As Tacitus remarks of the Britons, “They even adopted our fashion of dress, and started wearing the toga; little by little they were drawn to touches of vice, such as colonnades, baths, and fancy conversations. Because they didn’t know better, they called it ‘civilization,’ when it was part of their slavery” (idque apud imperitos [...]
The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients – or each other – is in danger of becoming extinct.
So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples. (…). The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors [...]
So I’m reading the paper by G.P. Murdock that was cited the other day (anthropologists are a detestable bunch of bubble-prickers) and I’m enjoying it. Murdock discusses the problem of making general inferences about societies without taking all the variation into account. In short, you can’t make general conclusions just by looking at western [...]
The December issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution is out, and my pick is the new paper by Thomas Lepage, Dave Bryant, Hervé Philippe and Nicolas Lartillot which reviews and compares the recent work on Relaxed Clock models for phylogenetic dating. These relaxed clock models are rapidly becoming the weapon of choice for dating [...]
I have just read a rather wonderful paper by Robert L. Carneiro (personal website) – “Can anthropology be made a science? A retrospective glance” – which is a look back at his long career in Anthropology.
I’ve excerpted a quote here which I think (unfortunately) sums up a common viewpoint in anthropology [...]
Today, Nature has a new paper arguing that whales evolved from Eocene-era artiodactyls in India:
Although the first ten million years of whale evolution are documented by a remarkable series of fossil skeletons, the link to the ancestor of cetaceans has been missing. It was known that whales are related to even-toed ungulates (artiodactyls), but [...]
From the “we-may-have-oversold-this” quote file -
To the ancient Greeks, people speaking other languages often sounded like they were saying “bar bar bar”. The bar-bar speakers became known as “barbarians“.
How people hear and interpret other languages that they don’t speak is quite fascinating. Unfortunately, it’s often used derogatively (like the “barbarians” above). For example, I’ve heard the rather racist [...]