Recent Posts

Advice for Literature Reviews and Research Reports
Published 12/13/2012 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
In cleaning out my office for our temporary departmental move to the Timbuktu region of Tuscaloosa, I came across guidelines for writing literature reviews by my graduate advisor Larry Schell that I think are worth sharing. Here is a link to the full (3-page) pdf or images follow: Schell 1997 lit review instructions           Happy lit reviewing! read more ❯
Hot! Hot! Hot! Peppers & "Tamales"
Published 12/12/2012 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
  Hotness Hurts So Good Serendipitously, I brought in hot peppers from my garden for "hot" (aka, human mate selection) week. I bring foodstuffs in when I teach primate diet & ecology, as I had just done at TMSE, so I had some dry roasted crickets, garden herbs, half a durian fruit, & a bunch of habanero, ghost chilis, & tabasco peppers on hand to share. The ghost chili was certified in 2007 as the world's hottest pepper, 10,000x hotter than tabasco (which means tabasco diluted with vinegar & water?). I told them that one of my sons had vomitted after eating a tabasco the other night, so the students declined to try anything hotter. My son is only 9, but some of their faces turned beet... read more ❯
Plaque Attack: How Food Fought Back
Published 12/5/2012 in Brown Vs. The Blog of Education
Author ashleystewart
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 phenomenal - I explored it for a long time trying to figure out what I wanted to talk about! There's a lot happening over there. Anywho, I'm going to be talking about THIS post by John Hawks titled "Tartar Control and Neandertal Plant Use." First thing's first. Here's the picture I didn't get to show you that is a great example of calculus: So, see all that stuff around the bottom of the tooth enamel? That's hardened plaque, AKA calculus. As plaque hardens, it builds up in layers, which encourages further buildup. As... read more ❯
Brains in the Wild: Update from the AAAs
Published 11/30/2012 in Anthropology to the Max
Author Max Stein
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 Downey - and outline the researchers' main message concerning current and future scholarship in this very new field. Daniel Lende (University of South Florida) Habits and Society: Where Brain and Practice Meet Lende’s main message is that when it comes to the relationship between culture and biology, “it’s complicated,” and he suggests that a biocultural approach is the first step toward unraveling this complex area.  What we’re observing essentially is a snapshot of human behavior, and we need to get out of this stable and bounded disposition by taking a multifactorial approach with holistic anthropology.  In other... read more ❯
John Hawks Lecture
Published 11/27/2012 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
Diet and Lifestyle
Published 11/13/2012 in Brown Vs. The Blog of Education
Author ashleystewart
Diet for a Small Primate by Stephen F. Ferrari  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 is not produced in abundance by plants, and second, the breaking down and digesting of the polysaccharides within the gum requires a specialized gut and specific bacterial flora for fermentation. To obtain gum from the plants, many "gummivores" have developed claw-like nails that allow them to move over the gum producing plants easily. They also have specialization of the cecum (an offshoot of the intestines) where the gum is fermented; and they have long rough tongues that allow them to reach the deep gum deposits in insect holes. Their main source of gum... read more ❯
Tears are a Turn-off
Published 11/12/2012 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
We were talking about tears as a unique human signal that are hypothesized to elicit empathy the other day (please someone, I would love a source on this, so I can stop bullshitting based on a vague memory of having read this somewhere potentially apocryphal),  & it turns out they are effective even in the absence of the faces they are running down.  When they are removed from the face & (without even the accompanying snot even) placed under the noses of male test subjects, arousal & testosterone levels in those males dropped!  This from a short piece by Sarah Everts called "Sweat & Tears" in the March 2012 Smithsonian based on work from the Sobel lab, published in Science 2011, Issue 331 Vol 6014 ("Human Tears Contain a Chemosignal"). After playing a sad movie scene for a group of women, researchers collected... read more ❯
Life History & the Persistence of Memory
Published 11/6/2012 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
The idea behind this activity (correct me if I'm wrong, Achsah) is to consider life history implications of cognition.  It's not immediately obvious how wearing masks facilitates this, but, well it was Halloween, so bear with us. When we are especially young, familiarity is least stressful.  A mother's face is least stressful, similar shapes, similar colors, similar voice textures are least stressful.  Masks, on the other hand, stressful-ish. As we age, it is context-specific.  On a day like Halloween, what stands out to you?  In this case, the mouse ears & the axe in the head or the princess tiara on a male but the Frankenstein mask... read more ❯
Meddling Monkeys Scavenger Hunt
The TMSE Anthropology class has been a lot of fun so far this year.  We're following essentially the same lesson plan with a few improvements (we hope) here & there.  One of them was designed by graduate students in the UA Anthro Dept who kindly posted them to their blog here.  The game is called the "Meddling Monkeys Scavenger Hunt."  The objective is to recognize that primate behavior (& we are primates, so this applies to us too) is ecologically relative. We started off talking about the kind of food primates have to choose from.  We had dry roasted crickets, garden herbs, & one banana.  Crickets are high protein but hard to catch, so getting enough to survive on... read more ❯
Neanderthal Makeover
Published 11/4/2012 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
Homo neanderthalensis or Homo heidelbergensis? Large supraorbital torus (big browridge)?  Check. Enhanced nasal projection?  Check. Sloping forehead?  Check. Angulated cheekbones?  Check. Less neotenized skull? Check. Lenticular braincase? Uhhh...Okay, you got us.  But we looked better than Hotlegs (pre-10cc). http://youtu.be/wiWu7Csn2HY Hey, it was fun though! read more ❯

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