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Latest Current Anthropology Stories

2012-07-24 11:17:18

Research hints that fat-hoarding genes developed from the nature of ancient feasts Why do Native Americans experience high rates of diabetes? A common theory is that they possess fat-hoarding "thrifty genes" left over from their ancestors — genes that were required for survival during ancient cycles of feast and famine, but that now contribute to the disease in a modern world of more fatty and sugary diets. A newly published analysis of fossilized feces from the American...

Ancient Temples Housed People, Not Gods: Archaeologist
2011-10-07 04:46:39

Ancient structures unearthed in Turkey and thought to be the world's oldest temples may not have been strictly religious buildings after all, but rather houses for people, not the gods, according to a report in the October issue of Current Anthropology. The new claims involve buildings uncovered at Göbekli Tepe, a hilltop sanctuary on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge in southeastern Turkey.  Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute first...

2011-05-19 22:52:40

Archaeologists have discovered a 12,000-year-old iron oxide mine in Chile that marks the oldest evidence of organized mining ever found in the Americas, according to a report in the June issue of Current Anthropology. A team of researchers led by Diego Salazar of the Universidad de Chile found the 40-meter trench near the coastal town of Taltal in northern Chile. It was dug by the Huentelauquen people"”the first settlers in the region"”who used iron oxide as pigment for painted...

2011-05-19 14:12:47

Analysis of a 440-year-old document reveals new details about native population decline in the heartland of the Inca Empire following Spanish conquest in the 16th century. According to the analysis, the native Andean population in the Yucay Valley of Peru showed a remarkable ability to bounce back in the short term from the disease, warfare, and famine that accompanied the initial Spanish invasion. However, it was the repetition of such disasters generation after generation, along with overly...

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2011-03-29 14:45:28

Stigma against overweight people is becoming a cultural norm around the world, even in places where larger bodies have traditionally been valued. That's according to a cross-cultural study of attitudes toward obesity to be published in the April issue of Current Anthropology. Researchers from Arizona State University surveyed people in nine diverse locations around the world and found negative attitudes toward fat bodies in every one. The results suggest a rapid "globalization of fat stigma"...

2011-02-15 13:08:19

That human evolution follows a progressive trajectory is one of the most deeply-entrenched assumptions about our species. This assumption is often expressed in popular media by showing cavemen speaking in grunts and monosyllables (the GEICO Cavemen being a notable exception). But is this assumption correct? Were the earliest humans significantly different from us? In a paper published in the latest issue of Current Anthropology, archaeologist John Shea (Stony Brook University) shows they...

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2010-12-09 06:25:00

A once fertile landmass now submerged beneath the Persian Gulf may have been home to some of the earliest human populations outside Africa, according to an article published today in Current Anthropology. Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist and researcher with the University of Birmingham in the U.K., says that the area in and around this "Persian Gulf Oasis" may have been host to humans for over 100,000 years before it was swallowed up by the Indian Ocean around 8,000 years ago. Rose's hypothesis...

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2010-10-07 08:28:03

New research suggests that climate change following massive volcanic eruptions drove Neanderthals to extinction and cleared the way for modern humans to thrive in Europe and Asia. The research, led by Liubov Vitaliena Golovanova and Vladimir Borisovich Doronichev of the ANO Laboratory of Prehistory in St. Petersburg, Russia, is reported in the October issue of Current Anthropology. "[W]e offer the hypothesis that the Neanderthal demise occurred abruptly (on a geological time-scale) "¦...

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2010-09-30 07:57:57

New research challenges the controversial theory that an ancient comet impact devastated the Clovis people, one of the earliest known cultures to inhabit North America. Writing in the October issue of Current Anthropology, archaeologists Vance Holliday (University of Arizona) and David Meltzer (Southern Methodist University) argue that there is nothing in the archaeological record to suggest an abrupt collapse of Clovis populations. "Whether or not the proposed extraterrestrial impact...

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2010-07-21 10:48:17

It's no secret to any dog-lover or cat-lover that humans have a special connection with animals.   But in a new journal article and forthcoming book, paleoanthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State University argues that this human-animal connection goes well beyond simple affection.  Shipman proposes that the interdependency of ancestral humans with other animal species "” "the animal connection" "” played a crucial and beneficial role in human evolution over the...


Word of the Day
snash
  • To talk saucily.
  • Insolent, opprobrious language; impertinent abuse.
This word is Scots in origin and probably imitative.