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  • July 11, 2013
  • 02:10 PM

Update: Brain growth in Homo erectus, and the age of the Mojokerto fossil

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

The Mojokerto calvaria. You're looking at the left side of the skull: the face would be to the left. Check it out in 3D here.A few months ago I posted an abridged version of the presentation I gave at this year's meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, about brain growth in Homo erectus. This study, co-authored with Jeremy DeSilva, adopts a novel approach (see "Methods" in that earlier post) to analyze the Mojokerto fossil (right). The specimen is the only H. erectus non-adult complete enough to get a decent estimate of brain size (or rather, the overall volume of the brain case) - probably 630 to 660 cubic centimeters (Coqueugniot et al. 2004; Balzeau et al., 2004). So to study brain growth in the extinct species, we just have to connect a range of estimated brain sizes at birth (around 290 cubic centimeters, based on predictive equations by DeSilva and Lesnik, 2008) to that of Mojokerto. But, the speed of brain growth implied by this comparison depends on how old poor Mojokerto was when s/he died.Most recently, Hélen Coqueugniot and colleagues (2004) used CT scans of the fossil to examine the fusion of its various bones, to suggest the poor kid died between six months to 1.5 years, if not even younger. Antoine Balzeau and team (2005) also studied scans of the fossil, and their analysis of its virtual endocast presented conflicting age estimates, but they argued the poor kid was probably no older than 4 years. Earlier studies had suggested the kid was up to 8 years. Now, for my previous post/conference presentation, we assumed the Coqueugniot estimate was correct - but what if we consider a full range of ages for Mojokerto, from 0.03-6.00 years?Brain size, relative to newborns' values, at different ages in humans (black circles) and chimpanzees (red triangles). Homo erectus median and mean are the thick solid and dashed blue lines, respectively, and the 90% and 95% confidence intervals are indicated by the thinner, dotted blue lines. Data are the same as in the previous post.The plot above depicts brain size relative to newborns: each circle (humans) and triangle (chimpanzees) represents the proportional size difference between a newborn (less than 1 week) and an older individual, up to 6 years. Obviously, relative brain size gets bigger in humans and chimpanzees over time. Interestingly, even though humans and chimps have very different brain sizes, the proportional brain size changes overlap a lot between species, especially at younger ages. Ah, the joys of cross-sectional samples.But what's especially interesting here are the blue lines on the graph, indicating estimates of proportional size change in Homo erectus, assuming Mojokerto's skull could hold 630 cc of delicious brain matter, and that the species' skulls at birth could hold about 290 cc, give or take several cc. The thick solid and dashed lines just above 2 on the y-axis are the mean and median of our estimates - Mojokerto's brain averages around 2.2 times larger than predicted newborns. Such a proportion is most likely to be found in humans between 6 months to a year of age, and in chimpanzees between around 6 months and 2 years. The confidence intervals, the highest and lowest bounds of our estimates for Homo erectus proportional size change, are the thinner dashed lines on the graph. They help us constrain our estimates, and further suggest that the proportional difference found for H. erectus is most likely to be found in either chimpanzees or humans around 1 year of age - just like Coqueugniot and colleagues predicted!!!Thus, independent evidence - brain size of Mojokerto and estimated brain size at birth in Homo erectus - corroborates a previously estimated age at death for the Mojokerto fossil, the poor little Homo erectus baby. This further supports our estimates of brain growth rates in this species, as described in the previous post.So to summarize, fairly scant fossil evidence compared with larger extant species samples using randomization statistics, argue for high, human-like infant brain growth rates in Homo erectus by around 1 million years ago. Our ancestors were badasses.Remember, if you want the R code I wrote to do this study, just lemme know!Those referencesBalzeau A, Grimaud-Hervé D, & Jacob T (2005). Internal cranial features of the Mojokerto child fossil (East Java, Indonesia). Journal of human evolution, 48 (6), 535-53 PMID: 15927659Coqueugniot 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: 15372030DeSilva 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... Read more »

  • July 7, 2013
  • 07:18 PM

Lessons from Bolivia

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I often read articles on the archaeology of other parts of the world to gain a better understanding of the context for Chaco. The areas I focus on for this are primarily those that had interesting things going on contemporaneous with the Chacoan era, but I also look to some extent on archaeological phenomena in […]... Read more »

  • July 5, 2013
  • 09:38 AM

Delete Some of Your Facebook Friends, 150 Is Max

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

It’s tempting and easy to think we are now much more civilized, intelligent and worldly human beings than those hunters and gatherers from the past. But, in fact, our brains barely evolved since then. Societies may have changed dramatically , we are still bound to move about in groups of just a 150 friends.... Read more »

  • July 3, 2013
  • 05:20 AM

Egypt Uprising: More Than Just a ‘Twitter revolt’

by Paul Reilly in United Academics

These days all you need to be a revolutionary is a mobile phone and a grievance. Some see what is happening on the streets of Cairo as the ultimate expression of democracy – millions of people using social media to express their unhappiness with their government.

Others see it as the exact opposite – and forecast that Egypt’s 12-month experiment with democracy, after 30 years of dictatorship, will have been cut off in its infancy if the army carries out its threat to intervene in order to stop events spiralling out of control.... Read more »

Tufekci, Zeynep; Wilson, Christopher. (2012) Social Media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protest: Observations From Tahrir Square . Journal of Communication. info:/

  • June 30, 2013
  • 04:43 AM

Human Revolution Not Caused by Population Growth?

by Akshat Rathi. in United Academics

About 50,000 years ago, modern humans left Africa and began occupying the rest of the world. The common thought is that a sudden growth in population caused the so-called “human revolution”, which gave birth to language, art, and culture as we know it today. Now, based on something that’s not obviously related to human culture—the size of shellfish fossils—researchers have challenged that model.

Artifacts from two sites in South Africa, Still Bay and Howieson’s Poort, have convinced archaeologists that the period between 85,000 to 65,000 years ago was when the “human revolution” began. Humans from that time made jewellery from perforated shells and used objects as symbols. They made better tools than they had ever before. Some of these tools, made from ostrich eggshells, were even capable of slicing fruit.... Read more »

Klein RG, & Steele TE. (2013) Archaeological shellfish size and later human evolution in Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 23776248  

  • June 26, 2013
  • 11:22 AM

Do Animals Have Personalities?

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Leaders and followers. What makes personality? Photo by Thang Nguyen at Wikimedia Commons.The heart of science lies in existential questions such as "Who am I?" and "Where did I come from?" Yet somehow, these are the very questions that scientists tend to shy away from. It's as if we're afraid that by unraveling the mysteries of our world and ourselves, we'll be left with nothing but a handful of yarn. But many of us see the quest for personal understanding differently - as a journey to gain appreciation for all the complexities and rare events that came together to weave the glorious tapestry that is life. It is in this push and pull of wanting to know more while still wanting to maintain mystery that the study of personality lies. And for this reason (and many others), the science of personality has been woefully understudied and underappreciated. This week I am at Accumulating Glitches pondering personality: What is it? How do we study it? And do other animal species have it? Check it out here. And to learn more, check these out:1. Réale, D., Reader, S., Sol, D., McDougall, P., & Dingemanse, N. (2007). Integrating animal temperament within ecology and evolution Biological Reviews, 82 (2), 291-318 DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2007.00010.x2. Huntingford, F.A. (1976). The Relationship between anti-predator behavior and aggression among conspecifics in the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus Animal Behaviour, 24, 245-2603. Sinn, D., Moltschaniwskyj, N., Wapstra, E., & Dall, S. (2009). Are behavioral syndromes invariant? Spatiotemporal variation in shy/bold behavior in squid Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64 (4), 693-702 DOI: 10.1007/s00265-009-0887-2 ... Read more »

Réale, D., Reader, S., Sol, D., McDougall, P., & Dingemanse, N. (2007) Integrating animal temperament within ecology and evolution. Biological Reviews, 82(2), 291-318. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2007.00010.x  

Huntingford, F.A. (1976) The Relationship between anti-predator behavior and aggression among conspecifics in the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Animal Behaviour, 245-260. info:/

  • June 25, 2013
  • 07:00 AM

Anglo-Saxon Child Birth and Female Fertility

by Katy Meyers in Bones Don't Lie

Months ago, I discussed interpreting coffin birth, a phenomenon where a deceased pregnant individual appears to have ‘birthed’ a deceased newborn, actually due to the extrusion of the fetus rather than a physical birthing process. It is extremely difficult to determine, and requires careful attention to the details of the context. A new article by … Continue reading »... Read more »

  • June 24, 2013
  • 11:17 AM

Runners: Stop the Pronation Panic

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

If you walk into a sporting goods store and ask for shoes, you're likely to be thrown on a treadmill and have your strides dissected on video as if you were crossing an Olympic finish line. Salespeople will give you a thorough analysis of your gait. They may break the news that you "over-pronate," rolling your foot inward to some degree at the end of each step. Don't worry! It's common—and they sell a shoe made for your specific flaw. It's all very scientific, except that it isn't.

Rasmus Nielsen, a sport science graduate student at Aarhus University in Denmark, has seen the process from both sides of the in-store treadmill. When he first started running, he was told he should buy motion-control shoes to correct his pronation. Five years later, he started working in a running store.

"I was told to advise individuals to buy stability or motion control shoes if they were pronators," Nielsen says. "I started to ask the question, 'Why do we do this?' No evidence-based answer was provided."

Since becoming a physical therapist and seeing thousands of runners in his clinic—and dealing with his own running injury—Nielsen has developed a new perspective about where injuries come from. He doesn't think pronation or supportive shoes matter much at all. To add some evidence to the discussion, he conducted a study of more than 900 novice runners.

The subjects were healthy Danes of various ages and sizes—on average, 37 years old with a BMI of 26—who didn't run before the study. Physical therapists assessed their gaits and scored each person's feet as neutral, moderately or highly pronated, or moderately or highly supinated (rolling outward). Then subjects spent the next year running as much as they wanted. They logged their miles with a GPS watch and called the study leaders for an appointment if any injury cropped up.

Whatever their gait, all subjects were given identical "neutral" running shoes. Nielsen reasoned that if matching running shoes to foot type prevents injuries, then people with pronating or supinating feet should injure themselves sooner in these shoes than people with neutral feet.

That didn't happen.

Injuries were common; more than a quarter of the new runners were sidelined by injury at some point. But people's foot types had no relation to how soon they got injured. In fact, pronators had slightly (but significantly) fewer injuries per thousand kilometers run than neutral runners did.

Nielsen isn't the first researcher to find plot holes in the story told by shoe companies. A 2009 review concluded that there was no evidence behind the way different shoe types are prescribed. In 2011, a study of female runners found that those randomly assigned to wear motion-control shoes experienced more injuries than those assigned to other types of shoes.

Since the current study only involved uninjured, novice runners, the authors point out that motion-control shoes could be helpful to people who've already had an injury. It's also possible that the most extreme pronators are more prone to injury; in the study, this group was so small—only 18 people—that no real conclusions could be drawn about them. Yet for garden-variety pronators, there was clearly no extra injury risk.

These days, Nielsen says he can run in any type of shoe, once he gets used to it. He thinks how people train matters much more for their injury risk. Worrying about your sneakers, he says, isn't worth it. "I would definitely advise other runners [to do] otherwise than I did."

Image: by Danielle Walquist Lynch (via Flickr)

Nielsen, R., Buist, I., Parner, E., Nohr, E., Sorensen, H., Lind, M., & Rasmussen, S. (2013). Foot pronation is not associated with increased injury risk in novice runners wearing a neutral shoe: a 1-year prospective cohort study British Journal of Sports Medicine DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092202

... Read more »

  • June 21, 2013
  • 10:15 PM

Cooperation and the evolution of intelligence

by Keven Poulin in Evolutionary Games Group

One of the puzzles of evolutionary anthropology is to understand how our brains got to grow so big. At first sight, the question seems like a no brainer (pause for eye-roll): big brains make us smarter, more adaptable and thus result in an obvious increase in fitness, right? The problem is that brains need calories, […]... Read more »

McNally L., Brown S. P., & Jackson A. L. (2012) Cooperation and the evolution of intelligence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1740), 3027-3034. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0206  

  • June 21, 2013
  • 12:06 PM

How to Detune Someone with Perfect Pitch

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Granted, it's a prank you can play on only 1 in 10,000 people. But if you find one of those rare individuals who can name any note they hear, with just a brief manipulation you can set that power awry. You can later console your subject with a reminder that, after all, nobody's perfect.

A children's choir that I used to sing in always performed the carol "Once in Royal David's City" at a certain concert, and the boy soprano who sang the opening solo would be sent up to a high chapel balcony along with a man who had perfect pitch. The adult would hum the correct note in the boy's ear, apparently, so that he could begin the solo out of a dramatic silence. (Looking back, I'm not sure sending someone up to blow very softly on a pitch pipe wouldn't have accomplished the same thing—but the addition of the superpowered helper made the whole thing more thrilling.)

People with perfect, or absolute, pitch can identify any notes they hear, and can tell you if those notes are a little sharp or flat. Stephen Hedger, a graduate student at the University of Chicago who's studying both cognitive psychology and musicology, has perfect pitch. After discovering that his perception could be skewed distressingly by someone fiddling with a tuning knob while he played the keyboard, he decided to test just how absolute "absolute pitch" really is.

Hedger gathered 13 subjects who'd scored as high as possible on a test of absolute pitch. At the beginning of the experiment, they listened to a series of notes; for each one, subjects had to identify the name of the note and whether it was in tune. The notes included everything from middle C to the B above it, and each note had three versions: one in tune, one slightly flat, and one slightly sharp.

(The out-of-tune notes were off by 33 "cents." The distance between any two notes, say C to C#, is 100 cents. Most people can detect a difference of just 25 cents, so a 33-cent difference—a third of the way to the next note—would be comfortably noticeable to all but the tone-deaf.)

Next, subjects listened to the entirety of Brahms's Symphony No.1 in C minor. During the first movement, which is 15 minutes long, the recording ever so slowly went flat. The pitch crept downward at 2 cents a minute, ending a full 33 cents flat from the original. The remaining half-hour of the symphony was played in the new, flattened key. When asked, none of the subjects noticed said they noticed a difference in pitch.

Then subjects completed the pitch quiz a second time. Now, pitches that were flat sounded in-tune, and pitches that were in tune sounded a little out of tune. (The subjects still correctly identified sharp pitches.)

In a second experiment, instead of Brahms subjects heard a series of modern musical compositions that only include 5 pitches. Just as before, the music slowly drifted flat and then stayed that way. In the pitch quiz afterward, subjects misjudged all the flat and in-tune notes they heard—not only the five notes they'd listened to.

A brief time listening to out-of-tune notes was able to skew a person's whole internal scale. Yet when subjects heard test pitches played by an instrument they hadn't listened to during the experiment—for example, a set of piano notes after the Brahms symphony, which didn't include a piano—their judgements were correct again. It is "as if each instrument voice retains its own tuning," Hedger and his coauthors write in Psychological Science.

People with absolute pitch, those superpowered few, are thought to learn their pitches in childhood. The pitches aren't absolutely stable, though: the detuning study shows they can be bent and changed by music a person has recently heard.

In a video, senior study author Howard Nusbaum says that the group is now looking for ways to improve people's sense of pitch, rather than detuning it, by taking advantage of this flexibility. "We are constantly changing to meet the circumstances around us," he says. That means someday the rest of us may be a little more perfect.

Image: by Timothy Valentine (via Flickr)

Hedger, S., Heald, S., & Nusbaum, H. (2013). Absolute Pitch May Not Be So Absolute Psychological Science DOI: 10.1177/0956797612473310

... Read more »

Hedger, S., Heald, S., & Nusbaum, H. (2013) Absolute Pitch May Not Be So Absolute. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612473310  

  • June 21, 2013
  • 07:34 AM

A Lot of Applause is Just for Show

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

Research shows that clapping is influenced more by peer pressure than by concert.... Read more »

Mann, R., Faria, J., Sumpter, D., & Krause, J. (2013) The dynamics of audience applause. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 10(85), 20130466-20130466. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2013.0466  

  • June 20, 2013
  • 05:20 PM

Purdah? I Hardly Know Ya!: Social Influences On Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

by Rebecca Kreston in BODY HORRORS

A potential epidemiological phenomenon may exist in the transmission of Middle East respiratory syndrom (MERS) in Saudi ARabia: men have made up the majority of infected cases and the low rates of infection among women may be due to an emphasis on the wearing of the face veil, known as the “niqab,” in Arab culture.... Read more »

Ahmad EF, Mohammed M, Al Rayes AA, Al Qahtani A, Elzubier AG, & Suliman FA. (2001) The effect of wearing the veil by Saudi ladies on the occurrence of respiratory diseases. The Journal of asthma : official journal of the Association for the Care of Asthma, 38(5), 423-6. PMID: 11515979  

  • June 20, 2013
  • 12:28 PM

Erasing diversity

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

On a parapet in Hagia Sophia’s gallery there is an obscure little graffiti written in Viking runes and dating back to the 9th century. All that is legible today is ‘alftan,’ which refers to the Norse name ‘Halfdan’ and it … Continue reading →... Read more »

Jan Blommaert, & Ben Rampton. (2011) Language and superdiversity. Diversities, 13(2). info:/

Goodenough, W. (1976) MULTICULTURALISM AS THE NORMAL HUMAN EXPERIENCE. Council on Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 7(4), 4-7. DOI: 10.1525/aeq.1976.7.4.05x1652n  

  • June 20, 2013
  • 07:00 AM

Beetles, Bones and Burial Practices

by Katy Meyers in Bones Don't Lie

If you’ve ever seen a crime scene investigation show, you know that bugs can be an amazing source of evidence. Throughout the show Bones, it is the primary job of Jack Hodgins to explore the ways that insects found on the crime site can be used to better understand what happened. They use them for … Continue reading »... Read more »

J.-B. Huchet, F. Le Mort, R. Rabinoviche, S. Blauf, H. Coqueugniot, & B. Arensburg. (2013) Identification of dermestid pupal chambers on Southern Levant human bones: inference for reconstruction of Middle Bronze Age mortuary practices. Journal of Archaeological Science, 3793-3803. info:/

  • June 19, 2013
  • 02:58 PM

Thanks Dad!

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Daddy's girl. Photo from’s take a moment to appreciate just how special dads are. Across the animal kingdom, fathers caring for their young is the exception, not the rule. Paternal care is most often seen in species in which males can be pretty sure that they are indeed the father (for example, in species that fertilize eggs outside of the mothers’ bodies or in socially monogamous species). Mammals rarely act fatherly - Only 10% of mammalian species show paternal care at all. But among mammals, primates (including ourselves) are more likely to do so.Dads do a number of things to care for their young: Depending on the species (and the individual), they may incubate them, provide them with food, groom them, keep them close to home, guard and protect them, and help them gain survival and mate-attraction skills. These behaviors are costly to a male, who could often be reproductively more successful by spending his time and resources courting more females. But they do it nonetheless.Regardless of whether a dad is behaviorally involved with his offspring, he contributes a fair amount to the individuals we grow up to be. Dads provide nearly half of our genes, which are the instructions for the production of all of our bodies’ tissues and chemicals. These tissues and chemicals don’t just make up our physical bodies, they underlie much of our physical abilities, susceptibilities to disease, and behavior patterns (including personalities).Just because about half of your genes are from dad and about half of your genes are from mom, doesn’t mean that you are strictly half-your-dad and half-your-mom. Imagine you are given two books of Thanksgiving Day recipes: Both books have the same recipe for turkey, so that is the one you are going to follow. But one book has a recipe for garlic mashed potatoes and the other has a recipe for plain mashed potatoes. If no one in your family likes garlic, you will likely follow the recipe for plain potatoes. In addition to choosing between recipes, you can also combine them: If one book has a recipe for stuffing with lots of garlic and onions and the other has a recipe for stuffing without garlic or onions, you could make stuffing with onions and no garlic. Your pairs of genes work in similar ways: if the two copies of a gene are different, you may get the trait of one of them or they could combine to give you an intermediate trait. If the versions of the gene are the same, you will likely just get that trait.When something is made by following the instructions in a gene, this process is called gene expression. Not all genes are expressed equally everywhere: All of the cells of our body have the same genes, but the way they express in a particular cell determines whether that cell is part of a lung, a heart, a brain or something else. If for a particular gene the instructions in the gene from one parent are followed and the gene from the other parent is ignored, this is called parent-specific gene expression. We have several traits that occur as a result of dad-specific gene expression.Your genes are lined up on doubled-stranded DNA, which is tightly coiled around proteins called histones. The DNA is then wrapped even more and packed into chromosomes. You have 23 different pairs of chromosomes in each cell, where one of each pair came from mom and the other came from dad.  Figure adapted from an image by KES47 at Wikimedia.More variation is caused by the fact that two individuals with identical genes may not have identical traits. Our genes are encoded in strings of DNA, which are coiled around proteins called histones and then packed into chromosomes. Biological factors can cause the string of DNA to coil tightly around these histones, hindering access to any genes in that section of DNA. This reduces or even prevents gene expression from happening (Imagine what would happen if two pages of your Thanksgiving Day recipe book stuck together). Alternatively, other biological factors can relax the DNA string, increasing gene expression. Gene expression is often decreased or increased as a result of life experiences (such as social experiences, nutrition, or exposure to drugs and toxins). If a particular gene is decreased or increased this way in a sperm or egg cell, this effect can be passed on to the children (and often grandchildren and great-grandchildren and so on). This process of inheritance that is not a strict passing on of genes is called epigenetics. Epigenetics is a new and emerging field, but we have already learned that mothers that provide more parental care create lasting changes in their offspring that are passed down for multiple generations. It is likely that fatherly care has a similar effect. We also know that a father’s nutrition and exposure to drugs and toxins can pass several traits down the generational line through epigenetics.Dads play a special role in the individuals we become. Their behavior with us, genetic makeup, and even personal experiences shape our physical appearances, health, abilities and personalities. If you haven’t yet, take a minute to say “Thanks, Dad!”Happy (late) Father’s Day, Dad! Want to know more? Check these out:1. Curley, J., Mashoodh, R., & Champagne, F. (2011). Epigenetics and the origins of paternal effects Hormones and Behavior, 59 (3), 306-314 DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2010.06.0182. Wilkins, J., & Haig, D. (2003). What good is genomic imprinting: the function of parent-specific gene expression Nature Reviews Genetics, 4 (5), 359-368 DOI: 10.1038/nrg1062 And a special thanks to Tony Auger, Cathy Auger, Stacy Kigar, and Robin Forbes-Lorman for their feedback. ... Read more »

  • June 19, 2013
  • 01:48 PM

Evolutionary History and Adaptation from High-Coverage Whole-Genome Sequences of Diverse African Hunter-Gatherers

by Elisa Cavoto in genome ecology evolution etc

“ Hunting and gathering was humanity’s first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Until 12,000 years ago, all humans lived this way. ” [The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. Richard B. Lee and … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 19, 2013
  • 10:58 AM

Sons and daughters of same-sex couples grow up as good as in traditional families.

by Simone Munao in United Academics

Sons and daughters of same-sex couples grow up as good as in traditional families. That's what Australian research shows us.... Read more »

  • June 19, 2013
  • 10:36 AM

Kids of Same-Sex Couples Are Just as Happy As Those In Traditional Families

by Simone Munao in United Academics

They live with two mums or two dads, and they are on the same level as their school friends regarding self-esteem, emotional behavior and time spent with their parents. But they seem to have the edge over the average regarding overall health and familiar cohesion. Kids that grow with homosexual couples grow up as good as in traditional families, and even better in some aspects. This seems to be confirmed by a study conducted by a group of researchers of the University of Melbourne on 500 minors living in Australia: member of same-sex families are closer to one another –the research suggests- since they have to face attacks that come from society, digest them and give them an explanation.... Read more »

  • June 17, 2013
  • 07:00 AM

Rickets in the Medici Children

by Katy Meyers in Bones Don't Lie

While rickets is primarily thought to be a disease of industrialization, there was an earlier spike in prevalence especially within Europe. Rickets is primarily due to lack of exposure to ultraviolet B rays, caused by lack of sun exposure, poor environmental conditions or bad nutrition. The early post-modern period in Europe was plagued by low … Continue reading »... Read more »

Giuffra, V., Vitiello, A., Caramella, D., Fornaciari, A., Giustini, D., & Fornaciari, G. (2013) Rickets in a High Social Class of Renaissance Italy: The Medici Children. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2324  

  • June 17, 2013
  • 03:05 AM

The diversity of the Other

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Diversity is today widely seen as a social good and is actively promoted in ‘diversity policies’ such as those of Australia, the EU or the UK. Additionally, many institutions have their own policies devoted to managing diversity. These usually extol … Continue reading →... Read more »

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