• A book reviewed around the world
Ann Dunham, mother of the President of the United States, was a cultural anthropologist. The recently published biography about her, titled A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother, was published shortly before Mother’s Day. The New York Times carried a review on May 3, written by cultural anthropologist Catherine Lutz of Brown University. USA Today chimed in on the same day. After that came reviews in The Washington Post, The Irish Times, The Nation (Nairobi), and The Times (London), and no doubt many more. Blogger’s note: Surely there has not ever been a biography of a cultural anthropologist that has received so much attention in the media. The President must be very proud of his mother. We are!
• Autism in South Korea
A new study, co authored by Richard Grinker, cultural anthropology professor at George Washington University, reports a higher than expected prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among middle class children in one city. The New York Times and NPR reported on the study.
• What goes in will come out
The earliest direct evidence of dog consumption comes from a rock shelter known as Hinds Cave in Texas. A dog bone was found in a coprolite (fossilized fecal matter) from a human and dated to 9260 years ago.
• Persian gazelle kill-off
About 5,000 years ago, in Syria, people drove entire herds of Persian gazelles to their death by using stone corrals. This finding is from research by archaeologist Melinda Zeder of the Smithsonian Institution and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A thousand years later Persian gazelles were rare in the region as they are now.
Three decades of archaeological research by Richard Hansen, professor at Idaho State University, are featured in the May edition of Smithsonian magazine in an article describing his work in El Mirador, a Maya cultural site in Guatemala and Mexico. In addition, there will be an event on the Mirador Basin at the Morgan LIbrary and Museum in New York City, a forthcoming article in Archaeology magazine, an exhibit in Paris at the Musée Quai Branly in June, and a feature on the National Geographic Channel in September.
Erik Trinkaus, professor of biological anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and one of the world’s most influential scholars of Neanderthals, will receive the 2011 Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award from Washington University.