Anthropology

Haute couture through history?  It is when St. Pölten takes the Catwalk!

If your only knowledge of Stone Age fashion is stricly limited to old Flintstones cartoons, you are in luck.  On September 23rd the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) in St. Pölten, Austria will be parading clothing from over ten millennia, a journey through time and the world of fashion.



Wilma Flintstone - fashion maven from the Stone Age.  © Hanna-Barbera.
Cooking is not a modern invention, concludes new research.   It likely originated 1.9 million years ago, according to results they determined using statistical analysis and evolutionary trees.

How so? They estimated,  in their analysis, how long we should spend feeding every day, based on our body sizes throughout evolutionary history.   Sure, it might seem at first glance like cooking would add more time than directly eating but their results say we would need to spend almost half of our time in the 'feeding' process given our current sizes - cooking basically made food easier to chew and digest and as a result we got more caloric benefit and a smaller digestive tract.
 

Francis Thackeray, a South African anthropologist and the director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, has asked permission from the Church of England to exhume the remains of William Shakespeare. This would allow a team of researchers to study the cause of death of the Bard of Avon, as well as look for evidence of drug use, which depends on the presence of hair and finger or toe nails.

Thousands of artifacts made from chert, a flint-like rock used to make projectile points and other stone tools, are in some cases so delicate that their only practical use would have been on the water, says Jon Erlandson, professor of anthropology and director of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon, who has been conducting research on California's Channel Islands for more than 30 years.
Between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago, the first farmers from Asia were already cultivating land in what is now Greece, according to archaeological remains, but in places like the United Kingdom, Denmark and Northern Germany farming did not happen until around 3,000 years later.

One of the most significant socioeconomic changes in the history of humanity started taking place around 10,000 years ago, when the Near East went from an economy based on hunting and gathering (Mesolithic) to another kind on agriculture (Neolithic) and farming rapidly entered the Balkan Peninsula and then advanced gradually throughout the rest of Europe.
A new study following the evolution of lice discovered something interesting - modern humans started wearing clothes about 170,000 years ago, and that was a key factor in successfully migrating out of Africa. 

Principal investigator David Reed, associate curator of mammals at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, studies lice in modern humans to better understand human evolution and migration patterns. His latest five-year study used DNA sequencing to calculate when clothing lice first began to diverge genetically from human head lice.
2000 years from now, if future researchers find our Science 2.0 mug, what would it tell them? 

Quite a bit, it turns out - at least regarding the social structure of the period in which we live.   Coffee is big in society.   But America is a young country compared to an ancient empire like Greece.   Studying drinks in ancient Greece over a long period can help researchers piece together what the social structure may have been like beyond select older writings.
In preparing my series on Ancient Astronauts, I encountered a few problems I hadn’t anticipated, though maybe I should have looking back  now. Mainly the problem is a lack of understanding of the terms being  and ideas being used.

Things like why a myth is a myth, or why Archaeologists except certain views over others. If you’re not well versed in these reasons, it can seem a little biased and possibly lead to confusion, like in what the term “quantum” means. So, when I saw Von Daniken and his ilk using the term “Cargo Cult” to describe the Nazca lines, I realized many people may not understand what he’s saying.
Ah, the good old days, where everyone in the neighborhood had kids named John and Mary (or Juan and Maria, or Jean and Marie, etc). But all of the warm fuzzy melting pot of same-name-ness started to disintegrate in the 1960s, when diversification of baby names started in the US, "at the same time that Americans started placing more emphasis on individuality and less on collectivity and fitting in," according to the Live Science article.1
It's common belief that Vikings visited Newfoundland, therefore reaching the New World from Europe before Christopher Columbus, but a new genetic analysis claims not only did Vikings visit North America, they brought natives back to Europe with them.  And had babies.

The report in the latest edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology says researchers sequenced the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome of 11 people with haplogroup C1, a lineage that was involved in the settlement of North America over 12,000 years ago, from four different families.   No problem, they moved there recently, right?