Anthropology in Practice

Anthropology in Practice

Exploring the human condition.

Editor s Selections: Snakes, Dangerous Honey, And Friendly Rats


Part of my online life includes editorial duties at, where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Each Thursday, I pick notable posts on research in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research to share on the News site. To help highlight this writing, I also share my selections here on AiP

Great reads this week!

  • “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” So said Indy, peering over the edge of pit where the floor seemed to move. Many people share Indy’s fear of snakes. Matt Soniak discusses whether ophidiophobia is a remnant of our evolutionary history.
  • And at Lawn Chair Anthropology, Zachary Cofran tackles how we might go about identifying fossil evidence that our fear of snakes stems from a relationship in which we were sometimes the prey.
  • Honey apparently isn’t always a sweet treat. The Neuroskeptic cautions against consuming “mad honey,” which is made by bees from the nectar of toxic Rhododendron flowers. There’s a neat bit of history associated with this post: The Greeks and Romans used it as a chemical weapon against invading armies.
  • Rats may not have religion, but they exhibit pro-social behaviors. Cris Campbell ofGenealogy of Religion uses recent research to dissect the idea that religion is an evolutionary adaptation.

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

Looking for last week's selections? You can view Warships and Historical Texts here. And you can always find my selections on on Thursdays.

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

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