Animals, Anthropology, News

Chimps Pass down Skills to Peers and Establish Cultures

chimp_culture

Chimps, our closest relatives, can pass down knowledge and skills, like using a new tool for instance, and establish cultural communities, according to a recently study published in PLOS Biology. Communicating and passing down skills, inventions and knowledge is considering a pre-requisite to what we commonly refer to as human culture, and the findings suggest that this kind of behavior can…

Anthropology, Archaeology, News

Stone tools evolved independent of ancient African cultures

Levallois Core from the Douro Basin, Portugal. José-Manuel Benito Alvarez

A breakthrough finding in Armenia where thousands of ancient cutting tools were found beautifully preserved casts doubt on a currently prevailing hypothesis that these were solely invented in Africa. The tools discovered are between 325,000 and 335,000 years old. The age suggests the ancient paleolithic cultures of the time that inhabited the region independently developed the sophisticated technique to produce them….

Anthropology, News

Early modern humans were culturally diverse before leaving Africa

Stone tools from Kharga Oasis, Egypt, one of the archaeological sites used in the study. Photograph reproduced with kind permission from The British Museum

Early modern human populations were culturally diverse and sometimes exchanged tools helped by river networks in a then savanna rich Sahara, according to the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago. At least fourdistinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other, have been identified as possessing distinct cultural practices….

Anthropology, Climate, Environment, Green Living, News

Aboriginals boost kangaroo populations when hunting with fire

While they hunt kangaroos, aborigines in remote areas of Australia help boost marsupial populations by lighting bush fires. Image: acanberraboy.blogspot.com

The Aboriginal Martu people have been hunting kangaroos and sand monitor lizards for over 2,000 years. During this time, the natives have not only lived sustainably, but also became unwilling conservationists helping kangaroo populations grow by sparking wild fires that help them catch lizards, a study by researchers at University of Utah found. In other remote areas where this subsistence practice ceased,…

Anthropology

The hobbits may not be real – Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not new species

homo-floresiensis-hobbit-001

In 2004, anthropologists and archaeologists working in Indonesia uncovered what was named “the biggest anthropological finding for 100 years” – fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores were uncovered, appearing to be a new species: Homo floresiensis. But now, new research challenges that find, claiming that the uncovered skeletons were in fact just an abnormal human, most consistent with…

Anthropology, Archaeology, Biology, News

Transition to civilization led to drop in testosterone

Cieri-skull-mashup

A study suggests that humanity’s transition to civilization coincided with a drop in testosterone. Less of the hormone is associated with less aggressive behavior and showing tolerance – both essential qualities to a thriving community. …

Anthropology, Diseases, News

Members of a previously uncontacted Amazonian tribe become infected with influenza

Three members of a recently contacted tribe walk with weapons in hand in Brazil. (c) FUNAI

A few months ago, I reported how Google is using its drones and Google Earth technology to monitor an uncontacted Amazonian tribe. Now, there’s convincing evidence that the same tribe has come in contact with non-indigenous locals, then with western researchers in the most unfortunate of circumstances. One, the contact was initiated by criminals operating illegal narcotrafficking whose routes apparently pass…

Animals, Anthropology, News, Research

Chimp gesture language translated – they’re the only ones besides humans to intentionally communicate

chimp_language

If you’ve ever watched chimps during a nature program and became startled by your own empathy towards them, you’re not alone. It’s no secret that chimps are our closest relatives out of all primates, having 98% similar DNA. It goes further than genetics – it’s enough to look a chimp in the eye. The reflection is more than a physical mirror; there’s…

Anthropology, Discoveries, Genetics, News

Unique gene passed by extinct human species makes Tibetans superhuman

Tibetans acquired a unique gene by interbreeding with a now-extinct human species. Photo: easytourchina.com

Advancements in genetic sequencing has allowed genomic research to flourish. DNA sequencing is now much faster, cheaper and accurate than ever before, and we’re only now beginning to reap the rewards. It’s the first step to a complete understanding of our bodies. The Human Genome Project, once finally completed, mapped and identified all the genes of the human genome. This helps…

Anthropology, Environment, News

What countries do the most good for the planet? The results are surprising

gci_index

It’s kind of strange that we often think about what countries are doing the most harm to the planet, but we rarely think which countries are doing the most good. Announced at the TEDSalon in Berlin, the Good Country Index measures just that, and the winners are quite surprising; the losers, not so much (sorry USA). What, Ireland ?! Yep, according…