Tag Archives: anthropology

13th century Maya codex, long shrouded in controversy, proves genuine

Brown University’s Stephen Houston and a team of leading researchers in anthropology and Maya archeology methodically verify the authenticity of the oldest known manuscript in ancient America.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —The Grolier Codex, an ancient document that is among the rarest books in the world, has been regarded with skepticism since it was reportedly unearthed by looters from a cave in Chiapas, Mexico, in the 1960s. (more…)

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Genetic Study Confirms Link between Earliest Americans and Modern Native Americans

AUSTIN, Texas — The ancient remains of a teenage girl found in an underwater Mexican cave establish a definitive link between the earliest Americans and modern Native Americans, according to a new study released on May 15, 2014 in the journal Science.

The study was conducted by an international team of researchers from 13 institutions, including Deborah Bolnick, assistant professor of anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin, who analyzed DNA from the remains simultaneously with independent researchers at Washington State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (more…)

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Study: CT Scans Could Bolster Forensic Database to ID Unidentified Remains

A study from North Carolina State University finds that data from CT scans can be incorporated into a growing forensic database to help determine the ancestry and sex of unidentified remains. The finding may also have clinical applications for craniofacial surgeons.

“As forensic anthropologists, we can map specific coordinates on a skull and use software that we developed – called 3D-ID – to compare those three-dimensional coordinates with a database of biological characteristics,” says Dr. Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology at NC State and senior author of a paper describing the work. “That comparison can tell us the ancestry and sex of unidentified remains using only the skull – which is particularly valuable when dealing with incomplete skeletal remains.” (more…)

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Biologists find an evolutionary Facebook for monkeys and apes

Why do the faces of some primates contain so many different colors — black, blue, red, orange and white — that are mixed in all kinds of combinations and often striking patterns while other primate faces are quite plain?

UCLA biologists reported last year on the evolution of 129 primate faces in species from Central and South America. This research team now reports on the faces of 139 Old World African and Asian primate species that have been diversifying over some 25 million years. (more…)

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Global Education

UD student helps provide children in Nigeria a schoolhouse of their own

In the Nigerian village of Ukya’u, the children have a teacher and sit on benches in a church room, but there are no desks, no separate classes and no school building to call their own.

Chelsea Rozanski, a University of Delaware sophomore who is majoring in anthropology with a minor in African Studies, is working to change that situation. (more…)

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Monkey Business: What Howler Monkeys Can Tell Us about the Role of Interbreeding in Human Evolution

ANN ARBOR — Did different species of early humans interbreed and produce offspring of mixed ancestry?

Recent genetic studies suggest that Neanderthals may have bred with anatomically modern humans tens of thousands of years ago in the Middle East, contributing to the modern human gene pool. But the findings are not universally accepted, and the fossil record has not helped to clarify the role of interbreeding, which is also known as hybridization.

Now a University of Michigan-led study of interbreeding between two species of modern-day howler monkeys in Mexico is shedding light on why it’s so difficult to confirm instances of hybridization among primates—including early humans—by relying on fossil remains. (more…)

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Commentary: Ian Straughn: Is Egypt’s Revolution in Doubt?

Egypt’s new democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi recently made world headlines on two accounts. The first was for his central role in brokering a cease-fire in Gaza between Israeli forces and Hamas. The second, which followed almost immediately after the deal was confirmed, was a highly controversial presidential decree that would temporarily insulate his legislative and executive decisions from any judicial oversight. Ian Straughn, visiting assistant professor of anthropology and Joukowsky Family Librarian for Middle East Studies, analyzes the return of protesters to Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the future of the Arab Spring in Egypt. (more…)

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Behind the Surface: 19th-Century Haitian Paintings Provide Link to Past

Behind the surface of a painting lies the history of its making. Scholars now know more about the histories of some 19th-century Haitian paintings held in Yale’s collections, thanks to the collaborative efforts of colleagues from Yale, the Smithsonian Institution, and Haiti.

The participants in the project originally came together out of concern for the future of the paintings, many of which are in need of restoration and conservation efforts. Now that preliminary studies of the paintings are complete, planning is underway for the next phase: preserving these portraits for future audiences and researchers. (more…)

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