Anthropology

Rhythmic drum patterns with a balance of rhythmic predictability and complexity may influence our desire to dance and enjoy the music, according to a new paper by music scholar Maria Witek from the University of Oxford and colleagues. 


We can identify an athletic body by analysis of their skeletons because bones show remarkably rapid adaptation to both the intensity and direction of strains. Put under stress through physical exertion – such as long-distance walking or running – they gain in strength as the fibers are added or redistributed according to where strains are highest.  


Conventional wisdom and sociological arguments have claimed that societies with more men than women, such as China, will become more violent, but a new study has found that a male-biased sex ratio does not lead to more crime.

Rates of rape, sexual assault and homicide are actually lower in societies with more men than women, the study found, and evolutionary theories predicting that when males outnumber females, males will compete more vigorously for the limited number of mates don’t hold up either. 

“Here, we untangle the logic behind the widely held notion that in human societies where men outnumber women, there will be more violence,” said anthropology professor Monique Borgerhoff Mulder of U.C. Davis, co-author of the study.

Charred grains of barley, millet and wheat deposited nearly 5,000 years ago at campsites in the high plains of Kazakhstan show that nomadic sheepherders played a surprisingly important role in the early spread of domesticated crops throughout a mountainous east-west corridor along the historic Silk Road, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

"Our findings indicate that ancient nomadic pastoralists were key players in an east-west network that linked innovations and commodities between present-day China and southwest Asia," said study co-author Michael Frachetti, PhD, an associate professor of archaeology in Arts&Sciences at Washington University and principal investigator on the research project.


Do you live where your job is or do you move to be near people who match your personality as far as being agreeable or conscientious? 

California has three Democratic state senators under indictment, all being paid while due process makes its way. That seems very conscientious, though there is no chance that would be the case if the politicians facing jail time were Republicans. According to a new paper in Political Research Quarterly, state policies mirror the personalities of the public. If so, the personalities of Californians may veer toward being gun runners while they endorse bans on guns, and having $500 billion in debt while declaring their budget balanced.


The popular belief is that religion and being poor are the biggest risk factors for violent radicalization but a new analysis by Queen Mary University of London has instead found that youth, wealth, and being in full-time academia are more common in the UK.

The pioneering research assessed population prevalence of sympathies for terrorist acts – a key marker of vulnerability to violent radicalisation – and their relationship with commonly assumed causes of radicalisation. The community study surveyed over 600 men and women of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Muslim heritage in London and Bradford, aged 18-45.


Linguists have conducted what they call an evolutionary analysis to the relationship between North American and Central Siberian languages and say the results indicate that people moved out from the Bering Land Bridge, with some migrating back to central Asia and others into North America.


It's no surprise that natural selection does not always take an evolutionary time scale. 

When thousands of knights died during the Crusades at Acre, natural selection was being channeled. Yes, there were still other mechanisms of evolution but when the available pool of people is changed, positive selection is changed also. Pinpointing that on a time scale can be tough but there has been much research into the factors that have influenced the human genome since the end of the last Ice Age and a team of anthropologists, geneticists and archaeologists have analyzed ancient DNA from skeletons and found that selection has had a significant effect on the human genome even in the past 5,000 years.


We often think of the migration of Asians into America as a event that occurred when the Bering Sea was lower: They basically went over the land bridge that existed, from one part to another.

Genetic and environmental evidence indicates instead that it was instead a conservative process and that they spent 10,000 years in shrubby lowlands on the broad land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska. 

University of Utah anthropologist Dennis O'Rourke and colleagues seek to reconcile existing genetic and environmental evidence for human habitation on the Bering land bridge – also called Beringia – with an absence of archaeological evidence.


If climate change sends us all back to the Stone Age, we wouldn't be the first culture. Or at least to the Bronze Age.

It used to be that changes in climate were simply history, now they are an indictment of everything we might hold dear, like electricity.

4,100 years ago, write scholars in Geology, an abrupt weakening of the summer monsoon affected northwest India and the resulting drought coincided with the beginning of the decline of the metropolis-building Indus civilization that spanned present-day Pakistan and India.