Category Archives: Anthropology

DNA offers surprises on how Polynesia was settled

Science reports: The peopling of Polynesia was a stunning achievement: Beginning around 800 C.E., audacious Polynesian navigators in double-hulled sailing canoes used the stars and their knowledge of the waves to discover specks of land separated by thousands of kilometers of open ocean. Within just a few centuries, they had populated most of the Pacific… Read More »

51,000-year-old bone carving suggests Neanderthals were true artists

Gizmondo reports: Patterns deliberately etched onto a bone belonging to a giant deer are signs that Neanderthals possessed the capacity for symbolic thought. Neanderthals decorated themselves with feathers, drew cave paintings, and created jewelry from eagle talons, so it comes as little surprise to learn that Neanderthals also engraved patterns onto bone. The discovery of… Read More »

For most of human history, equality was the norm

Kim Sterelny writes: Most of us live in social worlds that are profoundly unequal, where small elites have vastly more power and wealth than everyone else. Very few of the have-nots find this congenial. As experimental economists have shown, we tend to enter social situations prepared to take a chance and cooperate in collective activities.… Read More »