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Articles on Anthropology

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Ancient military innovations – like the bit and bridle that enabled mounted horseback riding – changed the course of history. Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin/British Museum via WikimediaCommons

The horse bit and bridle kicked off ancient empires – a new giant dataset tracks the societal factors that drove military technology

Did ancient technological advancements drive social innovation, or vice versa? Studying cause and effect in the ancient world may seem like a fool’s errand, but researchers built a database to do just that.
Despite claims to the contrary, the real thing cannot be replicated. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision via Getty Images

New technologies claiming to copy human milk reuse old marketing tactics to sell baby formula and undermine breastfeeding

Around the globe, 823,000 child deaths could be prevented annually with appropriate breastfeeding. Formula makers continue to defy a 40-year-old international code on marketing their product.
The ruins of the Temple of Victory in Himera, which was constructed to commemorate the first battle in 480 B.C. Katherine Reinberger

Teeth of fallen soldiers hold evidence that foreigners fought alongside ancient Greeks, challenging millennia of military history

Are the descriptions of war passed down by ancient historians accurate? A site in Sicily provided a rare chance to fact-check stories told about two battles from more than 2,400 years ago.
Today the shoreline of Lake Malawi is open, not forested the way it was before ancient humans started modifying the landscape. Jessica Thompson

Early humans used fire to permanently change the landscape tens of thousands of years ago in Stone Age Africa

Combining evidence from archaeology, geochronology and paleoenvironmental science, researchers identified how ancient humans by Lake Malawi were the first to substantially modify their environment.
Museums across the U.S., including at Harvard University, collected human remains, which were often displayed to the public. Smith Collection/Gado/Archive Photos via Getty Images

US museums hold the remains of thousands of Black people

Proposed legislation would identify and protect African American cemeteries. But it wouldn’t cover the remains of thousands of Black people in museum collections.

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