Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival

I'm happy to be hosting the 50th edition of the Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival!
We've got a wide array of Anthropology topics. I'll go from social/cultural anthropology, then into archaeology, and then into biological anthropology.

Daniel at Neuroanthropology shares with us Alesha Sivartha's collection of drawings representing the domains of life and culture that brains might be devoted to dealing with. This is interesting in the sense that evolutionary psychologists have argued that the brain is not like a general purpose computer, but rather like a Swiss army knife with domain specific mechanisms evolved to deal with specific problems such as face recognition, social relationships, mental maps, etc..

Daniel has another interesting post about Race in the Race for President of the US, which reminds us that racial dynamics are never far from the lived experience of Americans.

Magnus Reuterdahl at Testimony at the Spade discusses Mark Twain's visit to Jonkoping, Sweden.

Terry Toohill, guest blogger at Remote Central, discusses the evidence and misconceptions surrounding the processes of evolution, and might I add, provides plenty of references.

Martin at Aardvarchaeology shares his experience with the trials and tribulations of archaeological digs in Sweden.

At the Southeast Asian Archaeology Newblog, we see that six new Neolithic burials from Sarawak from the Niah cave complex have been recently put on display.
"More significantly, the skeletons are of the Australomelanasoid affinity, which means they were natives of Sundaland (the geological land shelf on which much of island Southeast Asia sits on) and possibly represent the continuous habitation of the cave site rather part of the migratory group originating from Southern China that is thought to populate Southeast Asia in this period" (from 2-3 thousand years ago)
The past couple of weeks has seen several stories about Neanderthals.
As usual, John Hawks has a wealth of information and insight:
Still on the Neanderthal topic, Julien at A Very Remote Period Indeed reviews the new National Geographic series on Neanderthals. He focuses on the evidence for whether there were hostile or peaceful relations between modern Humans and Neanderthals, on the relative (and complementary) merit of fossil, archaeological and genetic data in interpreting what happened in the past. He closes with a discussion about the reconstruction of a face of a Neanderthal female, discussed on other blogs as well.

Afarensis also discusses a paper about Neanderthal brain size and maturation which argues that Neanderthals grew quickly but matured later than modern humans, suggesting that their overall life history was perhaps slower paced than that of modern humans. Afarensis also discusses the use of marine food resources by Neanderthals, before the most recent piece of evidence came out in PNAS.

Dienekes has his usual dizzying array of posts from a wide variety of topics in evolutionary and molecular anthropology.
I'll just point out the post on Stonehenge and how it has been dated more accurately, and how it has been suggested that it was a healing center.

Razib at GNXP has a great post on a recent NYT article about David Goldstein on the HapMap, selection and race. Many other bloggers (John Hawks, Genetic Future etc...) have also commented on this article. In this article David Goldstein questions the efficiency of the process by which we currently look for the genetic basis for disease (and intelligence).

Finally, let me point you to Kambiz's always excellent and thorough Anthropology.net blog. He has recently posted about a new study published in PLoS Genetics that examines how genes involved in the immune system can predict human mating patterns.

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