Recent Posts

23andMe
Published 11/16/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author mmcheatham
My 23 and me genetic results were pretty blah. I was really hoping for something exciting or weird to pop up but that never happened. Although I still think my results are very interesting, I was just wanting some pizazz. I found out that I am 8.2% British and Irish which I pretty much already knew. I am 2.9% neanderthal which puts me in the 84th percentile, so I guess that is kinddddd of cool. My ancestry mainly comes from the UK, Ireland, Finland, India and Belgium. My most elevated health risk is rheumatoid arthritis, which I thought was great as opposed to something like cancer. The average person has a 4.2% risk of having rheumatoid arthritis and my risk is 9.0%. I am also at an elevated risk of melanoma, celiac disease and lupus. Under the inherited conditions section the only things I had variants present for hemochromatosis and... read more ❯
Bornean Orangutan
Published 11/13/2013 in The Monkey Speaks His Mind
Author drspangler
Order: Primates Family: Hominidae Subfamily: Ponginae Genus: Pongo 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 the thick rainforests, orangutans are the most arboreal of the great apes. In Malay, the word “orang” means person, and the word “hutan” means forest. The inhabitants of the island call them “people of the forest”. The name orangutan was first coined in English 1691 and the genus pongo was first termed by English sailor Andrew Battell while being held prisoner in Angola by the Portuguese. The island of Borneo is the only place on Earth where Bornean orangutans can be found. They have close neighbors in Sumatra and Indonesia, the Sumatran orangutan, but these are... read more ❯
Growth Variation in Humans
Published 11/13/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author peadams
Sara Stinson is a professor at CUNY Queens College.  She received her Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 1978.  Her focus is on physical and developmental variations among living human populations.  She studies environmental influences on growth and the evolution of body size.  Her research has been mostly on South American populations, including variation in indigenous South American populations, effects of high altitude hypoxia, and growth of lowland tropical forest populations.   Growth Variation: Biological and Cultural Factors Variation in size is one of the most obvious ways that humans differ. These differences are also easy to measure and compare across populations, making this a well-studied topic in biology/anthropology. Many factors can contribute to growth variation across and among populations such as genetic factors, nutrition, environmental conditions, social conditions, and cultural conditions.   Genetic Factors: Genotype can have a strong effect on growth as shown in the next two examples. Our ancestry and previous natural... read more ❯
23andMe Genetic Results
Just a little over a month ago now, our 23 and me DNA test results came in. After waiting only a few weeks for our spit to be analyzed, the data is all in. My heritage wasn't particularly exciting, 93.2% was from South and Southern Europe. Although I did have 5.5% from Northern Europe. This could potentially back up one of my family member's claims that I had a great great grandfather or some-such, that was a Swedish sea captain. I also have .3% from the Middle east/North Africa, and <.1% from Oceania, which are both surprising. When I look at my traits, I see that I am likely a taller than average male, with brown hair, brown eyes and a fast metabolism for caffeine. So, they more or less hit the nail on the head with this. And when I looked at my health risks, I see I am at a... read more ❯
The Evolution of the Human Life Cycle
  Barry Bogin is an American physical anthropologist trained at Temple University that researches physical growth in Guatemalan Maya children, and is a theorist upon the evolutionary origins of human childhood. He is currently at Loughborough University in the UK. He is noted for the idea that evolution added two new stages into human development; childhood and adolescence.   B. Holly Smith is a Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she got both her Master and Ph.D. She is interested in  how humans differ from other mammals in life cycle and life span, why we differ and whether we can reconstruct the evolutionary history of our life cycle from the fossil record. This chapter was about the evolution and alterations of the human life cycle. The main questions that guided this research were: How can human biologists identify the shared and novel features of... read more ❯
Siamangs!
Published 11/6/2013 in The Monkey Speaks His Mind
Author gwsikesmitchell
Order: Primates Family: Hylobatidae Genus: Symphalangus 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 recorded. There is little sexual dimorphism between male and female siamangs, but males are slightly larger than females. Siamangs can be found in Indonesia and Malaysia, where they live in rainforest and tropical coniferous forest habitats. The primary locomotion style of siamangs (and more generally, the Hylobate family) is brachiation, in which they swing arm-over-arm, from branch to branch, as a source of movement.  Siamangs can cover up to ten feet in a single swing, due to the length of their arms. When they are not swinging around, they... read more ❯
Paradox of Success in Public Health... Where do we go from here?
Published 11/4/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Taylor Burbach
Carol Worthman received her PhD at Harvard in 1978, after first attending Pomona College for her BA in Botany and biology, and subsequently the University of California at San Diego Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her interests include biological anthropology, human reproduction, human development, biocultural and life history theory, and developmental epidemiology. These interests are bioculturally focused. She also has worked with the University of Alabama's own Dr. Jason DeCaro on various projects concerning stress and developmental biology. Brandon Kohrt is an assistant professor at Duke Global Health Institute and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He conducts global mental health research focusing on populations affected by war-related trauma and chronic stressors of poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare and education. His research is conducted in Nepal, and he has worked closely with the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, the Carter Center Mental Health Liberia Program, and was a... read more ❯
September 24th, 2013: Garbology
Published 11/4/2013 in UA Outreach: Anthropology Partnership
Author Kelsey
In this week's lesson the students got to dig around in garbage! Clans were combined in order to form two groups and each group was given a giant bag of trash. The students were asked to sort the “artifacts” into categories and answer the following questions about the people their trash might have come from How many people created this trash? How old were the people who deposited this trash? Were these people wealthy? Healthy? What did these people like to do? What kind of interests did they have? The point of this exercise was to illustrate that archaeologists do not just deal with exquisite artifacts and treasures. They often use the everyday items they find in past people’s households, like their trash, to learn about the people who lived there. A lot of the students were very surprised by what they could tell about these people just from looking at their trash.   [caption id="attachment_262" align="alignleft"... read more ❯
September 17th, 2013: Ethnography
Published 11/4/2013 in UA Outreach: Anthropology Partnership
Author Kelsey
For our second meeting, the students broke into their clans again and reviewed their clan characteristic they had created last week. Then each clan had to designate an “ethnographer” that would travel to another clan to learn about their culture and create an ethnography. Ethnography is the way anthropologists study and teach others about different cultures. After the ethnographers visited the other clans and recorded the clan name, their shared ancestor, who their leader was (or if they had a leader), their attire, a clan totem/symbol, and any other identifying features, the entire class reconvened in a big circle. Each ethnographer got the chance to stand up and tell the class about the foreign clan that they got to study. The clans being described were then able to critique the depiction of their clan. Most ethnographers got it pretty close to correct, but in some cases clans felt that they... read more ❯
September 10th, 2013: Create a Clan
Published 11/4/2013 in UA Outreach: Anthropology Partnership
Author Kelsey
For our first meeting of the semester the students were split up into groups of three and created their own clan. A clan is a group of people who share a common ancestor, real or mythical. The students also learned the following concepts: culture, totem, rite of passage, and symbol and applied them in the creation of their clans. Each clan was encouraged to come up with a clan name, a shared ancestor, a leader (or no leader), attire, a clan totem/symbol, and any other identifying features. Our clans got very creative in creating their cultural identities. The Magical Rainbow Zebra clan: The Magical Rainbow Zebra clan was a created by a group of all ladies. Their shared ancestor was a Magical Zebra who lived on a rainbow. They elected to have no leader, and instead settle disputes with a vote. The students chose to have an insignia on a button... read more ❯

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