Anthropology

I have a theory (not like a science theory… more like a personal theory) about patriarchies (male led cultures) – they don’t exist.


I suppose, on the face of it, many human cultures appear to be patriarchies. They operate in patriarchical ways. For instance, in over 200 years the United States has never had a woman President – or Vice President – or Chief of Staff. Who wears the pants in our family?

Well, I hate to admit I have spent more than my share of time alone, contemplating why it is so darn difficult to maintain a good relationship. Maybe it’s just me. But I will go to very great theoretical lengths to attribute it to something else! 

Here’s some of what I have come up with so far:
True or false: The cinema was invented in the late 19th century.

It's only true if you consider the cinema to be artificial projection.   It turns out that the original idea behind the cinematic experience, the use of visual and audio means to tell a story, extends back to the Chalcolithic period, commonly called the Copper Age, according to the "Prehistoric Picture Project" being carried out by St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, the University of Cambridge and the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.
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Meet Lucy's 'great-grandfather'.   Scientists from The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University, Addis Ababa University and Berkeley Geochronology Center were part of an international team that discovered and analyzed a 3.6 million-year-old partial skeleton found in Ethiopia. They say the early hominid is 400,000 years older than the famous Lucy skeleton and that their research on this new specimen indicates that advanced human-like, upright walking occurred much earlier than previously thought. 


The partial skeleton belongs to Lucy's species, Australopithecus afarensis. It was found in the Woranso-Mille area of Ethiopia's Afar region by a team led by first author Dr.


Rather than hijack Eric Diaz' excellent recent post with lengthy and tangential comments, I'll post my thoughts about the roots of war here. Machines, Organizations&Us is a column on human-machine interactions, so after laying some anthropological and ethical groundwork I'll offer speculations on relationships between technology (and our feelings about technology) and war.

One of my aikido students asked me,
The 84 members of the Donner Party, trapped by a Sierra Nevada snowstorm on their way to California, did not resort to cannibalism, according to a new analysis of bones found at their Alder Creek campsite.

Instead of each other, anthropologists say the Donner Party probably ate cattle, deer, horse and dog and did their best to maintain a civilized lifestyle in an otherwise harsh setting.

Details of the analysis will appear in the July issue of American Antiquity.

The Donner Party has long been infamous for reportedly resorting to cannibalism after becoming trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California for months during the winter of 1846-1847.
Anthropologists writing in the Journal of Social Archaeology say they have found evidence indicating that Mayan citizens recorded their family history by burying it within their homes.

Maya in the Classic period (A.D. 250-900) regularly "terminated" their homes, razing the walls, burning the floors and placing artifacts and (sometimes) human remains on top before burning them again.

Evidence suggests these rituals occurred every 40 or 50 years and likely marked important dates in the Maya calendar. After termination, the family built a new home on the old foundation, using broken and whole vessels, colorful fragments, animal bones and rocks to mark important areas and to provide ballast for a new plaster floor.
The Animal That Amplifies Itself


Amplify: to make a thing bigger or more powerful.


The characteristic that most distinguishes humans from our animal cousins is not the use of tools.  Nor is it the use of language.  Many animals use twigs or stones as tools.  Many animals have the ability to communicate alarm, distress, food sources and other matters.

The only thing, I suggest, that clearly separates humans from all other living things is that we are the only species which can amplify its behaviors.  Whatever biological faculty we wish to use we have a machine to amplify that faculty.  We invented machines to enhance our chances of survival.
Researchers have long been puzzled by large societies in which
strangers routinely engage in voluntary acts of kindness and respect even though there is often an individual cost involved.

Evolutionary forces associated with kinship and reciprocity can explain such cooperative behavior among other primates, but the same isn't true for large societies of strangers.

A new study published today in Science suggests that the cooperative nature of each society may be explained in part by religious beliefs and the growth of market transactions. The study also found the extent to which a society uses punishment to enforce norms increases and decreases with the number of people in the society.
New archaeological evidence recovered at Cova Gran de Santa Linya (Southeastern PrePyrenees, Catalunya, Spain) suggests that 'modern humans' first appeared on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle/Upper Palaeolithic transition, according to researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

The research, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, also supports the hypothesis that there was neither interaction nor coexistence between humans and Neanderthals during the period.

Cova Gran is a large shelter covering a total surface area of 2,500 meters squared,
In order to learn how modern societies can adapt to the changes caused by global warming, scientists are working in the Arctic regions of St. James Bay, Quebec, northern Finland and Kamchatka to understand how humans living 4,000 to 6,000 years ago reacted to climate changes.

Their findings will tell governments, scientists and NGOs how relationships between human beings and their environments may change in decades to come as a result of global warming.