Global History of Health Project

I know I have mentioned this before (unfortunately, I can’t find where) but Richard Steckel and Jerome Rose (among others) are working on a fascinating project called the Global History of Health Project. One of the reasons that I brought this up is because the Jewish World review has a fascinating overview of the project: Continue reading

Interesting Anthropology and Paleontology News

There is some interesting news relating to anthropology and evolution – over and above Darwinius masillae (which I will have a couple of posts about next week). Continue reading

Evolution of Human Sex Roles

In discussing human sex roles one usually starts thus:

…because a single egg is more costly to produce than a single sperm, the number of offspring produced by female animals is limited by the number of eggs that she can produce, while the number of offspring produced by male animals is limited by the number of mating partners.

And then usually this is thrown in as well:

…male animals are competitive and promiscuous while female animals are non-competitive and choosy.

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Facial Reconstructions

Facial reconstructions are frequently used in forensic anthropology. Occasionally, they crop up in bioarchaeology as well (I’m thinking of a British TV show – the name of which escapes me – that also did facial reconstructions in every episode). They are also used in paleoanthropology – mainly museum displays – to give people a sense of what our hominin ancestors may have looked like. I bring this up because the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has a display on the subject called Making Faces: The Art and Science of Forensic Facial Reconstruction. From the museums website:

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Yale, Skull and Bones, and the Federal Government Sued By Geronimo’s Family

I t has long be rumored that the skull and some of the bones of Geronimo were in the possession of Skull and Bones. A letter uncovered by a Yale historian (more of that shortly) seems to confirm the rumor. Descendants of Geronimo are suing according to MSNBC:

Geronimo’s descendants have sued Skull and Bones — the secret society at Yale University linked to presidents and other powerful figures — claiming that its members stole the remains of the legendary Apache leader decades ago and have kept them ever since.
The federal lawsuit filed in Washington on Tuesday — the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death — also names the university and the federal government.

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The Nasca Trophy Skulls: What Population Did They Derive From?

The Journal of Anthropological Archaeology has an interesting paper that addresses the issue of what population provided the trophy skulls. The question has, in the past, been part and parcel of the debate as to what the trophy skulls were used for. There are two broad groups of, not necessarily mutually exclusive, explanations for the later question.

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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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