Questions tagged [anthropology]

The science of humanity. In a biological sense anthropology focusses on humans and non-human primates, and their evolutionary, biological, and demographic attributes.

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Why do we laugh?

Why is it that the reaction we get from absurdity is laughter? Everyone does it, even babies. Is there a reason why it is our instinct to laugh when we see or hear something absurd/humorous
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23 votes
4 answers
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Is monogamy a human innate behaviour?

As the question states, got curious and I was wondering if monogamy is an innate human behaviour or is it because of how we built society (religion, traditions, etc.)? Let's say we go back in time, ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Can canines communicate with each other using gaze direction?

After researching why humans have white scleras when most primates have dark scleras, I stumbled upon the cooperative eye hypothesis. It proposed that white scleras may have evolved on behalf that it ...
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10 votes
5 answers
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What is the closest species to humans in animal kingdom?

I presumed chimpanzees were the closest relatives of us. However, after watching this TED Talk, it seems bonobos are closer to us both in skeleton and behavioral similarity than chimpanzees. I once ...
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What makes humans omnivores, and not herbivores?

Some vegans claim that humans are herbivores, not omnivores, and that we are not physiologically designed to eat meat (see here: http://www.peta.org/living/food/natural-human-diet/). "According to ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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Is the ratio Brain Mass/Total Mass still considered a valid indicator of intelligence?

I was reading this(1) and it led me back to ask a very basic question (I'm not a neuroscientist). All the way back to undergrad anthropology and neuroscience courses I remember being taught the ...
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3 answers
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Are Italians genetically separated from other Europeans?

I was reading the Wikipedia article about the genetic history of Italy, and I found it interesting. There are, however, a few things that puzzle me, because they seem to contradict each other. For ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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Is it possible to breed neanderthals through selective breeding?

I've heard most non-subsaharan africans have neanderthal DNA with it being more prevalent in northern regions, that sometimes 1-4% of the DNA has neanderthal origins. Speaking strictly ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How is it known that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis interbred?

Many recent articles maintain that a small percentages of Neanderthal genes (up to 2%) are found in modern non-African people. (I believe that currently there is insufficient genetic material from ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Implications of what the discovery of Naia means

Recently a discovery was made of a ~12,000 year old girl in Hoyo Negro in Mexico. This has been covered by many different news agencies. I'm confused however by many of the reports. Does it ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is there a reproductive barrier between Khoisan and other humans?

I have heard in an ethnology lecture that more or less all human ethnicities interbreed without a barrier (rate of reproduction of fertile offspring) except the Khoisan + any other human ethnicities, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why should the pharyngeal cavity be essential for articulated speech?

In a lecture, I've been told that one of the signs that homo habilis and homo erectus couldn't speak was that they probably lacked the distinction between oral and pharyngeal cavity. But do we really ...
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Outbreeding depression in humans [duplicate]

Is there any evidence of outbreeding depression in human beings?
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3 votes
1 answer
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How much of the Neanderthal genome is living on in humans?

I've understand that outside of African, most ethnic groups carry some (4% or less) Neanderthal DNA. So en masse, across all living humans, what percentage of the original Neanderthal genome is still ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why do humans bury their dead? [closed]

As far as we know Ape Men or the Neanderthal Man was the first to bury its dead. My question is why. I don't think they practiced religion or believed in spirits or faith or stuff like that. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Many black people I've met have bigger lips than white people, why? [duplicate]

I noticed that many black-ish people I've met have bigger lips than the white-ish people I've met. However, not all black-ish people have big lips. Is there any explanations in terms of natural ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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The antiquity of man [closed]

What are the oldest fossils of modern man? What is the evidence until now? I do not ask to know the evolutionary chain that led to H. sapiens, but I wouldn't mind to hear it, nevertheless. What are ...
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2 votes
2 answers
210 views

Earliest ancestor of humans who could integrate into modern society

Assuming the current model of human evolution to be correct, approximately when did the earliest ancestor of humans live, who was intelligent enough, that if raised from a young enough age, could ...
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Did the hyoid bone of Australipetichus afarensis have a hyoid bulla?

The hyoid bulla is present in Chimpanzee hyoid bones, and not in Humans. Does A. afarensis have a hyoid bulla?
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2 votes
0 answers
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Why are we (humans) more likely to help people genetically related to us than people who are not? [closed]

Question. Why are we (humans) more likely to help people genetically related to us than people who are not? My understanding of this question as follows: Because the reproduction of people ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can rigor mortis change the anatomical position in which a person died?

I've been told as an undergrad in anthropology that the flexed position of the body in which some Neanderthal skeletons were found indicates that they were deliberately buried. Apart from the good ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Evolutionary support for parenting book "The happiest baby on the block"

The book by Dr Harvey Karp (MD) The Happiest Baby on the Block proposes that the duration of human gestation has evolved as a tradeoff between cranial size and development of the infant. He ...
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1 vote
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Do non-human primates have mental disorders like humans?

I was at the zoo today and watched a gorilla pick at a scab on its finger, compulsively, until it started bleeding. Is this OCD or is it just a nervous thing that non-human primates do at the zoo? Do ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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What percentage of a complete Denisovan genomes lives on in the union of the sets of overlapping pieces in extant humans

In studies like this one mapping out distributions around the world or the analysis described in this article (suggesting a contribution from a non-Denisovan but Denisovan-like unidentified hominin to ...
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1 vote
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Acid/basic chemicals that can be used without extraction hood?

I need to use some meat dissolvent for my thesis, I’m working in forensic anthropology, but in my university, we are not allowed to use those which might be extremely harmful (such as HF or HCl due to ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Sub-saharan africans (Andamanese, Semang) have the ancestral hair-type, do they also have pediculus humanus capitis lice?

Do humans with the ancestral hair-type also have pediculus humanus capitis lice? Pubic hair lice, Pthirus pubis, are adapted morphologically to cling onto coarse body hair, and originates from ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Has kin selection enabled the evolution of interspecial communication?

I know animals often imitate specific behaviour (like when they show their teeth to evoke "danger!" in the reciever) as a form of communication. Although, for a fully-fledged language where we can ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Geographic/ethnic distribution of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans

There is a really good chance that various human populations have different levels of Neanderthal DNA in their genes. And yet, the only thing I was able to find is the percentage of Neanderthal DNA ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What were the three dinosaur evolutions and do they imply that bipedalism could have evolved multiple times in hominins?

At this pop-sci article transcribing an interview with Jeremy DeSilva, they state: "If we’ve learned anything about evolutionary trends, it’s that good ideas evolve over and over again. For ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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If an ethnic group holds nearly 100% of a particular haplogroup, does it means that people who have this haplogroup are their descendants?

Let me give you a hypothetical example. If the Egyptians were 100% E3b1, and the Levantines 50%, and the Anatolians 25%. Does this indicate that the Levantines and Anatolians are descended from ...
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Would prehistoric humans have been considered negroid or australoid by modern standards? [closed]

What are your thoughts about this? For myself I think that the subject statement is rather obvious isn’t it, since Africans, & especially Australian Aboriginals, have the most archaic features &...
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0 votes
1 answer
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By definition, will some children always be stunted?

I had a question about stunting i.e. height-for-age. The WHO defines at as any child whose height-for-age is 2 standard deviations below the median height-for-age. Given this definition, wouldn't ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Why is the skin of European bog bodies brown?

What causes this? Is it to do with decay or is it to do with substances within the bog dying the skin?
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1 answer
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Why is hunting big animals more dangerous for the species?

I've heard in a lecture about protection of primates that one reason the classical population dynamics doesn't work is that the aboriginal hunters tend to hunt the big, strong and healthy individuals ...
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Are there any social-behavioural differences between the biological sexes in humans "proven" to have an evolutionary basis?

Long story short: women are from Venus and men are from Mars. But how much of the differences arose from evolution and how much of it comes from Venusian and Martian cultural differences? Jokes ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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Hybridization of an Indo-Aryan ethnic group and a Tibeto-Burmese ethnic group

The state in which I reside houses these two distinct ethnic groups. Physical Traits of the Indo-Aryan group Height:Medium Eyes:does not posses epicanthic fold Nasal bones:is not flat and broad ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
100 views

Evolution: what were we doing for 100.000 years? [closed]

I'm not a biologist/anthropologist but there is a question that comes up again and again and which I couldn't find any deeper thought, even not a speculation. As far as I understand it, according to ...
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-1 votes
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Is low-technology migration enough to stop homo sapiens from speciating?

Human beings have always had a tendency to migrate, and of course are all one species. Island cultures often initiated journeys across the sea on primitive rafts, and many islands were populated in ...
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-3 votes
2 answers
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Why are children so violent, compared to other adolescent animals, when they play?

When children play it is frequent that someone starts crying, suffers minor injuries and that they are intentionally mean towards each other (e.g., bite, pull hair, throws sand, pushes someone so they ...
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