Recent Posts

Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
Published 9/14/2014 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author ajcallery
Johann Mendel was born to Anton Mendel and Rosine Mendel in what used to be Heinzendorf, Austria on July 22, 1822. His father was a farmer, so Mendel would help out with the chores around the farm. His family was not poor, but sending Mendel to school in Troppau at the age of 11 created strain on their finances. In 1840, he graduated from regular school. After his graduation from secondary school, he entered the Philosophical Institute of the University of Olmütz for two years. To make ends meet he would tutor other students. During this time he often had problems with depression, which resulted in him stopping studies at times. With his problem with depression Mendel was able overcome it and graduate in 1843. This time of financial struggle is what influenced Mendel to enter the monastery of the Augustinians of Bruenn in 1843. He joined the monastery against his... read more ❯
Additional Grad Article #2 (week of Sept.14)
Published 9/14/2014 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author spcannon
During this week's reading, I came across an article by Eric Lassiter entitled, "Invitation to Anthropology. It is an article that uses genes, chromosomes, and evolutionary biology in a different manner, but simutaneously the same. In this anthropological piece, Lassiter retraces the idea of biology among the Black female body. He chooses to investigate non-other than Sarah Bartmann, also known as "The Venus Hottentot."This African non-slave woman was taken under great scrutiny by two European scientists in the later 19th century. These scientists dissected every inch of Bartmann's body starting with her cranium on to the bottom of her feet. The brain of a Black woman was sized categorically as one of difference in regards to Europeans. They viewed her as an animal species, not one of homo sapiens. In doing so, the part of the body that intrigued them the most was her very over enlarged buttocks. A buttocks,... read more ❯
Thoughts on Shamanism
Published 9/10/2014 in The Schema
Author Greg Batchelder
Often I have marveled about the ubiquity of shamanic complexes throughout the world. In my opinion, variations of the shamanic paradigm were present in all hunter/gatherer/foraging groups. I have also wondered “why is this the case?” After reading work by Michael Winkelman, I have been moved to believe that within the shamanic paradigm aspects of behavior have served to integrate human minds more fully between notions of the individual and its relationship to the social world. Aspects of the shamanic complex can be seen as increasing the adaptability of humans. Winkelman suggests that, and I agree, that the shamanic complex grew out of ancient hominid ritual capacities and practices. There are even similarities between the shamanic ritual complex and activities of chimpanzees. These include community rituals focused on alpha male displays involving vocalizations, drumming, and bipedal charges. Similarities between shamanism and behavior of chimpanzees include: community bonding rituals that involve... read more ❯
Evolving Brain Stuff, Y'all (part 2)
Published 9/9/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Taylor Burbach
****Pictures coming soon*** I was especially excited to review "Evolution and the Brain " from The Encultured Brain because evolution is something that interests me. I really like to see how evolutionary theory applies to different disciplines (can anybody say EvoS?). Theodosius Dobzhansky said "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." I have found that this can apply to many different fields other than biology. I have studied development in the context of evolution before, but never in a neurological context. This chapter really built onto my existing understanding of human evolution. As someone studying anthropology (I guess this is a neuroanthropology blog), I was especially excited to read about how the human brain and culture interact and how we can understand this interaction in an evolutionary context. Below is a quick summary of the chapter. About the Authors Greg Downey is Head of Department and Associate Professor of anthropology at Macquarie... read more ❯
Evolving Brain Stuff, Y'all
Published 9/9/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author skcharles1
The Authors: The article, entitled "Evolution of the Cerebellar Cortex: The Selective Expansion of Prefrontal-Projecting Cerebellar Lobules," was researched and written by Dr. John Balsters, E. Cussans, Jörn Diedrichsen, Dr. Kathryn A. Phillips, Dr. Todd M. Preuss, Dr. James K. Rilling, and Dr. Narender Ramnani. All of these people have interests in the cerebellum and motor functions.   Hypothesis: The authors predicted that since the prefrontal cortex has evolved to be larger in relation to the motor cortex in humans, there should also be enlargements in the cerebellum, specifically those parts that are associated with the prefrontal cortex, in relation to the lobules of the cerebellum associated with the motor cortex.     The Experiment: They decided to test their hypothesis... read more ❯
Raymond Pearl
Published 9/9/2014 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author spcannon
Raymond Pearl, Professor of Biology in the Medical School and in the School of Hygiene and Public Health of the Johns Hopkins University, died at Hershey, Pennsylvania, November 17, 1940, at the age of sixty-one years. At the age of 16 he entered Dartmouth College, expecting to make the classics his chief field of study. During his first year he was more interested in the opportunities for free activity than in his studies; a fact which was reflected in the low grades which he received. But in that first year biology was a required subject, and this opened his eyes to what became his main interest. He graduated from Dartmouth with the degree of A.B. in 1899. According to the Class Report before cited "Pearl was the youngest graduate in our class." During his senior year he was... read more ❯
Best-Practices for Blogging about Course Readings in a Way that Fulfills Your Requirement & is ALSO Coherent to the General Public
Published 9/9/2014 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
I have increasingly been making my students blog about their assigned readings for class for a few reasons. One, I assume that forcing them to write in a public forum will increase their self-consciousness & encourage them to actively try to write better. Two, I believe in transparency & inclusiveness to the maximum extent possible. In the age of social media, it is fun to be able to include the author of an article or chapter in a class conversation as we are having it. We can Skype authors in for guest appearances, engage in live Tweeting with them (do you live Tweet your courses? let us know in the comments below!), or have extended conversations via blog comments, among other options. I've engaged in all of these & think they all enliven course material & increase the chances students... read more ❯
Changing the framework: recent published research and the use of open access
Published 9/8/2014 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author ajcallery
Reading the chapter for this week about the history of human biology left me wondering what new information has come out since the publication of this chapter/book. Upon my search, I found an article in American Anthropologists discussing some of the major research that was published in 2012 that has helped to start shifting some long held theories. James Sun and colleagues did one of the main pieces of research discussed in this article. Sun’s research, along with others, has found that the “baseline rate of mutation, directly estimated from genomic sequencing, is slower than previously suspected (263, Van Arsdale).” This finding may influence the previous rate that evolution took place and more research has to be done before any large changes are made in the past research findings. The research I found the most interesting was that done by Herman Pontzer on the energy expenditure of hunter-gatherers. He studied... read more ❯
Sports Culture
Published 9/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Alexa Vicente
I know I'm late with my introductory blog, but hopefully I am doing this right and you all enjoy!   I really struggled to come up with a specific topic to write about because outside of this whole school thing I feel like I am all over the place. Then I realized the whole reason I felt like I was all over the place was because of sports. My whole life I have either been at school or at a practice. Although I no longer play sports,  I am fortunate enough to have landed an internship with the Athletic Events Management Department here at Alabama. I have been to about 65% of all of the athletic events on campus in the past 3 years. Now looking back, that's  A LOT of my time. I would consider my internship more of a hobby because I do not get any form of school credit for... read more ❯
Musings on the Usefulness of Mindfulness Meditation
Published 9/3/2014 in Neuroanthropology: The Course
Author Camille Morgan
I've been thinking about centering my research topic around an investigate of the usefulness of mindfulness meditation, a practice taken to new heights by the Shaolin monks, in treating the traveling malady culture shock .  It would be interesting to look at several different subsets of travelers: students studying abroad, military members about to deploy, and anthropologists completing ethnographic research. H1: The practice of mindfulness meditation influences degree of environmental familiarity.  (This hypothesis would involve an ethnographic study of the  Shaolin monks and an examination of the mind-body connection in the novices as compared with the masters) H2: The degree of environmental familiarity influences how the mind-body connection is perceived. (Questionnaire measuring mind-body dissonance taken before trip and after arrival) H3: Conditions involving disorientation such as culture shock can be managed by practicing mindfulness meditation. (Half of the subject set to practice mindfulness meditation for 30 minutes a day for the entirety of... read more ❯

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