Tag Archives | Antropology

All Non-African People Are Part Neanderthal

Neanderthal child

Reconstruction of a Neanderthal child.

Interesting article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com:

The evidence has been mounting for years that early humans and Neanderthals interbred, but now it’s pretty much a certainty. Part of the X chromosome found in people from outside Africa originally comes from our Neanderthal cousins.

It’s kind of amazing to think that, as recently as just a few years ago, the scientific consensus was that humans and Neanderthals were completely separate species and probably didn’t interbreed. Since then, a ton of new evidence has come to light to change that position, and now new research from Damian Labuda of the University of Montreal more or less completes this big reversal.

Neanderthals, one of the last extant hominid species other than our own, left Africa somewhere between 400,000 and 800,000 years ago and settled mostly in Europe until they went extinct 30,000 years ago. Early modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago, meaning they overlapped with Neanderthals in time and place for at least 20,000 years.

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The Pets We Kept Before Dogs Found In 16,500-Year-Old Cemetery

Source: Mariomassone (CC)

Source: Mariomassone (CC)

Alasdair Wilkins writing at io9.com:

A burial site recently uncovered in Jordan is the oldest ever discovered in the Middle East, at least 1,500 years older than any other cemetery previously discovered. But it’s not just its great age that makes it special — the cemetery also reveals what animals humans kept as pets long before the domestication of dogs.

The site, which dates back about 16,500 years, was discovered in ‘Uyun al-Hammam in Jordan. The University of Toronto researchers discovered the site back in 2000, but it’s taken eleven years just to come to grips with what the site has to teach us. Indeed, this cemetery stands to be particularly useful, as it has eleven different sets of human remains — more than all other burial sites of this type combined.

But it isn’t just the human corpses that have attracted attention, as they’ve also discovered remains of ancient pets.

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Are Redheads Descended From Neanderthals?

Source: 120 (CC)

Source: 120 (CC)

In Entangled, Graham Hancock’s debut novel, an essential part of the story involves the so-called “Neanderthal Enigma,” a raging academic debate over what caused Homo neanderthalensis to die out some 35,000 years ago. Hancock’s Neanderthals, called the “Uglies,” play an important role in Entangled. They are depicted as gentle, sensitive, telepathic, creative: They did not make cave paintings but they did use makeup.

Shocking new scientific research suggests that Hancock’s depiction of Neanderthals may be far closer to the truth than even he may have thought. Jennifer Viegas reports for Discovery News via MSNBC:

Neanderthals are often depicted as brutish club wielders, but a new book suggests Neanderthals had a sensitive side, displaying “a deep seated sense of compassion.”

The findings, also published in the journal Time & Mind, are part of a larger study charting how empathy and other related feelings evolved in early humans.

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The Library After Dark: The Seedy World of Document Fetishism

Shhh!Cathy Alter writes in McSweeney’s:

Psychoanalysts sometimes speak of the epistemophilic instinct, an unbridled love of learning that grips scholars like fingernails in their backs. But when a reader at London’s Public Record Office literally ingested The Abortive Treaty of 1604 (after first ordering the Treaty of Union with Scotland as an appetizer), that was taking the passion for primary sources a little too far. And, according to Helen Wood, who recently received her Masters of Archive Administration and Records Management from the University of Liverpool, this sort of conduct takes place in archives all the time. Forget the tales of sexual politics in the faculty lounge — the kinkiest stuff occurs between the sheaves at your local library.

Wood’s dissertation, “The Fetish of the Document: An Exploration of Attitudes Towards Archives,” gives new meaning to Special Collections. Her essay centers around the participatory role the archivist has in creating and influencing fetishistic behavior — in themselves and in those who use, and sometimes abuse, archives.

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The Perils of Anthropomorphism

Mutterhals writes on the Black Sun Gazette:

That’s a big word up there, but it describes a fairly simple concept. Anthropomorphism is when you attribute human characteristics to non human things and people do it most frequently with animals.

There was a video floating around the internet recently claiming to show a dog smiling when its owner approached. In reality, as many savvy animal lovers pointed out, the dog’s posture indicated fear, as evidenced by its tense expression and down cast tail. Because dogs can’t smile; smiling is a function of certain muscles in the face that dogs simply don’t have.

I know, I’m an evil bitch for throwing a bucket of ice cold logic all over a coo-inspiring video. However, in light of the recent events at Sea World, where an experienced trainer was killed by a killer whale in between shows, it does seem that people fall into to this trap a bit too easily.

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Anthropologist Says Modern Man Is A ‘Wimp’

Reuters via the Independent:

Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions. Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 meters during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.

Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle. These and other eye-catching claims are detailed in a book by Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister entitled Manthropology and provocatively sub-titled The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male.

McAllister sets out his stall in the opening sentence of the prologue: “If you’re reading this then you — or the male you have bought it for — are the worst man in history. “No ifs, no buts — the worst man, period…As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet.”

Read more on the Independent

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