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Articles on Anthropology

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20 years ago, who could predict how much more researchers would know today about the human past – let alone what they could learn from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space. Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo

Archaeological discoveries are happening faster than ever before, helping refine the human story

20 years ago, who could predict how much more researchers would know today about the human past – let alone what they could learn from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space.
The emotion of lassitude might help your body fight off infection by making certain adjustments. Kalinka Georgieva/Shutterstock.com

Feeling sick is an emotion meant to help you get better faster

Fighting off infection comes with predictable psychological and behavioral features. Now researchers suggest an emotion coordinates this response to help you get better. They call it 'lassitude.'
A schoolteacher in the midst of receiving a full pe'a, the traditional Samoan tattoo generally worn by males. Christopher Lynn

Untangling tattoos’ influence on immune response

An anthropologist works in American Samoa, taking advantage of the island's longstanding tattoo culture to tease out the effects tattoos have on the body's immune function.
People have been modifying Earth – as in these rice terraces near Pokhara, Nepal – for millennia. Erle C. Ellis

Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Hundreds of archaeologists provided on-the-ground data from across the globe, providing a new view of the long and varied history of people transforming Earth's environment.
Is privacy what you can’t see, or where you don’t look? Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock.com

What’s private depends on who you are and where you live

Privacy starts with the body and extends to digital data. There are few rules governing what companies can do – yet people can't effectively protect their own privacy.
Archaeological visualization of Angkor Wat at sunset, with site map at upper right. Tom Chandler, Mike Yeates, Chandara Ung and Brent McKee, Monash University, SensiLab, 2019

Angkor Wat archaeological digs yield new clues to its civilization’s decline

Many tourists hold an outdated romanticized image of an abandoned temple emerging from the jungle. But research around Angkor Wat suggests its collapse might be better described as a transformation.
Livestock, like these goats in the Rift Valley of Tanzania, are critical to household economies in East Africa. Katherine Grillo

Ancient DNA is revealing the origins of livestock herding in Africa

Pastoralism is a central part of many Africans' identity. But how and when did this way of life get started on the continent? Ancient DNA can reveal how herding populations spread.
Stucco frieze from Placeres, Campeche, Mexico, Early Classic period, c. 250-600 AD. Wolfgang Sauber/Wikimedia

Misreading the story of climate change and the Maya

Many people think climate change caused Classic Maya civilization to collapse abruptly around 900 A.D. An archaeologist says that view is too simplistic and misses the bigger point.

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