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  • May 31, 2015
  • 02:19 PM

How racial stereotypes impact the way we communicate

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Racial stereotypes and expectations can impact the way we communicate and understand others, according to new research. The new study highlights how non-verbal “social cues” – such as photographs of Chinese Canadians – can affect how we comprehend speech.... Read more »

Babel, M., & Russell, J. (2015) Expectations and speech intelligibility. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(5), 2823-2833. DOI: 10.1121/1.4919317  

  • May 31, 2015
  • 12:03 PM

Shots Fired in the Battle Over the Cinmar Biface . . . But Does it Actually Matter to the Solutrean Hypothesis?

by Andrew White in AndyWhiteAnthropology

The Cinmar biface featured on the cover of Stanford and Bradley's (2013) book. Image source: week, Darrin Lowery responded to questions raised about the circumstances of the discovery of the Cinmar biface, a bi-pointed stone tool that resembles, at least superficially, artifacts made and used by the Solutrean peoples of Upper Paleolithic Europe.  The point was reportedly dredged ........ Read more »

  • May 30, 2015
  • 02:05 PM

Health factors influence ex-prisoners’ chances of returning to jail

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ex-prisoners with a history of risky drug use, mental illness or poverty are more likely to end up back behind bars. Those who are obese, are chronically ill or have attempted suicide are more likely to remain in the community. These are some of the findings from an exploratory study into health-related factors that could be used to predict whether a person released from prison will end up in custody again.... Read more »

  • May 29, 2015
  • 04:30 PM

Restricting firearms access for people who misuse alcohol may prevent violence

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Restricting access to firearms for people who misuse alcohol could prevent firearm violence, but policies that more clearly define alcohol misuse should be developed to facilitate enforcement, according to a review of existing research and public policies by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program.... Read more »

  • May 29, 2015
  • 02:12 PM

What's a "Species"?

by Andrew White in AndyWhiteAnthropology

The naming of a new species of hominid -- Australopithecus  deyiremeda -- made a lot of news this week.  The purpose of this post is not to worry over the details of the fossils that were used to construct this new taxon, but to ask for some clarification about what is actually meant by the term "species" as paleoanthropologists use it.  I'm going to tell you what I think it means, then I'm going to complain about it a little bit, then I'm going to ask you to tell me what you thin........ Read more »

Haile-Selassie Y, Gibert L, Melillo SM, Ryan TM, Alene M, Deino A, Levin NE, Scott G, & Saylor BZ. (2015) New species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene hominin diversity. Nature, 521(7553), 483-8. PMID: 26017448  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 01:25 PM

Human Evolution and the Stone Tool "Problem"

by Andrew White in AndyWhiteAnthropology

The recent announcement of the discovery in stone tools in Kenya dating to 3.3 million years ago (MYA) has been greeted with a lot of fanfare.  I first heard the story at some point earlier in the academic year, and I know there was a lot of buzz about it at the SAAs and Paleoanthropology meetings in San Francisco in April.  The publication of a formal paper in Nature last week (“3.3-Million-Year-Old Stone [...] ... Read more »

Harmand S, Lewis JE, Feibel CS, Lepre CJ, Prat S, Lenoble A, Boës X, Quinn RL, Brenet M, Arroyo A.... (2015) 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 521(7552), 310-5. PMID: 25993961  

  • May 27, 2015
  • 10:37 AM

Evidence of Violence from a Late Black Death Cemetery

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

When we study history, we tend to focus on the big events. This is especially true for medieval England where history is defined by wars, plagues, famines, and major changes […]... Read more »

  • May 26, 2015
  • 08:15 PM

Voice of China on the move

by Alexandra Grey in Language on the Move

It’s a weeknight at the Sydney Town Hall, an ornate 19th century building in the city centre. Almost everyone bustling in the entryway is of Chinese extraction, except the ushers (and me). They’re all ages, and as I pour inside … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 09:00 AM


by Rodney Steadman in Gravity's Pull

The Neolithic Revolution changed human health for all future generations. It has influenced our diet and how we design and live in our cities.... Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 05:35 AM

Further support for the Gradual Audiomotor Evolution (GAE) hypothesis?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Four chimpanzees born at the Primate Reserach Institute, Kyoto University recently participated in a finger-tapping experiment much like those that have been done for decades with humans (Repp, 2005). Two of them, Chloe and Cleo, showed signs of synchronization, according to a study that just came out in Scientific Reports.... Read more »

Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2013) Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(274). info:/

  • May 19, 2015
  • 10:14 PM

Are the children of intermarried couples smarter?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Ever since my research for my 2002 book Bilingual Couples Talk I’ve regularly been told by people – or been asked to confirm their belief – that a cross-cultural relationship is beneficial once the couple have children. The children are … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 19, 2015
  • 04:21 PM

Suicide and skin color, or how being black is killing you

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The great racial divide, despite all the evidence showing that racism, hate and frankly plain stupidity is alive and well, there are people who cannot accept it. This probably will not change anything for those people, but for the first time a new study shows that while suicide rates in children younger than 12 have remained steady for the past 20 years, there are significantly higher suicide rates among black children.... Read more »

Bridge, J., Asti, L., Horowitz, L., Greenhouse, J., Fontanella, C., Sheftall, A., Kelleher, K., & Campo, J. (2015) Suicide Trends Among Elementary School–Aged Children in the United States From 1993 to 2012. JAMA Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0465  

  • May 19, 2015
  • 07:00 AM

Rap Revolution: The Musical Evolution

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

After soul, rock, and disco, rap is the biggest musical change of the past 50 years.
... Read more »

Mauch, M., MacCallum, R., Levy, M., & Leroi, A. (2015) The evolution of popular music: USA 1960-2010. Royal Society Open Science, 2(5), 150081-150081. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150081  

  • May 16, 2015
  • 01:22 PM

The relationship between CEO greed and company performance

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

That gut feeling many workers, laborers and other underlings have about their CEOs is spot on, according to three recent studies which all suggest that CEO greed is bad for business.But how do you define greed? Are compassionate CEOs better for business? How do you know if the leader is doing more harm than good? And can anybody rein in the I-Me-Mine type leader anyway?... Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 04:02 PM

The Dependency Ratio in Human Evolution

by Andrew White in AndyWhiteAnthropology

As far as I know, humans are unique among animals in having an extended period between weaning and being able to subsist on their own.  We call this “childhood.”  The long period of post-weaning dependence provides our large brains with a lot of time to mature.  It also requires a lot of parental investment (in terms of time, energy, calories, etc.) and means that we would have to wait a long time between offspring if each one had to independent before the mother could have an [...] ... Read more »

  • May 15, 2015
  • 11:36 AM

Which Baby Animals Look Cute? It May Be No Accident

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Sure, there are faces only a mother could love. And then there are faces no mother loves, because they belong to animals that fend for themselves from birth. The babies we find cutest—no matter what species they are—may have evolved to look that way because they need a parent's attention. That means even a crocodile can tug on our heartstrings.

Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian zoologist, proposed in the mid-20th century that human infants are cute for a reason. He said evolution has created ad........ Read more »

  • May 14, 2015
  • 12:16 PM

Death and Landscapes: Why Does Location Matter?

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

This week, I’m attending the Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values conference at UMass Amherst. I am going to be speaking Thursday at the 8-10 am session, “Universities as Examples of […]... Read more »

Howard M. R. Williams. (1997) Ancient Landscapes and the dead: the reuse of prehistoric and Roman monuments as early Anglo-Saxon burial sites. Medieval Archaeology, 1-31. info:/

Lynne Goldstein. (1995) Landscapes and Mortuary Practices. Regional Approaches to Mortuary Analysis Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology, 101-121. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4899-1310-4_5  

  • May 13, 2015
  • 12:01 AM

“Naughty boys” trying to learn

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Teacher expectations can constitute a self-fulfilling prophecy: teachers behave differently towards children depending on their expectations of them. The ways in which teachers treat students affect students’ self-concept, motivation, achievement and aspirations. Over time, the performance of high-expectation students will … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 10:24 AM

Human Remains on Display in Prehispanic Northwest Mexico

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

Human remains are powerful statements. They can be a symbol of violence, veneration, respect, disrespect, memory, or art. As archaeologists, we need to be careful about the ways that we […]... Read more »

  • May 4, 2015
  • 06:00 AM

‘Megafloods’ Spurred Collapse of Ancient City of Cahokia, New Study Finds

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

It’s been attributed to war, crop failures, political strife, and even an epic fire. But new research in the heart of one of North America’s most influential prehistoric cultures suggests that its demise may have been brought about, at least in part, by disastrous “megafloods.”
... Read more »

Munoz SE, Gruley KE, Massie A, Fike DA, Schroeder S, & Williams JW. (2015) Cahokia's emergence and decline coincided with shifts of flood frequency on the Mississippi River. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25941363  

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