MachineMachine /stream - tagged with anthropology en-us LifePress <![CDATA[David Reich: ‘Neanderthals were perhaps capable of many modern human behaviours’ | Science | The Guardian]]>

For David Reich, research can be a harrowing experience. The 44-year-old Harvard University geneticist says he now goes to bed terrified he will wake up to find his team’s recent, stunning discoveries about human ancestry have been proved wrong.

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 10:25:25 -0700
<![CDATA[Teaching the Intersection Between Classics, Anthropology, and Colonialism – Everyday Orientalism]]>

It is no scoop for anyone that many academic disciplines were born in Europe during the Age of Empires. It is certainly the case of Classics and other Antiquity-related specialities. It is, also, the case of Anthropology.

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 09:09:46 -0800
<![CDATA['Hobbit' species did not evolve from ancestor of modern humans, research finds | Science | The Guardian]]>

Researchers who studied the bones of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, say their findings should end a popular theory that it evolved from an ancestor of modern humans.

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:01:31 -0700
<![CDATA[Did Humans Drive "Hobbit" Species to Extinction? - Scientific American]]> ]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 06:02:53 -0700 <![CDATA[Mystery 'hobbits' not humans like us, study finds - Telegraph]]>

Diminutive humans that died out on an Indonesian island some 15,000 years ago were not Homo sapiens but a different species, according to a study published Monday that dives into a fierce anthropological debate.

Tue, 16 Feb 2016 08:14:28 -0800
<![CDATA[Theorizing the Web 2015: 'Living with Algorithms' Panel]]>

Note Due to technical issues, Solon Barocas' presentation 'The Alterity of Algorithms' was not recorded.

.Presider Sara M. Watson .Hashmod Ava Kofman

Daniel Rourke: Synthetic Subjects Natalie Kane: Ghost Stories Nick Seaver: Traps: Algorithms and the Anthropology of Technology

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:13:48 -0800
<![CDATA[Homo naledi: new species of ancient human discovered, claim scientists | Science | The Guardian]]>

Explorers happened upon the bones after squeezing through a fissure high up in the rear wall of the Rising Star cave, 50km from Johannesburg, before descending down a long, narrow chute to the chamber floor 40 metres beneath the surface.

Sat, 03 Oct 2015 10:38:16 -0700
<![CDATA[The Theological Questions Raised by the Homo Naledi Fossils - The Atlantic]]>

Earlier this month, scientists working in South Africa made an exciting announcement: They had discovered a new species of human ancestor.

Sat, 03 Oct 2015 10:38:04 -0700
<![CDATA[The Caveman’s Home Was Not a Cave - Issue 24: Error - Nautilus]]>

It was the 18th-century scientist Carolus Linnaeus that laid the foundations for modern biological taxonomy. It was also Linnaeus who argued for the existence of Homo troglodytes, a primitive people said to inhabit the caves of an Indonesian archipelago.

Tue, 26 May 2015 05:08:19 -0700
<![CDATA[The Architectural Origins of the Chess Set | Design Decoded]]>

Prior to 1849, there was no such thing as a “normal chess set.” At least not like we think of it today. Over the centuries that chess had been played, innumerable varieties of sets of pieces were created, with regional differences in designation and appearance.

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:53:54 -0700
<![CDATA[Neanderthals smart enough to copy humans]]>

Fossils and artefacts pulled from the Grotte du Renne cave in central France present anthropologists with a Pleistocene puzzle. Strewn among the remains of prehistoric mammals are the bones of Neanderthals, along with bladelets, bone points and body ornaments belonging to what archaeologists call the Châtelperronian culture. Such complex artefacts are often attributed to modern humans, but a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that Neanderthals created the objects in imitation of their Homo sapiens neighbors1.

How the Grotte du Renne deposit formed has important implications for how we view our extinct sister species. If Neanderthals left the assemblage, then they were capable of a degree of symbolic behaviour thought to be unique to humans.

The remains and artefacts were found together during excavations between 1949 and 1963, but they were not necessarily deposited at the same time. In 2010, Thomas Higham, an archaeologist at the University of

Mon, 31 Dec 2012 06:52:00 -0800
<![CDATA[Neanderthal vs. Homo sapiens: Who would win in a fight?]]>

team of archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, and paleoartists has created a more accurate Neanderthal reconstruction, based on a nearly complete skeleton discovered in France more than 100 years ago. The La Ferrassie Neanderthal man was short but stocky. If a modern man came nose-to-nose with a Neanderthal, could he take him in a fight? Possibly. A Neanderthal would have a clear power advantage over his Homo sapiens opponent. Many of the Neanderthals archaeologists have recovered had Popeye forearms, possibly the result of a life spent stabbing wooly mammoths and straight-tusked elephants to death and dismantling their carcasses. Neanderthals also developed strong trapezius, deltoid, and tricep muscles by dragging 50 pounds of meat 30 miles home to their families. A Neanderthal had a wider pelvis and lower center of gravity than Homo sapiens, which would have made him a powerful grappler. That doesn’t mean, however, that we would be an easy kill for our extinct relative. Homo sapiens

Mon, 31 Dec 2012 06:49:00 -0800

To what extent do the material components (e.g. hardware, source code, network protocols) and properties (e.g. speed, malleability, erasability) of digital technology influence the methodologies one might employ to study it? Is there a specific “ethnographic toolkit” that is particularly well-suited for studying the digital form and related socio-cultural phenomena?

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 06:37:00 -0700
<![CDATA[Neanderthals Getting a Colourful Upgrade]]>

A chorus of smart, modern minds is rising over the hills of anthropology that the ancient Neanderthals of Europe weren't anywhere nearly as dumb, insufferable and unrecognizable as everyone thought all these years. At long last, these creatures who roamed the Continent for hundreds of thousands of years only to become extinct 30,000 years ago under the onslaught of modern humans from Africa are getting a major upgrade by the scientific community.

No more can we say that old Neanderthal -- prototype of shaggy man with absolutely zero smarts -- didn't know what he was doing. And no more can we deny it: They were not a little bit like us but a lot. As Professor David Frayer, Neanderthal expert at the University of Kansas, puts it, with not a little hint of told-you-so scientific glee, "Seemingly with every new journal issue, the gap between Neanderthal and modern human behavior closes."

Wed, 23 May 2012 09:44:15 -0700
<![CDATA[We must set planetary boundaries wisely]]>

As pressure on resources increases, pollution accumulates and humanity's impact on Earth escalates, global-scale governance of the environment is increasingly necessary. In June, the United Nations' Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will grapple with these difficult political issues. Up for discussion is a relatively new scientific concept: planetary boundaries.

Formulated in 2009 by Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Environment Institute, and his colleagues, the concept is based on the idea that humanity flourished under the conditions on Earth in the 10,000 years leading up to the industrial revolution — the Holocene epoch. So, to maintain human progress, we should keep the planet under similar biophysical conditions. The researchers set out nine key environmental measures and thresholds that should not be breached for fear of pushing Earth out of the Holocene-like 'safe operating space for humanity'. The boundaries include thresholds for climate change and bio

Wed, 23 May 2012 09:39:50 -0700
<![CDATA[Emergence of the Human 'SuperBrain' 75,000 Years Ago --"AI Could Blur Differences between Humans and Computers in Coming Centuries"]]>

"Humans obviously evolved a much wider range of communication tools to express their thoughts, the most important being language," said Hoffecker, a fellow at CU's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. "Individual human brains within social groups became integrated into a neurologic Internet of sorts, giving birth to the mind."

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 16:15:46 -0700
<![CDATA[Harvard sociobiologist E.O. Wilson on the origins of the arts]]>

RICH AND SEEMINGLY BOUNDLESS as the creative arts seem to be, each is filtered through the narrow biological channels of human cognition. Our sensory world, what we can learn unaided about reality external to our bodies, is pitifully small. Our vision is limited to a tiny segment of the electromagnetic spectrum, where wave frequencies in their fullness range from gamma radiation at the upper end, downward to the ultralow frequency used in some specialized forms of communication. We see only a tiny bit in the middle of the whole, which we refer to as the “visual spectrum.” Our optical apparatus divides this accessible piece into the fuzzy divisions we call colors. Just beyond blue in frequency is ultraviolet, which insects can see but we cannot. Of the sound frequencies all around us we hear only a few. Bats orient with the echoes of ultrasound, at a frequency too high for our ears, and elephants communicate with grumbling at frequencies too low.

Sat, 21 Apr 2012 05:37:47 -0700
<![CDATA[The Mastery of Non-Mastery]]>

There are two types of anthropologists: One models himself on the scientist, treating the world as his laboratory, people as his raw data. He mounts surveys, crunches numbers, and, crucially, remains detached and dispassionate throughout the process. He applies for big research grants with “expected outcomes” and “anticipated impact” carefully delineated long before he has gone out into the field. The other kind of anthropologist is more like a religious initiate, participating fully in the culture in which he is placed and intimating that he is then the possessor of some secret knowledge. Like an initiate, he cannot anticipate any “outcomes” before they happen but must simply live in the moment and immerse himself in the local customs and values.

It is this latter tradition of which Michael Taussig, an eminent professor at Columbia University, is one of the greatest exponents. The New York Times has called his work “gonzo anthropology.” He has drunk hallucinatory yagé on the sandy banks of the Putumayo River. He’s cured the sick with the aid of spirits. He’s escaped from guerrillas in a dugout canoe at dawn. Above all, he is interested in individual stories and experiences, unique tales that cannot be reduced to rational explanation or bland report. To read Taussig is to have an adventure in which one can move from Walter Benjamin’s experiments with hashish to American kids’ drawings to that dawn-lit canoe without skipping a beat. His narrative is lyrical, mesmeric.

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 01:06:16 -0700
<![CDATA[Q&A;: The Anthropology of Searching for Aliens]]>

Before we can understand an alien civilization, it might be useful to understand our own.

To help in this task, anthropologist Kathryn Denning of York University in Toronto, Canada studies the very human way that scientists, engineers and members of the public think about space exploration and the search for alien life.

From Star Trek to SETI, our modern world is constantly imagining possible futures where we dart around the galaxy engaging with bizarre alien races. Denning points out that when people talk about these futures, they often invoke the past. But they frequently seem to have a poor understanding of history.

Fri, 06 Apr 2012 02:07:52 -0700
<![CDATA[Did Stone Age cavemen talk to each other in symbols?]]>

Instead of studying those magnificent galloping horses and bisons, researchers are investigating the symbols painted beside them.

These signs are rarely mentioned in most studies of ancient cave art. Some are gathered in groups, some appear in ones or twos, while others are mixed in with the caves' images of animals. There are triangles, squares, full circles, semicircles, open angles, crosses and groups of dots. Others are more complex: drawings of hands with distorted fingers (known as negative hands); rows of parallel lines (called finger flutings); diagrams of branch-like symbols known as penniforms, or little sketches of hut-like entities called tectiforms. In total, 26 specific signs are used repeatedly in these caves, created in the millennia when Europe descended into – and emerged from – the last great Ice Age.

Sun, 11 Mar 2012 05:35:44 -0700