September 15, 2014

6:00 AM | Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - podcast
Ian Sample meets the historian Yuval Noah Harari to discuss his international bestseller, in which he suggests we'd have been better off without agriculture, and puts our species' dominance down to our ability to fantasise Continue reading...

September 14, 2014

9:48 AM | Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur: Spinosaurus
Scientists today unveiled what appears to be the first truly semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. New fossils of the massive Cretaceous-era predator reveal it adapted to life in the water some 95 million years ago, providing the most compelling evidence to date of a dinosaur able to live and hunt in an aquatic environment. The fossils … Continue reading →
9:09 AM | Mammals may have originated much earlier than thought
Paleontologists have described three new small squirrel-like species that place a poorly understood Mesozoic group of animals firmly in the mammal family tree. The study supports the idea that mammals — an extremely diverse group that includes egg-laying monotremes such as the platypus, marsupials such as the opossum, and placentals like humans and whales — … Continue reading →
8:49 AM | Groundwater tied to human evolution
Our ancient ancestors’ ability to move around and find new sources of groundwater during extremely dry periods in Africa millions of years ago may have been key to their survival and the evolution of the human species, a new study shows. The research — published in the journal PLOS ONE — combines geological evidence from … Continue reading →

September 11, 2014

1:52 PM | Stop Worrying, Good-Looking Dudes: Your Sperm Is Fine
You may have seen headlines over the past week proclaiming that handsome men have lower-quality sperm. If this made you panic because you happen to be a great-looking guy, you can stop. (If you’re an un-handsome man who’s been gloating—sorry.) This scientific study did say a few interesting things about Spaniards, Colombians, and cheekbones. But […]The post Stop Worrying, Good-Looking Dudes: Your Sperm Is Fine appeared first on Inkfish.

Soler C, Kekäläinen J, Núñez M, Sancho M, Alvarez JG, Núñez J, Yaber I & Gutiérrez R (2014). Male facial attractiveness and masculinity may provide sex- and culture-independent cues to semen quality., Journal of evolutionary biology, 27 (9) 1930-8. PMID:


September 09, 2014

6:07 PM | Cemeteries: Peaceful Resting Places or Competitive Interactive Arenas?
When I think about modern cemeteries, I usually perceive them as quiet resting places for the deceased. As I drive by them they are usually well kept, maintained green spaces […]

Koji Mizoguchi (2014). The centre of their life-world: the archaeology of experience at the Middle cemetery of Tateiwa-Hotta, JapanYayoi, Antiquity, 836-850. Other:

4:00 PM | Islamic State's 'Medieval' Ideology Owes A Lot To Revolutionary France
A protest against the killing of journalists by the Islamic State. Credit: Mast Irham/EPABy Kevin McDonald, Middlesex University read more

September 08, 2014

8:52 PM | September 7, 2014: Walking Through Conflict Zones, Driving 200 Miles Per Hour and More
This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they dodge whales and pirates on the Indian Ocean, track poachers in Africa, find lost societies in Orkney, shed light on glowing sharks, harmonize with melting ice in Antarctica, live underwater for 31 days, follow in the pawprints of a lone wolf for 1,200 miles, and rove across the red planet.
8:15 PM | The End of Another Exciting Season in Peru!
Sarah Kennedy is using animal remains to dig through Peru's colonial past. As the field season comes to an end, she reflects on the beauty and imperiled nature of Peru's archaeological sites from atop a high mountain.
6:26 AM | A Dangerous New Dish
Bibimbop Brugmansia ** Do NOT try this at home.Edible flowers can make for a beautiful garnish on salads and trendy Brooklyn cocktails, but these decorative flourishes can be a disaster for the oblivious amateur. An unusual case report in BMC Research Notes summarizes what happens when you sprinkle toxic flower petals on your bibimbop (Kim et al., 2014).A 64 year old Korean woman came to the emergency room with incoherent speech and fluctuations in attention, orientation and comprehension. She […]

Isbister, G., Oakley, P., Dawson, A. & Whyte, I. (2003). Presumed Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) poisoning: Clinical effects and epidemiology, Emergency Medicine Australasia, 15 (4) 376-382. DOI: 10.1046/j.1442-2026.2003.00477.x

Kim, Y., Kim, J., Kim, O. & Kim, W. (2014). Intoxication by angel’s trumpet: case report and literature review, BMC Research Notes, 7 (1) 553. DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-553

Evans Schultes, R. & Plowman, T. (1979). The ethnobotany of Brugmansia, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 1 (2) 147-164. DOI: 10.1016/0378-8741(79)90004-7


September 06, 2014

10:26 AM | “Cyranoids”: Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment
Imagine that someone else was controlling your actions. You would still look like you, and sound like you, but you wouldn’t be the one deciding what you did and what you said. Now consider: would anyone notice the difference? In this nightmarish scenario, you would be a “cyranoid” – in the terminology introduced by psychologist […]The post “Cyranoids”: Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Corti K & Gillespie A (2014). Revisiting Milgram's Cyranoid Method: Experimenting With Hybrid Human Agents., The Journal of Social Psychology, PMID:


September 05, 2014

7:55 PM | Modern population boom traced to pre-industrial roots
The foundation of the human population explosion, commonly attributed to a sudden surge in industrialization and public health during the 18th and 19th centuries, was actually laid as far back as 2,000 years ago, suggests an extended model of detailed demographic and archeological data. The Public Library of Science One (PLOS ONE) recently published the … Continue reading →
7:18 PM | Life forms appeared at least 60 million years earlier than previously thought
Geologists in Ireland have rewritten the evolutionary history books by finding that oxygen-producing life forms were present on Earth some 3 billion years ago — a full 60 million years earlier than previously thought. These life forms were responsible for adding oxygen to our atmosphere, which laid the foundations for more complex life to evolve … Continue reading →

September 04, 2014

5:00 PM | Performing Funerals in Mycenaean Greece (1600-1100 BCE)
I’ve been spending the last few days learning about grave goods found with the dead during the Early Anglo-Saxon period. Grave goods are an interesting artifact- as it isn’t something […]

Boyd, Michael (2014). The materiality of performance in Mycenaean funerary practices, World Archaeology,

12:13 PM | Ancient mammal relatives were active at night 100 million years before origin of mammals
New study reveals that nocturnality has older origin than previously thought. Synapsids, living about 300 million years ago, were probably active at night. It turns out that nocturnal activity might have a much older origin among ancient mammal relatives, called synapsids. “Synapsids are most common in the fossil record between about 315 million years ago … Continue reading →

September 03, 2014

8:30 PM | Why Do We Build Walls Around Our Cities?
At almost the instant when humans started building cities, we figured out ways to put walls around them. The often violent history behind those walls is still affecting urban life today, in ways you may not realize.Read more...
4:01 PM | Prosperity Leads To Language Extinction
Should languages be conserved? There are 5,000 languages in the world right now and clearly a lack of ability to communicate is a big factor in war. Some of the languages are spoken by very small populations in remote areas and many languages have disappeared over time because of trade and a desire to communicate with more

September 02, 2014

9:00 PM | The truth about sinister south­paws
Why call a valued assistant a ‘right-hand man’? Why does an awkward dancer have ‘two left feet’? And why, in times gone by, were left-handers thought to be possessed by the devil? Throughout the ages left-handers have been stigmatised and persecuted. But it turns out ‘handedness’ is determined before you even leave the womb. Are […]
2:42 PM | Modern population boom traced to pre-industrial roots
By the end of the Roman Empire, humanity had crossed a critical threshold of social organization that allowed more people to take advantage of economies of scale, says anthropologist Aaron Stutz. "The Course of the Empire," by Cole Thomas, portrays the wealth and culture of the period.By Carol ClarkThe foundation of the human population explosion, commonly attributed to a sudden surge in industrialization and public health during the 18th and 19th centuries, was actually laid as far back as […]
11:27 AM | The Point of Pointing
Five years ago cognitive scientist Rafael Núñez found himself in the Upper Yupno Valley, a remote, mountainous region …

September 01, 2014

9:30 AM | Lunch with the Captain
These days I’m having trouble finding time to write, especially to blog.My colleagues and I are busy building a team and a large network of collaborators for a series of related malaria elimination projects.  Our initial goal in this project is to wipe malaria out in very specific populations.  If this works, and from our initial work at a smaller scale it appears as though it can, it will be vastly scaled up – reaching throughout Southeast Asia. The impetus for this work […]
3:25 AM | August lives up to its definition: respected and impressive
The things we noticed in and around canine science over the past two weeks, Storified in one neat location for your convenience:[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16-31 August 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Feuerbacher E.N. (2014). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures, Behavioural Processes, DOI: Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of […]

Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of statistics for testing cognitive judgement bias, Animal Behaviour, 95 59-69. DOI:

Arnott E.R., Claire M. Wade & Paul D. McGreevy (2014). Environmental Factors Associated with Success Rates of Australian Stock Herding Dogs, PLoS ONE, 9 (8) e104457. DOI:


August 31, 2014

11:17 AM | New DNA study unravels the settlement history of the New World Arctic
A new DNA study unravels the settlement history of the New World Arctic. We know people have lived in the New World Arctic for about 5,000 years. Archaeological evidence clearly shows that a variety of cultures survived the harsh climate in Alaska, Canada and Greenland for thousands of years. Despite this, there are several unanswered …
11:15 AM | Symposium: Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner
Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner - Kennisdeling buiten de muren van de universiteit – 3 september 2014 Aanleiding Er is onder antropologen een toenemende aandacht voor kennisdeling buiten de muren van de universiteit. Antropologische blogs,...

August 30, 2014

6:47 AM | RotM: Interview with Dr. Steven Churchill
Prof. Steven E. Churchill In continuation of our newly introduced, Researcher of the Month (RotM) series, we spoke to Professor Steven Churchill, professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University.  Prof. Churchill specializes in human paleontology and his research interests include studying archaic and modern humans of the Middle and Late Pleistocene era.  In his recently

August 29, 2014

1:42 PM | My Fihavanana Malagasy: At Home on the Eighth Continent
Cara Brook is a disease ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. In the course of her work, she has earned a Malagasy family, which sparks her curiosity for the origins of humanity on Madagascar.

August 26, 2014

5:08 PM | August 24, 2014: How to Survive a Deadly Avalanche, Remembering Fallen War Reporters in Song and More
This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they survive an avalanche while skiing in Washington, save the environment while winning the Stanley Cup, uncover the tombs of powerful women in the Andes, pay tribute to a pair of fallen war correspondents, sleep on a stranger's couch, herd reindeer in the Russian arctic, and hold the jaws of crocodiles while we test just how hard they can bite.
4:30 PM | Outsourcing Parenthood: It Takes The Marketplace To Raise A Child
How did our ancestors raise so many kids, while modern parents struggle with the fast pace of life? It's unclear, but to help solve such First World problems, many businesses now offer traditional caregiving services ranging from planning birthday parties to teaching children how to ride a bike. According to a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Research, by outsourcing traditional parental duties, modern-day parents feel they are ultimately protecting parenthood. To determine the role of the […]

August 25, 2014

4:18 PM | Smithsonian scientist brings Kennewick Man to life in new book
Nearly 20 years since Kennewick Man was serendipitously discovered along the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State, the scientific saga of his life […] The post Smithsonian scientist brings Kennewick Man to life in new book appeared first on Smithsonian Science.
11:22 AM | Symposium: Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner
Closer Blog: Symposium antropoloog zoekt partner 3 september 2014 in het Amsterdam Museum. Read more: Symposium: Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner
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