Anthropology news

Lower Pecos rock art

At ... the Lower Pecos is an arid expanse situated in SW Texasand somewhat remote from the beaten track. Some 4000 years ago it was populated bya people that have left behind a considerable amount of wall to wall rock art in shallow caves and rock shelters. They include human figures, deer, birds, rabbits, snakes, coyote, mountain lion and various desert animals.

The arrival of modern humans in europe

At ... the Aurignacian culture people were living in SW Germany from as early as 43,000 years ago, it is now being argued. They are thought to be responsible for rock and cave art and various other innovations (but there is a certain amount of prejudice involved here and acceptance of paradigms others might not agree with).

Blondes and genes

It seems blonde hair is not confined to Scandinavia and Europe as up to ten per cent of Melanesians, who are somewhat black in skin colour, also have blonde hair. This trait didn't come from sex starved ships crew from the West either - a study has shown it evolved long before contact with foreigners in boats looking for girls in grass skirts (see (the study was published in the journal Science).

Who was Red Crag Man?

At, a piece from the latest Pleistocene Coalition News by Richard Dullum on a 'Forbidden Archaeology' item, the 900 page book that is a sieve of palaeoanthropology on the look-out for anomalies, somewhat akin to the William Corliss series of a couple of decades ago. The Red Crag portrait is an engraving on a fossil bivalve shell that is unmistakeably a human face. It even had a hole in the top of the shell designed for a cord to carry the shell around - and show off.

The Graphics of Bilzingsleben

At is an interesting story that seems to be further evidence of science dogma in action, in which a consensus theory is applied to evidence and when such evidence does not fit the storyline it is hushed up, ignored, or criticised in a manner that is derogatory of the scientist concerned rather than the data itself. Feliks has obviously felt the pain and the sorrow.

Humans in N America during the Ice Age?

It's all starting to spill out as the Clovis theory takes another stumble. A Canadian scientist analysed animal remains found in Ohio and claims a leg bone of an extinct giant ground sloth had been butchered - one of those notoriously difficult kind o interpretations that we might expect to have some kickback in the future - see Cut marks on the bones have been analysed and it seems they represent human action.

Footprints in the sand and fossil humans in China

At ... animal and human fossil footprints found in peat and covered by sand at Borth beach in Ceredigion have been dated between four and three thousand years ago. A line of post holes has also been spotted and a well known submerged forest lies close by - indicating the coastline at this point was further out in Cardigan Bay at the time the fossil footprints were laid down. They emerged as a result of shifting sand on the beach and the sand is expected to recover them in the weeks ahead.

Pilgrimage ... and human behaviour

The Ohio Archaeology Blog, another excellent site - see comments on a paper in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology that claims that 'religiously motivated co-operation in the form of pilgrimage is a neglected element in discussions of co-operative behaviour among humans' and goes on to propose how to evaluate it in the future (but I won't bore you with details).

Neanderthal bottleneck

Now, we are told that Neanderthals wee on the verge of extinction even before the appearance of anatomically modern humans - see according to a paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution (Feb 25th). The claim is that most Neanderthal populations in Europe disappeared in the great die-off that took place around 50,000 years ago (large numbers of animals in diverse regions of the world died out at this time although no such link is made in the article).

Language and Out of Africa

At .. anthropologists have said the cradle of language could, or it that 'should', be traced back to Africa. A recent paper that received lots of press attention claimed language could be traced back to specifically, SW Africa, but a new paper has provided a dash of cold water to the fanfare - see Science 335 (no 6069), 2012.