NEW! Evolutionary Tidbit of the Moment
In seemingly unrelated languages from every corner of the globe, the word corresponding to "mother" contains a sound like /ma/, as in "amma," "mama," or "ima." Father words tend to have the /pa/ or /ba/ sound, like "appa," "abba," "baba," or "papa." A discarded hypothesis held that the words for "mother" and "father" had remained largely unchanged from a proto-language from which all modern languages evolved.
The currently favored explanation is that these are the first sounds infants are able to make, with /m/ being slightly easier (and thus developing sooner) than /p/ or /b/, explaining why the primary caretaker (usually the mother) tends to be referred to by words which sound like "mama" in languages all the world over.
Category Archives: Anthropology
Out this week in Ethos is a paper I wrote called “‘The Wrong Holy Ghost’” Discerning the Apostolic Gift of Discernment using a Signaling and Systems Theoretical Approach.” It’s about an incident I call “the wrong Holy Ghost” because that … Continue reading
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The December 2012 issues of Smithsonian Magazine had a fire theme, & archaeologist Thomas Wynn contributed a short piece on the influence of fire in the evolution of the human mind. He briefs the work of three researchers doing work … Continue reading
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I was critiqued in a recent NSF grant proposal review that, while I elegantly integrated signaling & cultural consensus theories in my research design, my statements that (1) signaling theory derives from evolutionary biology & (2) that no one has … Continue reading
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This semester I redesigned the graduate-level physical anthropology course I teach. Last time around (which was the first time teaching a full-on grad course for me), I taught it as a seminar, based largely around my predecessor Professor Emeritus Jim Bindon‘s … Continue reading
University of Wisconsin-Madison paleoanthropologist John Hawks was UA’s second ALLELE lecturer of the season. Hawks was trained at the University of Michigan in anthropology by the famous Milford Wolpoff (he of multiregionalism infamy) & completed a postdoc in evolutionary genetics … Continue reading
From almost my first post I promised to let the students speak for themselves when it came to singing the praises of our EvoS program at the University of Alabama. One of our first UA EvoS alumni is Emily Freeman, … Continue reading