Thursday, February 17, 2011

Editor's Selections: Skull Cups, Grave Goods, War, Pirates, and Lucy



It's been a busy week in the science blogosphere—there were lots of posts to read and choose from. Though I couldn't choose everyone, I encourage readers to peruse the Anthropology, Philosophy, and Social Science categories. You're sure to find interesting and informative writing! Here are my ResearchBlogging selections this week:
  • Skull chalices. Do I really need to say more? Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science discusses some archaeological evidence that places these macabre objects in the real world--and he even has some instructions on how they were made. (Though perhaps it's not something you should try yourself.)
  • While we're talking about deathly objects, Chris Campbell questions how best to determine whether a burial was deliberate. Why would we want to discuss this? Well, deliberate burials are used as a marker for soul beliefs. Chris suggests that grave goods are actually what we need to look for if we'd like to consider whether ideas about the afterlife were in circulation.
  • At Smells Like Science, Dan Bailey tries to understand why humans kill each other and engage in war. Research suggests we're actually averse to killing each other. Why do we do it? Perhaps we're just too smart for our own good, and our technological inclinations help us get the deeds done.
  • It's sometimes hard to believe that piracy still exists. But it does, and it's a dark and dangerous affair. Andrew Thaler of Southern Fried Science traces the history and evolution of Somalian piracy, aptly explaining socio-political forces that shaped this livelihood.
  • At Anthropology.net, Kambiz Kamrani discusses why news of Lucy's bipedalism is important: it's not that we didn't know she was bipedal, but that we weren't aware of the degree to which she was bipedal. Kambiz also discusses the limitations with this data that are worth considering.
I'll be back next Thursday with more selections from the social sciences!

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