Dawn of the Dog Article

A dog skull sits on a disk, as scientists prepare to photograph it for geometric morphometrics.

A dog skull sits on a disk, as scientists prepare to photograph it for geometric morphometrics.

A very important and fascinating subject to undertake.  Here’s an interesting new article about the domestication of dogs from Science.

Science Magazine

Greger Larson holds a wolf skull at the Oxford Museum of Natural History (top). Ardern Hulme-Beaman (bottom) examines an ancient dog jawbone (middle).

Dogs were the very first thing humans domesticated—before any plant, before any other animal. Yet despite decades of study, researchers are still fighting over where and when wolves became humans’ loyal companions. “It’s very competitive and contentious,” says Jean-Denis Vigne, a zooarchaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, who notes that dogs could shed light on human prehistory and the very nature of domestication. “It’s an animal so deeply and strongly connected to our history that everyone wants to know.”



Money proved a great motivator. Though dogs loom large in the public consciousness, they don’t tend to loosen the purse strings of funding organizations. As a result, many scientists work on them as only a hobby or side project, piggybacking on funding from other grants. But Larson and Dobney made a strong case to European funding agencies in 2012, arguing that the domestication of dogs set the stage for taming an entire host of plants and animals. “We said, without dogs you don’t have any other domestication,” Larson says. “You don’t have civilization.”

The skeletons of a human and dog (upper left) discovered underneath a 12,000-year-old home in northern Israel are early evidence of the human-canine bond.

The skeletons of a human and dog (upper left) discovered underneath a 12,000-year-old home in northern Israel are early evidence of the human-canine bond.

For the first time, we’re going to be able to look at some of these strange skulls like the Goyet skull and figure out how strange they really are,” he says. “Are they wolves becoming dogs, or are they just unusual wolves?” Combining the two approaches, he says, should allow the collaboration to home in on just where dogs came from—and when this happened.

“Archaeology is storytelling,” Hulme-Beaman says. “I think we’re going to be able to tell a great story.”

Read the short article HERE or download the full PDF HERE.

Reference: Science 17 April 2015:
Vol. 348 no. 6232 pp. 274-279
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6232.274

19 World Heritage Monuments Destroyed in Conflict

Okay, not fully destroyed in every case but needlessly damaged, often beyond recognition.  One good reason to document what we can while we can.  Often, these are just looked at as buildings or just someone’s property without understanding the window they provide into our human past.  I see this on a different scale an in a different light here in the western United States.  Archaeological sites aren’t understood as important information but as a pile of disassociated bits and pieces to be collected up and sold on.  Our short lifespans hardly justify our ridiculous idea of “ownership” when it comes to an important place.

A short, but interesting article from CNN:


Sante Fe Archaeological Society

In the great state of New Mexico and looking for something to do this year?  Check out the lecture schedule in Santa Fe!

September 9   Tim Maxwell (Director Emeritus, Museum of New Mexico, Office of Archaeological Studies) Chasing Beauty: The Turquoise of the Casas Grandes Region of Northern Mexico

October 14   Scott Fitzpatrick (University of Oregon/AIA national speaker) How Oceanographic Effects Influenced the Prehistoric Colonization of Islands: a Pacific Caribbean Comparison.

November 11   Richard I. Ford (Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus Anthropology and Botany, University of Michigan) Religion on the Rocks: Petroglyphs In Northern New Mexico

January 13   John Pohl (University of California/AIA national speaker) Bringing the Pre-Columbian World to Life: The Scholar’s Role in Entertainment Media

February 10   Anastasia Steffen (Valles Caldera National Preserve) Fire and the Archaic Landscapes of the Valles Caldera

March 10   John Bailey (Rio Grande del Norte National Monument) What is the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument?

April 14    George Crawford (Blackwater Draw) The Clovis Site, Landscape, Environment, and Preservation on the Southern High Plains

Fall 2014 Brown Bag (September 20) – The Folsom Site, led by David Eck, State Land Office archaeologist.

Spring 2015 Trip (April 24-27) – Fort Stanton; Lincoln; and more to be determined.

Spring Brown Bag (May 9 tentative) – Los Luceros, Alcade, NM

The Santa Fe Archaeological Society (founded 1900) is a chapter of the American Archaeological Institute.

Talks are held at the Pecos Trail Café, 2239 Old Pecos Trail.

Five Truths About Graduate School That Nobody Tells You

Some Good Advice for Graduate Students From Psychology Today Online:

Five Truths About Graduate School That Nobody Tells You

The importance of shifting from the “student” to the “professional” mentality.
Published on October 28, 2013 by Nathaniel Lambert, Ph.D. in Publish and Prosper

There are some crucial things to know about graduate school that are not typically discussed out in the open, but that could make all the difference for you (or for your graduate students). It ultimately boils down to this: the ultimate key to graduate school is transitioning from a “student” mentality to a “professional” mentality. Having published 23 articles in research journals before graduating, I think I successfully made this change of mindset and I can help you to do so as well. Here are five important truths to assist you in making this transition:

Truth #1: Graduate School is Not School at All, but an Apprenticeship.

The term “school” makes you think that the most important aspect of this experience is class and that you are a student who must do well in the class. However, your goal is not to get straight A’s, but to learn to become a productive, independent researcher. A more fitting term for graduate school would be “professorial apprenticeship.” The apprenticeship system was first developed in the later Middle Ages to help novice tradesman to learn a skilled vocation (such as carpentry) from a master teacher. This is the true purpose of graduate school, to learn the trade (publishing) by doing the trade, not by simply reading about it and talking about it in classes. If you were the manager of a large furniture manufacturer looking to hire someone, would you be more interested in applicants who had read a lot about building furniture, knew all the theory behind it, etc., or would you like to hire someone who had already built several pieces under the hands of a master teacher?

Truth #2: Your Career Starts on Your First Day of Graduate School

People with the “student” mentality think that their career begins when they get the coveted tenure-track position and they procrastinate seriously doing the research job that they’ve been hired to do. Those with the “professional” mentality recognize that everything they do as a graduate student counts towards their overall record and they begin to work on publications immediately. They show up every day ready to work on their job of publishing rather than spending most of their time preparing for their enhancement workshops (class). They know what the priority is and their time allocation reflects this. An important facet of this recognition is to not be limited by the clock. Those with the “student” mentality work until their assigned 10 or 20 research assistantship hours are complete, whereas those with the “professional” mentality know that any additional time they spend on this core task will be “counted” toward getting a job and future advancement and so they do not limit themselves to time for which they are being paid. I often put in 2-3 times the hours that I was paid for and believe me it paid off. Think of yourself not as a student logging in some hours, but as a salaried professional working toward a promotion!

Truth #3: Grades Don’t Really Matter

As an undergraduate, I was a grade grubber. I would study long hours and then show up to office hours to demonstrate to the professor why my answer on the test should get partial credit so that I could get an A rather than an A-. That was important back then, but it sure isn’t in graduate school. This was so clear to me as I applied for a jobs at over 70 universities. How many asked me for my transcripts? One. Don’t just take my word for it. In “A Guide to Ph.D. Graduate School: How They Keep Score in the Big Leagues,” Charles Lord (2004) writes the following:

Since I have been in my department, we have hired more than half the current faculty. I have been intensively involved in all of these searches, both during the time I was department chair and later. Would it surprise you to know that I have never seen the graduate transcript of any of my colleagues? We do not request a transcript of graduate grades because my colleagues and I would regard that information as useless. We are trying to hire the best scholars, not people who got the best grades in their graduate courses (p.10).

What you have created (your publications) is ultimately the best evidence of a successful apprenticeship and your best selling point. I’m not recommending that you not put in a good effort in class, because you will learn things that will help your publishing and in most programs you still need a B to pass the class. In some programs you may lose your funding if you don’t meet a certain threshold and certainly if you are just getting a Master’s and plan to get a Ph.D. elsewhere, your grades matter. So do try to do pretty well, but I’m just saying that it just shouldn’t be your top priority as you don’t have to get perfect grades anymore. There’s a huge difference in effort from an A- to an A or a B+ to an A-. Put that effort into research!

Truth #4: You Can’t Afford to Check Out For Long Breaks Like Undergraduates

Individuals with the “student” mentality follow the same pattern as undergraduates, once finals are over they live it up and check out all through Christmas break and the summer. Life and priorities are scheduled around class. However, with a professional mentality you realize that you can’t afford to take such long breaks because you’ve got a job to do that is not centered on class. Everything is scheduled around research. I’m not suggesting that you need to become a workaholic. Have some fun, play hard, but don’t play as long as the undergrads because you have already started your career and everything you do counts. For example, those with the professional mentality enjoy the extra time in the summer, unencumbered with classes to make huge strides in their publishing.

Truth #5: Theses and Dissertations Can Actually Hamper Your Progress

Whoa, you might say, this guy is really radical, how can a thesis or dissertation actually hurt you? Aren’t these research based after all? It’s true that going through the research process and getting some extra input and supervision can help you learn the craft. But here’s when it can be counterproductive: when doing this project is perceived as the ultimate objective and the ultimate achievement you should strive for. Let me illustrate. I’ll never forget running my first experiment in a computer lab that was shared by several other graduate students and everyone kept asking me, “So is this for your master’s thesis or for your dissertation?” After a while I felt like screaming, “No, don’t you get it, there’s more to graduate school than a stupid dissertation. I’m doing this just for the sake of publishing an article!” Focusing on a dissertation gives those with a “student” mentality a false sense of accomplishment as if they have now completed their research requirement. Truly these milestones exist, in my opinion, to give structure for the weakest of students to get them some exposure to the research process. My graduate advisor wisely counseled me to have multiple manuscript projects underway and then when it came time for my dissertation, I could decide which project was at the “right stage” to call my dissertation. Obviously, you need to complete these hurdles, but they can be completed as one step toward your bigger goal of publishing several manuscripts.

Making the mental switch from the “student” mentality to the “professional” mentality will make all the difference for you or for your graduate students. I am curious to hear from you, which of these truths did you find to be most surprising? I cover all of these core truths in much greater depth with helpful application exercises in my book Publish and Prosper. Also, if you are enjoying the content, receive regular updates on the posts by liking my Facebook page.

Take Action

I encourage you to take action now to change your outlook of graduate school by completing some “Wrap Up Exercises” that will help you apply the important principles I’ve discussed here. Simply go to my website and then click on “Book Exercise Downloads” and then click on the free download of “Chapter 14 Wrap up Exercises.” This will be very helpful for you to cement the principles I have discussed!

Hot Buttered Humanity!

POPATH Hot Buttered Humanity

With a subtitle like that, I’m either going to love it or hate it.  I love it.  It’s as eclectic as the mind of an anthropologist.  Check it out.

popanth-culture-soup-180x300“PopAnth translates anthropological discoveries for popular consumption. Academia does a lot of good work researching, decoding and understanding human societies – past and present. We discover all kinds of really cool stuff about human nature and culture. Anthropology can help us understand who we are as individuals and as a global society.

However, our discoveries are often locked away in academic journals. We take anthropology’s collective knowledge and translate it for mainstream audiences, much in the way that popular science books, tv shows and trivia quizzes make even the hardest of sciences accessible. We strive to provide you with the best of anthropology in a format that makes you go, ‘Wow! I didn’t know that!’ Our cross-cultural stories aim to help you discover things about yourself and the world you live in.

Welcome to the anthropocene!”

AND… They’re looking for contributors.  Maybe YOU can create something to contribute to the anthropological blogging world.

Panda’s Thumb

pandasNO, this is not a blog about pandas. Hopefully, most scientists will recognize the reference.

When I saw the title, I actually thought this was a Stephen Jay Gould tribute site.  Turns out that this is a great summation of EVOLUTION, EDUCATION, MEDIA, and other things SCIENCE.

“The Panda’s Thumb” is many things…

… And now it is a weblog giving another voice for the defenders of the integrity of science, the patrons of “The Panda’s Thumb”.

Keep up on education and evolution with the Panda’s Thumb.