With several people around them, a person wearing an olive green headwrap and white long-sleeved shirt cradles a beige cat who is facing the viewer. They are in a building topped with an ornately decorated gold dome.

For the Love of Cats in Turkey

On a visit to feline-friendly Turkey, an anthropologist considers what long-standing practices of caring for cats reveal about human societies.
A close-up image features two spiders on a stick held horizontally in the hands of a child whose face appears slightly blurred in the background.

What Spider Games Say About Arachnophobia

Many people around the world fear spiders. But in the Philippines, the tradition of spider wrestling often brings people and arachnids in close proximity.
A close-up image of a thin branch covered with pink flowering plants is in focus in front of a blurrier background of larger tree branches covered with similar pink flowers.

The Human Roots of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms

Most cherry blossom trees planted in Japan today are the iconic pale-pink somei-yoshino variety—but its reign may be coming to an end.
A photograph shows the silhouettes of three people against a large screen with an image of a colorful galaxy across it.

Picturing the Deep Universe Is Deeply Human

The James Webb Space Telescope’s stunning photos require extensive image processing—revealing as much about humanity as about the universe.
Directed upward, a photograph features leafy tree limbs covered with orange and black butterflies against a blue sky.

Alive in the Flapping of Infinite Orange Wings

Monarch butterflies’ epic annual migration from North America to Mexico inspires an anthropologist to reflect on this insect’s precarious life cycles through the lens of “multispecies ethnography.”
A photograph features three macaques with red faces and beige fur soaking in hot springs as a person takes their picture with a cellphone.

Does “Monkeypox” Give Monkeys a Bad Name?

The debate over naming the virus known as monkeypox says a lot about the close—but fraught—relationships between humans and our fellow primates.
A crowd of people gather, with those in the front row reaching out to take green peppers from a pink colander.

Why Do (Some) Humans Love Chili Peppers?

An anthropologist traces the origins and world travels of one of his favorite kinds of plants.
A seated woman with short hair gestures with her hands and speaks into a large rectangular microphone positioned in front of her on a table.

Did Margaret Mead Think a Healed Femur Was the Earliest Sign of Civilization?

An anthropologist digs into the origins of a popular story attributed to Margaret Mead about the original sign of civilization.
Two pigs stand in a pen next to a chalkboard with writing in German.

The Cultural Anxieties of Xenotransplantation

A genetically engineered pig heart was transplanted to a human body for the first time this year. While many celebrated, others remain uneasy. Anthropologists can shed light on why.
A photo shows a hand holding a plastic cup filled with pink liquid and small bits of yellow and red fruit against a tiled pathway lined with grass, bushes, and trees.

How Filipino Sailors—and Coconuts—Helped Create Mexico’s National Drink

Most people see tequila and mezcal as quintessentially Mexican spirits—but recent research has uncovered their unlikely connection with the Philippines.

Cómo los marineros filipinos—y los cocos—ayudaron a crear la bebida nacional de México

La mayoría de las personas considera que el tequila y el mezcal son bebidas espirituosas mexicanas por excelencia –pero investigaciones recientes han descubierto su improbable conexión con Filipinas—.
Tres conejillos de indias caminan frente a dos pequeñas casas de piedra con techos de paja, rodeadas por una pared de roca.

Cuando el conejillo de indias se vuelve gourmet

En los últimos años, el cuy ha pasado de ser un alimento humilde y ceremonial, que se come en los Andes, a un manjar entre los urbanitas. ¿Qué hay detrás de este cambio de gustos?
Three guinea pigs walk around in front of two small stone houses with thatched roofs, surrounded by a rock wall.

When the Guinea Pig Goes Gourmet

In recent years, the guinea pig has gone from a humble and ceremonial food eaten in the Andes to a delicacy among urbanites. What’s behind this change in tastes?
dog breeds race - The author enjoys the company of a village dog named Blacky while hiking in the Sierra Madre mountains of Bulacan Province in the Philippines.

What Dog Breeds Say About Race

In the Philippines, the practice of placing dogs into hierarchies based on breeds can be traced back to a problematic colonial legacy of ranking people based on race.
coffee rituals - A woman in Ethiopia prepares a buna (coffee) ceremony at home.

Finding Calm—and Connection—in Coffee Rituals

During the pandemic, an anthropologist finds new meaning in the everyday ritual of preparing and drinking coffee.
anthropology extraterrestrial life

What If There Is Life on Venus?

The surprising scientific discovery of phosphine in the clouds of Earth’s closest neighboring planet is reanimating questions about humanity’s place in the cosmos.
A person kneels in front of rows of plants by a window.

How COVID-19 Is Changing People’s Relationships With Houseplants

An anthropologist digs into what the current “botanic boom” reveals about people’s interactions with nature and with one another.
hand hygiene

Could COVID-19 Permanently Change Hand Hygiene?

An anthropologist tackles the slippery subject of hand sanitization in a world torn between concerns over contagion and antibiotic resistance.
coronavirus mask - A discount market on Penang Island, Malaysia, displays a face mask on a mannequin. Surgical masks are unregulated and provide minimal protection from pathogens.

Why Face Masks Are Going Viral

As the new coronavirus epidemic spreads, more and more people are wearing surgical masks—despite their questionable effectiveness. An anthropologist explores the reasons why.
In Andean countries such as Peru and Bolivia, locals and tourists drink mate de coca, a tea made from coca leaves, to stave off altitude sickness.

The Double Life of Coca

In South America, countries struggle to protect traditional uses of coca while decreasing its currency in the addiction- and crime-addled cocaine trade.
Drug Use - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has targeted alleged drug dealers, such as this 18-year-old man, and left thousands of suspects dead.

Why Are People Who Use Illegal Drugs Demonized?

In many parts of the world, people who take illegal substances are punished with harsh prison sentences or executions that are unjustified. Behind this treatment lie prejudices that have a surprising history.
skin whitening - Salons like this one in Johannesburg, South Africa, offer facials that make use of skin lightening products.

The Dark Side of Skin Whitening

A desire for lighter skin tones is deeply entrenched in many parts of the world, but it comes with equally deep risks to health and society.