Archive | May, 2016

Neanderthal, The Interior Cave Decorator

28 May

Bruniquel cave in southwestern France. (Etienne FABRE – SSAC) Bruniquel cave in southwestern France. (Etienne FABRE – SSAC)

A pile of hundreds of broken stalagmite pieces found deep inside Bruniquel cave, France were made by humans from about 176,000 years ago. The ancient structures are actually made of more than 400 pieces of stalagmites, located about 300 meters from the cave’s entrance. All the stones are similarly sized, piled up, and arranged in two circles. The researchers also found signs of fire on the structures, as well as burned bone fragments. By analyzing the stalagmites as well as the calcite that grew on top of them, the researchers were able to date the site to about 176,500 years ago. At that time, only Neanderthals lived in Europe.

The findings were published earlier this week in Nature and indicate Neanderthals were creating complex structures way before modern humans arrived in Europe. The only other known remnants of Neanderthal constructions are…

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Steve Pinker demolishes John Horgan’s view of war

23 May

Why Evolution Is True

As you may recall, Science Contrarian John Horgan’s notorious “admonition to skeptics” blog post at Scientific American criticized the entire skeptical community for its supposed failure to campaign against war. That “hard target”, said Horgan, should take precedence over our attempts to attack “soft targets” like homeopathy, global warming denialism, and opposition to vaccination and GMO foods.  But he also criticized those who propounded what he called the “deep-roots theory of war”.  Let me refresh you on what he said (note that every single one of his “references” goes to a Horgan blog post!):


The biological theory that really drives me nuts is the deep-roots theory of war. According to the theory, lethal group violence is in our genes. Its roots reach back millions of years, all the way to our common ancestor with chimpanzees.

The deep-roots theory is promoted by scientific heavy hitters like Harvard’s Steven Pinker, Richard Wrangham and Edward…

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May The Fourth Be with You!

5 May

The Geek Anthropologist

How do anthropologists celebrate May the 4th? By reading anthropological articles of course!

Head over to Anthropology News to read May The Folk be With You, a piece on Star Wars and folklore by TGA’s own Nick Mizer.

Our archives are also filled with fascinating pieces about Star Wars for you to enjoy and share on this auspicious day!

Learn more about the 501st Legion in Emily Jackson’s Fan Activism and the 501st Legion: Be the Change You Wish to see in the Galaxy or reflect on storytelling in Nick Mizer’s Storytelling and Worldbuilding in The Force Awakens. Finally, check out Emma Backe’s 2015 in Review: Geek Girls and Gender in which she explores representations of women in pop culture using, among others, the example of Star Wars: The Force Awakens character Rey.

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