Have you always wondered about #Neanerthals? Have burning questions about this enigmatic species? Learn about them with some of the world’s top #Neanderthal experts, Dr. Tom Higham, Dr. Rebecca Wragg Sykes, and Dr. Chris Stringer!
Join me in my interview with the author! To be posted later today!
When I heard about this book, I did not truly understand what it would be and how profoundly it would affect my view and understanding of topics from religious beliefs to how and why Anthropology is for me. Humans: Perspectives on our Evolution from World Experts by Sergio Almécija is an amalgamation of sage advice from over one hundred anthropologists worldwide. I may be a little biased when I say this, but I do not think there is a better group of people to learn life lessons from. But who am I to say? This is not a storybook; there is no happy ending or climax. It is a book of advice on how Anthropologists have discovered and viewed our evolution—the lessons our ancestors have imparted upon them and the constant search for our origins.
In Humans, the author has interviewed 103 Biological Anthropologists to obtain their thoughts on various subjects. He asked the anthropologists a series of questions to prompt them to discuss a topic, such as their beginnings, views on religion, driving factors, inspirations, and so much more. We get insider views on these people that many views as untouchable in the ivory tower. I think that this book does many great things. Still, the most critical thing that it accomplishes is that it brings the scientists and researchers down to a level that other humans can understand and feel that they can, hopefully, on some level relate. Humans get humanity back into the science that, for so long, has been askew. This science is about people; Anthropology is the study of human beings and our ancestors. It would be unfortunate if those who contributed to science were too hard to relate to modern humans. This book gives us the insight that they are not as separate from the rest of us as we once thought. Knowing this, the average Jane and Joe can participate in science in a whole new way, not feeling that they do not belong and that there is a place for them and their ways of thinking.
Anthropology is a science of welcoming differences, competitive spirits, and more questions than answers. It is good to hear some of our questions cause these great minds to pause and think, and their solutions, while sometimes abrasive, give us different ways to think about these issues than we may have prior. For many, they will be able to find solace in knowing they are not the only ones to believe in such ways. Big questions like, ‘can one be an anthropologist and still believe in god?” This is a question tackled by many of the participants. You will expect some of the answers, but you will be pretty surprised by others.
The wide range and diverse group of anthropologists that the author brought in for these interviews provide a healthy look at the anthropological community. If you want to know who anthropologists are and how they think, this will be a fun and excellent read for you!
I am writing to you as the Biological Anthropology Outreach Officer of the Cambridge Journal of Human Behaviour. Please may you forward the following to relevant email lists:
The Cambridge Journal of Human Behaviour is now calling for submissions for its next issue. (Deadline: May 15th, 2023).
CJHB is an interdisciplinary, ISSN-registered, and peer-reviewed journal, publishing undergraduate work from across the world. We are excited to invite you, your students, and your colleagues to participate in the publication of its next issue. For many undergraduates, this proves to be a rare and excellent opportunity for their work to undergo peer-reviewing and publishing!
Submissions can include dissertations, projects, and extended essays (max. 5000 words) and must have been completed during undergraduate study. Topics range from (but are not limited to) Natural Sciences, Biological Anthropology, Social Anthropology, Psychological/Behavioural Sciences, Economics, and Philosophy. Interdisciplinary manuscripts are strongly encouraged.
Hello everyone, and welcome to this episode of#PaleoFridays!
In this episode, we will learn about the Super Volcanic Eruption of Mt. Toba, located in what is now known as Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia.
One of the largest volcanic eruptions in Earth’s history, it had a major impact on our ancestors, how they moved about the land and everything they did. This eruption, in fact, almost caused the extinction of our entire species, possibly the closest that we have ever been to that dark door!
Watch, learn, and if you enjoy, subscribe and like!
Tens of thousands of years ago, deep in a French cave called Grotte Mandrin, near Malataverne in the Rhône Valley, arrowheads were discovered. However, these were not just any arrowheads; in fact, these would become the earliest known arrowheads outside of Africa! So today, we will be learning all about these arrowheads, where they came from, their importance, and just what they mean for those who lived in the area during the time, 50k years ago. This article will be different others I have written, as the research for it has been conducted very differently.
As AI begins to take over how we do many of our day-to-day tasks, Microsoft has created a new “answer engine,” as they call it (vs. a “search engine”) built into Bing. To gain access to it, you have to join a waiting list and then be approved, and once you are, you gain access to this new AI. There are many things this new Answer Engine can do, and it is fun to play with, and I encourage you all to try it; for this paper, I wanted to use it for a practical reason. Writing a research paper did not compromise the integrity of my research. However, I think it aided it and allowed me to understand things from a different perspective.
Knowing that, let us dive in and see what there is to learn from Bing about these newly discovered arrowheads!
So what do we know? We know that these arrowheads date to about 56,800-51,700 years ago, making them the oldest arrowheads in the world to be found outside of Africa; this also places the makers of these arrowheads, stark in France at the time, where we know Neanderthals were still roaming the land. However, who were the makers of these advanced hunting weapons?
Known as Neronian arrowheads, these are only found in Europe and so far have been known only to accompany modern Homo sapiens, and NOT Neanderthals. These small flunk flakes measure between 1-4 mm in length. Published in a recent study in Nature Ecology and Evolution in February, these arrowheads were described in detail by authors led by Dr. Ludovic Silmak, Laure Metz, and other researchers from France, Spain, Italy, Canada, and Germany. This study shows that modern humans were in France much earlier than predicted or demonstrated by any current evidence. These arrowheads indicate that they were not only there but also this advanced at that stage already.
One of the most significant observations made by other science writers is that this might be evidence of why the Neanderthals went extinct, that this was a definite sign of superior military power, and that modern Humans must have caused their extinction. However, I think this is so far from the truth. If we had modern humans using bows and arrows in Europe 50kya against Neanderthals or frequently against any species, we would see signs of this type of violence on the bones. There has been little to no evidence of conflict between these two species. Much more likely, they saw each other as Humans from different places, unfamiliar but not wholly different. After all, we all have about 2-7% Neanderthal DNA! What does this mean? Well, our ancestors must have been interbreeding with Neanderthals, a supposedly entirely separate species, yet produced viable offspring, to the point that we are some of their descendants.
So were these modern humans, who we now know in France at this time, using their advanced weapons against other peoples? The simple and short answer is most likely no. Of course, new evidence can always be presented and change what we think and view, and being against that idea is bad science.
So what exactly was found? Well, in this French cave, over 300 Neronian arrowheads were found. The authors created and conducted experiments based on these arrowheads to discover their efficacy and what types of animals these early but advanced humans were doing. These arrowheads show that modern humans were leaving Africa much more technologically advanced than once thought. Whether these tools were designed and crafted only in Europe or on the way, there will remain to be seen. However, now we can follow the path of creating these stone arrowheads and see the evolution of arrowheads.
How interesting, fascinating, and just downright cool! I hope you have learned from this short article on this remarkable discovery and maybe learned something about the future of AI research and writing, as this article was a synch to do the research for, everything delicately and correctly curated to the needs of my questions and interests surrounding this topic. I highly recommend AI-powered analysis to anyone in scientific fields, or those whose citations and souring information are critical to further understanding the research!
Dartmouth College hosted a two-day symposium, Darwin and Human Evolution Symposium, on February 17-18, 2023, “Reflecting on Charles Darwin’s impact on the study of human evolution and biological diversity a century and a half after he published Descent of Man”. This event featured authors who contributed to A Most Interesting Problem: What Darwin’s Descent Got Right and Wrong about Human Evolution (Princeton University Press, 2021). Unfortunately, I was able to attend only the first day of the symposium; nevertheless, I found it was well worth the trip from out-of-state!
We were welcomed by Dr. Jeremy DeSilva (Dartmouth College), who spoke of honoring the 152nd anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication, Descent of Man. Dr. DeSilva then raised questions regarding Darwin’s work: specifically, whether the origin of humans is knowable, how Darwin attempted to understand the processes of human evolution, and the notion that Darwin did not wish to present his work as infallible, but as hypotheses to be explored.
Dr. Herculano-Houzel delved into “Human evolution fulfills a need”. We humans have acquired biological capacity beyond what body requires. This additional capacity, gained by a self-reinforcing pattern of ability to modify our surroundings to invent and implement technology and create culture, and to develop complexity, self-organization, flexible behaviors – considering not only the present, but also the past and the future. As technology gave rise to more (and better quality) foods, humans grew larger brains (with more neurons) and bigger bodies, which allowed them to stay awake longer, to develop more technology, eat more food, learn more, continue to grow bigger brains and bodies, while simultaneously giving rise to longer childhoods and longer nurturing periods for children, including longer periods of cultural and technological transmission, again adding to the self-reinforcing pattern.
Dr. Jeremy DeSilva (Dartmouth College) returned to discuss Darwin’s thoughts on human evolution and how the paucity of relevant data and fossils available to Darwin may have affected his work.
Darwin noted the ways in which humans were different from other hominids in that we are bipedal, have larger brains, smaller canine teeth, and a greater reliance on technology. Darwin hypothesized that free use of arms and hands to wield tools and develop technology meant less need for fangs. Darwin correctly predicted that hominid fossils would be found in Africa, while others thought hominid fossils would only be found in Europe or Asia. Thousands of hominid fossils have been found since Darwin’s time, but we are still pondering: from whom did we evolve? Which body-type did our ancient ancestors have? Darwin pondered this as well, but he didn’t think we could make assumptions or draw definite conclusions at that time. Additionally, Darwin questioned when did hominins begin to walk upright and why was it that humans were bipedal and other hominids were not? Was it possible that none of our ancient ancestors were knuckle walkers?
Dr. Brian Hare (Duke University) followed by covering Chapter 3 The Evolution of Morality: The Darwinian road to morality.
Darwin got a lot right: he made comparisons of mental powers of man and lower animals, and survival of the fittest versus survival of the friendliest. Dr. Hare also spoke of mankind’s advantageous traits: sympathy, and the idea that cooperation; a “purposeless evolution mechanism” is actually purposeful, after all. Humans share varying degrees of these components: communication, sympathy, empathy, reasoning, memory, self-command, cunning, regret, and love, which Dr. Hare compared with apes, who exhibit some of the same behaviors.
John Hawks (University of Wisconsin) ended the afternoon’s program by taking on Chapter 6: Ranking humanity among the primates. Dr. Hawks guided us through Darwin’s writings: his book Descent of Man and some of his personal notes. He observed that Darwin wrote a number of problematic things, but he was correct in many instances, especially in his ideas connected to evolutionary trees, particularly in regards to human evolution, as opposed to the well-known “March of Progress” graphics.
Darwin, like many other scientists, contemplated the idea that mankind is unique among all other species inhabiting our planet. Primates have been around for more than 60 million years, and many of their niches have gone extinct. Today’s Homo sapiens are the only survivors of our lineage. Darwin argues, however, that we are not special. Dr. Hawks quoted:
Thus we have given to man a pedigree of prodigious length, but not, it may be said, of noble quality. The world, it has often been remarked, appears as if it had long been preparing for the advent of man; and this, in one sense is strictly true, for he owes his birth to a long line of progenitors. If any single link in this chain had never existed, man would not have been exactly what he now is. Unless we wilfully close our eyes, we may, with our present knowledge, approximately recognise our parentage; nor need we feel ashamed of it. The most humble organism is something much higher than the inorganic dust under our feet; and no one with an unbiassed mind can study any living creature, however humble, without being struck with enthusiasm at its marvellous structure and properties. (The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Charles Darwin, 1871)
I would like to thank Dartmouth College for allowing me to be a guest attendee at their symposium. I am also so very grateful to Dr. Hawks and Dr. Fuentes for kindly taking the time to chat with me.
This article is based on my notes from the day’s talks. I apologize if I have misinterpreted of the speakers’ presentations.
In this episode of #SkullswithSeth we are going to be examining not only the skull of A. sediba this time but also some post cranial or below-the-head remains for the first time!
This is a fascinating tale of discovery that we are going to be embarking on with a unique story that goes behind the discovery of this new species of hominin, which is so closely related to our very own genus.
Au. sediba fills in a critical time in our human evolution, and understanding all that it has to offer can bring some fantastic insights.
I forgot to mention this in the video, but we may actually have even found SKIN on some of the remains, thanks to the power of electrons and a very powerful collider! It is truly amazing what these fossils have to show us.
So please, enjoy!
If you learn something or have questions, let me know in the comments below!
The Cambridge Journal of Human Behaviour is now calling for reviewers and editors to join the team!
CJHB is an interdisciplinary, international journal that publishes the best undergraduate work from a variety of disciplines including psychology, biological and socio-cultural anthropology, and natural sciences. All our reviewers and editors are (and will be) trained by a Nature masterclass or with the University of Cambridge’s School of Biological Sciences to understand various peer-review methods, how to construct a decision letter, and confidentiality. Applications open to all (undergraduates, postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers, etc.)
Applications can be sent via this short form here. (DEADLINE: 1 March 2023.)
Once accepted, a call for Associate Editors (all disciplines), Managing Editors (Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, and Psychology positions only), and Editor-in-Chief(s) will be made, requiring a formal interview process with the outgoing Editorial Board. Once positions are allocated, there will be a period of shadowing with outgoing editors, allowing incoming editors to be guided and familiarised with the Journal’s processes.
For more information including expectations of each role, please see our official call for applications here.
Debuting at 10pm pst (Sorry for how late it is guys, things took extra too export due to issues).
The best PaleoFirdays are based on and informed on the past week’s news. This week we had some exciting news coming out of Kenya in the form of a new paper published in the Journal Science by the lead author Tom Plummer ( While Emma Finestone was involved with the find, she is not the lead author, as I mentioned mistakenly in the video).
In this episode, we will discuss stone tools, how old they are, and who made them. Still, more importantly, we are going to talk about why the discovery is important and, at the same time, why leading stream media, such as CNN, etc., is way overblowing this new find.
It is important, but not as much as the media is making of it, by my understanding.
So watch, and enjoy!
Be sure to subscribe if you have learned something new, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!