Anthropology

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed paleo diet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat and fat. Its critics, on the other hand, argue that these are the same ingredients that would set us up for heart attacks. Moreover, these animal-derived foods require more space to produce on our crowded planet filled with starving humans.

African women in polygamous marriages or with alcoholic husbands have a significantly higher risk of being physically abused by their husbands than women in monogamous marriages or women whose husbands don't abuse alcohol, according to survey results presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. 


5 percent of the world's population accounted for a disproportionate 31 percent of public mass shooters globally from 1966-2012, according to new research presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

An analysis examined the years 1966-2012 using data from the New York City Police Department's 2012 active shooter report, the FBI's 2014 active shooter report, and multiple international sources. The author says it is the first quantitative analysis of all reported public mass shootings around the world that resulted in the deaths of four or more people. By definition, these shootings do not include incidents that occurred solely in domestic settings or were primarily gang-related, drive-by shootings, hostage taking incidents, or robberies. 


Women are more likely than men to initiate divorces, but not to end non-marital relationships, according to Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University.

Rosenfeld's analysis relies on survey data from the 2009-2015 waves of the nationally representative How Couples Meet and Stay Together survey. He considers 2,262 adults, ages 19 to 94, who had opposite sex partners in 2009. By 2015, 371 of these people had broken up or gotten divorced. 


Gang slayings move in a systematic pattern over time, spreading from one vulnerable area to the next like a disease, according to a paper by Michigan State University criminologists and public health researchers. That means there is a threshold where herd immunity takes effect, just like vaccines, but letting too many people opt out risks the whole community.

There were 2,363 gang-related killings in the United States in 2012, the highest number in at least six years, according to the latest available estimates from the Department of Justice. Gang membership also increased, to 850,000 in 2012 from 788,000 in 2007.


Finally, Drummond had everything he’d ever dreamed of. He’d come a long way since he was a little boy, upset at his failure to get into the grammar school. That had been a great disappointment to his mother, and to his father, who was an engineer at a pharmaceutical company. His dad had never showed much interest in him as a child. He didn’t play with him and when he was naughty, he’d put him over the back of a chair and wallop him. That’s just the way men were in those days. Your father was feared and respected. Dads were dads.

The practice of "sexting" - the sending or receiving of sexually suggestive or explicit content via text message, primarily using a mobile device - may be more common than generally thought among adults. More than eight out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, according to a paper at the American Psychological Association's 123rd Annual Convention.

"Given the possible implications, both positive and negative, for sexual health, it is important to continue investigating the role sexting plays in current romantic and sexual relationships," said Emily Stasko, MS, MPH, of Drexel University, who presented the research.


The non-medical use of prescription opioids (POs) has become an area of increasing public health concern in the United States and rates of use are particularly high among young adults. In the past decade, an emerging "epidemic" of non-medical PO use has been reported.

Among young adults, self-reported use is 11% and overdose deaths involving POs now exceed deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined. Sexual violence is also a serious problem in the United States receiving increased national attention, and the relationship between substance use and sexual violence is well supported in the literature.


There’s an idea circulating that humans are the only animal to experience sexual pleasure; that we approach sex in a way that is distinct from others. As with many questions about sex, this exposes some interesting facts about the way we discuss the subject.

On one level, the question of whether humans and non-humans experience sex in the same way is fairly simply dismissed: how would we know? We cannot know how a nonhuman experiences anything – they can’t be asked. Sex as an experiential phenomenon for non-humans is, quite simply, inaccessible. Science is obliged to propose questions that are answerable, and “how does a leopard slug experience sex?” is, at time of writing, about as unanswerable as they get.

It's naïve to pretend there are no profound genetic and epigenetic differences between the sexes. Elephant Gun Studios, CC BY-NC

Gender differences and sexual preferences are frequently a point of conversation. What produces the differences between men and women? Are they trivial or profound? Are they genetic or environmental, or both?