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  • June 25, 2011
  • 04:25 PM
  • 1,312 views

World’s Oldest Rock Symbols?

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

The holy grail of archaeology is to discover the earliest evidence of symbolic thought in humans. Generally speaking, symbolism means that one thing represents or stands for another. In its most basic form, symbolic thought is iconic: an object in the world (e.g., rock) is related to an idea in the mind (e.g., person).
Because this [...]... Read more »

Bednarik, R. (2003) A Figurine from the African Acheulian. Current Anthropology, 44(3), 405-413. DOI: 10.1086/374900  

d'Errico, Francesco, & Nowell, April. (2000) A New Look at the Berekhat Ram Figurine: Implications for the Origins of Symbolism. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 123-167. info:/10.1017/S0959774300000056

  • June 24, 2011
  • 08:58 AM
  • 1,929 views

The Great Atlantic Divide – Why Europeans Riot (but American’s don’t)

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

A fireball erupts as civilians shriek and run for cover. A security officer burns and a gas mask-wearing man dashes through the smoke. Men beat each another with bats and stones. Shots are fired and grenades hurled as a city centre descends into chaos. Is this a scene from a warzone? No – this is … Continue reading »... Read more »

Alesina, A., Di Tella, R., & MacCulloch, R. (2004) Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?. Journal of Public Economics, 88(9-10), 2009-2042. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2003.07.006  

  • June 22, 2011
  • 07:05 PM
  • 1,173 views

Warren K. Moorehead, Cartoon Villain

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In the spring of 1892, an expedition headed by Warren K. Moorehead traveled through northwestern New Mexico to collect archaeological specimens for the Chicago World’s Fair to be held the next year.  Moorehead was a young man from Ohio who had already conducted considerable excavations there that had drawn the attention of Frederic Ward Putnam [...]... Read more »

  • June 22, 2011
  • 12:48 AM
  • 1,404 views

Chipped Stone

by teofilo in Gambler's House

When it comes to stone tools, archaeologists make a basic distinction between “chipped-stone” and “ground-stone” tools.  Chipped-stone tools are generally those that need to be sharp, such as projectile points, knives, scrapers, and drills, and are typically made of hard stone that keeps an edge.  Some ground-stone tools, such as axes, are also sharp, but [...]... Read more »

  • June 21, 2011
  • 12:43 PM
  • 1,681 views

Post-Hoc Supernatural Punishers

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In the inaugural issue of Religion, Brain & Behavior, Jeffrey Schloss and Michael Murray examine the idea that belief in supernatural agents is adaptive because these agents are punishers: supernatural policeman if you will. This policing can have two effects. First, belief in supernatural punishment can enhance within group cooperation. Second, it can reduce cheating [...]... Read more »

Schloss, Jeffrey P., & Murray, Michael J. (2011) Evolutionary Accounts of Belief in Supernatural Punishment: A Critical Review. Religion, Brain , 1(1), 46-99. info:/10.1080/2153599X.2011.558707

Brandhorst, Mario. (2010) Naturalism and the Genealogy of Moral Institutions. The Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 5-28. info:/

  • June 21, 2011
  • 12:30 PM
  • 2,104 views

Lice, Ancient DNA and Napoleon's Grand Army

by Michelle Ziegler in Contagions

Life in Napoleon’s Grand Army wasn’t always so grand. The Russian campaign was a disaster, recently most tangibly manifest in the mass grave found at Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2001. Local records suggested that the remains belonged to Napoleon’s soldiers who paused at Vilnius during their retreat from Moscow in 1812. The densely packed bodies were buried at the same time leaving behind buttons, buckles and gear of 40 regiments of Napoleon’s army. The initial trench revealed ........ Read more »

Raoult D, Dutour O, Houhamdi L, Jankauskas R, Fournier PE, Ardagna Y, Drancourt M, Signoli M, La VD, Macia Y.... (2006) Evidence for louse-transmitted diseases in soldiers of Napoleon's Grand Army in Vilnius. The Journal of infectious diseases, 193(1), 112-20. PMID: 16323139  

  • June 21, 2011
  • 06:23 AM
  • 1,015 views

We stand on the shoulders of cultural giants

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

In reading The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation in PNAS I couldn’t help but think back to a conversation I had with a few old friends in Evanston in 2003. They were graduate students in mathematics at Northwestern, and at one point one of them expressed some serious frustration at the fact that so many of the science and business students in his introductory calculus courses simply wanted to “learn” a disparate set of techniques, rather than........ Read more »

Robert Boyd, Peter J. Richerson, & Joseph Henrich. (2011) The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1100290108

  • June 21, 2011
  • 06:23 AM
  • 910 views

We stand on the shoulders of cultural giants

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

In reading The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation in PNAS I couldn’t help but think back to a conversation I had with a few old friends in Evanston in 2003. They were graduate students in mathematics at Northwestern, and at one point one of them expressed some serious frustration at the fact that so many of the science and business students in his introductory calculus courses simply wanted to “learn” a disparate set of techniques, rather than........ Read more »

Robert Boyd, Peter J. Richerson, & Joseph Henrich. (2011) The cultural niche: Why social learning is essential for human adaptation. PNAS. info:/10.1073/pnas.1100290108

  • June 21, 2011
  • 04:24 AM
  • 1,109 views

Autism In The I.T. Crowd

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Is autism more common in Silicon Valley?A new study from Simon Baron-Cohen and colleagues asked pretty much this question, although rather than California, they looked at Eindhoven in Holland. Eindhoven is the tech hub of the Netherlands:This region contains the Eindhoven University of Technology, as well as the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, where IT and technology companies such as Philips, ASML, IBM and ATOS Origin are based... 30% of jobs in Eindhoven are now in technology or ICT, in Haarlem an........ Read more »

  • June 20, 2011
  • 11:39 PM
  • 1,242 views

Where They Got the Pots

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Pottery is the most important type of artifact for archaeology in the Southwest.  This is because the agricultural societies of the prehistoric Southwest made huge numbers of pots and often decorated them in distinctive ways that differed both from place to place and over time, often within quite short periods.  With the precision available from [...]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2011
  • 10:53 PM
  • 1,619 views

How Farming Made Us Shorter

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

We usually think of farmers as sturdy, Midwestern types who raise their ruddy-cheeked children on a balanced diet of eggs, potatoes, and chores. A study from researchers at Emory University, though, suggests that our farming ancestors weren't the picture of health. When humans transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming and living in cities, the authors say, they became malnourished and more prone to disease. Oh, and they were shorter.Scientists use height as a rough yardstick of a popula........ Read more »

  • June 20, 2011
  • 04:13 AM
  • 1,907 views

Tyranny of Language

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Our contributor in Karachi, Md. Ali Khan, has alerted me to what seems to be a fascinating book: The Tyranny of Language in Education by Zubeida Mustafa published by Ushba Books. I’d love to read the book but trying to … Continue reading →... Read more »

Han, Huamei. (2011) Social inclusion through multilingual ideologies, policies and practices: a case study of a minority church. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 14(4), 383-398. info:/

  • June 19, 2011
  • 10:43 PM
  • 1,236 views

The View from Dolores

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Southwestern archaeology, especially in the Chaco area, is structured chronologically primarily by the Pecos Classification.  This system was initially worked out at the first Pecos Conference in 1927, and it was originally interpreted as a series of stages in cultural development, with the assumption that sites with similar characteristics and material culture were roughly contemporaneous.  [...]... Read more »

  • June 18, 2011
  • 11:40 AM
  • 1,925 views

Soybean industrial production is bulldozing pre-Columbian archaeological sites in the Bolivian Amazon and nobody gives a damn

by Umberto in Up and Down in Moxos

The journal Applied Geography and the journal Land Use Policy have recently published two papers, “Spatiotemporal modeling of the expansion of mechanized agriculture in the Bolivian lowland forests” and “Deforestation dynamics and policy changes in Bolivia’s post-neoliberal era” respectively, that depict a desolating panorama. The rate of deforestation under Evo Morales’ government is even higher than it was during the previous governments. Muller et al. say that “While overall dyn........ Read more »

Daniel Redo, Andrew C. Millington, & Derrick Hindery. (2011) Deforestation dynamics and policy changes in Bolivia’s post-neoliberal era. Land Use Policy. info:/10.1016/j.landusepol.2010.06.004

Robert Müller, Daniel Müller, Florian Schierhorn, & Gerhard Gerold. (2011) Spatiotemporal modeling of the expansion of mechanized agriculture in the Bolivian lowland forests. Applied Geography. info:/10.1016/j.apgeog.2010.11.018

  • June 17, 2011
  • 05:28 PM
  • 1,293 views

EP Therapy: Foraging Camp for Autistics

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Everyone knows the experience: you happen upon a wreck and know you shouldn’t look but can’t help it. You know there is a chance of seeing something you don’t want to see and which may haunt you, but you look regardless. There should be a word for this and in the absence of one, I [...]... Read more »

Reser, Jared E. (2011) Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis. Evolutionary Psychology, 9(2), 207-238. info:/

  • June 17, 2011
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,444 views

Summer of the pill: why do we menstruate?

by Kate Clancy in Context & Variation

The first in a series on hormonal contraception. This post explores why human women menstruate and how that may impact their contraceptive decisions.... Read more »

  • June 17, 2011
  • 03:27 AM
  • 1,148 views

Bipolar Kids: You Read It Here First

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Last year, I discussed the controvery over the proposed new childhood syndrome of "Temper Disregulation Disorder with Dysphoria" (TDDD). It may be included in the upcoming revision of the psychiatric bible, DSM-V.Back then, I said:TDDD has been proposed in order to reduce the number of children being diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder... many people agree that pediatric bipolar is being over-diagnosed.So we can all sympathize with the sentiment behind TDDD - but this is fighting fire wit........ Read more »

Van Meter AR, Moreira AL, & Youngstrom EA. (2011) Meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies of pediatric bipolar disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. PMID: 21672501  

Axelson DA, Birmaher B, Findling RL, Fristad MA, Kowatch RA, Youngstrom EA, Arnold EL, Goldstein BI, Goldstein TR, Chang KD.... (2011) Concerns regarding the inclusion of temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria in the DSM-V. The Journal of clinical psychiatry. PMID: 21672494  

  • June 15, 2011
  • 10:10 PM
  • 1,426 views

Chocolate Everywhere!

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I mentioned earlier that there was a new paper out on chocolate at Chaco that I needed to read.  I read it today, and it’s quite interesting.  One of the most interesting things about it is that it’s by a different group of researchers than the first one and uses somewhat different methods.  As far [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2011
  • 04:16 PM
  • 3,852 views

To Be or Not to Be Monogamous?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice


What does it mean to be monogamous?Sexual exclusivity between two partners?
A two-party partnership, characterized by cooperation where resources are shared and children are produced?
A genetic commitment to producing offspring with a single partner?
A social system in which only two people are contracted to marriage at a time?
Or is it perhaps some combination of these four?
For some people, establishing yourself in an exclusively committed relationship where you wake up next to the same perso........ Read more »

Curtis, J. Thomas, & Wang, Z. (2003) The Neurochemistry of Pair Bonding. Current Directions in Psychology, 12(2), 49-53. info:/

Fuentes, A. (1998) Re-Evaluating Primate Monogamy. American Anthropologist, 100(4), 890-907. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1998.100.4.890  

  • June 15, 2011
  • 02:34 PM
  • 1,674 views

A Ray of Light on Stonehenge

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

If you have ever suffered through an episode of “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel, you might believe that every megalithic structure in the world was constructed by extraterrestrials:

Apparently inspired by the show, one credulous soul posted this question over at Answers.com: “Can scientists prove that Stonehenge was not built by ancient astronauts?” The pithy [...]... Read more »

Ray, B. (1987) Stonehenge: A New Theory. History of Religions, 26(3), 225. DOI: 10.1086/463079  

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