Browsing All Posts filed under »biology«

Body Histories: “Expressive muscles” and women’s fatigue

July 8, 2011

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“Any doctor who saw how even experienced female athletes collapsed and were lying on the ground after the race could not support this kind of athletic competition for women.” Norwegian historian Kerstin Bornholdt cites this statement, by a German doctor, H. Franzmeyer, reacting to what he saw as the unsuitable participation by women in the […]

Evolution as Fight Club

May 21, 2011

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This just in: ancestral humans adopted bipedal posture so that males could fight with the strength of their forelimbs, making their punches more dangerous. OK. I actually thought I knew the range of arguments for bipedalism. I guess I appreciate having something novel to think about? The research described in news reports I read was […]

“Exploring Sex and Gender in Bioarchaeology”: Some comments

April 2, 2011

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Just back from the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, where I had the pleasure of being a discussant on a session organized by Sabrina Agarwal and Julie Wesp. Since my comments run to 2200 words, no way to post them and no point either– who would read them? But here are some […]

Burying the dead (at Tlatilco and elsewhere)

March 19, 2011

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I read a wide swath of archaeological news every day, and this past week the news I am reading has been resonating– or really, has presented a counterpoint to– the writing I have been doing myself. Because, as is typical, many of the news stories I am reading are about finds of human remains, which […]

More Penis Spines!! (or maybe that should be penis bumps)

March 12, 2011

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OK. I will admit that when I wrote the previous post– and the other one about the Nature report over at What Makes Us Human on Psychology Today, where I was perhaps a little more restrained– I did not think it would become a continuing series. But thanks to a wonderful reader over at PT, […]

Penis spines! (oh, and something about brains too…)

March 10, 2011

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Nature‘s editors and authors tried, they really tried, titling the report published yesterday “Human-specific loss of regulatory DNA and the evolution of human-specific traits”. But from the earliest news report I can find (yesterday on Science 2.0, titled “Why Your Penis Has no Spine”) through to the raft of articles today, reporters have had their […]

British, Roman, or African? On race, ethnicity, and nationality

January 26, 2011

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The past was not full of homogeneous towns. People in the past were not uniform in their cultures, their sexualities, or their subjective experiences. If I have one goal in my teaching– one goal in my writing– it would be to get that point across, so that finding difference in past populations would be expected, […]

Mothers, babies, and the origins of human society

January 10, 2011

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I am used to reading media coverage of research and wincing about the unexamined gendered assumptions embedded in stories. So when I began browsing coverage of new research by Boston University’s Jeremy DeSilva, I braced myself. But guess what? somehow, at least the first reporting has managed to avoid cliche and stereotype. DeSilva developed a […]

Anthropology is a science…and more

December 30, 2010

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A little off-topic but in my view worth reposting here from the original location. Notice that if Nicholas Wade’s view of anthropology were valid, this blog could not exist: science and research on sex and gender seem to be incompatible to him. “The purposes of the Association shall be to advance anthropology as the science […]

“We gonna make bonobo love” (with apologies to The Bobs)

September 1, 2010

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OK, I admit it: I’m one of those old-fashioned anthropologists who had to learn about non-human primates. Back in the Dark Ages we were told that learning about our closest living relatives would give us some guidance in envisioning what humans would have been like without all the accumulated baggage of culture. Not that we […]