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  • June 6, 2011
  • 03:56 AM
  • 1,887 views

Save the Planet by… Becoming a Vegan! Do I really have to?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

Veganism – it’s just something for middle-class ‘hippies’ right? Vegans are those tree-hugging, hemp-wearing festival-goers who say ‘man’ far too much. Well perhaps it’s time for a rethink on that stereotype. At least if you care about environment, that is. If you had thought you could do your bit to fight global warming by getting … Continue reading »... Read more »

Gidon Eshel and Pamela A. Marti. (2006) Diet, Energy and Global Warming. Earth Interactions, 10(9), 1-17. DOI: 10.1175/EI167.1  

Fengxia Dong . (2007) Changing Diets in China's Cities: Empirical Fact or Urban Legend?. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. info:/

  • June 4, 2011
  • 04:26 PM
  • 1,968 views

Decoding Frazer’s “Golden Bough”

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Few books in the history of anthropology are better known (but never read) than James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. First published in 1890 (2 volumes), Frazer published a second edition in 1900 (3 volumes), and a rolling third edition between 1911 and 1915 which ballooned to 12 volumes.
Though [...]... Read more »

Ackerman, Robert. (1975) Frazer on Myth and Ritual. Journal of the History of Ideas, 36(1), 115-134. DOI: 10.2307/2709014  

  • June 3, 2011
  • 04:01 AM
  • 1,170 views

Political Suicide

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

When is killing yourself not suicide?In the British Journal of Psychiatry, two psychiatrists and an anthropologist discuss recent cases of self-immolation as a form of political protest in the Arab world:Since ancient times there has been a difference between suicide (an act of self-destruction) and self-immolation which, although self- destructive, has a sacrificial connotation. Self-immolation is associated with terrible physical pain (burning alive) and with the idea of courage... It is, howe........ Read more »

Cheikh IB, Rousseau C, & Mekki-Berrada A. (2011) Suicide as protest against social suffering in the Arab world. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 494-5. PMID: 21628715  

  • June 2, 2011
  • 02:37 PM
  • 1,660 views

Lost in (Western) Translation

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

There is a sense in which we are all cultural narcissists. By this, I mean that because all of us are acculturated at a particular time and in a particular place, we have a strong tendency to view other times and places through our own cultural lens. These lenses are prismatic and what we see [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2011
  • 07:44 AM
  • 1,716 views

Language revitalization and liberation

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

I’ve recently come across the story of Chibana Shoichi, who burnt the Japanese flag in 1987 to commemorate the Okinawan victims of WWII Japanese militarism. The story is intriguing not because of the flag-burning incident but because Shoichi also keeps … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 1, 2011
  • 01:40 PM
  • 1,532 views

The Arabian Middle Paleolithic and the southern route of human dispersal

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

In a comment on my last post, Maju who's a regular commenter on this blog, pointed out that recent finds in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf suggest that modern humans might have been present in the Middle East by the time Shanidar 3 was killed. Some of the specific evidence in support of this that has come out in the past year include that presented by Armitage et al. (2011) and Rose (... Read more »

Petraglia, Michael D., & Alsharekh, Abdullah. (2003) The Middle Palaeolithic of Arabia: Implications for modern human origins, behaviour and dispersals . Antiquity, 77(298), 671-684. info:/

  • May 31, 2011
  • 04:53 PM
  • 1,505 views

Bioarchaeology of Roman Seafood Consumption

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

How much seafood did the Romans eat, and how does imported seafood affect our understanding of their origins?... Read more »

C. Beltrame, D. Gaddi, & S. Parizzi. (2011) A presumed hydraulic apparatus for the transport of live fish, found on the Roman wreck at Grado, Italy. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. info:/10.1111/j.1095-9270.2011.00317.x

  • May 31, 2011
  • 04:14 PM
  • 1,120 views

Vaccines Cause Autism, Until You Look At The Data

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

According to a much-discussed new paper, vaccines may cause autism after all: A Positive Association found between Autism Prevalence and Childhood Vaccination uptake across the U.S. Population.The author is Gayle DeLong, who "teaches international finance at Baruch College, City University of New York", according to her profile as a board member of anti-vaccine group SafeMinds. She correlated rates of coverage of the government recommended full set of vaccines in the 51 US states including Washi........ Read more »

  • May 31, 2011
  • 12:25 PM
  • 2,263 views

Ghostbusting with Gozer

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

According to the Ghostbusters Wiki, Gozer the Gozerian (known also as Gozer the Destructor, Volguus Zildrohar, and Lord of the Sebouillia) is an ancient entity who “was originally worshiped as a god by the Hittites, Mesopotamians, and the Sumerians around 6000 BC.” When not visiting retribution on New York in the form of the Stay [...]... Read more »

  • May 31, 2011
  • 11:53 AM
  • 1,394 views

Stressed Lemurs and Grass-Eating Humans

by Laelaps in Laelaps

In his 1960 presidential address to the South African Archaeological Society, the anthropologist Louis Leakey cast the fossil humans that had been found in that country as little more than a collection of evolutionary dead-ends. Leakey didn’t put it quite like that – that would have been rude – but he did utilize the platform [...]... Read more »

Cerling, T., Mbua, E., Kirera, F., Manthi, F., Grine, F., Leakey, M., Sponheimer, M., & Uno, K. (2011) Diet of Paranthropus boisei in the early Pleistocene of East Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1104627108  

Leakey, L. (1961) Africa's Contribution to the Evolution of Man. The South African Archaeological Bulletin, 16(61), 3. DOI: 10.2307/3887411  

  • May 30, 2011
  • 06:53 PM
  • 1,578 views

Who really killed Shanidar 3?

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

Fun with footnotes, today at AVRPI!! You'll remember that a couple of summers ago, a study by Churchill et al. (2009) tried to argue that the cut marks on a rib from the Shanidar 3 Neanderthal were the result of a wound inflicted by a modern human on that poor sap. Naturally, the science press had a field day with this, although several commentators argued that the evidence presented by Churchill... Read more »

Churchill, S., Franciscus, R., McKean-Peraza, H., Daniel, J., & Warren, B. (2009) Shanidar 3 Neandertal rib puncture wound and paleolithic weaponry. Journal of Human Evolution, 57(2), 163-178. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2009.05.010  

Trinkaus, E., & Buzhilova, A. (2010) The death and burial of sunghir 1. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. DOI: 10.1002/oa.1227  

  • May 30, 2011
  • 02:32 AM
  • 1,302 views

Shamanic Initiations: A hidden Theme within the Fairy Tale of Hansel and Gretel

by Franco Bejarano in CulturePotion

While the fairy tale of "Hansel and Gretel" is often regarded as a coming of age story, the tale actually depicts another kind of rite of passage, that of shamanic initiations. The article is a comparative study with the narrative of initiation rituals around the world, along with other figures of folklore.
To say that by defeating the witch, one becomes a witch would be a paradox, especially in the genre of fairy tales that often demonizes witches, however, given the ambiguity attrib........ Read more »

Joan Halifax. (1990) The shaman's initiation. ReVision, 13(2), 53. info:/9607292149

  • May 29, 2011
  • 10:53 PM
  • 937 views

Health effects from chemical exposures – not just a modern phenomenon

by Ashartus in exposure/effect

When we think about exposures to chemicals causing adverse effects on human health, there is a tendency to view this as a product of modern industrial societies. To some extent this is true – there are certainly potentially hazardous chemicals we are exposed to as a result of our lifestyles, such as volatile chemicals in [...]... Read more »

  • May 29, 2011
  • 06:04 AM
  • 1,148 views

Do Antidepressants Work? The Internet Says...

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

..."yes and no". A while back I blogged about some researchers who analysed internet discussions of antidepressants to work out what users thought about them. Now a new paper's just come out, doing much the same thing but focussed on a single comment thread: Miracle Drug, Poison, or Placebo.Back in 2008, MSNBC ran this article, prompted by the recent publication of the famous Kirsch paper. The article itself was short but the ensuing discussion in the comments rapidly grew to epic proportions. B........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2011
  • 03:18 PM
  • 1,451 views

Religious Evolution: Sami Sticks & Phoenician Stones

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Unlike living organisms, cultural formations do not “evolve.” Evolution, sensu stricto, is a biological process and not a cultural one. Despite this fact, some scholars have fruitfully deployed evolutionary ideas — as analogy and metaphor — to analyze cultural history.
In 1964 the sociologist Robert Bellah did just this in his classic paper, Religious Evolution. Taking [...]... Read more »

Bellah, R. (1964) Religious Evolution. American Sociological Review, 29(3), 358. DOI: 10.2307/2091480  

Stockton, Eugene D. (1974) Phoenician Cult Stones. Australian Journal of Biblical Archaeology, 1-27. info:/

  • May 27, 2011
  • 05:14 PM
  • 1,360 views

Non-Chacoan Kivas at Chaco

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Implicit in my previous discussion of “Chacoan” kivas was the idea that the term “Chacoan” in this context refers to a specific architectural form defined by a collection of features, rather than to a geographic location.  Thus, Chacoan kivas are common at Chaco Canyon, but they are also found at many sites outside the canyon, [...]... Read more »

  • May 27, 2011
  • 02:14 PM
  • 1,161 views

Culinary trends in an extinct hominid

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

A few weeks ago I discussed a recent paper that analyzed the carbon and oxygen isotope ratios from Australopithecus boisei molars (Cerling et al. 2011). The major finding here was that an enlarged sample (n=24 more) corroborated earlier isotopic (van der Merwe et al. 2008) and tooth wear evidence (Ungar et al. 2008) that A. boisei probably did not subsist on as much hard foods as previously thought. Although this strange hominid probably ate mostly grass/aquatic tubers, some researchers think it........ Read more »

  • May 26, 2011
  • 09:02 PM
  • 817 views

What Makes a “Kiva” “Chacoan”?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Sticking with the topic of the small round rooms traditionally called “kivas,” which Steve Lekson would prefer to call simply “round rooms,” it’s important to note that there is a wide variety of formal types.  In addition to the modern distinction between square and round kivas, which is basically geographical with square ones in the [...]... Read more »

  • May 25, 2011
  • 09:29 PM
  • 780 views

What Makes a “Kiva” “Great”?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Although the idea that the small round rooms that area so common at Chacoan sites are ceremonial “kivas” has been increasingly challenged recently, it is still widely accepted that the large, formal, round structures known as “great kivas” were in fact community-wide ceremonial or integrative facilities.  Even Steve Lekson agrees, and he continues to use [...]... Read more »

  • May 25, 2011
  • 08:16 PM
  • 1,549 views

Do hips spread with age?

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

New research by UNC Chapel Hill scientists suggests that hip bones grow with age.... Read more »

Berger AA, May R, Renner JB, Viradia N, & Dahners LE. (2011) Surprising evidence of pelvic growth (widening) after skeletal maturity. Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society. PMID: 21608025  

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