Small Bodied Humans From Palau Revisited

One of the more controversial stories in physical anthropology concerns the small bodied humans found on Palau. The finds were published back in March in PLoS. In that paper Berger et al argued that the material they found represents a population of Palauans that possibly were subject to island dwarfing (although they also imply that Palua could have been populated by small bodied humans who later grew larger). Berger et al also compare the remains to Homo floresiensis and make several suggestions anout small body size and primitive characteristics of the genus Homo (I’ll return to this point later).

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The Logical End Result of Repatriation Laws?

Nature has an interesting news item called Online anthropology draws protest from aboriginal group:

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Detecting Early Diet in Teeth

There is an interesting new paper out in PNAS that looks at enamel chemistry to try and reconstruct early diet. The study is by Humphrey, Dean, Jeffries, and Penn. The abstract is below the fold.

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Ancient DNA and Bioarchaeology

Razib mentioned this study of ancient DNA. Although the study is being billed as important because it allows us to gain an understanding of the biological history of the skeletons studied, the research will also allow us to gain some insight into the culture of the people those remains represent:

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3,000 Year Old Mixtec Cremations

PNAS has an interesting paper on Mixtec cremations. I don’t have a copy yet (so if someone could email me a copy I would be eternally grateful – leave a comment so others will know it has been sent). The paper can be found here. Here is the abstract (to pique your interest):

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Small Bodied Humans From Palau

Palau is fast becoming an anthropological paradise. In addition to being one of the places Margaret Mead did fieldwork, we now have news that a large collection of skeletons have been found. Currently, the fragmentary remains of 25 individuals have been excavated, but others remain to be freed from their calcium carbonate matrix:

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Personology is for Crackpots

Steve has taken time off from getting the new blog ready to bring us news of some credulous reporting on CNN. The reporting concerns some new woo called “Personology” which seeks to determine personality based on various measures of the face and hair. Forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology are concerned with looking at skeletal variation through time and across space so research in these areas are relevant to the claims of personology. Before going further, let’s look at some of the claims of personology.

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