Anthropology

For as much time as Americans spend saying it is the greatest country on Earth, a whole lot of people worry about creating safe spaces where free expression is not allowed, or protesting the behavior of people they don't like.


Nearly 25 percent of all teens reported being involved in a physical fight in the past year, with higher rates of violent altercations among African-American and Latin-American adolescents than European-American ones.

To find out why, scholars writing in the Journal of Child and Family Studies conducted focus groups with African American and Latino parents regarding teen violence. Result: addressing the parents' attitudes about fighting, involving them in violence prevention programs and tailoring programs to different racial/ethnic groups may improve the effectiveness of prevention programs.


Every year, almost without thinking about it, we incorporate certain plant species into our Christmas celebrations. The most obvious is the Christmas tree, linked historically in England to Prince Albert – but its use in British homes goes back to at least 1761 when Charlotte wife of George III put up a tree at the royal court. (It’s probably worth noting here that the first artificial-brush Christmas tree was produced using the same machinery that was originally designed to produce toilet brushes.)

Scholars say video recordings show that tropical corvids fashion complex tools in the wild. The team attached tiny video 'spy-cameras'  to the crows to observe their natural foraging behavior and say there were two instances of hooked stick tool making on the footage they recorded, with one crow spending a minute making the tool, before using it to probe for food in tree crevices and even in leaf litter on the ground.

New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) are found on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. They can use their bills to whittle twigs and leaves into bug-grabbing implements; some believe their tool-use is so advanced that it rivals that of some primates.


Though we like to think we are more enlightened, advanced or progressive than in the past, it really isn't so.

We aren't all that different from 2,000 years ago - kids were kids, parents worried the new generation would doom society, and people fought over religion and politics. Or did religion bring nations together? It depends on who you ask. A new anthropology paper says that in Mexico of 700 B.C., religion drove people apart, a lot like Islam today does with everyone outside Islam.
Humans haven't learned much in more than 2,000 years when it comes to religion and politics.


We think of small talk as a way to pass the time or kill an awkward silence but a group of evolutionary psychologists are suggesting that these idle conversations could be a social-bonding tool passed down through evolution - well, in their press release they write "passed down from primates", which shows why you should be wary of psychologists discussing science.


The speed and character of human dispersals changed significantly around 100,000 years ago, and our dark side deserves a thanksgiving for that; a new paper suggests that betrayals of trust were the missing link in understanding the rapid spread of our species around the world. 


In civilized war, as oxymoronic as it sounds, hospitals have a cultural bubble around them, neutral territory and off limits. 

But in Syria, that bubble has burst dozens of times, according to a new report from the group Physicians for Human Rights. The hospitals in just the eastern half of Aleppo city have suffered 45 attacks in three years, and two-thirds have closed.

And that may put medical facilities and workers in other conflict zones in danger too, according to a new opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine


Human remains dating back to the Late Upper Palaeolithic period over 13,000 years ago has revealed a previously unknown "fourth strand" of ancient European ancestry. 

This new lineage stems from populations of hunter-gatherers that split from western hunter-gatherers shortly after the 'out of Africa' expansion some 45,000 years ago and went on to settle in the Caucasus region, where southern Russia meets Georgia today.

Here these hunter-gatherers remained for millennia, isolated as the Ice Age culminated in the last 'Glacial Maximum' some 25,000 years ago. They weathered the cold in the relative shelter of the Caucasus mountains until eventual thawing allowed movement and brought them into contact with other populations, likely from further east. 


It may seem like bees are suddenly all the rage in environmental fundraising campaigns today but they have been important to human culture - for almost as long as modern farming, humans have been interested in bees and the products they produce.