Which came first: The empire or the administration? Conventional wisdom says the demands of empire led to the rise of bureaucracy. But a new study of six early states suggests that the specialization of power and function we call bureaucracy arises at the same time as the territorial expansion that leads to empire.
Fingernails are essentially flattened versions of claws, and they evolved in all primates — including humans — to support broad fingertips, says UW-Madison anthropology professor John Hawks. Monkeys, apes and lemurs spend a lot of time in trees, and broad fingertips help give them the strong grip needed to climb trunks and hang underneath branches. [...]
Where did tattooing and piercing originate, and what do they signify? What are the medical risks?
This Why File surveys the latest in forensic anthropology, with a visit to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, AKA The Body Farm.
The dangers of fieldwork to natural and social scientists: Volcanoes, viruses, armed revolutionaries, wackos behind the wheel…