Anthropology

Did late Lower Paleolithic people hunt or were they scavengers?    A University of Arizona anthropologist says that humans living at a Paleolithic cave site (Qesem Cave) in central Israel between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago were as successful at big-game hunting as were later stone-age hunters at the site, but earlier humans shared meat differently.

Qesem Cave ("Qesem" means "surprise") people hunted cooperatively, then carried the highest quality body parts of their prey to the cave, where they cut the meat with stone blade cutting tools and cooked it with fire.
Language networks are built based on different principles and, for the most part, are designed to be scale-free.  Global statistical properties of language networks are independent of linguistic structure and typology so do linguistic structures really influence the statistical properties of a language network? More concretely, does semantic or conceptual network have the same properties as a syntactic one?

Researchers at the Institute of Applied Linguistics at Communication University of China say they have shown that dynamic semantic network of human language is also small-world and scale-free but it is different from syntactic network in hierarchical structure and node's degree correlation.
If you were a linguist, how would you accurately describe 'click' sounds distinct to certain African languages?   It's no easy task but in order to accurately preserve a language like N|uu, which has fewer than 10 remaining speakers (and all over age 60) linguists have to be able to document.

Cornell University professor Amanda Miller and colleagues recently used high-speed, ultrasound imaging of the human tongue to precisely categorize sounds produced by the N|uu language speakers of southern Africa's Kalahari Desert, a step toward understanding the physics of speech production.
New genetic research in BMC Evolutionary Biology found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.  The new study indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia.

Dr Raghavendra Rao worked with a team of researchers from the Anthropological Survey of India to sequence 966 complete mitochondrial DNA genomes from Indian 'relic populations'. He said, "Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother and so allows us to accurately trace ancestry. We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes we sampled that are specific to Australian Aborigines. This shared ancestry suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called 'Southern Route'."
Neanderthals were stoutly-built and human-like and lived at the same time and in the same areas as some modern humans.  But they went extinct.

Anthropologists have tried to solve the mystery of Neanderthal's fate since the first fossils were discovered in the small valley of the river Düssel called Neandertal, about 7 miles east of Düsseldorf in Germany.

Speculation is they they inter-bred with modern humans or failed to compete for food or resources  or perhaps were even hunted to extinction by humans.
Do friends wear the same clothes or see the same movies because they have similar tastes, part of the reason they became friends or, once a friendship is established, do individuals influence each other to adopt like behaviors? 

Social scientists don't know for sure and are still trying to understand the role social influence plays in the spreading of trends because the real world doesn't keep track of how people acquire new items or preferences. 

But the virtual world of "Second Life" does. Researchers from the University of Michigan have tried to use this information to study how "gestures" make their way through this online community. Gestures are code snippets that Second Life avatars must acquire in order to make motions such as dancing, waving or chanting.
Yesterday, the Brazilian national team overcame a 2 goal deficit to defeat the USA squad 3-2 in the final of the Confederations Cup.   The unheralded USA team was a surprise but  teams always are until they achieve big wins over a period of time.    Then it becomes predictable and expected, like Brazil.

But what makes a great footballer?   Being in excellent physical condition undoubtedly helps but few people actually believe that intense physical training alone can turn an average player into Cristiano Ronaldo - who is Portuguese.   Instead, there is something else that must be added.   Scientists from the University of Queensland have decided to study what this "something else" might be.  
Human brains have tripled in size over the past 2 million years,  growing much faster than those of other mammals.

What might the reasons be for such dramatic brain expansion?

University of Missouri researchers studied three hypotheses for brain growth: ecological demand,  social competition and climate change.

Yes, climate change.   They're not stupid.   An entire presidential cabinet is stuffed with carbon dioxide true believers so it's good diplomacy to at least consider global warming may make us devolve - that would be terrific marketing for a carbon trading scheme.   Luckily, the much more likely social competition was determined in their analysis as the major cause of increased cranial capacity.
Did animals teach us one of the oldest forms of human technology, basketry? Did that help us learn to count? These are just two of the themes due to be explored at a University of East Anglia event which takes place June 5-6) is part of Beyond the Basket, a new research project led by the university exploring the development and use of basketry in human culture over 10,000 years.

Basketry has been practiced for millennia and ranges from mats for sitting on, containers and traps for hunting, to partitions and walls - all of which have been central to advancing our culture.