Murray, C., & Sixsmith, J. (1999) The Corporeal Body in Virtual Reality. Ethos, 27(3), 315-343. DOI: 10.1525/eth.1999.27.3.315  

  • July 7, 2010
  • 02:57 AM
  • 1,400 views

Men, English, and international romance

by Lachlan Jackson in Language on the Move

“Japanese guys aren’t the most popular creatures on earth when it comes to romance. Sad but true.” That’s the claim of Meiko Mochizuki Swartz, self-professed bilingual, bicultural ‘expert’ and author of an online book titled Nihonjin no Otoko wa Motenai … Continue reading →... Read more »

Piller, Ingrid . (2006) A passion for English: desire and the language market. Aneta Pavlenko. Ed. Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression, and representation (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 59-83. info:/

  • July 6, 2010
  • 05:36 PM
  • 614 views

Rethinking Criminology(ies)

by Kevin Karpiak in Anthropoliteia: the anthropology of policing

As I try to put together a course on “Policing in Society” for the upcoming semester at the same time that I try to figure out for myself the place of anthropology in criminology (or vice versa, or somesuch). I came across this article, which I think has particular potential for our discussions here: Rethinking [...]... Read more »

  • July 1, 2010
  • 12:08 PM
  • 1,514 views

What's eating you? - Bugs, bacteria, and zombies

by Laelaps in Laelaps



The trailer for Shaun of the Dead.


Not all zombies are created equal. The most popular zombie archetype is a shambling, brain-eating member of the recently deceased, but, in recent films from 28 Days Later to Zombieland, the definition of what a zombie is or isn't has become more complicated. Does a zombie have to be a cannibal corpse, or can a zombie be someone infected with a virus which turns them into a blood-crazed, fast-running monster?

For my own part, I have always preferred the cla........ Read more »

  • June 29, 2010
  • 05:44 PM
  • 1,347 views

Social Networks Help World Cup Spectators Cope With Chance

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Given the reduced volume of World Cup related posts in my Twitter and Facebook streams, it appears that soccer fever is abating the in US. The reach of the World Cup has been far this year, thanks in part to the role of social media outlets in encouraging discussion and raising awareness about the sport. For a few weeks, Twitter and Facebook were inundated with World Cup related posts, with

... Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 01:15 PM
  • 1,758 views

How did the victims of the Plinean Eruption of Vesuvius die?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Even at the most extreme edges of the flow of stuff out of the volcano Pompeii, at the far edge of the mud and ash that came from the volcano's explosion, the heat was sufficient to instantly kill everyone, even those inside their homes.

And that is how the people at Pompeii, who's remains were found trapped and partly preserved within ghostly body-shaped tombs within that pyroclastic flow, died. They did not suffocate. They did not get blown apart by force. They did not die of gas poisoning........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2010
  • 07:11 PM
  • 902 views

Kadanuumuu: All about the torso!

by zinjanthropus in A Primate of Modern Aspect

A new fossil discovered by Yohannes Haile-Selassie has been announced this week in the PNAS. The partial skeleton, nick-named Kadanuumuu, or “Big Man,” is taxonomically consistent with other postcranial fossils belonging to Australopithecus afarensis. But, there are a few interesting and notable bones represented in this fossil which amend our understanding of how early Australopithecus [...]... Read more »

Haile-Selassie, Y., Latimer, B., Alene, M., Deino, A., Gibert, L., Melillo, S., Saylor, B., Scott, G., & Lovejoy, C. (2010) An early Australopithecus afarensis postcranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004527107  

  • June 23, 2010
  • 05:37 PM
  • 1,355 views

Ancient "Big Man" Confirms That Humans Stood Tall Early

by Laelaps in Laelaps



The skeletons of Lucy (left) and Kadanuumuu (right). Both belong to the early human species Australopithecus afarensis. (Images not to scale.)


I never fully appreciated how small Lucy was until I saw her bones for myself. Photographs and restorations of her and her kin within the species Australopithecus afarensis had never really given me a proper sense of scale, and when I looked over her incomplete skeleton - formally known as specimen A.L. 288-1 - I was struck by her diminutive proportio........ Read more »

Haile-Selassie, Y., Latimer, B., Alene, M., Deino, A., Gibert, L., Melillo, S., Saylor, B., Scott, G., & Lovejoy, C. (2010) An early Australopithecus afarensis postcranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004527107  

  • June 22, 2010
  • 11:50 AM
  • 1,152 views

Homo sapiens can bite hard, after all

by Laelaps in Laelaps



Three-dimensional models of hominoid skulls used in the study - (a) Hylobates lar; (b) Pongo pygmaeus; (c) Pan troglodytes; (d) Gorilla gorilla; (e) Australopithecus africanus; (f ) Paranthropus boisei; (g) Homo sapiens. They have been scaled to the same surface area, and the colors denote areas of stress (blue = minimal stress, pink = high stress). From Wroe et al, 2010.


It is all too easy to think of human evolution in linear terms. From our 21st century vantage point we can look back thro........ Read more »

Wroe, S., Ferrara, T., McHenry, C., Curnoe, D., & Chamoli, U. (2010) The craniomandibular mechanics of being human. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0509  

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