Most of the news lately has been about the plague phylogenetic tree produced by looking at single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The plague tree is remarkably simple and can lead to the mistaken impression that the rest of plague genomics are/will be simple. Michel Drancourt has recently compiled an array of genomic information that shows that [...]... Read more »
Drancourt, M. (2012) Plague in the genomic era. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 224-230. info:/
A new species of monkey has been discovered in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by a team of researchers that included NYU anthropologists Andrew Burrell and Anthony Tosi as well as former NYU doctoral student Kate Detwiler.
Their findings were reported in the online journal PLoS One.... Read more »
James Devitt. (2012) Anthropologists Discover New Monkey Species. New York University News / PLoS ONE. info:/
Mathieu, apparently lacking a sense of beat.Isabelle Peretz, co-director of the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), told me about Mathieu during a workshop at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in November 2009. She was very excited, and was pretty sure she found a 'beat-deaf' person. I couldn’t but share her enthusiasm. In Phillips-Silver et al. (2011) Peretz and her team wrote:'Mathieu was discovered through a recruitment of subjects who felt they could not........ Read more »
Phillips-Silver, J., Toiviainen, P., Gosselin, N., Piché, O., Nozaradan, S., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2011) Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia. Neuropsychologia. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002
Most of the interesting recent events in human evolution probably happened longer ago than we had thought, according to Aylwyn Scally …Continue reading »... Read more »
Scally A, & Durbin R. (2012) Revising the human mutation rate: implications for understanding human evolution. Nature reviews. Genetics. PMID: 22965354
Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and Alabama saw most of the action from the Salmonella outbreak but from an unusual serotype of the microbe, Salmonella muenchen, and CDC investigators were unable to pinpoint its edible source. Michiganders, however, provided local investigators with an interesting lead in the case - 76% of those infected reported personal usage of or "household exposure" to marijuana.... Read more »
Taylor DN, Wachsmuth IK, Shangkuan YH, Schmidt EV, Barrett TJ, Schrader JS, Scherach CS, McGee HB, Feldman RA, & Brenner DJ. (1982) Salmonellosis associated with marijuana: a multistate outbreak traced by plasmid fingerprinting. The New England journal of medicine, 306(21), 1249-53. PMID: 7070444
You’re running around, going about your day, and suddenly you see a dead guy lying in the sidewalk. What do you feel? Sad? Scared? Do you look around to see if you might be in danger too? Would you feel any differently if the dead body on the sidewalk were that of a squirrel, and not a human? Do animals share these same emotional and thought processes when they come across their own dead?Teresa Iglesias, Richard McElreath and Gail Patricelli at the University of California at Davis pondered th........ Read more »
Iglesias, T.L., McElreath, R., & Patricelli, G.L. (2012) Western scrub-jay funerals: cacophonous aggregations in response to dead conspecifics. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.08.007
Wandering through Victorian cemeteries in Scotland and England, it is highly likely that you will run into a few graves that have large iron grates over the top of them. One of the theories behind the purpose for these large rodded contraptions is that they were meant to prevent the dead from coming back to … Continue reading »... Read more »
Clint Eastwood’s rambling monologue with an empty chair has prompted Jesse Bering to think about imaginary friends — the kind who, if you believe they are real, watch you at all times. It’s a creepy sort of surveillance that has the salubrious effect of deterring those who are tempted to cheat.
For years, Bering has been [...]... Read more »
Piazza J, Bering JM, & Ingram G. (2011) "Princess Alice is watching you": children's belief in an invisible person inhibits cheating. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109(3), 311-20. PMID: 21377689
Around 60,000 years ago, modern humans left Africa, the cradle of our species. As we spread across the face of …Continue reading »... Read more »
Eriksson A, & Manica A. (2012) Effect of ancient population structure on the degree of polymorphism shared between modern human populations and ancient hominins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(35), 13956-60. PMID: 22893688
Sriram Sankararaman, Nick Patterson, Heng Li, Svante Pääbo, & David Reich. (2012) The date of interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans. arXiv. arXiv: 1208.2238v1
Archaeothanatology, or anthropologie de terrain, is a method in mortuary archaeology which is based on using taphonomy to infer unknowns about burial context. As espoused by Duday (2009), the method requires detailed recording during excavation including the identification of skeletal elements in situ, anatomical orientation, and spatial relationship to other elements. Archaeothanatology aims to identify and … Continue reading »... Read more »
Wright, Joshua. (2007) Organizational principles of Khirigsuur monuments in the lower Egiin Gol valley, Mongolia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2007.04.001
Littleton, J, Floyd, B, Frohlich, B, Dickson, M, Amgalantogs, T, Karstens, S, & Pearlstein, K. (2012) Taphonomic analysis of Bronze Age burials in Mongolian khirigsuurs. Journal of Archaeological Science. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.06.004
Sooner or later, anyone studying Cheyenne ethnohistory will get round to reading George Bird Grinnell’s two volume work on this famous Plains tribe. Grinnell, a fascinating character, graduated from Yale in 1880 with a PhD in zoology. He did his fieldwork in the west and his interest in the American bison enabled him to accompany [...]... Read more »
The Out of Africa (OoA) hypothesis postulates that our species arose in Africa from earlier archaic forms from 400,000 – 195,000 years ago. Then, ~60,000 years ago, some of our ancestors migrated out of Africa and colonised the rest of the world, out-competing their hominin relatives who were already living in these other regions. However, … Continue reading »... Read more »
Demeter F, Shackelford LL, Bacon AM, Duringer P, Westaway K, Sayavongkhamdy T, Braga J, Sichanthongtip P, Khamdalavong P, Ponche JL.... (2012) Anatomically modern human in Southeast Asia (Laos) by 46 ka. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 22908291
Trauma is one method of examining how changes in political, economic or social systems are felt in the people who lived during these eras. Cultural and environmental shifts can change the way that people interact with one another, causing an increase or decrease in violence, either within groups or between them. This can be easily … Continue reading »... Read more »
Slaus M, Novak M, Bedić Z, & Strinović D. (2012) Bone fractures as indicators of intentional violence in the eastern adriatic from the antique to the late medieval period (2nd-16th century AD). American journal of physical anthropology, 149(1), 26-38. PMID: 22552996
If you want to learn about someone, should you ask them?Two pieces of research published recently cast doubt on the validity of self-report as a tool in psychology and psychiatry. The first found that teens who reported that they suffered from bullying experienced more mild 'psychotic-like' symptoms. That correlation would be consistent with the idea that these symptoms arise as a response to stress.However - the same study found that there was absolutely no correlation between peer ratings of ........ Read more »
Gromann PM, Goossens FA, Olthof T, Pronk J, & Krabbendam L. (2012) Self-perception but not peer reputation of bullying victimization is associated with non-clinical psychotic experiences in adolescents. Psychological medicine, 1-7. PMID: 22895003
Morthorst B, Krogh J, Erlangsen A, Alberdi F, & Nordentoft M. (2012) Effect of assertive outreach after suicide attempt in the AID (assertive intervention for deliberate self harm) trial: randomised controlled trial. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 22915730
Is the significant link between the rate of disease risk-associated de novo mutation and increased paternal age sufficient argument for young men to consider freeze-storing their sperm?... Read more »
Kong A, Frigge ML, Masson G, Besenbacher S, Sulem P, Magnusson G, Gudjonsson SA, Sigurdsson A, Jonasdottir A, Jonasdottir A.... (2012) Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father's age to disease risk. Nature, 488(7412), 471-5. PMID: 22914163
<- Part 2 came before Belief in a “high” god who created humanity and gave us a moral code to live by is very common in most Western societies. Indeed, for the past thousand years or so such “high” gods have been one of the defining traits of Western culture, driving architecture, art and music. … Continue reading »... Read more »
Shariff AF, & Norenzayan A. (2007) God is watching you: priming God concepts increases prosocial behavior in an anonymous economic game. Psychological science, 18(9), 803-9. PMID: 17760777
New research published in Science identifies Anatolia, which comprises modern-day Turkey, as the place where Indo-European languages originated. This contrasts with the so-called "Steppe hypothesis", which maintains that these languages originated in the Russian steppes.... Read more »
Remco Bouckaert, Philippe Lemey, Michael Dunn, Simon J. Greenhill, Alexander V. Alekseyenko, Alexei J. Drummond, Russell D. Gray, Marc A. Suchard, & Quentin D. Atkinson. (2012) Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1219669
Mother-in-law. And the need she feels to help you raise your kids. Blame menopause. And evolution.Humans are a cooperative breeding society. We live in extended family-groups in which both "breeders" and "non-breeders" contribute in rearing the offspring. However, humans are one of the select few species (including pilot whales and killer whales) that are known to stop reproducing long before we die. This means that a significant proportion of this cooperation includes non-breeding helpers in th........ Read more »
Mirkka Lahdenpera, Duncan O.S. Gillespie, Virpi Lummaa, & Andrew F. Russell. (2012) Severe intergenerational reproductive conflict and the evolution of menopause. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01851.x
A “farmer curve” is a graph which charts the chance of an event occurring against how bad that event will be, in effect calculating how risky a particular situation is. It’s a fairly handy tool that can help you work out whether should take the gamble and in an ideal world humans would use it … Continue reading »... Read more »
Rosati A, Hare B. (2012) Decision making across social contexts: competition increases preferences for risk in chimpanzees and bonobos. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.07.010
I was reading through an article yesterday from the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology titled “The Non-Adult Cohort from Le Morne Cemetery, Mauritius: A Snap Shot of Early Life and Death after Abolition” by Appleby et al. (2012) when I stumbled upon a new term: coffin birth. I guess it seems obvious now what it means, … Continue reading »... Read more »
Appleby, J. et al. (2012) The Non-Adult Cohort from Le Morne Cemetery, Mauritius: A Snap Shot of Early Life and Death after Abolition. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 33(4). DOI: 10.1002/oa.2259
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