Archive | May, 2017

How do you raise a child? Insights from a World of Babies

13 May

Welcome to the AAA Blog

How do you raise a child?  Ask any mother, and she’ll offer a long list of things you should do–and shouldn’t do.  Not only will three mothers share three different recommendations; as anthropologists, we now know that different communities may follow drastically different approaches to childcare.

A mother in the US certainly receives much parenting advice that contradicts that received by a mother in, say, China or Denmark.  In the all-new edition of A World of Babies, we explore these perspectives for these and other societies around the world.

Partly it’s a matter of values (which are typically shaped by religious systems combined with biographical experiences).  Partly it’s a matter of money (which is in good part determined by systems of power, both local and global).  Partly it’s a matter of access (which may be determined by military factors, technological knowhow, maternity leave policies, healthcare resources, and ecological constraints)…

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Ancient Human DNA Extracted From Ice Age Caves Without Human Remains

1 May

Anthropology.net

Preparing a sediment sample for DNA extraction. Photo by Sylvio Tüpke and Max Planck / Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Preparing a sediment sample for DNA extraction. Photo by Sylvio Tüpke and Max Planck / Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Ancient DNA has come a long way, baby. We now don’t even need the bones any more to pick up traces of prehistoric beings. This highly sensitive technique for analyzing ancient DNA was announced last week in Science.  Studying 85 sediment samples from seven 14,000 to 550,000 year old caves in Europe and Russia, senior author Matthias Meyer and his team of researchers first isolated all DNA from the soil samples. Unsurprisingly, most belonged to bacteria. About 0.05 to 10% belonged to mammals.

The authors then created a targeted enrichment of mitochondrial DNA, a type of bait, to identify the exact DNA to particular species, such as hominins as well as a variety of animals such as the woolly mammoth and woolly rhinos, cave bears and cave hyenas. Neandertal DNA was found in eight…

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