Around the Web Digest: Week of September 27

This week, a number of online magazines addressed some of the big questions of human history. As always, if you want me to feature anything on the blog, write me at

Aeon Magazine published this article summarizing how paleogenetics is rewriting and complicating our understanding of early human migrations: What Can Paleogenetics Tell-Us About Prehistory?

IFL Science reports that Scientists Have Reconstructed the Hearing Abilities of Our Ancestors… basically, they could hear like modern-day chimpanzees but with a slightly higher range of frequencies, like humans.

This post on Western Digs, a blog that includes paleontology as well as archaeology, covers the discovery of seven men who died by violence together some 1,150 years ago. Isotopic analysis of their teeth reveals that they were originally from another region: Mass Grave Found in California Reveals Prehistoric Violence Against Outsiders

BBC Earth featured this post, which asks the question, Why Are We the Only Human Species Still Alive? Suggestions include our carnivorous diet, environmental changes that favored humans over other hominins, a more widely varied diet, more sophisticated tools, different brain size and morphology, even art and symbolic communication. Missing from this story seems to be any recognition of the human propensity to interbreed that makes full speciation unlikely when groups are in contact.

This short article on AhramOnline suggests that archaeologist Nicholas Reeves’ crazy idea may actually be right: Anticipation Grows at Possibility of Tutankhamun Tomb’s Hidden Chambers

DigVentures discusses a piece of rock art that depicts a Mediterranean ship on the Atlantic coast: This Petroglyph Captures the Moment When Atlantic and Mediterranean Cultures Met

According to Brain Decoder, comparative studies have revealed that while Americans with schizophrenia tend to experience the voices they hear as violent and alarming, Indians and Ghanans tend to hear the voices of relatives offering them advice: In Some Cultures People with Schizophrenia Actually Like the Voices They Hear 

In this class project described on FoodAnthro, students used restaurants and other food-related businesses to gain insight into the gentrification of New Orleans: Street, Neighborhood, City in the New New Orleans

In this Smithsonian Science blog, anthropologist Lars Krutak gives an overview of the history of indigenous tattooing practices: Tattoos: Telling Stories in the Flesh: Q&A with Lars Krutak

This post on Patheos, an evangelical blog on religious history, reviews The Slain God, which discusses the relationship between anthropologists and the Christian religion. I like it because it’s looking at  the history of anthropology from a faith-based perspective, which we may not always see.

In other religious news, the AAA blog on HuffPost featured this post by Nancy Scheper-Hughes on her visit to Pope Francis, in which she reflected on her own relationship with Catholicism and criticism of the church’s handling of its sexual abuse scandal, shared information with the Pope’s team on organ trafficking and encouraged them to emphasize voluntary organ donation, and joined with other voices in suggesting that not all sex work is coerced: Face-to-Face with Pope Francis

See you next week!

Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca Nelson is the executive director of América Solidaria U.S. She recently graduated with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on volunteer tourism in Guatemala and how it is opening up new avenues for tourists and hosts to develop more cosmopolitan understandings of the world (as well as opening up new forms of friction over the circulation of knowledge).

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