Recent Posts

23 and Me Results
Published 10/29/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Emily Barron
This past couple weeks I've had the chance to look at my 23 and Me results and discuss it with my mom some, both of which gave me some insight.  Heritage wise, I'm pretty vanilla. Literally. I'm 99.7% European, and more specifically 83.8% Northern European.  2.9% of my DNA is from Neanderthals, which is the most exciting part of my ancestry.  On to the interesting stuff. I found out that I am a carrier of the Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata type 1 (RCDP1) gene.  Basically, if I am unlucky enough to have children with someone else who is carrier, my kids will have a one in four chance of being affected. RCDP1 is a rare but horrible disease.  About half of kids with it will make it to school age.  According to 23 and Me, children with this disorder  have "skeletal abnormalities, congenital cataracts, growth failure,... read more ❯
23andMe Results
Published 10/29/2013 in Biology, Culture, and Evolution
Author Andrea
I was excited to receive the results of my 23andMe test this past week. I had been interested to see the results of my heritage as well as the health risks I am prevalent to in the future. The three diseases I am most prone to are coronary heart disease, type two diabetes, and breast cancer.  None of these are too shocking because I have had family members that have had these diseases. My ancestry was not much of a surprise either, but it was still interesting to find out more about where my family came from. I am 99.7% european which is not a shock at all based on my skin, eye, and hair color. I am .1% Native American and 2.8% neanderthal which is slightly above average.  The only issue I had with the test is that it could not determine my paternal lineage. This is obviously because I am... read more ❯
The Francois Langur
Published 10/24/2013 in The Monkey Speaks His Mind
Author mpatty
Order: Primate Suborder: Anthropoidea Family: Cercopithecidae Subfamily: Colombinae Genus: Trachypithecus (formerly Presbytis) Species: Francoisi 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 rocky cave areas. The francois Langurs are easily identified due to their all black fur and white side burns. They are small monkeys that usually weigh approximately 13 pounds. Their bodies measure to be around two feet long with an additional three feet of tail. Francois Langurs are extremely athletic, using brachiation as their method to get from one food source to another. Their tails are not prehensile, but they do assist in helping with the langurs balance. The Francois Langur's diet consists mostly of leaves... read more ❯
A Working Definition of Culture
Published 10/24/2013 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Bill Dressler
The phrase “a working definition” is something that is encountered frequently in the literature in the social sciences. As an adjective, “working” is usually used in the following sense that appears in Webster’s: something that is “adequate to permit work to be done.” Note the use of the word “adequate.” There is the connotation of a definition that is rough-and-ready, somewhat unrefined, but that will suffice for the moment. At the risk of being accused of making one of those little academic ironic jokes—and if I am so accused, I will confess immediately that I am guilty—I intend to use the phrase in a different way. What I mean to talk about is a definition of culture that works, that can be used as both a theoretical and a methodological tool in understanding—in short, a definition that really does something. The reason that I am approaching this essay in this way... read more ❯
What is biological about biocultural research? (Part 2)
Published 10/22/2013 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Jason DeCaro
In an earlier post, I began a discussion about the role of biology in a well-developed biocultural research program by debunking some common misconceptions (at least as I see them). I have argued that biomarkers are neither necessary nor sufficient to define a research program as biocultural, and that the same can be said of genetics/genomics and evolutionary hypotheses. In this second part of the essay, I turn to the messier question of what a biocultural research program needs from biology. If the point of biocultural research is to create a new subdiscipline with carefully defined boundaries tended by insiders, then the whole enterprise bores me and I want no part of it. We inhabit an academic universe filled with disciplines and subdisciplines and sub-subdisciplines that guard their borders, and despite moves toward interdisciplinarity (such as at Arizona State University, where they no longer have a conventional anthropology department, but instead a... read more ❯
What is biological about biocultural research? (Part 1)
Published 10/20/2013 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Jason DeCaro
In 2005, concerned about the absence in much biocultural research of an explicit theory of culture, Bill Dressler wrote a landmark piece in Ethos entitled “What's Cultural about Biocultural Research?” While not all of us follow Bill’s approach to the letter, the perspective this article represents has been a major driving force as we’ve developed our Biocultural Medical Anthropology PhD program. One could ask a parallel question: what’s Biological about Biocultural research? In many of the circles where I spend my conference time, the biological component of the research is easily assumed. I attend the Human Biology Association on an annual basis, and probably see more researchers there who consider themselves “biocultural” than at either of the other anthropological conferences I frequently attend – the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. (Not just as a percentage, but as a raw number, despite the fact that HBA is so... read more ❯
Biocultural Anthropology Bibliography
Published 10/19/2013 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Christopher Lynn
University of South Florida anthropologist & Neuroanthropology blogger Daniel Lende has written an excellent & useful bibliography of biocultural anthropology as part of the Oxford Bibliographies Anthropology series.  Here is the introduction: Introduction Biocultural anthropology exists at the intersection of cultural and biological approaches. Given how concepts, methods, and institutions have changed with regard to “biology” and “culture” since the early 1900s, the biocultural intersection has proven a dynamic space. It is also a contested space, where claims about human nature and culture and about science and ethnography have often come into stark contrast. Biocultural anthropology is linked to the four-field holistic tradition of anthropology within the United States. Individuals who don the biocultural mantle often claim holism as well and the accompanying ability to cross among archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Other individuals often object to this presumptive turf-grabbing and the accompanying assumption that the biocultural tradition is... read more ❯
Join our Biocultural Medical Faculty!
Published 10/19/2013 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Christopher Lynn
We are seeking a  cultural anthropologist with research interests in medical anthropology that converge with a biocultural focus.  Topical and geographic specialization are open.  Knowledge of both quantitative and qualitative research are expected.  Teaching responsibilities include specific core undergraduate and graduate level class and courses of one's own development.  Please visit our Biocultural Medical Program and Anthropology Department pages for more information. The Department of Anthropology of The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor position in cultural anthropology beginning Fall 2014. Ph.D. in Anthropology is expected to be in hand at the time of the appointment. We seek a cultural anthropologist with research interests in medical anthropology that converge with the biocultural focus of the department. Topical and geographic specialization are open, although the applicant should complement existing specialties in the department and be well-versed in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The successful applicant... read more ❯
A Truly Unique PhD Program in Biocultural Medical Anthropology
Published 10/19/2013 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Christopher Lynn
The University of Alabama offers one of the few dedicated Biocultural Medical Anthropology doctoral programs in the United States.  We are currently accepting applications from qualified students.  Please visit our faculty page & feel free to contact us with any questions or to learn more. read more ❯
Black and White Colobus Monkey
Published 10/14/2013 in The Monkey Speaks His Mind
Author rlmetts
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 at from 15-30 pounds and reaches an approximate size of 30 inches long. The typical life span in the wild has not been measured yet, however the typical lifespan of a Colobus in captivity ranges from 20-30 years.  Primarily a tree-dwelling monkey, the Black and White Colobus is actually the predominant arboreal species in all of Africa, as it spends nearly 100% of it's life in the expansive treetops of the African tropical forests and wooded Grasslands. The Colobus' name is derived from the Greek work 'kolobos', or 'mutilated/deformed', and this name can be accredited to the Colobus'... read more ❯

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