September 30, 2022
Q. In which country is the largest active tribal boarding school located?
A. India. The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences is located in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
Read More: “The Travesties of India’s Tribal Boarding Schools”
September 23, 2022
Q. What is the name of the land bridge that once linked present-day Asia and North America?
Read More: “Revealing an Ice Age Route for Indigenous Peoples”
September 16, 2022
Q. Sindarin and Quenya are two examples of which fictional language?
A. Elvish. Both were created by philologist and writer J.R.R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and his other novels set in the same fantasy world.
Read More: “What Klingon and Other Constructed Languages Reveal”
September 9, 2022
Q. How long ago did hominins begin eating meat?
A. At least 3.4 million years ago, based on two bones found in Ethiopia with butchery marks.
Read more! “The First Butchers”
September 2, 2022
Q. Some U.S. states have controversially recruited individuals from which population to fight fires?
A. Incarcerated people, who, in many states, are paid less than US$2 an hour for taking on this dangerous work.
Read more! “Arizona’s Inmate Firefighters”
August 26, 2022
Q. What is the outdoor game in which participants use various digital navigational tools and techniques to find hidden treasures or containers?
Read more! “How Geocachers Navigate Fear in the Urban Woods”
August 19, 2022
Q. Which species of hominin has been nicknamed “the hobbit”?
A. Homo floresiensis.
Read more! “Five Human Species You May Not Know About”
August 12, 2022
Q. What is it called when others in a community, in addition to the biological parents, help raise children?
A. Alloparenting. According to many anthropologists, alloparenting—sharing child-raising responsibilities among siblings, grandparents, neighbors, and other community members—has tended to be the norm across human history.
August 5, 2022
Q. Where is the legendary “lost” city known as La Ciudad Blanca (White City) that was supposed to have been “discovered”?
A. In the Mosquitia region of eastern Honduras.
July 29, 2022
Q. Which country has been the most heavily bombed in history?
A. Laos. The U.S. executed over half a million bombing excursions in the Southeast Asian nation from 1964 until 1973 in a “secret war.”
Read more! “Haunted by a Secret War”
July 22, 2022
Q. What genetic condition has been linked to the sudden deaths of some elite athletes?
A. Sickle cell trait (SCT).
July 15, 2022
Q. Who coined the term “Caucasian” to racially classify White Europeans?
A. Johann Blumenbach, an 18th-century German anatomist.
Read more! “Why Do We Keep Using the Word ‘Caucasian’?”
July 8, 2022
Q. What percentage of babies are born with intersex traits?
A. 1.7 percent.
Read more! “What Our Skeletons Say About the Sex Binary”
July 1, 2022
Q. Which country/territory is the number one exporter of human hair globally?
A. Hong Kong.
Read more! “The Hard Labor That Fuels the Hair Trade”
June 24, 2022
Q. What percentage of U.S. prisoners (federal and state level) have at least one disability?
A. Thirty-eight percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Read more! “Deaf and Incarcerated in the U.S.”
June 17, 2022
Q. What is the smallest cell in the human body?
A. The sperm cell.
Read more! “The Myth of Badass Sperm”
June 10, 2022
Q. What type of common infection did adult Neanderthals appear to be more prone to than adult modern humans?
A. Ear infections.
Read more! “The Neanderthal Ear—Prone to Irritating Infections”
June 3, 2022
Q. What alcoholic beverage is made from fermented coconut sap?
A. Tuba, a popular drink from the Philippines.
May 27, 2022
Q. How do machines learn to get better at specific tasks? What type of learning do they use?
A. Reinforcement learning.
Read more! “What If Machines Could Learn the Way Children Do?”
May 20, 2022
Q. How many extra tons of plastic waste have humans produced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
A. 8.4 million tons (as of November 2021).
May 13, 2022
Q. How long ago did humans begin domesticating wolves into dogs?
A. Approximately 23,000 years ago, according to one of the latest genetic studies.
Read more! “The Macabre and Magical Human-Canine Story”
May 6, 2022
Q. Which part of the brain is most often associated with feelings of romantic love?
A. The ventral tegmental area (VTA).
Read more! “Is Love a Biological Reality?”
April 29, 2022
Q. When was the “little ice age”?
A. The little ice age was a period of climatic disruption caused by a cooler-than-normal climate between 1300 and 1850.
Read more! “Cold Enough for Ya?”
April 22, 2022
Q. How do anthropologists figure out how much carbs different populations of humans consumed in the past?
A. By counting the number of cavities on their teeth and/or analyzing patterns of wear.
Read more! “Time to Rethink Teeth”
April 15, 2022
Q. Which empire was the largest contiguous land empire in history?
A. The Mongol Empire in the 13th century. Horses played a major role in the successful expansion of the empire, starting under the leadership of Genghis Khan.
Read more! “When Did Horses Transform Mongolians’ Way of Life?”
April 8, 2022
Q. What percentage of the world’s current languages do not have gendered pronouns?
A. 57 percent.
Read more! “Why English Might Let Go of ‘He’ and ‘She’”
April 1, 2022
Q. What percentage of DNA do humans and chimpanzees share?
A. Humans and chimps share 98.8 percent of their DNA.
Read more! “What Chimpanzees Know About Giving Medicine”
March 25, 2022
Q. What percentage of people globally experience severe water scarcity for at least one month a year?
A. 66 percent or roughly 4 billion people.
Read more! “Searching for the Sources of Water Scarcity”
March 18, 2022
Q. Which country hosts the largest number of refugees?
A. Turkey, with 3.7 million refugees.
March 11, 2022
Q. Where in the world was the largest collection of mammoth bones ever found in a single site?
A. Just outside Mexico City.
Read more! “A Mammoth Find Near Mexico City”
March 4, 2022
Q. Which two neighboring countries are home to the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world?
A. India and Bangladesh.
February 25, 2022
Q. How old is the oldest piece of bread found by archaeologists?
A. Approximately 14,000 years. Amaia Arranz-Otaegui, of the University of Copenhagen, found the bread remnants at an archaeological site in Jordan.
Read more! “Can Archaeology Explain the Bread Baking Craze?”
February 18, 2022
Q. Which U.S. candidate for governor writes romance novels?
A. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Georgia, writes romance novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery.
Read more! “An Author by Any Other Name”
February 11, 2022
Q. How old is the oldest smartphone?
A. Thirty years. IBM created the first smartphone in 1992.
Read more! “How People Actually Use Their Smartphones”
February 4, 2022
Q. How many days (on average) are in a lunar year?
A. 354 days.
Read more! “The Case for Rethinking the Calendar”
January 28, 2022
Q. Which vaccine is commonly given to infants around the world as a “birth dose”?
A. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to newborns within the first 24 hours of life, or what is known as the “birth dose.” According to the World Health Organization, 113 countries introduce the first of the three hepatitis B vaccines during this critical period in a baby’s life.
January 21, 2022
Q. What percentage of Americans have at least one tattoo?
A. 30 percent of Americans have tattoos.
Read more! Does Tattooing Boost Health?
January 14, 2022
Q. Which country has the most official languages that does not include English as one of them?
A. Bolivia, which recognizes Spanish and and more than 35 Indigenous languages, including Quechua, Aymara, and Guaraní.
January 7, 2022
Q. What do ligers, tigons, and pizzlies have in common?
A. They are the offspring of animals that belong to distinct lineages or populations that have diverged evolutionarily.
Read more! Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh … and Hominins?
December 17, 2021
Q. Every year during the holiday season, people in the United States throw away about how many millions of tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags?
A. 4 million tons. The equivalent of nearly 11 Empire State Buildings.
Read more! Why Do We Wrap Presents?
December 10, 2021
Q. What are the two largest religions professed in the Philippines?
A. Christianity and Islam.
December 3, 2021
Q. What are the four extant species in the Hominidae (great ape) family?
A. Humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.
Read more! How Apes Reveal Human History
November 19, 2021
Q. The island of New Guinea is occupied by which two sovereign states?
A. Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
November 12, 2021
Q. What type of waterlogged landscape is famous for preserving organic matter, artifacts, and other archaeological material?
A. A bog.
Read more! Will Bog Archaeology Fade Away?
November 5, 2021
Q. What mountain range has been called Asia’s “water tower”?
A. The Himalayas.
October 29, 2021
Q. In which U.S. state did a “coalfield war” grip the nation’s attention in 1913-14?
Read more! How Will We Remember Coal?
October 22, 2021
Q. Jamaica’s Sovereign State of Accompong is home to what group descended from escaped enslaved African people?
Read more! Lessons From Mars—and Jamaica—on Sovereignty
October 15, 2021
Q. What is the term for the pseudoarchaeological theory that cultural traits spread across much greater distances than commonly thought?
October 8, 2021
Q. The Kamloops Indian Residential School, where authorities recently recovered unmarked graves of First Nations children, is located in which Canadian province?
A. British Columbia.
October 1, 2021
Q. The world-famous paleoanthropological site at Turkana Bay is located in which East African nation?
Read more! Raising Up African Paleoanthropologists
September 24, 2021
Q. Made up of triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids (such as lecithin),
and sterols (such as cholesterol), which hydrophobic molecules do not dissolve in water?
September 17, 2021
Q. Which stone technology was made by members of the genus Homo and lasted more than 1.5 million years across Africa, Europe, and Asia?
A. Acheulean hand axes.
Read more! How Did Belief Evolve?
September 10, 2021
Q. What is a baby gorilla called?
A. An infant.
Read more! Did Dads Evolve?
September 3, 2021
Q. How many teeth does the average human adult have?
Read more! Time to Rethink Teeth
August 27, 2021
Q. At 100,000–350,000 Scoville units, which pepper is commonly used in Caribbean cuisine?
A. Scotch bonnet peppers
August 20, 2021
Q. In which country does the Amazon River originate?
August 13, 2021
Q. What is the smallest ocean in the world?
A. The Arctic Ocean.
Read more! History Lost to Sea
August 6, 2021
Q. Native to Asia, what is a bharal (Pseudois nayaur)?
A. A caprine (sheep-like goat)—commonly known as a blue sheep.
July 30, 2021
Q. The San people—creators of some of the oldest rock art in the world—are native to what region?
A. Southern Africa.
Read more! Reimagining Rock Art in Southern Africa
July 23, 2021
Q. What was the first modern Olympic Games to feature women athletes?
A. The 1900 Summer Olympics.
Read more! Sexism Still Winning at the Olympic Games
July 16, 2021
Q. A system in which goods and services are exchanged based on their symbolic value is generally known as what kind of economy?
A. A gift economy.
Read more! Do the Olympics Make Economic Sense?
July 9, 2021
Q. What is the colloquial name for this type of muscle fiber often associated with performance in power sports, such as sprinting and weightlifting?
July 2, 2021
Q. After nearly 400 years of European colonialism, approximately how many Native Americans, out of millions, were living in what had become the United States in 1890?
June 25, 2021
Q. Pakistan’s Khyber District borders which Central Asian nation?
June 18, 2021
Q. What animal is featured in the earliest-known depictions in human art, dating from 45,500 years ago on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi?
A. Wild boar.
Read more! Earliest-Known Animal Cave Art
June 11, 2021
Q. Which moon of Jupiter is thought to possibly be home to liquid water?
Read more! What If There Is Life on Venus?
June 4, 2021
Q. The Greenwood District, the prosperous African-American neighborhood destroyed in the Tulsa Race Massacre 99 years ago this week, was known by what nickname?
A. Black Wall Street.
May 28, 2021
Q. What part of human teeth grows in incremental rings, like most trees?
Read more! Time to Rethink Teeth
May 21, 2021
Q. “This “back to tradition” culinary movement features the names of two animal parts. What’s its name?
Read more! Did Processed Foods Make Us Human?
May 14, 2021
Q. Which major Indonesian island was once described by playwright Louis Nowra as “an octopus caught in an electric blender”?
May 7, 2021
Q. David Lean directed which iconic 1957 war film that would go on to win Best Picture at the 30th Academy Awards?
A. The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Read more! An Archaeologist on the Railroad of Death
April 30, 2021
Q. A “phytolith” is a kind of inorganic skeleton created by what kind of living thing?
Read more! Do I Have Microremains in My Teeth?
April 23, 2021
Q. After humans, which primate has the longest period of juvenile dependency?
Read more! What Orangutans Taught Me About Motherhood
April 16, 2021
Q. An ethologist is an animal researcher that studies what?
A. Animal behavior.
April 9, 2021
Q. Which city’s hotels offered quarantine packages for arriving
travelers in 2020?
April 2, 2021
Q. Which early female archaeologist jokingly placed a hex on Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, supposedly impacting the results of WWI?
A. Margaret Murray.
Read more! The Untold Stories of Archaeology’s Women
March 26, 2021
Q. What 18th-century scientist was mocked by his critics for supposedly imagining himself “a second Adam”?
A. Carl Linnaeus.
March 19, 2021
Q. A dendrochronologist is a scientist who studies what?
A. Tree rings.
Read more! The Phantom Forests That Built Mesa Verde
March 12, 2021
Q. Which African American cemetery is threatened by the Capital Beltway expansion in Maryland?
A. The Morningstar Tabernacle No. 88 Cemetery in Cabin John, Maryland.
Read more! Stop Destroying African American Cemeteries
March 5, 2021
Q. The burial mounds of Sutton Hoo are associated with which medieval English kingdom?
A. East Anglia.
Read more! Sutton Hoo’s Story Goes Deeper Than The Dig
February 26, 2021
Q. In Speleology (the study of caves) “cave popcorn” refers to what kind of natural formation?
A. A small calcite deposit.
Read more! Earliest-Known Animal Cave Art
February 19, 2021
Q. What organic chemical found in the human brain is associated with energy, focus, motivation, and craving?
Read more! Is Love a Biological Reality?
February 12, 2021
Q. What is the name given to the first inhabitants of the Bahamas?
Read more! Who First Made the Caribbean Home?
February 5, 2021
Q. What is the “Thirty by Thirty” plan, signed onto by more than fifty countries in early 2021?
A. The plan proposes reserving 30 percent of the Earth’s surface for conservation by 2030.
January 29, 2021
Q. What do some residents near Ecuador’s Tungurahua mountain call this volcano?
A. Abuela, which is Spanish for “grandmother.”
Read more! How to “Co-Live” With a Natural Hazard
January 22, 2021
Q. What is an “atlatl” used for?
A. Throwing a spear.
Read more! Women at the Hearth and on the Hunt
January 15, 2021
Q. Which Nigerian ethnic community has one of the highest rates of twin births in the world?
A. The Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria.
Read more! Do Twins Share a Soul?
January 8, 2021
Q. Which East African country is widely regarded as “the birthplace of coffee”?
December 18, 2020
Q. What annual event, first conceived at a UNESCO conference in 1969, celebrated its 50th observance this year?
A. Earth Day.
Read more! Crisis and Opportunity—A Look at 2020
December 11, 2020
Q. What species’ infants have the highest percentage of body fat?
Read more! Baby Fat Is About More Than Just Cuteness
December 4, 2020
Q. How long have humans been making cheese?
A. At least 7,000 years.
Read more! Did Processed Foods Make Us Human?
November 26, 2020
Q. What percentage of the world’s cultures have the romantic kiss in their repertoire?
A. One study looked at 168 cultures and found kissing couples in 46 percent of them.
Read more! The Half of the World That Doesn’t Make Out
November 20, 2020
Q. What happens at the famous El Castillo pyramid at Chichén Itzá in Mexico on the winter solstice?
A. A shadow line divides the pyramid perfectly in two.
Read more! Why Winter Solstice Celebrations Persist
November 13, 2020
Q. Why is Baby Yoda, the infantile alien and star of The Mandalorian, so darn cute?
A. Because Baby Yoda is all of us … as babies.
Read more! What Makes Baby Yoga So Loveable?
November 6, 2020
Q. What is the name of the sea spirit in Japan that has been used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic?
Read more! A Japanese Seas Spirit Battles COVID-19
October 30, 2020
Q. What surprising animal is changing the culture of mine clearance?
October 23, 2020
Q. What ancient stone tool traveled into space in 2014?
A. A 13,000-year-old stone spear point from Illinois.
October 16, 2020
Q. According to a 2014 U.S. National Science Foundation study, what percentage of anthropology graduate students broadly—across all subfields—identified as “White (European American)”?
A. 71.7 percent.
Read more! Who Gets to Study Whom?
October 9, 2020
Q. What is the name of the African American cowboy and aspiring archaeologist whose discovery helped demonstrate Native Americans lived in North America during the last Ice Age?
A. George McJunkin.
October 2, 2020
Q. Is the human skeleton definitively “male” or “female”?
Read more! What Our Skeletons Say About the Sex Binary
September 25, 2020
Q. For how long has sexual reproduction existed?
A. About 2 billion years.
Read more! When Did Sex Become Fun?
September 18, 2020
Q. What percentage of cultures studied have rituals for handling the placenta after birth?
A. Around 60 percent: A study of 179 cultures found that 109 of them have placenta rituals.
Read more! The Rebirth of Placenta Rituals
September 11, 2020
Q. Were some Neanderthals left-handed?
Read more! The Neanderthal Arm—Hints About Handedness
September 4, 2020
Q. Is it possible to bake a loaf of bread with 4,000-year-old yeast?
A. Yes! It tastes pretty good too.
Read more! Pandemic Bakers Bring the Past to Life
August 28, 2020
Q. How many cultural objects were recovered by the FBI Art Theft Program in the “largest recovery of cultural property in the FBI’s history”?
A. Roughly 7,000 items.
Read more! The FBI’s Repatriation of Stolen Heritage
August 21, 2020
Q. What common piece of facial apparel dates to at least 9,000 years ago?
A. Masks, the earliest well-documented examples of which originate in the Middle East.
Read more! The Masked Man
August 14, 2020
Q. Some 3,000 years ago, did women or men make pottery in ancient Greece?
A. Archaeologists long assumed it was men. New evidence suggests otherwise.
August 7, 2020
Q. What animal was lauded as “an innovative technology” by the Cambodian state to aid in land mine detection?
A. Giant African rats.
July 31, 2020
Q. According to a 2013 study, what percentage of archaeology professionals in the United Kingdom identified as White?
A. 99.2 percent.
July 24, 2020
Q. In Tibetan Buddhism, beyul are what type of geographical feature thought to be hidden and “only for the worthy”?
A. Mountain valleys.
Read more! A Nepalese Region Reclaims Its Holy Waters
July 17, 2020
Q. What natural byproduct of human decomposition have scientists referred to as “corpse wax” or the “fat of graveyards”?
Read more! Is Can Archaeology Dogs Smell Ancient Time?
July 10, 2020
Q. What cultural phenomenon did anthropologist Alfred Gell argue “has not disappeared but has become more diverse and difficult to identify”?
Read more! Is Artificial Intelligence Magic?
July 3, 2020
Q. What percentage of humans on the planet are lactose intolerant?
A. About 65 percent.
Read more! What Bacterial Cultures Reveal About Ours
June 26, 2020
Q. How many extra calories does a human mother need to consume to produce milk for breastfeeding?
A. About 600 per day.
Read more! Why Are There So Many Humans?
June 3, 2020
Q. Approximately how many native speakers of Hawaiian were alive in the 1970s before the language’s incredible revitalization?
A. 2,000, most of whom were over the age of 60.
Read more! How to Resurrect Dying Languages
May 22, 2020
Q. Did women and children exist in prehistory?
A. Yes! But only in recent decades have archaeologists given focused attention to the lives of women and children in the ancient past.
Read more! Did Women and Children Exist in Prehistory?
May 15, 2020
Q. Which Peruvian export skyrocketed from just US$380 in 2003 to over US$143 million in 2016?
May 7, 2020
Q. What technology made by human ancestors lasted about 1.5 million years?
A. Acheulean hand axes have been found at sites dating from roughly 1.6 million years ago to about 100,000 years ago.
Read more! The World’s Most Sustainable Technology
May 1, 2020
Q. What simple three-dimensional object found in South America is a kind of writing system that uses mathematics, history, accounting, and language to keep track of an amazing array of information?
A. The khipu.
April 24, 2020
Q. Did Neanderthals have control over and depend on fire for their survival?
A. It’s controversial, but according to some leading researchers, Neanderthals were not obligate fire users.
Read more! Who Started the First Fire?
April 17, 2020
Q. Where and when were the first bananas cultivated?
A. Papua New Guinea, around 6,800 years ago.
Read more! Peeling Back the History of the Banana
April 10, 2020
Q. Africa, the world’s largest cocoa producer, consumes what percentage of chocolate sold globally?
A. Three percent.
Read more! The Bitter Side of Cocoa Production
April 3, 2020
Q. What does the acronym TEOTWAWKI stand for?
A. The end of the world as we know it.
Read more! Are You Ready for TEOTWAWKI?
March 27, 2020
Q. What Hollywood star claimed that “there’s been no acting class that’s been as helpful” as studying cultural anthropology?
A. Jesse Eisenberg
Read more! The Strange Rites of Celebrity
March 20, 2020
Q. Of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on the planet today, what percentage are considered vulnerable to extinction by the end of the century?
Read more! Why Are Languages Worth Preserving?
March 13, 2020
Q. A study of 77 Neanderthal skulls published in the journal PLOS ONE found that 48 percent of them showed signs of what well-known infection?
A: Swimmer’s ear.
March 6, 2020
Q. What is the only Indigenous language in the Americas spoken by a majority of the non-Indigenous population?
A. Guaraní is an official language of Paraguay, spoken by more than 5 million of the country’s 6.8 million people.
February 28, 2020
Q. How much Neanderthal DNA is contained in modern non-African human genomes?
A. Between 1 and 4 percent of the genomes of modern non-African humans consist of Neanderthal DNA.