4,000-year-old frozen hair mtDNA sequenced from a Greenlandic Saqqaq settlement

A couple days ago Science published a peopling of the Americas paper. The paper is based on ancient mtDNA analysis of hair from a site in Greenland called, Saqqaq, also known as Qeqertasussuk, Disko Bay. The authors were able to identify a unique haplogroup, not shared by other Native Americans, which suggests that a different... Continue Reading →

Did early hominins shuffle before they walked upright?

I don't know how I missed this paper, "Stand and shuffle: When does it make energetic sense?" It was published last month in the Journal of Physical Anthropology. I'm sharing it with you now because the bipedalism is heavily studied in anthropology. Bipedal locomotion is perhaps one of only traits that is predominately 'human.' The... Continue Reading →

Michael Tomasello on How Humans Are Unique

Michael Tomasello, a well known comparative psychologist, has a column in today's New York Times where he writes on, "How Are Humans Unique?" In the piece, Tomasello argues that our cultural, linguistic, economic and tool-use have all come about because of our tendency for "collective cognition." His argument stems from two of his recent papers,... Continue Reading →

Recovering 1,000 Year Old Viking mtDNA

Today's big anthropological headline is based upon this brand new open access PLoS One paper, "Evidence of Authentic DNA from Danish Viking Age Skeletons Untouched by Humans for 1,000 Years." The paper is written well, has lots of controls, and establishes some protocols on how to recovery ancient DNA. Despite these good things, I think... Continue Reading →

How was the world peopled?

PLoS Genetics has published a new population genetics paper. It summarizes the order by which the world was peopled through the use of a new statistical model. This has been a big question in anthropology, and has often relied on archaeology, linguistics, and ethnography to supplement the genetic and physical data. I don't mean to... Continue Reading →

Just how old are ‘the Crystal Skulls’?

Tomorrow, the next installment in the Indiana Jones series of films is set to come out. The film is subtitled, "and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." I'm extremely excited. As a child, I really enjoyed the other three movies. My favorite was "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." I've been eagerly anticipating this... Continue Reading →

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