The Convergence of Ecology & Selection for the Domestication of the Horse

Two new recent studies have been published which attempt to pinpoint the how and why of prehistoric horse domestication in the Eurasian Steppe. We have a rough ideas that the domestication of the horse began about 5,500 years ago, where Central Asian peoples caught and kept horses for meat and milk. Riding horses came a couple... Continue Reading →

Ancient Human DNA Extracted From Ice Age Caves Without Human Remains

Ancient DNA has come a long way, baby. We now don't even need the bones any more to pick up traces of prehistoric beings. This highly sensitive technique for analyzing ancient DNA was announced last week in Science.  Studying 85 sediment samples from seven 14,000 to 550,000 year old caves in Europe and Russia, senior author Matthias Meyer and... Continue Reading →

Homo naledi, the mosaic of archaic and modern human, whose discovery two years ago was published in the journal Elife was touted to be around 3 million years old. New dating evidence places Homo naledi in the 300,000 to 200,000 time period where they could have have overlapped with early examples of our own kind, Homo sapiens. John Hawks, from the... Continue Reading →

Untangling The Ancient Khipu Code Of Strings

Last week in Current Anthropology, University of St. Andrews anthropologist Sabine Hyland, published, "Writing with Twisted Cords: The Inscriptive Capacity of Andean Khipus," which is her study of khipus. Khipus are twisted, tied cords left behind by Andean peoples. The best known understanding thru the archaeological record are the use of khipus in the Inca Empire.... Continue Reading →

Have you ever wondered what language sounded like in the past? In the mid-19th century, actually 1868, German linguist,  August Schleicher, published his Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages. Schleicher attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European language, or PIE, in the form of a fable, an auditory experiment, called “The Sheep and the Horses," or... Continue Reading →

The Hobbit: A Homo habilis Lineage?

When the 3 and 1/2 foot Homo floresiensis was discovered and the age of the new species correlated with the the same time Neanderthals were dying in Europe and humans colonized Asia a lot of arms and voices were thrown in the air. People questioned the validity a new species, so different, so small... A... Continue Reading →

The Cardiac Health of the Tsimane

A lot of discussion is constantly had about what is the healthiest diet; low fat or low carb. An interesting study was published in the Lancet recently where anthropologists teamed with cardiologists to study cardiac health of Amazon's Tsimane. The Tsimane are Bolivian. They live off and around the Maniqui River located in the Amazon... Continue Reading →

The Caloric Disappointment Of Cannibalism

Cannibalism is not uncommon; almost every documented culture has done it. In the cave dwellings of Homo antecessor, the common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals, anthropologists have discovered defleshed, processed human bones dating back 600,000 years ago. And there's even evidence that is has been done as recently as documented ‘ritualised cannibal feasts’ among soldiers... Continue Reading →

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