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  • January 5, 2011
  • 07:22 AM
  • 1,936 views

Maize mystery solved

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Joost van Heerwarden and co-workers have solved a problem in our understanding of maize domestication. Previous work had shown that maize originated from annual called teosinte, Zea mays subspecies parviglumis, a wild species that occurs in low and mid-elevation regions of south-west Mexico. This made the Rio Balsas area, where parviglumis occurs, the most likely [...]... Read more »

van Heerwaarden J, Doebley J, Briggs WH, Glaubitz JC, Goodman MM, de Jesus Sanchez Gonzalez J, & Ross-Ibarra J. (2010) Genetic signals of origin, spread, and introgression in a large sample of maize landraces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21189301  

Matsuoka Y, Vigouroux Y, Goodman MM, Sanchez G J, Buckler E, & Doebley J. (2002) A single domestication for maize shown by multilocus microsatellite genotyping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99(9), 6080-4. PMID: 11983901  

Piperno DR, Ranere AJ, Holst I, Iriarte J, & Dickau R. (2009) Starch grain and phytolith evidence for early ninth millennium B.P. maize from the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(13), 5019-24. PMID: 19307570  

  • January 4, 2011
  • 03:51 PM
  • 885 views

Around the web: cognitive sex differences

by Kate Clancy in Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology

A dissection and link round-up about cognitive sex differences.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2011
  • 02:17 PM
  • 841 views

Legend of the Killer Storks

by Laelaps in Laelaps

What makes a monster? Godzilla, Medusa, Frankenstein’s monster, Fáfnir, the ALIEN, – all these fictional fiends have disparate origins, attributes, and motivations, but they are tied together by their disregard for what we perceive as the natural order. Each is an aberrant creation – something from an earlier age, or something corrupted – that disrupts [...]... Read more »

  • January 2, 2011
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1,450 views

The Language Tree

by Lucas in thoughtomics






In the 17th century, the Japanese shoguns decided that the only Westerners allowed to trade with the Japanese empire, would be the Dutch. By doing so they not only opened up their country to sugar, cotton and silk, they also unintentionally exposed the Japanese language to Dutch words and terminology. Many Dutch naval terms and words [...]... Read more »

Nelson-Sathi S, List JM, Geisler H, Fangerau H, Gray RD, Martin W, & Dagan T. (2010) Networks uncover hidden lexical borrowing in Indo-European language evolution. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 21106583  

  • January 1, 2011
  • 05:31 PM
  • 771 views

01/01/2011: Looking forward and backward, so fast you may barf

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

2010 was a big year for anthropology and lawn-chair-anthropologists. There was laughter and crying, and maybe also some yelling. And smiling. Let's take a look back at some of the big events of the past year.Ancient DNA. What a great year for ancient human DNA! In April, Krause and colleagues (2010) announced the sequencing of mitochondrial DNA from a ~50,000 year old girl from Denisova in Siberia. This sequence was twice as divergent from humans as Neandertal mtDNA, which really shocked a lot o........ Read more »

Berger, L., de Ruiter, D., Churchill, S., Schmid, P., Carlson, K., Dirks, P., & Kibii, J. (2010) Australopithecus sediba: A New Species of Homo-Like Australopith from South Africa. Science, 328(5975), 195-204. DOI: 10.1126/science.1184944  

Cann, R., Stoneking, M., & Wilson, A. (1987) Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution. Nature, 325(6099), 31-36. DOI: 10.1038/325031a0  

Green, R., Krause, J., Briggs, A., Maricic, T., Stenzel, U., Kircher, M., Patterson, N., Li, H., Zhai, W., Fritz, M.... (2010) A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. Science, 328(5979), 710-722. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188021  

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, 107(27), 12121-12126. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004527107  

Krause, J., Fu, Q., Good, J., Viola, B., Shunkov, M., Derevianko, A., & Pääbo, S. (2010) The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia. Nature, 464(7290), 894-897. DOI: 10.1038/nature08976  

Liu W, Jin CZ, Zhang YQ, Cai YJ, Xing S, Wu XJ, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Pan WS, Qin DG.... (2010) Human remains from Zhirendong, South China, and modern human emergence in East Asia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(45), 19201-6. PMID: 20974952  

Reich D, Green RE, Kircher M, Krause J, Patterson N, Durand EY, Viola B, Briggs AW, Stenzel U, Johnson PL.... (2010) Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature, 468(7327), 1053-60. PMID: 21179161  

Zalmout IS, Sanders WJ, Maclatchy LM, Gunnell GF, Al-Mufarreh YA, Ali MA, Nasser AA, Al-Masari AM, Al-Sobhi SA, Nadhra AO.... (2010) New Oligocene primate from Saudi Arabia and the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Nature, 466(7304), 360-4. PMID: 20631798  

  • December 31, 2010
  • 10:33 PM
  • 977 views

Cowboy Wash Is Not an Easy Place to Live

by teofilo in Gambler's House

If you stand at the Four Corners monument and look in the direction of Colorado you will see Sleeping Ute Mountain dominating the view.  From this direction you are looking at the southwest side of the mountain, and in front of it you see the southern piedmont.  On the right side of the piedmont, though [...]... Read more »

  • December 31, 2010
  • 05:30 PM
  • 1,059 views

Mapping the “Green Sahara”

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Guelta d’Archei, Chad. Credit: Dario Menasce. Everyone who is literate knows that the Sahara desert is the largest of its kind in the world. The chasm in cultural, biological, and physical geography is very noticeable. Northern Africa is part of the Palearctic zone, while the peoples north of the Sahara have long been part of [...]... Read more »

Drake NA, Blench RM, Armitage SJ, Bristow CS, & White KH. (2010) Ancient watercourses and biogeography of the Sahara explain the peopling of the desert. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21187416  

  • December 29, 2010
  • 11:03 AM
  • 944 views

Iron Chef: Middle Paleolithic

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

New evidence suggests Neandertals ate cooked foods, and plants at that.
Amanda Henry and colleagues (in press) extracted phytoliths - small mineralized parts from plants - and starch grains from dental calculus found on 2 Belgian (Spy) and 1 Iraqi (Shanidar) Neandertal fossils. I've never seen a study look at this kind of evidence before, I have to say it's pretty neat. Calculus, not just a badass type of mathematics, is mineralized plaque that can build up on teeth. As the Neandertals chewed th........ Read more »

  • December 29, 2010
  • 04:44 AM
  • 2,526 views

What’s the actual size of your personal social network? Some numbers

by ---a in Bodyspacesociety.eu

In 1992 Robin Dunbar proposed a rough estimate of 150. But the "Dunbar's number" pretty much doubled in 1998, when Peter Killworth suggested a mean personal network size of 290. And in 2010 that number doubled again, as Matthew Salganik came up with 610 personal. So who says 1,200?... Read more »

Bickart, K., Wright, C., Dautoff, R., Dickerson, B., & Barrett, L. (2010) Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2724  

Killworth, P., Johnsen, E., Bernard, H. R., Shelley, G., & McCarty, C. (1990) Estimating the size of personal networks. Social Networks, 12(4), 289-312. DOI: 10.1016/0378-8733(90)90012-X  

McCormick, T., Salganik, M., & Zheng, T. (2010) How Many People Do You Know?: Efficiently Estimating Personal Network Size. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 105(489), 59-70. DOI: 10.1198/jasa.2009.ap08518  

  • December 28, 2010
  • 09:18 PM
  • 1,323 views

A Fistful of Teeth – Do the Qesem Cave Fossils Really Change Our Understanding of Human Evolution?

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A handful of fossil teeth found in Israel’s Qesem Cave, described in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and attributed to 400,000 year old members of our own species in multiple news reports, are said to rewrite the story of human evolution. This discovery doubles the antiquity of Homo sapiens, the articles say, and identify [...]... Read more »

Hershkovitz, I., Smith, P., Sarig, R., Quam, R., Rodríguez, L., García, R., Arsuaga, J., Barkai, R., & Gopher, A. (2010) Middle pleistocene dental remains from Qesem Cave (Israel). American Journal of Physical Anthropology. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21446  

  • December 28, 2010
  • 10:58 AM
  • 419 views

Denisova the Menace II: Nuclear story

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Earlier this year, I discussed the publication of a mitochondrial DNA study from a 50,000 year old pinky bone from Denisova in Siberia. The big story there was that the mtDNA of this specimen was twice as divergent (different) from modern humans as Neandertal mtDNA. This suggested to researchers that there was this rogue human group (some [not I] might say 'species') running around Eurasia around the time of the Upper Paleolithic.
Well now they've sequenced the nuclear genome of one of a Denisov........ Read more »

Green, R., Krause, J., Briggs, A., Maricic, T., Stenzel, U., Kircher, M., Patterson, N., Li, H., Zhai, W., Fritz, M.... (2010) A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. Science, 328(5979), 710-722. DOI: 10.1126/science.1188021  

Reich D, Green RE, Kircher M, Krause J, Patterson N, Durand EY, Viola B, Briggs AW, Stenzel U, Johnson PL.... (2010) Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature, 468(7327), 1053-60. PMID: 21179161  

  • December 28, 2010
  • 06:00 AM
  • 934 views

When Is A Placebo Not A Placebo?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Irving Kirsch, best known for that 2008 meta-analysis allegedly showing that "Prozac doesn't work", has hit the headlines again.This time it's a paper claiming that something does work. Actually Kirsch is only a minor author on the paper by Kaptchuck et al: Placebos without Deception.In essence, they asked whether a placebo treatment - a dummy pill with no active ingredients - works even if you know that it's a placebo. Conventional wisdom would say no, because the placebo effect is driven by th........ Read more »

Kaptchuk, T., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J., Sanchez, M., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015591  

  • December 27, 2010
  • 10:51 PM
  • 2,109 views

Meme Theory Today (NSFW)

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

A look at how meme theory can explain the wide spread misquotation of it's own "inventor" Richard Dawkins.... Read more »

  • December 27, 2010
  • 09:42 PM
  • 715 views

Was There Any Cannibalism during the “Great Drought”?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The best-known examples of probably cannibalism in the prehistoric Southwest all cluster in a very short period of time and in a relatively small geographic area: around AD 1150 in the area surrounding the modern town of Cortez, Colorado.  Perhaps the most solidly documented of these assemblages is the one at Cowboy Wash on the [...]... Read more »

  • December 26, 2010
  • 09:39 PM
  • 675 views

What Happened at Cowboy Wash?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In comments to the previous post, Graham King raises an important question: assuming that the assemblages of broken, burned, and otherwise unusually treated bones at sites like 5MT10010 at Cowboy Wash represent incidents of cannibalism, what does this mean culturally and historically?  After all, cannibalism has occurred in various contexts in many societies, including our [...]... Read more »

  • December 25, 2010
  • 06:41 PM
  • 823 views

Cannibal Coprolite Christmas Continues

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In their critique of the article reporting evidence for alleged cannibalism at site 5MT10100 near Cowboy Wash on the southern piedmont of Sleeping Ute Mountain, Kurt Dongoske, Debra Martin, and T. J. Ferguson challenged many of the conclusions and lines of evidence presented in the article.  Among these was the evidence of consumption of human [...]... Read more »

  • December 25, 2010
  • 02:40 AM
  • 618 views

The C Word

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Near the very end of his report on the excavations at Pueblo Bonito by the Hyde Expedition in the 1890s, George Pepper wrote the following: The finding of cracked and calcined bones in some of the rooms brings up the question of the eating of human flesh by the people of this pueblo.  There was [...]... Read more »

Dongoske, K., Martin, D., & Ferguson, T. (2000) Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(1), 179. DOI: 10.2307/2694813  

Lambert, P., Leonard, B., Billman, B., Marlar, R., Newman, M., & Reinhard, K. (2000) Response to Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(2), 397. DOI: 10.2307/2694066  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 11:12 PM
  • 565 views

Walls

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Sand Canyon Pueblo, which I discussed in the previous post, is one of the best-known prehistoric communities in the Southwest due to the multi-year research program conducted there by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in the 1980s and 1990s.  Crow Canyon selected it for this research for a variety of reasons, including its short period of [...]... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 10:59 AM
  • 897 views

Depression Treatment Increased From 1998 to 2007

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A paper just out reports on the changing patterns of treatment for depression in the USA, over the period from 1998 to 2007.The headline news is that increased: the overall rate of people treated for some form of "depression" went from 2.37% to 2.88% per year. That's an increase of 21%, which is not trivial, but it's much less than the increase in the previous decade: it was just 0.73% in 1987.But the increase was concentrated in some groups of people.Americans over 50 accounted for the bulk of ........ Read more »

Marcus SC, & Olfson M. (2010) National trends in the treatment for depression from 1998 to 2007. Archives of general psychiatry, 67(12), 1265-73. PMID: 21135326  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 06:24 AM
  • 765 views

The paradigm is dead, long live the paradigm!

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution: Mitochondrial DNA from 147 people, drawn from five geographic populations have been analysed by restriction mapping. All these mitochondrial DMAs stem from one woman who is postulated to have lived ab7out 200,000 years ago, probably in Africa. All the populations examined except the African population have multiple origins, implying that [...]... Read more »

Reich, David, Green, Richard E., Kircher, Martin, Krause, Johannes, Patterson, Nick, Durand, Eric Y., Viola, Bence, Briggs, Adrian W., Stenzel, Udo, Johnson, Philip L. F.... (2010) Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature09710

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