Anthropology in Practice

Anthropology in Practice

Exploring the human condition.

Editor's Selections: Bipedalism, Emotions, Mass deaths, and Gifts


This week on my column:

  • Could there be evidence of a second type of bipedalism in the hominid family tree? Possibly—though the evidence is scant. At Lawn Chair Anthropology, Zachary Cofran discusses the potential a 3.4 million year old foot may bring to discussions about evolution.

  • How does your liver feel? The Neuroskeptic discusses a paper on emotional terminology among the Hmong, who use the term "broken liver" over "broken heart."

  • At Bodyhorrors Rebecca Kreston encourages us to take note of mass deaths in the natural world because they can signal trouble for us as well. She discusses professions that can help signal the onset of an epidemic—do you belong to any of those groups?

  • Sarah Jane Alder talks about gift giving in spiders at The Scorpion and the Frog. This behavior increases the likelihood of an amorous encounter, regardless of what the gift actually is.

I'll be back next week with more from anthropology, philosophy, and research.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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