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Evolutionary Anthropology

Karen Hardy
Reconstructing plant use before domestication is challenging due to a lack of evidence. Yet, on the small number of sites with assemblages, the wide range of different plant species cannot be explained simply in terms of nutrition. Assemblages from the Lower Paleolithic to the Early Neolithic were examined to investigate the relative edible and medicinal properties of the plants. The assemblages contain a mixture of edible species, plants that are both edible and medicinal, and plants with only medicinal properties...
February 16, 2019: Evolutionary Anthropology
Christophe Heintz, Stefaan Blancke, Thom Scott-Phillips
Cultural attraction theory (CAT) describes a general evolutionary process, cultural attraction, by which the spread and stability of cultural items (beliefs, practices, artifacts, etc.) result not just from differential reproduction, but also from transformations that systematically favor the reconstruction of cultural items of specific types. In this way, CAT aims to provide a general framework for the study of cultural evolution. In a thoughtful critical analysis, Buskell questions the ability of CAT to provide methodological guidance for research in cultural evolution...
January 28, 2019: Evolutionary Anthropology
Andrew Buskell
In their article, Thom Scott-Phillips, Stefaan Blancke, and Christophe Heintz do a commendable job summarizing the position and misunderstandings of "cultural attraction theory" (CAT). However, they do not address a longstanding problem for the CAT framework; that while it has an encompassing theory and some well-worked out case studies, it lacks tools for generating models or empirical hypotheses of intermediate generality. I suggest that what the authors diagnose as misunderstandings are instead superficial interpretive errors, resulting from researchers who have attempted to extract generalizable hypotheses from CAT and bring them into contact with the analytical and inferential models of contemporary cultural evolutionary research...
January 20, 2019: Evolutionary Anthropology
Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel
Anthropologists are increasingly turning to explicit model-bound evolutionary approaches for understanding the morphological diversification of humans and other primate lineages. Such evolutionary morphological analyses rely on three interconnected conceptual frameworks; multivariate morphometrics for quantifying similarity and differences among taxa, quantitative genetics for modeling the inheritance and evolution of morphology, and neutral theory for assessing the likelihood that taxon diversification is due to stochastic processes such as genetic drift...
January 16, 2019: Evolutionary Anthropology
Sydney Chertoff, Adam Bator, Megan Miller, Elizabeth Tanner
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 11, 2019: Evolutionary Anthropology
Michele M Mulholland, Sarah J Neal Webb
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 21, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Alice Leplongeon, Mae Goder-Goldberger, David Pleurdeau
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 21, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Daniel H Temple
The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease paradigm evaluates the consequences of early life stress on health at later stages of life. Interacting with this paradigm represents a profound opportunity to leverage the lifespan and contextual approaches to human skeletal remains adopted by bioarchaeological research. Teeth and bone provide evidence for stressors experienced early in life. These events represent evidence for adaptive plasticity as Individuals survive the events through reallocation of energy to essential physiological functions, which inhibits enamel and skeletal growth...
December 18, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Barry Bogin
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 12, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Rachel L Jacobs, Barry W Baker
The varied answers to the question "What is a species?" provoke more than lively debates in academic circles. They pose practical problems for law enforcement. Commercial wildlife trade threatens many primate species and is regulated through such laws and international agreements as the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Enforcing legislation relies on the ability to identify when violations occur. Species-defining characters may not be preserved in wildlife trade items...
November 28, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Simon Holdaway
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 27, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Melinda A Zeder
Anthropologists have a long history of applying concepts from evolutionary biology to cultural evolution. Evolutionary biologists, however, have been slow to turn to anthropology for insights about evolution. Recently, evolutionary biology has been engaged in a debate over the need to revise evolutionary theory to account for developments made in 60 years since the Modern Synthesis, the standard evolutionary paradigm, was framed. Revision proponents maintain these developments challenge central tenets of standard theory that can only be accounted for in an extended evolutionary synthesis (EES)...
November 16, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Elaine E Guevara, Richard R Lawler
Recent research has revealed clock-like patterns of epigenetic change across the life span in humans. Models describing these epigenetic changes have been dubbed "epigenetic clocks," and they can not only predict chronological age but also reveal biological age, which measures physiological homeostasis and deterioration over the life span. Comparative studies of the epigenetic clocks of different primate species are likely to provide insights into the evolution of life history schedules, as well as shed light on the physiological and genetic bases of aging and aging-related diseases...
November 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Lucy Tibble, Susana Carvalho
Property is a key feature of modern human society; however, identifying the origin of this multifaceted behavior poses a formidable challenge. Here, we explore the methodologies for researching the origin of property. We discuss how an interdisciplinary approach can shed light on how our human ancestors shifted behaviorally from possessing an object to having exclusive property control over it. Possession occurs when social group members only respect an individual's claim to have exclusive access to an object when the individual has physical control over the object...
October 5, 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Bernardo Arriaza, Dulasiri Amarasiriwardena, Vivien Standen, Jorge Yáñez, John Van Hoesen, Leonardo Figueroa
This article describes the hidden natural chemical contaminants present in a unique desert environment and their health consequences on ancient populations. Currently, millions of people are affected worldwide by toxic elements such as arsenic. Using data gathered from Atacama Desert mummies, we discuss long-term exposure and biocultural adaptation to toxic elements. The rivers that bring life to the Atacama Desert are paradoxically laden with arsenic and other minerals that are invisible and tasteless. High intake of these toxic elements results in severe health and behavioral problems, and even death...
September 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Karen Hardy, Stephen Buckley, Les Copeland
Dental calculus is now widely used to recover information on items ingested in the past. It is particularly valuable in the earlier Paleolithic, where recovered data may represent the only evidence for plant use. Several recovery methods are used and each one produces different results. Biomolecular markers and genetic material recovered from dental calculus is providing new data on identifiable dietary and medicinal items and human microbial communities. The recovery of microfossils, in particular, starch granules, has triggered a new awareness of the role of plants in the diet throughout the Paleolithic...
September 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Martha M Robbins, Andrew M Robbins
A focus of socioecological research is to understand how ecological, social, and life history factors influence the variability of social organization within and between species. The genus Gorilla exhibits variability in social organization with western gorilla groups being almost exclusively one-male, yet approximately 40% of mountain gorilla groups are multimale. We review five ultimate causes for the variability in social organization within and among gorilla populations: human disturbance, ecological constraints on group size, risk of infanticide, life history patterns, and population density...
September 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Marco Smolla, Edith Invernizzi, Marina Bazhydai, Marco Casoli, Dominik Deffner, Gonçalo S Faria, Nicholas Jones, Jasmeen Kanwal, Anna-Margarete Staehler, Ryutaro Uchiyama
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Charlotte Elizabeth Holmes Wilks, Kirsten H Blakey
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Ellison J McNutt, Bernhard Zipfel, Jeremy M DeSilva
There are 26 bones in each foot (52 in total), meaning that roughly a quarter of the human skeleton consists of foot bones. Yet, early hominin foot fossils are frustratingly rare, making it quite difficult to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the human foot. Despite the continued paucity of hominid or hominin foot fossils from the late Miocene and early Pliocene, the last decade has witnessed the discovery of an extraordinary number of early hominin foot bones, inviting a reassessment of how the human foot evolved, and providing fresh new evidence for locomotor diversity throughout hominin evolution...
September 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
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