Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt together with dental technicians have digitally analysed modern human teeth using an engineering approach, finite element method, to evaluate the biomechanical behaviour of teeth under realistic loading.... Read more »
Sandra Jacob. (2013) Material loss protects teeth against fatigue failure. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. info:/
There are many things that can happen to a body between death and burial. A good example of this process is Weekend at Bernie’s. Bernie Lomax is murdered within the first twenty minutes of the movie, but he remains an important character as Richard and Larry feign that he is alive in order to continue to … Continue reading »... Read more »
André, A., Leahy, R., & Rottier, S. (2013) Cremated Human Remains Deposited in Two Phases: Evidence from the Necropolis of the Tuileries Site (Lyon, France: 2nd Century AD). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2317
With increasing evidence for Mesoamerican influence at Chaco in recent years, it’s worth taking a close look at what was going on in Mesoamerica itself during the Chacoan era. As I’ve mentioned before, there is some reason to believe that the most likely area to look to for direct influence in the Southwest is West Mexico, [...]... Read more »
The Shambulance is an occasional series in which I try to find the truth about bogus or overhyped health products. Helping me keep the Shambulance on course are Steven Swoap and Daniel Lynch, both biology professors at Williams College.
Sticking a Q-tip up one’s nose is not the source of many great insights. Yet it’s how an American doctor in the early 20th century developed the theory that became modern reflexology. He would be proud—though maybe a little confused—to see people to........ Read more »
Ernst, E., Posadzki, P., & Lee, M. (2011) Reflexology: An update of a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Maturitas, 68(2), 116-120. DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.10.011
In archaeology, we are constantly getting updates on old material. When results are released, it isn’t always when the study itself is complete. Further, new methods or techniques may lead to re-analysis of older sites and remains, revealing new conclusions. Updates on old topics can cause increased debate, or end arguments completely depending on the … Continue reading »... Read more »
Geib, P., & Hurst, W. (2013) Should dates trump context? Evaluation of the Cave 7 skeletal assemblage radiocarbon dates. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(6), 2754-2770. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.01.034
Coltrain, J., Janetski, J., & Lewis, M. (2012) A re-assessment of Basketmaker II cave 7: massacre site or cemetery context. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39(7), 2220-2230. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.02.018
Martin, R., Naftel, S., Macfie, S., Jones, K., & Nelson, A. (2013) Pb distribution in bones from the Franklin expedition: synchrotron X-ray fluorescence and laser ablation/mass spectroscopy. Applied Physics A, 111(1), 23-29. DOI: 10.1007/s00339-013-7579-5
A mass grave is a burial that includes multiple individuals within one grave. The term is often used for burials with three or more individuals, since burials less than that can be normal burial activity. Usually, the finding of a mass grave means that something specific occurred to cause this, since it is not a … Continue reading »... Read more »
Gowland, R., & Chamberlain, A. T. (2005) Detecting plague : palaeodemographic characterisation of a catastrophic death assemblage. Antiquity, 79(303), 146-157. info:/
Kjellstrom, A. (2005) A sixteenth-century warrior grave from Uppsala, Sweden: the Battle of Good Friday. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 15(1), 23-50. DOI: 10.1002/oa.746
The annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists were going on all last week, and I gave my first talk before the Association. The talk focused on using resampling methods and the abysmal human fossil record to assess whether human-like brain size growth rates were present in our >1 mya ancestor Homo erectus. This is something I've actually been sitting on for a while, but wanted to wait til the talk to post for all to see. Here's a brief version:Background: Hu........ Read more »
Coqueugniot H, Hublin JJ, Veillon F, Houët F, & Jacob T. (2004) Early brain growth in Homo erectus and implications for cognitive ability. Nature, 431(7006), 299-302. PMID: 15372030
Coqueugniot H, & Hublin JJ. (2012) Age-related changes of digital endocranial volume during human ontogeny: results from an osteological reference collection. American journal of physical anthropology, 147(2), 312-8. PMID: 22190338
DeSilva JM, & Lesnik JJ. (2008) Brain size at birth throughout human evolution: a new method for estimating neonatal brain size in hominins. Journal of human evolution, 55(6), 1064-74. PMID: 18789811
Herculano-Houzel S. (2012) The remarkable, yet not extraordinary, human brain as a scaled-up primate brain and its associated cost. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 10661-8. PMID: 22723358
Herndon JG, Tigges J, Anderson DC, Klumpp SA, & McClure HM. (1999) Brain weight throughout the life span of the chimpanzee. The Journal of comparative neurology, 409(4), 567-72. PMID: 10376740
Leigh SR. (2004) Brain growth, life history, and cognition in primate and human evolution. American journal of primatology, 62(3), 139-64. PMID: 15027089
Neubauer, S., Gunz, P., Schwarz, U., Hublin, J., & Boesch, C. (2012) Brief communication: Endocranial volumes in an ontogenetic sample of chimpanzees from the taï forest national park, ivory coast. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 147(2), 319-325. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21641
Sakai T, Matsui M, Mikami A, Malkova L, Hamada Y, Tomonaga M, Suzuki J, Tanaka M, Miyabe-Nishiwaki T, Makishima H.... (2013) Developmental patterns of chimpanzee cerebral tissues provide important clues for understanding the remarkable enlargement of the human brain. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1753), 20122398. PMID: 23256194
Evolution skeptics argue that some biological structures, like the brain or the eye, are simply too complex for natural selection to explain. Biologists have proposed various ways that so-called ‘irreducibly complex’ structures could emerge incrementally over time, bit by bit. But a new study proposes an alternative route.... Read more »
Robin Ann Smith. (2013) Study proposes alternative way to explain life's complexity. EurekAlert. info:/
A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores the question of penis size and female preference in humans. The study involved making a set of 3D models of human males of various relative body sizes, and fitting them out with various size flaccid penises. These were shown to a…... Read more »
Mautz, B., Wong, B., Peters, R., & Jennions, M. (2013) Penis size interacts with body shape and height to influence male attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1219361110
Sea lion is first non-human animal to keep a beat
Ronan is the first known non-human mammal successfully trained to bob
her head in time with a metronome-like sound — and then to apply her new
skill to tempos and music she had not previously heard, according to
researchers at the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of
California, Santa Cruz.
This is the biggest news in auditory (or at least musical) animal behavior, right now. Make sure you get to the bottom of the linked page wh........ Read more »
Honing, H., Merchant, H., Háden, G., Prado, L., & Bartolo, R. (2012) Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta) Detect Rhythmic Groups in Music, but Not the Beat. PLoS ONE, 7(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051369
If you watch the tv show Bones, you know that every once in a while Brennan will determine some activity that the deceased did based purely on their skeletal remains. For example, in the Pilot episode she determines that the deceased is a young woman who played tennis. The determination of the activity was based on … Continue reading »... Read more »
Villotte, S., & Knüsel, C. (2013) Understanding Entheseal Changes: Definition and Life Course Changes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 23(2), 135-146. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2289
Cardoso, F., & Henderson, C. (2013) The Categorisation of Occupation in Identified Skeletal Collections: A Source of Bias?. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 23(2), 186-196. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2285
Henderson, C., Craps, D., Caffell, A., Millard, A., & Gowland, R. (2013) Occupational Mobility in 19th Century Rural England: The Interpretation of Entheseal Changes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 23(2), 197-210. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2286
Glossolalia – ‘speaking in tongues‘ – is a practice best known in association with ‘Charismatic’ branches of Christianity. Practitioners, often as part of religious services, produce streams of speech which correspond to no known language. But could glossolalia sometimes be associated with a brain abnormality? Here’s an interesting case report: Temporal lobe discharges and glossolalia [...]... Read more »
Last year, there was quite a bit of excitement over a “Genetic Test To Predict Risk for Autism”. The test was revealed in a paper in Molecular Psychiatry, by Australian researchers Skafidas and colleagues. The claim was that a statistical classifier could spot patterns of genetic variation that differed between people with autism and healthy [...]... Read more »
Belgard, T., Jankovic, I., Lowe, J., & Geschwind, D. (2013) Population structure confounds autism genetic classifier. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2013.34
Last week I discussed a way of preserving bodies almost indefinitely in some cases: embalming. On the other side of this is decay, the process of bodily decline and biological breakdown of the flesh. If you’ve ever watched any of the forensics crime shows, you know that understanding decay and changes in the body can … Continue reading »... Read more »
Lieverse, A., Weber, A., & Goriunova, O. (2006) Human taphonomy at Khuzhir-Nuge XIV, Siberia: a new method for documenting skeletal condition. Journal of Archaeological Science, 33(8), 1141-1151. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2005.12.001
The business and self-help section of my local Kinokuniya bookstore is currently featuring shelves and shelves of Marketplace 3.0: Rewriting the rules of borderless business by Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Rakuten. I’m not a fan … Continue reading →... Read more »
Gazzola, M., & Grin, F. (2013) Is ELF more effective and fair than translation? An evaluation of the EU's multilingual regime. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(1), 93-107. DOI: 10.1111/ijal.12014
The decisions of this chimpanzee living in the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary are affected by his social situation. Photo by Alex Rosati.If you have a choice between a prize that is awesome half the time and totally lame the other half of the time or a mediocre prize that is a sure-thing, which would you choose? Your choice probably depends on your personality somewhat. It may also depend on your needs and your mood. And it can depend on social contexts, like if you’re competing with someone........ Read more »
Rosati, A., & Hare, B. (2012) Decision making across social contexts: competition increases preferences for risk in chimpanzees and bonobos. Animal Behaviour, 84(4), 869-879. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.07.010
In modern societies, perfect health and being in-shape are often associated with wealth. Those who have more money have better access to healthier food, ability to hire nutritionists, access to the best gyms and health related centers, and overall tend to be in better health than their poorer counterparts. In the past few years, studies have … Continue reading »... Read more »
Pētersone-Gordina, E., Gerhards, G., & Jakob, T. (2013) Nutrition-related health problems in a wealthy 17–18th century German community in Jelgava, Latvia. International Journal of Paleopathology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.01.002
Not sure why, but this photo of two young scientists working off Greenland has been in my mind for the last 3 days. It shows a 25-year graduate student of Anthropology from Columbia University, Frederica de Laguna, with one of … Continue reading →... Read more »
VanStone, J., & de Laguna, F. (1980) Voyage to Greenland: A Personal Initiation into Anthropology. Ethnohistory, 27(2), 191. DOI: 10.2307/481234
The Great Basin and northern Colorado Plateau were occupied at the time of European Contact (generally between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century for this region) by a variety of relatively small groups of hunter-gatherers, all of whom spoke closely related languages belonging to the Uto-Aztecan language family. By the early twentieth century these [...]... Read more »
Bettinger, R., & Baumhoff, M. (1982) The Numic Spread: Great Basin Cultures in Competition. American Antiquity, 47(3), 485. DOI: 10.2307/280231
Kaestle, F., & Smith, D. (2001) Ancient mitochondrial DNA evidence for prehistoric population movement: The numic expansion. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 115(1), 1-12. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.1051
Steward, J. (1937) Linguistic Distributions and Political Groups of the Great Basin Shoshoneans. American Anthropologist, 39(4), 625-634. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1937.39.4.02a00070
What is a male? What is a female?
If you were to conduct a survey, most people would probably have little difficulty expressing some fundamental differences. After all, we learn to tell boys apart from girls in early childhood.
Answers in the survey might revolve largely around differences between the sexes in anatomy (including genitalia of course), or might even extend to sex-specific or sex-biased roles in reproduction (which sex gives birth, lactates, is typically the primary carer, an........ Read more »
Paco Garcia-Gonzalez, Damian Dowling, & Magdalena Nystrand. (2013) Male, female – ah, what’s the difference?. The Conversation. info:/
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