Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival #65!!!

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!

From the linguistic and and cultural corners of our holistic little group, Sophia from Science. Why Not? schools us on the interrelatedness of Language and Culture:

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.

Meanwhile, Maximillian from OpenAnthropology conducts some informal online ethnography by mapping google search terms onto their countries of origin:

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.

Greg Downy of Neuroanthropology struggles with the intellectual label of  “Neuroconstructivist”:

[…] 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.

Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries dissects the journalistic juvenilia surrounding the recent news of male provisioning in chimps, and points out that the real news is female choice:

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.

Afarensis brings us good news from Borneo regarding Orangutans, and once again draws our attention to the crisis in Madagascar’s Marojejy National Park. From the park’s website:

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?

Martin at Aardvarchaeology enjoys his work on the Sverkersgården site, and shares with us his some of his First Millennium Swedish archaeology knowledge:

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.

Tim at Remote Central shares with us a new Ice Age Art Gallery and podcast from the Bradshaw Foundation.

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.

John Hawks has a nice write-up of Jeremy DeSilva’s work on Australopithecine ankles and climbing:

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.

The Hobbit made a brief public appearance in Stony Brook yesterday, and the news made the NYTimes, Jerry Coyne’s blog, and mine.

And now, for something completely different, Joey from MSU’s spotted hyena research lab spent his vacation in Uganda trying to observe some chimps in the wild:

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!

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8 responses to “Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival #65!!!

  1. Pingback: Four Stone Hearth Out « Neuroanthropology

  2. Pingback: Great discoveries at Four Stone Hearth 65 « Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

  3. Manor Stone July 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

    We anthro-bloggers need to rally up if we want to keep the Four Stone Hearth going. I propose using the comments section here to brainstorm ideas. Side-bar badges? Advertising? Link-Love? Get PZ Myers to submit?…

  4. Manor Stone July 26, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Unfortunately, participation has waxed and waned a bit over these few years. I only received four submissions and one of these wasn’t, strictly speaking, a post on anthropology. But I’m including it anyway. I’m willing to accept the responsibility for the low turn-out, and here’s why: The Four Stone Hearth blog carnival depends on us, the writers and bloggers to keep it going. The readers will be there. Some of us that host routinely get a thousand or more blog hits a day and have hundreds of unique subscribers (not me… but I’m working on it. some).

    • zinjanthropus July 26, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Well, usually when I host there are only a handful of actual submissions, too. Since I subscribe to and read lots of anthro blogs, I just keep a list going of posts that I want to show off when the time comes. Maybe if we all did that a little more when we weren’t hosting we’d have lots of submissions.

      Summer months are usually a slow blogging time for me, too, and I wonder if that is true of lots of other bloggers as well…

  5. Eric July 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Well I haven’t hosted or at least submitted a post to four stone hearth, so maybe I’m a little bit unqualified to say something, but here are my thoughts on this problem.

    If there aren’t enough submissions, maybe it’s a good Idea to lengthen the interval between two sessions. Maybe set it to four weeks instead of two and look if something changes.

    To speak for myself, I think it’s a good Idea to advertise the four stone hearth a little bit more. Just because someone writes about Anthropology, it doesn’t mean that he has a complete overview on all the other anthropology related blogs out there. Maybe they just follow two or three other Blogs which probably write about similiar stuff as they do.
    So it’s quite possible that people might know about four stone hearth but they don’t hear of it on a regular basis.
    So at least we should link to the homepage of the four stone hearth and maybe link to the current host of it. This way more people get reminded of the four stone hearth on a much more regular basis as they are now.

    One last thought on this topic: How about letting hosts ask a certain question or put an emphasis on a certain issue so that other bloggers have something wo think and write about. Surely this stuff needs to bee announced prior to the actual hosting but I think it could lead to very interesting discussions.

    Well, so much from me. I immediatly will set up a link to the current four stone hearth and will try to keep up with it in the future. Oh and maybe I’ll submit a post, even though I don’t really like my english posts very much.

  6. Pingback: Carnivalia — 4/22 – 4/28 | Sorting out Science

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