Tag Archives: anthropologist

Why people help distant kin

Math simulations support theory of ‘socially enforced nepotism’

It’s easy to understand why natural selection favors people who help close kin at their own expense: It can increase the odds the family’s genes are passed to future generations. But why assist distant relatives? Mathematical simulations by a University of Utah anthropologist suggest “socially enforced nepotism” encourages helping far-flung kin. (more…)

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Did grandmas make people pair up?

Human longevity from grandmothering tied to human coupling

If you are in a special relationship with another person, thank grandma – not just yours, but all grandmothers since humans evolved. (more…)

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Creating a malaria test for ancient human remains

Ancient malaria patients, the anthropologist will see you now.

A Yale University scientist has developed a promising new method to identify malaria in the bone marrow of ancient human remains. It is the first time researchers have been able to establish a diagnostic, human skeletal profile for the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and continues to infect millions of people a year. (more…)

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Did Men Evolve Navigation Skill to Find Mates?

Study Links Spatial Ability, Roaming Distance and Number of Lovers

A University of Utah study of two African tribes found evidence that men evolved better navigation ability than women because men with better spatial skills – the ability to mentally manipulate objects – can roam farther and have children with more mates. (more…)

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In Amazon Wars, Bands of Brothers-in-Law

How Culture Influences Violence among the Amazon’s ‘Fierce People’

When Yanomamö men in the Amazon raided villages and killed decades ago, they formed alliances with men in other villages rather than just with close kin like chimpanzees do. And the spoils of war came from marrying their allies’ sisters and daughters, rather than taking their victims’ land and women. (more…)

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Who Won’t Take Their Medicine?

UA anthropologist Susan J. Shaw and UA pharmacist Jeannie Lee have been awarded $1.48 million from the NIH to study medication adherence and health literacy.

UA associate professor of anthropology Susan J. Shaw and UA assistant professor of pharmacy Jeannie Lee have received $1.48 million from the National Institutes of Health to study factors that impact medication adherence among residents in Massachusetts, where state law mandated that nearly every resident receive a minimum level of health care insurance coverage. (more…)

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Big feet preference in rural Indonesia defies one-size-fits-all theory of attractiveness

People in most cultures view women with small feet as attractive. Like smooth skin or an hourglass figure, petite feet signal a potential mate’s youth and fertility.

Because they signal reproductive potential, a preference for mates with these qualities may have evolved in the brains of our Pleistocene ancestors and are viewed by evolutionary psychologists as evidence that the preference is hard-wired into our genetic makeup. (more…)

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Individual Donation Amounts Drop When Givers Are in Groups, Says MU Researcher

COLUMBIA, Mo. — In December of last year the New York Post published images of a man about to be killed by a train while several bystanders did little to help him. Numerous studies have provided evidence that people are less likely to help when in groups, a phenomenon known as the “bystander effect.” Those studies examined situations where only one person was needed to take action to help another. A University of Missouri anthropologist recently found that even when multiple individuals can contribute to a common cause, the presence of others reduces an individual’s likelihood of helping. This research has numerous applications, including possibly guiding the fundraising strategies of charitable organizations.

“In our study, individuals who didn’t want to share money tended to influence others to not share money,” said Karthik Panchanathan, assistant professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Science. “We don’t know what psychological mechanism caused that, but perhaps potential givers did not want to be ‘suckers,’ who gave up their money while someone else got away with giving nothing. Selfish behavior in others may have given individuals an opportunity to escape any moral obligation to share that they might have felt.” (more…)

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