Anthropology

The words 'yes' and 'no' may seem like two of the easiest expressions to understand in any language, but their actual behavior and interpretation are surprisingly difficult to pin down. In a paper published earlier today in the journal Language, two linguists examine the workings of 'yes' and 'no' and show that understanding them leads to new insights concerning the understanding of questions and statements more generally.


Wide-scale population migrations and changes took place in Europe and Asia during the Bronze Age that shaped the demographic structure of present-day Europeans and Asians, as revealed by an analysis of 101 genomes from ancient Eurasian humans.

A new study published in this week’s Nature presents one of the largest studies of ancient DNA samples to date.  The research provides insights into the prevalence of certain traits such as skin color or lactose tolerance, as well as data relevant to the understanding the spread of Indo-European languages.

Though women are the majority in the life sciences and men might need outreach programs to counteract potential bias against them in the social sciences, in math-intensive fields like physics women still lag.

Sociologists believe that it may be due to misperception; that you either have math ability or you don't. Counter that misperception and you the problem is solved.


Amateur cook-offs like the hugely popular MasterChef series now in its seventh season in Australia have been part of our TV diet for almost two decades.

These shows celebrate the remarkable lengths we humans will go to to whet the appetite, stimulate the senses, fire our neural reward systems and sustain the body.

Yet, few of us pause to reflect on the hugely important role diet plays in the ecology and evolutionary history of all species, including our own.

Lethal wounds identified on a human skull may indicate one of the first cases of murder in human history, according to a new paper.

The archaeological site, Sima de los Huesos in northern Spain, is located deep within an underground cave system and contains the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals that date to around 430,000 years ago, during the Middle Pleistocene. The only access to the site is through a 13-meter deep vertical shaft, and how the human bodies arrived there remains a mystery.
The Red Lady burial site in El Mirón cave, outside Ramales de la Victoria in Cantabria, Spain, dates back to the Upper Palaeolithic 16,000 years ago. The archaeological site was discovered in 1903 but it wasn't until 2010 that bones were discovered at the back of the cave, in a small space between the wall and a fallen block. Both the bones and the sediment under them were reddish.

The remains turned out to be of a woman, between 35 and 40 years of age, and because of the color the Red Lady mystery was born. The reddish color means the use of ochre and ochre has been linked to religious symbolism in various cultures.
Acoustics would seem to be primarily science - make sure sound waves are not piling up on each other in strange places and that everyone can hear what they are supposed to hear -  but a new study says it is not so objective and the response of audiences and performers to acoustic characteristics is a function of their worldview, according to archaeo-acoustician Steven J. Waller at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Pittsburgh.

"It's a parallel to 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder': perfect performance spaces are really in the ear of the listener. Today we value qualities like clarity--how it makes a modern orchestra sound," Waller continued, "whereas prior to sound wave theory, echoes were considered mysterious and divine."
A new genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reveals that dogs and humans may have been a match far longer than previously believed.

Earlier genome-based estimates have suggested that the ancestors of modern-day dogs diverged from wolves no more than 16,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age, but new 35,000 year-old radiocarbon dating shows the Taimyr wolf represents the most recent common ancestor of modern wolves and dogs.

Males rule in most of the animal world. But when it comes to conventional gender roles, lemurs -- distant primate cousins of ours -- buck the trend. Lemur girls behave more like boys, thanks to a little testosterone.


We may think that not wanting to live around relatives is a modern trait, but our closest anthropological relatives, modern day hunter-gatherers, choose to not live among family members as much as we think. That goes for when males and females have the choice.