An Ig Nobel Prize-winning study suggests we need to rethink why imitation evolved.
A fragment of an ancestral Pueblo jar dating to c. A.D. 1150.
Keith Kintigh, Arizona State University
Only a small fraction of the data from archaeological fieldwork is made accessible to the public or preserved for future research.
Is a cassette player an “ordinary object” or a “mystery”? It depends on whom you ask, and ethnography can help you ask the right questions.
Big data is all the rage in management circles and beyond, yet little is said about the understanding needed with such voluminous data. An important lesson can be learned from ethnographic research.
Vincent Copley senior and Vincent Copley junior at Redbanks Conservation Park, Burra, in June, 2018. They are holding Ngadjuri book, with their grandfather and great-grandfather, Barney Waria, on the cover.
Photo: C.J. Taylor, Flinders University.
In the 1940s, the last initiated Ngadjuri man, Barney Waria, gave a series of interviews to anthropologist Ronald Berndt. Almost 80 years later, Waria's grandson wants to share this material with his family.
In the medical culture of the Bugis and Makassar peoples in Indonesia the word
means that the penis is actually shrinking, or retracting, but the Dutch in the 19th-century East Indies did not believe it was real.
Koro is widely believed to be a culturally localised delusion. But a theory that it's a fight-or-flight reflex might be corroborated by studying traditional healing treatments in Indonesia.
Coming together for a solstice feast in ancient Peru.
How did civilization emerge from small groups of hunter-gatherers? Some archaeologists focus on cooperation as the vital ingredient – and find evidence for it in the form of feast-related artifacts.
Where did our written numbers come from?
Linguistic clues show how people around the world first developed mathematical thought.
Artist’s impression of Proxima b, a planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri within the closest known star system outside of our solar system.
Using AI to search for ET might help us find things we couldn't even imagine we should look for, but to succeed we also have think critically about how we create and use that technology.
Sunrise at noon in the Arctic. Little exposure to sun was a piece of the genetic puzzle.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
Why was one gene mutation that affects hair, teeth, sweat glands and breasts ubiquitous among ice age Arctic people? New research points to the advantage it provided for ancestors of Native Americans.
Pan having sex with a goat, statue from Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum, 1752.
The vast discrepancy between abhorrence of bestiality and acceptance of slaughtering on animals suggests that thinking imaginatively about animal orgasm may help us to be more compassionate toward animals.
Who gets to decide for the dead, such as this Egyptian mummy?
AP Photo/Ric Feld
Are DNA samples today's version of the human skeletons that hung in 20th-century natural history museums? They can provide genetic revelations about our species' history – but at an ethical price.
Understanding the past requires knowledge that goes beyond modern science.
Insights and approaches drawn from anthropology could be a useful part of the toolkit for a cop trying to catch a killer.
What can a modern-day Creole language tell us about its first speakers in the 1600s?
New research suggests that hints left in Creole languages can identify where the original speakers came from – even hundreds of years after they migrated and mixed together.
Teeth fossils with evidence of dental lesions from
Prehistoric humans and their predecessors may have had a very different diet but their teeth suffered in similar ways to ours.
The universal sign for ‘Look over there!’ isn’t so common in some cultures.
It was long thought that humans everywhere favor pointing with the index finger. But some fieldwork out of Papua New Guinea identified a group of people who prefer to scrunch their noses.
A connection can be made in between Ursula Le Guin’s fiction and her father’s groundbreaking work in anthropology.
Oregon State University
Le Guin's father, Alfred Kroeber, was at a forefront of a movement that rejected social Darwinism and cultural superiority. In his daughter's fiction, we see these ideas come to life.
Fossilized teeth from a modern human who lived in Israel close to 200,000 years ago.
Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University
New discoveries are changing archaeologists' ideas about the origins of our own species and our migration out of Africa. This fossil pushes Homo sapiens' African exodus date back by 50,000 years.
Rural China sheds light on the role of witchcraft in society.
Most anthropologists believe that witch labelling has evolved to get people to conform. But new research suggests an alternative explanation.
Chill: There’s no one right way.
Opening the minds of worried new parents to other ways of raising children may assuage fears that if they fail to 'do the right thing,' their children will be doomed.