Much has occurred in the world of traditional medicine since the World Health Organization first appealed for the integration of Bio- and traditional medicines at Alma Ata in 1978. In the interim, while most efforts to include traditional healers’ services in hospitals and clinics foundered on the basis of distrust and unshared epistemology, paradoxically, worldwide ...more
In 2015, Dr. Meredith Jackson-de Graffenried (PhD, 2009) became Country Director of Helen Keller International (HKI) for Bangladesh.
Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).
Dr. Charlan Kroelinger (MA, 1997), Team Leader for the Maternal and child Health Epidemiology Program at the CDC, was recognized with ...more
It is with much sadness that, in addition to sharing the accomplishments of our department over the past months, we also say goodbye to friends. In June 2015, we received news that Dr. John Cottier had passed away. In addition to being a wonderful person and a fine archaeologist, he was a good friend to ...more
Dr. Abrams meets Dr. Jim Bindon, who helped develop our Biocultural Medical program and in whose honor the lecture series was started.
In the fall, we hosted several in-house lectures and workshops and were graced by talks by a few visiting scholars.
On October 8, we were able to take advantage of a visit to Tuscaloosa ...more
Newly minted Dr. Jenna James with her committee, Drs. Ian Brown, Michael Murphy, Jim Knight, Kathryn Braund, and Keith Jacobi.
We are pleased with all of the successes of our students, but the defense of a doctoral dissertation is a special achievement. We want to recognize the hard work displayed by three of our ...more
Dr. Michael Murphy & his longtime collaborator, Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez Faraco
We are all chagrined by the retirement of Dr. Michael Murphy. Dr. Murphy, who is now Professor Emeritus as of the end of the fall 2015 semester, leaves an indelible stamp on our department. As professor and chair, Michael Murphy provided a firm ...more
Elliot Blair has continued his research constructing social network visualizations of aggregated mission communities in 17th century La Florida. He has also continued working on two collaborative projects using compositional analyses to examine the sourcing and circulation of glass beads in the 16th to 18th century Southeast.
John Blitz published a study of the relationship between ...more
Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures around the country this past fall. Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver flew to Arizona State University on October 23 to give a talk for their School of Human Evolution and Social change entitled "Chronic Diseases in India: A Biocultural Approach” and another for Smith College's South Asian ...more
Every semester we profile a faculty or staff member from the Anthropology Department who you may see every day but know less about than you realize. In fact, many of us became interested in anthropology because of the interesting adventures it presents. Dr. John Blitz (http://jblitz.people.ua.edu/), Professor of Anthropology and Curator at the Alabama Museum ...more
My grandmother's family (in about 1918)
My research on Jewish heritage asks: what can be done with the fragments of Jewish culture that remain in Poland, sometimes hidden and sometimes in plain sight? And what value does such memory work have? I explore these questions on two levels: the social level where I focus on ...more
This week in the graduate level physical anthropology class, we addressed race. Among the several articles we read, a few were discussed more than others. Unsurprisingly, the articles that received the most attention were the ones the class had strong objections to. For example, much time was spent pointing out problems with an article by a forensic ...more
Paul T. Baker (2007) was an Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University. He made a tremendous contribution to the field of biological anthropology. According to his colleagues, "Paul T. Baker was one of the most influential post-World War II biological anthropologists and a pioneer in the field of human adaptation to environmental stress." Dr. ...more
By Annakate Faulk
Since last week was the final lesson for the UA Outreach program at Tuscaloosa Magnet Elementary School Rob and I taught a review lesson to our students. This week was an emotional one for myself and my fellow UA student-instructors as we have all gotten close with each of the students. . We ...more
By Molly Jaworski and Olivia Davis
Saying goodbye is almost always difficult, but it's especially hard when there is an entire semester of memories and laughs to make you question why you're doing it in the first place.
I think that I speak for myself and all of my fellow instructors when I say that there is ...more
Biography: Dr. Alison Brough is Post-Doctorate Research Associate in the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Her areas of research interest include forensic anthropology, post-mortem computed tomography, imaging, forensic radiology and the applications of forensic technologies to disaster victim identification. Dr. Brough is a Fellow of the ...more
Dr. Rachel Caspari currently serves as the Chairperson for the department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Central Michigan University. She also currently serves as the president for the Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association. As a paleoanthropologist, Dr. Caspari’s research has developed into three major parts, including functional morphology, race and ...more
Russel H. Tuttle (1939) is currently a member of the University of Chicago Department of anthropology as a physical anthropologist specializing in paleoanthropology, primatology, morphology and evolution. He has received global recognition for his many contributions to the field of anthropology and as an educator.
Growing up in rural Ohio, Dr. Tuttle truly admired his teachers, ...more
Biography: Hannah Marie Wormington-Volk (1914-1994)
“Four questions come to the fore: How was it that Wormington, a very young woman with only a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, made such significant contributions to archaeology and museology so early in her long career? Does her manifold success give the lie to the proposition that American archeology was an ...more
Dr. Jeffrey H. Schwartz is a professor in the Departments of Anthropology, History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Schwartz is a physical anthropologist whose body of work is concentrated on teaching and research in three major foci: the exploration of method, theory and philosophy of evolutionary ...more
The conceptualization of race arose due to the confluence of a number of factors related to greater maritime activity and colonial expansion by European powers throughout the last 500 years.
Western societies have demonstrated a knack for socio-political dominance. Examples abound from throughout history and around the world, such as the exploitation of Mesoamerican peoples by Spanish ...more
Dr. Bruce Latimer is a paleoanthropologist at Case Western Reserve University. He received his Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona at Tuscon, his MA in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Kent State University in 1988. Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy was his advisor. Dr. Latimer ...more
BIOGRAPHY: DR. CAROL WORTHMAN, PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Dr. Worthman attended Pomona College, receiving a BA in Botany and Biology. She then attended the University of California at San Diego Medical School, Department of Endocrinology. Next, she was trained at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Nutrition and Food Science before receiving her PhD in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University.
Professor Worthman is the Samuel Candler ...more
Following race, the next topic for 670 was human plasticity. One of the readings was by Roberto Frisancho, in which he provides a foundation for studying human plasticity and adaptation. In the article, Frisancho explains homeostasis and environmental stress. Homeostasis is an internal stability or balance of physiological functions, and an organism tries to constantly ...more
It has been well documented that the concept of “race” is not a biologically real classification. In fact studies have shown that 94% of phenotypic variation is found within, rather than between “racial groups.” But does this mean that there is no longer any validity to classifying individuals by ancestry, particularly for bioarchaeologists who rely ...more
WHAT IS NAGPRA?
"The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is a United States Federal Law that was enacted on November 16, 1990. NAGPRA provides a process through which lineal descendants, culturally affiliated Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations (also referred to as "Indian tribes" in NAGPRA), and Native Hawaiian organizations may claim culturally affiliated ...more
Last day of Anthropology is Elementary 2015
We did not have an official lesson for the last day. Instead, we had an overview of the semester and discussed key aspects of anthropology learned.
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Sibö (the Bribrí god) made the first indigenous people from seeds of corn. He brought the seeds from a place called SuLa’kaska, which means the Place of Destiny. At the time the earth was only rock, and Sibö knew he had to create soil in order to plant his corn seeds. On another planet there ...more
Two weeks ago, we were honored to have Dr. Jim Bindon join us for our class discussions on race. Dr. Bindon is a physical anthropologist and UA emeritus professor who is our resident expert on human variation. He gave a fascinating lecture on race on Tuesday. I led a less fascinating reading discussion on Thursday ...more
Peopling of the Americas: Hypothesized Routes
In our discussion of the peopling of the Americas, we read and discussed the hypothesized routes for the first settlement of the Americas, including coastal, overland, and Atlantic routes. For decades, or as Dixon (2001) suggests “almost 500 years,” the official narrative has very much supported the overland route through ...more
Week 9: Body Adornment
Body Adornment is “Decorating your body to show your social status, to express your individuality, as a rite of passage, or to chow your membership to a group like a clan or community.”
There are many different forms of body adornment. Body adornment is what you wear or how you cut and style ...more
By Rob Barlow
This week I led the lesson on human osteology, which is the study of human bones. Osteology is valuable to anthropologists and can tell us many things about individual humans or a certain group of people. By studying osteology we can determine sex, genealogy, diet and even disease pathology. Faced with such a ...more
For class this week one of the required readings was “Does Race Exist” by George W. Gill, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming. As a physical and forensic anthropologist, he attempts to deconstruct the “reality of race” debate, and identifies himself as a proponent of the reality of biological race. However, I’ve found ...more
In the United States, we are conditioned to believe that race is a biological construct. The notion that racial classifications can be made based on observable characteristics (i.e., skin color, facial features, hair, ect) is intrinsic. The thought is pushed on people and perpetuated through education.
Biologists and geneticists support "multiple races in humans". For example, geneticist Christopher Norris ...more
There are two competing hypotheses on the origin of modern humans: the Out-of-Africa hypothesis and the multiregional hypothesis. It has long been recognized that the genus Homo was the first hominid to leave Africa and disperse into other major continental areas. Evolution of the genus Homo from Australopithecus seems to be linked to global climate changes ...more
The so called reburial issue is a significant struggle faced by archaeologists around the world and has been handled in many different ways with varying degrees of success. In the United States we most often hear of struggles facing modern archaeology due to NAGPRA regulations.
Passed in the 1990s the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation ...more
Week 8: Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body.
Cuisine is about the style of cooking the food.
There are two distinct categories that all foods fit into - junk (or processed) foods and healthy foods.
Processed foods are foods that are prepared in mass numbers at factories to make it easier to ...more
In our class discussion, the topic of the relationship between humans and megafauna came up. While it began with discussion of megafaunal extinction in North America, Dr. Lynn brought up that a similar situation occurs in Australia, where there is mass extinction around the arrival of humans in the area. The two main factors in consideration are ...more
What Is Biological Anthropology?
Biological or Physical Anthropology is human biological diversity in time and space (Kottak, 1994). Biological Anthropology is the study of human potential from both the physiological and psychological perspective (Royal Anthropological Institute, 2010) Forensic Anthropology, Evolutionary Anthropology and Primates are all a part of the central organizing concepts of Biological Anthropology (Royal ...more
They say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I don't know who they are or were, but they've got a point. It's very easy to try and fix things only to have them turn out worse than before due to unexpected consequences. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) fits ...more
Welcome to Part II of the non-human primate mothering series on infant handling, in which I pose questions about why primates handle, and sometimes steal, others’ babies. In this post, I address how social status and competition factor into infant handling.
In the first post of this series entitled “Why Steal a Baby,” I reviewed the ...more
As I said in my last post, human migration is a topic of some debate. I've addressed the why. Now, I'd like to address the how and the when.
During most of my undergraduate education, the model most often cited entailed northeast asian populations crossing Beringia and inhabiting subarctic regions until an interglacial period produced a ...more
Homo georgicus is the subspecies name used to describe fossil jaws found in Dmanisi, Georgia.
The first bone found of Dmanisi was a mandible in 1991. It was discovered while archaeologists were excavating a medieval site. It is known as 'Dmanisi Man', and was initially proposed as a sub-species of Homo erectus but it is now classified as ...more
To date, much controversy surrounds the expansion of H. sapiens out of Africa. When did humans spread to the different parts of the globe? How did they get there? Why did they come? In this post, the "why" will be addressed in simple terms.
This snippet from Coming to America (1988) seems applicable.
Lisa: So why did ...more
By Olivia Davis
Today in class, we discussed the concept of race as defined by anthropologists.
I began our lesson with a review of the four fields of anthropology and tried to tie in some of the other topics that we've covered that are related to each of the fields. As expected, they read the four topics ...more
Week 7: Museums
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and artistic, cultural, historical, or scientifically important items. They make these items available for public viewing through exhibits.
Some of the most attended museums include the Louvre in Paris, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., the National Air and ...more
One in four college women report surviving rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetime.
673,000 women currently attending U.S. colleges and universities have experienced rape at some point in their lifetime.
Each year, there are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault.
68% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.
98% of rapists will never spend ...more
By Melinda Carr
When I was a high school student taking Advanced Placement Biology in small-town Alabama, I was taught creationism, with evolution as a cursory side note. On the exit exam and during my first few semesters of college, I felt as if I was very much behind concerning a cornerstone scientific theory. Therefore, I ...more
Dr. Lynn proposed that we introduce ourselves to, or make conversation with, any anthro faculty that we haven't had the pleasure of meeting. This, meeting of people, making small talk, initiating face-to-face introductions, has never been a strong point of mine. Shyness is a bitch when it comes to meeting new people. However, having made ...more
I believe in God, but I find nothing contradictory about my faith in God and my understanding of evolution. There are those who can not separate the two (Creationists), but I believe there are many more who can. My faith is just--faith. It's not scientific, and it doesn't have to be. Evolution, on the other hand, is supported by ...more
Raymond Dart and Boskop Man
In 1923, Raymond Dart revisits the 1913 discovery of Boskop Man by publishing an article entitled "Boskop Remains from the South-east African Coast". According to Dart, the human skull found at Boskop in the Transvaal region of South Africa had been overshadowed by the war and the Piltdown man controversy. In his ...more
(Pictured above: A skull of Australopithecus africanus)
Walter W. Ferguson (1984) argues that the discovery of several hominoid fossils in Hadar, Ethopia is a part of a new species, Homo antiquus.
Hadar or the Hadar Research Project Area is the widely accepted name for the archaeological site approximately 300 Km (180 Miles) northeast of Addis Ababa in ...more
The remains known as Homo cepranensis were found in near Ceprano in Southern Italy. According to Manzi et al., (2001) the fossil evidence is made up of an adult calveria, which was initially dated between 800 and 900 ka. In this article several explanations are explored for the classification of this sample, including possibly a ...more
Homo gautengensis is a hominin species whose remains were discovered in the South African paleocaves of Sterkfontain, Drimolen, Kromdraai, and Gondolin. First described by Curnoe in 2010, it was suggested to have lived 2.00-0.82 million years ago (based on multi-method chronological seriation) in South, and possibly East, Africa. Bivariate analysis comparing cranial and mandibular measurements ...more
In class, Larry and I were assigned to read and present on the finding of Homo gautengensis (I can almost spell it without looking by now). The article (Curnoe 2010) was full of details on the specimen. However, this took the form of cranial and dental analysis, as post-cranial remains have yet to be found. ...more
On Tuesday, Dr. Lynn provided the class with seven papers on seven Homo species that we had never heard of. Dr. Lynn handed me a paper written by C.U. Ariëns Kappers entitled “The Endocranial Casts of the Ehringsdorf and Homo Soloensis Skulls.” After briefing our papers, we provided a synopsis based on what we read from our these articles. ...more
Sibö (the Bribrí god) made the first indigenous people from seeds of corn. He brought the seeds from a place called suLa’kaska, which means the Place of Destiny. At the time the earth was only rock, and Sibö knew he had to create soil in order to plant his corn seeds. On another planet there ...more
Welcome to my blog! As part of the ANT 670: Principles of Physical Anthropology course, I will be keeping this web page as a sort of window into my learning in real-time. While I will be posting mainly about topics in physical anthropology, I will also include other interesting goings-on from my linguistics and methods classes, ...more
Diversity is Our Business1: We Talk the Talk, but do we Walk the Walk?,2
Plain fear of not being able to support these guys drove me like a plow horse thru grad school. Cute though, aren't they? Lux, Jagger, and Bailey Lynn at NY's AMNH in 2008 (Photo courtesy author).
As academic anthropologists, my colleagues and I ...more
It was a Friday afternoon and we were putting the finishing touches on the new office building we were constructing for the community. We were listening to the local Talamancan radio station, which was broadcasting on site in Amubri where there was a festival going on. I discovered that the next day there would be ...more
“Que tipo de carne es este?” “tepezcuintle.” I was sitting in the typical house on stilts made with hand hewn lumber somewhere in the Skuy River basin. We had walked for five hours, following the river, ascending and descending steep, muddy slopes. I’d come with one of the families from Yorkín and a Peace Corps ...more
Author Jo Weaver juggling fieldwork and family in Brazil. Photo courtesy David Meek
Fieldwork. We all do it, yet it seems to be something that’s particularly hard to teach and talk about, especially when so much of the success of fieldwork in any anthropological sub-discipline hinges on a researcher’s ability to form genuine social relationships. I’ve ...more
Bill Dressler, Author
The question of what an anthropology degree means, especially in cultural anthropology, has been asked ever since I was an undergraduate (back when I saw Pigpen on keyboards with the Dead). As things change, in the academy as in the world around us, there is a certain renewed urgency in that question, ...more
Anthropology versus Epidemiology
Author, Kathryn OthsAnthropologists and epidemiologists have contributed vital knowledge to understanding public health problems such as low birth weight, reemerging disease, mental health, and more. Lively and enduring dialogue on the potential for collaboration between the disciplines was sparked in the ‘80s by Janes et al.’s (1986) Anthropology and Epidemiology and True’s (1990) ...more
Author, Christopher Lynn (Photo courtesy author)
In “Fieldwork in Common Places,” Mary Louise Pratt (1986) critiqued anthropological writing, saying,
“For the lay person, such as myself, the main evidence of a problem is the simple fact that ethnographic writing tends to be surprisingly boring. How, one asks constantly, could such interesting people doing such interesting things produce such ...more
Dr. William Leonard was born in Jamestown, New York and grew up in Pennsylvania. As a child, his parents were very supportive of his scientific interests. As an undergraduate at The Pennsylvania State University, Leonard pursued his strong interest in ecology and evolutionary biology, and particularly how they relate to humans. While his Bachelor of ...more
In "A Hominid from the Lower Pleistocene of Atapuerca, Spain: Possible Ancestor to Neandertals and Modern Humans," J. M. B. d. Castro et al. (1997) propose that fossilized remains dating to the lower Pleistocene found at Gran Dolina in Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain represent a new species within the genus Homo, which they have named ...more
In an earlier post, I discussed the role of biology in biocultural research by debunking common misconceptions. Here, I turn to the messier question of what biocultural research needs from biology.
We inhabit an academic universe of disciplines, sub-disciplines, and sub-sub-disciplines guarding their borders. Holism is not dead, but we struggle with what it means.
If biocultural ...more
Léonce Pierre Manouvrier
Léonce Pierre Manouvrier was born in Guéret, Creuse, France on January 18, 1850 In the tradition of his family, Manouvrier would study medicine and receive his M.D., with the distinction of lauréat du prix de thèse, from the Paris Faculty of Medicine in 1881 He would go on to work with noted anthropologist ...more
"(Grunting in a Feminine Voice)!"-Neanderthal Comedian
"That's the dirtiest wooly rhinoceros joke that I've ever heard!" At least, that's what I might have said if I had lived in Europe some 50 kya... or if neanderthals had ever developed the ability to speak.
Speech is often considered one of the defining characteristics of humanity. Our ability to ...more
While we have not covered the race concept in class, aside from the brief remarks by Relethford (2010) in the History of Physical Anthropology book, I see an opportunity to link material from both Physical Anthropology and Linguistic Anthropology through the race concept. In the linguistics class, we were discussing languages versus dialects, and what ...more
Dr. Kewal Krishan is Senior Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India. His areas of interest include forensic anthropology, forensic osteology, anthropometry, stature estimation, growth and nutritional status. He extensively worked on Gujjars of North-West India. The majority of Dr. Krishan’s publications are in the fields of anthropometry, anthropometrics ...more
Undergraduate and Graduate Students Visiting the Zoo
On October 11th, 30 students enrolled in Dr. Chris Lynn's Physical Anthropology seminars caravanned up the freeway to the Birmingham Zoo. We attended a private tour of the primate facility, which was lead by a trained zoologist. She shared with us information about each species, as well as funny anecdotes ...more
We now live at a point in time marked by the rapid extinction of countless species each and every day. Primates, being relatively large and specialized, are at particular risk of extinction due to habitat destruction. This risk is further compounded by their popularity in the exotic pet trade. However, their is a distinct lack of ...more
Donald J. Ortner, Ph.D., D.Sc. (1938-2012)
Donald J. Ortner was born August 23, 1938 in Massachusetts. Because his father was a minister with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, much of his childhood was spent moving from place to place. In 1960 he received a BA in zoology from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland. 1960 was ...more
Recently I have been completely convinced of the need to continue the battle for basic evolutionary education in all levels of school.
I feel that I need to preface this by saying that I never had to be convinced of the legitimacy of evolution, it was always a part of my life. Being raised by scientific ...more
J. Lawrence Angel (1915-1986) was a British-American biological/forensic anthropologist who made great contributions to the fields of bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Angel was born March 21, 1915 in London, to parents John Angel, a sculptor, and Elizabeth Day Seymour, an American Classicist (National Anthropology Archives). Following in his mother's footsteps, Angel received training in Classics ...more
This week in class, we have asked compelling questions about the utility of research that fails to lead the scientific community in new directions. What is the appropriate balance between scientific study and conservation? How do we go about finding that balance? Should there even be a balance, or should we just focus our efforts ...more
My name is Anna Bianchi, and I am a graduate student of biocultural anthropology at The University of Alabama. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Birmingham-Southern College and Master's in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I am interested in the anthropology of reproductive ...more
A brief biography
Jonathan M. Marks, PhD, is a biological anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). Previously, he has taught at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley. His interests include human evolution, the anthropology of science, general biological anthropology, general anthropology, and the critical, historical, and social studies of human ...more
Dr. Cynthia Beall began her education with a B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. As an undergraduate she was interested in evolution and ecology. In a 2004 interview with the National Academy of Sciences, she indicated that she became interested in human adaptation during her senior year while taking Physiological Adaptability ...more
As an aspirant anthropologist of a biocultural bent, I often analyze behaviors from an evolutionary framework; so when we started ANT 670 with an introduction to the concepts of cultural primatology and ethnoprimatology, it was right up my alley. One of my interests is the relationship between biological realities and social capital. Smuts (1987) wrote ...more
BIOGRAPHY: DR. AUGSTIN FUENTES, PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Photo from Google Images
Professor Agustín Fuentes is originally from Santa Barbara, CA. From an early age, he had an interest in biology. His enthusiasm increased while taking a class taught by Dr. Phyllis Dolhinow during his undergraduate career. The class concentrated on the similarities between primates and humans, which ...more
The University of Alabama's Department of Anthropology has an incredible tradition to welcome new students and create comradery within the department. Each year they host a Potlatch, which involves food, booze, and the passing of tokens from advisor to student, professor to professor, and friend to friend. My personal advisor bestowed upon me a book entitled ...more
On the second day of class, Dr. Lynn told us the importance of knowing everyone in the department and having them know us. Therefore, he assigned us to go out and introduce ourselves to all of the faculty members we had not met. I instantly knew the first person I would reach out to; Dr. ...more
Two main thoughts really interested me during this past week of class. The first centers on our class discussion about evolution and intelligent design. I was not so much interested by the topic, but more so with the general lack of interest I saw in the class (me included) with this very old debate. I wasn't ...more
The “treatment of human evolution is abysmal”. Previous research completed by Meads and Mates indicates the inclusion of the Big Bang Theory is nearly non-existent in education regarding the origin of the universe. Instead, creationist theory is being taught to students. While their assessment indicated multiple states received poor grades in evolution education, Alabama showed a distinct ...more
Having cracked the spine of The Primate Anthology by Ciochon and Nisbett, it is safe to say that primates display a wide array of behaviors. Primates show great ingenuity in their ability to creatively solve problems and oftentimes the reasoning for the behavior seems clear. However, this is not the case with infant theft. Infant theft ...more
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, CAN
Twenty years ago I was finishing up a 2-year deal as a Student Assistant Editor of The Journal of Planning Literature in the Department of City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University. It wasn't a paid Graduate Assistantship and how I wound up on the editorial staff is ...more
I see Anthropology as the study of human potential. By the term “human potential,” I mean the vicarious expressions of life as experienced by real human beings in their physical, linguistic, cultural and historical environments. These vicarious expressions are based in cognition, which provides the backdrop for the entire field of Anthropology.
Anthropology is classically defined ...more
Greetings and welcome to my blog. Like professional hockey, there will be only a short preseason. Look for some more postings in the near future. Tonight the New York Islanders move into Manhattan for the first-time ever with their first preseason game of the 2015-2016 season.
Just like this blog: Here we ...more
The journey to the village of Yorkín begins at 6:30 in the morning when you catch the bus in Puerto Viejo, the rambunctious little beach town with an international flair where the smell of ganja flows freely through the air. This area of Costa Rica, the Talamancan coast, was originally settled by Caribbeans from the ...more
When I began my career as a wilderness guide, for the first time in my life I encountered people who were constantly seeking the newest piece of gear, anything from a titanium drinking cup to a sleeping bag which had arms and legs. Being an unschooled vagabond living in my truck and prostituting my wilderness ...more
When I was in the process of developing my course on race I decided to assign chapter VII of Darwin’s 1871 Descent of Man, the chapter entitled “On the Races of Man”, where among many 19th century racial anachronisms Darwin makes a case for the unity of the human species. Graves (2001) summarizes the critical ...more
2014 was an interesting year for the concept of culture. Merriam-Webster declared ‘culture’ the most important word of the year, in that more people looked up its definition online than any other. Then, on the website edge.org, the question was posed: what scientific idea should be retired? No less luminaries than Pascal Boyer and John ...more
Reposted from Anthropology News February 2015 column.
Our January column from Bill Dressler harkened to 2005 when, concerned about the absence of an explicit theory of culture in much biocultural research, Bill had written a piece in Ethos entitled “What’s Cultural about Biocultural Research?” While not all of us follow Bill’s approach to the letter, his ...more
Reposted from Anthropology News April 2015 column.
Mixed-method research involves inherent challenges that make it at once more gratifying and more difficult than traditional single-method approaches. By “mixed-method,” I am referring to studies that employ a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. This approach is a hallmark of most biocultural research, and those of us committed ...more
This January the UAAC had the pleasure of camping for two nights at Leroy Percy State Park (in cabins!) and assisting one of our fellow students with her dissertation research at Arcola Mounds in the Mississippi Delta. Students and volunteers participated in a controlled surface collection of the site and toured the nearby Winterville Mounds. ...more
It was a cold day in late February - but our awesome Anthropology Club members still made it out to the river to help wash artifacts from the surface collection field trip to Arcola Mounds.
A nice day on the river!
Our mascot ...more
The David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually by the Department of Anthropology. As per the eclectic interests of David L. DeJarnette, priority of consideration is given to graduate students who are conducting archaeological research at Moundville Archaeological Park, the southeastern United States more generally, or in Latin America. Recipients of this prestigious award ...more
The Moundville Archaeological Park, located in Moundville, Alabama, has an annual Native American Festival designed to celebrate the region's rich Native American heritage. This year's celebration was particularly significant because 2014 marks both the 75th anniversary of the Moundville Park and the 25th anniversary of the Moundville Festival! The UA Department of Anthropology has a ...more
I grew up in San Francisco from the late 1940s to the late 60s (if you think I'm no longer growing up) where there were still segregated residential patterns but an air of tolerance for difference from Hunter's Point to Chinatown to the female impersonator bars in North Beach. My junior high and high school ...more
Małgosia and Anka at the Jewish cemetery. The building in the background holds trash bins for surrounding apartments. The resident we spoke with felt uncomfortable about keeping the trash in a cemetery.
Author Marysia Galbraith has kindly let the Bama Anthro Blog Network repost from the original site here.
In early December, I visited the Poznan Jewish ...more
Monument to the victims of the Poznan labor camp
Despite the cold, Anka, Małgosia and I visited a few other sites associated with Jewish culture and history. The monument to the victims of the Poznan labor camp is on Królowa Jadwiga Street even though the actual detainment site was a block away in the old football stadium. ...more
Author Marysia Galbraith has kindly let the Bama Anthro Blog Network repost from the original site here.
A defining question of my study is turning out to be: How do you remember Jewish lives in Poland when nothing remains? Or when there are only scattered traces?
I certainly started with next to nothing when I began the ...more
Manfred Diehl, Helena Chui, Elizabeth L. Hay are part of the Adult Development and Aging Project (ADAPT) at Colorado State University. Their mission is "To contribute to the knowledge about healthy and successful adult development and aging through research, education, and collaborative outreach." Dr. Diehl received his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania ...more
After reading Greg Downey's The Encultured Brain chapter on neural enculturation in capoeira and Lisa Heywood's 2011 article advocating a cultural neuropychology of sport, I thought a lot about how these articles applied to physical activity in general. What makes people commit to physical activity? This isn't a question I'm unfamiliar with. As a chronic yo-yo dieter and infrequent exerciser ...more
I used this article because it showed that current research proves that children with a developmental disability on the autistic spectrum are helped by their participation in church settings. It proved helpful by showing what benefits religious involvement could help children with autism.
Article: "Inclusion of people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in communities ...more
I used this article, as well as the chapter in our book on autism, to help me get a full picture of what autism is and how it affects people and the way they behave. It helped to show me that there was a spectrum of autistic disorders that show how well those with autism ...more
This article focused on how families dealt with their children having autism in a religious setting. I used this article to discover how whether or not families found their religion as a positive or negative way of helping them with their autistic children.
Article: "Religious Coping in Families of Children with Autism" by Nalini Tarakeschwar and ...more
I used this article mainly because it was written by a person who has autism and is about their experience communing with God. It provided me with an inside view of what it was like to have autism and experience religion. The article's main focus was to make sure it was known that autistic people ...more
This article focuses on different treatment options for children with autism, specifically a Christ-centered treatment program. This article mainly interested me because it looked at an alternate way to help treat autism.
Article: "Integrating Faith and Treatment for Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders" by Cara Marker, Magdalena Weeks, and Irene Kraegel, published in 2007 ...more
This article focused on how a family's faith and religion helped to support them and their autistic children. I used this article to help me understand the possible benefits that children could have by being involved within their church. This is the article that sparked my idea of a difference in the structural environments of ...more
This article specifically focused on how those who have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum interact with God and view the image of God. I mainly used this article to help me understand how a child with autism might have a relationship with God, despite having obvious social impairments.
Article: "Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Image ...more
This study looked at three families immigrant South Asian Muslim families with children that had been diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum. I mainly utilized their usage of participant observation and how the researcher immersed themselves within the cultures of the families in order to fully understand what their life was like.
Article: "Autism From a ...more
Ethnopsychology—The cultural framing of the self, emotions, and suffering.
In an earlier post I discussed methodology which can elicit local idioms of distress in regard to psychological issues. In this post I will examine how treatment models can also be created which are culturally specific. One such example comes from the work done by Kohrt et ...more
I have dived into online dating websites before a few years ago and actually met someone. That didn't last long at all. It could have been due to the set up of the dating site Ok cupid or simply due to lack of interest I had in my date after meeting her. Needless to say ...more
I was very apprehensive in trying this since I used to identify myself as a lesbian and anyone I told would most likely respond with a smart comment like "really, you don't say". However in the last several months I have had several conversations with friends on sexuality as being fluid. It is a topic ...more
The new orangutan facility at the Indianapolis Zoo is really impressive. We checked it out this past summer while visiting my family in Indy. The facility is a network of buildings, outdoor space, & climbing structures that the individuals can navigate with a fair amount of freedom &, if they want it, privacy. Unfortunately, because my ...more
William R. Leonard is a leading anthropologist in the field of human nutrition. He was born in Jamestown, NY and received his PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1987. He is now an Abraham Harris Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Chair of Anthropology at Northwestern ...more
In this week’s reading, climate change and adaption among humans was the issue at hand. We learned that human-occupied environments of today are extremely different from those of tropical forests beginnings as well, historical Neanderthals. Within environments, one’s body will either adapt to hot or cold conditions. The way in which the body adapts to ...more
This weeks' reading revolved around stress on the human body. These blueprints to hormone level production, neuron response, and the neurological development was displayed in a case study by Aaron Kindsvatter and Anne Geroski. In this article entitled, “The Impact of Early Life Stress on the Neurodevelopment of the Stress Response System, they present a ...more
The chapter this week was all about stress and reminded me of one of our very own professors here at University of Alabama, Dr. Dressler. His work on cultural consonance and its connection in African Americans in Alabama and higher blood pressure levels is actually mentioned in the chapter we read. The chapter discussed how ...more
John Snow "Father of Modern Epidemiology"
John Snow, born in 1813, was the son of a coal-yard laborer in York, England. Snow planned to become a physician, and at fourteen, he was apprenticed to Dr. William Hardcastle. During his early years as an apprentice, he filled notebooks with his thoughts and observations on scientific subjects. ...more
Aging and senescence are two concepts of biological evolution that usually occur simultaneously. Aging is an inevitable process among all humans and animal species. The survival method and length may be different, but the body’s equipment will begin to deteriorate with time. Time is a process that cannot be reversed biologically or socially; therefore the ...more
The body is a complex mechanism among both female and males. The growth of the human body depends on many factors including, the embryo stage, puberty, and physical activity among the growth years. In order for a body to progress/growth successfully, it must reach maturation biologically. This development promotes growth maturation for the remainder of ...more
Friedrich Leopold August Weismann
Weismann was born on 17 January 1834 in Frankfurt am Main, in the German Confederation. His mother, Elise Eleanor Lübbren, was a musician and painter, and his father, Johann Konrad August Weismann, was a classics professor. Weismann studied music, particularly the works of Beethoven, and he studied nature, from which he ...more
Thinking of office cubicles in the brain may help us imagine how dissociation might work & even be a great metaphor when we start suggesting that sometimes there is a jerky boss in our heads who comes out & barks at employees then cloisters himself away & a whole host of employees sitting in their ...more
I recently had the opportunity to attend the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) 111th Annual Conference in San Francisco, and one of the session topics focused on neuroanthropology: ‘Brains in the Wild: The Challenges of Neuroanthropology.’
I would like to share the content of this session - including papers by Daniel Lende, Jeffrey Snodgrass, Sarah Mahler, and Greg ...more
I had a eureka moment when I learned that Toni Copeland had conducted research showing that knowledge of (competence) and behavior which approximates aspects of (consonance) a model of managing HIV among women in Nairobi, Kenya has been shown to be correlated to positive health outcomes, even going so far as affecting T-counts (Copeland 2012). ...more
To repeat from my previous post: “This week in my Neuroanthropology class we are focused on tobacco use and the cultural context of addiction. This got me thinking about other mind altering substances, in particular marijuana and ayahuasca, which have both in the news recently. In the case of marijuana, the results of the midterm ...more
This week in my Neuroanthropology class we are focused on tobacco use and the cultural context of addiction. This got me thinking about other mind altering substances, in particular marijuana and ayahuasca, which have both in the news recently. In the case of marijuana, the results of the midterm elections revealed that voters in three ...more
Human epidemiology is the study of disease, its contributions and disparities, and potential ways to help stop the spread of disease. Among the West, there are many different diseases, viruses, prions, and other contagions that are incurable. Even among all the technology, in-depth research, and major complex studying among control variables, the West is still ...more
Wednesday night we hosted a mid-semester social to get everyone together and relax a bit after midterms. Club members took a break and enjoyed pizza, snacks, and The Lego Movie. Thank you Brass (and Angelica!) for organizing such a nice event!
"Instruction to fit in, have everyone like you, and always be happy. Step 1: Breathe!"
This fall the UAAC had the pleasure of camping for two nights in Joe Wheeler State Park. We toured nearby attractions including Florence Mound and the Athens Fiddlers Convention. A great trip and a glorious break from a busy semester! Thank you Ashley (and Angelica!) for organizing this for us!
The human body is very complex, yet simple mechanism. The way in which cholesterol (fats), minerals, and vitamins contribute to the nutrients within the body range. The human body is made of millions of cells that are directed by DNA to make certain proteins, which then code for the insertion of amino acids (polypeptide chains). ...more
Dissociation and Human Consciousness
There is little agreement on what consciousness is or how to define it, but most reduce in some way to being aware of inner & external states. This reduces to two essential capacities that are related, self-awareness & theory of mind. Self-awareness is the ability to distinguish the self from others & ...more
Ed Norton's character in "Fight Club" has dissociative identity disorder (DID), & Brad Pitt is actually one of his alters. This movie is an example of what I refer to as DID being the contemporary deus ex machina, wherein it swoops in & resolves otherwise inextricable plots. In all fairness though, it's based on ...more
Rebecca Seligman is a medical and psychological anthropologist at Northwestern University. Seligman received her PhD from Emory in 2004. Her current research looks into both the mental and physical health of Mexican Americans, specifically between diabetes and depression. Her work on dissociative experience and cultural neuroscience, with Laurence Kirmayer, was published in 2008. Kirmayer is ...more
Mark Schaller is a psychological scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1984 and obtained a PhD in Psychology at Arizona State University in 1989. He's been at his current position at the University of British Columbia since 1996. Schaller's research looks into the cognitive processes that contribute ...more
In his essay, "Shamanism as Neurotheology and Evolutionary Psychology," author Michael Winkelman looks at various instances of shamanism across cultures to find similarities that reveal "universals" about the practice.
Dr. Michael WinkelmanAssociate Professor Arizona State University
Winkelman recently retired from his post as an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ...more
Matt J RosanoSoutheastern Louisiana University
Matt J. Rossano received his doctorate in Psychology from the University of California at Riverside in 1991. He is a Professor of Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. He is the author of Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved, released in June 2010 by Oxford Press. His interests include: Evolution and ...more
For this exercise, males in the class were instructed to wear a new T-Shirt provided by the instructor for up to 3 days. Males were instructed to not wear colognes or deodorants while wearing the T-Shirt, and to exercise while wearing it in order to get his natural scent into the fibers. Then, the males ...more
Yesterday I told my best friend that I was queer. She looked at me and said "is this supposed to surprise me? you talk about how gorgeous girls are and how you would 'totally be lesbian with them' reguarly." I giggled, but just let her keep talking. She continued by asking me questions about my ...more
Students in the Sprin 2014 ANT:208 Anthropology of Sex class at The University of Alabama were tasked with a rather unusual and provocative social experiment as extra credit in the class: tell a close friend or family member that you are queer! What many people are not aware of, is that the LGBT community has ...more
Professor Christopher Lynn
8 April 2014
Dating App Extra Credit
Used my real name and information
Got a lot of matches at first but only a sliver of these matches actually contacted me
A few of the people that did contact me were way too straight forward and clearly just wanted to hookup to the point where it ...more
Janice Boddy is a Canadian anthropologist who specializes in medical anthropology, religion, gender issues and colonialism in Sudan and the Middle East. In Spirit Possession and Gender Complementarity, an excerpt from her book Women, Men and the zār Cult in Northern Sudan, she describes her experience at a zār ritual ceremony among the Hofriyat people ...more
Have you ever been so absorbed in a video game that you lose track of time? One moment its noon and the next thing you know the moonlight is shining through the windows. This is not uncommon to many, our lives are filled with all sorts of video games, from the Sims to World of ...more
Students were tasked with employing two ethology techniques discussed in class (focal sampling and scan sampling) on people trying to hook up. The choice of research setting was up to the discretion of the investigator, some examples include bars, restaurants, coffee shops, the Quad, The Ferguson Center, the Rec, etc.
For those who may not be ...more
Here we are at the Birmingham Zoo with Christopher the gibbon
Student presentations are required as part of the "Non-Human Primates" course, but we all get a little tired of the lecturing, so what better way to internalize the material than engaging some of our primate preadaptations & monkeying around.
Here are some photos highlighting ...more
The Black and White Colobus Monkey is an Old World Monkey species that belongs to the Cercopithecidae family. The species is known for its 'beautiful' black fur that is contrasted exquisitely by a white mantle that hangs extensively off its back side, as well as bushy tail, whiskers, and beard. Not excessively large, the Colobus typically weighs in ...more
Genus: Trachypithecus (formerly Presbytis)
Trachypithecus francoisi, better known as the Francois Langur can be found in Southeatern Asia: from Southeastern China to Central Laos and Vietnam. They tend to be both arboreal and terrestrial. Most of their habitats lay deep in the rainforests or mangroves, but some can be found among ...more
Species: S. syndactylus
Symphalangus syndactylus, also known as the siamang, is the largest of the many species of gibbons. Both male and female siamangs have black hair and grey or pink throat sacs. They can range in height from approximately 2.5 to 3 feet, and they can weigh from 17 to 28 pounds; although there have been larger siamangs ...more
Species: P. pygmaeus
The Bornean orangutan is one of three subspecies of orangutan and can only be found in Southeast Asia on the island of Borneo. Growing up to 5’ tall, these apes can weigh from 70-190 pounds, with arms almost long enough to drag the ground when standing upright. Living in ...more
Species: Pan troglodytes
The first European contact with chimpanzees happened in Angola during the 17th century by a Portuguese explorer named Duarte Pacheco, the dairy that he kept was also the first documentation that they could make tools. The use of the word chimpanzee did not happen until 1738 and is derived ...more
In Dance Lest We All Fall Down an anthropologist named Margaret from Seattle spends time in a shantytown in Brazil. She becomes friends with Rita who is her colleague and sidekick. They work on building a non profit school in the shantytown for women. The gripping part of the story is what happens to them ...more
Sounds like a lame excuse to post photos of my kids, doesn't it? Yeah, well, only partially. In fact, here's one to get us started.
Lux enjoying the paintings
But what I really wanted to post was a few that involve depictions of non-human primates.
The following depicts St. Dominic with the Devil in the form of ...more
Smilde takes an interesting approach in a rather interesting book; I was not thrilled to read another book this semester but by the end I was glad this was assigned. We assume that as humans we are individuals and that we establish our own ideals and beliefs about culture; Smilde asserts that these beliefs are ...more
This week’s articles discussed the many health issues that are suffered in South and Central America. Assessing Variation in Health States in the Andes: A Biocultural Model discusses how the cultural, ecological, political, economic, and social factors affect health in the Andes. The author began by comparing communities specifically focusing on infectious disease and infant ...more
The first three articles were all about machismo and marianismo. This is the idea of how men become the feared head of the house who everyone respects and nobody questions. Men can achieve this in varying ways but there were a few crucial themes. Showing power over your spouse by abuse is the biggest factor ...more
Since I’ve been reading a lot of feminist writings concerning the body for my thesis, I’ve been trying to reconcile feminist theories with biological ones. I’ve realized that this is necessary because I will be using both in my thesis, and yet many feminist theorists seem to denounce biological ideas entirely. Indeed, some of the ...more
The first article discusses programas folcloricos or folk programs that are streamed on Lima radio. I didn’t really understand the significance of this until I got deeper into the article but it really shed light on the importance of pre-Hispanic heritage. Many migrants don’t have access to mainstream media and are very limited in the ...more
Puyo Runa is written by two scholars who have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to indigenous people of the Amazon. They start of by giving an in-depth background of Puyo Runa and Nayapi Llacta in chapter one. Chapter two focuses on the importance of being introspective and self awareness. The third chapter talks ...more
The cotton top tamarin has a shock of white hair that extends from the top of the head.
Saguinus oedipus, or more commonly known as the cotton top tamarin is a New World primate that belongs to the Callitrichidae family. The cotton top tamarin can be found climbing and jumping through the tree tops of tropical ...more
This week covered ethnicity in South and Central America. The five articles ranged from indigenous to Jewish to black struggles in a society that seems to be unable to find a place in which these minorities belong. In the readings, the authors explain the historical, political, and geographical influences that have led to these inequalities. ...more
Cebus apella of the Cebidae family is better known as the tufted capuchin. The tufted capuchin is a New World primate located in South America. Tufted capuchins spend most of their time within the mid-canopy of rain-forests; however they do sometimes move to the ground to play and forage.
The unique tufts of hair above ...more
Mangin starts off generally describing squatter settlements and their origins. They are suburbs of cities, appear globally and are linked to urbanization. They mainly started to increase after WWII. This is important to remember throughout the article because many studies, examples, and references are from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. One interesting point Mangin makes ...more
Brush discusses the migration within the highlands of Peru; this migration has led to economic development as well as an improvement in trade. The westward movement towards the Andes is the predominate type of migration found in the region; the other being the easterly movement to the slopes of the Andes. Different types of migration ...more
The Webster article discusses pastoralism in the Andes and more interestingly; the diet of the Andean lamoids. There is an overlying theme of subsistence farming in which farmers utilize the land to produce enough food for their community. I found it interesting how the hilltops are considered sacred; due to it being the highest point ...more
I attend the “All Bodies Have Voices” panel discussion and was presently surprised by the experience I had there. The panelists each brought their own topic of discussion, views, and opinions which help to add depth to the conversation. Wanda Burton the peer education programs coordinator for the women’s resource center talked a great deal ...more
For this activity I decided I wanted to tell my best friend that I was queer. I hadn’t seen her all semester and we were getting together to catch up, so I figured she was the best person I could tell since we hadn’t really talked about what this class and a person can change ...more
I did this activity with both of my parents, each separately because I know they would each have a very different reaction. I decided to do this on my dad first because he is usually very close-minded when it comes to these things. I called my dad after he got off work and told him ...more
Not really "fought," persay, but It rhymed so I typed it. Anyway, this post is about: Dental Calculus! Which I chose for two reasons: 1) It's interesting and 2) I didn't get to show you guys the picture of calculus in Methods the other day.
More importantly, this post is about John Hawks' blog, which is ...more
Wilson, E. O. (1976). The Social Instinct. Bulletin of the Academy of the Arts and Sciences, 30(1), 11-25. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3822607
Sociobiology is the study of the biological basis of all forms of social behavior in all organisms, and is part of an effort to bring biology as a science to psychology, anthropology, and sociology. It deals with ...more
Hey ladies and lads, I'm doing the second half of Part 1 of The Primate Anthology, also known as pages 44- 87. APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE FOR LENGTH, I KNOW IT IS VERY LONG.
Chapter 6: Daughters or Sons
In many cultures, boys are more "beneficial" than girls. They are stronger, carry the family name, and they do ...more
Get outta here!
First thing's first: What exactly is a Y-Haplogroup, and why on earth does it matter?
The Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup (<---which is a group of similar haplotypes )that is defined by differences in the non-recombining parts of the DNA from the Y chromosome (also dubbed Y-DNA).
That's a fun definition, ...more
Evolutionary Biology of Hormonal Responses to Social Challenges in the Human Child by Mark V. Flinn
"'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.'
-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
And why was quiet desperation such a widespread malady back then, and especially among men? Yet again I trot onstage the only real villain in my story: the oversize ...more
Diet for a Small Primate by Stephen F. Ferrari
Look at my buffy head!
The buffy headed marmoset of Brazil rely on plant gums for a large portion of their diet. These gums contain a variety of nutrients like carbs, protein, mineral slats and calcium. Using gum has two restrictions, however. The first is that gum ...more
When E.O. Wilson came to speak at UA a number of weeks back, the Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group (HBERG) lab was fortunate enough to host him at a smaller venue for EvoS students. This was more personal and friendly than his talk the evening before to a packed auditorium at the Bryant Conference Center. There was plenty ...more