Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Anthropological items of note, Aug. 24 edition

A few items of note, not all paleo-related, that grabbed my attention over the past couple of days:

  • There's an intriguing report at Slate about the lone survivor of an 'uncontacted' (a term I abhor) native tribe in Brazil that was decimated by ranchers and loggers. The man now live in almost complete isolation in a 31-squared-mile 'safe zone' monitored by government official.The report includes an interesting allusion to ethnoarchaeological  observations on a series of huts that allowed officials to estimate the size of hiss original tribe and pinpoint the year, 1996, they were eradicated by land-settler. Chilling.
  • Gizmodo offers an interview with Timothy Taylor who discusses some aspects of his upcoming book The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution. The beginning of the exchange is wrapped in one of those annoying "Darwin was wrong" tropes that is completely misleading, but the rest of the piece presents an good overview of Taylor's view that human tool-use is radically different than any behavior observed in other animals. I should have more to say about this soon.
  • BYU archaeologist Joel Janetski and his team have found evidence that prehistoric foragers ground seeds and plants into flour some 10,000 years ago at North Creek Shelter, in Utah. The milled seeds include sage, salt bush and various grasses, which were processed on grindstones. The discovery provides evidence that Paleoindian diet may have been more varied than generally acknowledged by those who focus on the 'hunter' in 'hunter-gatherer'.
  • At Neuroanthropology, Greg Downey provides a long but very interesting discussion of Pat Shipman's new paper on the human-animal connection, focusing especially on the dog-human connection in human evolution.

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