Anthro in the news 6/13/11

• Anthro of cybersex
In an article on cyber-philandering, the Daily Beast mentions Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist in the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. The explanation provided is biological: sexual arousal pumps up dopamine levels, and brain scans show that the more dopamine is present in the brain, the less blood flow reaches the part of the cortex associated with decision making. Blogger’s note: let’s try thinking about this issue a bit more and definitely beyond only dopamine. Readers, can you help, please?

• Anthro of autism
The Huffington Post carried an interview with Roy Richard Grinker, professor of cultural anthropology at George Washington University, on cross-cultural rates of autism and focusing on a recently published study that he co-authored about autism rates in South Korea.

• Endangered Australian rock art
Archaeologists are launching a campaign to save Australia’s indigenous rock paintings. Paul Tacon, professor of anthropology and archaeology at Griffith University in Queensland, comments that few Australians know or care much about Australian indigenous rock art, as compared to France or South Africa. Alistair Paterson, archaeology professor at the University of Western Australia, says, however, “The art is globally significant.” Aboriginal communities are involved in a project to digitize and store rock art images and will decide about public access to the images, given cultural laws about access only by initiated people.

• Washed-up hand-axe
An ancient hand-axe between 100,000-450,000 years old was found on an Orkney beach, Scotland. Orkney-based archaeologist Caroline Wickham-Jones, lecturer in archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, is quoted as saying that the axe’s discovery is “incredibly exciting” and “pre-Ice Age.”

• Lean cuisine a la gorilla
The New York Times covered findings about the lean diet of our primate relatives, specifically gorillas. Jessica Rothman, an anthropologist at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and colleagues, studied mountain gorillas in Uganda. Apparently gorilla diets are in line with recommendations of the American Heart Association. Findings are published in the journal Biology Letters.

• Take that degree and do something with it
Here is an example of someone with a B.A. in anthropology who becomes a successful author. Darby Karchut earned a B.A. degree in anthropology from the University of New Mexico. She moved to Colorado and earned a Master’s in education and became a social studies teacher. Her first novel for teens, Griffin Rising, blends ancient myths with modern urban life.

• Kudos
Genevieve von Petzinger, Ph.D candidate in anthropology at the University of Victoria, is the only Canadian on the list of 20 new international fellows at the TEDGlobal Conference 2011 to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Von Petzinger earned international media attention last year with her interpretation of Ice Age cave designs based on a database she compiled of 5,000 designs from 146 caves in France.

Archaeologist, Richard Wright, emeritus professor at the University of Sydney, has been recognized for his work in this year’s Queens Birthday Honours List and is now a Member of the Order of Australia. Wright, who is semi-retired, has been a leader in the field of forensic archaeology. He helped reveal mass graves in France, Ukraine and Bosnia.

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