• Carlos Eduardo Maldonado added an answer:
    Are there evidences that all humans descended from a single population of ancestors in Africa?

    I read somewhere concerning this hypothesis. Do you know any evidence?

    Carlos Eduardo Maldonado · Universidad del Rosario

    My tiny contribution is that I have never read any well supported study -whether book or paper- that supports the contrary to the African origin. (I do apologize: and I do read a lot!). Without being a specialist one cannot find opposite evidence. Then...

  • Laura Cardús Font added an answer:
    Could you suggest me fundamental literature which focuses on the concept of "community"?

    I am particularly interested in works stemming from the field of anthropology/sociology. Thanks.

    Laura Cardús Font · University of Barcelona

    "Imagined Communities", by Benedict Anderson.

  • Randall H. Mcguire added an answer:
    Don't you think that the use of the word "tribe" today has been deconstructed?
    I think the colonial anthropologists applied it in respect to groups of people who were not yet exposed to the "outside world". So with the growing awareness of mutual intelligibility, among ethnic groups, "tribe" in their context becomes narrow and loses a sense of universality.
    Randall H. Mcguire · Binghamton University

    Morton Fried published the classical anthropological statement on this issue in Morton H. Fried 1972 The Notion of Tribe. Cummings Publishing Company

    You might also look at:

  • Rosa Maria Albert added an answer:
    Did we find any bamboo materials which have been used during the prehistoric period?

    Thanks in advance.

    Rosa Maria Albert · Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies

    Dear colleagues

    We just did some bamboo phytoltihs from Japan and their effect on teeth microestriation (Rivals et al., Journal of Mammalogy 2014). If bamboo is present everywhere one possible solution is to analyse the phytoliths directly from well contextualized  archaeological remains, such as tools as you suggest, and compare them to the phytoliths from local plants.

    if you want to analyse bamboo from archaeological sediments, one thing that could be done, is to analyse first the local plants and their phytolith production and compare the results to the amount and type of phytoliths that remain in the local soils after the decay of plants, which is usually much lower. Then compare this "non-anthropic soils" soils to archaeological soils. Phytolith concentration might be then a sign of anthropic use. We've done several works on this, let me know if you need some references. 

  • Marc Verhaegen added an answer:
    what is the phylogenetic position of Neanderthal?
    Human evolution ........
    Marc Verhaegen · Study Center Anthropology

    "What is the phylogenetic position of Neanderthal?" Anatomcial, physiological, fossil etc. evidence suggests that Pleistocene Homo did not run over open plains (e.g. savannas) as some paleo-anthropologists still assume, but simply followed the African & Eurasian coasts & rivers, where they beach-combed, dived & waded bipedally for littoral, shallow aquatic & waterside plant & animal foods: Pleistocene Homo divided in different populations between Mojokerto & Flores in Indonesia, Eritrea & the Rift in E-Africa, the Cape & Namibia in S-Africa, and the Mediterraneen & English coasts. Most of these populations evolved partly in parallel (e.g. when following the rivers inland, developing more complex tools, fire & language etc.), neighbouring populations mixed more or less (e.g. a few neandertal genes in non-African sapiens), and all populations adapted to their own warmer or colder, wetter or drier climates etc.  Genetical comparisons suggest that the last common ancestors of neandertals & us (sapiens) probably lived >500 ka (thousand yrs ago): we were more tropical, neandertals more temperate (they were no tundra dwellers, of course, but probably followed the rivers seasonally). Much later (possibly c 100 ka in the Middle East?), both (sub)species exchanged some genes (< 5 %), and probably still later (c 40 ka) sapiens replaced neandertals in Europe: IMO this was possible because we were less dependent on aquatic resources (distance weapons etc.) than they, see the file attached.

  • Marc Verhaegen added an answer:
    What is the evolutionary basis of human bipedalism system of locomotion?
    I need to have a detailed information on the aforementioned anthropology topic.
    Marc Verhaegen · Study Center Anthropology

    "Bipedal" is often used ambiguously in human evolution: "two-legged" (bipedal sensu stricto, as in many dinos, birds, hopping-mice etc.) should be discerned from "orthograde" (upright, with vertical spine, e.g. in gibbons & spider monkeys hanging from branches).

    "It is often stated that human locomotion was an adaptation to running on the open plains, which is illustrated by expressions such as 'Savannahstan', 'endurance running', 'born to run', 'le singe coureur' etc., even on the cover of the most influential scientific journals. Verhaegen et al. (2007) disproved in detail all endurance running arguments (Bramble & Lieberman, 2004) that our Homo ancestors during most of the Pleistocene were adapted to running over open plains. When we analyse human locomotion into more elementary components, the running 'explanation' appears to be a just-so interpretation (cherry-picking): Bramble & Lieberman (2004) interpret every locomotor trait in humans as having evolved 'for' running, without even considering possible wading or swimming scenarios. A comparative approach shows that, for each trait, semi-aquatic scenarios provide more parsimonious explanations (google ‘original econiche Homo’ table 4), and that extant human running is a secondary and conspicuously imperfect adaptation which evolved late in the human past, e.g. we run maximally 40 km/hr over short and 20 km/hr over long distances, about half as fast as typical open plain mammals." (Hum.Evol.28:237-266, 2013, see file attached).

  • Ankur Sharma added an answer:
    What are the key barriers in reaching men for health promotion (on any health subject)?
    For any health education outreach activity, how does one provide exposure to both men and women, especially those in low resource settings?
    Ankur Sharma · Manav Rachna International University

    So far as low resource setting is concerned, men are usually the earning members and are away for work when the health promotion professional works (day time!). So, they won't be available. Most of social interactions in such a society is done by females (birth, death, marriage etc.), therefore the setting in which we provide health promotion is not their natural setting. I feel that men related health promotion activities would be more successful if they are performed at work place rather than home. 

  • Tame Ramya (Tarh) added an answer:
    What is an anthropological understanding of underdevelopment?
    I am working on an anthropological understanding of underdevelopment with reference to some tribal communities. For this, I want some suggestions to substantiate my study.
    Tame Ramya (Tarh) · Rajiv Gandhi University

    Thanks everyone for comments and suggestions. I am looking forward to integrate your ideas in my research. 

  • Binu Kadel Dorjee added an answer:
    What are the various scales available to find the socio-economic status of populations residing in India or south east Asia?
    How good are they to use now (2014-2015)
    Binu Kadel Dorjee · University of North Bengal

    thanx to both of you.....

  • Pyali Chatterjee added an answer:
    Are you in favor of reducing the age of criminal responsibility? How is the law in your country?
    In Brazil at a seminar sponsored by the special committee of the Chamber of Deputies, the consensus was that the hardening of punishments applied to juvenile offenders would not be the solution to reduce the practice of criminal acts of the same.
    Pyali Chatterjee · Disha Education Society

    Dear Nelson Elias,

    welcome sir.

  • Jaime González-Gómez added an answer:
    Which journals or sites are good for looking at dental attrition and dental issues in Egyptian mummies with reference to x rays or CT's?
    I'm looking at dental attrition in Egyptian mummies using x rays, I want to find other examples of x rays that show abscesses, severe attrition. I have found a few mentioning them or showing the odd image but they are mainly non royal. But I would prefer a database so I can have comparison images. If they are not x rays or CT's it's not important, as long as they are royal or elite Egyptian mummies because that is what my research is based on.
    Jaime González-Gómez · University of Veracruz

    Something related...

  • Albert L Refiti added an answer:
    Does anyone know of studies on the concept of Infinite from an anthropological point of view?

    Metaphysical conceptions of the Infinite in particular cultures or in a cross-cultural perspective; interdisciplinary studies on this theme, between Philosophy and Cultural Anthropology.

    Albert L Refiti · Auckland University of Technology

    Answer was to Francesco Spagna question relating to "Metaphysical conceptions of the Infinite in particular cultures or in a cross-cultural perspective; interdisciplinary studies on this theme, between Philosophy and Cultural Anthropology" sorry canʻt do math

  • Gard Vangsnes added an answer:
    Are there any ethnographic accounts from the area in or around Yasuni National Park, Ecuador?

    I am pretty much interested in settlement information from this area (including both native and mestizo populations). In particular from an anthropological perspective and particularly from recent times. The same goes for any information on oil drilling and the upcoming establishment of oil infrastructure (Plan B in the Yasuni ITT).

    Gard Vangsnes · Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)

    Thank you for your answer Philipp, and thanks also for enhancing the question.

    FLACSO is definitely the starting point, I just find it curious that there is so little information on this process when the attention given to ITT has been enormous. Regarding anthropology on Ecuadorian Amazon, thanks for the two names (they were unfamiliar to me), there is quite a lot (Descola, Rival etc.) to hang on to including the Whittens, but little from the Yasuni area which is currently very interesting. I asked the question because I was and still is to some degree considering the possibility of developing a project for a master thesis on this. However, as there has been quite some scholarly attention towards Yasuni ITT there are a lot of publications of different qualities. Still, the debate appears complex, extremely polarized / politicized and somewhat more fit for a ph.d project which would be a more feasible option. So I will see and figure it out. My last idea which links to the question above was the possibility of doing participant observation with PetroEcuador as they establish themselves on the new camps in Yasuni. I think that could have some fruitful possibilities, and that was the reason I asked about the current progress of the oil extraction in the national park.

    Anyway, thank you very much once again, Philipp. We stay in touch.



  • Jodeph Weissbrod added an answer:
    Does anyone have ideas on how to sort articles on boundary spanners theory?

    My work is about sorting articles. The subject of all the articles must be "Boundary Spanners".

    Any ideas for sorting them?

    Jodeph Weissbrod · University of Haifa

    Thanks Thomas for your answer

  • Nikolaus Boroffka added an answer:
    Does anybody know red ocher beads from neolithic or other prehistoric periods?

    In the summer of 2014, we discovered a new Eneolithic cemetery at Sultana (Romania), and near one of the skeletons we identified a fragment of red ocher bead.

    Does anybody know other similar artefacts from prehistory or other time periods?

    Thanks in advance.

    Nikolaus Boroffka · Deutsches Archäologisches Institut

    One of my students finished an MA thesis on the various uses of ochre in the Palaeolithic - with some indications on later periods, ethnography, and much other information. The book will probably appear at the beginning of next year, but generally, as has already been mentioned above, there is much incorrect use of "ochre" in archaeology - this may mean a whole range of minerals, indeed mostly of iron-compounds or mixtures. Red colour minerals (mostly haematite) have in fact been used for more than 100.000 years, i.e. from deep in the Palaeolithic, and certainly before the appearance of "modern humans".

    For the Eneolithic in Romania the nearest (in space and time) should be the so called Ochre-Grave culture (also known as Yamnaya), which made use of ochre frequently in burial contexts. Some such burials were found at Brailita in Romania, but more information may be found in the recent book: Ion Motzoi-Chicideanu, Obiceiuri funerare în epoca bronzului la Dunărea Mijlocie şi Inferioară I-II. Editura Academiei Române (Bucureşti 2011), which includes also the Yamnaya burials.

  • Lionel Pourtau added an answer:
    Does someone know of references for a sociology of error?

    I am looking for good references to a sociology of error (if there is such a thing), preferably in the area of science. By that I do not mean it in the sense denounced by David Bloor (as a self restriction sociology of knowledge puts on itself). What I am thinking of is an analysis of how the concept of "error" is ascribed to various situations, how it is used as resource, types of error ascription, etc.

    I am without formal training in sociology, and so, I am not sure whether this is a trivial question, or an interesting one.

    Thanks in advance!


    Lionel Pourtau · Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy

    Christian Morel : Les décisions absurdes: Sociologie des erreurs radicales et persistantes. folio

  • Alison Stenger added an answer:
    Bird Cults?
    Does anyone have information to share on bird cults? ANY help on geographic areas of occurrence, period, or tradition details would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    Alison Stenger · Institute for Archaeological Studies
    I am seeing a correlation between in water deposition and lithic processing tools. Not often projectile points, but knives, scrapers, etc. A few are in association with bird bone.
  • Talitha Guittin added an answer:
    In what way does the anthropology in the catechism of the Catholic church take into account disability?

    Researchers in theology of disability have presented, over the last decades, a non-normate hermeneutic of the Bible, offering a disability-lecture of the Scripture which presents a theological anthropology taking into account the lives/views of people with disabilities. 

    Has anyone tried to analyse the catechism of the Church to see if its anthropology is compatible with a disability-hermeneutic?

    Talitha Guittin · University of Strasbourg

    I quite agree with all of you - but I really want to focus on the catechisme (not the Question and Answer-formula, but the official 1992 version, the CEC). I know it to be doctrinal, but I still believe it can be read with a disability hermeneutic. 

    The theology of disability has focussed primarily on exegesis, ethics and pastoral care - I think it is time it gets more into systematic theology too. I thought it would be interesting to have very close look into the CEC, from a disability point of view, exactly because nobody has done it before and because I think the official teachings of the Church should take into account the lives of people with disabilities.

    For Mary : It would not come into my mind to try to use the CEC to teach anything about Jesus to anyone (abled or disabled alike). My main focus for the moment is not on how we talk about God to people with disabilities - but how doctrine talks about disability (which it does not very often ...) And I agree with Marcelo : I think the ecclesial hierarchy should be sensitized to the theology of disability.

    Anyhow, as apparently not many people have looked at the catechism from this perspective, it might be an interesting topic to tackle!

  • Earl Jeffrey Richards added an answer:
    Are there any papers that deals with the aesthetic understanding of power?

    I really don't want aesthetics of politics, because I am well aware of this field of research. What I am really searching for is the connection of aesthetics and power. There were always some artwork which deals with the theme of gaining or misuse of power, and I believe that aesthetic interest plays some role of the understanding, recipe, attraction, worshiping or decline of power (as such and as the main theme of some works). A very good example is Faust.

    So What I am asking for, are there some papers or researches of aesthetic reception of Power. Or am I mistaken to think that there is some relation (of course I continue to ask myself and am still trying to find a pattern)?

    Earl Jeffrey Richards · Bergische Universität Wuppertal

    there are many studies of how the Nazis used aesthetics to manipulate the masses.

  • Marc Verhaegen added an answer:
    What is the function of the part of the genome that differs between chimps and humans?
    If we are so similar to chimps, is anyone investigating and or has identified the function of the regions that differ?
    Marc Verhaegen · Study Center Anthropology

    I agree with Bharathi. There are strong correlations between brain centers, sense organs, locomotion, diet & niche etc. We know many differences between humans & chimps, e.g. genes affecting brain growth (incl. speech production) probably evolved faster in humans. Human anatomy & other indications (e.g. see attachment) show that our ancestors did not run over open plains (as is still often believed), but followed coasts & rivers, walking & wading bipedally & diving for waterside & shallow aquatic animal & plant foods. All these changes in the human lineage have a genetic basis, e.g. long, straight legs & wading-walking upright, much larger brain & often different brain centres (e.g. smaller olfactory bulb, larger association centres incl. Broca & Wernicke), adaptations to diving & breathing & speaking, food swallowing & suction (rather than biting-chewing alone), immunological changes (other milieus) etc. - all these probably have different genes in chimps & humans.

  • Maria Bettencourt Pires added an answer:
    Can anyone recommend readings relating to elective plastic surgery from an anthropological point of view?

    If you have any recommendations, I'd be grateful!

    Especially actual case studies from Brazil, Korea, European countries, etc! 

    Maria Bettencourt Pires · New University of Lisbon

    Thank you for an interesting issue.

    You can check for the full text of this article in my home page.

  • Susan Kirwan added an answer:
    How ethical enough is anthropology in doing ethnography?

    I understand that in anthropology, doing ethnographic fieldwork on a particular tribe requires permission from the authorities of that tribe since not every single member would be given a consent form to sign for study. However, I still fail to understand how ethical enough that is anyway to just enter into a society and only ask for permission from the authorities who decide on the whole society's behalf. I just wonder if asking authorities for permission gives enough right to enter a society and study the people for your own purposes.

    Susan Kirwan · Macomb Community College

    First of all, very few "tribal" societies remain on earth. Most anthropologists today study urban populations and are interested in globalization and issues of power and violence. In fact, of these tribal societies, only about 250,000 persons world wide practice foraging or horticulture. Most of the world has already been pulled into the global market economy which is ruining traditional cultures.

    As to your question about permissions, every ethnographer must have permission from the government where the study is being conducted. But ethnographers do not regard a tribal leader as the only individual who is worth speaking to or as having the riight to speak for the entire community. In fact, in most tribal societies, the form of government is un-centralized and egalitarian so that even the tribal leaders would not claim to have the right to speak for ANYONE ELSE. And consultants have been known to take part in studies even though "tribal leaders" may frown on the study and not wish to take part in it themselves. 

    Furthermore, INDIVIDUALS acting as the ethnographer's consultants must sign a clearly stated description of the study with its goals and any sort of dangers the consultant would face by taking part in that study. If the consultant is illiterate, the ethnographer must read it to the consultant.

         As for the ethics of anthropology: cultural anthropologists (ethnographers) have an ethnographic "tool" called "cultural relativism" which is merely the act of suspending judgment while gathering qualitative data. But this does not mean that anthropologists must suspend judgment forever. In the 1940s anthropologist, Walther Goldschmidt realized that many people were misinterpreting "cultural relativism" to mean that ethnographers must accept any culture no matter how cruel and destructive that society acted towards certain persons of that society. He came up with "the Goldschmidt Formula." These are questions an ethngrapher must ask AFTER GATHERING DATA, to decide if the society is a HUMANE society. Some anthropologists (especially Humanist anthropologists) do care about ethics, ethical practices, and creating a better world for all the people who inhabit earth whether men or women, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, no matter which religion or lack of religion a person practices.

  • Marc Verhaegen added an answer:
    There are quite a few hypotheses to explain early human evolution: Are there ANY that explain the evolution of H. neand. and H. sapience?
    Negative answers will also be appreciated. See Anton and Snodgrass 2012, Wrangham 1999, Ungar 2006, Bunn 2007, Stanford 2001
    Marc Verhaegen · Study Center Anthropology

    Sorry, I forgot 'Homo' in '... when Pleistocene Homo dispersed globally along the coasts ...'

  • Thomas Adejoh added an answer:
    Can anyone look at this x-ray and tell me what this might be?
    I've asked a few academics about this image they all said different things be it a non metric trait or pathology. If anyone can take a look and shed some light on what this may be. The nail on the image is part of the coffin it had it's x rays in. This image has zoomed in and looks like a little face, any suggestions would be welcomed. I've been trying to confirm this pathology but I have had some say it's a fracture, a humeral aperture or supra-trochlear humerus.
    Thomas Adejoh · Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria

    The  'face  in  humerus'  image  is  an  interesting  artefact. Without  a  proper  background  history  of  the genesis  of   the  image  one  will  continue  in  the  realm  of  conjecture  and  intelligent  guessworks.

    It  would  have  also  been  helpful  to  have  the  image  in  another  plane; lateral.

  • Can anyone connect me with experts in aboriginal societies and laws?

    Especially, I am interested in aboriginal networks, their structures and communication channels. 

    Franz Rolando Flórez Fuya · Jorge Tadeo Lozano University

    This are compilations of ethic legislation in Colombia is a confrontation between aboriginal or native people legislation and national legislation (in Colombia)

    This is a panoramic view from ONU (PNUD)

    A critical view of legislation can found here

  • Stephen M. Lyon added an answer:
    What is the worth of old dialects and languages?

    What are former varieties of language worth for current day speakers? Sociolinguistics have proven interesting in a lot of aspects, but - to my mind - mostly in the discussion of how language and varieties/dialects affect, our attitude towards and understanding of, each other. How we sound and the words we use are important in communication human to human. Do we today have any worth of studying, remembering and talking about former dialects in the perspective of improving language today?  

    I know this question could become very complex due to our different first languages, cultures and understandings. And, obviously I already have an reply myself to this question, but before I tease you with my own answer, let's try to start this discussion from and "open to interpretation perspective". 

    Are there any worth in older languages for current day communication? 

    Stephen M. Lyon · Durham University

    Some of what I might have said on this topic has already been said by others, but I think the point about old dialects/languages helping us to understand the patterns of movement of people and shifts in collective priorities is very important. In Pakistani Punjab, where the written tradition of Punjabi has suffered from a more organised attempt to promote Urdu as a nation building tool, there are also political implications for studying what might be considered old dialects. They can be a form of political resistance and sub-nation building. This is most obvious with living dialects, which get certain kinds of support and are promoted as distinct languages (like Hindko or Saraiki), but part of that process can also include reclaiming what might be considered indigenous linguistic phrases or structures to make a case for being true sons and daughters of the soil. We see it with Sanskritisation movements in parts of India. 

    I am entirely sympathetic with the argument that we don't actually need there to be an explicit economic or political benefit to study something, though. If someone is interested in old dialects, then that is probably reason enough to study them.

  • Sara C Lanier added an answer:
    Whom should we call ‘Tribal’ in universal development?

    The word ‘tribal’ itself has some characteristic features, which has been defined by many pioneers, but today’s situation/ views towards tribal is much different than earlier.

    As I am working on Tribal Development, this question always make me puzzled.

    Invisibly edited - yet again...

  • David Labuschagne added an answer:
    How do you assess the quality of motion (movement) for different age groups?
    I was involved in a research project to assess the patterns of waking and standing from sitting for elderly people using special apparatus and software in Germany. However, I am looking for more input of your view to assess the quality of motion (movement) to build standards for further comparison and application for industry. This will help basic field in medicine, human factor engineering and physical education fields.
    David Labuschagne · Kinergetix P/L

    Prior to answering your query about what assessment protocols i use for movement quality, permit me to briefly discuss the issue of "quality" as i understand it.

    Quality of movement is much more significant than the "quantity". When the health authorities exhort people to move more, in many cases they're exacerbating health problems - it's not just a case of move more, but of move smarter. Movement quality can be partially described in terms of biomechanical and ergonomic efficiency, ROM, symmetry, stability, endurance, stepping strategies, etc. Associated with these factors is a slew of tests and protocols, each with its particular significance.

    Added to that needs be the consideration of unquantifiable but important parameters such as sure-footedness, ease, grace, rhythm, coordination, synchronisation of movement and breathing, centredness, etc.

    Bear in mind that people behave differently in a clinical or laboratory environment, because they are being observed and tested.

    Regardless of which yardstick you choose to measure movement quality, there arises the issue of biometrics, i.e. the application and relevance of normative data to the individual. For example, how do you correlate the movement patterns of a whippet and a bulldog? My point is that each person has hir own unique health indices.

    The assessment protocols that i use are essentially of my own design and construct - they are based on the clinical observation of a number of human movements that typify ADLs. These include examination of gait, stance, sitting, and reclining from the perspectives of posture, strength and power, control, movement effectiveness, overall physical tone, flexibility, symmetry, acuity, stability, age, response to environmental factors (e.g. walking surfaces, obstacles, assistive devices, extrinsic balance disturbance), etc. The tests that i employ include (but are not limited to) a combination of static and dynamic postures, single- and double-leg stance & gait movement patterns, simple stretches, and floor routines. Whilst these procedures may sound time-consuming, they require only a few minutes to perform and provide an excellent insight into an individual's health, fitness and functionality from a biomechanical and exercise physiology perspective. 

    You are welcome to contact me for further elucidation about my assessment protocols. 

  • Do you know if there is any work dealing with an 'archaeology of cenotaphs'?
    Can cenotaphs include some mortuary remains or funerary artifacts?
    Francisco L. Borrego Gallardo · Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

    Thank you very much for your contribution! It will indeed be useful for me.

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