Anthro in the news 11/22/10

• Haiti in the time of cholera
Foreign Policy magazine quoted medical anthropologist Paul Farmer as saying that it is important to seek the source of cholera in Haiti and that the reluctance of international organization to investigate further is politically motivated. Farmer, a co-founder of Partners in Health, is a public health advocate and UN deputy special envoy to Haiti.

• Water security in Haiti
Paul Farmer appears again in the media, this time pointing to the need for water security in Haiti to ensure people’s health though clean water for drinking, food preparation, and bathing.

• Anthro major is Rhodes Scholar
Tracy Yang, a senior majoring in anthropology and focusing on health disparities at the University of Georgia, is one of 31 Rhodes Scholars.  She plans to study for a master’s in global health sciences while at Oxford.

• Foraging for a Thanksgiving meal
NPR carried an article about American Indian foods in the Maryland area including a discussion with archaeologist Bill Schindler of Washington College.

• Stonehenge makeover to “restore the dignity”
The famous site topped a recent list of Britain’s most disappointing tourist attractions. Major new funding will address such 20th century indignities as a car park, gift shop, and the A344 and its constant traffic and fumes.

• If mummies could speak
In an article in the Washington Post, Wang Binghua, a retired Chinese archaeologist comments that the 4,000 year-old mummies he helped excavate in Urumqi, northwest China, “were ordinary people.” The so-called Loulan beauty wore clothing and shoes that had been repeatedly mended, and she had head lice. For the first time this year, two mummies from the site have travelled to the US as part of the exhibit, Secrets of the Silk Road: Mystery Mummies of China.

• Cuts and counter-cuts
Manuel Domínquez-Rodrigo, an archaeologist at the Complutense University of Madrid is one of the authors of a paper disputing a claim made earlier this year by Shannon McPherron that cut marks on a bone dating to 3.4 million years ago were made by early human ancestors in Africa. The claim pushed the date for human tool use much earlier than the standard date of 2.5 million years ago. McPherron is an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. The latest paper, disputing the claim, appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

• Slower growth for smarter humans
Tanya Smith, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University, and Jean-Jacques Hublin, a paleontologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, both recently published papers arguing for the relatively slow growth and development of modern humans, compared to Neanderthals, as explaining human’s greater intelligence. Smith’s paper appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences;  Hublin’s paper is in Current Biology.

• In memoriam
Kim Kihl, a professor of sociology and anthropology at Northern Virginia Community College, died at age 60 on October 5. He taught for 36 years at the NOVA campus in Alexandria, Virginia.

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