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Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival #65!!!
April 22, 2009Posted by on
Hello and Welcome to the 65th Edition of the Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival! First, some Housekeeping: The homepage for the Four Stone Hearth is here; the carnival was over at Quiche Morraine last time, and if you’d like to host on May 6th, you’d better sign up soon!
Now, the fun part! I’ve tried to assemble a diverse group of posts from each of the four subfields. But, I’ll admit that I’m a little bio-centric. If you’ve got a good socio/cultural/linguistic post that I’ve neglected to find and post, throw it in the comments and I’ll get it up here!
I’ve decided to start our day off by sharing our posts by people who work with living, breathing people and primates. I don’t get to work with the living very often, so I sometimes get a little jealous of those of you who do. If you want to know how big a muscle is, you can just go measure it! But, as our first group of posts illustrates, sometimes having a whole, living organism to ask research questions about can just make things more complicated!
Culture is as much a product of language as language is a product of culture. Language and Culture are thus homologous mental realities. Cultural products are representations and interpretations of the world that must be communicated in order to be lived.
It is not surprising that ethnographers should prefer to interact with living individuals, one on one, and spend large amounts of time learning about their everyday lives and immersing themselves in as much of their realities as possible. Looking at these statistics, by themselves, could lead one to arrive at some rather bizarre conclusions; they could also be the basis for some exciting new questions, both for online and offline ethnography.
[...] the fact that we’re trying to bring the ‘neuro-‘ to ‘anthropology’ helps me to explain why I don’t like the term ‘neuroconstructivist’ even though I like nearly everything about neuroconstructivists themselves.
Hi co-blogger dlende discusses the implications of viewing our brains as our property:
The brain becomes rather like property in this approach, something a person possesses and that poverty – somehow separate from the person, a naturalized thing that causes stress – negatively impacts. But that approach avoids the radical implications here on both sides.
The larger story lay not in the fact that females preferred to mate with males who provisioned them, but that they were opportunistically shifting their mating strategies for their own reproductive interests.
As always, those hardest hit during this kind of chaos are the local villagers. While people in Sambava are angrily demonstrating for the right to log and sell rosewood, villagers near the park live under siege, desperate for lack of tourist dollars, intimidated into silence by the mafia. Villagers who have banded together recently to voice opposition to the destruction of their forests have been violently dispersed by the mafia firing shots over their heads.
I wrote a post about natal coats in Redfronted Lemurs:
In Redfronted Lemurs, females are competitive for mates, and so female-female aggression is relatively common. Females have also been observed to commit infanticide, though it is very rare. All Redfronted lemurs are born with a natal coat resembling the adult coat of males.
We aren’t jumping back in time just yet, but how do we prepare for a time when all of the stuff we have here in the present will become part of the past? Brian at Old Dirt- New Thoughts presents a cautionary tale with a happy ending, starring NASA!
I tell the students working in my lab that our goal is to produce a record of our data that will last for 100 years. This story shows the effort it can take to accomplish this goal. The preservation of historic records – at NASA and in my lab – is a challenge and, at least sometimes, a surprisingly fascinating story.
And what if we’ve found something from the past, but will have to part with it some time in the very near future? Over at A Hot Cup of Joe, cfeagans gets crafty and teaches us how to make our own casts of bone and stone:
But there is a way to capture very accurate representations of interesting bones for later analysis or teaching: make detailed cast of the artifact! If you’ve ever been to the dentist to have a crown made, you’ve been the subject of this method yourself. What the dentist did was apply a non-toxic, non-damaging alginate to your tooth to create a mold in which a new, porcelain copy could be made.
Okay, let’s turn our attention to dead people and dead empires! Anne H at The Spittoon shows how cultural practices can affect biology while delivering a case study on the dangers of consanguineous royal marriages when you’ve got bad genes:
By the end of the 17th century, the results of their marital practices had become apparent in the form of a distinctive protruding lip, a high rate of infant mortality and a host of other health problems. Could the same marital practices that helped bring the Habsburg dynasty to power also have led to its demise?
Not only did I find all the elusive 1st Millennium stuff that’s mentioned in the literature but never illustrated, but I was also able to identify for the first time two small pieces of iron military equipment of the same date.
This first half-hour podcast, freely available on iTunes, features the renowned Dr. Jean Clottes, discussing amongst other things what he considers to be some of the most important discoveries in European Palaeolithic cave art, such as Altamira, Chauvet and Lascaux, why he thinks ancient cupules from India dated to 200,000 years don’t necessarily qualify as art – although as he says, had the holes been ground out in a pattern, art could be implied.
We can’t observe the behavior of extinct species; we can only observe the behavior of their living relatives. We can observe the anatomy of fossil specimens, but testing hypotheses about their behavior requires us to understand the relationship between anatomy and behavior in living species. We’ve known about the anatomy of fossil hominid ankles for a long time, but it’s not so obvious how the anatomical differences between them and chimpanzee ankles relates to behavior.
Kibale Forest is located in south-western Uganda. It is 776 square kilometers, it has 13 primate species, 325 bird species, 144 butterfly species, and the annual rain fall is… more inane facts like these can be found on the internet. Suffice to say that this forest isn’t lacking in biodiversity. Most important park asset for a visit: wild chimpanzees.
And that’s it, ladies and gentlemen! I hope you have as much fun reading, commenting on, and sharing all of these posts as I did!