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
An article from 2012 by Beverly Strassmann & colleagues is the first piece I think I’ve read that connects religious signaling to actual reproductive fitness, instead of merely group commitment (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They analyzed genetic … Continue reading
Catching up again on articles sent to me over the past few years, a 2010 Science summary by Ann Gibbons of a Current Biology piece by Philipp Gunz & colleagues (“Brain development after birth differs between Neanderthals and modern humans”) indicates … Continue reading
You’re everything a big bad wolf could want… This is cool as shit. Thanks to Lee Dugatkin for sharing on Facebook. Jamshid Tehrani in the Department of Anthropology & Centre for the Coevolution of Biology & Culture at Durham University … Continue reading
Don’t worry, just as I promised you recently that the odds of an all-out zombie apocalypse are very low, I seriously doubt that there are any anthropologists from Mars among our ranks. This said, as a behavioral scientist, I think it may actually be very useful to think like an anthropologist from Mars. And this blog explains why! Continue reading
University Greek Systems are Natural Experiments for Multi-Level Selection Theory (Waiting to be Investigated)
I was talking with a UA EvoS student & member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority the other day about the current controversy here in Tuscaloosa. Last week, a municipal school board election was essentially bought by greek-backed candidates. This student … Continue reading
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
I will do a more thorough summary from the Human Biology Association & American Association of Physical Anthropology annual joint conferences in the near future based on my rabid tweeting from sessions, but a few posters & talks are just … Continue reading
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