Anthropology

Category archives for Anthropology

Certain things that come across one’s desktop, on the internet, are hard to turn away from. Train wrecks, for example. For me, this list includes commentary about grammatical errors and proper language use. I find this sort of discussion interesting because I’m an anthropologist, and probably also because I’ve spend a lot of time 100%…

I met a student, I was on his examining committee, who had been a civil engineer for years (he was getting his undergraduate degree late in life). He was politically conservative and cynical about academia. He needed the degree in order to get a major promotion, hated the idea of going back to college, but…

The Great Human Race: How to survive

The Great Human Race is a new production of National Geographic, in three parts. I recently viewed the first episode, “Dawn” which comes with this description: All people can trace their roots to the savanna of East Africa, the home of one of the first members of the human species — Homo habilis. Archaeologist Bill…

Important Thanksgiving Information

First and foremost, depending on when you are reading this, TAKE THE TURKEY OUT OF THE FREEZER. But seriously, Thanksgiving is, to me, one of the more interesting holidays. It is a “feast.” You knew that already, but what you may not have known is that “feasting” is a human activity found world wide and…

There is a new paper in Science linking genetic variation in people living in Greenland with long term selection for managing a marine-oriented diet, affecting stature, weight, and probably, physiological processing of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The vast majority of the variation we seen in stature (height) among humans is not genetic. That is…

I heard yesterday that my friend and former advisor Irven DeVore died. He was important, amazing, charming, difficult, harsh, brilliant, fun, annoying. My relationship to him as an advisee and a friend was complex, important to me for many years, and formative. For those who don’t know he was instrumental in developing several subfields of…

This is nice. Karl Eccleston and Fiona Pepper are amazingly good actors. The writing is excellent as is the directing. The subtext. THE SUBTEXT IS BRILLIANT. When I was living with the Efe Pygmies in the Ituri Forest, they would imitate French and English speakers while ranting about specific people who had annoyed or amused…

I gave a talk at the Brookdale Public Library last night as part of the celebration of DNA day. DNA Day, or DNAD for short, was created about the time of the “completion” (more or less) of the Human Genome in 2003, and is set to be on the date of the publication of the…

Meat Eating in Human Prehistory

All human hunter-gatherer groups that have been studied incorporate meat in their diets. Studies have shown that the total dietary contribution of meat varies a great deal, and seems to increase with latitude so that foragers in subarctic and arctic regions eat a lot of meat while those living near the equator eat less. It…

Napoleon Chagnon spent years living among the Yanomamo of Venezuela and wrote, among other things, a classic ethnography still used widely in anthropology classes. It came to pass that Chagnon and his ethnography came under scrutiny, actually a few waves of scrutiny, from practitioners of cultural anthropology in part because his monograph depicted the Yanomamo…