Category Archives: Anthropology

Cognitive Evolution via Campfire Stories

A fantastic analysis of fireside conversations among Ju/’hoansi Bushmen collected over the course of four decades (1970s-2000s) was recently published by Polly Wiessner in PNAS Early Edition (“Embers of society: Firelight talk among the Ju/’hoansi Bushmen“—thanks to Daniel Lende & … Continue reading

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We Need Neandertals or Some as Yet Unknown But Genetically Similar Population Within the Last 100 ky in Our Story

A couple years ago when I first started blogging here, my friend John Edvalson asked me right out of the gate my opinion on the Neandertal-sapiens interbreeding controversy. I think I skirted an answer because, though as a biological anthropologists … Continue reading

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Menstrual Huts Signal Paternal Certainty

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

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What about a Lentil is Less Creative?

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

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Hey there, Lil’ Red Riding Hood, You Sure are Lookin’ Good..

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

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Posted in Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Evolution in Arts, Literary Darwinism | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thinking Like an Anthropologist from Mars: Crucial for Good Human Science

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

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Cooperators Attract Cooperators, Non-Cooperators are Stuck with Each Other

In catching up on a back-log of articles people have emailed me, I’m absorbing what I think are probably obvious but nonetheless profound implications of a study by Coren Apicella, Frank Marlowe, James Fowler, & Nicholas Christakis that was published … Continue reading

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Of Epigenetic Aggression & Silver Foxes

Originally posted on the “Biology, Culture, & Evolution” blog of the UA Anthropology Blog Network at http://anthropology.ua.edu/blogs/ant475/2013/09/24/of-epigenetic-aggression-silver-foxes/ . Epigenetic Mechanisms, Quick &  Dirty Jablonka & Raz (2009) show us this elegant illustration of broad and narrow epigenetic transmission. Epigenetic inheritance in … Continue reading

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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

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The Wrong Holy Ghost

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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