Anthropology

It may be sexist but when more women are on ballots, political parties do better, according to a new paper.

Whether or not that is because women will vote for gender over the best candidate is unclear, but it does mean that the belief that people will not vote for women is  not true. The authors analyzed changes on municipal election laws in Spain which instituted a quota for female candidates. With other factors being equal, the scholars found that parties that increased their share of female candidates by 10 percentage points more than their opponents enjoyed a 4.2 percentage-point gain at the ballot box, or an outright switch of about 20 votes per 1,000 cast. 
Do you really cherish diversity? Self-identification on that issue tells us little, studies have shown that in America, liberals, for example, who claim to care more about diversity, are far more likely to unfriend people on social media who disagree with their beliefs, while both liberals and conservatives show a large amount of homophily, which makes them more polarized.
Compared to most languages in the developed world, Icelandic is quite conservative. Formal German is almost useless in actual German society due to slang and informal terms, for example, while English has few rules but so many exceptions and colloquial phrases it can be difficult for tourists to understand eating in a restaurant.

Icelandic, by contrast, has a vocabulary well preserved in Old Norse roots and Icelanders want to keep it that way.  The purist tradition of preferring native words to foreign ones is thought to be connected to Iceland’s long process of liberation from Denmark, which was noticeable in the Icelandic language from the second half of the 19th century to some decades after the final independence in 1944.

One of the dominant hypotheses of evolution is that our genus, Homo, evolved from small-bodied early humans to become the taller, heavier and longer legged Homo erectus that was able to migrate beyond Africa and colonize Eurasia.

Not so, according to a new anthropology paper. 



The "average" Australian according to statistics is a 37 year-old woman with two kids, a mortgage and three bedroom house. But how "typical" are her consumer choices? Image from Shutterstock

Who is the “typical” or “average” consumer? Is there such a thing? What do they look like? How do they make decisions? Am I an average (or perhaps a below average) consumer?



The connections between technology, urban trading, and international economics which have come to define modern living are nothing new.

Back in the first millennium AD, the Vikings were expert at exploring these very issues.

Why did the first human populations migrate out of Africa? It is the biggest debate in anthropology but no one can be sure of the answer. When it happened can at least be an informed debate and two hypotheses dominate the cultural landscape - but they both involve a common denominator that might shed light on why.

One popular belief is that human populations expanded rapidly from Africa to southern Asia via the coastlines of Arabia 50,000 or 60,000 years ago while another is that dispersal into the Arabian interior began 75,000 or even up to 130,000 years ago, but during multiple smaller phases as increased rainfall provided sufficient freshwater to support expanding populations.

Both involve climate change. 

Early hominids didn’t have a lot of time to whip up coconut flour pancakes. Credit: United Artists

Reconstructions of human evolution are prone to simple, overly-tidy scenarios. Our ancestors, for example, stood on two legs to look over tall grass, or began to speak because, well, they finally had something to say. Like much of our understanding of early hominid behavior, the imagined diet of our ancestors has also been over-simplified.

In Manot, a karstic cave in the North of Israel close to the Lebanese border, excavations that began in 2010 have documented the peopling of the cave for over 100,000 years.

Around 30,000 years ago, the roof of the cave collapsed and sealed the archaeological layers until the 21st century. Beside stone tools and animal bones, some few human remains were preserved. The most spectacular finding was made on an elevated shelf within a small chamber of the cave: a very well preserved "calotte", the upper part of a braincase.

The facial bones which contain a lot of diagnostic traits were missing.