Anthropology / Everything Human

Labor Pains and Helpless Infants: Eve or Evolution? (Part 1)

Biology

  • Origins

  • Animalia

    An artistic rendering of the construction of the earliest known hominin-made shelter, discovered at a 400,000-year-old site in Terra Amata, France.

    The Domesticated Hominin

    “I do not think any spectacle can be more interesting, than the first sight of Man in his primitive wildness.” —Charles Darwin, letter to J.S. Henslow, April 11, 1833 March 3 was World Wildlife Day, and that got me thinking: Are humans still “wild”? If not, when were human ancestors no longer “wildlife”? In other words, what event or transition in human evolutionary history marks the “domestication” of …

  • "Race"

    Racial Realities

    When I tell my students that there is no such thing as “race” (meaning biological race), I wait for the blowback. I know it is coming. “Well if there is no such thing as race,” one of them will say, “then why do we look different, like our skin color?” Or another will say, “If there is no such thing as race, then why do we continue to …

  • Animalia

    The 19th Century anatomist Jones Quain dissected the human testicle, as illustrated by this engraving.

    When Sperm Compete, Nature’s Call Leads to Bigger … Testicles

    [In humans, the testes] are from an inch and a half to two inches long, about an inch and a quarter from the anterior to the posterior border, and nearly an inch from side to side. The weight of each varies from three-quarters of an ounce to an ounce, and the left is often a little the larger of the two. —Quain’s Elements of Anatomy, 1867 Success in …

  • "Race"

    The Black Lives Matter movement has brought issues of race to headlines across the United States.

    Why We Must Talk About Race

    I grew up a black woman in urban Los Angeles during the age of the civil rights movement. “Race” was all around me, woven into the fabric of my personal life, my community, my country. Perhaps it was inevitable that I would become a cultural anthropologist who studies how race works in the world. I’ve always wanted to know why. Why do we live in this community, and …

  • News

    Humans and Neanderthals interbred about 50,000–60,000 years ago. The genetic legacy of those liaisons, including possibly depression, is only now coming to light.

    I’ve Got the Neanderthal Blues

    New research suggests that depression risk, smoking addiction, and other health and cognitive traits may be partially shaped by the Neanderthal DNA that persists in modern humans.