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Remembering Brent Colyer: Serotonin, Alcoholism, & Evolution
This is a repost from December 12, 2012, after the death of my best friend. I will be reposting from my EvoS Studies Consortium blog & am starting with this post because we are discussing alcohol use & abuse in the new "Biocultural Seminar: Anthropology of Drug Use." The readings have me mentally revisiting this topic with some new insights, which I will try to add as comments when I'm not tearing up all over again.   I am beginning the writing of this on Saturday, December 8, around 11:30PM.  A week ago & a few hours earlier, I was agitating over six lead changes as I watched Bama ultimately beat Georgia in the SEC college football championship, but I was wondering why I wasn't seeing messages on Facebook from my... read more ❯
Does Race Exist? Not Like You May Think. A Response to Gill (2000).
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 many of his arguments problematic, and I’m devoting this post to their analysis. In the first section of his argument, Gill makes the argument that “the “reality of race” therefore depends more on the definition of reality than on the definition of race [emphasis added].” And truly his entire argument rests on this assumption. However, it’s inherently problematic—because as any philosopher or debater worth his salt will tell you—until all terms are defined and agreed upon, no argument is valid. To argue for the existence and utility of the race concept while dismissing his responsibility to... read more ❯
My View of Anthropology: Five Fields!
Published 9/22/2015 in Confessions of a Hockey Anthropologist
Author dascott
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 as an integrated social science based in four fields: Biological Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology. Anthropology is a meta-social science precisely because it studies all things human. But Anthropology, the study of human potential, has the much more potential than that. I say that there is much more potential in Anthropology because I believe that the four field model is somewhat of a dated paradigm: Arguably there is a 5th field of Anthropology: Ecological Anthropology, which is defined as cultural adaptations to the environment. Ecological Anthropology is growing in importance and is a reflection... read more ❯
Sociobiology and Anorexia
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 about baboons’ evolutionary fitness in relation to their social network; Blaffer Hrdy (1988) wrote about the potential adaptability of skewed sex-ratios among mammals; and Small (1989) wrote about a female Barbary macaque’s dramatic rise in power in her troupe through the formation of alliances. The three articles suggest that, among social animals, one’s social rank is tied to one’s biological fitness, and vice versa. I have many interests in anthropology that are not entirely disparate, yet their interrelatedness is not obvious: autism, sexuality, and body image are my broad topics of interest.  However, for this... read more ❯
Short Pre-Season
Published 9/21/2015 in Confessions of a Hockey Anthropologist
Author dascott
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 go! read more ❯
E.O. Wilson's 3 Tips for a Career in Research and Other Easy Recipes
Published 10/28/2012 in Anthropology to the Max
Author Max Stein
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 opportunity for Q&A, so I asked him: "You've been very successful in your line of work, and after decades of research and scholarship, you're writing now perhaps more than ever.  What advice would you give students who are interested in a career in science? E.O. Wilson's Response: 'Fieldwork to a scientist is like an epic story because it's very personal.  It's a story of experience and history, and it must be thought of as an epic anecdote in one's life.  There are three archetypes I must suggest in order to be successful in this line of work. 1) "Discover the... read more ❯
Jessica's Human Ethology Assignment
Published 2/12/2013 in Anthropology of Sex
Author Johnna Dominguez
Focal: I went to Rounder’s on Friday where I conducted this experiment. Here I noticed a male probably around 20’s. He was drinking a variety of drinks, but mostly beer. He was with one other guy friend who was also drinking. As far as I could tell both of them were talking to numerous girls. Every time I looked they were talking to a different group of girls. The guy I choose to focus on was dressed nice and seemed to be flashing his “expensive” watch. His posture let everyone know around him that he was confident. To me, he seemed like the cocky jock in high school that knew he could get any girl he wanted. When he wasn’t talking to a variety of girls he stood at the bar and was casually scoping the room. Once he made eye contact with someone he would then go over and begins... read more ❯
Biography: Cynthia Beall
  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 in the Department of Anthropology as a distribution requirement, saying she’d “found [her] calling” by happenstance. In 1972 she completed her M.A. and in 1976 her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University under Paul Baker, one of the founders of the field of Human Adaptability. Her dissertation was entitled “The Effects of High Altitude on Growth, Morbidity and Mortality of Peruvian Infants.” In 1976 she began teaching at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and has remained there ever since. In 1982 she was promoted to Associate Professor, and became full Professor in 1987.... read more ❯
Katelyn's Human Ethology Assignment
Published 2/12/2013 in Anthropology of Sex
Author Johnna Dominguez
General Notes Place- Cowbell’s Bar, Starkville, Mississippi Time- arrived at approximately 12 a.m. and left around 2 a.m. Atmosphere- dimly lit with loud music that can be heard from the outside. Slightly smoky. There is a lot of drinking going on, even by minors who are some how sneaking it by the bouncers. There is a large dance floor that quickly gets crowded. People- The bar is right off the campus of Mississippi State University, so there are a lot of college kids. However, there are a good number of thirty-something adults who probably live in the area. Ride range of people from true blue cowboys to Eminem look-alikes, to scantily clad sorority girls and decked out fraternity guys.  Focal Sampling Summary Subject is a male, who is probably either 19 or 20 years old. He cannot be 21 or older because he does not have the wristband that would enable him to buy drinks from... read more ❯
Out of Africa and to the New World: Fantastical Musings on the Adaptability of Mental “Disorders” of the Bipolar and Schizophrenic Spectrums
Published 11/25/2013 in The Schema
Author Greg Batchelder
When I read about the DRD4 dopamine receptor gene in an article by Schaller and Murray (2011) my curiosity was raised once again about an idea I have been playing with for a while concerning the possibility of “bipolar” mania and some forms of mental functioning which fall on the “schizophrenia” spectrum as being, in some contexts, “adaptive.” There are two contexts I will discuss in this post: 1) the role of certain mental states in contributing to novel problem solving, and 2) the role of these same states in contributing to human migration.  I will also discuss how therapeutic dissociation, which I suggest is prevalent in these populations, has been an important adaptive strategy, and has been culturally instituted. Finally, I will discuss how people with these forms of mental functioning “signal” their distress (or culturally atypical thoughts/behaviors) in culturally salient ways. In some very interesting research, Dein and Littlewood... read more ❯