#anthropology roundup: “The Evolutionary Enigma of the Human Eyebrow

When Ötzi the Iceman, the most complete Neolithic mummy ever found, melted out of the Tyrolean Alps in 1991, the field of “ice patch archaeology” was born. In little more than a decade, archaeological sites were identified in alpine settings around the world, from the United States to Norway to Switzerland. While fluctuations in climate are normal, the intensity and pace of the current changes we’re seeing—increasing global atmospheric and ocean temperatures, along with extreme glacial retreats and worldwide sea-level rise—are historically unprecedented.

The Evolutionary Enigma of the Human Eyebrow

[no-caption] Pexels

This article was originally published at The Conversation and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Eyebrows. We all have them, but what are they actually for? While eyebrows help to prevent debris, sweat, and water from falling into the eye socket, they serve another important function too—and it’s all to do with how they move and human connection.

We already know that our modern minds often reflect the ways our ancestors needed to work together to survive in the distant evolutionary past. But it seems our anatomy also reflects the importance of getting on with other people. As our new research published in Nature Ecology and Evolution suggests, the ability to look either intimidating or friendly is reflected in our bones—at least where the shape of the skull is concerned.

How a Eurasian Steppe Empire Coped With Decades of Drought

[no-caption] Tuul & Bruno Morandi /Getty Images

The bitterly cold, dry air of the Central Asian steppe is a boon to researchers who study the region. The frigid climate “freeze-dries” everything, including centuries-old trees that once grew on lava flows in Mongolia’s Orkhon Valley. A recent study of the tree-ring record, published in March, from some of these archaic logs reveals a drought that lasted nearly seven decades—one of the longest in a 1,700-year span of steppe history—from A.D. 783–850.

Decades of prolonged drought would have killed m

Western Science Is Finally Catching Up to Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Indigenous groups in northern Australia have observed—and even indicated in ceremony and story—kites and falcons, or “firehawks,” deliberately transporting lit sticks in order to spread fire. James Padolsey/Unsplash

This article was originally published at The Conversation and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Meet Archaeology’s Beer Can Man

These are just a few dozen of the thousands of old beer cans that archaeologist David Maxwell has collected over the years. Nicola Jones

Remains Of More Than 140 Children Who Were Sacrificed Found In Peru

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