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  • April 20, 2011
  • 05:06 PM

The Sins of Evolutionary Psychology

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In 1902, Rudyard Kipling published his wonderfully imaginative Just So Stories. What child does not thrill to learn “How the Camel Got His Hump” or “How the Leopard Got His Spots“? When I was six years old, my grandmother read “How the Whale Got His Throat” and I swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Having [...]... Read more »

Panksepp, Jaak, & Panksepp, Jules. (2000) The Seven Sins of Evolutionary Psychology. Evolution and Cognition, 6(2), 108-131. info:other/

  • April 19, 2011
  • 05:48 PM

Europeans as Middle Eastern farmers

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

The Pith: Over the past 10,000 years a small coterie of farming populations expanded rapidly and replaced hunter-gatherer groups which were once dominant across the landscape. So, the vast majority of the ancestry of modern Europeans can be traced back to farming cultures of the eastern Mediterranean which swept over the west of Eurasia between 10 and 5 thousand years before the before.
Dienekes Pontikos points me to a new paper in PNAS which uses a coalescent model of 400+ mitochondrial DNA l........ Read more »

Gignoux CR, Henn BM, & Mountain JL. (2011) Rapid, global demographic expansions after the origins of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(15), 6044-9. PMID: 21444824  

  • April 19, 2011
  • 02:08 PM

Supernatural Punishment Theory: History Free Zone?

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Over at the Evolution of Religion Project, Dominic Johnson comments on the first target article which will appear in what promises to be a fantastic new journal, Religion, Brain, and Behavior. Because the first issue has yet to be published, I will have to rely on Johnson’s summary:
Jeff Schloss and Michael Murray have written a [...]... Read more »

Stark, R. (2001) Gods, Rituals, and the Moral Order. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40(4), 619-636. DOI: 10.1111/0021-8294.00081  

  • April 19, 2011
  • 12:12 PM

Creationists, this is the evidence you have to beat

by Björn Brembs in

The last decades of research on human evolution have provided an astounding body of converging evidence for an African origin of the human lineage just under about 200k years ago, with a subsequent migration across the globe starting around 60k years ago until all the main regions of this planet were inhabited by humans at around 15k years ago. Compare this scenario to the creationist story, where humans were shaped by a magic man out of clay about 6k years ago, which means it happened just a........ Read more »

Green, R., Krause, J., Ptak, S., Briggs, A., Ronan, M., Simons, J., Du, L., Egholm, M., Rothberg, J., Paunovic, M.... (2006) Analysis of one million base pairs of Neanderthal DNA. Nature, 444(7117), 330-336. DOI: 10.1038/nature05336  

Linz, B., Balloux, F., Moodley, Y., Manica, A., Liu, H., Roumagnac, P., Falush, D., Stamer, C., Prugnolle, F., van der Merwe, S.... (2007) An African origin for the intimate association between humans and Helicobacter pylori. Nature, 445(7130), 915-918. DOI: 10.1038/nature05562  

  • April 19, 2011
  • 08:41 AM

The Return of the Phoneme Inventories

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Right, I already referred to Atkinson’s paper in a previous post, and much of the work he’s presented is essentially part of a potential PhD project I’m hoping to do. Much of this stems back to last summer, where I mentioned how the phoneme inventory size correlates with certain demographic features, such as population size and population . . . → Read More: The Return of the Phoneme Inventories... Read more »

  • April 19, 2011
  • 08:20 AM

Croatia: Saying NO to the EU

by Anamaria in Eurosymbols

On Friday 15th of April 2011, the International Criminal Court for Former Yugoslavia (ICC) sentenced two Croatian generals to 24, respectively 18, years in prison for war crimes, committed during “Operation Storm” (1995). The decision sent off a wave of shock and disbelief in Croatia, where the general self-perception is that of victim and not [...]... Read more »

Harrison, S. (1995) Four Types of Symbolic Conflict. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1(2), 255. DOI: 10.2307/3034688  

  • April 19, 2011
  • 04:09 AM

Language Is General?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

So according to the authors of a paper in Nature:It suggests rather that language is part of not a specialised module distinct from the rest of cognition, but more part of broad human cognitive skills.The paper is Evolved structure of language shows lineage-specific trends in word-order universals. They found that the various grammatical rules governing the proper order of different words in a sentence changed over time, and crucially that there were no fixed associations between them: no corr........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2011
  • 09:37 PM

What Death Means to Primates

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A picture is worth a thousand words, the old saying goes, though what those words are is not always clear.
In November of 2009, National Geographic ran a stunning photograph of a chimpanzee funeral. Sixteen chimpanzees – arrayed behind a wire fence – look on as workers at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center show them the [...]... Read more »

Anderson, J., Gillies, A., & Lock, L. (2010) Pan thanatology. Current Biology, 20(8). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.02.010  

Fashing, P., Nguyen, N., Barry, T., Goodale, C., Burke, R., Jones, S., Kerby, J., Lee, L., Nurmi, N., & Venkataraman, V. (2011) Death among geladas (Theropithecus gelada): a broader perspective on mummified infants and primate thanatology. American Journal of Primatology, 73(5), 405-409. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20902  

  • April 18, 2011
  • 05:05 PM

Power, Confidence, and High-Heels

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

This week AiP investigates our relationship with fashion. Today, we’ll delve into the appeal of high-heels. On Wednesday, we’ll discuss a particular color trend in New York City. And on Friday, we’ll explore the psychology behind brands. As always, comments are welcome.

Cinderella got the prince and Dorothy was envied. Why? They donned fabulous shoes. What’s the deal with women’s relationship to their footwear?

Watch Me Walk Away

Click. Click. Click. Click.

With each measured s........ Read more »

E.O. Smith. (1999) High Heels and Evolution: Natural Selection, Sexual Selection, and High Heels. Psychology, Evolution, and Gender, 1(3), 245-277. info:/

  • April 17, 2011
  • 12:11 PM

Calculating the value of a year of human life in $US

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

do_sud_thumb("","Calculating the value of a... Read more »

Tengs, T., Adams, M., Pliskin, J., Safran, D., Siegel, J., Weinstein, M., & Graham, J. (1995) Five-Hundred Life-Saving Interventions and Their Cost-Effectiveness. Risk Analysis, 15(3), 369-390. DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.1995.tb00330.x  

Mohammadi, & Sadeghian. (2011) iFAST: An Intelligent Fire-Threat Assessment and Size-up Technology for First Responders. Proceedings of IEEE Symposium Series in Computational Intelligence. info:/

  • April 16, 2011
  • 02:51 PM

Tricksters, Selfishness & Altruism

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In evolutionary biology, few issues have caused more debate than altruism or what appears to be altruism. It is generally accepted that selection operates on individual organisms and that these organisms are selfishly interested in their own survival and reproduction. Another way of stating this is that individual organisms are interested solely in passing along [...]... Read more »

  • April 15, 2011
  • 02:21 PM

The Allure of Gay Cavemen

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Neuron Culture at Wired:In 1993 the reputable German weekly Der Spiegel reported a rumor that Otzi, the 5,300-year-old frozen mummy discovered in the Otztal Alps two years earlier, contained evidence of the world's earliest known homosexual act. "In Otzi's Hintern," wrote the editors, referring to the Iceman's hinterland, "Spermien gefunden worden." (If you require a translation, chances are you didn't want to know anyway.) The rumor quickly s........ Read more »

Will Roscoe. (2000) Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. Macmillan. info:/

  • April 15, 2011
  • 02:21 PM

The Allure of Gay Cavemen

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Neuron Culture at Wired:In 1993 the reputable German weekly Der Spiegel reported a rumor that Otzi, the 5,300-year-old frozen mummy discovered in the Otztal Alps two years earlier, contained evidence of the world's earliest known homosexual act. "In Otzi's Hintern," wrote the editors, referring to the Iceman's hinterland, "Spermien gefunden worden." (If you require a translation, chances are you didn't want to know anyway.) The rumor quickly s........ Read more »

Will Roscoe. (2000) Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. Macmillan. info:/

  • April 14, 2011
  • 03:07 PM

Mountain Dwarfs & Earthquakes

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Before there were materialist explanations of nature’s unpredictable fury, there were stories. These stories were not mere entertainment, but were attempts to make sense of that which was inexplicable. The world is of course an unpredictable place. We were powerfully reminded of this but one month ago, as an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan.
Modern Japanese [...]... Read more »

Cruikshank, Julie. (1992) Invention of Anthropology in British Columbia's Supreme Court: Oral Tradition as Evidence in Delgamuukw v. B.C. BC Studies, 25-42. info:other/

  • April 13, 2011
  • 01:49 PM

Who Gets Autism?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

According to a major new report from Australia, social and family factors associated with autism are associated with a lower risk of intellectual disability - and vice versa. But why?The paper is from Leonard et al and it's published in PLoS ONE, so it's open access if you want to take a peek. The authors used a database system in the state of Western Australia which allowed them to find out what happened to all of the babies born between 1984 and 1999 who were still alive as of 2005. There were........ Read more »

Leonard H, Glasson E, Nassar N, Whitehouse A, Bebbington A, Bourke J, Jacoby P, Dixon G, Malacova E, Bower C.... (2011) Autism and intellectual disability are differentially related to sociodemographic background at birth. PloS one, 6(3). PMID: 21479223  

  • April 12, 2011
  • 03:32 AM

Experimental Biology Blogging: On Thick Skulls and...Chewing.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

People often complain to their friends when others don't "get" something they are trying to say "they can't get it through their thick skulls". Words like "boneheaded" and "numbskull" are things we all recognize. But it might surprise you to realize that our skulls are, on average...very thin. At least compared to our ancestors. In [...]... Read more »

  • April 10, 2011
  • 03:29 PM

Gay Cavemen & Buried Shamans

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

This past week, British newspapers carried sensational headlines about an archaeological find in Prague: “First Homosexual Caveman Found” (The Telegraph) and “Oldest Gay in the Village: 5,000 Year Old is ‘Outed’ By the Way He Was Buried” (Daily Mail). Although the assemblage in question has not been published in a journal, the archaeologists called a [...]... Read more »

Grosman, L., Munro, N., & Belfer-Cohen, A. (2008) A 12,000-year-old Shaman burial from the southern Levant (Israel). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(46), 17665-17669. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0806030105  

  • April 9, 2011
  • 05:25 AM

Detecting pathogens in medieval Venice

by Michelle Ziegler in Contagions

Medieval Venice was a trading empire, one of the busiest ports of the late medieval world. As a hub of commerce waves of plague visited and revisited Venice in 1348, 1462, 1485, 1506, 1575-1577, and 1630-1632 with the last two producing mortality rates around 30% of the population (Tran et al, 2011). As we all [...]... Read more »

Fournier PE, Ndihokubwayo JB, Guidran J, Kelly PJ, & Raoult D. (2002) Human pathogens in body and head lice. Emerging infectious diseases, 8(12), 1515-8. PMID: 12498677  

Foucault C, Brouqui P, & Raoult D. (2006) Bartonella quintana characteristics and clinical management. Emerging infectious diseases, 12(2), 217-23. PMID: 16494745  

  • April 6, 2011
  • 06:01 PM

Sleepy or Empathetic: What Does Yawning Mean?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

You know that old phrase, "monkey see, monkey do"? Well, there might be something to it, except that chimpanzees aren't monkeys. (Sadly, "ape see, ape do" just doesn't have the same ring to it.) A new paper published today in PLoS ONE has found evidence that chimpanzees have contagious yawning - that is, they can "catch" yawns from watching other chimpanzees yawning - but (and here's the interesting part) only when the chimp that they're watching is a friend.

At first, scientists thought that........ Read more »

Matthew W. Campbell, & Frans B. M. de Waal. (2011) Ingroup-Outgroup Bias in Contagious Yawning by Chimpanzees Supports Link to Empathy. PLoS ONE, 6(4). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0018283

  • April 6, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

If I objectify you, will it make you feel bad enough to objectify yourself? On shopping, sexiness and hormones.

by Kate Clancy in Context & Variation

This post critiques recent work on "sexy" shopping behavior during high and low fertility periods in the menstrual cycle.... Read more »

Durante, KM, Griskevicius, V, Hill, SE, Perilloux, C, & Li, NP. (2011) Ovulation, female competition, and product choice: hormonal influences on consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(6), 921-934. info:/

Fehring, R., Schneider, M., & Raviele, K. (2006) Variability in the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, Neonatal Nursing, 35(3), 376-384. DOI: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2006.00051.x  

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