Anthropology Magazine

Biological anthropologists investigate the evolution of humans, their variability, and adaptations to the environment.

Standing on a wooden pier with water below, a person wearing a headset, navy life vest, and parachute pants bends over to put a yellow life vest on a dog.

On the Quandaries of Aquatic Forensics

A team of scientists, including an anthropologist, explains the challenges and methods for locating, identifying, and retrieving human remains from underwater.
A person in a white poncho hugs the head of a horse wearing a colorful mask against a blue sky with white clouds.

Scientists Uplift Indigenous Human-Horse Histories

An archaeologist and a Lakota genomics scientist explain how combining archaeology, DNA, and Indigenous knowledge can help revise colonial human-horse narratives largely associated with the western U.S.
Faces of various hominins span a large wall, each above a descriptive text block. From left to right, the faces get less hairy and lighter in skin tone.

How Power Pervades Portrayals of Human Evolution

An evolutionary scholar examines racist and sexist depictions of human evolution that continue to permeate science, education, and popular culture.
A black-and-white illustration depicts a large, hairy bipedal figure walking in a forest, flanked by leafless trees.

What Bigfoot Teaches Us About Public Mistrust of Science

In the 1960s, credentialed scientists, including physical anthropologists, hunted for the legendary Sasquatch. How did they fall for the hoax?
Two people walk on a sandy shore with a large stone castle and wooden gate to their right.

Ancient DNA Supports Swahili Oral Traditions

Two researchers explain how ancient DNA research is helping to restore the origin story of the Swahili people along the coastal region of East Africa.
A young adult with short, platinum-blonde hair wearing a blue-and-white plaid flannel shirt sits on a long wooden bench in front of an open silver laptop. They look at the screen puzzlingly while holding up a yellow cellphone.

Twitter’s Blue Tick Is a Fake Signal

Evolutionary theory can help us better understand the recent debacle about social media platforms' popular symbol as a signaling problem.
Three people toward the image’s left pull a green net with several lobsters in it from the water while a person wearing a straw hat puts lobsters into a bucket. Two other people look on.

Neighborliness Matters to Your Health

Drawing from cross-cultural research, an anthropologist shows how neighborliness can lessen wealth-based health disparities.
A group of people in jackets and hats gather in an arc on a sidewalk in front of tall concrete buildings. Two hold carboard signs. One reads “Community Control” and the other says “Return the Remains.”

Finding Ceremony for Ancestors Held in the Penn Museum and Other Colonial Institutions

An anthropologist and an organizer try to connect descendant communities with the remains of 20 Black Philadelphians slated for court-ordered burial.
Several people wearing puffy hooded coats, beanies, windbreakers, and backpacks watch lava and smoke pour out of a volcano on the horizon.

Slow Death by Volcano

A biocultural anthropologist shares new research on the surprising long-term hazards of volcanoes in Iceland—and how to address them.
A person on the right of the image looks out at a series of mountains with green trees and foliage.

On Flores Island, Do “Ape-Men” Still Exist?

Islanders have long claimed ape-like humans, remarkably similar to the fossil species Homo floresiensis, survive in secluded forests of Indonesia. An anthropologist investigates why.
A tooth is held up with tweezers against a white brick wall.

What Molars and Math Reveal About the Human Brain

A paleoanthropologist explains what fossilized teeth—analyzed through a recently developed mathematical equation—can tell us about how brains have developed in utero over millions of years of human evolution.
A photograph features a metal statue of a man on an elevated platform in a grassy circle in the center of a park. Orange and yellow flowers surround the platform.

How the Early Battle Over Race Science Was Lost

Celebrated 19th-century biologist Ernst Haeckel pushed race science as his little-known protégé Nikolai Miklucho-Maclay defended Indigenous rights. A biological anthropologist reflects on the impacts of their ruptured relationship.
From below, a photograph features a person in a brown fur coat attaching a large ice block to an in-progress igloo from inside, with a blue sky above.

How Ancient Humans Came to Cope With the Cold

Two anthropologists explain how humans managed to not just survive but dominate northern climates despite evolutionary origins in—and hence, biological predispositions to—warmer environments.
A photograph features a large crowd inside an atrium holding up flyers emblazoned with capitalized red text that reads “Decolonize This Museum.”

Embracing the Poetry of Being Human

A contributor to a special series on decolonizing anthropology rejects the discipline's colonial and racist roots and instead pursues ways of doing science that center human liberation and possibility.
A photograph features a hand holding a ripe red strawberry.

Is a “Sweet Tooth” Genetic?

An anthropologist explains the evolutionary origins of why so many people seem practically programmed to love sugar.
A child wearing a plaid shirt and a beanie looks up and holds the hand of an adult wearing jeans and a plaid shirt but whose head isn’t visible. They stand next to a cholla cactus.

Monogamy. Grandmas. Milk. The Evolution of Childhood Is Very Strange.

In a new book, Growing Up Human, a bioarchaeologist chronicles some of the most surprising evolutionary adaptations of babies, parents, and grandparents.
An illustration features a person with a protruding forehead, long brown hair, and a beard wearing an animal skin over their shoulders and holding a wooden spear. A child with similar long brown hair and clothing sits on the person’s shoulders.

The Family Lives of the Last Neanderthals

Two anthropologists explain a novel genetic analysis of ancient DNA and artifacts that suggests Neanderthals in Siberia lived in close-knit communities.
A photograph features a person in a sleeveless top and jeans kneeling on the ground and reaching down into a hole. Other people surround the person, but their faces aren’t visible.

Hunting Down the Facts About Paleo Diets

An evolutionary anthropologist argues that Paleolithic diets were much more varied than people think based on his research with the Hadza community, contemporary hunter-gatherers in Tanzania.
A close-up image features a hand covered with a white latex glove holding a tiny test tube as it catches drops of small clear liquid from a pipette.

Will a Nobel Prize Make Paleogenomics More Accountable?

An anthropologist offers possible directions for ancient DNA studies moving forward—especially regarding the field’s complex histories with Indigenous communities and public education.
A photograph features a yellow grassy field in the foreground and large orange flames, smoke-covered blue sky, person on a tractor, and lone green leafy tree in the distance.

Why Indigenous Fire Management Works

Three researchers use a study of the cypress pine in Arnhem Land, Australia, to explain why large-scale, institutional fire management is inferior to sustainable cultural burning.
A black-and-white photo features three baboons near the side of a dirt road. Two look on as a third bends over to drink from a puddle.

Extracting Hominin Evolution From Fossilized Teeth

Two scientists explain how analyses of oxygen isotopes from 17-million-year-old ape teeth could lead to new insights on early human evolution amid environmental changes.
A short-haired person turns their head to their right in front of the horizon, a sun glare shining from behind them.

Was Our Skin Meant for the Sun?

An anthropologist examines the history of human skin under the sun, revealing how evolution and culture conspired to shape our outermost organ.
A woman in a forest stands in front of a large tree trunk and looks up at the treetops.

The Problems of Evolution as a “March of Progress”

The idea that evolution is a hierarchy of complexity with humans on top lurks in everything from biology classes to politics. It’s time to unlearn this false and harmful view.
A man wearing a white durag and lime-green tank top props a young boy in a gray T-shirt and jeans on his shoulders while holding a pink rose from a rose bush to his nose.

What the Anthropology of Smell Reveals About Humanity

Millions of people have lost their sense of smell to COVID-19 and other conditions. Anthropologists are investigating the surprising significance of this underrated sense.
Grocery store shelves are shown packed with colorful cereal boxes adorned with cartoon animals and children, as well as labels in Spanish and English.

Do Children Need Special Foods?

An anthropologist slices through myths about “picky” eating and the biological necessity of kids’ foods, and reimagines ways to feed future generations.

Biological Science Rejects the Sex Binary, and That’s Good for Humanity

Evidence from various sciences reveals that there are diverse ways of being male, female, or both. An anthropologist argues that embracing these truths will help humans flourish.
Two yellow gourds painted to look like a frowning man with black hair wearing a blue top and a smiling woman with long black hair and a red and white dress sit on a ledge.

Busting Myths About Sex and Gender

In a newly revised book, an anthropologist dismantles harmful untruths about society, including notions about the nature of differences between men and women.
Three people sit in an excavation pit, working to uncover ancient Nubia, and look back at the camera while three others stand on the sand and approach the platform.

Reinterpreting Life and Death in Ancient Nubia

In the Nile River Valley, powerful yet misunderstood civilizations flourished thousands of years ago. Now bioarchaeologists are rethinking funerary rituals and life in ancient Nubia, and empowering local Sudanese scholars.
A crowd of people with blurred faces walk in the same direction wearing coats and hats.

Athletics, IQ, Health: Three Myths of Race

An evolutionary biologist and biological anthropologist break down why differences in human athleticism, IQ, and health can’t be explained by the concept of race.
A young child with black hair and a blue cloth over their body scrunches their face as someone uses a white comb and white scissors to cut their hair.

Untangling Race From Hair

One anthropologist has made it her mission to remove racial prejudices from the study of hair and find the evolutionary roots of hair diversity.
Four chimpanzees sit on a rock in front of trees. Two have one arm in the air and their hands are clasped.

What Chimpanzees Know About Giving Medicine

New observations of chimpanzees in Gabon lead researchers to wonder if the tendency for self-medication and medicating others really is unique to humans.
A person wearing a suit holds a microphone close while smiling broadly.

What’s the Appeal of Deep Voices in Men?

Low-pitched male voices are frequently seen as signs of dominance, strength, and sex appeal. Now anthropologists are sussing out whether there’s truth behind the stereotypes.