Anthropology

The rich don't get richer -- at least not in laboratory games. According to a new study of behavioral economics, published in the April 12, 2007 issue of Nature, people will spend their own money to make the rich less rich and the poor less poor. They do so without any hope of personal gain, acting, it seems, out of a taste for equality and sense of fair play.

A Florida State University anthropologist has new evidence that ancient farmers in Mexico were cultivating an early form of maize, the forerunner of modern corn, about 7,300 years ago - 1,200 years earlier than scholars previously thought.

Professor Mary Pohl conducted an analysis of sediments in the Gulf Coast of Tabasco, Mexico, and concluded that people were planting crops in the "New World" of the Americas around 5,300 B.C. The analysis extends Pohl's previous work in this area and validates principles of microfossil data collection.

In the hands of the wrong person, power can be dangerous. That's especially the case in the workplace, where the abuse of power can lead to sexual harassment.

Issues of power, workplace culture and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal communication associated with sexual harassment were the focus of a study by Debbie Dougherty, assistant professor of communication in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Working with a large healthcare organization in the Midwest, Dougherty examined the question: why does sexual harassment occur?

Modern man"s earliest known close ancestor was significantly more apelike than previously believed, a New York University College of Dentistry professor has found.

A computer-generated reconstruction by Dr. Timothy Bromage, a paleoanthropologist and Adjunct Professor of Biomaterials and of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, shows a 1.9 million-year-old skull belonging to Homo rudolfensis, the earliest member of the human genus, with a surprisingly small brain and distinctly protruding jaw, features commonly associated with more apelike members of the hominid family living as much as three million years ago.


IADR 2007 Conference Poster Dr. Timothy G.

Fresh evidence that suggests monkeys can learn skills from each other, in the same manner as humans, has been uncovered by a University of Cambridge researcher.

Dr Antonio Moura, a Brazilian researcher from the Department of Biological Anthropology, has discovered signs that Capuchin monkeys in Brazil bang stones as a signalling device to ward off potential predators.

The origins of modern humans continues to be one of the most hotly debated topics among anthropologists, and there is little consensus about where and when the first members of our species, Homo sapiens, became fully modern. While fossil evidence tells a complex tale of mosaic change during the African Stone Age, almost nothing is known about changes in human 'life history,' or the timing of development, reproductive scheduling, and lifespan. Research during the past two decades has shown that early fossil humans (australopithecines and early Homo) possessed short growth periods, which were more similar to chimpanzees than to living humans.

University College London researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain's attention on a subconscious level. The wider implication for the study, published in Current Biology, is that techniques such as subliminal advertising, now banned in the UK but still legal in the USA, certainly do leave their mark on the brain.

Using fMRI, the study looked at whether an image you aren't aware of ¬– but one that reaches the retina – has an impact on brain activity in the primary visual cortex, part of the occipital lobe. Subjects' brains did respond to the object even when they were not conscious of having seen it.

How do female chimps make sure they only get the best mates? By never wanting to reproduce at the same time, insuring that none of them have to settle for less.

Female chimpanzees may have found a fool-proof way to ensure they mate with only the highest ranking males, namely those with important social and physical characteristics that their offspring may inherit, according to a new study by Akiko Matsumoto-Oda from the Department of Welfare and Culture at Okinawa University in Japan. Female chimpanzees do not synchronize their reproductive activities which reduces the opportunities for less-desirable males to coerce them into mating.

In the March 2007 issue of BioScience, an international team of 19 researchers calls for better forecasting of the effects of global warming on extinction rates. The researchers, led by Daniel B. Botkin, note that although current mathematical models indicate that many species could be at risk from global warming, surprisingly few species became extinct during the past 2.5 million years, a period encompassing several ice ages. They suggest that this "Quaternary conundrum" arises because the models fail to take adequate account of the mechanisms by which species persist in adverse conditions.

People who see the world as essentially fair can just maintain this perception through a diminished sense of moral outrage, according to a study by researchers in New York University's Department of Psychology. The findings appear in the March issue of the journal Psychological Science, which is published by the Association for Psychological Science.

Psychologists have long studied system-justification theory, which posits that people adopt belief systems that justify existing political, economic, and social situations or inequities in order to make themselves feel better about the status quo. Moreover, in order to maintain their perceptions of the world as just, people resist changes that would increase the overall amount of fairness and equality in the system.